Once a farming and ranching town, Calgary has experienced expansive growth thanks to the escalating price of its richest resource: oil. Now Calgary is Canada’s third largest municipality, offering a modern urban culture that embraces its pioneer past. It’s easy to discover Calgary’s attractions: The well-planned city is laid out in a grid and has an excellent public transportation system. Get a bird’s-eye view of the city from the observation deck of the Calgary Tower.
The Calgary Stampede is the city’s most well-known event, attracting over a million visitors with its 10-day line-up of rodeos, music and agricultural displays. Cheer with the crowd for the displays of horsemanship in the chuck wagon derby and hold your breath at the competitive bareback bull riding.
When the stampede’s not in town, you can still see animal life at the Calgary Zoo where you’ll be immersed in habitats from Canada and beyond, as well as from the past! The zoo features a Prehistoric Park, where life-size replicas of dinosaurs roam through ancient landscapes. In the Drumheller Valley, around 85 miles (135 kilometers) from Calgary, you’ll find the fossils these replicas are based on at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
If you’re visiting in winter, there’s plenty of skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding and ice skating on offer at Canada Olympic Park. If you’re an indoor type, check out the art galleries south of downtown on Stephen Avenue and the Glenbow Museum downtown.
In the evening, head to downtown Jubilee Auditorium for a Broadway musical, an opera or a ballet. Or, try one of the multicultural restaurants across the Bow River at 17th Avenue Southeast, also known as International Avenue. Here you’ll find diverse flavors from Ethiopia, Portugal, Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Hong Kong and more. Foodies will love the gourmet tours of this area!
Calgary is also the gateway to ski villages such as Banff, Canmore and Kananaskis. It’s also close to the Alberta Badlands, a photogenic wonderland of strange rock formations, paleontological finds and ghost towns.