The Scotiabank Saddledome and Calgary skyline at night
Calgary, Alberta's largest city, is a product of oil culture, and is situated where the prairies end and the foothills begin. As such, it is the eastern gateway to the Rocky Mountains and an important centre of trade and tourism for the western prairies. It is your most likely point of access for Banff and Jasper, and a worthwhile destination in its own right. Calgary is the heart of the largest metropolitan area between Toronto and Vancouver, with over 1,220,000 people as of 2009 (1.1 million city-proper), making it Canada's fourth largest metropolitan area.
Calgary is divided into four quadrants: Northeast (NE), Northwest (NW), Southeast (SE) and Southwest (SW). The dividing line between east and west is Centre Street in the north, and roughly Macleod Trail in the south. The dividing line between north and south is generally the Bow River in the west, and Centre Avenue and Memorial Drive (from 36 Street) in the east. Addresses proceed outwards from the center of the city; for example, 219 16th Avenue NE is on 16th Avenue N, between 1st and 2nd Street E.
Deerfoot Trail (Highway 2) running north-south is one of two freeways in Calgary, the other being Stoney Trail which presently runs in an elongated horseshoe across the northwest, north and eastern sides of the city (with plans for it to eventually be a complete ring road). Certain other roads have sections that alternate between being a true freeway and an at-grade expressway, with plans to become full freeways. Other major roads in the city are often given the street suffix Trail, such as Glenmore Trail, Crowchild Trail and Bow Trail; many of these roads are expressways for most or all of their length. Roads with the suffixes Boulevard or Drive are generally the next most major classification. Roads with the suffix Avenue run east-west, and roads with the suffix Street run north-south. Note that the names of small suburban roads usually incorporate the community name; this means that Taralake Garden, Taralea Place, Taralea Mews, Taralea Court, Taralean Grove, Taralea Avenue, Taralea Road, Taralea Blvd, Taralea Heath, and Taralea Green are all separate roads, all in the same community - Taradale. It can be very confusing for tourists and locals alike to navigate an area where the only differences in street names are the abbreviations. If travelling in the suburban communities, have a map or directions and pay attention to exact name.
Calgary has a fairly dense downtown, ringed by inner city neighborhoods laid out on a grid pattern for roughly 30-40 blocks. These inner city districts often have unique characteristics and are worth wandering through, for the visitor with some time to spend in the city. The outer suburbs are a typical sprawl of uniform housing and, except for major shopping, parks and other facilities scattered around, have little interest for the typical visitor.
Neighbourhoods of Interest
The Beltline and 17th Avenue: 17th Avenue S.W. is Calgary's premiere place to see and be seen. It boasts a large and eclectic variety of restaurants, unique shops, boutiques, and bars. This street is where Calgary parties, most notably becoming the "Red Mile" during the 2004 Stanley Cup (hockey) playoffs, where up to 100,000 cheering fans gathered to celebrate victories by the hometown Flames (the nickname has remained). While the entirety of the Beltline spans from the Stampede Grounds and Victoria Park on the east to Mount Royal on the west, the dense nightlife on 17th Avenue starts at about 2nd Street SW and goes to 15th Street SW.
Mission: In many ways, Mission acts as an extension of 17th Avenue. Like the Beltline, it is packed full of interesting restaurants and shops. It does not share 17th Avenue's "late night" reputation, however and it generally lacks the bars and nightclubs. It runs along 4th Street SW from 17th Avenue to 26th Avenue.
Forest Lawn International Avenue. Forest Lawn is known for its diverse culture, with the city's best Vietnamese, Lebanese, and Central American eateries lining 17th Avenue S.E. The nightlife of this area is a place to exercise caution. There are many pawn shops that line the streets, if you're looking for a deal.
Kensington. Kensington is located along the Bow River on the north side of downtown. It is another one of Calgary's notable shopping neighbourhoods, with a somewhat more bohemian feel than 17th Avenue (one particular store specializes Birkenstocks and Futons). It offers a good variety of restaurants, with more of an emphasis on coffee shops than on bars. Kensington runs along Kensington Road NW from 14th St NW to 10th St NW, and also north along 10th St NW to 5 Ave NW.
Inglewood: Inglewood is Calgary's oldest neighbourhood and the site of the city's original downtown. It is also one of Calgary's most culturally influenced and eclectic areas. Inglewood contains everything from stores targeted at bikers, to unique boutiques, antique stores, galleries, and restaurants. It is not as developed as some of the city's downtown districts, but it is quickly becoming one of the city's most popular "urban chic" neighbourhoods. It lies immediately east of downtown (east of 1st Street E) and is concentrated along 9th Avenue SE. Just to the north is the Bow River and the world-famous Calgary Zoo.
Bridgeland (Edmonton Trail on the west, The Campbell Hill on the east, Bridge Crescent NE on the north, and the river/Memorial/Zoo on the south) is a urban revitalization area northeast of the downtown. Although the community has been a destination for years as Calgary's "Little Italy" (hence the abundance of Italian restaurants in the area), the demolition of the old General Hospital in 1998 sparked a long-term project redevelop much of the era. The area is expected to be a family orientated Pearl District (see Portland Oregon) and the initial phases are already done. The area includes posh shops, chic apartments, beautiful lofts, while maintaining the old charm of the distinct houses. Eventually the neighbourhood will have more shops, and some high rise buildings. It is a great area to walk through for those interested in architecture/planning. The far eastern end of Bridgeland connects with the Calgary Zoo and the newly opened Telus Spark science centre.
Marda Loop/Garrison Green (east of Crowchild Trail along 33rd Avenue SW), which contains a large number of quaint shops, restaurants, and services and is a real up and comer area and would be a great place to check out. Marda Loop, centered on the intersection of 33rd Avenue and 20th Street S.W., is the older of the two areas and in mid-August hosts the Marda Gras Street Festival along 33 Avenue between 19 St. and 23 St. S.W. Garrison Green is a newly developed residential/shopping district immediately to the south of 32 Avenue that features its own mix of eclectic shops and old-towne storefronts.
Parkhill is a neighbourhood south of downtown. It is a quite wealthy area that was once home to many old homes. Today it is home to a range of modern designs, with few old homes still standing. It's a very interesting neighbourhood to go to.
Mount Royal is a neighbourhood south of the Downtown with charming old homes, that doesn't conform to the old street grid (that was used back then). The area houses some of Calgary's elite. It is a nice area to do a quiet nice stroll through, admiring old residential. Driving around the community can be challenging due to the preponderance of "traffic calming" and street closures to prevent cut-through traffic.
McKenzie Towne is located on the southeastern outskirts of Calgary (accessible via Deerfoot Trail and McKenzie Towne Boulevard). An exception to the "dull suburb" stereotype, this planned community features parks and classical home facades that come right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Anchoring the area is High Street, a shopping centre disguised as a classic small-town main street. Worth checking out if you've rented a car to visit Spruce Meadows.
Calgary was founded by the Northwest Mounted Police in 1876 and was originally called Fort Briseboise and later changed to Fort Calgary. It was founded in response to a surge of whiskey traders who traded for furs from the natives. In 1883, the first rail station was built and Calgary started to grow in every direction and became a agricultural and business hub. In 1894, it was renamed the City of Calgary. By 1902, oil was discovered, though it didn't mean much until 1947. After, during the fifties, oil became big in Calgary and major companies started heading to Calgary and opening offices. The boom extended into the next twenty years bringing the city to 720,000 people in the metro area by 1985. The relatively low-key low-rise downtown became filled with a sea of skyscrapers, starting with the Calgary Tower and some sixties towers. By the 80s, Calgary's luck turned, and a drop in oil prices sent the Calgary metro economy downward. High unemployment raged, vacancies became a reality,and growth was slow or even negative in some years. In 1988, Calgary held the Winter Olympics and brought world attention to Calgary. By the 1990s, it was on the rebound and began growing again. Calgary today has become a more cosmopolitan city of over one million inhabitants with genuine attempts to diversify its economy and expand its attractiveness to outside visitors.
Calgary is sunny and rather dry, with wide seasonal and daily temperature ranges. Summers tend to be sunny and mild, averaging highs of about 23°C (73°F) in July/August, usually accompanied by short afternoon storms - June being typically the wettest month. Hot weather (greater than 30°C / 86°F) is rare, occuring on average five times a year. Also temperatures typically drop dramatically during rain days as well (there's always a couple days in the summer months that barely manage highs over 10°C (50°F)).
