Calgary Travel Guide

Calgary Visitors Guide

One of Canada’s most vibrant and fastest-growing cities, Calgary serves up a wide variety of visitor attractions, historic landmarks and other various points of interest to explore. Situated in the scenic foothills of Alberta, Calgary is a blend of old with new with much for visitors to discover. From beautiful parks to fascinating historic sites, great restaurants and stores to some of Canada’s most renowned theaters, Calgary offers a little bit of something for everyone. Its adventurous and pioneering spirit welcomes millions each year from all corners of the globe.

The city is simply packed with interesting attractions and must-see sites of interest to discover. One of its premier landmarks is the Calgary Tower, an observation tower that commands incredible views of the cityscape and the nearby Rocky Mountains. One of the city’s most celebrated attractions, it is not to be missed. Another great point of interest in Calgary worth visiting is Prince’s Island Park, the city’s largest park and home to scenic walking trails and beautiful views of the skyline. A great place for sightseeing and relaxing, it is one of Calgary’s top landmarks to see.

The city of Calgary also boasts a number of top-notch museums, cultural institutions, important historic sites and art galleries worth paying a visit to. The Glenbow Museum, the largest museum in Western Canada, is filled with huge and fascinating artifacts, artwork, sculptures, and paintings with a focus on the region’s history and culture. Another top cultural institution is the Telus Spark Calgary Science Centre, one of the largest and most acclaimed science and technology museums in the entire world. Fun for visitors of all ages, it should not be missed.

The Calgary Zoo is another fun and interesting place to visit, holding more than 1,000 animals from all across the world, while the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre is another great place to visit. Calgary also plays host to one of Canada’s most important historic landmarks, Fort Calgary, located at the Fort Calgary Historic Park. Elsewhere in the city, visitors will find a wealth of galleries, shops, restaurants, boutiques and unique neighborhoods worth exploring as well.

No matter where you go in the city of Calgary, you’re sure to stumble across something unique and interesting. The city’s spirit remains just as strong as the day it was founded back in 1894, beckoning visitors to sample its rich collection of museums, parks, historic monuments, and other great attractions.

Calgary Downtown Hotels

Downtown Calgary is comprised of three separate neighborhoods: commercial core, west end, and east village. In some cases, neighboring areas like Chinatown are also considered to be a part of downtown Calgary. Stephen Avenue Walk is often considered the heart of the downtown Calgary area. This region, which runs along 8 Ave SW/Stephen Avenue, spans four blocks between 1 St SE to 4 St SW. At peak times, upwards of 5,000 people are in Stephen Avenue Walk, especially when the area is hosting a concert or festival. Other venues here include pubs, restaurants, and shopping boutiques. Artists can appreciate a number of galleries and in downtown Calgary, such as The Art Gallery of Calgary and Art Central. EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts puts on almost 2,000 performances each year. When it comes to activities aimed at the family, the area hosts Prince’s Island Park, which is a riverside park replete with a playground and plenty of space to picnic. The Eau Claire Market is also great for kids and has a splash park. Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Calgary that are quality hotels at an affordable price. Use our Search box above or click here to see available hotels!

Calgary Weather

Weather in Alberta Calgary, a city in the province of Alberta, Canada, is known far and wide for its frigid winter temperatures. Winter sports are a big-time draw to Calgary and are one thing the city is famous for around the world. However, there is more to Calgary weather than cold temperatures highlighted with snow and ice. The seasons in Calgary are mild, but offer plenty of variety.

Located far north of the Equator, the entire country of Canada experiences long, cold winters with varying degrees of moisture in the form of snow and ice. Calgary’s winter temperatures range from as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit in the depths of the coldest months of December, January and February to as high as 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the milder months of November and March. The Winter season is punctuated by incredibly cold snaps that drop the temperature and sometimes bring snow and ice, though the weather stays dry for many years. Calgary is helped, weather-wise, by its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, which allow warm air to rush down periodically during the winter months to raise the temperature.

Winter months make up much of the year in Calgary, but the Summer months are really something to enjoy. Skies are typically blue and clear, with only periodic moisture. Summer evenings can be very cool, however, with temperatures dropping into the 40 and 50-degree range, and sometimes lower. Average highs during the summer months usually top out in the mid-80s, and the normal sunset is around 10 p.m. each evening in June.

