Things to do in Calgary

The bustling metropolis and vibrant culture is a treat, but sightseeing in Calgary is dominated by the natural wonders that surround the city. Calgary is the gateway to Alberta's many impressive landscapes, which include mountain lakes, rolling prairies, and icy glaciers.

If you do find yourself exploring the city, there are many museums and cultural sites in Calgary worth visiting, all located within easy distance of the city centre. The Glenbow Museum is Alberta's largest history museum, with nearly 30,000 artefacts from Canada's history. It has archives onsite, along with a cafe, shop, and library.

The Tsuu T'ina Museum looks more specifically at the history of the Sarcee tribe, complete with antique headdresses and a model tepee. The Heritage Park Historic Village takes a living look at Canada's history, with an antique midway, old-fashioned bakery and candy store, and authentic steam train among the attractions. Fort Calgary is another place to explore frontier life, with 40 acres of land set up to resemble life in 1875.

Prince's Island Park brings nature into the heart of the city, with fishing sites and a network of hiking and biking trails. The park also features the Eau Claire Market, with its array of funky boutiques, restaurants, theatres, and art galleries. The Olympic Park is also a popular spot for lovers of sports. Whatever visitors enjoy, there is something for everyone in Calgary.

Glenbow Museum photo

Glenbow Museum

The Glenbow Museum is Canada's largest museum, with more than 93,000 square feet (8,640 sq metres) of exhibition space, spread over three floors. It houses more than a million obje…

Glenbow Museum

The Glenbow Museum is Canada's largest museum, with more than 93,000 square feet (8,640 sq metres) of exhibition space, spread over three floors. It houses more than a million objects that fill up its 20 galleries and showcase the colourful history of Canada's West, with exhibits focusing on its First Nations to the arrival of European settlers. A special feature is the Blackfoot Gallery, which tells the story of the Nitsitapi people through interactive displays, artefacts and a circular narrative path.

There are also some 28,000 artworks dating from the 19th century to the present on display in the museum. Glenbow's library is a treasure trove of reference materials on western Canada, with the Glenbow Archives serving as a major research centre for historians, writers, students and the media.

Address 130 9th Avenue SE

Website www.glenbow.org

Opens Tuesday to Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm. Closed Monday.

Admission

$16 adults, $11 children, other concessions available. Free every first Thursday of the month between 5pm and 9pm.

Calgary Zoo photo

Calgary Zoo

Canada's second largest zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals from all over the world, as well as a variety of fish and insects in natural habitat enclosures. It also features a p…

Calgary Zoo

Canada's second largest zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals from all over the world, as well as a variety of fish and insects in natural habitat enclosures. It also features a prehistoric park with 19 life-size animatronic dinosaurs on display. The botanical gardens include a 20,000 square foot (1,858 sq m) conservatory, butterfly garden and a special Rocky Mountains exhibit featuring many indigenous Alberta animals, including the endangered Whooping Crane. The zoo is situated close to the downtown area, on St George's Island, and is a wonderful treat for the whole family.

Address 210 St. George's Drive North East

Website www.calgaryzoo.com

Opens Daily 9am-5pm

Admission

$34.95 adults, $24.95 children, other concessions available.

Fort Calgary photo

Fort Calgary

This historical site chronicles Calgary's history between 1875 and the 1940s, allowing visitors to step back in time and explore the early days of the city through interactive exhi…

Fort Calgary

This historical site chronicles Calgary's history between 1875 and the 1940s, allowing visitors to step back in time and explore the early days of the city through interactive exhibits, costumed interpreters, hands-on activities, guided tours and an entertaining audio-visual presentation. Fort Calgary is situated on the site of an original North West Mounted Police Fort and is designed to preserve the history of the founding, development and growth of the city. The 40-acre riverside park includes the reconstructed 1875 fort, 1888 barracks, the interpretive centre, and Deane House Historic Site and Restaurant.

Address 750 - 9th Avenue SE

Website www.fortcalgary.com

Opens Daily 9am-5pm

Admission

$12 adults, $7 children, other concessions available.

Columbia Icefields photo

Columbia Icefields

Consisting of eight major glaciers, this massive field of ancient ice is situated near the town of Jasper in the middle of Jasper National Park. The icefield covers 125 square mile…

Columbia Icefields

Consisting of eight major glaciers, this massive field of ancient ice is situated near the town of Jasper in the middle of Jasper National Park. The icefield covers 125 square miles (325 sq km) and is estimated to be 1,270ft (385m) deep in places. The icefield feeds four of North America's major river systems: the Columbia, Fraser, Mackenzie and Saskatchewan Rivers, and its meltwaters flow into all three oceans. Tours of the glacier are offered on snowcoaches between April and October each year, and ice-walk tours are also offered by the Jasper Adventure Centre. The icefields are one of Alberta's natural marvels and a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts visiting the region.