Winter can also vary quite a bit. Temperatures can get extremely cold (below -20°C / -4°F) at times between November and March, while -30°C (-22°F) is possible (on average five times a year). Though average highs in January are about -2°C (28°F) based on a current 30-year average, there's nothing average with Calgary's weather. Because of the regular but unpredictable Chinooks (warm Pacific winds), there's no guarantee of when the cold weather strikes - one of coldest months in the last ten years has been a March (about -6°C / 21°F for average high), while a January has recorded one of the mildest (+6°C / 43°F average high). Temperatures can swell into the 15°C (59°F) range one day, and dip back into the sub-zero (sub 32°F) temperatures several days later. A typical Chinook rolls in fast (and windy), and the effects will usually linger for several days to more than a week.
Regardless of the time of year, temperatures usually drop quickly at night. Lows in summer hover around 8c, while in winter they average about -13c. Because of the elevation, proximity to the mountains, and dramatic temperature drops, seeing some snow falling as late as June, and as early as September is a regular occurrence - but this usually results in a "trace" of snow on the ground at most.
As mentioned, having a variety of clothes is essential at all times in the year. Packing shorts and sandals to light, windproof jacket or fleece from mid-May to mid-October, and everything from T-shirts to fleece/ski jackets, gloves, scarves from mid-Oct to mid-May works best. There's not typically a lot of snow on the ground since Calgary is located in a very dry region of North America and the regular Chinooks melt any snow, so heavy boots aren't typically needed. The close-by Rockies are typically cooler year-round, so plan accordingly for any day-trips.
Calgary International Airport (IATA: YYC, ICAO: CYYC), . The single terminal has four lettered concourses (A,B,C,D), which also name meeting places, easy points of reference. The airport is well-served by Canadian and international carriers. The airport is served by a volunteer force of mostly retirees dressed in red and white Western wear who are quite friendly and more than happy to direct you and answer questions.
While the airport is connected quite well to other Canadian cities, there are fewer options for Americans in neighbouring states, with most flights to the US going to major airline hubs. In some cases, it may be better to drive from locations just across the border. The four closest U.S. airports that currently have service to Calgary are Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Minneapolis.
Being a major Canadian airport, Calgary International has US border pre-clearance facilities; if your flight goes from Calgary to the States, you will go through American customs and immigration immediately after check in. Thus you get off the plane at your stateside destination as if you were on a domestic flight and make quicker connections there. The price for this perk is that you should budget more time when departing; most airlines recommend for you to check in at least 90 minutes before flight time when traveling to the U.S. Note however, that passengers are not permitted to access US Security more than 90 minutes before their flight departs.
Like most large airports, there are many options for getting into the city. Here is a brief summary of options for connecting between downtown and the airport:
Simplest: Taxi ($40-45 typically)  Should take 20 minutes on a good day.
Easy: Private shuttles ($15 per)  These offer scheduled service to downtown hotels. Many hotels also operate their own free shuttle buses.
Still easy: Calgary Transit bus 300-Airport/City Centre ($8 one-way, $10.75 round trip. Buy a ticket at Mac's convenience stores in the terminal, or pay exact change on board)  This fully accessible express bus leaves the airport every 30 minutes, on the :05 and :35s, running from 5:30AM to midnight everyday. Board at bus bay 20 on the arrivals level. Travel time to downtown is estimated at 30-45 minutes.
Cheapest(and slowest): Calgary Transit bus 100-Airport/McKnight Station and Light Rail Transit (LRT) ($2.75/adult, exact change on board) Take the 100-Airport/McKnight Station bus to McKnight-Westwinds LRT Station and board a train (this station is the terminus, so all trains head towards downtown). The bus runs every 20-30 minutes, stopping at 1AM on weekdays and earlier on the weekend. Since the train isn't really designed for air travellers, there will be little room for luggage, especially during rush hour. However the bus and all stations are fully accessible and have elevators available. Board the bus at bay 20 on the arrivals level of the terminal. Travel time is estimated at about 60 minutes.
Also possible: Car rentals are also available as at any airport.
For connections to other parts of the city by transit, consult the Calgary Transit website , or call the service centre at (403) 262-1000.
It is also possible to fly into the Edmonton International Airport, three hours away by ground transport.
Calgary is just over an hour's drive East of Banff (on the Transcanada highway, #1), and about 3 hours South of Edmonton on highway #2. From the U.S. side, use the I-15 Fwy. Calgary is about 200 miles (320 km) north of the border.
Greyhound, . The main terminal is located 1 km west of the edge of Downtown (877 Greyhound Way SW). However, there is excellent access from the station to the downtown C-Train stations via Calgary Transit.
Red Arrow, . Provides service to several Alberta cities, including Edmonton, with a somewhat more accessible bus stop on 9th Ave at 1st St SE.
Executive Express, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Runs a daily scheduled service from Calgary to Edmonton departing Calgary in the morning and returning to Calgary in the Afternoon. Seats sell for $129 one-way and compartments of four seats for $299. The vehicle is configured in such a way as to allow groups of commuters or even single individuals who require privacy to work or hold meetings while on the road. Wireless internet among other ammenities is included. Travel time is just under 3 hours. Morning departures right now are from the Foothills Hospital, Hotel Alma (U of C), and the Westin Hotel. Edmonton arrivals are at the U of A, Matrix Hotel and Westin Hotel.
Due to service cuts back in 1990, There is currently no Via Rail  service to Calgary. However, there is service to Vancouver, Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff on the Rocky Mountaineer  sightseeing train.
By transit (train/bus)
Calgary can be surprisingly fairly easy to get to most destinations of interest on bus/rail easily. This would be important for those not renting a vehicle, not within walking distance to all destinations that are desired, or not using taxis.
Calgary's public transit system was first established in 1909 as the Calgary Municipal Railway. Since then, it has developed into an efficient, fast, and extensive transit system. In particular, it was significantly built up in preparation for the 1988 Winter Olympics. The light rail transit system is called the C-Train (LRT) and runs faithfully and frequently. In the downtown core, you can ride the C-Train for 14 city blocks for free, along the length of 7th Avenue. There are three spurs of LRT track meeting in the downtown along 7th Avenue; line 201 starts in the far south (at Somerset-Bridlewood station), travels to the downtown, then exits the downtown to the northwest, traveling to Crowfoot Station. Line 202 starts in the northeast at McKnight/Westwinds Station, and travels into the downtown, ending at 10th Avenue Station within the downtown. Trains are marked with the end station they are traveling to; a 'Somerset' train leaves Crowfoot Station, travels south into the downtown, then south to Somerset station (where it turns around to become a 'Crowfoot' train). Be sure to go by the destination declared in the FRONT of the train, as the rear of the train often displays where the train came from, not where it is going. Trains are frequently not running on weekends due to construction or maintenance, so be sure to check the website if you are on a tight schedule, as this can lead to hour long bus detours. Unfortunately, the C-Train does not serve the Calgary International Airport, although bus connections exist. A new western leg of the C-Train is presently (2011) under construction, though this will primarily serve residential areas and won't connect to many destinations of tourist interest.
Although buses come along somewhat less often, and tend to serve commuters more than tourists, it is still possible to get around to the main places without too much difficulty. Bus routes are numbered, and generally designed to connect with the downtown or with an LRT station. Trains run every 10 minutes (5 minutes or less in rush hour and 15 minutes on general holidays), serving from around 4 AM to 1 AM. The exception to this schedule is when the Calgary Stampede, which occurs at the beginning of July, is in session. On those days, the trains run 24hrs a day . Major bus routes may run as early as 5 AM and late as 1 AM, but many more only operate until 8 or 9 PM, or, worse, during rush hours only. Bus frequencies can be as low as one per hour, although 30 minutes is more common.
Transit tickets are $2.75 for adults, and permit 90 minutes of travel connecting to any transit line. Day passes ($8.25) and books of 10 transit tickets ($27.50) are also available at most convenience stores. A monthly pass can also be purchased for unlimited usage within the ticket's designated month ($94.00). The C-Train operates on a honour system, although inspectors do occasionally check riders for valid tickets, with expensive fines ($150 or more) being charged. Travel on the C-Train in the downtown free fare zone is free of charge.
Information about the Transit System is available on the Calgary Transit Web Page , or by phoning their information line (403)262-1000 from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM, local time.
