From the streets of downtown to the mountain skyline, Calgary and the Canadian Rockies are the perfect setting for any activity. Much like wine and cheese or beer and bratwurst: with only an hour’s drive between the two, it’s no wonder they make the perfect pairing. Here is our curated list of the perfect city-to-mountain adventures.
City Nightlife to Mountain Wildlife
Calgary is home to some of the best parties in North America. From the spectacular Calgary Stampede once a year to daily independent gigs, the city is a vibrant host. During your stay be sure to swing by one of many intimate music venues to catch a local or touring musician performing a live show. Plan a walk down 17th avenue and make some pit stops for bespoke cocktails, pints and late night eats. The night is your oyster.
After a good night exploring the city nightlife, take the time to experience the mountain wildlife. Stately elk regularly make cameo appearances on the beautiful drive from Calgary to Banff. If you didn’t spot one, not to worry; you can sign up for a wildlife discovery tour and see firsthand the home of grizzly bears.
Rooftop to Mountain Top
How about a nice cold drink brew your view? It doesn’t get much better than this. Join your friends on the rooftop patio at National on 8th. This rooftop patio is in the heart of the city where towering skyscrapers surround you while you enjoy a locally brewed craft beer.
Complement your downtown rooftop experience with a cool, refreshing cocktail in Mt. Norquay’s Cliff House Bistro. Ride a chairlift up to the peak and enjoy the views overlooking the town of Banff.
Urban Art to Natural Wonder
Start with a self-guided walking tour of Calgary’s many photo-worthy public art pieces located throughout its downtown core. Stop in at the Glenbow Museum and take in three floors of influential Canadian artefacts in Western Canada’s largest museum.
Follow that up with a visit to the natural wonders that have inspired countless pieces of art. Stargaze at the Northern Lights, feel the spray of Johnston Canyon’s natural waterfalls, take in the turquoise blue of Lake Louise or Moraine Lake, and stop by The Banff Centre to appreciate the curated art collections.
Nature Within the City and a City Within Nature
Find the best of both worlds. While in the city, why not take a guided fly-fishing tour on the world class Bow River or rent a surfboard and catch the natural wave next to the 10th street bridge? While in Banff, grab an espresso and take a ride up Sulfur Mountain and take in the beautiful views of Banff built right in the middle of paradise.
Once you discover just how closely connected the city is to its natural host, you won’t have to choose between urban and wild again. Calgary truly does provide two worlds in one day.
written by Mike Duffield