Calgary Area: 10 Things to Do

Alberta Ballet, Shakespeare in the Park, Calgary Flames

Calgary is famous for the Calgary Stampede, but this world-class city has many tourism options.

Every year, 10 days in July draw upwards of a million tourists to the Calgary Stampede. While the Stampede, billed as the greatest outdoor show on Earth, is a draw in and of itself, visitors to this city can mix and match their vacation to include events and activities that will appeal to every appetite.

Here’s a quick list of stops to make on your Calgary vacation:

1. Have an Agri-Adventure

Agriculture is an important cornerstone of Alberta culture and, by extension, Calgary’s economy. You won’t have to travel far from the city limits to discover u-pick farms, corn mazes, farmer’s markets, and country fairs.

Just outside of Calgary, Butterfield Acres offers a family friendly farm experience where kids can collect eggs, ride a pony or a tractor, and milk goats.

2. Have an Aboriginal Experience

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is North America’s largest, oldest and best preserved buffalo jump site. The interpretative centre is full of interesting jump trivia and staffed by knowledgeable staff. Directions from Calgary: Head south of city limits on Macleod Trail or Deerfoot Trail and continue south on Hwy 2 for approximately 160 km until you see the signs for Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and Highway 785 West.

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is home to rock carvings made by the Blackfoot people up to 6,000 years ago. From mid-May until Labour Day guided interpretative walks take visitors through the fascinating ancient art work. The sandstone hoodoo formations here are as spectacular as the drawings.

3. Experience the Local Dance Scene

Is dance your thing? Calgary is home to the Alberta Ballet, the third largest ballet company in Canada.

With a tag line of “dance for the people and by the people”, the Blue Collar Dance Company is located in the Community Arts Building inside Calgary’s Currie Barracks.

Summer festivals – Carifest & Afrikadey – explore this area’s vibrant cultural heritage in dance.

4. Or Check Out the Theatre Scene

Calgary has a number of professional theatre offerings. The Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts in downtown Calgary is home to four theatre companies: Bubonic Tourist, One Yellow Rabbit, Alberta Theatre Projects and Theatre Calgary.

In summer, take in Mount Royal College’s Shakespeare in the Park. Prince’s Island Park in downtown Calgary plays host to a free performances of Shakespeare performed by professional and emerging actors from across Canada.

Like your theatre on the feisty side? Take in the Calgary Fringe Festival.

5. Be an armchair athlete and take in one of Calgary’s professional (and quality amateur) sports

The Olympic Saddledome which hosts the Calgary Flames and Hitmen (junior) hockey teams is the worlds largest cable suspended roof “reverse hypberbolic paraboloid”.

While in Calgary take in a game:
Football – Calgary Stampeders
Hockey – Calgary Flames
Junior Hockey – Hitmen
Lacrosse – Calgary Roughnecks

6. Visit a City Park

Calgary has 450 natural environment parks, 395 miles of continuous bike paths, hundreds of playgrounds, bird sanctuaries and out door activities to satisfy any outdoor habit.

7. Ahhhhh … Spaaaaa

Calgary has dozens of urban day spas and is within easy driving distance of some spectacular destination spas like the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. If you like natural hot springs, you’ll love the Upper Hot Springs in Banff and Jasper’s Miette Hot Springs, both potential day trips from Calgary.

8. Calaway Park

Located 5 minutes outside of Calgary on Highway #1, Calaway is an amusement park that sits on 160 acres. In addition to midway-type rides, Calaway has daily stage shows. A nearby rv park and campground make this park easily accessible to mobile tourists.

9. Cowboy Destinations

Still got a hankering for that western experience? Whether you want to take a quick outing to ride a horse or spend a few days at a working ranch, you’ve got options within a short drive from the city.

10. Calgary Zoo

The second largest zoo in Canada, the Calgary Zoo includes these exhibit areas: Creatures of the Night, Eurasia, Australia, The Canadian Wilds, and Arctic Shores. The Prehistoric Park is a not-to-be-missed re-creation of southern Alberta as it might have been millions of years ago.

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