Everything You Need to Know About the Calgary Stampede

Cowboys lined up at the Calgary Stampede
Cowboys lined up at the Calgary Stampede
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Everything You Need to Know About the Calgary Stampede

Get ready for the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth with a roundup of local tips.

At the Calgary Stampede you will experience an event like no other. It is a rodeo, a music and arts festival, a carnival, a foodie’s paradise, and a celebration of western heritage. The first Stampede took place in 1912 with 80,000 people. Now more than 1 million visitors from around the world visit the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Here is everything you need to know to have an awesome Stampede. Yahoo!

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When is the Calgary Stampede?

The Calgary Stampede takes place for 10 days every July. The 2024 dates are July 5-14.

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Calgary Stampede Tickets & Events

You can buy general admission tickets at the three Park entrances. 

Plan ahead by purchasing your Rodeo, Evening Show, and concert tickets in advance. You need a separate ticket for each event. These tickets include free admission to Stampede Park that day.  

For free or reduced admission, check out the list of Value Days. Some even include a free pancake breakfast. Discover more budget-friendly tips for your visit.  

Local’s Tip: If you want to attend multiple ticketed events, the Two Day Thrill Ticket Package is great value. 


The Calgary Stampede Rodeo 

Stampede features the World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo. Top athletes and animals compete across six events: barrel racing, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, bull riding, and bareback. The action starts every afternoon at 1:30 p.m. building towards Showdown Sunday. 

Local’s Tip: Tickets for the rodeo go fast so make sure to get yours in advance. Standing-room-only tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the ticket office starting at 11 a.m. 

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Cowboy riding a bucking horse during the Saddle Bronc event at The Calgary Stampede

Saddle Bronc (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede/Covy Moore)

Team mates passing baton on horse during Stampede Relay Race

Relay Race (Photo Credit: Youn Park)


The Calgary Stampede Evening Show 

The Calgary Stampede Evening Show has both heart-pumping entertainment and dazzling performances. Tickets to the Calgary Stampede Evening Show include entry for both the Cowboys Rangeland Derby and the Bell Grandstand Show. 

Chuckwagon Races at the Cowboys Rangeland Derby 

The energy of a chuckwagon race is something you need to experience live. This is the wild west. The chuckwagon races start at 7:45 p.m. every night of Stampede. Cheer on your favourite driver as the chuckwagons thunder towards the finish line. 

The Bell Grandstand Show 

As the sun sets on the chucks, the Bell Grandstand Show lights up the stage. The show features the talented Young Canadians, along with dancers, athletes, and musicians. A stunning fireworks show caps off each night. 

Local’s Tip: If you want covered seats look in levels 2, 5 and 7. 

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Chuckwagon Racing event

Chuckwagon Racing (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)

fireworks and performers on stage during the Bell Grandstand Show

Bell Grandstand Show (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)


Can’t Miss Stampede Experiences

There are incredible experiences throughout the ten days of Stampede. Most are free or included with general admission to the Park. 


The Calgary Stampede Parade 

Since 1912, the Calgary Stampede Parade has kicked off the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. It has become one of Calgary’s most iconic traditions. Traffic downtown stands still as over 350,000 parade-goers take in the celebration. 

The parade takes approximately two hours to pass by. You will see colourful floats, majestic horses, and high-energy marching bands. Past parade marshals include Walt Disney, William Shatner, Jann Arden, and Kevin Costner. 

Local’s Tip: Get a bird’s-eye view of the Stampede Parade from one of Calgary’s +15 walkways

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two rodeo queens riding horses in the Stampede parade through downtown Calgary

Stampede Parade in downtown Calgary (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede/Tye Carson)

Stampede showband marching in the Stampede parade through downtown Calgary

Stampede Showband (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)


Concerts at the Calgary Stampede 

Whether you like to line dance or head bang, the Stampede has you covered for music. Each on-park venue has its own unique vibe and fan-base: 

Coca-Cola Stage – This is outdoor live music at its best with bands spanning genres from alt-rock to hip hop. The best part is that your park admission gives you entry to all the concerts. 

Nashville North – Country music fans will rejoice when seeing the list of performers. Your park admission gives you access to this party tent. 

The Big Four Roadhouse – Great food, drinks, and live music are all under one roof at The Big Four Roadhouse. Expect a mixture of ticketed and free performances. 

