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Fun Things to do in Calgary


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city guide

The City of Calgary is situated in the Western Canadian Province of Alberta, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with its centre located at the junction of the Bow and Elbow Rivers.

Originally named Fort Brisebois after a NWMP Officer Ephrem Brisebois, Calgary got its name a year later in 1876 from Colonel James Macleod who named the outpost after the Calgary area on the Island of Mull in Scotland. Learn more at the History of Calgary.


Best time to go

The best times to visit Calgary are June through August, when most of the city's special events take place; and November through March when skiing conditions are in their prime. The winter months mark the city's low season with freezing temperatures that deter sightseers and force room rates down.


Fun city facts and activities

    Calgary is a friendly and fun-loving city with a booming restaurant scene, great hotels, underground nightclubs, quirky antique shops, retro-themed bars and awesome museums. Bonus points: the locals are some of the friendliest in Canada. The very best way to see the city is to tour the historic venues and independent hotspots that make Calgary what it is. To that intent, we hereby highlight some amazing things to do in Calgary. Just a warning: you might never want to leave.
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    Point McKay
    West Springs
    Cougar Ridge

Food Specialties

    If there ever was a Texas of Canada, Calgary might be it. This west coast town set at the foot of the Rocky Mountains is known for its cowboy hats, BBQ ribs, welcoming hotels, country music and a whole lot of fun things to do. Calgary is also the largest beef producer in Canada, making meat-heavy cuisine a local expertise. But fret not: the sophisticated dining scenethe fastest growing within the multicultural countrygoes beyond meat and potatoes and also boasts farmers market vegetables and organic entr̩es. From Thai to Italian, Afghani to Chinese, the best restaurants in Calgary reflect the citys growing diversity and we are here to slurp it all up.

Calgary Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Take a guided tour of the historic Calgary Stampede grounds.
2. Go on a night hike through the Nose Hill Park.
3. Visit the Calgary Zoo and take a behind-the-scenes tour.
4. Try your hand at curling at the Olympic Oval.
5. Take a walk through the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre.
6. Visit the Indoor Skydiving Centre.
7. Take a ride on the worlds longest and fastest zip line.
8. Go on a ghost tour of Calgary.
9. Take a tour of the Calgary Tower.
10. Visit the Fort Calgary Historic Park.

Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. Calgary Zoo
I love watching my boy being mesmerized by seeing live animals. Its one thing to see them in books and making animal sounds and a different experience visiting the zoo.

2. Creative Kids Museum
Our newest find is the Creative Kids Museum at Telus Spark Science Centre in Calgary. They have the coolest indoor playground Ive seen with a giant water play area, climbing structure, and many other activities. Its one of the best things to do with kids in Calgary during winter.

3. Calgary Library
Babies and toddlers can enjoy the Early Learning Centre at 12 of Calgarys libraries. Our little Martin enjoys the reading nooks, drawing tables, and the climbing structure.

4. Granary Road
Granary Road features a farmers market and an active learning park for kids. Their special events include Goat yoga in summer, Pumpkin Fest in October, and Christmas Market in December.

5. Hangar Flight Museum
Four different airplanes were available during the weekend of summer 2021 to sit inside (closed-toe shoes are required). Since the planes are historical artifacts, youre usually unable to sit inside them. Therefore the best time to visit is during one of their special events. Otherwise, you can see the planes from the ladders.

6. Pools & water slides
While Calgary has a short summer season and, therefore, a few outdoor pools, it has a ton of indoor pools! The City of Calgary operates 13 swimming pools, and the most exciting ones for kids are Southland Leisure Centre (2000 Southland Drive SW) and Village Square Leisure Centre (2623 56 St NE). They both have a wave pool, hot tub, water slides, water playground, and a kiddie pool.

7. Heritage Park
Heritage Park is an indoor and outdoor museum showcasing life in the settlements of Western Canada from the 1860s to 1930s.

8. Canada Olympic Park
WinSport/Canada Olympic Park is a year-round recreation and training park. You can try Skyline Luge, mountain biking, or mini golf beginning in spring. In winter, go tubing, skiing, or ice skating.

9. See bunnies at Lindsay Park
If you have lived in Calgary for a while, you must have noticed rabbits all over the city. While the big ones like to hang out at playgrounds, you can always find little bunnies in Lindsay Park just behind the Repsol Sport Centre.

10. StoryBook Theatre
StoryBook Theatre is the largest theatre in Canada run by volunteers. Their performances include SpongeBob musical, Disneys Descendants musical, and more. From the age of 6, kids can even sign up to learn acting through games and creative play.

