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Top 20 Things to Do in Calgary, Alberta

  • September 12, 2023
  • By Cody Battershill

top 20 things to do in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Top 20 Activities & Events in Calgary

Welcome to Calgary, Alberta, a vibrant city offering various activities and events catering to people from all walks of life. Whether you're a nature lover, history enthusiast, or astute foodie, Calgary has lots of fun things to do for everyone.

To help you make the most of your time here, we've compiled a list of the top 30 things to do in Calgary year-round. From iconic landmarks to annual festivals, let's explore all that this beautiful city has to offer.

What are the Best Calgary Activities & Events?

  • Calgary Tower
  • Calgary Zoo
  • Calgary Stampede
  • Calgary Flames
  • Calgary Stampeders
  • 17th Avenue Shopping District
  • Heritage Park Historical Village
  • Canada Sports Hall of Fame
  • East Village
  • Stephen Avenue
  • Eau Claire
  • Kensington
  • Fort Calgary
  • Calaway Park
  • Prince’s Island Park
  • Royal Tyrell Museum
  • Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump
  • Banff, Alberta
  • Columbia Icefields
  • The Rocky Mountaineer Train

The Calgary Tower


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Calgary’s most recognized landmark, soar to new heights at the Calgary Tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city, river valley and mountains to the west. Ride to the observation deck and marvel at the stunning vistas surrounding you, making this iconic tower one of the best activities in Calgary for locals and tourists alike.

Don't forget to stop by the second observation deck for refreshing drinks and appetizers while enjoying the breathtaking scenery. If you’re hungry and want to enjoy a truly unique dining experience, head on up to Sky 360, a high-end rotating restaurant at the very top of the tower that will give you 360-degree views of the entire city!

The Calgary Zoo


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Get up close and personal with various animals from all over the world at the Calgary Zoo. From hippos to mountain gorillas to giraffes to tigers to penguins, Calgary’s world-class zoo offers a unique opportunity to experience the wonders of the animal kingdom.

Explore the botanical gardens, visit the butterfly conservatory, and learn about conservation efforts at the Centre for Conservation and Research. The zoo’s riverside location also makes it a great thing to do in Calgary between outdoor leisure and recreation with the entire family.

The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth


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Experience the excitement of the Wild West at the Calgary Stampede, known as the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth." Witness thrilling rodeo performances, chuckwagon races, and cattle auctions. Enjoy midway rides and games, indulge in delicious street foods and cuisines, and embrace the cowboy spirit that permeates the city during this annual event.

The Calgary Stampede is the most famous annual event the city has to offer, during which several other activities and events pop up around the city, such as DJ shows and pancake breakfasts, to name a few. Overall, this 10-day annual event is one of the best there is, not just in Calgary, but also in Alberta!

The Calgary Flames


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Immerse yourself in the excitement of Canada's favourite sport by catching a Calgary Flames NHL hockey game. Experience the passion and energy of the crowd as you cheer on the team. Whether you're a die-hard hockey fan or a casual observer, the atmosphere is electric.

Calgary’s beltline community is brought to life when the Flames are playing. The shopping and retail district of 17th  Avenue SW becomes supercharged with activity as people walk to and from the game.

The Calgary Stampeders


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Watching a Calgary Stampeders game is an intense, vibrant experience; the team's dynamic play style, combined with the passionate crowd, creates an enthralling atmosphere.

Whether you're a diehard football fan or just looking for an entertaining outing, a Calgary Stampeders game guarantees an unrivalled blend of sportsmanship, energy, and community spirit. Get to and from McMahon Stadium quickly via the northwest LRT line.

17th Avenue Shopping & Retail District


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Indulge in some retail therapy and explore the trendy shops, boutiques, and restaurants along 17th Ave, Calgary's premier shopping district. From mainstream favourites to unique local boutiques, you'll find everything you need and more along this best local streetscape in Calgary.

After shopping, unwind at one of the many entertainment venues, where live music and performances await. Head east on 17th Ave to reach the Stampede Grounds, or south to visit popular inner city districts like Mission and the Fourth Street Business Improvement Area.

Heritage Park Historical Village


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Step back in time at Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada's largest living museum. Explore more than 200 exhibits spread across 127 acres of pristine land. Immerse yourself in the First Nations Encampment from the 1880s and learn about the lives of pre-railway settlers.

This award-winning attraction offers a hands-on history experience like no other and is particularly fun for the entire family. With weekly activities and events, it’s an excellent place for young children to learn new things and have fun!

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

Celebrate Canada's rich sporting heritage at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Explore the 40,000-square-foot museum filled with artifacts and exhibits that highlight the accomplishments of more than 600 Canadian athletes. Test your skills against boxing legend Lennox Lewis and discover the hidden stories behind some of Canada's most iconic sports figures.

Located at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park (C.O.P.), the Hall of Fame is one of the best activities in Calgary for families. C.O.P also has a variety of other activities to enjoy especially during the summer such as the ski lift zip line, hillside slides and more.

East Village

Calgary's East Village is a vibrant neighbourhood known for its stunning architecture, trendy restaurants, public art, and scenic pathways along two rivers. It offers historic charm, marked by the Simmons Building, a reclaimed factory now hosting an eclectic mix of local dining establishments.

Tourists often enjoy the Central Library and Studio Bell, housing the National Music Centre with interactive music exhibits and performance spaces. East Village’s walkability and connectivity to transit, along with an array of outdoor attractions such as St. Patrick’s Island and the Calgary Zoo, make it one of the best things to do in Calgary for visitors from all walks of life.