Scotiabank Saddledome – The acts that perform at the Scotiabank Saddledome need no introduction. Garth Brooks, Katy Perry, Keith Urban and Reba have all graced the stage during past Stampedes.  

If you want to see even more concerts, check out the best live music venues the city has to offer. 

Local’s Tip: To hear about concert announcements first sign up for the Stampede Insider email

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aerial view of crowd enjoying a show at the Coca-Cola Stage

Coca-Cola Stage (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)

concertgoers enjoying live music in the Nashville North tent

Nashville North (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)


Games and Rides at the Calgary Stampede 

There is never a dull moment on the Stampede midway. It is an irresistible mix of rides, games, and performances. Every carnival game you can imagine is on offer. There are rides for the adrenaline-junkie and for kids.  

Make sure to catch the motocross riders at the Monster Energy Compound and talented dogs in the Dog Bowl.  

Local’s Tip: Get a Fast Pass so you can enter ride lines faster through special gated entrances.  


Food at the Calgary Stampede 

Of course Stampede does offer all the classic carnival treats. But it is the new midway foods that get people most excited.  Past creations include funnel cake poutine, scorpion pizza, and mac n’cheese soft serve. Every spring, locals look forward to what new midway foods will be available that year. 

Local’s Tip: For a quiet escape, relax at the Wine Garden in Western Oasis. 

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Lifted swings and Ferris wheel at the Stampede Midway

The Stampede Midway offers tons of rides and carnival games (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)

woman eating a tentacle in the Stampede Midway

Unique foods are one of the highlights of the Calgary Stampede Midway (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)


Indigenous Culture at the Calgary Stampede 

Elbow River Camp is a must-visit spot at Stampede. You can explore 26 tipis representing the five nations of Treaty 7. While exploring, listen to the stories from Indigenous families. Traditional dancing and cultural performances take place throughout Stampede. There is also authentic jewelry, art, and food available from local artisans.  

Local’s Tip: Elbow River Camp tends to be less crowded than the midway. If you need a quick snack, visit the bannock booth for some deep-fried goodness. 

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Tipi's at the Elbow River Camp

Elbow River Camp (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)

Indigenous Performer in traditional dress

Indigenous Performer (Photo Credit: Travel Alberta/Youn Park)


Agriculture at the Calgary Stampede 

Agriculture is at the heart of the Stampede. The agriculture showcases let you interact with horses, sheep, miniature donkeys, and pigs.  

Want to see these animals in action? Cheer on human/animal pairs during agriculture competitions. Favourite events include the World Stock Dog Championships and the Cowboy Up Challenge. 

Local’s Tip: Grab some milk and cookies for just $2.00 at the Milk 'n Cookies shack. You can find it on the West side of the Agriculture Zone.


Stampede Pancake Breakfasts 

The Calgary Stampede is legendary for its pancake breakfasts. There are hundreds of them that happen throughout Calgary during Stampede. Some are official events and others are completely grassroots. They all have one thing in common – free pancakes, breakfast sausages, and maple syrup.  

Local’s Tip: With so many Stampede breakfasts, it can be hard to plan which ones you want to attend. Check out the Stampede breakfast calendar to keep organized. 

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Agricultural Events at the Nutrien Event Centre

Agricultural Events at the Nutrien Western Event Centre (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede/Bill Marsh)

Calgary Stampede Pancake Breakfast

Pancake Breakfast (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)


Calgary Stampede FAQs

Find answers to some of the most common questions around planning for Stampede. 


What should I wear to Stampede? 

Calgary’s weather is unpredictable. The average daily high in July is 23°C (76°F), but even if it is hot during the day, evenings can get cool. Dress in layers, bring a cowboy hat and wear comfortable shoes. 

Not sure how to pull off the Western look? Check out these Stampede styling tips from a local lifestyle blogger. 

If you need to pick up a pair of cowboy boots, a plaid shirt, or a cowboy hat, visit one of these local institutions: 

Smithbilt Hats

Lammle's Western Wear

Alberta Boot Company

Local’s Tip: Make sure to read through the Stampede ‘Terms of Entry’. These will tell you what you can bring onto the Stampede grounds. 


How do I get to Stampede Park? 