11. Pony rides
Horsin Around offers pony rides, riding lessons, bouncy castles, and petting farms of goats, chickens, pigs, rabbits, and more. For an outdoor experience, they offer horse-drawn sleigh rides in winter. In winter, you can even visit when the pony rides take place in the heated indoor facility.

12. Indoor play places
Because of the long winters, there are plenty of indoor playgrounds in Calgary. And sometimes, letting the kids run around while having them contained and being outside the house is just necessary for the mental health of all caregivers. If youre reading this and take care of a kid of any age, Im sure you understand what I mean.

13. Gymnastics
For more than play, kids can attend gymnastics with a teacher and structured activities. They have trampolines, bars, ropes, and soft blocks to encourage movement and have fun.

14. Cobbs Adventure Park (spring, summer & autumn)
Cobbs Adventure Park features a petting zoo, fun games & playgrounds, several mazes, pedal carts, giant slides, kangaroo petting zoo, and tractor rides.

15. Goslings on Princes Island Park (spring)
A lot of exciting things happen in spring. The land comes alive again with green grass and blooming flowers, and animals have their offspring. One of the joys of spring in Calgary is watching Canada geese and their goslings.

16. Douglas Fir Trail (spring, summer & autumn)
The trail is 2.5 km long and features giant Douglas fir trees and lookout points. Some trees are more than 500 years old. The trail is short with steep sections, and you can see many chipmunks and squirrels.

17. Calgary bike paths (spring, summer & autumn)
Kids love biking from a very young age. Weve learnt that when we took our little boy for a bike ride at 9 months in the chariot behind the bike and also on the front-mounted child bike seat. The latter gave him a better view, and the interaction with the parent is priceless.

18. Float down the Bow River
Floating down the river is one of the most popular things to do with kids in Calgary. You can take any boat, kayak, canoe or raft you have, strap your life jackets, fill out the Water safety kit and head down.

19. Watch beavers & geese
While I like to watch little goslings in spring, you can spot Canada geese and beavers the whole summer. Geese like to hang out near the bridge by Bow River Pathway, and you can spot beavers if you go to the lagoon by the Chevron Learning Pathway.

20. Create Kids Fest
A family-friendly and multi-generational art festival is a yearly August event. It provides plenty of opportunities to have fun through theatre plays, games, dancing, music, and storytelling.

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City data and FAQ 

Is Calgary worth visiting?
It is a lovely city, with plenty to do, and a beautiful setting on the edge of the Rockies. I would say it is worth the visit, but, I would also plan ahead on what you want to do before you go. Its got a good zoo, and museums, and heritage park for a step back into western Canadian history, along with more modern venues for music and other entertainment. It really all depends on the visitor what they are looking for.
Timmy B. - Lives in Canada

I left Calgary in 1974, and have rarely gone back since, usually to visit family. Calgary has little to offer that my current city of Edmonton doesnt have. I drive through Calgary on my way to the mountains, and there is now an excellent ring road keeping me away from the central core. I am woefully out of date on Calgarys tourist attractions.

David Wasserman - Lives in Edmonton, AB

Calgary is a pleasant city, but it's not particularly unique in terms of similarly sized western cities. Usually people end up staying in Calgary if they have a really early/late flight, going to a specific event like the Stampede or hockey game, or have an interest in the local history.

How many days do you need in Calgary?

However long you stay, be sure to leave an overnight trip to Banff or Lake Louise you can do it on a day trip but if you can work it out, its a wonderful option_ a few more days you can do a loop from Calgary, to Banff to Jasper to Edmonton and back to Calgary via Hwy 2.
If you come during Stampede you may want 10 days in the city to enjoy it, in July. Other times of the year maybe 5 days to a week with the optional extra time for a road trip.
Tina Johnson - Studied Continuing Education & Web Design at University of Calgary

It depends on how much time you all have to what you want to do and how much money you want to spend you can do lots of fun and interesting things and see the beauty of the city
Jesse Anderson - Lives in Alberta, Canada

Calgary itself, one day walkabout covers it, two days during The Stampede_ then move on to Banff, Jasper, and all the other natural wonders which are much more worthwhile_
George Griffin Powers - Lives in Montr̩al, QC, Canada

What is Calgary famous for?
Calgary is ethnically diverse, with a population that is made up of many immigrants from outside Canada, with large Filipino, Indian, and Chinese communities. Just over one-third of the population is a visible minority. During good economic times, Calgary attracts Canadians from other provinces.

What is the biggest mall in Calgary?
CF Chinook Centre is Calgary's largest shopping, dining, and entertainment destination with over 250 stores. Major department stores like Hudson's Bay, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, make it easy to spend the day at CF Chinook Centre.

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