Bucket List: 30 things you need to experience in Calgary before you die

Nov 28 2018, 10:37 am

The bad news is that nobody is going to live forever, but the good news is there are lots of awesome things to see and do in Calgary before that final day arrives.

We’ve put together a list of 30 of the coolest events, city landmarks, and attractions that you need to check out while you’re here in YYC.

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Celebrate western culture at Calgary Stampede

 

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It’s the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, and they don’t call it that for nothing. It’s 10 solid days of celebrating Calgary’s western culture, complete with art vendors, exhibitions, live music, carnival rides, the best and craziest food in North America, and, of course, the rodeo.

The Calgary experience isn’t complete until you’ve bought a cowboy hat, won a prize for your significant other at a carnival game, eaten a foot-long corndog or slice of scorpion pizza, and watched the nightly firework shows of Calgary Stampede. See you there!

When: Usually begins on the first Friday of July

Where: 1410 Olympic Way SE

Enjoy a summer day at Calaway Park

 

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We have our very own amusement park in Calgary, with roller coasters, log ride, live shows, games, candies, and everything in between.

Calaway Park is a seasonal attraction, open from May to October, and they’re already selling season passes for 2019.

If you’ve never been to this attraction, it’s definitely worth a visit. Bring some friends, bring the family, and have a great summer day together.

When: Open from May to October, hours change by the month

Where: 245033 Range Rd 33

Relax at Devonian Garden

 

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Are the winter blues getting you down? Wish you could just go for a walk in a beautiful wooded park but it’s just too cold out? I’ve got great news for you.

In the CORE shopping centre in downtown Calgary there is a hectare’s worth of botanical gardens that are free to explore. More than 500 trees and over 50 varieties of plants, this indoor park is complete with a playground, fountains, living wall, and fish ponds with huge, beautiful and curious koi living there.

Hours: Monday to Wednesday and Saturday: 10 am to 6 pm. Thursday to Friday: 10 am to 8 pm. Sunday: Noon to 5 pm

Where: 333 7th Avenue SW, 4th floor

Support wildlife conservation at the Calgary Zoo

 

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The Calgary Zoo is a must-visit in our city.

This attraction isn’t just the perfect year-round place to explore and have fun. A visit to the zoo is always an educational experience. Informational signs and interactive experiences are always close to viewing areas, giving you the chance to learn about the animals you’re seeing.

The Calgary Zoo is an incredible supporter of wildlife conservation and works with many partner organizations across the globe to help protect threatened and endangered animals. Everything you buy, from admission, to lunch, to a stuffed panda bear, helps support conservation, so visiting the zoo at all helps a good cause.

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm

Where: 210 St. George’s Drive NE

Meet a kangaroo at Cobb’s Adventure Park

 

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Do you like climbing walls? Archery tag? What about kangaroo petting zoos? There’s a place right here in Calgary that you’re going to love.

Another Calgary seasonal attraction, Cobb’s Adventure Park is open from July to October with some pre-season events going on in June.

When: 11 am to 5 pm, operating days change from Summer to Fall

Where: 1500 84th Street NE

Take some artsy photos at the Peace Bridge

 

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Basically every Calgarian on Instagram has had a picture of themselves taken on this city icon.

The bridge opened back in 2012 and, thanks to its beautiful and unique architecture, it immediately became a magnet for people wanting that perfect photo. Crossing the Bow River, it connects the Eau Claire neighbourhood with Sunnyside and is just outside Prince’s Island Park. Speaking of which…

Take a walk around Prince’s Island Park

 

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This downtown park sees a lot of traffic — and for good reason! This part of the city is drop-dead gorgeous all year-round.

Home to the River Cafe and an on-leash dog park, Prince’s Island also has year-round seasonal amenities.

In the summer there are public washrooms, a playground and water fountains, while in the winter you can go ice skating and cross-country skiing.

Where: 698 Eau Claire Avenue SW

Hours: 5 am to 11 pm

Learn about our local environment at the Bow Habitat Station

 

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Want to learn about the natural environment of Calgary and the surrounding area?

The Bow Habitat Station offers programs and exhibits to make learning about our native flora and fauna approachable, with a special focus on our local aquatic environments.

It’s a really cool place for those interested in local natural history.

Admission: $10

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 4 pm

Where: 1440-17A Street SE

Celebrate sporting achievements at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

 

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Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is a museum dedicated to the remarkable achievements of Canadian athletes — 665 of them to date.

Newly honoured athletes are inducted annually and are then shared in carefully curated exhibits.