It is easy to be confused by Calgary's quadrant address system at first, but it is very logical, and, well, systematic.
Streets run north-south and avenues run east-west. Centre St divides the city into east and west, and Centre Ave (and parts of the Bow River) divide the city into north and south. Together these split the city into NE, NW, SE, and SW: the four quadrants. Thus any time you get an address on a numbered street, you MUST get whether it was NE, NW, SE, or SW. Street and avenue numbers--and thus addresses--increase as you move away from Centre St or Ave.
Many of Calgary's roads are numbered, but this is less common in the newer developments. Important roads are usually called "trails," but there are many exceptions. Note that newly-built neighbourhoods may not yet appear on maps, whether they be paper or GPS. If you are travelling to these places, it may be a good idea to ask for directions beforehand.
In general the city's driving situation is a result of rapid, unanticipated growth, so prepare for the roads being grossly inadequate and gridlocked during rush hour. Also watch for lane reversal rules during these peak times on weekdays (6:30 am-8:30am and 3:30pm-6:30pm) when going in and out of downtown on some larger streets. This increases the traffic flow in one direction by "borrowing" a lane normally going the other way.
Keep in mind that driving in winter is very different from driving in other seasons. Major roads are plowed, salted, and sanded, but often smaller residential streets are not at all. Note that as of fall 2011 the city has instituted Snow Route parking bans. This means after a heavy snowfall certain priority routes in the city - marked as snow removal routes with street signs - become no parking zones for 72 hours; this includes some residential streets, so bear this in mind if you're visiting family and parked on the street during the winter.
As confounding as driving in Calgary may be driving is still the best way to explore and see the city.
Downtown Calgary is a compact area which is easily accessible on foot. The pathway system, Eau Claire Market area and Stephen Avenue Mall (8th Avenue) are the primary walking destinations of downtown workers in the warmer months. In the wintertime, everyone navigates their way around the downtown core via the Plus 15 system , so called because the enclosed walkways joining buildings are approximately 15 feet above ground.
With approximately 635 km of pathways and 260 km of on-street bikeways within its boundaries, The City of Calgary boasts the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America. Pathway maps are available online  or at Calgary Co-op  stores. Downtown, there are many pathways along the rivers and park areas. Though Calgary can be thought of as a safe city, use common sense when biking at dusk and at night. This is particularly true on the east side of downtown along the river (close to the neighborhood of East Side Village), which is a rougher end of town.
Calgary has a good network of off-street bike paths, although motorists are sometimes less-than-courteous. Weather is unpredictable, and snowy cycling conditions may occur anytime from September to May. Bike racks are fairly common, especially in shopping areas. Be sure to use the bike racks provided, or another solid object to lock you bike to; as simply locking your back wheel will not provide sufficient security. Calgary Transit has bike racks at C-Train stations and allows bikes on the C-Trains during off-peak hours (at no additional fee). Some bike routes also have buses equipped to accommodate bicycles with racks on the front . Cyclists must remember that they must obey the same rules of the road as other vehicles . All cyclists under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet, and all cyclists must have an working bell on their bike.
Each major body of water in the city (bow river, elbow river, Glenmore reservoir, etc) will have both city parks and thus city bike trails passing through. These bike paths are heavily used during the morning rush hour to work, but can provide hours of scenic peddling. A scenic route starts in downtown and head along the "bow river pathway" as it heads south to Fishcreek provincial park. Here, leave the banks of the bow river and cycle though Fishcreek Park park along the main cycle path path until you reach the Glenmore reservoir (a good place for lunch). At the reservoir, as the bike path crosses the Dam, leave the "bow river pathway" for the "Elbow river pathway" This highly scenic path will take you back to downtown. Cycle time : 4 -6 hours (with lunch).
Another major pathway extends north up Nose Creek valley just east of the zoo, including two overpasses to cross Deerfoot Trail (busy freeway). While there is a pathway that leads to the airport, connecting to it requires crossing an industrial area, which is not recommended for novice cyclists. Cyclists are not permitted on Stephen Avenue Mall or Deerfoot Trail.
The African Savannah Building at the Calgary Zoo
Prince's Island Park, immediately north of Eau Claire in the Bow River (from downtown, there are bridges to the park near the end of 2nd St SW, 3rd St SW and 6th St SW). Calgary's largest inner city park is an island with a number of pleasant trails for walking and relaxing. In the summer, it plays host to Shakespeare in the Park  and it is also the site of two of the city's largest annual festivals: the Calgary Folk Music Festival  and Carifest  (Calgary's annual festival celebrating the city's large West Indian population).
Barclay Parade: Barclay Mall is a pedestrian mall that runs from Eau Claire on the north to Stephen Avenue in the south. It is home to a number of high end shops and encompasses the Penny Lane Entertainment District.
Devonian Gardens, 317 7th Ave SW (4th floor of TD Square), ☎ +1 780-987-3054, . The Devonian Gardens is a large indoor urban park located in TD Square, above the shopping. It is currently open for visitors.
Calgary Tower, 101 9th Ave SW (corner of 9th Ave SW & Centre St), ☎ +1 403-266-7171, . The Calgary Tower may not be quite as impressive as the CN Tower in Toronto, but it still commands a great view over the city and the surroundings. On a clear day you can see the Rockies to the west. It features a revolving gourmet restaurant, a bar, and an observation deck. The tower backs onto railway tracks and some run down blocks on the 10th Avenue side and is best approached from 8th Avenue for a more enjoyable experience.
Stephen Avenue Walk: As one of Calgary's most famous streets, Stephen Avenue (8th Avenue S between Barclay Mall and 2nd Street E) was declared a National Historic District by the Canadian Government. It is a major venue for boutique shopping, bars, pubs and restaurants. The mall is free of traffic throughout most of the day.
Chinatown: Canada's third largest Chinatown is in the northeast portion of downtown Calgary. It is the heart of Calgary's Asian diaspora, although much of north and east Calgary has a Pacific Rim influence. The area of about a half-dozen blocks is located along Centre Street S, from 4 Ave S (on the south) to the Bow River (on the north). Calgary's Chinatown packs in a dense network of Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and other Asian restaurants, shops, housing and cultural facilities. The area along Centre Street on the north side of the river almost functions as a loosely organized "second Chinatown" with Chinese-oriented businesses stretching for 20 or more blocks.
Olympic Plaza, 800 block of Macleod Trail SE (corner of 8th Ave SE and Macleod Trail). This public square was built as the site of medal presentations during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. During the summer, waders can enjoy the water-filled plaza, while winter visitors can go skating.
Glenbow Museum, 130 — 9 Avenue SE, ☎ +1 403-268-4100, . 9AM - 5PM M-Sa, Noon - 5PM Su. Western Canada's largest museum, with over 93,000 square feet of exhibition space spreading over three floors. More than 20 galleries are filled with artifacts from Glenbow's collection of over a million objects, emphasizing local history. Regularly changing visiting exhibits focus on art or more distant cultures. Children can make art on weekends. $14/$9 (adult/youth).
Telus Spark (The Calgary Science Centre), 220 St. George's Drive NE (located in the NE at the crossing of Memorial Drive and Deerfoot Trail), ☎ +1 403-268-8300 (email@example.com), . OPENS October 29, 2011. (Formally named Calgary Science Centre) Canada's first purpose-built New Science Centre in over 25 years is a place where people of all ages and abilities can put their imagination into action. Constructed on over 18 acres of reclaimed land, the new 153,000 square foot facility will feature over one hundred hands-on exhibits, four exhibit galleries, plus a travelling exhibition gallery, an expanded and enhanced Creative Kids Museum, Calgary's only HD digital Dome Theatre ( coming in 2012 ), a new Presentation Theatre and Learning Centre, a 10,000 square-foot atrium, and a four-acre outdoor park.$19.95 (adult/youth).
Calgary Zoo, 1300 Zoo Rd NE (LRT 202 - Zoo station), ☎ +1 403-232-9300, . Open daily 9AM - 5PM. The world-class Calgary Zoo is home to over 1,000 animals from all over the world, as well as to the Botanical Garden and a Prehistoric Park for dinosaur lovers. It is the second largest zoo in Canada.$18/$10 (adult/youth).
Fort Calgary Historic Park, 750 9th Ave SE, ☎ +1 403-290-1875, . Open daily 9AM - 5PM. Before becoming a city in 1894, the Calgary area was home to Fort Calgary. The Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP) fort was built in 1875. Today, Fort Calgary, located in Inglewood at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers is the city's oldest historic monument.$11/$7 (adult/youth).