Stephen Avenue


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Stephen Avenue – a.k.a 8th Avenue SW – presents a unique blend of historical charm and modern vibrancy, making it a must-visit for both locals and tourists. This pedestrian thoroughfare is dotted with numerous specialty shops, galleries and restaurants, making it one of the best things to do in downtown Calgary. Its reputation as a shopping paradise is also enhanced by attractions like the CORE Shopping Centre, where you’ll find top retailers like Holt Renfrew.

Notably, Stephen Avenue hosts a myriad of cultural events and outdoor activities, including the popular winter festival, Chinook Blast, as well as many other annual events at the nearby Olympic Plaza. For those wanting to enjoy local performing arts, several theatres and performance spaces are also located along the pedestrian throughway.

Eau Claire Market


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Eau Claire Market in downtown Calgary offers an eclectic mix of activities that is equally captivating to both locals and tourists. From a variety of top-notch restaurants to specialty shops and boutiques, the Eau Claire area offers a variety of the best things to do in Calgary for everyone.

Notably, the market is renowned for its handicrafts and interesting finds, and is conveniently close to attractions like the beautiful Prince's Island Park and Chinatown. It's also a hub for various activities and events, making it an essential stop in your Calgary itinerary. Eau Claire Market encapsulates a rich, diverse essence of the city that makes it exciting to explore.

Kensington BIA


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The Kensington District in Calgary offers an enticing mix of urban charm and contemporary culture that draws locals and tourists alike. This vibrant “Business Improvement Area” offers pedestrian-friendly streets lined with unique boutiques and top-notch restaurants, making for a great walkable experience. Its eclectic blend of trendy brunch spots, coffee shops, and specialty stores cater to various tastes.

Close to the Bow River pathways and a few blocks from the acclaimed Riley Park, the Kensington BIA is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Calgary on a warm day. Some of the best restaurants in the area include Pulcinella, Niko’s Bistro, Original Joe’s, Red’s Diner, Blanco Cantina, Vero Bistro Moderne, and more.

Fort Calgary


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Step into the past at Fort Calgary, a living museum that tells the story of Calgary's beginnings. Learn about the rich history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, take a virtual tour of Calgary from a streetcar, and experience the arrival of the first train.

Fort Calgary offers a fascinating glimpse into the city's humble beginnings and its journey to becoming what it is today. Home to a large field, this area of East Village is also host to some of Calgary’s largest summer music festivals.

Calaway Park


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Get your adrenaline pumping at Calaway Park, Western Canada's largest outdoor amusement park. With 32 rides, 23 carnival games, and a 3D theatre, there's something for everyone in the family.

Located just a few minutes' drive west on the Trans Canada Highway, Calaway Park is one of the best things to do in Calgary for families with young children and teens. Enjoy sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains as you experience thrilling rides and indulge in tasty treats.

Prince’s Island Park


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Attached to Eau Claire is the revered Prince’s Island Park. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a peaceful picnic at this lush, green oasis amid downtown’s towering skyscrapers, making it one of the best activities to do in Calgary, Alberta.

This urban green space offers stunning views of the city skyline and hosts various festivals throughout the year. Relax on the grass, savour a delicious meal, and take in the beauty of the surrounding lagoons and wildlife while experiencing Calgary from a local's perspective. It is also home to River Café, one of Calgary’s premier restaurants – a must-try for tourists, especially in the summer.

Royal Tyrrell Museum


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Embark on a prehistoric journey at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, located about an hour and a half drive from Calgary. Discover 30 complete dinosaur skeletons and interactive exhibits that transport you back 65 million years. Learn about Alberta's rich paleontological history and marvel at the marine species dating back 75 million years.

This museum is a must-visit for dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages. While you’re at it, Drumheller’s famous “hoodos” – or sand dunes, are also located close to the museum, making it a perfect trip from Calgary for groups of all sorts.

Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump


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Embark on a historical journey at Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, an archaeological site that provides a glimpse into the rich culture of Indigenous Peoples in Alberta. Discover how these skilled hunters cleverly chased buffalo over cliffs and set up complex processing stations.

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is a must-visit for history and archaeology buffs. Found a few hours south of Calgary, the site is easily reachable via the 2 Highway southbound.

Visit Banff, Alberta

Embark on a weekend getaway to Banff, a picturesque town nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy a unique selection of restaurants and activities ranging from the hot springs to the Sulphur Mountain gondola – making Banff truly one of the best activities to do near Calgary.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Banff National Park is Canada's first national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the rugged wilderness, hike scenic trails, and marvel at breathtaking vistas. Banff offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventures and unforgettable experiences.

Trip to the Columbia Icefield

Embark on a tour of the Columbia Ice Field located on Alberta’s beautiful and jaw-dropping Highway 93 North, about a 2.5-hour drive from Calgary. Marvel at glaciers that have been advancing for millions of years and learn about the geological history of the region.

This tour offers a unique opportunity to explore the natural wonders of Alberta's rugged landscapes. The recently built Columbia Icefield Skywalk is also available, providing incredible views of the glaciers off in the distance.

The Rocky Mountaineer Train


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Embark on a life-changing journey aboard The Rocky Mountaineer, one of the world's most renowned luxury train experiences. Travel through the majestic Rocky Mountains, savouring gourmet cuisine and enjoying breathtaking views. This extraordinary train journey offers a unique perspective of Canada's stunning landscapes and is sure to create lasting memories.

The Rocky Mountaineer Train boards in Banff and makes its way through Alberta and British Columbia. Stops along the way include Lake Louise, Kamloops and Vancouver. Experience the Rocky Mountains like no other on this train with incredible panoramic views for a full day and a half.

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