What are the top things to do in Calgary? Locally known as Cowtown because of the Wild West image that it still retains, this is the sunniest major city in Canada, making it perfect for outdoor activities. Nevertheless, if you are an indoor cat, you can always bar hop, visit museums or treat yourself to an excellent meal.
1. Go to the Zoo
Are you relocating with your kids and looking for an activity to bond over after moving to Canada? Here’s a suggestion: plan a fun day at the Zoo. With nearly 1000 animals across 119 species, here you will get to have an educational and entertaining family day. Consider getting a yearly membership – almost 100,000 residents have it, and with it, you can stop by whenever you want to.
Check out the Zoo website and check out all the daily activities, special events, and kids programs you can be a part of. Your kids can have fun with other children in a co-op kids zone, or the prehistoric Dino area.
2. Visit the Glenbow Museum
“We believe art is for everyone,” is the motto of the Glenbow Museum. If you want to make sure they are speaking the truth, head to Downtown and check it out. Glenbow hosts many colorful exhibitions, from the Incorrigible History of Alberta to Aborigine Art and Culture. History enthusiasts will be delighted to learn everything there is to learn here. Also, check out the Glenbow website and see what kind of special events they host – some might pique your interest.
Visiting Museums Can Be One of the Best Things to Do in Calgary
The long list of museums proves that Calgary is a place where you will never get bored no matter what your interests are. All cultural, historical, artistic, and scientific enthusiasts will be able to find a place that will leave them speechless.
3. Check out the Home of the National Music Center
National Music Center has a mission to give Canadian people a place where they can share and gain a deeper understanding of music. If you love sweet melodies and want to learn more about history and innovations in music, some exhibits might help you. Unique instruments such as electronic organs from 1939, Gibson Mandocello from 1919, and others can be seen here. Also, there is a hall of fame that acknowledges artists who achieved commercial success while making a positive impact on the scene.
Discover Hidden Music Venues
When you are not exploring the fascinating world of music, discover venues and nightclubs where you can catch a concert of any kind. From Broken City, where you can listen to indie bands, to Dickens Pub, where you can jump around with the sounds of rock and roll, you won’t ever be bored.
4. Go to Prince’s Island Park
Moving to Canada will bring you many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. There are plenty of green surfaces, forests, coastlines, and lake areas you can check out and spend time at. If you don’t feel like going too far away to enjoy nature, put on your good walking shoes and go to Prince’s Island Park, located in the urban part of Cowtown. With 20 hectares of space, the area is home to many geese and ducks, as well as the spot where you can hike, canoe, and have a picnic.
If you decide to ship your car along with your household belongings, you can always sit behind the wheel, and check some other outdoor places in the vicinity.
Additional 25 Beautiful Outdoor Places
Prepare yourself to be amazed by the number of green and open surfaces around the city, after all, Canada has one of the best backyards in the world, and that is partly thanks to national parks, and Alberta is home to five of them. While packing, and preparing for the travel, think about bringing your hiking equipment and bikes with you, don’t leave them in storage, because there are plenty of places you can use them around Cowtown:
- Banff National is a popular spot with around 1000 miles of explorable trails, as well as 2000 campsites.
- Peter Lougheed is the best location for camping, hiking, fishing, and snowshoeing.
- Height of the Rockies has 54,170 hectares, and it is excellent for hiking and horseback riding.
- Bow to Bluff is a spot designed in 2012, where you can check out colorful work of local artists and snap some photos.
- Century Gardens is located Downtown, and it is designed to celebrate the history of Calgary. While you’re at it, you can snap a pic or two of the Tower.
- Devonian Gardens is an urban oasis in the heart of Cowtown, where you can enjoy a botanical garden that includes 500 trees and 50 different plant species.
- Eau Claire Plaza is an open place with a wading pool, restaurants, and playgrounds.
- Shaw Millennium is the largest outdoor skatepark in the country with 75,000 square feet of skating space.
- Confederation, aka the North Hill Coulee, is a golfing center.
- Dale Hodges is a large natural environment park where you can enjoy beautiful scenery and wildlife.
- McHugh Bluff is the best spot for all of those who are moving with pets because there are vast open spaces where they can run around with other animals.
- Poppy Plaza has a wooden deck overlooking a river and plenty of benches where you can sit and drink coffee.
- Shouldice is for all athletes out there, because it features playgrounds, soccer fields, batting cages, and baseball diamonds.
- Rotary is the place where you go when summers get too hot because there is a spray park, playground areas, and plenty of tree shade to keep you away from the sun.
- Tom Campbell’s Hill overlooks Memorial Drive and Bow River, providing the perfect getaways spot when you need one.
- Douglas Fir Trail is for those who don’t mind working up a sweat while hiking across steep trails.