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary & Nature Centre, 2425 9 Ave SE, . Trails open from sunrise to sunset, Nature Center open daily Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., closed Mondays and statutory holidays, closed at noon on December 24.. A 32-hectare wildlife reserve that offers more than two kilometres of walking trails throughout the riverine forest. More than 250 species of birds and 300 species of plants, plus several kinds of mammals, have been observed in the area.Free.
Stampede Grounds, 1410 Olympic Way SE, . The site of Calgary's world-famous exhibition and rodeo, the Calgary Stampede grounds are located on the east end of the Beltline in Victoria Park. Not only are the grounds the site of the excitement of every July's Calgary Stampede, they also house a conference and exhibition centre (the Round-Up Centre) and a casino.
Scotiabank Saddledome,  Located on the Stampede Grounds, Calgary's largest hockey arena plays host to the Calgary Flames (hockey), the Calgary Hitmen (junior hockey), the Calgary Roughnecks (lacrosse), and many concerts.
The Military Museums, 4520 Crowchild Trail SW, ☎ +1 403-974-2850, . The most extensive military museum in Canada outside of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, this facility houses galleries devoted to four local Army regiments and their service in the Boer War, the World Wars, the Korean War, the Cold War, and post-1945 operations with the UN and NATO including Cyprus, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, several general interest galleries, the former Naval Museum of Alberta, and an outdoor historical vehicle display. Formerly known as the Museum of the Regiments.
Battalion Park. A tribute to local soldiers that trained for the First World War, this is an interpretive 0.5 km hiking trail up the side of the bluff overlooking the former Sarcee Camp. Soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force left enormous battalion numerals spelled out in whitewashed stones which have been restored as a permanent memorial. The interpretive trail also includes a monument and a self-guided tour with historical tablets and photographs. Most (but not all) of the numbers are easily seen from the parking lots of the nearby Signal Hill and West Hills shopping centres.
Many attractions are LRT accessible, and the stops have been noted. A rental car is recommended for the less accessible attractions, although buses are usually still possible.
Canada Olympic Park (COP), 88 Canada Olympic Rd (catch the LRT to Brentwood station, then bus 408 to the park), ☎ +1 403-247-5452, . Take a tour of the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics, which includes going to the top of the ski jump for a fantastic view. Four runs are available for your skiing pleasure during the winter months, and there is also an on-site museum, as well as the Canadian Olympic Hall Of Fame and the new Canada Sports Hall of Fame. The halfpipe and rail park are frequented by some very talented skiiers and snowboarders, making for interesting viewing. The COP hosts Canada's only bobsled track (until Whistler's track is finished) and they offer rides periodically during winter.
Heritage Park, Heritage Dr and 14th St SW, . One of the largest living historical villages in North America, on 66 acres of land near the Glenmore Reservoir. Attractions include a working Steam Engine, 155 historical exhibits, a candy store and bakery, old fashioned amusement park and ride on the S. S. Moyie, a paddlewheel boat.
Spruce Meadows. Located just south of the city proper on Highway 22X, Spruce Meadows is a world-renowned show jumping and equestrian facility.
Many Calgarians are understandably proud of the vast collection of skyscrapers. What's more impressive are the clear views you can get of downtown from certain spots around the city, with the mountains in the background, naturally.
Crescent Road, (From 16 Ave NW, turn south on 8 St NW until 13 AvenueNW where you turn east until 7 A St NW where you turn south, then go until Cresent Road NW where you turn west onto said st, then take your first left (or south) turn and then drive down that a tiny bit until you think it is okay, then stop and admire. Do not go past 13 Ave.).
Nose Hill, (Go to the nose hill park).
Scotsman Hill. This location overlooks the Stampede Grounds and is a good place to watch the fireworks which are scheduled every evening during Stampede Week after the Chuckwagon Races and the Stage Show. People simply park their cars - there is no cost - and watch the fireworks for free. That's why it's called Scotsman Hill.
Tom Campbell's Hill Park.
While Calgary is no Rome, Tokyo, or Paris for architecture, Calgary does have some highlights that may be worth visiting/seeing for those interested in architecture. Although still under construction The Bow is a modern masterpiece of glass and steel and would be a shame to miss (but really how could you? The Bow pierces through the skyline from pretty much any angle). Stephen Avenue and Atlantic Avenue both have an abundance of tightly packed, small, old commercial buildings with great architectural details. The Calgary Tower is a beautiful early modern tower with a minimalist design that, even if you don't care for the design, shouldn't miss if only for the views. One could also stroll the construction mazes of Macleod Trail and Scarth St/1 Street SE for many beautiful modern condominiums.
Calaway Park. Western Canada's largest amusement park is located just west of Calgary's city limits on highway 1.
Harvie Passage. The drowning machine formerly known as the Wier has been remade into a White Water park for paddlers. It is located downtown near the Calgary Zoo on the Bow River. Inexperienced paddlers should not attempt Harvie Passage alone. The park is supposed to be open to paddlers this year (2012), but official information is not easy to find.
Calgary Stampede. Yearly, July. For ten days the whole city goes western! Billed as "the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", the festival has events all around the city, but the highlights are the rodeo and chuckwagon races which boast the world's richest prizes.
Calgary Flames Hockey Club. Yearly, October to June. Calgary's NHL team is a consistent playoff contender in recent years, and tickets may be hard to come by. Expect a great atmosphere and game if you're lucky enough to get tickets. Price range from $40-$200
Calgary Stampeders Football Club. Yearly, June to November. Calgary's CFL football team is another city sports attraction. The CFL plays 3 down football, with only 20 seconds between plays, so watching a CFL game is quite different to watching an NFL game!
Calgary Hitmen. Yearly, September to May. Calgary's Junior Hockey team play in the Western Hockey League and at the Saddledome when the Flames are not in town. Junior Hockey serves as a feeder league for the NHL. Usually as fun as the Flames, but cheaper!! Prices range from $15-40.
Calgary Roughnecks. Yearly, January to May. Calgary's National Lacrosse League team were Champions Cup winners in 2004 and 2009. The sport is fast, rough and tough. Features loud music throughout and a great experience. Prices range from $15-60.
Calgary Vipers. Yearly, May to September. Independent minor league professional baseball in the Golden League. Formerly of the Northern League.
Calgary International Salsa Congress Yearly, beginning of February. Weekend of all night salsa parties and Latin dance performances featuring both world-class and local talent. Includes qualifiers for the World Latin Dance Cup.
Calgary has developed a fairly vibrant theatre scene including both professional and amateur theatre. The two daily newspapers provide some theatre coverage, but the best coverage and listings are found in free weekly Fast Forward magazine .
EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, 205 8th Avenue S.E. (adjacent to Olympic Plaza), +1 403 294-7455, . The epicentre of Calgary's theatre scene, the EPCOR Centre hosts the three best-known professional theatre groups; the conservative Theatre Calgary, the more adventurous Alberta Theatre Projects (ATP) , and the downright avant-garde One Yellow Rabbit Perfomance Theatre (OYR) . The facility has two additional theatres, so other companies often produce shows here. Of special note are two festivals held by the resident companies; OYR's High Performance Rodeo runs for January and provides a wildly eclectic mix of performing arts (and performance art) while ATP's PlayRites runs from February into early March and focuses on new works. $10-60.
Vertigo Theatre, 161, 115 - 9 Avenue SE (at the base of the Calgary Tower), ☎ +1 403 221-3708, . is dedicated to producing mystery plays, ranging from musicals to straight-up whodunnits. A second studio theatre frequently hosts other companies.
Theatre Junction, 608 1st St SW, ☎ +1 403 205 2922, . Offers a slate of highly contemporary theatre and performing arts, and the venue also hosts music.$20-30.
Pumphouse Theatre, 2140 Pumphouse Avenue SW, ☎ +1 403 263-0079, . Two theatres contained inside a historic brick waterworks building play host to a large part of Calgary's semi-pro and community theatre scene, with new productions here every week.$10-25.
Loose Moose Theatre, 1235 - 26th Ave. S.E. (in the Crossroads Farmer's Market), ☎ +1 403 265-5682, . One of the originators of, and international leaders in, short-form improvisation and Theatresports (think Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Loose Moose does improv weekly, as well as the occasional original children's show or comedy.$8-12.
