Hi y’all! See what I did there? There are so many fun and beautiful things to do and see in Calgary, Alberta and I thought I would share some of them with you here. Whenever I come to this Wild West city I have such a good time! The summer is a particularly lovely time to visit Alberta, especially this close to the mountains. I have some beautiful memories of visiting with friends (thank you for hosting me, Tamania from Urdu Mom!), day trips with beautiful views, and of course, boots and cowboy hats. But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let me share my favourite summer Calgary things to do.
What to do this summer in Calgary
Go to the Calgary Stampede
If the timing of your trip works out that you can attend this event while you are in Calgary, do it! If you haven’t heard of the Calgary Stampede – you can find more information about it HERE. It is one of the best summer events in Calgary! It’s the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, and includes agricultural competitions, carnival eats, a midway, evening shows, music festivals, and so much more! It is probably the busiest time to be in Calgary and wherever you go, people are dressed in cowboy hats and boots. Calgary gets really excited about Stampede and there is such a fun vibe in the city when it’s going on. My friends and I attended several events and enjoyed them all.
I learned a tip: get your tickets in advance for the rodeo or other events. Why, you ask? Well, it means you can access the grounds hours before the show and start eating. Carnival eats and deep-fried goodies everywhere! Trust me when I say you don’t want to miss out on any of it. Definitely recommend this iconic Calgary experience!
Visit the Rocky Mountains
One of the lovely things about Calgary is how close it is to the mountains! I highly recommend renting a car and taking a day trip out to the Rockies, or staying for a few days if you have the time. My favourite Rockies destination is Lake Louise in Banff National Park, a two hour-ish drive from Calgary. This is a popular tourist destination and I would recommend getting on the road early to beat the crowds. The last time I visited we reached Lake Louise at 7:55 am, and the parking lots were already full! Whether you make it in time to park right at the lake or have to use the overflow parking and shuttle there in 20-30 minutes, the view is worth the trip.
Lake Louise is a glacial lake that gets its turquoise colour from the abundant mountain minerals that fill its waters. This photo is not touched up, I promise. It truly is this magnificent!
We decided to hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House. This hike is all uphill and 3.8 km long, and worth every step. It can take about an hour and is an intermediate level hike. The views of the mountains are incredible with an abundance of wildlife. Bear sightings are unlikely though, because there are so many humans. On your way, stop at Mirror Lake, about 3/4 of the way up to the tea house. Lake Louise, Agnes Lake, and Mirror Lake are often called the “Lakes in the Clouds”, and you will see why!
The tea house sits at the top of a beautiful waterfall, adjacent to Agnes Lake. You can enjoy a nice cafe-style meal at the tea house, with one of 100 varieties of tea! The soup and sandwiches my friends and I chose were delicious.
Since you are already in the area, I would also suggest you check out the town of Banff, right in the park, and/or Canmore, close by but outside the park itself. Banff offers a beautiful main street to stroll down and window shop (or really shop!), a gorgeous playground close to the river, art galleries, museums, hot springs, and more. Canmore has a main street for wandering as well as easy hikes, the Nordic Centre Provincial Park, and a lovely small town mountain feel. The Rockies are just such a lovely place to visit and you won’t be disappointed!
Check out Heritage Park
Another fun summer thing to do in Calgary is Heritage Park. This park is Canada’s largest living history museum, all outdoors. The various buildings are donated by the original owners and are a representation of life in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You know I’m obsessed with antiques and vintage things, so this was basically my dream come true!
Heritage Park also has wonderful classes and activities for kids of all ages. When I was there we went to an ice cream making class and had the yummiest ice cream! There are all kinds of cultural demonstrations, exhibits, shops, and dining options too (including a nice picnic area). I highly recommend spending a whole day here to get the full experience.
Go to the Spark Centre
The Telus Spark Science Centre is such a fun experience for both kids and adults. You can easily spend a day here or at least a few hours! With an ever-changing menu of exhibits, featured events, galleries, and more, it is best to check out the website to see what’s happening at the time you are planning to visit so you can plan what you want to do while you’re there. There is even a restaurant and ice cream shop right inside, so you can fuel up at lunchtime and keep right on learning through the afternoon.
Visit Calaway Park
If you like amusement park rides and a real midway experience, check out Calaway Park while you are in Calgary. This is western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park, and boasts more than 32 family friendly rides! And of course, there is a wide range of carnival food to experience too. There is also a spray park, live entertainment shows, and a 3D theatre if you need a break from the rides. Geared around family fun, this is a safe and friendly carnival experience for all ages.
Check out the Central Library
Another fun thing I’ve done in Calgary is visit the Central Library. This space is a gorgeous architectural feat and a state-of-the-art library! I was so impressed with just the entrance alone. This place is vast, and boasts a cafe, murals and sculpture art by Indigenous artists, a huge children’s library, and more! You can even take a free guided tour to help you experience all there is to offer there. Definitely recommend.
So there you have it, a few things to see and do in Calgary and surrounding areas. I always wish I had more time there, especially to spend in the mountains! I would love to see your Calgary/Rocky Mountains holiday pics, and if you have any other fun destinations to add to the list please share them to @mintcandydesigns!
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