Are you travelling by foot? Hope you brought your walking shoes.
A self-guided walking tour is one of the best ways to really get a feel of the heart of Calgary. Starting at the Calgary Tower, there are a number of great sites to visit, all of which are accessible by foot. Here is just a glimpse at what you can explore in downtown Calgary!
Start your journey at the Calgary Tower observation deck and be sure to grab their new complimentary multimedia audio tour before you go up; A great way to get your bearings of the city, or learn about various landmarks, and Calgary’s past and present. While you’re up there, see if you can find the two adjacent buildings with their crowns said to resemble cowboy hats from afar. These are the twin towers of Bankers Hall.
STEPHEN AVENUE WALK
Take a stroll down Stephen Avenue Walk, a pedestrian walkway until 6pm, which features a variety of shops, public art, entertainment, and the list goes on. Looking to grab a bite? It’s lined with restaurants to satisfy all cravings! It’s also a nice street to look at; declared a national historic site, Stephen Avenue has over 30 restored buildings providing you a little snapshot of history in Calgary.
Haven’t met your shopping quota? Stephen Avenue is also lined with unique stores and shopping centres! Explore the CORE shopping Centre, Bankers Hall and Holt Renfrew through the plus 15 pathways, or pick up some western apparel at Lammle’s Western Wear. Don’t forget about the Glenbow Museum gift shop, another little hidden gem that is full of great mementos and gifts!
Located on the east side of Stephen Avenue Walk you’ll find the Glenbow Museum. This museum has exhibitors for the history buff, art lover and pop-culture fanatic, and always feature something new to enjoy for returning visitors. When you enter the museum, take a glance up at the hanging sculpture that’s four stories tall. Called the ‘Aurora Borealis’, the sculpture has a 5-minute light show that takes place periodically through out the day. Make sure you have a watch on hand, this is one spot that you’re sure to lose track of time!
Continue to walk east down Stephen Avenue Walk and you’ll find the Olympic Plaza; an outdoor park that held the metal ceremonies for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Host to many festivals and events, this park is also a popular meeting spot for locals, families, and visitors alike! On a sunny day, it’s great spot to sit back, relax, and people watch!
OLD CITY HALL
Across from the Olympic Plaza, on Macleod Trail SE, you’ll find the old city hall; a 4-storey sandstone building, one of the few remaining of this scale in Alberta. It’s a great civic landmark building to view that is also a national historic site.
FAMILY OF MAN PLAZA
Not far from the old city hall, you’ll find the ‘Brotherhood of Mankind’ aluminum structures, located at 6 Ave & 1 St. SE. Once a controversial display, this display attracts a lot of attention in the city today.
THE BOW, WONDERLAND SCULPTURE
Continue to walk west on 6th Ave and you’ll come to the Bow, currently the tallest building in Calgary. This impressive skyscraper was originally planned to be nearly 10 metres taller, but was shortened to its current height over concerns of the shadow it would cast over the bow river. What’s located in front of the bow is hard to miss. Artist Juame Plensa calls this sculpture depicting a young girls head “Wonderland”.
GUIDED WALKING TOURS
Prefer a guided tour to learn about the city’s history, art, architecture, and more? CalgaryWalks & Bus Tours features a 2-hour walking tour of downtown Calgary and shows you tons of little hidden gems.
Or perhaps explore an interesting neighbourhood of the city while indulging on delicious food is more your style? Calgary Food Tours offers this unique experience while learning about the area along the way!
Got a car you say? Park it!