Calgary is the largest city in Alberta, Western Canada. It is situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet. It is the third largest city in Canada with a population of 1.3 million.
It also offers a life full of zeal and enthusiasm of a large cosmopolitan city with a warm spirit of a connected community.
Calgary is Canada’s third most diverse metropolitan city, with over 120 languages spoken in the city. Calgary is known as the energy center.
Alberta is Canada’s largest oil and gas producer, with vast oil sand deposits. Calgary is the epicenter of Canada’s energy industry, housing the headquarters of every major company in the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors.
From one of the city’s tallest towers that lights up every night to the famous penguin walk and skyscrapers at Calgary Zoo to Canada’s largest living museum, there are plenty of things to do in Calgary.
During the winters, you can visit the Canada Olympic park for world-class skiing and if you are here during the summers, do visit the famous Calgary Stampede.
It is Western Canada’s primary industrial and commerce center, with several pipelines connecting to the American Pacific coast passing through it.
The economy of Calgary is largely centered on oil refining and export, manufacturing, natural gas generation for distribution, and the high-tech industry. As a result, they have one of the highest concentrations of corporate headquarters in Canada.
1. Calgary History
Calgary originated as Fort Brisebois, a North-West Mounted Police fort. It was built at this location due to the significance of the Bow and Elbow rivers’ confluence.
Calgary was founded as a town in 1884, and subsequently as a city in 1894. Initially a small community, the population grew significantly when the Canadian Pacific Railway finally connected Calgary to Eastern Canada in 1883.
Calgary was dubbed as the Sandstone City after a fire in 1886 destroyed many of the wooden homes and the city was rebuilt with sandstone from the banks of the Bow River.
Calgary’s dry climate is due to its high mountain altitude. In the winter, the city is frequently hit by chinooks, which are gusts of warm, wet air that substantially elevate the temperature.
2. Culture and Diversity of Calgary
Calgary is one of Canada’s most diversified cities. Their culture is as diverse as its population, manifesting itself through art, fashion, dance, movies, festivals, cultural celebrations, and literary programs. Calgary is home to around 120 different languages.
As a city and culture change, everyone aims to identify what makes Calgary unique, as well as how you might improve the quality of life for your increasing and varied population.
3. Economic Strategy of Calgary
Calgary has a well-deserved reputation for inclusivity, entrepreneurship, and community spirit, and these characteristics inspired the Strategy’s creation.
Calgary Economic Development works with businesses, governments, and community partners to create long-term economic growth, embrace shared prosperity, and strengthen communities.
Calgary is showcased as the preferred place for corporate investment, trade, and workforce development.
Calgary has the most corporate head offices per population of any Canadian city, and it is home to over 700 startups, many of which are in technology.
4. Calgary Food
There is approximately 5 million head of cattle in Alberta which is half of Canada’s beef supply. These animals, originally from Scotland and Europe, arrived in Alberta in the 1870s.
They thrive on the lush grasslands, and whether grass-finished or supplemented with Alberta’s excellent barley, beef produced here is noted for its rich, marbled flavor. Calgary is the ideal spot to taste fresh beef tartare or carpaccio.
There is a list of famous restaurants in Calgary that you can explore. The restaurant River Café promotes the most eco-friendly restaurants and sustainable lifestyles. This restaurant chooses carefully where to get the ingredients it needs to make every dish.
As a sustainable business, you take steps to decrease the negative environmental effects by eliminating bottled water, utilizing less energy and water, reusing materials, recycling, and composting.
Local favorites include Italian Tuscan Bistecca, Korean short ribs, and Ginger Fried Beef, a tremendously famous dish that originated and was mastered here and is still offered at all the top Chinese restaurants. One of the best things to do in Calgary is to relish these meals.
Discover the 10 Best Things to do in Calgary
1. Experience a Breathtaking View from the Calgary Tower
Calgary tower was built in 1968 and it is one of the highest structures 626 ft in the city of Calgary. On the observation deck, you will experience a breathtaking 360-degree view of the busy metropolis, the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, the foothills, and the grasslands.
The 360-degree viewing deck is the highest in the world in terms of elevation above sea level. Calgary tower was initially known as the Husky Tower and it was constructed to commemorate Canada’s centennial year of 1967, as well as to promote urban redevelopment and growth in downtown Calgary.
It is one of downtown Calgary’s top attractions and one of the first things to do in Calgary is to go there. The Calgary tower also offers a revolving restaurant which gives the customers a bird’s eye view of the entire city.