- Sandy beach has firepits and BBQ stands where you can organize a fun day by the river with friends and family.
- Bend in the Bow is a surface designed to connect Inglewood Bird Sanctuary with areas along the Bow River, and here you can enjoy nature at its finest without leaving Calgary.
- Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is a place where you can enroll in nature and school programs and learn about birds.
- Mills is a natural play space that has wooden swing sets, a water tower with climbing rope, and swinging benches. If you have kids, this is the place where you can take them to have fun.
- Pearce Estate is home to Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery, as well as a place where you can have a picnic, or take long and refreshing hikes.
- Ralph Klein is an educational center where you can see human-made wetland, but also learn a bit about nature.
- Reader Rock Garden has flowers, rocky pathways, and benches along the way so that you can kick back and relax while reading or chatting with friends.
- Old Refinery was once all about oil. Now it is a place with scenic pathways and historical importance.
- Griffith Woods is a great spot, but be careful when you visit it and take BearSmart precautions.
5. Locate the Finest Restaurants
Dining out is something Canadian folks take pretty seriously, especially those living in Calgary. Finding a good restaurant to eat out won’t be that hard. All you have to do is decide whether you want pasta, tapas, burritos, or something else.
If you want to adjust to a new country quickly enough, get to know the local way of life. Grab a bite at the famous Hayden Block, have a casual meal at Spolumbo’s Fine Foods and Deli, or listen Canadians talk about their adventures over cheap drinks at Wurst.
If you are moving to another country for love, celebrate the new beginning with that special someone at Teatro Ristorante over excellent wine and a refined Italian menu.
6. Explore the Best Breweries
Once you relocate to the largest city in Alberta, you can expect a variety of opportunities to have fun. Beer drinkers will love exploring many local spots and trying their unique ales. With more than 50 craft breweries, you will never run out of places to sit down and have a cold one.
JustBeerApp Magazine listed more than 1500 unique brews from breweries all over the city. From scotch ale and IPA to Belgian pale and American Wild, whenever you feel like taking a break from your busy schedule, you can kick back and relax with a pint of your favorite brew.
7. Shopping Is One of the Most Popular Things to Do in Calgary, Canada
When you are done with the long process of international moving and finally settle down, it is time to treat yourself to some new clothes. Head out to the central shopping district downtown, located along Stephen Avenue Walk. Every person will find something that fits their desires and budget, from local stores to high-end boutiques. Also, check out the CORE, a huge shopping mall that has more than 160 stores. Between fancy hotel lobbies and coffee places, you will find shops where you can spend money.
If you want to support local artists and creators, head out to 7th Avenue and Fashion Central, and you will find unique gems from innovative inventors.
8. Go to Heritage Park Historical Village
Would you like to take a walk down memory lane? Visiting Heritage Park Historical Village will be just that. Within 127 acres of parkland, you will get to see exhibits that cover Canadian history from the 1860s until the 1950s. From places like the railway car shop and Cottage Hospital to Prince House and Montefiore Institute, you will not only have fun but learn something new as well. Also, some employees are dressed in historical fashion clothing, which will help you feel like you just stepped out of a time machine into a village in the wild west.
There are great learning programs for all age groups, so while your kids participate in a scavenger hunt all over the village, you can spend an evening crafting the perfect ale in Big Rock Brewing Workshop.
9. Enjoy The Calgary Stampede
Are you into rodeo? If the answer is yes, you should check out The Calgary Stampede, a rodeo, exhibition, and festival that is held every July.
When you become a permanent resident of the city, you will get to be a part of the greatest outdoor show in the world, which is visited by 3.6 million people every year. Additionally, Stampede rodeo hosts more than 7,000 animals. All the foodies will be amazed by the amount of food consumed – more than 2 million donuts are devoured every year, and over 200,000 pancakes are served.
If you are wondering how to keep in touch with friends after you relocate from the US, just invite them to attend this event – they will be hooked for life. After all, there is singing, dancing, and a parade involved.
10. Cheer for Flames or Stampeders
Sport is a big deal for Canadian people, no matter if you are moving to Ontario, or living in Toronto. Picking a favorite sports team is kind of a rite of passage. Cowtown has a deep-rooted tradition when it comes to winter sports.
Ice hockey is a sport Canadians thrive in, so having a professional hockey team is only logical. Follow the games and cheer for Flames, especially when they are playing against their bitter rivals, the Edmonton Oilers.
Stampeders are a football team and the third-oldest active franchise in the CFL. Hop on the bandwagon and become a fan of this long-lasting team.
Check out the Biggest Sports Hall of Fame in Canada
When the games are done, and you still want to keep that sports spirit going, head to Sports Hall of Fame and check out galleries, interactive exhibits, and artifacts. This trip will be a treat for every sports fan.