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. Ski and snowboard at the home of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, explore the world renowned Central Library, cheer on the NHL’s Calgary Flames, and discover the history of music in Canada at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. 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 Winter Experiences in Calgary
10 Must Do Winter Experiences in Calgary
Tube and ski Olympic slopes at WinSport
Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and continues its Olympic legacy at WinSport with heart pumping experiences like the ski hill, super pipe, and Tube Park. Take a trial run in Calgary and test out your gear on a hill built for everyone from beginners to experienced skiers and snowboarders. Looking for a real rush of adrenaline? Try the Terrain Park and Super Pipe, the largest pipe in western Canada, or cruise down eight lanes in one of the largest tube parks in Western Canada.
Location: 88 Canada Olympic Rd SW
Skate in the heart of downtown at Olympic Plaza
Location: 228 8 Ave SE
Join the C of Red at a Calgary Flames game
Experience the energy of a classic hockey city with live NHL action in Calgary. Start the night with dinner and drinks on nearby 17th Ave then walk down the street to cheer on the Calgary Flames with the C of Red, a name adopted by loyal fans during the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004. The Calgary Flames play 41 home games from early October to early April each year, making it a great night in the city during a trip to the mountains. Feel the heat of the flame every time the home team scores and stick around for "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash after a Flames' win.
Location: 555 Saddledome Rise SE
Get a front row seat to live concerts on the Music Mile
Discover why Calgary has become a hub for music in Canada with a vibrant stretch of live music venues in the heart of the city. The Music Mile starts in the historic neighbourhood of Inglewood and stretches through Victoria Park and trendy East Village for a unique collection of bars, restaurants, and performance spaces that always has a live show on tap. Start your musical journey at Studio Bell and make a stop at the Ironwood Stage & Grill, and local favourite The Blues Can for some unforgettable live music in Calgary.
Experience winter festivals at Chinook Blast and ZOOLIGHTS
Light up your winter with Chinook Blast in Calgary. Starting in January, this midwinter roundup of outdoor experiences is a safe and fun way to warm up your winter trip to the city. Local artists illuminate winter nights with photo-worthy light installations for an experience unlike any other. Or discover the award-winning holiday tradition of ZOOLIGHTS, a festival of lights that gets bigger and better each year with a whole new way to experience the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, running from November to January each year.
Winter Tips for Families
Make the most of the cold weather with these tips for exploring the city with your family.
Go to the top of the Calgary Tower
The Calgary Tower is an iconic part of the Calgary skyline and a must-see stop in the city. Standing 191 metres above the downtown core, the Calgary Tower observation deck gives you a 360° view from the prairies to the Canadian Rockies, with unique views of the hustle and bustle below when you stand on the glass floor. The Calgary Tower is also home to Sky 360, a rotating restaurant with a classic Canadian menu and magical city views as it revolves once every 45 minutes.
Location: 101 9 Ave SW
Dance & game the night away at Calgary's nightlife hotspots
Commonwealth Bar & Stage is a top late night destination for live music, with two floors of entertainment to explore. The main floor hosts weekly shows while some of the city’s best hip hop DJs bring the energy in the basement level for hip hop nights. You might even catch a performance by club founders and local favourites Smalltown DJs on any given night. Add retro pinball and arcade games at Greta Bar and popular local hangout Ship & Anchor Pub to your list of must-visit late night party spots in the city.
Check out our Late Night Guide for more things to do after the sun sets.
Location: 731 10 Ave SW (Commonwealth)
Read up at the Calgary Central Library
Featured in TIME Magazine and the New York Times, Calgary’s Central Library is an architectural masterpiece worth checking out on a chilly day. It’s got everything from a podcast studio and video game centre to a collection of over 450,000 books. Explore on your own or take a free guided tour to get an inside scoop on its history and unique architectural features. Grab a coffee and a pastry from a local coffee shop and be sure to take your picture on the main floor with a background of cedar wood and natural light overhead.
Location: 800 3 St SE
Watch the Penguin Walk at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo
King penguins march through the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo during the legendary Penguin Walk. Observe these curious creatures during the winter months each day, weather permitting. This incredible experience is included with admission to the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo. It’s one memory your family will never forget. No matter what the temperature.
Location: 210 St. George's Drive NE
Discover the history of music in Canada at Studio Bell
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre tells the story of music in Canada with five floors of memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and Canadian Music Halls of Fame. This world renowned collection includes an authentic deadmau5 stage outfit, Neil Peart’s “Hockey Night in Canada” drumkit, Elton John’s songwriting piano, and the legendary Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. Catch a live show and a pint of craft beer next door at the historic King Eddy to round out the ultimate music fan experience in Calgary.
Location: 850 4 St SE