Calgary is one of Canada’s largest cities and has plenty of fun and interesting things to do and see all throughout the year. From taking a ride to the top of the Calgary Tower, to walking through the heart of the city on the +15 Skywalk, to having a one-of-a-kind musical experience at the National Music Centre, there are many fun things to do in downtown Calgary.
In addition to city activities, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the scenery and nature in and around Calgary, like biking or walking on the Bow River Pathway, to visiting the forested trails of Fish Creek Provincial Park. Calgary is truly a unique and fun city to visit, so read on for our top list of the 30 Best Things to do in Calgary.
1. Calgary Tower
One of the most popular things to do in downtown Calgary is seeing the city view from the Calgary Tower. With a commanding 360-degree view of the city, this famous tower stands at an impressive 626-feet tall. One of the main attractions of the tower is its observation deck that features clear glass floors where you can feel the thrill of walking on air hundreds of feet above the ground.
Another unique feature of the tower is the revolving restaurant that turns completely every 45 minutes, giving you a complete view of the city during your meal! We put the Calgary Tower at the top of our Calgary travel guide and once you experience the view and glass floor observation deck, you’ll see why.
2. Calgary Zoo
For a fun thing to do in Calgary with kids, we think the Calgary Zoo should be at the top of your list. This wonderful zoo features over 1,000 amazing animals throughout many themed exhibits, like the Panda Passage, Land of Lemurs, Penguin Plunge, and Destination Africa. One unique area of the zoo is “Prehistoric Park”, a six-acre park featuring realistic and life-size dinosaur sculptures set in their natural habitats. While they aren’t live animals, you do feel like you’re seeing these amazing animals in the wild.
Located just east of Downtown, it’s easy to get to the Calgary Zoo and we’d highly recommend visiting and experiencing this award-winning zoo.
3. Glenbow Museum
To view Calgary’s premier art collection and learn more about the rich history of this great city, you should visit the Glenbow Museum. Located directly across from the Calgary Tower, the Glenbow Museum is another great thing to do in downtown Calgary. This museum showcases over 33,000 works of contemporary art from mainly North American and Canadian artists. In addition to the art, the Glenbow Museum also has interesting exhibits featuring the history of Canada, history of the legendary Canadian Mounted Police, and artifacts from native Indians who were the original inhabitants of this Western Canadian region.
The Glenbow Museum is a wonderful museum to visit if you want to get a richer perspective on Calgary and the surrounding region.
4. Prince’s Island Park
Prince’s Island Park is a fantastic and beautifully landscaped 20-acre city park that has many fun activity options no matter what season you are visiting in. In the summer, you can enjoy the many hiking trails, picnic areas, and playground areas for kids. If you are visiting In the winter, you can cross-country ski on the park trails or enjoy outdoor ice skating in the lagoon. You will most likely see some Canadian wildlife in the park, including Canada geese, and mallard ducks.
For a relaxing and refreshing activity while you’re visiting the City, we’d suggest exploring Prince’s Island Park no matter the season.
5. Heritage Park Historical Village
For another interesting and historical destination, you can visit Heritage Park Historical Village. With many interesting exhibits throughout this village and run by staff dressed in period outfits, you will get a glimpse in Canada’s past and feel like you have been transported to a different time period. Featuring many historic buildings that were shipped in to recreate this village, you can walk the streets (or ride in a horse-drawn carriage) and experiencing the sights, like a historic blacksmith shop, bakery, historic amusement park rides, and a recreation of a famous Canadian fort among many others.
6. Calaway Park
Calaway Park is a fun amusement park just outside the city limits and is a great family-friendly thing to do in Calgary. Featuring many exciting rides for different age groups, this park is spread out over 90 acres and some of the popular rides include “The Vortex” – a corkscrew rollercoaster, and “The Dream Machine” – a massive 56 person swing ride.
One great thing about Calaway Park is that it was voted the safest amusement park in North America due to its great safety track record and extra safety training for its employees. For another fun thing to do in Calgary with kids, Calaway Park is a fantastic option.
7. Fish Creek Provincial Park
For another great way to get out into nature close to the city, we think that Fish Creek Provincial Park is a great destination worth visiting. With countless walking trails, and a popular man-made lake (Sikome Lake), forested picnic areas. In the Summer months, Sikome Lake and beach is a popular swimming spot and a great place to cool off. Throughout the park, you are bound to see various Canadian animals including deer, beavers, owls, and coyotes. For a wonderful experience of Canadian nature close to Downtown, Fish Creek Provincial Park is one of the best destinations worth checking out.
8. Fort Calgary
Fort Calgary is a beautiful and restored historic fort located on the serene Bow and Elbow rivers and is the original gathering place for the original indigenous people who populated this region. While Fort Calgary was originally built to control the illegal American whiskey trade and to establish good relations with the local inhabitants, It now is a museum and event space that sees thousands of visitors and event guests each year. If you want to see the birthplace of Calgary, this is the spot to visit.
9. Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is an annual summer outdoor event that takes place in Calgary each year and features a rodeo, concerts, races, parades, and more. The Calgary Stampede sees over 1 million lively visitors each year and event-goers dress up in cowboy boots, hats, and other western-wear. The roots of the Calgary Stampede run deep and go all the way back to the late 1800s when the Stampede was started to encourage farmers and ranchers from eastern Canadian regions to move “out west” to Calgary.
If you are visiting Calgary during July, then you should definitely take part in the Calgary Stampede and the many fun events that happen during this epic 10-day event.
10. Bow River
The Bow River is an important river that begins in the Canadian Rockies and flows through the foothills and eventually through the heart of Calgary, providing power, drinking water, irrigation to the city. A fun way to experience the river is to walk, run, or bike along the Bow River Pathway that spans over 30 miles along the river edge. For a fun outdoor activity during your visit to Calgary, you should consider exploring the Bow River from this beautiful river pathway.
11. National Music Centre
For a one-of-a-kind music experience in Calgary, you can visit the National Music Centre in Downtown Calgary. Combining a museum and performance center this mult-faceted music center features a music museum unlike anything you’ve ever seen. With collections of instruments played by famous musicians on display, you can also get hands-on and try to play many different instruments that are placed throughout the museum space. In addition to the museum, the National Music Centre also hosts many concerts in their performance hall, so check out the upcoming events here.
12. Spruce Meadows
If you are interested in experiencing the sport of horse jumping and other equestrian-related activites, Spruce Meadows is the place to go in Calgary. Located on the south side of the City, this sprawling facility is home to some of the finest horse-related competitions in Canada and also home to the Calvary FC professional soccer team. The main events at Spruce Meadows take place in the 6,000-seat stadium that overlooks the lovingly maintained grounds. To experience a fun sporting activity during your visit to Calgary, check out what events are coming up at Spruce Meadows.
13. Stephen Avenue Walk
If shopping is your thing, then you should visit Calgary’s top shopping destination of Stephen Avenue Walk. This pedestrian shopping walkway is lined with new and historical buildings and features fine restaurants, shops, cafes and bars. The Stephen Avenue Walk is also the entrance point to two of Calgary’s largest indoor shopping malls, the Scotia Center, and the Core Shopping Centre. So, If you want to “shop-till-you-drop”, Stephen Avenue Walk is the place to go.
14. Calgary Pathway System
Calgary has done an incredible job of integrating and maintaining a massive system of paved paths throughout the city, and along the rivers and throughout the various parks and reserves. These pathways empower you to explore the city by foot or by bike and let you see the city from a different perspective. We would suggest exploring the Bow River Pathway portion of the system that winds along the impressive Bow river. These paths offer a great way to escape the business of the city and immerse yourself in Calgary’s natural beauty.
15. Calgary Opera
The Calgary Opera is a world-class opera company that performs at the Mamdani Opera Center and the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. The opera performances by the Calgary Opera are known for their incredible and detailed sets, live orchestral music, and incredibly talented opera singers and actors who are a part of this group. If you have the time, we would suggest you experience a performance by the Calgary Opera during your visit.
16. Skyline Luge Calgary
To experience the thrill of downhill luge, check out Skyline Luge Calgary, a unique downhill attraction that is great for all ages. Skyline Luge Calgary features a downhill track with twist & turns, tunnels, and other features that make this downhill karting experience an addicting activity. While rolling down a hill in a small cart might seem a bit crazy, they have made it a safe and incredibly fun activity that you have to experience to believe. The luge is popular with both locals and visitors and can get quite busy in the warm summer months. For a fun thing to do in Calgary with kids, be sure to visit the Skyline Luge.
17. Calgary Farmers’ Market
To experience the meeting place of Calgary’s farmers, artisans, craftspeople, bakers, and more, you can visit the year-round Calgary Farmers’ Market. Located near Downtown, this lovely indoor marketplace features many vendors offering all kinds of interesting and fresh things to eat and drink and is a great place to experience the vibrant local culture of Calgary. While there are other farmer’s markets in and around Calgary, we put Calgary Farmers’ Market at the top of the list and we know you’ll love this lively indoor market as much as we do.
18. The Plus 15 Skywalk
A truly unique feature of the city of Calgary is the +15 Skywalk. An extensive series of above-ground indoor walkways, the +15 Skywalk connects many of the buildings in Downtown and is overall covers 11 total miles across 62 different bridges. With this unique series of enclosed bridges, you can walk almost anywhere downtown without ever needing to set foot outside! This is great during those harsh winter months and a great thing for the local economy as it helps locals move easily between work, shopping, and public transportation, all within the comfort of being indoors.
19. Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
For another beautiful and serene way to experience the nature and wildlife of Calgary, you can visit the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary – a series of riverside trails and lookout points along the Bow River. Here, you can see the famous Canada Geese congregating along the river, and many other birds and wildlife. As its a popular spot for “birding”, you might even see locals and visitors peering through their binoculars at the many birds that can be seen here.
20. Peace Bridge
The Peace Bridge in Calgary is an artistically designed pedestrian bridge in Calgary that is part of the Bow River Pathway and spans across the broad Bow River. Also known as “Finger Trap Bridge” because of its resemblance to a Chinese finger trap toy, this bridge has won numerous design awards due to its unique architecture. The Peace Bridge is more than an ornamental bridge as it is used by more than 6,000 commuters each day to get to and from work in Downtown.
WinSport is a multi-purpose sports facility in Calgary that is most known for it’s winter sports facilities and was the site for many winter events of the 1988 Winter Olympics. While Winsport has world-class winter sport training facilities for ski-jumping, half-pipe, and bobsledding, it has also become a year-round sports facility and now hosts other fun activities, like summer mountain biking courses, the Skyline Luge, and summer bobsledding. WIth many fun outdoor activities in every season of the year, WinSport should definitely be on your list when it comes to outdoor Calgary fun.
22. Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
To experience the best classical music performances in Calgary, look no further than the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. This world-class orchestra has many performances throughout the year, and provides a sophisticated and polished music program for the greater Calgary community. For tickets and calendar information, visit the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra website.
23. The New Central Library
The Calgary New Central Library is an architectural masterpiece and library in the heart of Downtown Calgary. With an impressive design by the acclaimed architecture firm Snøhetta, this flagship library of the Calgary Public library system cost over 245 million dollars to build and it sure looks like it! In addition to housing over 450,000 books, the New Central Library also features conference rooms, a theatre, and a cafe. This library is worth visiting just to see the amazing design, but you could also stay for a bit and read a book!
24. CF Chinook Centre
Another great shopping destination in Calgary, the Chinook Centre is the largest shopping mall in the city with nearly 1.4 million square feet of space featuring over 250 stores. In addition to the retail stores, this mall has many great restaurants, a 16-screen theater, a bowling alley, and much more. For great shopping experience and fun things to do in Calgary during Winter, we’d suggest exploring all the shopping and entertainment options at the Chinook Centre.
25. Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
If you enjoy sports, then Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame should make it onto your Calgary visit itinerary. This unique sports-related museum features over 100,000 sports artifacts from various players and sporting events and also has many interactive museum exhibits throughout the facility. While Canada’s favorite sport is hockey, this museum is dedicated to all different types of sports and this hall of fame recognizes over 600 athletes from various disciplines as well as important builders of various sports in Canada. A must-see for athletes and sports lovers, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is another unusual but interesting thing to do in Calgary.
26. Nose Hill Park
Nose Hill Park is a vast nature reserve right outside Calgary’s urban center and is one of the best parks for viewing the Calgary skyline. With nearly 200 miles of trails set on rolling hills, this wide-open park is a popular place to run, bike, and generally get out into the countryside to clear your head and enjoy the calm silence. While most of the park consists of rolling grassy hills, there are many beautiful stands of aspen and other trees throughout the area.
27. Lougheed House
To see one of the best examples of a preserved and elegant historic mansion, we’d suggest you visit the expansive Lougheed House. This 14,000 square-foot home was completed in 1891 and is made almost entirely of sandstone blocks and is completely restored to its original glory. In addition to taking a tour of this amazing home, you enjoy a meal of fine “French comfort food” in the house’s own restaurant. The Lougheed House is a popular event venue and is a common location for many elegant events and weddings.
28. Treehouse Indoor Playground
With multiple locations in Calgary, the Treehouse Indoor Playground is a popular thing to do in Calgary with kids. This indoor playground facility offers many kid-friendly activities and equipment to keep kids busy, like massive play structures, ball pits, game floors, and a cafe for the parents to sit and watch their kids while enjoying a meal. When the weather is cold and snowy in the winter months, this is a great option for parents to take their kids.
29. Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm
For another fun and interesting thing to do in Calgary with kids, The Calgary Corn Maze and Fun Farm is another great option for a memorable time. With the largest corn maze in all of Canada, covering over 13 acres, you can have fun trying to find your way through from beginning to end. In addition to the maze, there is a petting zoo of barnyard animals, tractor rides, giant slides, min golf, and many other fun activities to enjoy here. While it is closed in the wintertime, the Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm is open the rest of the year for families to enjoy.
30. The Scotiabank Saddledome
As one of the premier concert and event venues in Calgary, The Scotiabank Saddledome is home to many exciting events throughout the year. From professional hockey games and locrosse matches, to hosting some of the biggest music stars in the world, Scotiabank Saddledome offers a world-class entertainment venue. For tickets and the upcoming events, check out their website to plan your visit.