Parking around Stampede Park is hard to find and can be expensive. It is best to leave your car and either walk, bike, or take transit. Calgary’s CTrain has two stops at Stampede Park (Erlton and Victoria Park). The train runs 24-hours a day during Stampede.  

If you do want to drive, reserved parking is available at Stampede Park. 

Local’s Tip: Park your bike at the Bike Compound. Then enter through the McDonald Gate on the east side of the Park to avoid entry line ups. 


Are the Stampede grounds accessible? 

The Stampede makes every effort to provide an accessible experience for guests. 

‣ Stampede Park has paved pathways and ramps providing wheelchair access to all buildings. 

‣ You can find accessible washrooms throughout the Park.  

‣ You can bring a service animal with you. 

See the full list of Stampede guest services


What family-friendly activities are there at Stampede? 

The Agriculture Zone is a perfect place for kids. There are plenty of cuddly animals and interactive exhibits for the whole family. If your kids are more interested in some heart-pumping action check out The Great FUNtier. This area has a mini Midway with plenty of games and over 20 rides for kids. 

Little ones can also unleash their creativity at the BMO Kids’ Zone

Local’s Tip: The first Sunday of Stampede is ‘Family Day’. Admission is free until 11 a.m. and early risers get a complimentary pancake breakfast. 

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Young family playing Carnival Games at the Stampede Midway

Carnival Games at the Stampede Midway (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)

young girl enjoying an icecream in the Stampede Midway

Midway treats (Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede)


Hotels with easy access to Stampede Park

Hotels fill up fast for the ten days of Stampede, so as soon as you know your dates, book your accommodation. Stampede Park is a short walk from downtown and well connected to the C-Train. This means there are plenty of great hotel options to choose from. 

Local’s Tip: See what deals and packages Calgary hotels are offering during your stay. 


Downtown Calgary Hotels 

Many downtown hotels are within a 20-minute walk of Stampede Park. This includes the Alt Hotel and Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, both in trendy East Village. Other great nearby options include:  

Hotel Arts 

Fairmont Palliser 

Le Germain.  


North Calgary Hotels 

Some hotels that are within walking distance of C-Train stations in the north include:  

Hotel Arts Kensington near Sunnyside Station 

Hotel Alma near University Station 

Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza near Marlborough Station 

Calgary’s Motel Village offers affordable lodgings near the Banff Trail CTrain station. These include: 

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Calgary University 

Best Western Village Park Inn 

Aloft Calgary University 


South Calgary Hotels 

Some hotels that are within walking distance of C-Train stations in the south include:  

Carriage House Hotel & Conference Centre near Heritage Station 

Delta Hotels Calgary South near Southland Station 

Wingate by Wyndham Calgary South near Shawnessy Station  

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Other Attractions and Day Trips

Come for Stampede, stay for Calgary experiences. Calgary has picturesque parks, award-winning restaurants, and world-class attractions. Plus, with six UNESCO World Heritage Sites nearby, the potential for day trips is endless. 


Nearby Attractions 

Calgary’s East Village neighbourhood is a short walk from Stampede Park. There you will find two must-visit architectural masterpieces. The Central Library was one of the top 52 places to visit in 2019 by the New York Times. Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, serves as a literal gateway into East Village. 

Get a 360° city view of Calgary and the Rocky Mountains from the top of the Calgary Tower. For a family-friendly outing, visit:  

‣ Heritage Park 

‣ Calaway Park 

‣ Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo 

‣ TELUS Spark Science Centre 

Check out what other top attractions Calgary has on offer. 

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interior shot of Calgary's Central Library

Calgary's Central Library (Photo Credit: Chris Amat) 

exterior shot of Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (Photo Credit: Brendan Klem)


Top Day Trips to Take Before or After Stampede 

If you have the time, many unique destinations are an easy day trip from Calgary. 

An hour west of Calgary sits Banff National Park. Banff offers some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere on the planet. It is a mountain playground. Those interested in hiking, camping, and biking will be in paradise. Here are 10 reasons why combining Stampede and Banff into one trip is the ultimate vacation.  

The plains surrounding Calgary are rich in historic and cultural attractions, including: 

‣ Royal Tyrrell Museum 

‣ Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump 

‣ Bar U Ranch 

‣ Blackfoot Crossing 

For even more ideas, check out these top Calgary Day Trips

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