The Calgary Tower not only provides 360-degree vistas, but it also has a glass floor. With your reservation, Sky 360 offers free access to the restaurant level. No further tickets are needed to enter the restaurant.
When you arrive for your reservation or while having dinner with your waiter, you can purchase tickets at discounted prices if you want to visit the Calgary Tower observation deck.
2. Visit the Banff National Park
Banff national park is one of the oldest national parks located in the western part of Calgary. Banff National Park is known for its vibrant lakes, breathtaking Canadian mountains, and easy access to a variety of outdoor activities.
It was also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, along with the other national and provincial parks that comprise the Canadian Rockies, and Alpine Parks, for the mountain vistas that include mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, canyons, and limestone caves, as well as fossil beds.
Species such as grizzly bears, cougar, wolverine, elk, bighorn sheep, and moose, as well as hundreds of bird species, are found here.
Whether it is the chromatic art and culture, stunning valleys and rocky peaks, or the original Canadian cuisine, you will find a little bit of everything here. The busy Banff townsite and Lake Louise are uniquely situated within the national park.
The Banff region has been inhabited for around 11,000 years. A group of natural hot springs was found in 1883 by Canadian Pacific Railway workers above the Bow River valley, a constrained montane ecoregion that forms the center of what is now Banff National Park.
Banff is the most visited national park in Canada and a top destination for alpine sports, with three to four million tourists annually.
There are many campgrounds and trailer parks within or close to the park, as well as lodging options in Banff, Lake Louise, other park communities, and cities outside the park.
Visitors can engage in several other recreational activities in addition to the hundreds of miles of hiking paths in the park and the winter sports facilities in Banff and Lake Louise. It is among the most interesting things to do in Calgary.
3. Spend Time in Heritage Park Historical Village
The Heritage Park historical village is Canada’s largest living history museum and a must-see for anyone visiting or living in Calgary.
It is a popular destination for family outings, especially during the summer months when the weather is warm and the sun shines.
The Heritage Park historical village is also open during the summer, including the Historical Village, Town Square, and Gasoline Alley Museum.
There are hundreds of interactive exhibits, some of which you can touch, play with, and engage with. The paddleboat ride and boarding an old train will appeal to children, while the Ferris wheel and merry-go-round will appeal to the more adventurous.
As one of Western Canada’s largest museums, its collection contains approximately one million objects, papers, pictures, and works of art.
4. Explore the Calgary Hall of Fame
Calgary hall of fame is a sports hall of fame and museum in Calgary, Alberta. For the last 65 years, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame has been a key cultural institution in Canada.
It serves as a hall of fame and museum for renowned Canadian athletes, as well as sports builders and authorities, and is dedicated to the history of sports in Canada.
Not only you will get the chance to learn about sports but alst incredible Canadian history. Some of the favorite things to do in Calgary include the simulated rowing experience, auto race, and shadowboxing with heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
The Hall of Fame is Canada’s largest and only national sports museum. It is one of the major Calgary attractions, located in Canada Olympic Park in the city’s west end any sports fan will enjoy this 40,000 square-foot museum, which is conveniently located in WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park.
5. Spend Time in Prince’s Island Park
Prince’s island park is one of Calgary’s famous parks and is located on the Bow river in Calgary. This island is linked with four bridges to Eau Claire, downtown Calgary, Memorial Drive, and the Crescent Heights Community. This island park offers greenery and a fresh breeze amid the city.
Since prince’s island park was developed in the 1950s, it has been recognized as an urban oasis and is an important contributor to the cultural and recreational quality of life for Calgarians.
It is an environmental, educational, and recreational resource that engages people with nature.
Many events are held in the park, including the Canada Day celebration, the Calgary Folk Music Festival, Shakespeare in the Park, the Heritage Day celebration, Carifest, Expo Latino, Barbecue on the Bow, etc.
6. Revisit the History of Fort Calgary
Fort Calgary was built in the latter half of the 1800s as a station for the North West Mounted Police.
Built on a historic site at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow rivers, the Fort has also served as a hospital, police station, and educational facility.
Fort Calgary is located at the meeting point of the Bow and Elbow Rivers.
It is a location where you may reconnect with the land, people, and history and it is one of the best things to do in Calgary.
You can also participate in the different activities we provide like exhibits, public programs, education programs, and volunteering.