Lunchbox Theatre, 160, 115 9th Ave SW (in the Calgary Tower), ☎ +1 403 265-4292, . Shows at 12:10PM M-Sa and 6:10PM on F. This unique theatre company produces exclusively one-act plays, during the weekday noon lunch hour. Typically lighter fare suitable for a downtown corporate crowd.$18.
Stage West Dinner Theatre, 727 42 Ave SE, ☎ +1 403 243-6642, . Offers unchallenging, tried-and-true shows, along with a generic buffet dinner.$60-100.
Jubilations Dinner Theatre, 1002 37 ST SW (in Westbrook Mall), ☎ +1 403 249-7799, . Similar to Stage West, with more of a focus on parodies of popular television shows.$55-65.
Big Rock Brewery has tours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 1:30PM. Prebook by calling 403-720-3239 or 1-800-242-3107.
Calgary business district from Centre Rd. NW.
Busking is common in the summertime, along Stephen Avenue downtown at lunch time, near Eau Claire on weekends, and along 17th Avenue at night. Busking permits  are available for Stephen Avenue; busking in Eau Claire Market proper is restricted to auditioned performers, ruling this option out. 17th Avenue has potential, if you can deal with drunken hecklers.
One common pick-up spot for day labour is Centre Street south, between 12th and 13th Avenues. Arrive early for black market jobs, especially in the summer (construction) season. There's an abundance of other employment opportunities  as well.
Calgary is a city with a strong volunteer spirit, which was embraced during the 1988 Winter Olympics and continues to be a foundation of the community. Volunteering is a great way to meet people in any city you visit. If you are unable to find a volunteer opportunity on your own, try Volunteer Calgary  or Single Volunteers of Calgary .
Inglewood, centred of Atlantic Avenue (9 Ave SE) east of the Elbow (river), this quirky neighborhood is almost devoid of chain businesses (save maybe a Starbucks), leaving a sea of unique businesses. The highlights are the coffee shops, art galleries, trendy clothiers, and upscale furniture shops. This is arguably Calgary's best urban shopping area.
Stephen Avenue is in the heart of the Central Business Area of the Downtown and as a number is 8 Av SW. It is home mostly to restaurants and some bars, but you will still find shops like HMV fronting it. The Avenue is also home to most of the Downtown malls which are all coming together in one giant renovation into the Core which should be completed in the near-future.
17 Avenue SW is Calgary's most well known urban business street and is home to chains like the Source and Le Chateau, and more independent-focused businesses like Megatunes. If you literally drop from all the shopping, the heart of the strip is this little park called Tompkins Park, filled with nice shading from summer heat and cozy benches.
Kensington District, centred on 10 Street NW and Kensington Road NW is home to art galleries, fashion retailers, and antiques. It is somewhat more upscale than say Stephen or Atlantic, but not in a snobby way.
Chinook Centre is on Macleod Trail at 58th Avenue south close to the Chinook C-Train station. This is Calgary's largest mall and is one of the best shopping experiences in the city for variety and amount of retail shops. An extension opened in 2010.
Market Mall is in the northwest near The University of Calgary.
Southcentre Mall is located at Macleod Trail and Anderson Road, and is a five minute walk from the Anderson C-Train LRT station.
Deerfoot Meadows is reached by taking Deerfoot Trail southbound to the Southland Drive exit or northbound to the Heritage Drive exit. Big box stores you'll find include Ikea, Best Buy, Michael's, Real Canadian Superstore and Future Shop.
Deerfoot Outlet Mall is located at Deerfoot Trail and 64 Ave NE. Anchor tenants include Sears, Wal-Mart, Winners, Sport Chek and Kacz Kids.
CrossIron Mills, 261055 CrossIron Blvd, Rocky View, AB (About 10 minutes north of the city on Highway 2 (Deerfoot Trail)), ☎ 403-984-6800, . This large shopping centre is in the neighbouring hamlet of Balzac. Similar in format to other "Mills" malls, it has many well-known stores and outlets. When it opened in 2009 it was the first new enclosed mall to be built in the Calgary area in a generation. Plan on driving, however, there is a limited mall-owned free shuttle for mall workers at the end of the line C-train station in the north-east, if you're lucky you might be able to get on it. Store highlights include the province's only branch of Bass Pro Shops (worth checking out for the spectacular wildlife and hunting displays inside), Pro Hockey Life, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Indigo Books, a multiplex movie theatre, and even one of the only Canadian locations of Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs.
If you take the time to drive out to CrossIron Mills, it may be worth driving the extra five minutes further on Highway 2 to the city of Airdrie, which has its own eclectic shopping scene including the "Where On Earth Did You Get That?" antique mall.
Eau Claire Market, 200 Barclay Parade (corner of 2nd St and 2nd Ave SW), ☎ +1 403-264-6450, . M-W, Sa 10AM - 6PM, Th-F 10AM - 8PM, Su 11AM - 5PM. A unique market-style mall with interesting shops, restaurants and cinemas. The market is in a state of renewal and lacks many of the attractions it once had.
Downtown Calgary from Prince's Island Park
Calgary Farmers' Market, 510 77th Avenue SE (Just off of Blackfoot Trail and Heritage Drive S.E), ☎ +1 403-240-9113 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Thur-Sun 9 am - 5 pm. The Calgary Farmers’ Market has been bringing local produce and products to Calgary since 2004. The market was built on a foundation which supports local farmers and enables them to sell their product at the height of each natural harvest. The market was founded by a non-profit association known as the ABC Farmers’ Market Society. This group of dedicated members built the market from scratch and operated until April 2006 when it transitioned into a new generation co-op, Calgary Farmers' Market NGC. Over the last 8 years, the market has focused on bringing exceptional local goods, service and experience to 1 million annual visitors. The market just celebrated its 1st Anniversary in its new location on April 21st 2012. Some of the notable features of the market include: • A large food court with seating for over 250 people and 2 outdoor patios • Open-concept feel and wider aisles to better accommodate strollers & wheel chairs • A large farm themed kids’ play area • Two story glass atrium and stage area. • 75 vendors supplying customers with fresh local produce, art, meat, poultry, international food, organic goods, jewelry and more. • Special events like storytelling, demonstrations, dance shows and live music. • Over 600 free parking spots on the lot and surrounding street parking.
Crossroads Flea Market, 1235 26th Ave SE (Blackfoot Trail and Ogden Rd), ☎ +1 403-291-5208, . Indoor Market: F-Su 9AM-5PM, Outdoor Market: F-Su 8AM-5PM (summer). Less than 5 minutes from downtown with ample free parking, Crossroads Markets is located in an eclectic 100,000 square foot historical building. Crossroads Market is home to a flea market, antique market, indoor farmer`s market, international food fair and a seasonal outdoor farmer's market.
The Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmers' Market runs Wednesday evenings at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Centre, 1320-5 Avenue NW. The Market runs from June to October, 3:30-8:00 p.m. (Fall hours after Labour Day, 3:30-7:30 p.m.)
Hillhurst-Sunnyside Flea Market, also hosted at the Hillhurts-Sunnyside Community Centre, runs every Sunday.
Millarville Farmers' Market Millarville Race Track (20 minutes South of Calgary), Millarville. For Info call (403) 931-2404 'Summer Market' Saturdays, June to October, 8:30AM to 12 noon. 'Christmas at Millarville' November. Millarville is the largest market in Southern Alberta! Experience a potpourri of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, home-baked pies, cut and potted flowers, crafts and original jewelry and artwork. Take some time to enjoy free entertainment, grab a mid-morning breakfast or browse the craft stands and chat with the artists. Note, however, the very limited operating hours.
Cochrane Farmers Market in Cochrane Ranche Historic Site Parking Lot Highway 1A & Highway 22 Phone Number: (403) 851-0562 Saturdays 9:00AM - 1:00PM Weekly Jun 4-Sep 24
Calgary Bearspaw Farmers' Market at the Bearspaw Lions Clubhouse 25240 Nagway Rd Phone Number: (403) 239-0201 Sundays 11:00AM - 3:00PM Weekly Jun 5-Sep 30 Special Markets: Christmas - dates TBA.
