17 Best Things to Do in Calgary

Calgary skyline

Rebecca Schortinghuis / Getty Images

The largest city in Alberta is jam packed with fun and interesting things to see and do for all ages. Whether you’re captivated by history and culture or love the great outdoors, there’s something in or around the city to satisfy nearly every interest. So whether you’re new to the city or a return visitor looking for some fresh travel ideas, get inspired by all there is to do in Calgary at any time of year.

01 of 17

Go Back 6,000 Years at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Scenic Panorama of Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump in Alberta, Canada
Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty Images
secondary Highway #785, Fort MacLeod, AB T0L 1A0, Canada
Phone +1 403-553-2731

If you're even a little interested in archaeology, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with six millennia of history. The Indigenous Blackfoot tribe used the buffalo jump to hunt the giant animals by herding them—without horses—and forcing them to fall off of the 36-foot high cliff. There's an interpretive center and museum on-site so visitors can fully grasp the significance of this historic place and also learn about the Blackfoot people in the past and present day.

02 of 17

See a Game of Canada's National Pastime

Saddledome Stadium in Calgary
Mitch Diamond / Getty Images
555 Saddledome Rise SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2W1, Canada
Phone +1 403-777-4646

In the U.S., it's all about baseball but once you cross the border, ice hockey reigns supreme. The residents of Calgary take the sport very seriously and have a lot of pride in their local team, the Calgary Flames. If you happen to be around on a game day, expect to see a lot of people wearing red around town to show support. There's maybe no better way to integrate yourself in the city's culture than attending a home game at the Saddledome, with its iconic architectural form resembling a horse's saddle. The season typically runs from mid-October to late April, so be sure to check out tickets if you're in the area.

03 of 17

Dig Up Dinosaur Bones

 Tyrrell Museum in Alberta Badlands
wwing / Getty Images
1500 N Dinosaur Trail, Drumheller, AB T0J 0Y0, Canada
Phone +1 403-823-7707

About 70 miles outside of Calgary around the town of Drumheller is an area known informally as "Dinosaur Valley," thanks to the countless fossils that have been uncovered in the surrounding badlands. It's also where you'll find the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, which houses the largest collection of fossils in Canada. It's the most visited museum in the province of Alberta, drawing in dinosaur fans of all ages to see completed skeletons of Albertosaurus, Camarasaurus, Triceratops, and a Tyrannosaurus rex, among others.

04 of 17

Experience the Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede

Paolo Koch / robertharding / Getty Images

1410 Olympic Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2W1, Canada
Phone +1 403-261-0101

For 10 days in July, the Calgary Stampede takes over the city and attracts over a million visitors from around the world. The Calgary Stampede Parade kicks things off with some serious fanfare and then its nonstop action. Visitors can watch cowboys and cowgirls compete at the Stampede Rodeo, enjoy live music nightly, fuel up with free pancake breakfasts, go on rides and play games at the Calgary Stampede Midway, and much more.

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05 of 17

Stroll Stephen Avenue Walk

Stephen Avenue, downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Witold Skrypczak / Getty Images
340 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1C1, Canada
Phone +1 403-215-1570

Occupying three blocks of downtown's Eighth Avenue, the Stephen Avenue Walk is a pedestrian-only shopping area and a National Historic District offering nine major shopping centers, boutiques, galleries, performing arts spaces, restaurants, pubs, and cafés making it an ideal place to shop, dine, and experience Calgary’s vibrant downtown area.

06 of 17

Explore Heritage Park Historical Village

An exhibit about transportation inside the Heritage Park Historical Village

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

1900 Heritage Dr SW, Calgary, AB T2V 2X3, Canada
Phone +1 403-268-8500

Go back in time with a visit to Heritage Park Historical Village, which brings Western Canadian history from the 1860s to 1950s to life. Canada’s largest living history museum is home to numerous things to see and do over its 127 acres. Visitors can ride an authentic steam train, browse the antique midway, enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride, make old-fashioned ice cream, sail on Calgary’s only paddle wheeler, and learn about the story of the Canadian West through authentically costumed interpreters.

07 of 17

Shop the Calgary Farmers’ Market

Calgary Farmers' Market

Calgary Farmers' Market

510 77 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2H 1C3, Canada
Phone +1 403-240-9113

If it's fresh, local, and seasonal goods you’re looking for, make your way to the Calgary Farmers’ Market, which also happens to be open year-round. Browse close to 80 vendors selling everything from sustainable seafood and fresh produce to baked goods, homemade sausages, bath and body products, locally-made jewelry, and more. Make sure to stop by the Calgary Farmers’ Market Food Hall, home to 20 local restaurants.

08 of 17

Take the Kids to Granary Road

Granary Road kids playing

Granary Road

226066 112 St W, Calgary, AB T1S 5S5, Canada
Phone +1 403-453-7623

If you’re in Calgary with kids in tow, you might want to put Granary Road on your itinerary. The Granary Road Active Learning Park offers 36 acres of activities, over 2 miles of trails, a petting zoo, and almost a dozen themed exhibits covering animals, insects, and agriculture. Located just southwest of Calgary, Granary Road is also home to a public market where you can shop everything from artisan cheeses and authentic deli pickles to produce and European meats.

