Calgary offers visitors breathtaking mountain views, major festivals, award-winning restaurants, and authentic Indigenous experiences. The city is young, diverse, and genuinely welcoming. Banff National Park is only an hour away and has some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere on the planet.
Your Bucket List Canadian Trip
Your Bucket List Canadian Trip
Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies
The stunning views of the Rocky Mountains are all around as soon as you arrive in Calgary. The drive into the Rockies takes you from prairies to rolling foothills and finally into the giant peaks that make up Banff and the surrounding national parks – Yoho, Kootenay, and Jasper.
Banff in Summer
Banff has an expansive trail network for hiking and biking, as well as 14 perfectly situated campgrounds. Visiting iconic turquoise lakes such as Moraine Lake and Lake Louise are unforgettable experiences but require planning ahead as visitation can be restricted during peak times.
Discover 10 things to do in Banff during a summer visit.
Banff in Winter
During the winter, Banff becomes a skier and snowboarders paradise with three distinctive resorts located in the park – Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt. Norquay. In total they provide snow-seekers with over 7,000 acres of incredible terrain, 29 lifts, 362 runs, and 30 feet (9 metres) of annual snowfall.
Find out what else you can experience during the winter in Banff.
Major Festivals in Calgary
Unlike many cities, festivals happen throughout the year in Calgary and often reflect the specific season that they are in.
Calgary Festivals in Summer
In the summer, Calgary’s picturesque parks transform into pulsing venues for festivals such as:
No festival takes over a city like the Calgary Stampede. Every July, for 10 days, Calgary turns into one big rodeo. The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth has been dazzling locals and visitors alike for well over 100 years.
Calgary Festivals in Winter
Winter can be cold in Calgary, but that does not stop people from gathering. Every January and February, the city embraces all things winter with Chinook Blast, which includes incredible music and performing arts at:
BIG Winter Classic – January
High Performance Rodeo, Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts – January/February
Block Heater, presented by Calgary Folk Music Festival – February
Calgary Festivals in Spring and Fall
Cultural events shine during spring and fall in Calgary with celebrations like:
Calgary Comic Expo – April
Calgary Pride – September
Calgary International Film Festival – September
Check out the full list of annual festivals in Calgary.
Award-Winning Restaurants and Breweries
In 2023, Calgary had 7 restaurants named to the Canada’s 100 Best list:
- Major Tom (13th)
- River Café (22nd)
- D.O.P. (23rd)
- EIGHT (37th)
- Lulu Bar (75th)
- Lonely Mouth Bar (77th)
- Shokunin (82nd)
Explore the best fine dining restaurants in Calgary.
Must-Try Signature Dishes
Calgary’s chefs are leading the way in culinary experiences and growing Calgary’s reputation beyond its dedication to Alberta beef. Some meals like the Chili Goma Ramen at Shiki Menya or the Pig’s Head Mortadella at Charcut have become known as signature Calgary dishes.
See the full list of 10 Signature Dishes to Build a Trip Around.
Best Craft Breweries
Calgary’s craft beer scene has exploded recently and now features more than 40 breweries. These taprooms are all over the city and offer unique settings to drink fantastic beer. People have taken notice with Calgary being well-represented at the Canadian Beer Awards for the past few years.
Tour Calgary’s distinct brewery districts.
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Authentic Indigenous Experiences
Calgary is located on Treaty 7 land, the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut'ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, and the Métis Nation (Region 3). It is an area rich in Indigenous experiences, led by people whose ancestors have been on the land for thousands of years. Alberta’s Indigenous tourism experiences were included in National Geographic’s 2023 Best of the World List.
Go on a Guided Medicine Walk
Brenda Holder is the owner of Mahikan Trails, which offers guided walks in Banff, Canmore, and Sundre. She is a Cree/Iroquois guide of the Kwarakwante people of Jasper. Brenda uses her incredible understanding of local flora to tell you what surrounding plants can be used to make something crucial to survival – a cider for the flu, a food source, or a fire starter.
Try Classic Indigenous Dishes
The Grey Eagle Resort & Casino is located on the lands of the Tsuut’ina nation, just south of Calgary. At once a hotel, casino, and event centre, the Grey Eagle also offers a fantastic restaurant named after a Tsuut’ina medicine warrior, Little Chief. Chef Willow Eaglespeaker incorporates seasonal ingredients throughout the menu and features classic Indigenous dishes like bannock and fry bread.
Learn About Traditional Indigenous Artwork
More than 60 Indigenous artists from across Canada are featured at Moonstone Creation, a gallery and workshop space in Calgary’s historic Inglewood neighbourhood. Founder Yvonne Jobin, of Cree ancestry, and her family have created a hub for authentic Indigenous art such as beadwork, sculptures, paintings, ribbon skirts and shirts. They also offer in-person classes, teaching traditional beadwork, fishscale art, and talking sticks.
Learn about more Indigenous experiences in and around Calgary.