Located in the Province of Alberta, Calgary is one of the most understated cities in Canada, frequently overshadowed on the west coast by its more dazzling sister, Vancouver, or its big brother, Toronto, in the far east. But Calgary is one of those mostly Canadian cities that offers experiences to its visitors that they won’t have elsewhere. Calgary is the fifth largest city, nestled alongside the Bow River, about 50 miles east of the spectacular Canadian Rockies. Here’s our list of the most famous attractions and things to do in Calgary that you won’t want to miss out.
Best Time to Visit Calgary
Calgary is a year round destination with something to do all around the year. It is best to visit the city between the month of June through August, when most of the special activities in the city take place; and November through March, when the conditions for skiing are at their best.
How to Reach Calgary
By Air: Calgary International Airport, serving Alberta and its immediate areas, is an international airport. It has direct and scheduled flights to all major cities in Canada, the Americas, East Asia, Mexico and the Caribbean. The airport is connected to different cities all over the globe.
By Bus: By bus services, Calgary is well-connected to other cities in the province of Alberta and also to other cities in Canada. Daily services linking the city are available. The roads could be muddy or icy during the winter, but buses may take longer than normal if the roads are closed or there are detours.
By Driving: If you preferred to travel through the road and enjoy the breathtaking view, then traveling through road is the best option. Even if you don’t have your own car, then you can rent the car or take regular buses. No matter you are driving or leaving it to someone to drive, you will definitely enjoy it.
By Train: In Calgary, there are currently no train lines. There is however a private luxury train that links Calgary with Vancouver: the Rocky Mountaineer. This train offers world-class amenities and the Canadian Rockies with a stunning look.
Now Coming to top attractions, here are the must see places in Calgary…
1. Calgary Tower
Originally named Husky Tower, the Calgary Tower was designed to celebrate the centennial year of 1967 in Canada and to encourage the development of the downtown area. In 1968, it was unveiled to the public as Canada’s tallest building outside of Toronto. In downtown Calgary, Calgary Tower is a free-standing, 191 m tall observation deck that allows panoramic views of the area. A must visit to get one’s bearings for the first time visitor to the area, to get a bird’s eye view of the city, and to admire the views of the Rockies.
2. Calgary Zoo and Prehistoric Park
Calgary Zoo, one of the most popular family destinations in the region, and the biggest and most visited zoological park in Canada, lies on the Bow River on a 120-acre site on St. George’s Island. The zoo is home to over 1,000 animals representing some 272 species, as well as botanical gardens, with several specimens of rare and endangered species. Some fun activities to do include spending time with their full-size replica dinosaurs visiting the six-acre prehistoric park attraction.
3. Heritage Park Historical Village
Escape to Heritage Park Historical Village, the largest museum of living history in Canada today. Heritage Park brings heritage to life from the 1860’s to the 1930’s with over 180 displays spread on 127 acres of land, plus entertaining and welcoming costumed interpreters. It is a traditional creative village, with hundreds of old buildings restored and lively costumed interpreters from four different periods of time.
4. Prince’s Island Park
Prince’s Island Park is a lovely park in downtown Calgary that hosts many big activities during the year, including the celebration of Canada Day and the Folk Festival of Calgary. The park, linked by three pedestrian bridges to the mainland, provides walking and biking areas, as well as outdoor concerts and performances during the summer months. The island is host to a well-regarded restaurant.
5. Fish Creek Provincial Park
Canada’s second largest urban park, Fish Creek Regional Park occupies an area of approximately 14 square kilometres. The man-made Sikome lake and swimming area are at the far eastern and southern end. At the western end is the Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre, which operates instructional programmes. At the eastern end is the Bow Valley Ranch Visitor Center and The Ranch, an upscale sit-down restaurant. As well as a visitor centre and a restaurant, there are also a variety of historic buildings throughout the park.
6. Fort Calgary
Fort Calgary, the North West Mounted Police’s first station, was set up at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow Rivers in 1875. The northernmost connection of the Old Forts Trail’s western branch was Fort Calgary. Around this national and provincial historical site, the town of Calgary developed, and rail transport turned it from a rural border post into a thriving urban centre. Fort Calgary is run by the Restoration Society of Fort Calgary.
7. The Hangar Flight Museum
The Hangar Flight Museum, previously the Calgary Aero Space Museum, is a busy and growing museum that fosters knowledge and enjoyment of flight evolution through storeys told in our exhibits of aeroplanes, helicopters and flight machines. It’s about reaching for your capacity, reaching beyond your boundaries and flying where you never thought possible. Visitors will hear about extraordinary courage and creativity, surrounded by devices and storeys that inspire their imagination.
8. Devonian Gardens
Devonian Gardens is a popular getaway from downtown. Located on the top floor of Central Shopping Centre, this large botanical refuge is an indoor oasis. It gained international interest when Devonian Gardens opened in 1977. It is the only indoor park in Calgary today, full of tropical trees, natural light and balmy temperatures during the year. Meandering walkways take tourists past water fountains, through tree-decked squares, to fish ponds. The displays are made up of around 10,000 species.
9. Glenbow Museum
The Glenbow Museum, founded in 1966, features several rare exhibits demonstrating Western Canada’s historical growth. The museum moves back in time, exploring the lives of early fur traders and the North West Mounted Police, Louis Riel’s Métis protests, and the oil industry’s growth. This unique museum of art and culture holds temporary exhibits from all over the world as well. For adolescents, there is an Exploration Space.
There is no full visit to Calgary without a visit to WinSport, the most recognisable artefact of the 1988 Games. With the aim of becoming a world-class Winter Sport Institute and enabling Canadian athletes to hit the podium at World Cup competitions and the Olympic Games, WinSport has brought the Olympic tradition to new heights. The hill is also open to hiking and snowboarding today. There are places down the slopes and hills to bob sled, zipline, toboggan, snow slide, and mountain bike.