With the Rocky Mountains on the western horizon of Calgary and well-known national parks in close proximity, the city is an excellent choice for hiking, sightseeing or skiing holidays in Canada.
However, holidaymakers looking to enjoy the city itself will not be disappointed as there is certainly lots to see and do. A whole world awaits you in this beautiful city in Alberta.
Here we take you through the best attractions in Calgary, from the world famous Calgary Stampede to other attractions like TELUS Spark and Canada Olympic Park.
Canada Olympic Park
Owned and operated by WinSport, Canada Olympic Park was one of the key venues from the 1988 Winter Olympics and has since evolved into a destination that provides recreational year-round fun for people of all ages.
The park is home to Calgary’s only ski hill and people can enjoy the snow in the winter by skiing, snowboarding and skating. There is also the opportunity to take a run down the storied Olympic sliding track, which was made famous by the Jamaican bobsleigh team during the ’88 Games.
Summer visitors to the park can try their hand at mountain biking, with a variety of terrain featuring dirt jumps and a skills centre on offer. Other activities visitors can try include zip lines, summer bobsleigh and mini-golf.
The Monster Zip line is the fastest in the whole of North America and allows people to reach startling speeds of up to 140 km/h over the 500 metre course.
Neurons are firing daily at TELUS Spark. The science centre offers an experience where guests can explore and share science, technology, engineering, art and maths (STEAM) in a fun and unique way.
Visitors can climb a three-storey tower and slide 63 feet down in the outdoor park, create and watch their very own animation, generate electricity, experience an audio storm and take in a movie or live planetarium show.
There is something for everyone to discover and you can connect with people and experiences that will open your mind, fuel your imagination and evolve the way you see the world!
The 10-day Calgary Stampede usually attracts more than 1.2 million visitors from across the world and next year’s event is set to be no different.
Taking place each year in July, the rodeo is the highlight of Calgary’s summer as cowboy events and Western entertainment wows crowds. If you’re going on your holidays to Canada in July, pack some blue jeans and bright checked shirts and you’ll fit right in. And you could even take a Stetson home as a memento!
The entertainment includes a variety of rodeo competitions from bull riding to steer wrestling, agricultural shows, chuck wagon races and a traditional First Nations village.
Find out more in our guide to the Calgary Stampede.
Fish Creek Provincial Park
Like we mentioned earlier, Calgary is close to some fantastic national parks and one of them is Fish Creek Provincial Park.
Outdoor enthusiasts should certainly have this park on their list when visiting Calgary as there are more than 80 kilometres of walking paths as well as lots of biking trails too.
The park is home to varied wildlife including coyotes, great blue herons and lots of other reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals.
The McKenzie Meadows Golf Course in the park is perfect for improving your handicap, while the lake at the Sikome Aquatic Facility is great for families if you fancy a swim during your visit.
Heritage Park Historical Village is Canada’s largest living history museum, and with it being just 15 minutes from downtown Calgary it is easy for visitors to get to.
Heritage Park connects visitors to the settlement of Western Canada from the 1860s to the 1950s in an immersive, engaging and entertaining fashion.
There are over 180 exhibits to explore. Visitors can chat to the friendly townsfolk and tour the park on an antique steam train or horse-drawn wagon. These hands-on experiences, immersive activities and special events are great fun and offer real insight into how the West once was.
The Historical Village is open daily from mid-May until September. From September it is then open weekends only until Thanksgiving weekend, and again for five weekends at Christmas before closing for the winter season.
The Gasoline Alley Museum and the Heritage Town Square, however, are open during the winter season. The Gasoline Alley Museum celebrates industrial design by exploring the way the automobile changed the world. Thousands of memorabilia include vintage vehicles, gas pump and retro signs. The Heritage Town Square is located at the park gates and the bustling square is home to four shops, an antique portrait studio, a restaurant, café and a nature park.
Aero Space Museum
Visit Calgary highly recommends visiting the Aero Space Museum of Calgary, which is the first aviation museum in the city.
The Aero Space Museum was founded in 1960 and in 1985 took up residence in the former Bullock Helicopter Hangar at the south end of Calgary International Airport.
Now this former WWII training hangar has a fine collection of aeroplanes and aircraft on show and has become one of the top attractions in Calgary.
A 1936 Waco EQC-6 custom Waco 10 cabin series aircraft, an Avro Lancaster Mk. X, a de Havilland DH 100 Vampire F Mk. III and a North American F-86 Sabre are on display at the museum.
The Calgary Tower is another unmissable attraction recommended by Visit Calgary. The tower has become the City of Calgary’s most famous and identifiable physical landmark.
Opened in 1968, it offers the best view in Calgary and during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games it had a flame burning at the tip of the tower, making it the world’s largest Olympic torch.
The observation deck has a 36-feet-long glass floor so you’ll almost feel like you’re walking in the sky. If you are slightly afraid of heights then don’t worry as the floor can hold the weight of two hippos!
Calgary Zoo, Western Canada’s largest zoo, is located in the heart of the city and is home to more than 1,000 animals, six acres of botanical gardens, the fascinating prehistoric park and some ‘zoo-nique’ playgrounds.
Some of the animals you can see include penguins, hippos, bears, giraffes, red pandas, tigers, komodo dragons, snow leopards and gorillas. If that’s not enough, you can listen to keeper talks throughout the day and watch tiger training sessions, carnivore feeding, animal workouts and lots more.
If your stomach starts to growl during your visit, then the Kitamba Café or the numerous food kiosks offer a great selection, whilst the gift shops at the zoo will ensure you have a memento to take back home with you.
The zoo is rated as Canada’s best on Trip Advisor and is certainly worth a visit.
Way back in 1875, the North West Mounted Police erected a small wooden fort and this laid the foundations for the city of Calgary.
Now the 40-acre site, just east of downtown Calgary, is where Fort Calgary lies. Visitors can learn about the city’s colourful characters, exciting events and fascinating facts through interactive exhibits and tours.
You can visit the fort year round from 9am-5pm. It is closed from December 24-31 and on New Year’s Day.
Arts Commons is one of Canada’s largest and most vibrant art centres. Based in the heart of Calgary’s Cultural District in the downtown core, it is a popular attraction for art and theatre lovers.
The centre occupies a full city block and is home to five theatres and the world-class Jack Singer Concert Hall.
Each year, the centre hosts over 1,800 performances and events, including live theatre, concerts, dance productions, readings, public forums, art exhibitions and much more.
Image Credit: WinSport, TELUS Spark, Alberta Parks, Heritage Park Historical Village, Kenton Smith, Calgary Reviews, davebloggs007, Corpuzzle.