Strathmore Farmers' Market at Kinsmen Park near downtown Phone Number: (403) 901-0477 'Spring Market - held indoors' Saturday Apr 30 4:00PM - 8:00PM 'Outdoor Market' Fridays Jun 17-Sep 16 4:00PM - 8:00PM 'Christmas Market - held indoors' Saturday Nov 26 4:00PM - 8:00PM
Calgary offers a wide variety of dining options. While Calgary doesn't have a single signature dish, residents are very proud of Alberta Beef, and Calgarians are discerning clients of steakhouses. Speaking of beef, the popular Chinese-Canadian dish of ginger beef was invented in Calgary in the 1970s. Calgary is also home to a very culturally diverse population, with a very wide selection of international restaurants, especially from East and Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean from Italy through Lebanon. Calgary is, however, generally lacking in decent Mexican food, and the inland location means that a good meal of seafood is sometimes hard to find.
Restaurants in the downtown area are very busy between noon and 1 PM on weekdays due to the lunch crowd of office workers; if you can, try to stagger your lunch to start around 11:15 or 1:30. You'll face much shorter lineups. Buffets are often only prepared once for lunchtime, and visiting a buffet after 12:15 or so will typically be a depressing dining experience.
Calgary is also the city of founding for major Canadian restaurant chain, Moxies.
Note that Calgary's most abundant ethnic specialty is Vietnamese. Most neighbourhoods have at least one Vietnamese noodle shop or Vietnamese sub (banh mi) joint. Some of the other inexpensive options are as follows:
Chianti is an Italian restaurant with many branches in Calgary. You can get any of their awesome pastas for $7.99 during pasta nights (Sun, Mon, Tues) otherwise around $10 during the rest of the week. Bread is served free of charge.
Cal's Calzone Zone an Alberta calzone chain that uses local ingredients. Beer is available. The Calgary location does serve Alberta Premium Whisky along with other liquor. Credit cards are not accepted, however the prices are reasonable. It's location is a closely guarded secret, only Bruno of 8th street knows it's location, only after a duel will he tell you.
Chicken On The Way, 1443 Kensington Road NW, +1 403 283-5545. One of the longest-running fast food institutions in Calgary (opened 1958), Chicken On The Way delivers wonderful deep-fried chicken, french fries and corn fritters, at a fair price. This is an old-school joint; no frills, nothing fancy, and none of that new-fangled low-fat junk. The dining space is two picnic tables next to busy 14th St. But it's still hands-down the best fried chicken in the city. A meal runs in the $4 - 6 range.
Falafel King, 803 1 St SW, +1 403 269-5464. The friendly service and top-quality Middle Eastern food means that there's a lineup out the door evey lunch hour. Falafel, chicken and beef shawarma, and the best hummus in the city on the menu, with a free piece of baklava with every order, and fresh-squeezed juice on tap. Hail to the King, baby. $6-7.
Louie's Sub & Pizza, 1941 Uxbridge Dr. N.W, +1 403 289-8070. Best Subs in the city. Also you will find an Excellent Gourmet Pizza Selection, Chicken Souvlaki, Salads and Tina's Famous Homemade Baklava. Delivery is available. www.louiesub.com. A meal runs in the $4 - 8 range.
Peter's Drive-in, 219 16 Ave NE, +1 403 277-2747. Peter's Drive-In is a classic drive-through burger joint. Great fries, burgers and milkshakes at very affordable prices, and higher quality (and large portions -- watch out for the "large" = shoebox of fries). Well known throughout Alberta. Rather than waiting in the drive-through line, park in the adjacent lot and walk up to the front windows; you'll get faster service, and you can eat on one of the picnic tables. Burger, shake and onion rings will cost about $8. Please note that Peter's Drive-in only accepts cash as a form of payment. They serve the finest milkshake in the city; thick and made with real fruit (over 20 flavours!).
Pho Pasteur Saigon, 207 1st St SE, +1 403 233-0477. Pho Pasteur Saigon is a favourite Vietnamese noodle joint. Filling and tasty and all for around $6. If they're busy, try Little Vietnamese Village, at the south entrance to the mall (half a block south), or Pho Hoai, located inside the mall.
Spolumbo's, 1308 9 Ave SE, +1 403 264-6452. Owned by former Calgary Stampeders players, Spolumbo's offers delicious Italian style deli foods; sandwiches, soups and salads. An in-house sausage plant makes some of Calgary's finest sausage. Try the Spolumbo's Special, a panini sandwich featuring mortadella, capicolla and genoa salami. Fresh and delicious, but a little pricey; $7-8 for a typical sandwich.
Super Donair Kabab Restaurant, 1018 9 Ave SE, +1 403 262-2930. This is a restaurant even Calgarians don't really know about; located in a grimy hole-in-the-wall next to a bottle depot in an out-of-the-way part of Inglewood, billed as "a touch of excellence for classy people" (the excellence part is true) and decorated with a kitschy style all its own. Kim, the charismatic owner/cook, makes some of the finest Donairs in the city, with wonderful beef and magnificent sauce; a donair and drink can be had for just $5.
Tubby Dog, 1022 17th Ave SW, +1 403 244-0694. Tubby Dog is a hot dog restaurant right on 17th, close to many of the bars. They offer huge hotdogs with toppings like nacho cheese, bacon bits, peanut butter and jelly, captain crunch, fried eggs, sausage and potato chips. Some nights they have a DJ spinning in the corner, and other nights they have video game tournaments. Expect to wait in line if planning on going on a Friday or SAturday after partying on 17th.
Wicked Wedge, 618 17th Ave SW, +1 403 228-1024. The Wedge offers pizza-by-the-slice, but a cut above all other such joints. Innovative pizzas, lots of toppings and hand made crusts have made the Wicked Wedge a local landmark. Located on 17th Avenue, they draw a heavy after-bar crowd, and are busiest at 2AM on a Friday night! One of the best places to go for late-night food. $3.50 a slice.
Rocky’s Burger Bus, 1120 46th Ave. SE, ☎ +1-(403) 243 0405 (fax: +1-403 253-8120), . Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm. An old transit bus parked in the middle of an industrial area in SE Calgary. They proudly serve AAA Alberta beef to huge lineups on any given day, +20 or -20 come lunch time. Burgers. Fries. Onion rings. Poutine. Smokies and hot dogs. Bacon on a bun. Milkshakes. Pop. One of the best burgers in town made from fresh, hand formed 1/3 pound 100% Alberta beef$5-7.
Banzai Sushi & Teriyaki House, 526A - 4th Ave. SW, ☎ +1-403 262-9060 (fax: +1-403 262-9060). Competently-executed, low-priced Japanese food in an efficient cafeteria-like setting. A good choice for a fast, cheap, satisfying lunch. Branches in Southland and Downtown.$7-9.
Boogies Burgers, A-908 Edmonton Trail NE, ☎ +1-403.230.7070. large burgers on a fresh sesame bun served in many one of a kind creations. Shakes made with real ice cream & milk, Regular, spicy & yam fries.$5.
Belmont Diner, 2008 33 ave SW, +1 403242-6782. A traditinal style diner serving breakfast until 3PM and lunch after about noon. On weekends be sure to get there early as the line can be half a block long because of its popularity and smaller size inside. Breakfast can be a run you up to $10 but well worth it (generous portions and all made as you order).
Nick's Steakhouse, 2430 Crowchild Trail NW , +1 403 282-9278. If you are looking for great Alberta steaks or some tasty pizzas, this is one of Calgary's best. Prices are generally between $15 to $20 for an entree. This is a short walk from the Banff Trail Train Station, across from McMahon Stadium in the North West. Close to Motel Village, where many of the hotel chains can be found.
Marathon Ethiopian Restaurant, 130 10 St NW, +1 403 283-6796. Marathon is Calgary's oldest and finest Ethiopian restaurant. They offer a lunch buffet on weekdays, but otherwise, often have slow service. The food makes up for it; it's very tasty and filling. Vegetarian options available; roughly $12-15 per person.
Orchid Room 513 - 8 Ave SW Bankers Hall Business Phone: (403) 263-4457 A fusion of Vietnamese, Thai and French cuisine with dishes like seafood phó soup, caramelized salmon, coconut prawn soup and salad rolls stuffed with mango and shrimp.
The Coup, 924b 17th Avenue SW (Door off a railed-in sidewalk area.), ☎ +1-403-541-1041 (email@example.com), . Mon closed; Tue - Fri: 11:30AM - 3PM, 5PM - 'close'; Sat, Sun: 9AM - 3PM, 5PM - 'close'. This all-vegetarian restaurant serves a variety of interesting flavours from largely organic and local ingredients. You may have to wait for a few minutes to get a seat in the cozy 32-seat dining room, since they take no reservations and seat at most six per table, but ask for a drink from the full bar (liquor and coffee) as you wait. Try the yam fries, for instance as a side to the El Taco grilled tortilla wrap with shredded beets, or the War and Peas soba noodle salad. Plenty of vegan options. Serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.dinner entrée $9-13 plus drinks and tax.
