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Alberta’s largest city and one of the most popular tourist destinations for visitors passing through western Canada, Calgary is a city boasting a unique blend of quaint charm, modern skyscrapers, vintage vibes, and excellent modern architecture. It is nestled between the prairies and the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, making it the perfect basecamp for your wild camping and trekking adventures in some of the most beautiful parts of Canada. The city itself is quite the destination, flaunting more days of sunshine than any other major Canadian city. Home to 1.4 million people and one of the most ethnically diverse places in Canada, Calgary is home to incredible art, music, and food from all over the world. For a seamless trip, book your Calgary car hire in advance with Enjoy Travel.
Guide of Calgary
Calgary is a city in the province of Alberta in western Canada. It is located at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, and on the western edge of the Great Plains, at the foothills of the majestic Canadian Rockies. Calgary is around 186 miles south of the provincial capital of Edmonton and about 150 miles north of the border with the United States.
Climate in Calgary
Calgary has a continental climate, characterized by freezing winters and pleasantly warm summers. So the best times to visit would be from June through August when the weather is ideal. It’s also when most of the city’s special events and festivals are organized. Alternatively, those who enjoy winter sports may opt to visit between the months of November and March when the ski season is in full swing and room rates are also cheaper because of the sub-zero temperatures.
In 1877, the British and Canadian governments signed a peace treaty with a number of First Nations peoples, and the region was rapidly established as a cattle ranching frontier. However, Calgary’s growth and development could also be credited to its selection as one of the stops along the Canadian Pacific Railway, Canada’s first nationwide railway, which connected Calgary with central and eastern Canada and to Vancouver. Later, the discovery of natural gas and crude oil also led to the establishment of refineries and petroleum companies, and related industries set up their head offices which cemented Calgary’s powerful economic position.
Today Calgary is a multicultural cosmopolitan city having one of the highest numbers of millionaires per capita among major Canadian cities. It is also one of the most livable cities in North America ranking among the top 5 contenders consistently for the last ten years.
Things To Do in Calgary
Visit Canada’s largest living museum
Nestled along the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir at the southwest city limits and spread across 127 acres of greenery, the Heritage Park Historical Village is Canada’s largest living museum and a popular place of visit for young and old alike. It’s especially a paradise for history buffs because it has numerous reconstructed historical buildings, as well as lively costumed interpreters re-enacting times gone by from four different eras (the 1860s to the 1950s). Explore more than 200 exhibits ranging from an 1860 fur trading fort, a ranch, a historical village, to a 1930s town square. The highlight of your visit can be a ride on a fully operational steam engine with vintage-style stations that offers transport around the park. You can also go on scenic cruises across the Glenmore Reservoir on a paddlewheel tour boat, offering great photo opportunities. The reservoir is also popular for water sports like sailing, canoeing, and rowing. Do remember to set aside some time for visiting the Gasoline Alley Museum which displays several artifacts from the city’s frontier days and is popular for hand-on interactive experiences with unique classic vehicles.
Explore Canada’s largest zoological park
One of the most entertaining family attractions here is Canada’s largest zoological park, the Calgary Zoo. It sprawls across 120 acres on St George’s Island in the Bow River and is home to around 1000 animals from some 272 species, including many rare and endangered ones. Must-visit sections include the Land of Lemurs, Destination Africa, and the Canadian Wilds. You can get close-up views of fascinating creatures like gorillas, hippos, tigers, giraffes, mountain goats, grizzly bears, and giant pandas in enclosures resembling their natural habitats. Later, enjoy a stroll through the beautiful Dorothy Harvie Gardens or watch the colorful butterflies in ENMAX Conservatory. You can also have fun exploring the six-acre prehistoric park featuring full-size replica dinosaurs. During the winter, visitors can also check out the sublime nighttime Zoolights Christmas festival held every year.
Experience ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’
Every year in July, Calgary draws attention from the entire of Canada as it organizes the Calgary Stampede, also known as ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’ This extravaganza traces its roots back to 1912 and features rodeos, exhibitions, and all kinds of cowboy entertainment. Millions descend on the permanent venue at Stampede Park donning typical cowboy attire of hats and boots, to take part in a celebration of the Old Wild West. There are exciting rodeo competitions, chuckwagon races, cattle auctions, agricultural shows, a huge parade, a funfair, and an assortment of delicious Southern cuisine. It could be quite worthwhile to plan your trip to Calgary during this event.
Awe at one of the city’s most famous landmarks
An iconic landmark in downtown Calgary, the magnificent Calgary Tower stands at an altitude of 191 meters. It was the tallest structure in the city till 1984. Constructed in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s centennial, the tower offers breathtaking views of Calgary, the Rocky Mountains, and the prairies. In 1988, this tower hosted the Olympic flame and its giant torch is still lit on special occasions. An elevator trip will take you to the first observation deck where you can enjoy the stunning panoramic views. Then, head to the revolving restaurant at the second observation deck to enjoy some appetizers and cocktails. The entire tower is illuminated at night and looks ethereal. In the Theatre Room, do check out the short film, ‘Calgary Tower- Building and Icon’ as well as Travel Alberta’s recent fly-through video which shows Alberta from the sky. The films run every 15 minutes and the admission fee is covered in your elevator ticket.
Eating Out in Calgary
Calgary offers a diverse range of cuisines to suit every taste and preference. It has numerous restaurants, cafes, and breweries to provide you a wholesome dining experience. Here we recommend some of our favorites. For your fried food cravings, Cluck n Cleaver is the best choice. They serve the best Southern-fried and French-style rotisserie chicken in Calgary. The Broken Place Kitchen and Bar offers authentic Greek food. You should taste their mouthwatering lamb rack, calamari, saganaki, and lamb souvlaki. A great place to indulge in some Latin American, Mediterranean, and Asian fusion food is Alloy. Do not miss trying their truffle gnocchi and beef short rib. For the best barbecue in town, head to Hayden Block Smoke and Whiskey. Their melt-in-your-mouth briskets and delectable selections of meats, trays, and sides are immensely popular in town. Bolsa is a family-run restaurant that offers great Asian food at affordable rates. If you enjoy Thai cuisine, you should definitely order their sauté soup and coconut chicken rice.
The busiest airport in Alberta and the fourth-busiest airport in Canada in terms of aircraft movements and passengers, Calgary International Airport (YYC) serves Calgary. It is situated approximately 11 miles northeast of downtown Calgary and has nonstop flights to destinations in North and Central America, Europe, and Asia.
Getting Around Calgary
Calgary has a well-developed public transportation system which makes getting around quite easy. The city has a combination of light rail transit called the CTrain, 169 bus routes, community shuttle buses, and shared-ride options. Extensive cycle paths and pedestrian walkways also make it a walkable and bike-friendly city. Calgary Transit and Access Calgary offer train, bus, and special services to residents. Most people have their own vehicles and many visitors choose to rent a car to make their trip around Calgary and the rest of the country as comfortable and convenient as possible.