The shortest season in Calgary is fall, which lasts only from August to September. The short Fall months are usually fairly dry, though some snow will start to come down in mid- to late-September. Temperatures generally stay during the 70s and 80s during the day but dip down much lower at night as the winter gets closer.

Finally, you have Spring, another short season in Calgary. This is another mild season with moderate temperatures that rise into the 50s and 60s during the day but fall much lower at night. Spring is also the season when the most moisture falls on Calgary. Expect the majority of the city’s rainfall during the spring months, though it is not unusual to see snow falling as late as May. Luckily the weather tends to change fast in Calgary throughout the year, so at any given time it can be snowing with a chance of sunny, warmer temperatures only one day away.

Calgary Transportation

Calgary is well connected to the Province of Alberta and the rest of Canada through multiple modes of transportation. The Trans-Canada Highway runs directly through the heart of Calgary, making this major city accessible from all corners of the country. Running for nearly 5,000 miles across all of Canada, the Trans-Canada Highway is one of the longest highways in the world. This major road essentially links Calgary with some of the largest cities in all of the provinces in Canada. Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, Regina, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver are all connected to the Trans-Canada Highway. However, the drive between Calgary and some of these major Canadian cities will surely be a day-long road trip. Calgary is also linked to Alberta’s capital city via another major highway. The drive between Calgary and Edmonton on Alberta 2 Highway is just over 200 miles long.

To avoid an exhausting journey by car, tourists can take a flight directly to Calgary. Served by major carriers such as Air Canada, the Calgary International Airports offers nonstop flights to the largest cities in Canada and several other domestic destinations. Of course, Calgary’s main airport also can be used for international direct flights to the United States, Europe, Asia, the Pacific region and other parts of the world. Calgary International Airport is located only several miles away from Downtown Calgary and there are convenient ground transportation options available. Eight car rental companies make it easy to drive off from the airport to anywhere in the Calgary region. Intercity buses, hotel shuttles, taxis and limousines all wait to pick up passengers near the terminals at Calgary International Airport.

A great way to navigate the city of Calgary is to use public transportation provided by Calgary Transit. This local transit authority operates a bus network that consists of more than 150 routes circulating the city of Calgary. Passengers should know that Calgary Transit buses provide very limited service outside of the city’s limits.

Calgary Transit also operates a Light Rail System that is known as the C Train. This rapid transit rail network consists of two lines. Known as Route 201, The Red Line runs between Crowfoot and Summerset/Bridlewood stations. Using the code name Route 202, The Blue Line operates between 7th Street SW and Saddletowne. Transfers can be made between the two lines in multiple stations in Downtown Calgary such as at City Hall. Unfortunately, Calgary is the largest city in Canada to lack long-distance rail service so Via Rail Canada journeys cannot be taken to this part of Alberta.

Calgary Attractions

Calgary is an absolutely beautiful city that everyone must-see while in Canada. There are so many great things to do in Calgary that you could stay busy for weeks, but these are the four Calgary attractions that everyone must visit.

Calgary Zoo
The Calgary Zoo first opened its doors in 1929, which makes it one of the oldest zoos in Canada. There are currently over 1000 animals housed at the Calgary Zoo, which is more than all but one zoo in Canada. All of the animals are placed in different sections of the zoo based on where they originate from. One of the highlights of the Calgary Zoo is the Prehistoric Park. Prehistoric Park has recreated dinosaurs living in their natural habitat.

Telus World of Science
If you are looking for an attraction for both the adults and the children, then it does not get much better than the Telus World of Science. The Telus World of Science was established in 1967, and it is currently one of the most popular attractions in Calgary with just over 300,000 visitors each year. The main highlights of the Telus World Of Science are the museum designed specifically for children, the outdoor science playground and the huge domed theater. The theater will usually play various science-related films, but they also play several large budget movies throughout the year.

Calgary Tower
Construction was completed on the Calgary Tower in 1968, and it has quickly become one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. The Calgary Tower is just over 190 meters tall and there is not a taller structure in the city. A vast majority of the city of Calgary can be seen from the observation deck of the tower. Calgary is a beautiful city, but you can not fully experience its beauty until you see it from the Calgary Tower. There is also a restaurant at the top of the tower that features a great view of the city.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
If you have any appreciation for sports, then Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is the ideal attraction for you. Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame first opened in 1955, and it is designed to honor the greatest athletes born in Canada. Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame was originally located in Toronto, but it was moved to Calgary in 2011. There are currently over 500 differently athletes that are honored in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. There are also several different interactive exhibitions and galleries throughout the hall of fame.

