Calgary Travel Guide
Calgary offers a cosmopolitan and welcoming environment, great shopping opportunities, tasty food and plenty of family-friendly attractions. This city shines in summer and winter. When temperatures drop, it becomes one of the most popular destinations in North America, with resorts around the Rocky Mountains.
When summer arrives, Calgary is even more enjoyable. Parks like Prince’s Island are excellent picnic spots. X Fest and the Calgary Folk Music Festival are as much fun as they are exciting. Plus, life on 17th Street is pulsating with shops, cafes and galleries.
Every time you visit, this city offers something different. From NHL-class ice hockey to alpine enclaves. Get your Calgary Stampede tickets and you won’t be disappointed.
- Top 5 Reasons to Visit Calgary
- What to do in Calgary
- When to visit Calgary
- Getting to Calgary
- Where to stay in Calgary
- Getting around Calgary
- Cost of Living in Calgary
- Where to eat in Calgary
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Calgary
Skiing in the Rocky Mountains
Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, and remains one of the continent’s top skiing destinations. You can still tour the Olympic Park and, if you dare, try your hand at ski jumping. For the ultimate alpine experience, Kicking Horse and Castle Mountain are unrivalled.
Flourishing gastronomic culture
Calgarians love to eat Alberta grass-fed beef, gourmet sushi, vegetarian salads and carefully cooked traditional pizzas. The Taste of Calgary in mid-August and the Calgary Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival in May are unparalleled dining events.
Western History and Culture
Despite being a modern business centre, Calgary still feels like a Far West outpost. The Calgary Stampede offers an exciting evening of rodeo and live music. Another possibility is to go to Heritage Park Historical Village to admire 19th century houses and antique cars.
Shopping of all kinds
Calgary is a wonderful place to shop. Inglewood and 17th Street are home to many independent shops where you can buy local crafts, design and creativity, and you can even buy women’s dance dresses at Rubaiyat!
Calgary is an almost unbeatable destination for hockey fans. The city’s team competes in the NHL, so the show is guaranteed. In addition, the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL and the Calgary Roughnecks provide other exciting opportunities.
What to do in Calgary
Looking out from the Tower of Calgary
The Tower of Calgary is the most iconic symbol on this city’s skyline. Opened in 1968 as part of Canada’s centennial celebrations, it attracts half a million visitors a year. At the top it has a revolving restaurant and an observation deck with 360º panoramic views.
See beautiful animals
The Calgary Zoo is a modern space that, in addition to being very popular and visited, houses over a thousand animals and is considered one of the world’s leading zoos for conservation research. In the Destination Africa area you will see hippos and giraffes. In Canadian Wilds, mountain goats, bears, musk oxen and pumas.
Admire mountains, glaciers and forests
110 kilometres west of Calgary is Banff National Park, a true wonder formed by forests, mountains and glaciers. It’s home to all nature lovers, from cyclists to skiers to hikers. Its ski slopes are world famous.
Visit a living museum
Heritage Park Historical Village, located at the southern tip of Calgary, is the largest living museum in Canada. Visitors can discover foods of yesteryear and be transported to the 19th century fur trade. They can also travel in a fully restored steam locomotive, while watching horse-drawn carriages and antique cars pass by. All park staff wear historical costumes and provide visitors with an authentic Wild West experience.
Go to a legendary sporting venue
The Calgary Saddledome is an iconic sports hall. Home of the Calgary Flames, part of the National Hockey League, it also hosts the Calgary Stampede Rodeo Festival. If you visit the city in July, don’t miss the Calgary Stampede.
When to visit Calgary
The best time to go to Calgary depends, above all, on whether you want to ski. The slopes are at their best between November and March. If you want to enjoy the city itself, April or May offer warmer temperatures and fewer crowds. Summer is also a good time, especially if you book in advance to ensure the best rates.
Getting to Calgary
The best way to get to this city is through the Calgary International Airport (YYC). Located about 17 km northeast of downtown, it offers connections to Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix. From here you can take the 300 bus, which takes you into the city for $9, or a taxi for about $40.
Driving from American cities to Calgary is also an option. The best route is Interstate 15 to the Canadian border. You will then need to change to Alberta Highway 4, then Highway 3 in Lethbridge and finally Highway 2, which will take you directly to Calgary.
Getting to Calgary by bus is easy. Greyhound Canada connects this city with many North American cities.
Airports near Calgary
(YQF) Deer Network
Where to stay in Calgary
Interesting neighborhoods in Calgary
Downtown and Inglewood are located in the center of the city. Downtown is dominated by high-rise buildings, but at ground level it is charming and dynamic. Just to the south is Inglewood, Calgary’s oldest neighbourhood. Eclectic and relaxed in style, it is home to art festivals, the zoo and many of the best gourmet restaurants and pizzerias in town.
Forest Lawn is one of the most culturally diverse areas, making it Calgary’s premier destination. Stroll the streets between Vietnamese, Mexican and Lebanese restaurants, and don’t miss lively bars like Border Crossing and Big Al’s Bar and Grill.
The Beltline is the most dynamic neighbourhood, a great place to go, drink and celebrate. It includes 17th Street, one of the city’s commercial epicenters, as well as excellent restaurants. Among them are Cilantro, National and The Coup-One, a great vegetarian establishment.
Getting around Calgary
The public transportation network in Calgary is reliable and efficient. The main element is CTrain, a set of light rail trains that connect the centre and outlying suburbs. Taking it downtown costs C$3.15, both on buses and on simple train routes.
Taxis are good for getting around this town, especially at night. A flexible fare system is offered, which varies according to demand. Generally, a short trip of about 5 kilometers will cost you C$12.
Calgary has an original road structure, with avenues crossing it from east to west. The intersection of Center Street and Center Avenue is the most strategic location, and there are four quadrants: NE, NW, SE and SW. Once you become familiar with this approach, moving by car will be easy. Available rental companies include Avis, Budget and Alamo, with prices starting at CS 14 per day.
Cost of Living in Calgary
Calgary is a great place to shop. Its two main retail neighbourhoods are Inglewood and 17th Street. The former offers independent stores such as Adorn Boutique, Gummi Boutique – specializing in children’s clothing – and the Galleria craft store. On 17th Street, you’ll find exclusive stores like Indo Desginer Rugs and Ivy Decor Blue, which focuses on home interiors.
Groceries and others
Sunterra, Market 17, One Way Foods and Crossroads supermarkets are ideal for food shopping. At Kolmol, if you prefer, they will take your shopping home without going through the store. Life is not usually expensive in Calgary: half a litre of domestic beer will cost you C$6.
Where to eat in Calgary
Beef is Calgary’s main delicacy. The Vintage Chophouse, Modern Steak and Cattle Baron Alberta Steakhouse restaurants prepare delicious steaks to your taste. If you’re in the mood for gourmet French cuisine, La Chaumiere is the place for you.
Japanese Village, which serves Wagyu beef, and the Coup, which specializes in vegetarian dishes, are great choices. A mid-range meal will cost you C$18.