Admission: $12

Where: 169 Canada Olympic Rd SW

Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Be an athlete for the day at WinSport

 

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Home to the still-standing ski jump facilities from the 1988 Winter Olympics WinSport is a massive, year-round sports park with all kinds of amenities and activities you can take advantage of.

Need a place to go skating or skiing? Want to try your hand at luge or skeleton? Maybe you just want to slide down a hill on a tube? WinSport has all of that and so much more.

Admission: Varies between events.

Where: 88 Canada Olympic Road SW

Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Saturday to Sunday: 9 am to 6 pm

Get some perspective at Calgary Tower

 

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Built back in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s centennial, the Calgary Tower is home to some of the best views of the city.

Take an elevator all the way to the top and wander the 360-degree view of Calgary from above. Audio tours at your own pace are also available, giving you not only a great sight to see, but some information about the history of our city with insight for its future.

Admission: $18

Where: 101 9th Avenue SW

Hours: 9 am to 9 pm

Escape modern day at Heritage Park

 

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If you want to learn and engage with Calgary’s history, there is no better place than Heritage Park.

Part theme park, part historical village, all awesome, this place is home to some incredible artifacts and passionate volunteers playing the roles of people from bygone eras.

In the summer, you can ride a working steam train as well as take a paddle boat ride out on the Glenmore Reservoir, all included with the price of your ticket.

While the historical village is closed in the winter, there is an automotive museum on the grounds that is open year-round.

Admission: $11

Where: 1900 Heritage Drive SW

Hours: 10 am to 4 pm

Visit Glenmore Reservoir

 

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An artificial reservoir created to supply Calgary with a safe supply of drinking water and to reduce the threat posed by high river flows, Glenmore Reservoir is also open to recreation.

You can go boating from May 1 (assuming it’s clear of ice) to October 31, but there is also a network of hiking trails around the beautiful landscape.

Pay your respects at The Military Museums

 

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Dedicated to preserving the history and traditions of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Military Museums is a beautiful tribute to the sacrifices countless Canadians made in the defence of our country.

The displays are beautiful and range from artifacts in glass cases, to full-sized dioramas of battlefields complete with military ordinance and wax figures depicting Canadian soldiers. The stories told in these halls are moving and bring a sharp perspective on the freedoms we enjoy today.

Admission: $15

Where: 4520 Crowchild Trail SW

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm

Stroll through 17th Avenue

 

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To get the fullest understanding of Calgary in the shortest amount of time, a walk down 17th Avenue is the most effective method.

Some of the best food and shopping opportunities are along this stretch of the city, and the whole place is positively vibrating with culture. You won’t regret coming down to visit.

Unlock the secrets of the universe at Telus Spark

 

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Interactive exhibits, demonstrations, and presentations are what awaits those who visit Telus Spark, Calgary’s very own science centre.

Much of the attractions are geared toward inspiring young minds, but there is a lot for adults to appreciate as well and there are events programmed exclusively for adults and scheduled after the rest of the centre is closed.

Admission: $26

Where: 220 St. George’s Dr NE

Hours: Sunday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm

Explore street vendors at Inglewood Sunfest

 

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Early August is the time of year when businesses large and small, artists, dog groomers and ghost tour guides set up shop on Mainstreet Inglewood to show off for the public.

It’s an awesome time, and attending really feels like you’re on the pulse of the city. You’re bound to meet someone new, or see some side of the city represented that you never knew about.

Get your geek on at Calgary Expo

 

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It’s the biggest comics and entertainment expo in Western Canada, and the must-visit event of the year, every year, for the Canadian geek community. People even come in internationally to attend Calgary Expo.

Get a chance to meet celebrity actors and artists of your favourite show or comic book, attend awesome panels from star interviews to local authors giving you tips on world-building, and buy art or souvenirs from vendors both local and international. If you like movies, comic books, collectibles, or even just fun, you can’t miss this event.

Admission: From $20 admission to $495 four-day VIP package admission

Where: 650 25 Avenue SE

When: April 25 to 28, 2019

Give skateboarding a try at Shaw Millennium Park

 

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Canada’s largest free outdoor skatepark located conveniently close to downtown, Shaw Millennium Park sees more than 35,000 visitors a year.

With 75,000-sq-ft of skateable surface, it’s not hard to see why. This park was founded in 2000 and remains the largest skate park in North America.