Laurier Lounge, 1111 - 7 Street SW, ☎ 1-4-3-228-3772, . Possibly the most romantic atmosphere in town. French influenced, located in historic Stanley house. Dishes range from Poutine ($10), Filet Mignon Hambourgeois ($15 - touted as the best burger in Calgary) up to Beef fondue for 2 ($65 - 30 day aged beef, simmering beef & onion broth, baked potato, raw vegetables, mixed green salad & a trio of dipping sauces. Voted best fondue in Calgary)
La Chaumiere, 139 17th Ave SW, +1 403 228-5690. A Calgary institution. Serves classic French Haute Cuisine. Excellent wine cellar.
The Belvedere, 107 8th Ave. SW, +1 403 265-9595. The only restaurant to win the coveted Birks Silver Spoon Award for 2 consecutive years. Flawless service and atmosphere. Well-stocked bar and lounge with a nice selection of Cuban cigars.
Saltlik Steakhouse, 101 8th Ave SW, "+1 403" 537-1160. This is a high-end steakhouse in the core of downtown, and is extremely popular with the oilmen working in the core, and for good reason. The food and service is generally excellent with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Steak is, as expected, quite good. more extravagant steak houses exist, but tend to exist for the expense account crowd. $15 to $35 for an entree.
Brava Bistro, 723 17 Avenue SW, "+1 403" 228-1854. Brava is a well-known and popular spot for those looking for an excellent and varied menu. Varied menu with excellent wine matching and interesting selections. $20-30 per entree.
River Cafe, 200 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary AB T2P, (403) 261-7670. Located inside Princes Islad Park, thus has no parking. Nearest parking lot is not far, but this can cause problems with harsh weather or disabled diners.
Japanese Village 317 10 Avenue Sw Calgary, AB T2R 0A5 - (403) 262-2738. A teppan and Steak house, Japanese Village leads the city's Japanese cuisine. They offer meals cooked in front of your eyes and food that is to die for!
Calgary is the original home of the Caesar, and has many bars located throughout the city, although the core is where the trendiest clubs are located. There is also the ever popular 17th Avenue SW, home to the Red Mile.
Cat'n'Fiddle, 540 16th Avenue NW, +1 403 289 0414, Great place to head for a pint of almost any brew you can think of, sometimes with a touch of Irish
Ship and Anchor Pub, 534 17th Ave SW, +1 403 245-3333, An excellent place for live music, a lively young crowd, and cheap eats.
Melrose Cafe and Bar, 730 17th Ave SW, +1 403 228 3566, A place to sit in the sun on the patio and people watch. Named as the heart of Calgary's "Red Mile" during the 2004 NHL playoffs.
The Back Alley,  4630 Macleod Trail South, +1 403 287-2500 Upbeat nightclub featuring rock and hip-hop music, must do for a partier. It has been nicknamed "the crackalley" or, simply, "the crack" by locals for its somewhat harder-edge crowd and atmosphere. Exercise caution, and when possible, go with a group.
HiFi Club,  for those who aren't cowboys/cowgirls and want some different, alternative music.
Whiskey Nightclub,  - 341, 10th Ave SW - Larger Nightclub, Thursdays - Saturday. Generally older crowds. 25 and up on Saturdays
The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club,  109 7th Ave SW - Upstairs is a BBQ restaurant featuring various meats smoked over apple and cherry wood along with an expansive selection of bourbon, tequila and whisky. Fridays feature live rock-a-billy from 5-9PM while the downstairs bar features live music every Friday and Saturday evening.
The Rose & Crown Pub, 1503 4 Street Southwest, 403-244-7757 - Two level pub with a large wood fireplace during the winter. Live music, large beer selection. Was once a funeral home and is rumoured to be haunted.
The Twisted Element (Twisted), 1006 - 11th Avenue SW, ☎ 403-802-0230, . Wed 8PM - close, Thurs-Sat 9PM til close, Sun 7PM - close, Mon-Tues Closed. Calgary's only gay nightclub (although there is a leather bar with a heavy gay presence), Twisted has an incredible variety of clientele. Mostly gay and bisexual men and boys and a variety of lesbian bisexual and straight girls. Wednesdays and Thursdays feature amateur strip contests along a number of themes and good drink specials.
Morgan's, 1324 17th Ave SW. An industry favourite. A great live music pub with cheaper drinks than most places on 17th Ave. Tuesdays host the must-see Broken Toyz an exceptionally talented Glam-Rock band who have become local legends. Get there before 9 to avoid long line-ups. Often has a slightly older crowd than other establishments on 17th Ave, with more late 30s and 40s drinkers.
Calgary features other bars and clubs such as Tequila Nightclub, Mansion, Ceili's Irish Pub, Ranchman's and much more.
Moose McGuire's, 25-1941 Uxbridge Drive NW (Off university drive, near McMahon Stadium and the UofC Campus), ☎ 403-289-9184. Mon-Thurs: 11:30AM-1AM Fri: 11:30AM-2AM Sat.: 12PM–2AM Sun: 12PM-1AM. One of the many pubs in town, this one is located very close to both McMahon Stadium (home of the Calgary Stampeders the local CFL team) and the University Campus. As a result the prices are great and it's an excellent place to enjoy a game or head to after class.
Best Western Airport Inn Calgary Hotel, 1947 - 18th Avenue N.E, Calgary, AB, Canada, T2E 7T8, ☎ 403-250-5015 (fax: 403-250-5019), . Features 24-hour Calgary airport hotel shuttle service.
Wicked Hostels - Calgary, 1505 MacLeod Tr SE, ☎ +1-403-265-8777 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Wicked Hostels is Calgary's newest hostel and only independently-owned boutique backpacker accomodation. This 63 bed backpacker/international youth hostel provides a plethora of free amenities such as free breakfast, free internet, free wifi, free long-distance calling, free parking, it even offers golf clubs and bikes you can hire for free. Rooms are quite small and crowded and a party atmosphere is prevalent on weekends. Located across from the Calgary Stampede grounds and the Victoria Park/Stampede station. It is also in on the corner of the 17th Ave entertainment avenue.$32.50/8-bed dorm, $34.50/6-bed dorm, $36.50/4-bed dorm, $90 private double room plus tax.
Centro Motel Calgary, 4540 16th Avenue NW, +1 403 288-6658, FAX: +1 403 288-6657, . Boutique Motel with rooms that have free WIFI, Free phone calls, Free parking, and Free breakfast. 32 rooms all with a modern, stylish design.
Hostelling International-Calgary City Centre, 520 7th Avenue SE, +1 403 269-8239, FAX: +1 403 266-6227, . The hostel is located just outside the downtown core on the edge of the "East Village" district. Walking distance from bars, restaurants, shopping centres and transit. Free breakfast, wifi and lots of other little perks. Very clean & friendly place with lots of space inside and outside. There are no age restrictions, so be prepared for the possibility of sharing a room with a retiree and an 18 year old alcoholic! Dorms and Private available. Standard prices for hostels in big cities ($25-30 in a dormitory).
University of Calgary Guest Accommodation, 2500 University Drive NW, ☎ +1-403-220-3210 (email@example.com, fax: +1-403-282-8443), . On the U of C campus in northwestern Calgary (address is for the administrative office, not the residences). Offers 17 hotel rooms year round, and hundreds of apartments and student dorm rooms from early May to late August. Access to on-campus services like laundry, parking, cafeterias. See if you can book by sending a credit card number through email or phone, and skip the somewhat awkward form which they want you to print out, fill in, and fax back.$89/queen room, $109/queen+twin room, plus tax.
Mount Royal College, 200 Mount Royal Circle S.W, ☎ +1 (403) 440-6275 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 (403) 440-6281), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Fully furnished one-, two- and four-bedroom apartment and townhouse units on the Mount Royal campus in southwestern Calgary (address is for the administrative office, not the residences). Each room has local phone service, voice mail, and Internet access via Ethernet cable.One-bedroom studio $93.50, Four-bedroom townhouse $51.70/room, inc tax.