7. Get Entertained by Calgary Stampede
The biggest attraction of Calgary’s mid-year is the 10-day Calgary Stampede which is known as the “The Greatest Outdoor show on the earth.
The Calgary and District Agricultural Society conducted its inaugural fair in 1886, which is considered to be the event’s inception year.
American promoter Guy Weadik created the first Stampede, a rodeo, and festival, in 1912. To plan the Victory Stampede in honor of soldiers who had just returned from World War 1, he came back to Calgary in 1919.
When Wea dick’s festival united with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition to form the first Calgary Stampede and Exhibition in 1923, it started to take place every year.
8. Walk on the Peace Bridge
The peace bridge has been named one of the top ten architectural projects in 2012 as well as one of the top ten public spaces in 2012.
The City of Calgary made the bridge to link the southern Bow River walkway and Downtown Calgary with the northern Bow River pathway and the Sunnyside neighborhood.
This link was created to serve the growing number of individuals who commute to and from work as well as those who use Calgary’s paths.
The Peace Bridge first opened to the public on March 24, 2012, and has since become an iconic symbol for both Calgary residents and tourists, attracting around 9000 people each day during the summer months who walk and wheel across the bridge.
9. Know the Culture at Glenbow Museum
The Glenbow museum is located in downtown Calgary and focuses on Western Canadian art and culture. It takes a deep dive into modern life and culture in this part of the world with over one million objects, art installations, and pictures on exhibit. It is among the most favorite things to do in Calgary.
The Museum also provides an incredible view into the values, customs, and legacy of indigenous peoples who have lived throughout the Northwestern Plains for thousands of years.
The collection focuses on West Africa and includes objects from the Akan, Yoruba, and the Kingdom of Bamum.
The Latin American collection was also added to the museum in the 1960s. Its collection is focused mostly on the Amazon Basin, featuring items from the Bororo and Urubu peoples.
The Oceania collection at the museum is mostly made up of objects from Papua New Guinea, but it also includes artifacts from other parts of Oceania.
10. Go through the Downtown Core
You will find Canada’s second-highest concentration of corporate headquarters in Calgary’s Downtown. Several smaller neighborhoods, including Eau Claire, the Central Business District, Chinatown, East Village, and the West End, make up the Downtown core.
Skyscrapers make up the majority of the downtown core’s dense commercial area.
The Calgary Tower, Glenbow Museum, Arts Common, Olympic Square, City Hall, Canadian Music Hall, ancient First Nations artifacts,s, and the spectacular downtown Calgary Library branch are just a few of the attractions that can be found in downtown Calgary.
East Village, often known as Downtown East Village, is a mixed-use neighborhood located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada’s downtown.
It is located in the Rivers District of the city. The name “Battle of Alberta” refers to the fierce competition between Edmonton oilers, the capital of the Alberta province, and Calgary, the province’s most populous city.
Although this is not the only meaning as the rivalry predates organized sports in Alberta, it is most frequently used to refer to athletic competitions between the two cities.
Some of the Free Things to do in Calgary
1. Visit the Central Library
The Calgary Central Library is situated in a complicated urban environment where a fully functional Light Rail Transit Line crosses the property from above to below on a curving half-moon course, separating Downtown and East Village.
2. Tour the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
Since 1929, migrating birds have had a haven to rest at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center, and more than 80 years have been spent on conservation.
The Sanctuary and Nature Centre’s volunteers, patrons, and employees have so far recorded 347 species of plants, 270 species of birds, and 21 species of animals.
The Canadian geese are sizable wild birds with a brown body, a black head and neck, white cheeks, and white under their chin.
It is indigenous to the arctic and temperate parts of North America, with sporadic sightings in northern Europe during transatlantic migration.
3. Go through the Military Museums
The second-biggest military museum in Canada is located in Calgary, Alberta, and is the largest museum in Western Canada.
The Naval, Army, and Air Force Museums of Alberta, the Cold War Museum of the Air Force, the four museums of the founding regiments—Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), The King’s Own Calgary Regiment, and The Calgary Highlanders all reside in the Military Museums.
4. Embrace the Beauty of North Glenmore Park
The Calgary Canoe Club and Calgary Rowing Club both call North Glenmore Park, which is located just to the north of the Glenmore reservoir, home.
It is for people looking for an active lifestyle as it is surrounded by Weaselhead Flats, Glenmore Park, and the Lakeview and Earl Grey Golf courses. It is one of the most thrilling things to do in Calgary.
