Home of the Calgary Stampede and only a short drive away from the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is a fun and vibrant city that is a great addition to anyone’s Canadian vacation. The largest city in the province of Alberta, Calgary hosts conferences, high-level sporting events, and cultural experiences throughout the year. Calgary also gets the most sun out of any other city in Canada, making it an enjoyable place to visit year-round.

Below you will find a list of just a few of the great things Calgary offers, whether you want to learn about the area, try something new, experience a little team spirit, or just relax in nature.

Calgary is the traditional territory of the Treaty 7 Nations in Southern Alberta, which include the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Piikani and Kainai Nations), the Iyarhe Nakoda or Stoney Nakoda Nations (Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Goodstoney First Nations), and the Tsuut’ina Nation, as well as the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.

Canada's Cowtown

Modern metropolitan meets the wild West

Learn and Discover 

The Calgary Tower, 191 metres above the downtown core, was once the tallest structure in Calgary and second tallest in Canada. Originally named the Husky Tower, it was constructed as a joint venture between Marathon Realty and Husky Oil to honour Canada’s centennial in 1967 and to promote the downtown core as part of an urban renewal program. It was officially renamed in 1971, and over the years there have been additions made.

In 1987 a natural gas-fired cauldron was installed on the top by Western Canadian Natural Gas to serve as an Olympic Flame for the 1988 Winter Olympics. In 2005 the glass floor was installed in the Observation Deck and LED lights were added to the exterior in 2014.

Today you can experience 360 degree views, taking in both the city and the Rocky Mountains, learn about the city, or dine at the Sky 360 Restaurant.

The National Music Centre strives to give Canada a place that amplifies the love, sharing, and understanding of music while being a national catalyst for discovery, innovation, and renewal through music. Their roots can be traced back to the installation of a pipe organ, the Carthy Organ, in Calgary’s Jack Singer Concert Hall in 1987.

The Studio Bell, which houses the National Music Centre, was constructed in 2013. Here you can find exhibitions, performances, and educational programs. They are curated to preserve Canadian culture and identity, foster emerging and established musical talents, and foster curiosity, discovery, and learning through music.

First opened on July 1, 1964, Heritage Park has given guests the opportunity to interact with nearly 100 years of history. The 127-acre park houses over 180 exhibits, with fifty percent of them being relocated and restored originals. They also house over 50,000 artifacts representing most aspects of a settler’s life in western Canada, most of which were donated by the public.

Although the park is set between 1860 and 1920, they are continuously making improvements to the Village with the aim of making all the exhibits more accessible to all guests.  The village is open daily from the end of May to the beginning of September, and on weekends until mid-October. They also host special events in the winter.

The Gasoline Alley Museum, which is located just outside of the historical village, is home to one of the world’s largest public collections of antique vehicles and is open year-round.

The largest tri-service museum in Western Canada, and the second-largest military museum in the country, The Military Museums is a Canadian Armed Forces tri-service history, heritage, art, research, and educational institution. It is dedicated to preserving the memories and traditions of the countless Canadians who proudly served their country through numerous wars and conflicts, and offers a variety of educational programs, activities, and tours.

Originally the Museum of the Regiments, in 1990 it was officially opened to the public and in 2006 it became The Military Museums. Construction began on the new and expanded centre it is today and was opened in 2009.

The museum is open daily from 9:00 to 17:00, apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day (December 26th) and New Year’s Day.

Pictures provided by The Military Museums

The Glenbow Museum is an art and history museum which focuses on Western Canadian history and culture, including Indigenous perspectives. Their collection of art and historical objects represents the people and ideas that have shaped this region, and is complemented and contextualized by revolving exhibitions that explore history, contemporary art, fashion, design, and innovation from around the world.

Their main location is currently closed for renovations to become the JR Shaw Centre for Arts & Culture, but they are hosting exhibits at their satellite gallery Glenbow at The Edison.

After the Confederation of Canada in 1867, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald sent the North-West Mounted Police to this area for colonial settlement. Fort Calgary was built in 1875 and the museum now represents the complex and conflicting histories. It can be celebrated as the birthplace of Calgary and also showcases the more sombre, difficult stories behind the creation of settler-colonial cities in which we live today.

The museum houses exhibits that explore Treaty 7, the Metis influence in Alberta, and the founding and early stages of the city of Calgary.

Home of the Treaty 7 Nations and Metis Nation, Region 3, the Calgary area offers a variety of diverse experiences for you to expand your cultural understanding.

Visit the Tsuut’ina Nation, take part in a guided tour, or share in the celebration, dance, music, and pride at a Powwow, which are held during the summer. Three of the most well-known are the Siksika Nation Powwow, the Calgary Stampede Powwow, and the Tsuut’ina Nation Powwow.