Calgary Dining

The largest metropolis in the Canadian province of Alberta, Calgary is famous for its role in two Winter Olympics and its location near the beautiful Canadian Rockies. The city is divided into neighborhoods, each with its own unique culture. For residents and visitors to Calgary, fabulous eating establishments throughout the area satisfy hunger and different cuisine preferences.

Inglewood Pizza
Inglewood is the oldest neighborhood in the city. The old town center in Calgary is here with much to see from historic sites to modern chic shops, a very eclectic and intriguing area. People can pick up a pizza or lasagne to-go after exploring Inglewood. This establishment will also deliver pizza and cater events.

La Brezza Ristorante
Found in the rapidly developing Bridgeland neighborhood with shops and historic homes as well as parks and the zoo, La Brezza Ristorante is a cozy Italian restaurant that makes people feel at home. Bruschetta, gnocchi with cream and mushrooms and creme brulee are on the menu. The dining is classy with classic music and medium pricing.

Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus
Not far from Mont-Royal Park and North Glenmore Park, this pancake house serves the best of Dutch cuisine. The lines are usually long, but the food is well worth the waiting time. Savory apple pancakes with bacon and cheese as well as numerous other combinations of sweet and savory pancakes are on the extensive breakfast menu. Guest leave filled and happy.

Fine French dining in Mill Estates south of St. George’s Island, Rouge serves exquisite plates. The tasting menu is a pleasure. Elk medallions, scallops, salmon and Fois Gas are some of the items customers order. All the food is fresh, and much of it is local.

The Coup
In Uptown in the 17th Avenue SW’s Beltline area with boutiques and trendy shops, The Coup is a contemporary vegetarian restaurant that offers excellent food for a great price. The popular place is packed on weekends and lines go out the door, but no reservations are accepted. Tasty fare like Dragon Bowl and yam fries are on the menu, made from organic and local fresh produce. The Coup serves dishes that are creative and delicious.

The Himalayan
A charming little Nepali restaurant with a warm welcome, The Himalayan is on the exciting and fashionable 17th Avenue SW. The lunch buffet is a favorite. The establishment serves butter chicken and rice pudding as well as many traditional Nepali dishes like beef with turnips or daikon that are deliciously seasoned with authentic and European herbs. The atmosphere is quiet and relaxed.

Calgary Events

Calgary Stampede
Celebrating just over 100 years, Calgary Stampede takes place for 10 days every July. Called the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” it is North America’s biggest rodeo. The rodeo itself is exciting and worth visiting even just to experience the atmosphere and a staggering number of consumable deep-fried items. In addition to the rodeo, there is a parade, rides, live music in the streets, and free stampede breakfasts offered by many businesses in town. Bring your cowboy hat and boots – people in the city dress Western style for the entire week in celebration.

Calgary Fringe Festival
Unusual, unforgettable and uncensored. Experience Fringe Festival in Calgary. You can attend over 160 performances in 9 days of 27 local, national, and international performances. From kid’s theatre, musicals, and spoken word, to dramas, comedies, and improvisation – whatever your preference is, everyone will be delighted and surprised by something at the Calgary Fringe Festival. The first Fringe Festival began in Scotland in 1947, and Calgary’s Fringe Festival was founded in 2006. All the venues are within a 10-minute walk of each other, making it easy for you to catch multiple shows in one day.

Funny Fest, Calgary Comedy Festival
Calgary’s annual summertime Funny Fest showcases over 70 local and international performers, approximately 125 comedy events and over 11,0000 punchlines. Started in 2001 by stand-up comic Stu Hughes, it is now Western Canada’s largest comedy festival. Funny Fest is a non-profit organization promoting health, well-being, and belly laughs.

Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival
Dragon boat racing began in China approximately 2,000 years ago. The Dragon Boat Festival honors the well-loved poet and philosopher Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the river. His local admirers paddled out on boats to scare away the fish and try to find his body. They also dropped sticky rice dumplings into the river so the fish would eat this instead of Qu Yuan’s body. The Calgary Dragon Boat race draws a large crowd of over 2,000 people and 750 competitors in teams of 20 on the Glenmore Reservoir. Various ceremonial dances and cultural performances take place in the beer gardens along the Reservoir.