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09 of 17

Spend a Day at Spruce Meadows

Spruce Meadows Masters
Derek Leung / Getty Images
18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW, Calgary, AB T2X 4B7, Canada
Phone +1 403-974-4200

See the best show jumpers in the world up close and personal at Spruce Meadows where elite equestrian athletes and their horses show off some serious skills. In addition to all the equestrian action, Spruce Meadows Marketplace is home to 45 local craft vendors to shop and live entertainment to enjoy. There are also plenty of activities for kids from wagon rides to face painting.

10 of 17

Have Some Fun at Calaway Park

Calaway Park

Calaway Park


245033 Range Rd 33, Calgary, AB T3Z 2E9, Canada
Phone +1 403-240-3822

Get in some thrills while you’re in Calgary with a visit to Calaway Park, western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park. Located just a few miles west of Calgary in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the award-winning park is home to 32 rides for all ages, 24 food locations, 23 games, live entertainment, and a 3D theatre. If you want to stay longer, there are over 100 campgrounds available.

11 of 17

Take in the Views From Calgary Tower

The Calgary Tower, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Michael Wheatley / Getty Images
101 9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1J9, Canada
Phone +1 403-266-7171

Built to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967 and located 626 feet above the city, Calgary Tower offers 360-degree views of the city below as well as the Rocky Mountains from its observation deck. Or, get a birds-eye view of Calgary beneath your feet from the glass floor. The tower’s restaurant, Sky 360, is constantly moving and completes a full rotation every 45 minutes.

12 of 17

Visit St. Patrick’s Island

View of Calgary from St. Patrick's Island
ronniechua / Getty Images
1300 Zoo Rd NE, Calgary, AB T2E 7V6, Canada
Phone +1 403-268-2489

Make your way across the George C. King Bridge and spend a relaxing afternoon (or full day) on St. Patrick’s Island. Here you’ll find a laid-back vibe along with pathways perfect for walking and jogging, a kids’ playground, picnic areas, a fishing cove, seasonal beach, naturalized wetlands, a wooded area, and a grassy hill offering some of the best views of the city.

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13 of 17

Head Over to the Zoo

Pair of lions at Calgary Zoo

Nancy Chow / Getty Images

210 St. George's Drive NE, Calgary, AB T2E 7V6, Canada
Phone +1 403-232-9300

The city’s expansive zoo (the second largest zoo in Canada) is home to nearly 1,000 creatures from around the world divided into various habitats, including Africa, Eurasia, and the Canadian wilds. In addition, check out the life-sized dinosaur models at the zoo’s Prehistoric Park or learn more about the animals you’re seeing with regular daily activities led by experts. If you’re visiting between January and March, don’t miss the daily Penguin Walk, wherein the zoo’s king penguins waddle through the grounds. 

14 of 17

Enjoy Nature in Banff National Park

A canoe on Lake Louise

TripSavvy / Anna Haines

Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Phone +1 403-762-1550

Situated 80 miles west of Calgary, Banff National Park is a must for anyone who enjoys spending time in nature. Canada’s first and oldest national park is comprised of stunning Lake Louise and the charming town of Banff, where year-round outdoor activities range from hiking and biking to camping, wildlife viewing, fishing, canoeing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

15 of 17

Ride the Bow River

Bow River

Brian Kennedy / Getty Images

If you’re visiting Calgary during the warmer months, why not get out on the water? Canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available to rent for a scenic way to see the city and spend some time outdoors. Or if you prefer, various tour companies offer rafting trips on the Bow River. There are many access and exit points make it easy to plan the perfect trip length—from an hour to a whole day—to suit your needs.

16 of 17

Get Active at Fish Creek Provincial Park

FIsh Creek Calgary

qualitygurus / Getty Images


Calgary, AB, Canada
Phone +1 403-297-5293

Calgary is home to plenty of green space and one of the best is Fish Creek Provincial Park, the second-largest urban park in Canada and one of the largest urban parks in North America. Walkers, runners, hikers, and bikers can enjoy over 80 kilometers of pathways and with over 200 bird species observed here, the park is also a popular birdwatching spot.

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17 of 17

Get Sporty at WinSport Canada Olympic Park

Canada Olympic Park

WinSport Canada Olympic Park

88 Canada Olympic Rd SW, Calgary, AB T3B 5R5, Canada
Phone +1 403-247-5452

Whether you’re in the mood for skiing and snowboarding or ziplining and mini-golf, WinSport Canada Olympic Park has it all. What was once a venue for several events at the 1988 Winter Olympics is now a world-class sports institute and a great place for some outdoor fun. Depending on the season, you can go snow tubing or zip lining on North America's fastest zipline. It's also home to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, which features more than 1,000 artifacts relating to sports of all kinds.

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17 Best Things to Do in Calgary