Just a short drive from Banff and the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is the perfect place to start or end your adventure. The Canadian Rockies are an once-in-a-lifetime experience and are complemented by some incredible experiences in the city.
On your Alberta journey, be sure not to miss some of the great things you can only get in a major Canadian city.
Here are a few must see Calgary experiences you should add to your Rockies getaway.
17th Avenue Retail & Entertainment District
Make 17th Avenue SW your first or last stop on your Rockies getaway for a terrific neighbourhood experience in the city. This unique collection of shops, pubs, and restaurants is the perfect place to share a pint with friends, people watch from the patio, or shop for local gifts you can only find in Calgary. Get your big city dining fix at restaurants like Pigeonhole, Ox Bar de Tapas, and Model Milk and keep the party going at popular spots like the Ship & Anchor, Home & Away, and National on 17th.
Big Rock Brewery
Make craft beer your guide to Calgary and see the farm to glass experience firsthand, with Alberta barley and fresh glacier water coming together at Big Rock Brewery. This popular Calgary brewery has been in the craft beer game since 1985, when Ed McNally named his brewery after a 16,000-ton boulder in the middle of the Canadian Prairies, and created what has become Canada’s biggest craft brewery.
Experience the energy of a hockey city with live NHL action in Calgary. Start the night with dinner and drinks on 17th Ave then cheer on the Calgary Flames with the C of Red. The Calgary Flames play 40+ home games from early October to early April each year, making it a great complement to a trip to the mountains. The Scotiabank Saddledome is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Calgary with the Calgary Transit C-Train making it accessible from almost anywhere in the city.
Calgary Food Tours
Food is the perfect way to explore a city. Calgary Food Tours will take you on a culinary adventure through Calgary neighbourhoods to meet the chefs and producers of the region’s best flavours. Tours range from two to four hours long with multiple tastings to satisfy even the most passionate foodie in the group. Tours like Inglewood Edibles, Savour 17 Ave SW, and Craving Kensington are great ways to explore Calgary neighbourhoods and flavours before or after your Rockies adventure.
Calgary Stampede & Summer Music Festivals
Check the Calgary Stampede off your bucket list and experience the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth in Calgary. For 10 days each July, the Calgary Stampede entertains visitors from around the world with rodeo action, midway games, and live music. Plan to spend a day or two in Calgary to experience everything the Calgary Stampede has to offer.
With single concert tickets, day & festival passes, summer music festivals like Sled Island, Chasing Summer, Country Thunder, and the Calgary Folk Music Festival are a great addition to any Rockies getaway no matter how much time you have in the city.
The Calgary Tower has been an iconic part of the Calgary skyline for 5 decades and is a must-see stop in the city. Standing 191 metres above the downtown core, the Calgary Tower observation deck gives you a 360 view from the prairies to the Canadian Rockies, with unique views of the hustle and bustle below when you stand on the glass floor. The Calgary Tower is also home to Sky 360, a rotating restaurant with a classic Canadian menu and magical city views as it revolves once every 45 minutes.
Featuring 100 outlets, 200 stores, and unique services, CrossIron Mills is a must-see shopping experience in Calgary. Enjoy upscale retailers like Saks Off 5th or prep for your mountain adventure with Bass Pro Shops. Visit the Guest Services desk for a savings booklet available to all out of town guests or purchase your Parks Canada Discovery Pass to make entry into Banff a breeze. Conveniently located just a few minutes from YYC Calgary International Airport, CrossIron Mills is a great place to spend a few hours before your Rockies getaway or before your flight takes off.
Nightlife in the City
Hit the dance floor and explore Nightlife in the City before your Rockies getaway. Live music and custom cocktails are all part of a vibrant nightlife scene in Calgary you won’t find on the other side of the mountains. Two step your way to classic western dance halls like Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall, dance the night away at Cowboys Dance Hall, and experience the longest running house night on the planet at The HiFi Club.
Originally published by Tourism Calgary