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There are many things to know about Canada. This tour offers the rugged wilderness of British Columbia, the endless fields of sun-scorched wheat in Saskatchewan, the rich traditions of the Arctic North, the quirky communities of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and of course a truly diverse selection of multicultural downtowns.
The city of Calgary, located in the province of Alberta, is one of Canada's more understated cities, often overshadowed by its more dazzling sibling, Vancouver on the west coast, or by its older brother, Toronto, on the east coast. It is however one of those quintessential Canadian cities in which visitors will find an experience unlike anything else in the country.
Calgary is the fifth largest city in the world, nestled on the edge of the Bow River, about 50 miles east of the Canadian Rockies. What is even more interesting is that Calgary has one of the youngest populations in Canada, with 1.2 million people. In this city, the average age is 35.7, which means you are guaranteed to have a great night out. Despite its reputation as a party town, Calgary offers plenty of activities for families. Calgary is as multicultural as any major city in Canada, with more than 120 languages spoken here! With wide-open spaces and a laid-back atmosphere, the city has earned the name "cowtown." Also, there are plenty of entertainment options here with the booming technology industry and a young, multi-cultural demographic.
Here are the top 20 things to do in Calgary:
1. A view from the Calgary Tower
It is possible to get a bird's eye view of most major Canadian cities, and Calgary is no exception. The best way to find your way around any city is to rise above it all. With a height of 1228 meters above sea level, the Calgary Tower offers an unparalleled view of the city. After a 62-second trip from the bottom, you'll reach the first observation deck, where you can enjoy uninterrupted views with 249 of your closest friends. Once you have lost your breath, you can head down to the second observation deck and enjoy a cocktail and some appetizers.
2. Spot the wilderness at Calgary Zoo
There are a number of internationally renowned zoos in Canada, but the Calgary Zoo not only ranks among them but is also a leader in breeding programs, animal diversity, research and educational initiatives. You'll enjoy the Calgary Zoo's safari through the heart of Africa, where you'll see hippos, mountain gorillas, giraffes, and whatever else the Serengeti has to offer. You'll get a chance to see mischievous mountain goats and playful grizzly bears in the Canadian wilderness. It has over 1000 animals, a butterfly conservatory, botanical gardens, and a Center for Conservation and Research. If you have kids, this is one of Calgary's most entertaining activities.
3. Visit Buffalo Jump's crushed head
If you are a history or archeology fan, consider some of the fantastic day trips within a short drive from Calgary! The archeological site of Head Smashed at Buffalo Jump stands out for its remarkable preservation of Plains peoples' cultures. First settling the lands of Calgary and the surrounding areas were the Plains People, a group of skilled hunters who skillfully hunted these huge creatures over cliffs, then set up settlements that were extremely complex. It is an important part of Canada's archeological past and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. A historic village in Heritage Park
It is one of Western Canada's most beloved attractions and Canada's largest living museum. With over 200 exhibits spread over 12 acres of pristine grounds, Heritage Park Historic Village is a feast for the eyes and ears. The purpose of living museums is to bring history from behind the glass into the open, so visitors can experience it firsthand. One of the exhibits includes a First Nations encampment from the 1880s. Another exhibit explores the settlement of the region before the railroad was built.
5. The Calgary Stampede
Rodeos are most commonly associated with the south. Perhaps the hills of Montana or Wyoming, or even the 10-gallon hat capital of the world, Texas. Calgary hosts the "best outdoor show on Earth." It combines a century-old tradition with 21st-century technology, making it one of the most entertaining performances in Wild West history. In addition to the rodeo, there are also cart races, cattle auctions, midway rides and games, a huge variety of tasty food inspired by the south and its less southern neighbors, and lots of cowboys! There is no better time to visit Calgary than in July when the Calgary Stampede is taking place.
6. The Entertainment District and 17th Ave Shop
Generally, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are more renowned for the quality of their purchases. With Calgary's young population, you can find anything you'd find in a big city in 17th Avenue, plus some quirky shops that are not found in other cities. You'll find everything from classics like Gravity Pope, West Elm, and Frank & Oak, to hip nightclubs, chic knitwear boutiques, and sparkling jewelry boutiques. For retail therapy and cocktails at the city's hottest wine bar, there are more than 400 shops, restaurants, and services available.
7. Go on a public art safari
Calgary, despite its reputation as a cowboy town, was named Canada's Cultural Capital in 2012. A dramatic increase in outdoor art installations resulted from receiving this designation. In Calgary, artists from around the country (and the world) are experimenting with their own artistic mediums. Go for a stroll on Stephen Avenue Walk with your camera, reset your imagination, and grab your imagination. The sculptures are white in color, standing between 21 and 26 meters high and are illuminated at night. There are fantastic temporary facilities in the East Village area in which Calgary artists Daniel J. Kirk, Ivan Ostapenko and Kai Cabunoc-Boettcher have done fantastic temporary installations.
8. Attend a Flames game
The hockey nation of Canada includes 7 NHL teams and millions of fans across the country. Two Stanley Cup champions are based in Alberta, the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers, home to Wayne Gretzky. As you watch the team play, treat yourself to one of the most exciting and thrilling hockey games as you visit Calgary between October and April.
9. Visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum
For paleontology enthusiasts, Alberta is heaven on earth. Travel back in time 65 million years ago and see the richest dinosaur deposits on the planet just over an hour and a half drive from Calgary. Make your way to the Royal Tyrrell Museum by plugging Drumheller into your GPS. There are 30 of the most complete dinosaur skeletons in the world at this attraction, as well as interactive exhibits and many experts to guide you on a true prehistoric journey. Another new exhibit at the museum is a 75 million-year-old seascape!
10. Day at Calaway Park
Calgary has a young population, so it attracts young families, which means that the city is full of family-friendly activities. Calaway is Western Canada's largest outdoor amusement park and considered one of the best things to do in Calgary. This park boasts 32 rides, 23 carnival games, a 3D theater, plenty of food vendors, and stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
11. Witness Canadian sports culture
Canada is hugely devoted to sports, just like its southern neighbors. From baseball to football, track and field to hockey. Located in WinSport's Canada Olympic Park, this 40,000 square foot museum will appeal to sports fans. See the torch that lit up the 1988 Winter Olympics and try your hand at boxing against legend Lennox Lewis.
12. Check out hidden music venues
You can't match your trip to Calgary and Western towns like Faith Hill, Garth Brooks and Keri Underwood. Visit some of Calgary's smaller, less-known music venues to experience the city's vibrant music scene. The Blues Club attracts local and national artists every Sunday night to play their best blues. Tubby Dog showcases Calgary's alternative rock scene. Wine-Ohs plays everything from acid jazz to pop to indie rock.
13. Having fun while eating and drinking
Did you know Calgary had six of Canada's Top 50 Restaurants a few years ago? It is hard to believe that this landlocked province can compete with its seemingly more populous big brothers in the West and East. Due to its multicultural demographics and strategic location (surrounded by farmland), Calgary is a hotspot for fusion restaurants, farm-to-table trends, evolving mixology, and a burgeoning food truck scene. There are an endless number of restaurants and dining options here, and every month a new restaurant makes national headlines.
14. Expo Latino
Calgary's summer events calendar is jam-packed with fun, colorful festivals, parades, and picnics for xenophiles (fans of foreign cultures). The largest Latino festival in Canada, Expo Latino, takes place in Calgary every August. You can also take part in dance workshops, shop for fine crafts, eat great food and watch spectacular performances hosted by Hispanics both within and outside of Canada.
15. Explore Fort Calgary
This city offers plenty of opportunities for you to discover the past (including the prehistoric past! ), despite its cosmopolitan facade. The Fort Calgary Museum tells the story of the beginnings of Calgary from 1875 when the Elbow River converged. Discover the rich history of our mounted police, take a virtual tour of Calgary from a streetcar, and see what it was like when the first train arrived. It has taken Calgary a long time to get where it is today from its humble beginnings.
16. Get your groove on at Cowboys Dance Hall
For this wild night, you'll have to leave the youngsters at home because this is not only the official headquarters of the World Stampede but was voted one of the "3 best mega bars in the world". It's the best place to be during the Stampede for the biggest party, and if you're visiting in the offseason, it's always one of the hottest bars in town with live music and beautiful women. Money shines for well-to-do oil barons. Put on your Stetson, grease up your boots, and head out to the Cowboys for a memorable evening.
17 - Go horseback riding
As the saying goes, when in Rome! Calgarians are cowboys and cowgirls at heart, as Alberta is cattle and ranch country. Spend the day exploring the great outdoors on a horseback riding tour, and you'll feel like a real horseman. You'll find plenty of businesses within a short drive of town, and the Rocky Mountains to the east and west, along with rolling terrain in front of you, make it a great place to live.
18. Bow River Fishing Expedition
When you want to catch trout, you need to go to the Bow River. The trout fisheries in Alberta are among the best in the world, and they draw anglers from around the world. Bow River is one of the three largest trout streams in the world, with the most regular trout run. The official fishing season is from November to the end of March, but the prime time is from May to the end of September. The waters here are not only pristine and crystal clear, but the scenery is also serene and awe-inspiring. It's easy to catch a fish just around the corner from downtown, and you'll always come home with a good catch.
19. Picnic at Prince Island Park
Urban spaces are especially beloved by Canadians when they are green. Any Canadian city would not be complete without a significant urban park, and Calgary is no exception. You need time to relax from manic sightseeing, to grab a picnic lunch, and explore a city like a local. Aside from the great views of the city that Prince Island Park offers, it's also the site of many festivals and an outdoor skating rink during the winter months.
20. Beers on tap at Big Rock Brewery
The craft brewing industry is the fastest-growing sector of the beverage alcohol industry, and Calgary has recognized this trend from the beginning. Several barley growers were interested in using their crop for purposes other than feeding livestock in 1985 when visionary farmer Ed McNally represented them. Big Rock, Alberta's first craft brewery, has grown into a $54 million business under Ed's leadership. Trip Advisor has named the Big Rock Brewery Tour one of Calgary's top attractions.
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