6 of the best…things to see and do in Calgary, Canada

Perhaps best known as the host city of the 1988 Winter Olympics, Calgary in Canada has more to offer visitors than sporting nostalgia. We’ve picked six of the best attractions for you:


Photo credit: cow tower (a simple look at things) via photopin (license)

The Calgary Tower

I’m a big believe in getting high as soon as I arrive in a new destination. Don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about seeing the place from a viewpoint. Get some perspective on the city with the 360 degree panorama from the Calgary Tower. Up here you’re 1228 metres above sea level, yet the lift only takes 62 seconds to reach the first observation deck. After taking it all in, go up a floor for even better views and a cocktail.

17 Ave and the Entertainment District

Calgary may not be as well know as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal as a shopping destination, yet you can find almost everything here too. 17th Ave has all the big name brand stores as well as number of more unusual shops to keep you occupied. Check out the record stores and jewellery boutiques to find that unique gift. The Entertainment District lives up to its monicker with cocktail bars, restaurants and cafes as far as the eye can see.

Enjoy some of the best cuisine in Canada

Little known fact – 6 of Canada’s top 50 restaurants are in Calgary. This place certainly punches above its weight in culinary terms, helped by its multicultural and youthful demographic. Being located in the midst of farmlands helps too; farm-to-table being one of the hottest trends right now. Food trucks and mixology are also big at the moment and well represented in Calgary. Ask a local for the latest big thing.

Get your fill of craft beer

Just like everywhere else on the planet, craft beer is the fastest growing sector of the liquor industry. Calgary was in at the start though, with its craft beer roots dating back to 1985. Big Rock was Alberta’s first craft brewery and developed from peanuts into a 54 million dollar business. The Big Rock Brewery Tour is now rated one of the most popular things to do in Calgary on Trip Advisor, with good reason.

Drink and paint

Yes, you read that right. Presented with a blank canvas and a tray of appetizers, combine two of life’s pleasures at Calgary’s first paint and sip studio – Vin Gogh (ouch!). Nights are reserved for classes that are ideal for a girls night out or a date night. Kids can join in on Saturday morning sessions, and on Saturday afternoons the studio can be rented out for children’s birthday parties. Parents can drop their tots off or hang around while nursing a glass of wine. Beats McDonalds’ play area, right?

Skate at Olympic Plaza

The Olympic Plaza is an urban park in downtown Calgary which was originally built as the site for the 1988 Winter Olympics medal ceremony and as a focal point for a wide range of cultural and social activities designed to enhance the Olympic experience. These days it is a fabulous outdoor skating venue in the winter months and is the only outdoor refrigerated ice surface in Calgary. It is especially beautiful at night when the area is lit up by the lights of downtown.

When visiting the city, arrive and depart in style by pre-booking a Calgary Airport Limo.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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