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Tourist Attractions In and Around Calgary, Canada

Updated on November 5, 2021
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While many travelers touring through Canada focus on the Canadian metropolises of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, the interior city of Calgary in the province of Alberta should not be overlooked. There are a number of tourist attractions in and around Calgary that travelers of all tastes will find appealing. Calgary offers a considerable number of museums, annual festivals, and parks to keep visitors to the city occupied, particularly in the warmer months. For those interested in exploring the surrounding area, day trips can be made from Calgary to one of the most beautiful places of natural beauty on Earth, the Canadian Rockies. Calgary is a beautiful city on the Canadian prairies that lead up to the Canadian Rockies.

Calgary, Canada's Skyline


Welcome To Calgary, Canada

The City of Calgary is the third largest city in Canada and the largest city in the Canadian province of Alberta, with a population of 1,096,833 as of 2011. Calgary is located in southern Alberta, approximately 50 miles east of the Canadian Rockies and 160 miles north of the United States border. Calgary is situated at an elevation of just over one-half mile (one kilometer) above sea level in the prairie and foothills that lead up to the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. As is the case with the other large city in Alberta, Edmonton, Calgary’s economy has two main underpinnings, the oil and natural gas producing industry and the agricultural industry. Both of these industries have been quite prosperous in recent years, and Calgary has seen an influx of residents as a result, with over 100,000 people moving to Calgary since the mid 2000s. Calgary has the distinction of being the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games, which occurred in 1988.

Tourist Attractions In And Around Calgary

Calgary hosts over three million tourists per year that come to the city for the numerous festivals that occur in the city and to see the city’s attractions. Others are drawn to Calgary as a layover on their way to the Canadian Rockies.

Calgary hosts a number of annual festivals that range from the Calgary International Film Festival and the Calgary Folk Music Festival to the Calgary Fringe Festival and Calgary Gay Pride Festival. Calgary’s most famous festival is the city’s rodeo and rodeo exhibition, which is known as the Calgary Stampede. The Calgary Stampede rodeo and exhibition takes place in July, and has been a tradition for 100 years. It is celebrating its centennial in 2012, having started in 1912 when Calgary was a much smaller and different outpost city on the Canadian prairie. The Calgary Stampede is not just Calgary’s largest festival of the year, it is also one of the largest festivals to occur in Canada each year.

Among Calgary’s attractions are a number of museums, including the largest art museum in western Canada, which is known as the Glenbow Museum. This museum not only has a sizable art collection, it also has a collection of First Nations artwork that highlights the artistry of the original inhabitants of the area. Calgary also has the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum, the Military Museums (Museum of the Regiments, Naval Museum of Alberta, and an Air Force Wing), Fort Calgary Historic Park (the original military outpost in Calgary), Heritage Park Historical Village (a taste of life in Calgary in the early 20th century), Royal Tyrrell Museum (one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils in the world), the National Music Centre (with a world-renowned collection of musical artifact), Telus World of Science, and the Aero Space Museum.

The Canadian Rockies are one of the most majestic places on planet Earth. The front range of the Canadian Rockies is only about an hour from Calgary, which puts a beautiful part of the Canadian Rockies from Banff to Lake Louise within a day trip form Calgary. From the snow-covered peaks to the emerald lakes below, the scenery in the Canadian Rockies is breathtaking.

The Canadian Rockies Seen From The The Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper in Alberta, Canada.
The Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper in Alberta, Canada. | Source

How To Get To Calgary

Due to its distance from major population centers in North American, for most travelers the most convenient way to get to Calgary is by airplane. For those with more time on their hands, a train trip to Calgary on Canada’s national passenger railroad ViaRail is an option that is worth considering. Those coming from the west or continuing on to the west from Calgary on the train will be treated to spectacular views as they pass through the Canadian Rockies. Last but not least, for those who live in North America and have time to spare, one can get in their car and drive to Calgary. Having a car is convenient for making a day trip or two to the Canadian Rockies from Calgary.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 John Coviello


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