Address Jasper National Park

Website www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/jasper/index.aspx

Moraine Lake photo

Moraine Lake

Located within Banff National Park and close to the popular resort towns of Lake Louise and Banff, Moraine is a spectacular glacially-fed lake. Its waters are a vivid turquoise col…

Moraine Lake

Located within Banff National Park and close to the popular resort towns of Lake Louise and Banff, Moraine is a spectacular glacially-fed lake. Its waters are a vivid turquoise colour due to rock flour, which are tiny particles of suspended sediment. On a clear day, the lake reflects the surrounding mountains in its mirror-smooth azure surface.

There's plenty to see and do in the snow-capped and pine-strewn Valley of the Ten Peaks, including an assortment of scenic hiking trails, kayaking facilities at the Lodge, and an onsite café serving wonderful food and refreshments.

Although not impossible, getting to Moraine can be difficult without a car. Visitors can take a bus to Banff station, and from there either walk the nine miles (14km) to the lake; rent a bicycle; take a taxi; or make use of the Park-run Vista shuttle service, which departs every 30 minutes from the Lake Louise campsite.

Address 9 miles (about 14km) from Lake Louise, located within Banff National Park

Website www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/index.aspx

Heritage Park Historical Village photo

Heritage Park Historical Village

Heritage Park is a village of living history, comprising more than 180 exhibitions that attempt to show what life was like in Alberta in the 19th and 20th centuries. Set on 127 bea…

Heritage Park Historical Village

Heritage Park is a village of living history, comprising more than 180 exhibitions that attempt to show what life was like in Alberta in the 19th and 20th centuries. Set on 127 beautiful acres of parkland and located just 15 minutes from Calgary's central business district, Heritage Park makes for a worthwhile day trip, especially if you have kids in tow. Highlights include steam train rides and an impressive collection of vintage automobiles. Thousands of genuine historical artefacts have been used in the creation of the park, while other buildings and scenes have been faithfully recreated. Costumed interpreters educate and entertain visitors, bringing history to life.

Address 1900 Heritage Drive Southwest

Website www.heritagepark.ca

Opens Monday to Friday 10am-5pm, Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Admission

Varies according to season. $26.50 for general admission. Other concessions available.

Canada Olympic Park photo

Canada Olympic Park

Canada Olympic Park was a major venue during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and now hosts skiing and snowboarding programmes every winter. It also houses the Canadian Olympic Hall o…

Canada Olympic Park

Canada Olympic Park was a major venue during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and now hosts skiing and snowboarding programmes every winter. It also houses the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum, and is frequently used as a venue for festivals and events in Calgary. Known to locals as COP, it remains a chief tourist attraction for casual visitors and winter sports enthusiasts alike. The park is operated by WinSport Canada and is used throughout the year. During summer, it is used for sports such as mountain biking, and its obstacle courses and zip lines are also highly popular.

Address 88 Canada Olypmic Road Southwest

Website www.winsportcanada.ca/cop

Calgary Tower photo

Calgary Tower

The city's most recognisable structure looming 626 feet (191m) above the city, Calgary Tower is a must-visit landmark. The glass-floored observation deck offers spectacular 360 deg…

Calgary Tower

The city's most recognisable structure looming 626 feet (191m) above the city, Calgary Tower is a must-visit landmark. The glass-floored observation deck offers spectacular 360 degree views of the city below, and there's a revolving restaurant too. Tours of the city are offered by guides on the Observation Deck, allowing visitors to take in many of the city's major attractions from their vantage point in the sky. Calgary's Tourist Information Centre is located at the base of the tower, a useful stop for all visitors, and there are also gift shops selling Calgary souvenirs and the like.

Address 101 9th Avenue Southwest

Website www.calgarytower.com

Opens Daily 9am-9pm

Admission

$18 adults, $9 children, other concessions available.

Calaway Park photo

Calaway Park

The kids will love visiting Calaway Park, western Canada's largest outdoor amusement park. It's the ideal destination for a fun-filled family outing, with thrilling rides and vario…

Calaway Park

The kids will love visiting Calaway Park, western Canada's largest outdoor amusement park. It's the ideal destination for a fun-filled family outing, with thrilling rides and various other entertainment. The outdoor park has been in operation for more than three decades and is greatly enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. It closes during the frosty Alberta winters, but is open seven days a week during the warmer months. Check the calendar on the official website listed below for exact opening times and dates.

Address 245033 Range Road 33

Website www.calawaypark.com

Admission

$40 general admission, other concessions apply

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump photo

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

A buffalo jump is a ledge or cliff traditionally used to lure stampeding buffalo to their deaths. Head-Smashed-In is one of the oldest, largest and best preserved in the world and …

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

A buffalo jump is a ledge or cliff traditionally used to lure stampeding buffalo to their deaths. Head-Smashed-In is one of the oldest, largest and best preserved in the world and was used by the native people for about 6,000 years. Head-Smashed-In not only has a wonderfully felicitous name, but was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It proudly displays exhibitions detailing the life and history of the Blackfoot people, the original inhabitants of the Great Plains region of southern Alberta. It is now a remarkable archaeological site and well worth a visit for any traveller interested in Canadian history.

Address 92 Township Road, Willow Creek

Website www.head-smashed-in.com

Opens Daily 10am-5pm

Admission

$15 adults, $10 children. other concessions available

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