When you think of Calgary what comes to mind? Cowboys? Oil? While it’s true that Canada’s 4th biggest city does have both of those in abundance, there’s much more to it than the business-oriented, swaggering reputation it’s earned over the last half century would suggest.
In fact, it’s a surprisingly good place to spend a relaxing long weekend or a mid-week break. So, book yourself into one of the huge range of Calgary hotels and try out some of these insider tips to having a fantastic time in a great city.
Take to the Water
Who couldn’t be enchanted by the thought of a journey that starts at Ghost Dam? From here you can spend a day canoeing along a 27 km stretch of the Bow River with its spectacular mountain scenery. You will be challenged by rapids and enjoy glimpses of cargo trains passing by as their tracks hug the river. After a picnic lunch on Wildcat Island, your day will end in the cute town of Cochrane where you can indulge in a well-deserved ice cream or glass of wine.
Experience Heritage Park Historical Village
For a glimpse of what Calgary used to look like, take the ‘C’ train 10 km out of the city to this pre-1915 ‘village’ re-created on 10 hectares of land. You’ll find a fort, a grain mill, a school and lots more. There’s the chance to ride on a steam train, be pulled in a horse-drawn carriage and take a trip aboard the SS Moyie, the village’s ‘stern-wheeler’ ship, making the village a big hit if you are travelling with children.
Visit Glenbow Art Museum
Open every day except Monday, Glenbow hosts many world-class travelling exhibitions as well as themed shows based around works from its permanent collections. It is also has a large section devoted to exploring and explaining the rich cultural history of Southern Alberta.
Walk in Fish Creek Park
Depending on the time of the year you are visiting Calgary, there are a host of activities to enjoy at one of the largest urban parks in North America, measuring 19 km from east to west. It’s a popular place with locals and visitors alike. In summer the lake and beach are a perfect places to swim and relax but activities like biking, fishing, bird watching, or just hiking along the Park’s serene trails, are available all year round.
Watch Some Ice Hockey
The ‘Calgary Flames’ ice hockey team has a huge presence in the city. Not only does it play to packed home crowds but their ‘Flames Foundation’ also funds extensive charitable work in the local community. Why not head down to the Scotiabank Saddledome, grab a soda and hotdog and enjoy a game?
Join the Calgary Stampede
And, finally, if you don’t want to avoid cowboys entirely, make sure you visit the city in July, the month of its legendary annual rodeo and evening show.
This article is written as part of the #hipmunklove project. All opinions are my own and I would never recommend anything I didn’t believe in or use myself.