There are also Indigenous UNESCO World Heritage Sites a few hours from the city that are significant archaeological locations and well worth the trip.

Run by Calgarians who love sharing hidden and not-so-hidden treasures from around the city, the CalgaryWalks and Bus Tours has several different tours to choose from.

The Downtown Walking Tour and the Calgary Stampede Art & The Wild West Walk Tour each take about 2 hours. The History Bus Tour including Heritage Park lasts about 7 hours, and the XploringCalgary Bus Tour is approximately 3 hours. They also offer two group tours, the Heritage Culinary Indulgence Bus Tour, which is about 3.5 hours, and the Cowboys & Outlaws: A Campfire Caper, which is about 2.5 hours. The Cowboys & Outlaws tour is only available for groups of 35 or more and needs to be pre-booked thirty days in advance.

It is a good idea to book ahead to guarantee space in the summer and tour guides will need to have 24-hour notice for planning purposes for the remainder of the year. During all seasons they require 48 hours for the Heritage Culinary Indulgence Tour.

Monki Breakfastclub & Bistro

Calgary Food Tours is a division of Alberta Food Tours and offers two Calgary-specific tours. Travel to local restaurants that offer multiple tastings and something that will satisfy everyone’s palette.

If you have a group of 8-45 you can also book a private tour.

Have Some Fun

Sporting Events

Calgary is home to a few national sports teams, so you should be able to find something to cheer on throughout the year.

The Scotiabank Saddledome is home to two of Canada’s national sports, hockey and lacrosse.

From October to April, you will be able to find games for the Calgary Flames, the city’s NHL team, and the Calgary Hitmen, which is the Western Hockey League team.

From November to May, you will also find games for the Calgary Roughnecks, the city’s National Lacrosse League team.

If you find yourself in Calgary during the summer months and don’t want to limit yourself to the rodeo, the Cavalry FC, Calgary’s soccer team in the Canadian Premier League, plays at the ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows from mid-April to the beginning of October.

From the end of May into October, if you head to the McMahon Stadium you will also be able to take in a Calgary Stampeders football game, which is part of the Canadian Football League.

Although this event is only hosted for ten days at the beginning of July, it would be remiss to not mention the Calgary Stampede. This annual rodeo, exhibition, and festival is the largest event of the year in Calgary and is one of the world’s largest rodeos. The city takes on a party atmosphere during Stampede, with events such as pancake breakfasts and barbecues held across the city and should be experienced at least once.

Local Breweries

There are a few local breweries that offer tours and tastings, including the Wild Rose Brewery, the Village Brewery, and the Minhas Micro Brewery. The Big Rock Brewery isn’t currently offering tours on its website, but they do have a storefront and restaurant onsite.

If you want to discover new craft beers or spirits without limiting yourself to just one specific company you can also do a Calgary brewery tour, which will highlight a few different breweries in the city. Two companies that offer tours are Calgary Craft Connection and Craft Beer Tours, a division of Canadian Craft Tours.

Explore Nature

Developed in the 1950s, Prince’s Island Park is 20 hectares and is open to the public from 5:00 to 23:00.  The park is named after Peter Anthony Prince, a lumberman who came from Quebec in 1886 and founded the Eau Claire Lumber Mill, which was operational until 1944. The land was purchased by the city in 1947 for the development of park land.

The park is near the downtown core and is used to host festivals and events throughout the year.

With more than 80 km of pathways throughout the 1348 hectares, Fish Creek Provincial Park is the perfect place for biking, walking, and birdwatching. Located in South Calgary, there is the Sikome Aquatic Facility for swimming during the summer, and boat access to the Bow River at the east end of the park, located off Bow Bottom Trail South. The boat access is open from April to October. Fishing is permitted, but you will want to check the Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations for times, species, bait restrictions, and catch limits.

Built before the First World War by John Hextall, Bowness Park is in North Calgary and once had a swimming pool, carousel, and orthophonic device (a phonograph) on the lagoon.

The park now has a wading pool, a shallow lagoon for paddle boating in the summer and ice skating in the winter, boat rentals, bookable firepits and BBQ stands, and a vintage children’s train ride, the Mini-Train. There are also multiple pathways throughout the 30-hectare park, and it is open daily from 5:00 to 23:00.

If you would like any other suggestions on what to do on a free day in Calgary during your trip you can contact us at [email protected]

Embark on a captivating journey with Alberta Blue Sky Tours. From Calgary’s lively cityscape to the awe-inspiring beauty of Banff or Drumheller, there’s an adventure awaiting at every turn. With our comfortable rides, knowledgeable guides, and customizable options, your day trip from Calgary promises to be unforgettable. Discover the marvels of the Canadian Rockies and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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Fun things to do in Calgary

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