Once in a lifetime experiences in Banff and the Canadian Rockies are just a short drive from Calgary, but unforgettable experiences can start right when you arrive in the city. Saddle up for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, float down the Bow River, fly down the luge track while Downhill Karting, and travel back in time at Canada’s largest living history museum. Make memories in the city and know you are picking the best of the best with must see Calgary experiences ready to add to your Rockies getaway.
10 Must Do Summer Experiences in Calgary
10 Must Do Summer Experiences in Calgary
Experience The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth
Check the Calgary Stampede off your bucket list and experience the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth in Calgary. For 10 days each July, the Calgary Stampede entertains visitors from around the world with rodeo action, midway games, and live music. Plan to spend a day or two in Calgary to experience everything the Calgary Stampede has to offer.
Location: 650 25 Ave SE (Stampede Park)
Bring your blanket for a summer music festival
There is nothing like live music during Calgary’s long, sunny days summer. Spread out a picnic blanket in Prince’s Island Park and experience the Calgary Folk Music Festival, right in the heart of the city, for the best in folk, rock, indie, and alternative bands from across the country and around the world. With single concert tickets, day passes, and festival passes, summer music festivals like Sled Island, Chasing Summer, and Country Thunder are a great addition to any Rockies getaway no matter how much time you have in the city.
Float down the Bow from Edworthy Park to Prince’s Island Park
The beautiful Bow River runs right through downtown Calgary and is a popular spot for kayakers, river surfers, and rafters each summer. Start your journey at Edworthy Park and float the Bow to Prince’s Island Park for a two hour river experience with epic downtown views. Lazy Day Raft Rentals and The Paddle Station have all the gear you need to get into the water and safely travel this memorable stretch of Alberta waterway.
Location: 5050 Spruce Dr SW (Edworthy Park)
Grab patio pints on 17th Avenue SW
Make 17th Avenue SW your first or last stop on your Rockies getaway for the ultimate neighbourhood experience in the city. This unique collection of shops, pubs, and restaurants is the perfect place to share a pint with friends, people watch from the patio, or shop for local gifts you can only find in Calgary. Experience some of Canada’s top restaurants, like Pigeonhole and Model Milk and keep the party going at popular local spots like the Ship & Anchor and National on 17th.
Location: 550 17 Ave SW (National on 17th)
Fly down the luge track while Downhill Karting at WinSport
Race your way to the finish line at Downhill Karting with over 50 twists and turns on 1,800 metres of banked corners, tunnels and dippers. It’s easy to learn and perfect for riders of any age and ability. Choose individual rides or family packages and experience one of Calgary’s favourite summer attractions. Located at WinSport, you can pair the adrenaline rush of Downhill Karting with other adventure sports activities all in the same day, with free parking available on site.
Location: 88 Canada Olympic Rd SW
Bike the Bow River Pathway
Calgary is home to the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway system in North America with over 1000 kilometres of regional pathways and 96 kilometres of trails. It’s the best way to discover the city and see it in new ways you just can’t from the car or on foot. Take a spin around the Glenmore Reservoir, escape the city in Nose Hill Park, explore Fish Creek Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America, or let the Bow River Pathway be your guide for your ultimate summer ride.
Travel back in time at Heritage Park
Add a visit to Heritage Park, the largest living history museum in Canada, to your summer vacation. Tour historic homes, hop on the vintage midway, or take a ride around the park on the steam train. Hungry? Classic snacks are around every corner at Heritage Park with old fashioned candy floss, cinnamon buns, tarts, or ice cold root beer. Make a stop at the Club Café for a traditional Cantonese pot sticker or fish and chips at the Wainwright Hotel.
Location: 1900 Heritage Dr SW
Catch the sunset over downtown from Scotsman’s Hill
Take in panoramic views of the city at Scotsman’s Hill, the perfect spot to catch the sunset after a day exploring Calgary. Walk the ridge to find the best vantage point for your next Instagram worthy shot, and with just the right light, you can even see the Canadian Rockies. Locals know this is a great spot to catch the nightly fireworks after the Grandstand Show each night of the Calgary Stampede in July.
Location: T2G 2Y3 (Scotsman’s Hill)
Scotsman’s Hill (Photo credit: @timesmikethese on Instagram).
Cheers to a brewery tour
Let craft beer be your guide and get the grain to glass experience firsthand, with Alberta barley and fresh glacier water coming together at 40+ craft breweries in Calgary. Brewmasters are creating flavourful ales, lagers, IPAs, and pilsners along with weird, wacky, and delicious brews you have to try. Local breweries like Establishment Brewing, Cabin Brewing, Born Brewing, and Annex Ale Project are all within walking distance of each other for the ultimate self-guided brewery tour this summer.
Location: 4323 1 St SE (Annex Ale Project)