5. Have an Amazing Time on Stephen Avenue Walk
Stephen avenue walk is often referred to as the beating heart of Calgary. It is a pedestrian mall located in downtown Calgary.
Some of the best cafes, bars, pubs, and restaurants can be found on this street.
The Canadian government had declared this street the Canadian Historic site. Stephen avenue walk is a site where you will find a lot of historic and ancient public art installations and buildings.
6. View the Fish Creek Provincial Park
Fish Creek Park is a provincial park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that protects the Fish Creek valley.
There is an artificial lake where swimming is permitted, and Fish Creek flows the whole length of the park before joining the Bow River on its eastern border.
The park is a well-liked location for hiking and biking, as well as for swimming, fishing, and enjoying nature because it has more than 100 kilometers of paved and unpaved pathways. It is one of the most lively things to do in Calgary.
7. See the Shaw Millennium Park
Shaw Millennium Park was opened in 2000 and is North America’s largest skate park for skateboards and in-line skating, with 75,000 square feet of skateable surfaces. It is a family activity park and a unique venue.
It attracts around 35,000 visitors every year and it is one of the amazing things to do in Calgary.
8. View the Unique Reader Rock Garden
Reader Rock Garden Historic Park is one of Calgary’s most unique cultural landscapes, containing rebuilt Reader home rock walkways, bridges, seats, and extraordinary flowers. It is among the most pleasurable things to do in Calgary.
Reader Rock Garden is ideal for group parties and events such as weddings, photo shoots, and family reunions.
9. Enjoy Shakespeare by the Bow
Shakespeare by the Bow is a program meant to assist budding performers in making the transition from their training to the professional stage.
This year’s group will consist of six actors who will perform eight presentations each week in various outdoor venues across Calgary and the surrounding region.
10. Observe the Wonderland Sculpture
Wonderland is a wire mesh sculpture of a little girl’s head positioned at the base of Calgary’s tallest building, The Bow.
The main draw of Wonderland is that visitors may walk into the model, which has two holes through which spectators can enter.
The sculpture’s shape is claimed to have been inspired by a girl in Spain, and the sculpture’s goal is to inspire anybody who sees it as a realistic portrayal of the architecture of our bodies, the castle of our desires. This sculpture symbolizes the young people’s goals and desires.
11. Experience Rocky Mountain Show Jumping
Rocky Mountain Spectacular Jumping is an event management organization that specializes in arranging jumping competitions throughout the season, as well as a range of other events.
It is one of the most adventurous things to do in Calgary.
12. Have a Gala Time in Ralph Klein Park
The Environmental Education Centre is equipped with an indoor classroom, a reference library, an art studio, interpretive signage, and a meeting area.
There is a picnic ground, as well as a community orchard with five species of pear trees and eight varieties of apple trees.
13. Celebrate the Lion’s Festival of Lights
The Lions Festival of Lights is Calgary’s biggest drive-through light show featuring 500,000 lights. It is one of the most gripping things to do in Calgary.
Christmas Lights across the city are popular among the locals in Calgary.
In a Nutshell
There are many exciting things to do in Calgary like mountain biking, inner city hiking, visiting the theatre Calgary, Calgary public library, National Music Centre, and Bowness Park.
Located in the northwest of the city, Nose Hill Park is encircled by 12 residential neighborhoods and is established in the 1980s.
The hill’s name is probably derived from the way it appears to be a nose when viewed from particular angles and with a little imagination.
One of the most notable remaining specimens of this grassland ecosystem on the Canadian prairies is found in Nose Hill Park.
Calgary’s only pedestrian mall, Stephen Avenue walk features a year-round pedestrian experience featuring shopping, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
In Calgary, Canada, wire mesh was used to construct Wonderland, a sculpture of a little girl’s head by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.
The structure, which has two apertures for tourists to go through, is situated at the base of The Bow, the tallest skyscraper in the city.
The Calgary Zoo contains more than a hundred varieties of living plants, life-sized dinosaurs, and reconstructions of an inland sea and a volcanic mountain. It is one of the most fascinating things to do in Calgary.
Dinosaur Provincial Park will take you to another universe because it is home to one of the richest fossil deposits in the entire globe.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers views of the longest continuous stretch of Badlands, making it the perfect day excursion for photographers.
There are a lot of fun things to do in Calgary right from seeing the most complete dinosaur skeletons to spending the night in a canvas-walled tent for a truly unique comfort camping experience.