SAIT Polytechnic, 136 Dr. Carpenter Circle (Clos), ☎ +1 403 284.8013 (email@example.com, fax: +1 403 284.8435), . On the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) campus in southwestern Calgary (address is for the administrative office, not the residences).
Courtyard Calgary Airport, 2500 48th Avenue NE, ☎ 403-238-1000, . Complimentary Calgary Airport shuttle, modern lobby with free wi-fi, on-site restaurant, fitness center, indoor pool, and meeting facilities.
Nuvo Hotel Suites 827 12th Avenue SW, +1 403 452 6789, FAX: +1 403 764 0902,  Modern suites situated in the heart of the beltine, all including furnished kitchen, complimentary wireless internet and phone calls. Rates start at $119 per night. Weekly and monthly deals available.
Hampton Inn & Suites Calgary-University, 2231 Banff Trail NW, +1 403 289-9800, FAX: +1 403 289-9560, YYCHS_Hampton_Suites@hilton.com. How to get there: From Vancouver: Go East on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) stay on it when you get to Calgary then turn left (Northwest on Banff Trail) and it will be the 2nd or 3rd building on the left.
Hampton Inn & Suites Calgary-Airport, 2420 37th Ave, +1 403 250-4667, FAX: +1 403 255-5788, YYCAL_Hampton_Suites@hilton.com How to get there: Follow the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) then turn on to Barlow Trail and head North till you get to 37th Avenue then take a left and it will be about the last building on the right.
5 Calgary Downtown Suites, 618 - 5th Avenue SW (intersection of 5th Ave SW and 5th St SW), ☎ +1-403-451-5551, . The combination of fairly low rates with a full suite layout including furnished kitchen and living room located right downtown makes this a great deal. Pets welcome, for a fee. Restaurant, bar, spa, and parking in the building. Free wireless internet access. Self-serve laundry in basement available anytime, $4.50/load washed & dried. Toll-free phone +1-888-561-7666.$109/night for a king bed suite; parking $30/day (free on weekends).
Best Western Hospitality, 135 Southland Drive SE (Near Southland Mall). Very friendly services in a nice and convenient location near MacLeod Trail, and 10 minutes from the lively Downtown Core. Also very nice suites.
Residence Inn Calgary Airport, 2530 48th Avenue NE, ☎ 403-278-1000, . Extended stay hotel suites with separate living, working and sleeping areas as well as complimentary grocery service.
Calgary Marriott Hotel (across from the Calgary Tower) . 110 9th Avenue, SE, Phone: 1-403-266-7331, Toll-free: 1-800-896-6878. The Calgary Marriott Hotel features the city's largest rooms, an indoor pool, whirlpool, and outdoor patio areas in a downtown location. Rates from $136 /night.
Kensington Riverside Inn, 1126 Memorial Dr NW Calgary , AB T2N 3E3 T: 403 228 4442; F: 403.228.9608; . This is a boutique hotel in Kensington, just across the river from downtown. They have an amazing exterior display of "Whoville" from "The Grinch who Stole Christmas" during the holidays.
The Fairmont Palliser, 133 9th Avenue SW, ☎ +1 403 262-1234 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 403 260-1260), . The original landmark hotel in downtown Calgary, originally built in 1914 by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the era when luxury was an art. Along with the other former CP hotels (The Banff Springs Hotel, The Empress, The Chateau Frontenac, Hotel York, etc.), this is one of the grand old dames.
Although Calgary is generally a very safe place, walking at night should be avoided in the East Village and Victoria Park areas of downtown (generally speaking, this is the area adjacent to the Stampede Grounds and north to the Bow River). Calgary's 2005 murder rate of 2 murders per 100,000 inhabitants was, for example, less than one-tenth the murder rate of Chicago and one-twentieth that of Baltimore and some years, such as 2011, have seen very low murder rates. Always keep your wits about you when the bars close, regardless of the area of town.
Calgary drivers are typical drivers for a mid sized western North American city. Culturally, Calgary is a mash up of small town culture and big city living and driving in Calgary is no exception. If you come from a small town in rural North America the drivers would be considerably more aggressive than you are used to. If you are from a larger busier urban area, or are from Europe for instance, Calgary drivers can be considered quite timid and under skilled. A driver from New York, London or even Montreal and Toronto would consider the Calgary driver to lack confidence more than anything. Calgarians are generally quite aware of pedestrians and usually give pedestrians right of way, as required by law. Calgarians are very safe and cautious (some consider overly cautious) drivers though. Note though that Calgarians are probably some of the best inclement weather drivers in the world. Blizzards, storms, floods, etc. are where Calgarian drivers shine compared to the rest of the worlds drivers and they can navigate them safely with the minimum of problems. Although nowhere near as congested and confusing as L.A. freeways or the 401 in Toronto, the Deerfoot Trail (nicknamed the "Deerfoot 500" by locals) is to be avoided if you're not comfortable with 100 km/h freeway driving, and even by experts at rush hour (accidents occur on a daily basis). A secondary freeway, Stoney Trail, now exists on the north side of the city providing an alternate, less hectic route.
Be aware of lengthy wait times at the emergency rooms of the city's hospitals. Due to severe cutbacks in health care, waiting times may take up to 1 to 2 hours to see an emergency doctor. (Note: this is a province-wide problem.)
Panhandlers are a sight in Calgary's downtown core. The majority of them just need to be told 'No' but some can be persistent. A great number of agencies exist to assist the disadvantaged in Calgary and true charity cases receive assistance from them regularly; money is far better spent donating to these agencies as it ensures that those truly in need will receive it. For that reason, visitors are encouraged not to give money to strangers in the street. Panhandlers have also been found at signalized intersections, holding a cap or hand out to drivers stopped at red lights.
Take care when crossing LRT tracks, as the trains are quiet. There are no electrified rails. There are usually bells and barriers at pedestrian crossings; heed them.
Boaters on the Bow River should note the Calgary White Water Park (Harvie Passage) located just downstream of the Calgary Zoo; heed the warning signs. People have perished here, the strongest swimmers among them.
Driving within Calgary requires caution during the winter months. This is because despite its lack of heavy snow, temperatures still remain below freezing and thus allow ice to form on many roads. The most dangerous times are when the ice is a clear sheet which resembles the road, rightly called "Black Ice". The most dangerous times to drive in these conditions are the 2-3 days immediately following the first major snowfall of the year, or after a period of warmer weather.
Weather in Calgary is unpredictable. It is always best to dress in layers and come prepared for extremes, even within the same day.
The area codes in Calgary are 403 and 587, however calling between the codes does not involve long distance charges so long as the phones are located within the local calling area.
Calgary Health Link is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week nurse telephone advice and health information service where registered nurses will provide you with advice and information about health symptoms and concerns. Health Link nurses can also help you find appropriate services and health information. 943-LINK (5465)
Alberta Children's Hospital 2888 Shaganappi Trail NW Phone: (403) 955-7211
Foothills Medical Centre 1403 - 29 St NW Phone: (403) 944-1110
Peter Lougheed Centre 3500 - 26 Ave NE Phone: (403) 943-4555
Rockyview General Hospital 7007 - 14 St SW Phone: (403) 943-3000
An additional hospital, currently called the South Health Campus, is presently under construction in the city's far southeast.
Urgent Care Centres
South Calgary Health Centre 31 Sunpark Plaza SE Phone: (403) 943-9300
Sheldon Chumir Health Center, 1213 4th St SW Phone: (403)955-6200
Edmonton is the nearest urban, metropolitan centre to the North and host to North America's largest mall and has a vibrant cultural scene. It is a 3-hour drive north of Calgary on Highway 2. The city of Red Deer, which has its own list of attractions, is located exactly halfway between Edmonton and Calgary.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, 18 km north and west of Fort Macleod, is a 90 minute drive south of Calgary. Its excellent interpretive centre is open year round.
Dinosaur Provincial Park, near Brooks, 2 hours east of Calgary, is a 73 sq km park boasting one of the best dinosaur fossil beds in the world.
The world famous Royal Tyrrell Museum, located in Drumheller (90 minutes east of Calgary), also houses many palaeontological specimens.
In Turner Valley, a 45 minute drive south of Calgary, is the Turner Valley Gas Plant National and Provincial Historic Site. There is a pioneering gas plant and see how natural gas from Canada's largest gas field was processed prior to WWII. However, as of March 2008, the site is closed pending a decision on its future.
The Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston houses the largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles in North America, with over 250 carriages, wagons and sleighs.