Calgary is one of the most popular cities in Canada and has a lot to offer. It has unique historic attractions, romantic restaurants, great parks and museums.
Whether you are visiting in winter or summer, there is always something to do! We’ve compiled a list of the top 27 awesome things to see and to do in Calgary.
The Calgary Zoo
The Calgary Zoo is one of Canada's most popular attractions. It is operated by the Calgary Zoological Society, an independent not-for-profit organization that is Alberta's oldest registered charity.
It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), WAZA, and CAZA, and is home to over 1,000 animals, excluding individual fish and insects, with 272 species in total. The 120-acre zoo is organized into seven distinct zones: Destination Africa, Canadian Wilds, Penguin Plunge, Dorothy Harvie Botanical Gardens and ENMAX Conservatory, TransAlta Rainforest, Eurasia, and Prehistoric Park.
There are also a number of activities and events for visitors to enjoy. Some of these include pub trivia, adults-only nights, catered dinners and photography sessions. For the holidays, a month-long animal-themed light show called Zoolights takes place.
The Calgary Stampede
Every summer, the wild west comes to town for a 10-day celebration of western heritage, culture and community spirit. It's called the Calgary Stampede and it's a must-do event for anyone visiting the city.
This is a huge event, with rodeos, free concerts, a midway and a whole lot of other things to do. It's a great family-friendly way to spend a summer!
For young children, make sure you keep them close as it can get crowded. There are also lots of activities to do, so if they're a little older consider splitting up to ensure everyone gets to see all the fun.
One of the biggest events at the Stampede is the rodeo, which attracts some of the world's best competitors in barrel racing, chuckwagon races and bull riding. The action starts at 1:30 p.m. Each day and moves towards Showdown Sunday, when some of the largest prize purses are up for grabs.
Heritage Park Historical Village
Located just 20 minutes south of the city center, Heritage Park Historical Village offers a chance to see how Alberta once looked. This 127-acre park on the bank of the Glenmore Reservoir is one of Canada's largest historical re-creations, featuring authentic buildings and genuine artifacts.
The park operates over 180 historical exhibits and buildings on its park-like grounds highlighting Western Canadian history from the 1860s to 1950s. It has four distinct areas: the fur trading fort and aboriginal settlement encampment of the 1860s; a pre-railway settlement village, c. 1880; Railway Prairie Town, c. 1910; and the newly opened (2009) Heritage Town Square depicting the 1920s to 1950s.
There are plenty of attractions here, including a steam train, an antique midway, and a paddle wheeler boat that churns around the Glenmore Reservoir. There's also Gasoline Alley Museum, where guests can browse vintage automobiles and memorabilia.
The Peace Bridge
Among the most famous sights in Calgary, the Peace Bridge spans the beautiful Bow River and connects the downtown core with the peaceful Sunnyside neighborhood. Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, this iconic Spanish-designed walkway is a must see while in the city and offers views of the river from several viewpoints.
- The 126-meter-long footbridge is a single-span structure without piers, making it a good choice for pedestrians and cyclists. It also minimizes the environmental impact on the Bow River.
- After two years of construction, the bridge was finally opened in March 2012. Even though it attracted a lot of negative publicity and criticism from local councillors, this iconic structure has become a symbol of Calgary.
- The bridge was constructed using helical steel arches and is painted red and white to pay tribute to Canada’s flag. It’s a unique design that stands out against the river and buildings behind it. It is used by over 6000 people daily and has garnered a number of accolades in the world of architecture.