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Best things to do in Calgary

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Where in the world: Canada  /  Alberta  /  Calgary
With a cosmopolitan urban center and quick access to sprawling national parks, travelers find plenty of things to do in Calgary. Start by taking in sweeping views from the observation deck of Calgary Tower, then discover the traditional Western soul of the city at Spruce Meadows, a large equestrian facility in the Alberta Rocky Mountain foothills. Featuring a recreated fur-trading fort and original frontier sawmills and shops, Heritage Park Historical Village allows you to trace back 100 years of Canadian history. If you're traveling with kids, take them to The Calgary Zoo and make the most of its onsite picnic areas and prehistoric dinosaur park, ideal for toddlers.

Calgary is best known for its Zoos, Historic Sites, and Observation Decks.

Top 15 things to do in Calgary

1. The Calgary Zoo

Learn more about endangered wildlife at The Calgary Zoo, housing over 1,000 animals in enclosures designed to resemble their natural habitats. In addition to representing and conserving more than 100 different species, the zoo features a large botanical garden with changing displays of common garden flowers and tropical plants. Onsite picnic areas provide plenty of green space to relax, while a prehistoric park with life-sized dinosaur replicas ensures additional entertainment for families with little kids. Special programs include behind-the-scenes tours and keeper-for-a-day experiences. Visit the website to purchase tickets and find a printable hi-res map.
Suggested duration: 6 hours
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2. Calgary Tower

Take in the epic sprawl of the city from the lofty vantage point of Calgary Tower, a 191 m (626 ft) spire with a viewing platform perched on top. Enjoy fine dining in the tower’s admittedly pricey revolving restaurant, or head straight for the observation deck to step on the glass floor and enjoy sweeping views of the city. Consider getting up to the top on a clear afternoon to witness a stunning sunset.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Glenbow Museum

Established by philanthropist Eric Lafferty Harvie in 1966, the collection of Glenbow Museum contains more than a million artworks and exhibits. One of the largest museums in Western Canada, it strives to represent the art, culture, and history of this corner of the world. Explore the museum's numerous permanent and temporary exhibitions, showcasing something for everyone, from art and historical exhibits, to minerals and artifacts. Visit the cultural display to gain insight into the people and culture of Western Canada, inspect interesting items made by the indigenous people of North America, or admire the large collection of military objects from all over the world.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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4. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Sunshine Village, Banff National Park

Sunshine Village sits high on the continental Divide in the heart of Banff National Park, just a 15 minute drive from the picturesque mountain town of Banff. Three sprawling mountains feature more than 3,300 acres of skiable terrain, ranging from gentle inviting beginner runs all the way up to the most extreme big mountain runs. With an altitude of 2,200 m (7,200 ft) at the village, Banff Sunshine receives over 9 m (30 ft) of soft, dry "champagne" snow in a season and boasts the longest non-glacial season in Canada. Banff Sunshine Village offers guests 12 lifts including nine super lift one of which being Canada’s only heated chairlift and a high speed 8 passenger gondola.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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6. Prince's Island Park

Head out of town without actually leaving it at Prince's Island Park, an urban park and the green lung of Calgary. Developed on a 20 ha (49 acre) island, the park can be accessed by three separate bridges, linking it with urban areas. Take a walk across the island, admiring the mix of landscaped and wild environment, with wetlands and flower gardens to explore. The island offers plenty of space for recreational activities and relaxation, including picnic benches and playgrounds, as well as benefitting from onsite amenities, such as a restaurant and restrooms.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Fort Calgary

Considered the birthplace of the city of Calgary, Fort Calgary offers you the chance to learn about its rich history in a scenic, family-friendly setting. The fort, originally built from pine and spruce logs in 1875, was created to flush out whiskey traders in the area and sits at the confluence of two rivers. The Canadian National Rail bought the site in 1914, and in 1974 the city bought it back and began restoration work. Today, you can enjoy the scenic 16 hectare (40 acre) park, as well as an interactive museum that appeals to visitors of all ages. Don't miss the chance to try on the authentic mounted police uniform.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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8. Big Rock Brewery

Immerse yourself in the production of Harvest Ale from grain to glass at Big Rock Brewery. In 1984, founder Ed McNally at age 60 endeavored to create something different, an option for beer lovers looking for a deliberately different brew. Ed struck gold with a beer he coined "Traditional," but the brewery has gone on to brew much more. The signature series now has 13 different beers alone, along with drafts. Join the knowledgeable guides for a tour of the brewery and a sample of their strikingly different beers.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. The Shooting Edge

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Heritage Park Historical Village

Step back in time and discover historical artifacts and scenes at Heritage Park Historical Village, as it traces 100 years of Canadian history, from 1860 through to the 1960s. You have a wealth of attractions to explore, from original frontier sawmills and shops, to a recreated fur-trading fort. Don't miss the museum dedicated to the evolution of the automotive vehicle, with many examples and artifacts to examine. You can even dine in the past at the bar and grill, which offers a seasonal menu made from locally grown produce. Be sure to check the park's schedule for listings of ever-changing one-off events. Note that the park may be closed seasonally--best to check before visiting.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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11. Canmore Cave Tours, Canmore

Join a guided tour of Canmore Cave Tours. You can push your limits to the extreme while discovering the beauty of the Rockies from the inside. With over 4 km (2.5 mi) of tunnels and many geological and paleontological features including stalactites, stalagmites, and animal remains, the caves offer lots to see. Rappel 18 m (60 ft) inside a giant cave or belly crawl through tight sections of cave. You’ll visit the Grand Gallery, the largest known room within the cave system. With no lights, ladders, or walkways, your senses will be on overdrive. Wear sensible shoes.
Suggested duration: 6 hours
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12. Stephen Avenue Walk

Take a trip downtown to the city’s historic pedestrian mall, Stephen Avenue Walk, and treat yourself to boutique shopping amid an eclectic mix of retailers. Registered historic sandstone buildings form of the avenue’s distinct backdrop, so be sure to admire the period architecture that surrounds you. As you make your way through many tempting restaurants, bars, and shops, you will find it hard to miss the Galleria Trees--iconic metal sculptures installed in 2000 to help reduce strong wind gusts in the mall. These sculptures also provide seasonal lighting and from their installed sound system, you will often hear local artists’ music playing through the airwaves.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. Fish Creek Provincial Park

See the wild side of the city at Fish Creek Provincial Park, one of North America's largest urban parks. Stretching across 13.48 sq km (5.2 sq mi), it features an array of paved and unpaved walking and cycling trails, linking up day-camping facilities, stables, and an artificial lake suitable for swimming. Naturally abundant, the park is home to a vast array of animals, including deer, owls, coyotes, and beavers. Grab a bite to eat at the onsite restaurant, bakery, or cafe, and take a walk through the managed garden areas. Stop by the visitor's center to learn about the park's history, nature, and facilities, and get the most from your tour.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. Spas

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff

The discovery of the thermal mineral springs of Cave and Basin National Historic Site in 1883 was a catalyst for establishing Canada's first national park. Today, you can no longer swim in the hot springs, but you can visit the historic site and view displays about the history of Canada's national parks. Admire the cave surrounded by scenic hiking trails and boasting indoor and outdoor natural pools filled with striking azure waters.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Cave and Basin National Historic Site
Tours including Cave and Basin National Historic Site: