Where to stay in Calgary?
You may have heard of the Calgary Winter Olympics or the Calgary Stampede, but this Alberta city has much more to offer you. Trendy food spots, boutique shops, lively nightlife, excellent museums and, of course, the wonderful Canadian countryside which surrounds the city. Here you'll find plenty to do in both winter and summer.
Calgary started life as the home of the Northwest Mounted Police in 1876 when it was originally called “Fort Brisebois”. The Mounties were needed to patrol a region of whiskey and fur traders. When the railway arrived a few years later the town rapidly expanded into an agricultural and economic hub. An oil boom followed in the 1940s and much of the city's skyscraper skyline was built by the 1980s. Fortunes were revived by the 1988 Winter Olympics, since then the city hasn't looked back.
Businesses, restaurants, shops and a lively street culture of buskers, art and performers make staying in the downtown areas of Art Central or Olympic Plaza a good choice. The Devonian Gardens, Calgary Tower and the Glenbow Museum will be on your doorstep. If taking in festivals is your idea of holiday fun then stay in the Eau Claire neighbourhood on the banks of the River Bow. One of the most popular events is the Taste of Calgary. Explore the history of Calgary with a hotel or hostel in the city's historic heart of Victoria Park. Buildings here date back to the 19th century.
If holiday plans include early arrivals and late departures, then there are plenty of hotels near YYC, Calgary International Airport. These range from luxury hotels to good-value chain hotels with direct access to airport terminals. Enjoy a spot of shopping at the Sunridge shopping centre while Calgary Zoo will be close by. Hotels with countryside within easy reach can be found in Bowness, once a summer holiday destination for Calgary residents and now part of the city suburbs. Just a few minutes from the city centre, Bowness is right next to Stanley Park and the ideal place to stay if visiting in July for the Calgary Stampede.
The best views in Calgary
You may be lucky enough to have excellent city views from your hotel room, if not there are plenty of city spots where you can soak up the skyline or watch the sunset. Go up high to take in the view or dine at Sky 360. Its restaurant makes a full revolution every 45 minutes at lunchtime and every hour in the evening. For a more budget-conscious panorama, head up Scotsman Hill for a daytime photo opportunity or some nighttime stargazing.
If you are feeling energetic, run or walk up McHugh Bluff Stairs for a stunning Calgary view or climb up Big Rock Erratic. This rock was carried down to the river valley over 10,000 years ago. It's another great sunset spot.
The magical sights of Calgary
The award-winning Glenbow Museum has a permanent collection of history, art and pop-culture artifacts while temporary exhibits by contemporary artists are always talking points. Some collections bring the past vividly to life. These include a tipi, trading post and walk-through railcar from an old train.
Whether you are in Calgary with your children or not, Calgary Zoo is definitely worth a visit. One of the most top-rated zoos in North America, it is home to over 1,000 animals from around the globe with many enclosures recreating their natural habitats. The zoo also works to protect endangered Canadian species. As well as the animals there is a butterfly enclosure, tropical rainforest exhibit, botanical gardens and a Prehistoric Park with life-size replicas of dinosaurs.
Step back in time at the Heritage Park Historical Village to see what Calgary looked like a century ago. Explore a fort, church, school and grain mill, ride a steam train, hop on a trolleybus or take a more leisurely hayride or boat trip on the SS Moyie.
Calgary is an all year round destination but be sure to go prepared for weather extremes. City hotels fill up in the summer for the Calgary Stampede with its rodeos, concerts, wagon races and other Wild Western fun. If you want to ski or snowboard, visit from November to March. When you are ready to book your trip to Calgary, browse CheapTickets.sg for our best deals on flights and hotels.