5 Reasons Why Americans Should Visit Calgary

The Northern Lights shine brightly above downtown Calgary at night
The Northern Lights shine brightly above downtown Calgary at night
Travel to Canada

5 Reasons Why Americans Should Visit Calgary

The perfect trip to Canada starts in Calgary

Calgary offers Americans a fun and easy international travel destination that is an incredible jumping off point to unmatched natural beauty. Don’t believe us? Here are 5 reasons why Calgary should be on your bucket list.

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Reason #1: It’s in Canada! 

More specifically, it’s in the province of Alberta, which is directly above Montana. 

Canada is your friendly neighbour to the north. And Calgary has been recognized as the friendliest place on earth according to traveller reviews, so you’re sure to receive a warm welcome.  

You probably already know that Canada isn’t super-hot. With summertime highs around 80°F in Calgary, those in the Southern US will be happy to take a break from the heat. And winter sport enthusiasts will be pleased with the 10 feet of average annual snowfall. 

Did you know? Travelling to Canada vs. inside the US essentially means a 30% discount. That’s how strong the US dollar is compared to the Canadian dollar. 


Reason #2: It's Easy to Get to 

More than 15 US cities, including Houston, LA, New York, and Seattle, have year-round direct flights to Calgary.  

Calgary is also a great stop on any Canadian road trip given how close it is to the border and the Rocky Mountains. Americans can cross the border by going through Montana. Calgary is only a 5-hour drive from Great Falls, MT and 3 hours from the US/Canada border. 

Did you know? Direct flights from LAX to Calgary are just over 3 hours. Newark to Calgary is 5.5 hours. 

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White Hat greeters wait to welcome visitors to Calgary

White Hat greeters wait to welcome visitors at Calgary International Airport (photo credit: Colin Way)

A travel counsellor on Stephen Avenue helps two visitors plan their trip.

Calgary was voted the 'Friendliest City in the World' in 2023 (photo credit: Kelly Hofer)


Reason #3: It’s a 90-minute Drive from Banff 

Soaring peaks, turquoise lakes, thundering waterfalls – it's all in Banff National Park. And it’s all within an hour or two drive from Calgary. Banff is to Calgary what Vail is to Denver. The city serves as a basecamp for endless Rocky Mountain adventures. 

Banff National Park is huge. It’s somewhere between the size of Delaware and Connecticut. But most of its famous attractions, both natural and man-made, can be found near the easily accessed Town of Banff and village of Lake Louise.  

Did you know? Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Peyto Lake are all consistently ranked among the most beautiful lakes in the world. 


Reason #4: It’s Where Some of Your Favourite Shows Were Filmed 

What do The Last of Us, Fargo, and Heartland all have in common? They were all filmed in and around Calgary. The area has also served as the backdrop for iconic movies like Unforgiven, Interstellar, and The Revenant. 

Calgary’s character-filled neighbourhoods are consistently being used by Hollywood, as are the picture-perfect vistas surrounding the city. Any movie or TV enthusiast will have a blast exploring all the filming locations around Calgary

Did you know? One of the most recent filming projects near Calgary was Ghostbusters: Afterlife which was largely shot in the Badlands (think Death Valley in California) just 90min east of Calgary. 

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The Rocky Mountains rise above the Calgary skyline

Make Calgary your basecamp to the Canadian Rockies (photo credit: Sherpas Cinema)

A scenic viewpoint overlooking Moraine Lake in Banff National Park

Banff National Park is a 90-minute drive from Calgary (photo credit: Travel Alberta/Corey Myke)


Reason #5: It’s Home to the World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo 

The Calgary Stampede is like the biggest state fair that you can imagine. It’s 10 days of midway rides, carnival games, rodeo events, and the craziest food you’ve ever tasted. Plus, it doubles as one of Canada’s largest music festivals with four stages featuring massive acts across country, pop, folk, rock, and EDM. 

You’ve never seen an event take over a city like the Stampede takes over Calgary every July. It starts with a massive parade through downtown attended by thousands of cowboy hat wearing locals and visitors. The days that follow are filled with free pancake breakfasts, fireworks displays, drag brunches, and parties all over the city. 

Did you know? The first Stampede rodeo was in 1912 and had around 14,000 spectators. Today, the Stampede grounds welcome over a million people every July. 

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Calgary Stampede Grounds with downtown Calgary in the near background

The Calgary Stampede occurs city-wide for 10 days each July (photo credit: Calgary Stampede)

Chuckwagon Racing during the Calgary Stampede

Experience the thrill of Chuckwagon Racing at The Calgary Stampede (photo credit: Colin Way)