Where: 1220 9th Avenue SW

Hours: Open 24 hours

Take in a fireworks show at GlobalFest

 

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An arts and culture festival that showcases the artistic excellence and cultural diversity of Calgary, GlobalFest is perhaps best known for its fireworks shows.

Competing teams from different nations put on fireworks for the festival and of course, the most breathtaking wins.

Admission: From $8.50 early bird admission to $176 VIP package

Where: 1827 68 St SE

When: August 15 to August 24, 2019

Go birdwatching at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary & Nature Centre

 

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A sizeable nature reserve in the heart of Calgary, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary & Nature Centre serves as a place for migratory birds to rest in their travels, and for other birds to make their permanent home.

The park includes beautiful grounds with extensive walking trails you can explore as well as the nature centre itself houses an exhibit hall and keeps a record of the recent animal sightings so you can get an idea of what to be on the lookout for.

Where: 2425 9th Avenue SE

Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm; Saturday, Noon to 4 pm

Get some freshly grown produce at the Farmers’ Market

 

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There are all kinds of awesome things at Calgary Farmers’ Market, and all of it is local.

Clothes, art, soap, coffee and tea, wine and of course produce can all be found here, all by vendors from the Calgary area.

If you work up an appetite while you’re browsing the shops, there are a few restaurants here to check out as well.

Where: 510 77th Avenue SE

Hours: Thursday to Sunday: 9 am to 5 pm

Go skating at Olympic Plaza

 

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Built in 1988 for the Olympic Winter Games, from May to October the plaza serves as a fountain and pool, perfect for taking a lunch break or relaxing in a little spot of green downtown.

From November to March though, you can go skating free of charge (if you have your own skates). You can, however rent skates from a nearby booth.

Where: 228 8th Avenue SE

When: 10 am to 9 pm

Start festival season off right with Lilac Festival

 

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A free one-day event that showcases the artists and vendors of Calgary, Lilac Fest is one of the best things you can do to kick off the summer.

Always taking place in early June on 4th street, you really can’t miss this awesome event in to put yourself in the summer spirit.

When: June 2, 2019: 10 am to 6 pm

Where: 4th Street, between 13th Avenue and Elbow Drive SW

Appreciate art and history at Glenbow Museum

 

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Glenbow Museum is a monument to art and history with fantastic exhibits and programs featuring artifacts from across the world and right here in Canada.

One of the highlights of the museum is an entire floor dedicated to Treat 7 First Nations history and culture both past and present.

Admission: $16

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm. Sunday: 12 pm to 5 pm

Where: 130 9th Avenue SE

Discover Calgary’s origins at Fort Calgary

 

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Back in 1875, the North West Mounted Police built a fort at the place where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet. That fort would go on to become the birthplace of our great city.

The fort now stands as a museum, a place where Calgarians can quietly reflect on our history and learn more about this place we call home.

Admission: $12

Hours: 9 am to 5 am

Where: 750 9th Avenue SE

Reconnect with nature in Confederation Park

 

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Picnic tables, sledding hills, biking trails, and a whole lot more are here for you at Confederation Park.

It’s the perfect place to leave the hustle of the city behind and just enjoy nature. The area is a rich habitat, home to many different plants and animals and serves as an important stop for migratory birds, despite being within the bounds of an urban centre.

Hours: 5 am to 11 pm.

Where: 905 30th Avenue NW

Surround yourself in the culture of music at Studio Bell

 

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Studio Bell is home to the National Music Centre, which hosts musical exhibitions and live shows.

There’s a huge focus here on local music, be it Canadian in general, or Calgarian specifically. If you’re even passively interested in music, you’ll find something here that really pulls on your heart.

Admission: $18

Hours: Wednesday to Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm

Where: 850 4th Street SE

Get lost (and eventually found) at Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm

Who doesn’t like a good corn maze every now and then?

Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm offers more than 13 acres of corn mazes, along with mini golf, zippiness and a petting zoo. Why not take a day away from city life and have some country-style fun?

Admission: $15.95

When: Closed for the winter season, but reopening on June 1, 2019

Where: 284022 Township Road 224

Go faster and faster at Skyline Luge Calgary

 

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A unique, high speed, wheeled gravity ride that gives you full control as you race down a track, Skyline Luge covers a distance of over 1,800 metres and has more than 50 twists and turns.

It’s the longest track of its kind in the world, and it’s perfectly approachable for people of all ages and experience levels.

Admission: Prices range from $16 for one ride, to $32 for five rides

Hours: This attraction is closed for the winter season, but opens again in May 2019

Where: 88 Canada Olympic Road SW

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