“ City: Calgary / Country: Canada / World Region: North America „
Calgary is in Alberta, just short of a 9 hour flight from London.
If you are visiting Calgary and want to see the Rocky mountains then hiring a car is a must. The rates are quite reasonable though and as the airport is about a half hour drive from downtown Calgary it also simplifies things. I would also recommend renting a Sat. Nav, or GPS as they call it as the road system can be a bit confusing when you first start driving in Canada, what with them driving on the Right and the car will more t be a left hand drive car.
There is quite a lot to see and do in C algary itself with the tower which is well worth a visit and the view from the top of it is wonderful with the Rockies stretching out.
If you are a shopaholic then you are spoilt for choice as there are quite a few Malls of which The Chinock centre is the largest. This is on McCloud trail and really is a case of you cannot miss it plus free parking. If you do visit this mall you need to set aside a whole day to see it all.
No visit to Alberta is complete without visiting the Rocky mountains because I can only describe them as awesome. One thing I would recommend is keep the fuel tank as full as possible because the petrol (gas) stations are few and far between. Some are about 100 miles apart. It is also very hard to tell what to wear as Alberta is a bit odd as the temperature can change dramaticlly in just a few minutes. We went to Lake Louise (another must see) and when we got there it was quite pleasant but then in about 10 minutes it dropped about 10 degrees and started snowing.
All the lakes and rivers in the rockies are the most incredible turquoise colour which is caused by rock flour which in turn is caused by the glaciers.
Baff is a must to see and a trip up the mountains on a Gonola is a definate one to put on your must do list as the view from the top is indescribable. We also went to the Columbian ice field where you get a special bus up to the Glacier and get out and have a walk around but do wear something very warm as it is freezing!
Most tourist attractions in Alberta are only open from April to September as after September the snow arrives and a lot of the roads become impassable. They do try and keep the major highways open during the winter but the lesser roads arent high on their list of priorities.
One last thing to add is that you do have to pay to get into Banff National park, it is about c$18 for 4 people but well worth the money. All in all there is so much to see and do in Calgary
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Our trip to Calgary started life as just the place that we were flying to en route for our family holiday in the Rockies, but then as we did a bit of research it turned into a place on holiday in its own right, and we really enjoyed our time there.
Our children were aged 10 and 7 at the time, and we booked to stay in the Westin hotel, near to Eau Claire market. It turned out that there was a great little outdoor paddling pool just down the street, with fountains and this proved a great stop at the end of the day, to cool feet that had been walking all day, and to unwind. (The hotel had a pool too, and that was great, but this was lovely as we could just sit beside the water in the sun, and all the Canadian families were really friendly).
We were right by the river too, and we were absolutely thrilled to find a family of beavers living at the end of the island there, right in the middle of the city. We saw a wider range of Canadian wildlife, and many other things besides at the fabulous Calgary zoo, which was easy to get to and well worth a visit. If we were there again we would also hire bikes to cycle by the river, but there just wasn't time.
We hired a car to spend a day out in Drumheller, visiting the magnificent Royal Tyrrell Museum to see the dinosaurs. They have excellent tours of the local landscape and the children spent a very enjoyable afternoon in one of their "camps." These have to be pre-booked - but we did this from the UK with no trouble at all, and it added an enjoyabled extra dimension for the children, and gave us a little bit of time without them!
The Glenbow Museum in Calgary is of international stature, with excellent exhibits, including one about the Blackfoot - the native Americans indigenous to this region. When we visited there were two excellent activity areas for children too, based on classical civilisations and forensic archaeology.
As keen birdwatchers we had found out about Inglewood bird reserve on the internet and wanted to go and visit. The people at the bus station were keen to help (although it clearly wasn't a regular tourist destination) and it was easy to catch a bus out there. The driver and passengers on the bus went to great pains to make sure we knew which way to go once we alighted and to be sure we knew where to catch the bus back. It was worth the trip and the sight of pelicans flying over the river was amazing.
The Heritage Park Historical Village, makes a great day out too, with old buildings from the days when Calgary was on the western frontier. There's an old paddle steamer you can ride on, and a trading post where you can feel the wonderful beaver pelts. They have characters re-enacting scenes around the old town too.
The shopping malls were great as well, and we were intrigued by the plus 15s - high level walkways linking the first storeys of most of the buildings downtown, to help the locals cope with the harsh winter weather without having to go outside. Definitely more than just a stopover city.
Calgary is one of the great cities of Canada, I know Im a bit biased because I used to live there, but I will tell you the good and bad points of my previous home. The city it self is the largest in the province, and is the fastest growing. The Olympics were held there in I think 1988, when Eddy the Eagle was ski jumping. The city contains the Calgary tower that is much like the tower in Toronto with a spinning restaurant on top. The Ice hockey team called the ‘Calgary Flames’ is a good experience as well as the American football team. The city is close to the Rocky Mountains, so it is ideal for skiing and snowboarding, as well as sight seeing. On one side of the city are the Rockies and the other the prairies. Temperatures range from 39c in summer and -20c in winter. It is well worth, you cannot describe it, it is brilliant and I guarantee a good time there.
my husband and i started our honeymoon off there with 2 nights....we stayed at the Canadian pacific which i highly recommend....we walked around calgary in 4 hours and really was't much there...the shops were ok with the malls alittle poor compared with what calgary can provide....its looks quite new and alittle boring.....really was not a highlight of the honeymoon or the rockies...you definetly need a car for this area ...the hotel costs us about $150 per night and got upgraded to the honeymoon executive suite...
