Embark on a journey of discovery with our expansive guide to the unmissable ‘things to do in Calgary,’ a gateway to the awe-inspiring landscapes of Alberta. Calgary, a city renowned for its dynamic blend of urban sophistication and raw natural beauty, serves as the perfect starting point for adventures in all seasons. In the heart of summer, explore the bustling streets, where cultural festivals and vibrant markets capture the spirit of the city. Just a short drive away, the enchanting towns of Banff and Canmore await, offering serene lakefront walks and hikes through breathtaking mountain trails.
As the seasons change, Calgary transforms into a winter wonderland. Experience the thrill of world-class skiing and snowboarding in the nearby Canadian Rockies, where pristine slopes cater to enthusiasts of all skill levels. Delight in the magic of a snowy landscape with activities like ice skating in Olympic Plaza or a cozy sleigh ride through the picturesque countryside.
Discover the warmth of Calgary’s hospitality year-round, from its lively summer street performances to the enchanting glow of winter festivals. And no visit is complete without marveling at the panoramic city views from the Calgary Tower or immersing yourself in the rich history at Heritage Park. Each corner of Calgary and its surrounding areas, like the charming Banff and Canmore, offers a unique story, creating an endless array of experiences for every traveler. Dive into our detailed exploration of Calgary and start planning an unforgettable trip filled with both summer sun and winter wonder!
Calgary’s summer offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from scenic biking along the extensive Bow River pathways to exhilarating hikes in the nearby Rocky Mountains. The city blooms with vibrant festivals, outdoor concerts, and lively markets, perfect for soaking up the warm, sunny weather in a spirited community atmosphere.
Just a short drive from Calgary, the Rocky Mountains offer a wide range of hiking trails, from leisurely walks to challenging climbs, providing breathtaking views and wildlife encounters.
Explore the scenic beauty of Calgary by biking along the picturesque Bow River, enjoying the lush landscapes and city views.
A popular summer activity, floating down the Bow River offers a relaxing way to enjoy the sun and the city from a unique perspective.
Fish Creek Provincial Park, one of the largest urban parks in Canada, offers a diverse range of activities such as bird watching, walking trails through forested areas, and picnicking spots by the creek, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and families.
In winter, Calgary transforms into a wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities like skating in Olympic Plaza, cross-country skiing in Fish Creek Provincial Park, and nearby mountain adventures like snowshoeing and skiing in the Rockies. The city’s winter festivals and the magical, twinkling light displays in various parks add a festive touch to the chilly season.
Experience the charm of winter in the heart of downtown Calgary with ice skating in the festive and lively Olympic Plaza.
Explore the snowy landscapes of Fish Creek Park, which offers extensive trails for cross-country skiing amid tranquil, natural surroundings.
Just a short drive from Calgary, the Rockies provide a perfect backdrop for snowshoeing adventures, offering breathtaking views and pristine snow-covered trails.
Calgary lights up in winter with numerous festivals and dazzling light displays, creating a magical atmosphere perfect for evening strolls and family outings.
The majestic Rocky Mountains, just a stone’s throw from Calgary, offer a playground for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Picture yourself hiking through alpine meadows, spotting wildlife in their natural habitat, and breathing in the crisp mountain air. The Rockies aren’t just a natural wonder; they’re a quintessential part of the Calgary experience, offering hiking, biking, and camping opportunities that range from beginner-friendly to challenging. Every trail promises breathtaking views and a chance to reconnect with nature.
Embarking on an adventure to explore the Rocky Mountains near Calgary promises to be a journey filled with awe-inspiring landscapes and unforgettable experiences. Just a short 1.5-hour drive from the bustling city, you’ll find yourself at the entrance to Banff National Park, a true gem of the Rockies. Here, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake await with their stunning turquoise waters set against a backdrop of majestic peaks, offering some of the most picturesque scenery in the world.
As you delve deeper into the Rockies, consider the Johnston Canyon trail for an easy yet rewarding hike. Winding through deep canyons and leading to spectacular waterfalls, it’s a trail that caters to all, regardless of hiking experience. For those seeking a challenge, the trails of Sulphur Mountain reward hikers with breathtaking panoramic views. To enrich your exploration, join a guided tour with operators like Discover Banff Tours, which can offer insights into the wildlife and natural history of this magnificent area.
Don’t miss the chance to explore Canmore and Kananaskis Country, just outside Banff National Park. Canmore, with its charming downtown and beautiful trails like Grassi Lakes, offers a tranquil alternative to the more frequented paths. Kananaskis Country presents a rugged, less-traveled experience, with trails such as Ptarmigan Cirque showcasing alpine meadows and dramatic mountain vistas.
After a day of adventure, retreat to the cozy towns of Banff or Canmore for a restful evening. Both towns offer a range of accommodations, from quaint lodges to luxurious hotels. Cap off your day with a delightful meal at local favorites like The Maple Leaf in Banff or The Grizzly Paw Pub & Brewing Company in Canmore, where you can relish the local cuisine and reflect on the day’s adventures.
Imagine cycling along the serene Bow River, where the hustle of the city gives way to the gentle rustling of leaves and the rhythmic flow of the river. The Bow River Pathway system, sprawling alongside the river, is perfect for a leisurely bike ride or an invigorating workout. It’s a place where families, friends, and solo adventurers can all find their pace, with the Calgary skyline occasionally peeking through the lush greenery, reminding you of the unique blend of urban and natural beauty the city offers.
