Fun Things To Do in Calgary

Even though the economy in Calgary is suffering right now with all the layoffs and low energy prices, there are still people moving here from other provinces and other countries. Sure there are probably quite a few people packing up and moving back to Ontario or the Maritimes, but most of those people were just here to make a quick buck and never intended to stay for long in the first place. Anyone that has put down some roots and have homes and kids in school, is probably not going to let this downturn affect them too much and they will probably stay.

For those people that are still moving here, I thought I would put together a list of fun things to do in Calgary when you get here.

  1. The Calgary Zoo – Our zoo is well known internationally and with the exception of a few unfortunate animal deaths, is regarded as one of the best in the world. Probably the best thing you can do there is witness the walking of the penguins which is a little field trip the birds take through the zoo. You can stand right beside them behind a roped off area and watch as staff supervise their outing. Another big draw is sure to be the new baby gorilla.
  2. The Calgary Stampede – Sure this only happens for 10 days every year but it really can be a lot of fun if you understand that it is mostly just a big party. There is nothing special about the midway rides, but when you combine those with the free shows that happen periodically through the day on the grounds, the rodeo, and the fantastic evening grandstand show, you get a pretty special place. Sure it is expensive but if you take those things in as well as the parade and take advantage of the party atmosphere all around town, you are bound to have fun.
  3. Heritage Park – This is a turn of the century town that demonstrates what life was like back then. There are people dressed in period appropriate costumes in most of the buildings. In the newspaper office, you can watch them print the paper with their authentic antique printing press, and in the blacksmith shop you can see them shoe a horse.
  4. Science Centre – The Telus science centre is near the zoo and has two floors of interactive exhibits that explain how stuff works. This is great if you have kids to entertain on a Saturday afternoon.
  5. Rafting down the Bow – In the summer, there is nothing more refreshing and relaxing than floating down the bow river with friends or family. You do need to make sure you ask some locals where to start and where to finish. The last thing you want to do is end up going over a dangerous part of the river.
  6. Running and Biking – Calgary has one of the best networks of bike paths out of all the cities in North America. There are hundreds of kilometers of trails that cover most of the city and follow the most scenic routes such as by the river and through parks.
  7. Hiking in the Mountains – Calgary is only an hour away from Kananaskis country, Canmore, and Banff where there are numerous trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Ask locals which trails you should try.
  8. Saskatoon Berry Farm – This is a quaint little farm where you can buy berry trees, pick berries from their trees, buy interesting garden items, or just have a leisurely stroll through the farm. You can buy antiques or have a piece of pie and a coffee, or an ice cream. This is only about 20 minutes south of town and is a great thing to do on a weekend.
  9. Escape Rooms – These are facilities where you voluntarily get locked into a room or maze, and you have a certain amount of time to figure out how to get out using clues, and solving puzzles. There are many companies in Calgary that offer different variations of this theme.
  10. Cooking Classes – When you get a group of friends or family together to learn how to cook a gourmet meal, it can be surprisingly fun. It is a relaxed atmosphere where they give you all the ingredients you need and teach you step by step how to prepare the dish. It also helps that you could be drinking wine while you learn.
Of course there are many more things to do such as shopping, dining, night clubs, theatre, museums, and ballet, but I wanted to stick to things that I have done and are fairly unique to Calgary.
Here is a video with some more great suggestions: