A celebration of the attractions and places that make this city great
While 2017 marks Canada’s 150th birthday, Calgary is almost as old – founded in 1875 as an outpost of the North-West Mounted Police (now the RCMP). And what better way to celebrate Canada’s major milestone than by checking out some of the top attractions and experiences that make Calgary such a great place to live? To that end, we’ve created this list of 150 things to see and do across the city, covering everything from museums and parks to entertainment venues and Calgary landmarks.
- Amateur Luging, Cougar Ridge
Located on the premises of Canada Olympic Park, Skyline Luge is “a unique, wheeled, gravity ride that provides riders full control over their descent on a purpose-built track.” Calgary’s Skyline Luge track covers 1,800 metres with 50 twists and turns “on a continuous downhill trajectory.”
- 17th Avenue S.W., Beltline
One of Calgary’s primary dining, nightlife, shopping and strolling destinations, 17th Avenue S.W. has also been dubbed “The Red Mile,” after it overflowed with fans during the 2004 Calgary Flames playoff run.
- Arts Common, Downtown
If you’re a live-theatre buff, then Arts Commons is the place to go. It’s not only home to two of Calgary’s largest professional theatre companies – Alberta Theatre Projects and Theatre Calgary – it’s also where you can catch the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in action, as well as the work of other professional theatre companies in town.
- Ask a Calgarian
“My favourite Calgary attraction is Heritage Park. Our daughter Isabella loves history and the simple way of life that includes small towns, antiques and animals. The train and horse-drawn-wagon rides are a big hit with her.” – Paul Van Ginkel, artist & gallery owner
- Baitun Nur Mosque, Castleridge
This unique Calgary landmark is one of the largest mosques in North America and the largest in Calgary. The 48,000-square foot complex offers tours, multilingual programs and private bookings or meetings for up to 500 people.
- Baker Park, Bowness
Baker Park is Calgary’s most popular park for outdoor weddings and wedding photographs. The park features a gazebo, river observation point, water fountains and picnic areas.
- Blakiston Park, Brentwood
A friendly little park with a running path, kids playground and plenty of green space for football, rugby and other sports. It’s conveniently located just next door to the Brentwood LRT station.
- The Bow Building, Downtown
For now, The Bow is Calgary’s tallest office skyscraper, and the tallest building in Canada outside of Toronto – a record that will be surpassed once Calgary’s Brookfield Place is completed. The Bow has a unique crescent shape, making it a recognizable structure on the Calgary skyline.
- Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs, Silver Springs
It boasts 20,000 square feet of gardens, including a spectacular wall garden that runs an uninterrupted 1,300 feet. In the gardens, you will find an endless variety of annuals and perennials, ranging from artemisias to zinnias.
- Bow Habitat Station & Pearce Estate Park, Inglewood
Consisting of a visitor’s centre, the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery and a re-constructed wetland, this is where visitors can learn about Alberta’s wetlands and water systems, and the fish that inhabit them.
- Bow Valley Ranche Historical Centre & Artisan Gardens, Deer Run
Nestled in Fish Creek Provincial Park, this beautiful historical site includes a fine dining restaurant in the restored Ranche House, as well as the 2.5-acre Native Gardens that honour the First Nations People who originally inhabited the Fish Creek Valley.
- Bowness Park, Bowness
A serene spot with a lagoon, boat rentals, winter ice skating, a playground and picnic areas.
- Bridgeland Community Association Playground, Bridgeland
This is a modern playground installed over a solid-surface rubber floor. It’s a short walk to restaurants and coffee shops in the funky Bridgeland neighbourhood and provides great views of downtown, including the Calgary Tower and the Bow.
- Burger Joints, City Wide
Alberta beef is world famous, so it goes without saying that there are some delicious burgers being served across the city, whether your allegiance is to Peter’s Drive-In, Clive Burger, Burger 320 or any of the city’s other fine options.
- Butterfield Acres, Rocky Ridge
A fun family farm set up for children and families to experience the many joys of being on the farm. It has lots of close-up animal interactions, pony rides, tractor and wagon rides, milking, gopher tunnels, a giant sandbox, picnic areas and playgrounds.
- Calgary Farmers’ Market, Acadia
A farmers market open year-round, offering Calgarians a wide selection of locally grown and produced goods, from food to handcrafted items. There’s also entertainment and a food court on site.
- Calgary Spaceport, Calgary International Airport
A unique educational and entertainment facility focusing on space and aeronautics. They make learning fun and accessible, using the latest computer and communication technology and hands-on exhibits and displays.
- Ask a Calgarian
“Calgary has so many great attractions and events, but my favourite would have to be WinSport Canada Olympic Park. There is just so much going on there all year round. It’s one of the amazing legacy facilities from the 1988 Winter Olympic Games that just keeps getting better with time.” – Todd Hirsch, chief economist at ATB Financial
- Calgary Tower, Downtown
The Calgary Tower is 160-metres high and offers a 360-degree view of the city from its rotating observation deck. A section of glass floor allows visitors to look down on the streets below.
- Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre, Downtown
A magnificent circular building, the Chinese Cultural Centre is a focal point for community activities in Calgary’s Chinatown. The building’s most impressive feature is the Dr. Henry Fok Cultural Hall, modeled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, with its colourful, 21-metre-high ceiling adorned with paintings of 561 dragons.
- Calgary West Soccer Centre, Tuscany
A large soccer dome with well-maintained fields, bright lighting and plenty of free parking.
- Calgary Zoo, Bridgeland
The zoo features a huge variety of animals and a park filled with models of dinosaurs. New for the summer of 2017 is “Land of Lemurs.”
- Calgary Zoo Botanical Gardens, Bridgeland
Wander along lush pathways to explore a living library of trees and plants. All paths lead to the ENMAX Conservatory, where you’ll find a steamy butterfly garden and jungle atmosphere.
- Calaway Park, Springbank
With 32 family friendly rides, Calaway Park is Western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park. The park also features a number of other attractions, including live shows and street performers.
- Canada Olympic Park (Winsport Canada), Cougar Ridge
A vestige of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada Olympic Park is open for recreational skiing and snowboarding in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. There’s also a zip line for the more adventurous.
- Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, Cougar Ridge
Located in Canada Olympic Park, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame consists of a dozen galleries filled with artifacts and interactive exhibits that share the stories and legacies of Canada’s sports heroes and the nation’s sporting history.
- Canmore Park, Charleswood / Banff Trail
Here you’ll find tennis courts, spray and wading pools, ball diamonds, and an excellent winter toboggan hill. It is often referred to as North Capitol Hill Park.
- Carburn Park, Riverbend
This large natural area along the eastern shore of the Bow River has three ponds, a regional pathway and a diverse selection of native plants and animals to enjoy.
- Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, Downtown
This grand old sandstone Anglican church – the first Anglican church to be built in Calgary – is a provincial heritage site. The building opened for services in 1905, replacing an earlier, wooden-frame iteration of the church.
- Central Memorial Park, Beltline
This is Calgary’s oldest park, dating back to 1912. It was redeveloped in 2009, but kept the original design, reflective of a formal, Victorian garden. On its premises are a cenotaph, the Memorial Park Library, and statues memorializing those who fought in the Boer War and the First World War.
This is Part 1 (1-30) of a five-part list of 150 things to see and do in Calgary.