Biking along the Bow River Pathways in Calgary is an experience that combines urban exploration with the tranquility of nature. This extensive network, stretching over 60 kilometers, offers cyclists a unique way to discover the city and its stunning natural scenery.
One of the best places to start your cycling adventure is at Prince’s Island Park, a central location with easy access to the pathways. From here, you can head east towards Pearce Estate Park, a scenic route that takes you through lush green spaces and riverine landscapes. Alternatively, riding west leads you towards Edworthy Park, another popular staging area that offers picturesque views and a quieter atmosphere.
As you pedal along the path, you’ll pass by several key landmarks and attractions. Fort Calgary, located near the eastern edge of downtown, provides a historical perspective of the city. Further along, the route near Eau Claire offers delightful urban scenes, perfect for a leisurely ride and people-watching.
For those seeking a longer ride, the pathway system extends to Calgary’s outskirts, leading to serene spots like Fish Creek Provincial Park in the south. This route offers a more natural setting, with the chance to spot local wildlife and enjoy the peacefulness of the river away from the city bustle.
Access to the Bow River Pathways is easy, with multiple entry points across the city. Cyclists can join the pathway from various neighborhoods, making it a convenient and accessible activity for both locals and visitors. Along the way, there are numerous rest stops, picnic areas, and lookout points, ideal for taking a break and soaking in the views.
Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a casual rider, biking along the Bow River Pathways is a must-do activity in Calgary. It’s not just a bike ride; it’s an exploration of the heart and soul of the city, where every turn offers something new to discover.
Fish Creek Provincial Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America, is a gem in Calgary’s crown. It’s a place where you can spend a whole day and still find new things to explore. With its sprawling network of trails, vibrant birdlife, and picturesque picnic spots, the park is a haven for those looking to escape the city’s buzz. Whether it’s a family outing, a solo nature walk, or a day spent birdwatching, Fish Creek offers a peaceful retreat into nature’s embrace.
Fish Creek Provincial Park, nestled in the southern part of Calgary, is a splendid escape into nature’s embrace, offering a multitude of activities for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. As one of the largest urban parks in Canada, it spans a vast area with multiple access points, making it easily accessible from various parts of the city.
The main access points include the Bow Valley Ranch Visitor Centre, located off Bow Bottom Trail SE, which serves as a great starting point for your exploration. Here, you can find ample parking and maps to plan your journey through the park. Another popular entry is the Shannon Terrace area, accessible from 130th Avenue SW, known for its picturesque scenery and convenient parking facilities.
For those interested in birdwatching or peaceful walks, the Sikome Aquatic Facility area, accessible from Sun Valley Boulevard SE, offers a serene environment and is a gateway to some of the quieter parts of the park. The Glennfield area, accessed from Macleod Trail, is another well-frequented spot, boasting family-friendly picnic areas and scenic river views.
Within Fish Creek Park, you can embark on various trails, such as the expansive Fish Creek Trail, ideal for biking, jogging, or a leisurely stroll. The park’s diverse ecosystem includes lush forests, open grasslands, and the creek itself, providing habitat for an array of wildlife.
Historical sites like the Bow Valley Ranche and the Artisan Gardens add a cultural touch to the park, offering a glimpse into Calgary’s rich heritage. These sites, along with the park’s visitor centre, provide educational opportunities and insights into the area’s history and ecology.
Fish Creek Provincial Park is not just a haven for outdoor activities; it’s a place where Calgarians can reconnect with nature, relax, and enjoy the beauty of the natural world right in their city. Whether you’re seeking a day of adventure or a quiet afternoon, Fish Creek Provincial Park is a destination that truly has something for everyone.
Winter in Calgary is a magical time, especially for those who love to embrace the cold and snow. The city comes alive with opportunities for ice skating in charming rinks like Olympic Plaza, where locals and visitors glide under the open sky. For a more rugged adventure, snowshoeing in nearby mountainous areas offers a tranquil escape into a winter wonderland. There’s something incredibly peaceful about the sound of snow crunching underfoot, with each step revealing stunning snowy vistas.
In Calgary, the winter season transforms the city into a playground for ice skating and snowshoeing enthusiasts. The city and its surroundings offer numerous spots where you can indulge in these quintessential winter activities.
For ice skating, the iconic Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary is a must-visit. Here, you can glide under the twinkling lights of the city, enjoying a lively and festive atmosphere. Another popular choice is Bowness Park, where the lagoon turns into a beautiful natural ice rink, perfect for families and romantic evenings.
When it comes to snowshoeing, Calgary’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains offers unparalleled opportunities. A short drive out of the city will lead you to places like West Bragg Creek, with trails like Snowy Owl Trail that are well-suited for snowshoeing. This area provides a serene escape with trails winding through picturesque forests and meadows. Closer to the city, Fish Creek Provincial Park also offers snowshoeing opportunities. The park’s extensive trail network, including the Bow Valley Ranche Trail, becomes a winter wonderland, ideal for exploring on snowshoes.
Both activities are not only great for physical exercise but also for enjoying the serene beauty of Calgary’s winter landscape. With easy access to both urban and natural areas, Calgary provides a unique blend of experiences for everyone to enjoy winter activities to the fullest. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, strapping on skates or snowshoes in Calgary is a delightful way to experience the city’s winter charm.