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Things to Know Before Visiting Calgary, Alberta
If you plan on visiting Calgary for the Stampede or just as a pit stop to Banff there are a few things you should consider first before making those plans.
Avoid restaurants. Calgary is experiencing a working shortage and restaurants in the city are suffering the most. Restaurant owners have been granted permission from the city to hire teenagers as young as 13 years old. So don't be surprised if you are waited on by a kid or that your food is cooked by a child with little experience.
You are usually safe at upscale or hotel type restaurants. Places to absolutely avoid eating at are Taco Bell, Burger King, anything at the mall and Denny's. Also keep in mind that the Norwalk virus is still quite prevalent in Calgary so stay away from any buffets or outdoor grills. Grocery store lunchable foods are great and reasonably priced and restaurants that are outside of tourist areas are great too.
Getting around the city without a car is a hard thing to do. The LRT (light rail transit) stops running at midnight and doesn't start again until 5 am, and on the weekend only shows up every hour. That wouldn't be so bad except taxis take over an hour, on average, to get to you (shortage of taxi drivers). For transportation you are better off renting a car, but avoid driving in the city during peak hours since all of its main roads are under major construction.
Calgary, Alberta: July 7, 2006
The only other thing I would recommend is to be prepared for any weather. It has snowed in June and the beginning of July there is always a sudden hailstorm. The weather could change dramatically without notice, even when the weather was perfect before you left the hotel, so pack everything.
What I love most about Calgary despite all of the problems, are the Calgarians. You will never meet a nicer group of people.