In many ways Calgary is a typical North American City. To most people it is famous for the Stampede or the Winter Olympics held there some years ago. However if you look closer it has many attractions that are worth seeking out. There's the Calgary Tower. It's not too expensive to get to the top and from there you have a magnificent view. There's also a restaurant as well and it's not too expensive. The Fort is worth seeing if only to say you have seen it. Take a look at the Glenbow Museum. It has an excellent history of the Indians and how the area was settled. It was really fascinating seeing how the local Indians survived adn what happened to them. There are many other things to see as well. When I visited one time in March it was interesting to see all the ice skaters out on an outdoor ice rink in the middle of Calgary. Whilst you are there you can look at the Stampede area, even if the Stampede is not there. There's also the Olympic area as well. You can see the ski jump from miles away so you should have no problem finding it! However the main reason people know Calgary is for the Stampede. If you want to see it you need to book well in advance. It is a great attraction and all the hotels are fully booked for the duration. From stories I have heard it is great fun. Everything you would expect of a wild west rodeo / stampede. The whole city is devoted to it. I can remember once when I visited just before the Stampede, all the hotels put up mock cowboy styled fascias around their entrances. Shops stocked new lines just for the tourist trade, in fact the whole city was changed for it! There are many good places where you can eat. As you might epect from a North American city many of them are great fun, but the food is also excellent. There's also plenty of fast food if you really want. What ever you choose you can eat out well for a reasonable cost. The shops are also very good. Go to one of the
many shopping malls and find the enormous variety of shops there. Prices are also good. Once you have exhausted the attractions of Calgary there are plenty of attractions a few hours drive away. There are the dinosaurs at Drumheller and the never to be forgotten name of "Head Smashed in Buffalo Leap". However the most stunning attraction is the Rockies. These breath taking mountains are an hour or so in the car. Once seen these mountains are never forgotten. It is possible to drive to Banff in the mountains, have lunch there, explore the town, take the cable car up to the top of Sulphur Mountain and then swim in the open air swimming pool fed from a hot water spring. Even in winter with it snowing people swim in it. No visit to Banff would be complete without seeing the Banff Springs Hotel. Then it is possible to drive on to Lake Louise to see the most beautiful lake in the world. Then you can return to Calgary (the sign post says 189 km to Calgary) or on through the mountains. Is Calgary worth a visit - certainly if you want to visit the Rockies and the surroundings it's an ideal place to start your holiday.
There are only two types of music in Canada- Country, and Western. Calgary is the city of cowboys and girls. For two weeks, in June, the whole of Alberta and lots from beyond, descend on Calgary for the Calgary Stampede. The stampede is an orgy of all things cowboy. There are live rodeos, cattle shows and country music events. There is also a huge funfair with loads of modern, scare you to death rides. I was working near Calgary last year and went along for the day. It was worth going, if only for Shania's Twin, the tribute band, with an equally gorgeous singer. The chainsaw jugglers were worth seeing too. Good fun, fairly cheap to get in and easy to get to. If cowboys aren't your thing then Calgary still has lots to offer. Go and see the Olympic park, although don't waste your time and money on "The Olympic Experience" it's just naff. The olympic ski jump tower is worth a trip up. Make sure you have a go on the olympic Luge track. It takes half an hour to fill out the legal disclaimer forms, and then they only let you go down the last third of the course but it is scary enough. Quite good to be able to say you've done an olympic level luge run. Inside Calgary itself are all the attractions you'd expect from a major city. Good pubs and nightclubs. In keeping with the cowboy theme "Cowboys" is the most famous. And it's pretty good. A good mix of music in between the Country & Western. Very, very attractive serving girls in very ripped jeans and the obligatory cowboy hats. Are you beggining to pick up a feel for the place yet? Canadians are friendly anyway but they seem to be extra friendly in Calgary. I really enjoyed this city and I hope to return soon.
Most people, I suppose, go to Calgary for the skiing in the area. I went because I was curious. It struck me as, very much, a mid-west city, but much much colder. They have, in common with most Canadian cities, ways of managing the cold though. They have walkways 10 metres above street level linking offices, shops, hotels etc. There is also a park which is completely indoors and is heated to 'comfortable springtime temperatures'. I thought this park was the most amazing thing and couldn't believe I'd never heard of it before! There is also the Calgary Tower with a very friendly man in the tourist information office who told me all about the Calgary Stampede which is a cowboy event which takes place in the summer and is very big in Alberta! As for things to do in the city, I was very hard pressed to find even one pub open late (although it was a public holiday when I was there) and I wouldn't say the nightlife was exactly buzzing. The restaurants were very cheap and seemed to serve portions that previously only existed in my dreams.. The people were, however, unfailingly friendly, and it was a curious, if not wildly exciting city.