Calgary Reggae Festival
Taking place every year in late August, Reggae Festival features some of the best international reggae musicians and also emphasizes the promotion of Canadian reggae. The main event is 12 continuous hours of reggae in Shaw Millenium Park. Festival-goers fondly refer to themselves as “Rastagarians,” Calgarians who celebrate the music and values of Carribean culture.

Family Fun near Downtown Calgary

The Calgary Zoo takes your family on journey through some of the world’s most realistic animal habitats. You’ll be free to browse countless exhibits of exotic animals from foreign lands. The Zoo also boasts botanical gardens that stretch more than six acres across the landscape. The combination of the animals and the distinct plants make the Calgary Zoo an appealing place to take a family. You’ll never be bored as you choose between over 1,000 various species of animals. Each animal and exhibit has its own unique story to tell.

Calaway Park draws in many families from around the world each year. The vast amusement park offers incredible selections of rides, food, games, and entertainment for all. You might even get to see some live bands or theater plays if you’re lucky. The different types of rides appeal to all ages, with plenty of attractions for younger children, older kids, and adults. Everyone finds something to participate in at Calaway Park, and that’s part of what makes it such a charming place to visit.

For the history buffs in your family, nothing will induce excitement like a trip to Fort Calgary. In addition to learning some basic Canadian history, you’ll also hear about the storied chronicles of mounted police. The narrative of the city of Calgary is presented to you by knowledgeable tour guides, and the activities provide endless fun. You get to go into a cell at the jail, sit in a virtual streetcar, and even try on a Mountie uniform. The fascinating sights and sounds of Fort Calgary await your arrival.

The adventure-seeking individuals among you will surely salivate at the chance to go to Canada Olympic Park. Winter in Calgary is a time for skiing, and few places cater to skiers like Canada Olympic Park. You can also try snowboarding, and you might even try both in the same day. The summer-minded people rave about the bike trails and also the zip line available at the park. Outdoor adventures for all abound at Canada Olympic Park.

Calgary Corn Maze is the perfect destination for those who want to experience some old-fashioned fun. You can make your way through the twists and turns while you meet barnyard animals at every corner. There are also jumping pillows, hayrides, and pumpkins for you to pick at the end. The corn cannons are also a huge hit with the kids, and they’ll take aim with blasting shots. The friendly animals love to have the children as guests in their maze, and the petting of cute animals is a favorite activity there.

Shopping near Downtown Calgary

Calgary, Alberta is home to more than 15,000 stores and shops. At least 60 percent of these shopping destinations are locally owned and operated by local residents who take great pride in their merchandise and interesting store layouts.

Here is an overview of some of Calgary’s most popular shopping destinations that can help you plan your next Calgary shopping adventure effortlessly.

Many of Calgary’s popular shopping destinations are located east of the downtown area near some of Calgary’s oldest residential neighborhoods including Monterrey Park, Vista Heights and Forest Lawn.

Some of the most popular shopping attractions located east of Calgary’s downtown area include locally owned flower shops and gourmet food stores. Other popular shopping attractions include sporting goods stores and home furniture shops. These shopping destinations are popular tourist attractions because they feature cozy exteriors and simple Space Age designs that invite shoppers to shop at their own pace.

Other popular shopping destinations are located south of the downtown area near Glenmore Park. These shopping destinations are known for their interesting selection of curios and home décor items. They are also known for their interesting interiors that mimic the interior designs used in Calgary’s most beautiful Victorian homes.

Calgary’s downtown area is home to several locally-owned clothing boutiques. They are well-known for their large selection of designer dresses, formal wear, and suits. Most of these stores are located near popular attractions including Shaw Millennium Park, Prince’s Island and the Calgary Stampede Fairgrounds.

Calgary’s downtown area is also home to several upscale jewelry stores that offer a fine selection of handcrafted bracelets, rings, and watches. Many Calgary residents enjoy visiting these stores because they offer shoppers one of Canada’s largest selections of diamond and platinum jewelry.

Moreover, Calgary is known for its high-quality malls. This is hardly surprising because Calgary’s malls offer visitors one of Canada’s largest selections of bookstores, discount stores, electronics stores, and shoe stores.

Many of Canada’s most popular malls are located northwest of the downtown area near Montgomery Park. Many Calgary residents enjoy visiting these malls because they offer shoppers efficient customer service that can help you streamline your search for great deals on everyday items for your home.

Finally, Calgary is also known for its antique stores. These stores are popular tourist attractions because they offer visitors a fascinating selection of antiques that teach visitors about Alberta’s social history.

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