Calgary Bucket List: 20 things you need to experience in the city

Apr 4 2022, 10:36 pm

Perhaps it’s not your last day on Earth, but if you’re in the YYC area and looking for unique and Calgary-specific bucket list experiences, then this one is for you.

There are tons of amazing things to do in the city, but some just stand above the rest. You’ve gotta add these Calgary experiences to your bucket list!

There’s a lot more to the city than most people think, and here’s proof:

1. Immerse yourself in Calgary’s museum scene


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Calgary is home to many interesting museums. In particular, the Glenbow museum is well worth a wander. Glenbow is home to the largest public art collection in all of western Canada, with over 33,000 works of art.

Glenbow’s main building is currently closed for renovations, but their new satellite location at The Edison opens in April 2022, featuring visiting exhibitions on temporary display.

The first exhibition at The Edison, Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment, allows visitors to experience 200 works of art by a generation of 20th Century women painters, photographers, weavers, bead workers, and sculptors who remained largely unrecognized amid celebrated male artists of the time.

The exhibit provides a unique look at the works of settler artists such as Anne Savage, Elizabeth Wyn Wood and Florence Wyle. The work of Indigenous women in this period is also featured prominently, including pieces by Elizabeth Katt Petrant, Attatsiaq, and Mrs. Walking Sun. In addition, Canadian art enthusiasts may recognize works by Prudence Heward, Paraskeva Clark, and Emily Carr.

Uninvited runs from April 9 to May 8, 2022, at The Edison. Admission is free, but timed tickets are required for entry.

When: Pop-up exhibition begins on April 9, 2022; open from 11 am to 8 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am to 6 pm on Sundays
Glenbow’s satellite location is inside The Edison (150 9th Avenue SW, Calgary)
Free; timed ticket required for entry

2. Explore the historic neighbourhood of Inglewood


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This neighbourhood is one of the oldest in Calgary and is home to many cool eateries, watering holes, and unique stores.

If you’re on the hunt for caffeine, check out Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar or Rosso Coffee Roasters. Looking for brunch? Madison’s 1212 has delicious nachos and $1.50 mimosas on Sundays. Monki Bistro, Bea’s Eatery, and Red’s Diner are other great options.

Funky bookstores like The Next Page or Fair’s Fair Books are nestled in the streets. Plant garden centre is the mecca for all green thumbs. Recordland holds one of the largest selections of vinyl in all of Canada.

Whatever it is you’re searching for, Inglewood has a trendy location for you.

Where: You’ll find the main action in Inglewood along 9th Avenue SE from 8th and 15th Streets SE, and the surrounding area

3. Have a romantic winter date night at Olympic Plaza


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Grab your babe and your skates and head on over to Olympic Plaza next winter. This is a beautiful setting with twinkling lights and a huge decorated Christmas tree if you’re there around the holidays.

Afterwards, treat yourself and your date to a dinner at Teatro, or pop over to one of the nearby cafes and get a hot chocolate to ensure you end the night on a sweet note.

When: Park is open from 6 am to 11 pm daily
228 8th Avenue SW, Calgary
Cost: Free

4. Kick up the dust at the Calgary Stampede


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This is one of our favourite Calgary bucket list activities! The Calgary Stampede happens once a year in July and is full of wild shenanigans that cowboys and cowgirls alike enjoy. There are rides and carnival food, booze and live music, rodeo events and shopping, and much more. Cowboy hats go a-flying and boots get a-knocking… on the dance floor.

This festival is fun for all ages, and there are also pancake breakfasts, light shows, rollercoasters, art displays, and auctions throughout the 10 days.

During these fantastic 10 days, Calgarians along with thousands of visitors celebrate Western culture with a true Albertan spirit.

When: July 8 to 17, 2022
Where: Stampede Park (1410 Olympic Way SE, Calgary)
Cost: Tickets available starting at $12 for children (age seven to 12) and seniors (age 65+), and $20 for general admission (age 13 to 64)

5. Buy some fresh produce at the farmers’ market

Discover nearly 80 local vendors at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. They’re open all year round and are sure to provide thoughtfully crafted treats. They have fresh local produce, meat and poultry, international foods, organic goods, jewellery, art, and a ton more.

The Calgary Farmers’ market has a huge seating area with a capacity of 300 people. They have some exciting news too: there will be a brand new West location opening in Greenwich this August. We can’t wait to check it out.

When: Thursday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm
CFM South – 510 77th Avenue SE, Calgary and CFM West (opening August 2022) – 25 Greenbriar Drive NW, Calgary
Phone: 403-240-9113

6. Cheer on your favourite team at the Battle of Alberta 


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Are you a Flames fan or an Oilers fan? Even if you’re neither, the Battle of Alberta is a fantastic sporting event that you need to check out at least once. It’s when Calgary and Edmonton’s hockey teams come together to play out an intense rivalry.

You’ll be surrounded by screaming fans in a sea of red, navy, and orange, and “Dome foams” and hotdogs will be inhaled by the dozen. It’s a delicious but dangerous mix. There’s something in those Dome pints that Calgarians have long tried to understand what makes them so potent.

Gloves will be flung off, pucks will be slapped, and fists could be thrown. It’s a great time!

When: Dependent on the NHL schedule; click here for upcoming games
Scotiabank Saddledome (555 Saddledome Rise SE, Calgary)
Cost: Varies depending on the game and seat location; search for tickets here

7. Have a picnic at Prince’s Island Park 

Prince’s Island Park is located downtown in Eau Claire and is truly a stunning location, regardless of the season. It’s been described as an urban oasis by the City of Calgary, and for good reason.

There are several festivals and events held here – the park even has a large stage for performances. There is an abundance of picnic tables, lush trees, flower gardens, cute little bridges, and water fountains.

Check out River Cafe, located in the heart of the park. They even offer picnic lunches for you to enjoy outside.

This area is dog-friendly, but please keep them on a leash. So, grab your mates, your furry friend, and a packed lunch. This is a great place to spend the afternoon lapping up the sunshine.

When: Park is open from 5 am to 11 pm daily
Where: 698 Eau Claire Avenue SW, Calgary

8. Bar hop along the Red Mile


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The Red Mile was the name given to 17th Avenue SW during the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2004.

It’s home to pubs and breweries, cafes and restaurants, trendy stores, hidden bars, and happy faces. Arguably, 17th Ave is the heart of the city.

If you’re heading out for a weekend party night, we recommend starting from around the 17th Avenue and 4th Street SW junction. Take your pick from LuLu Bar if you’re feeling a bit fancy, The Ship & Anchor if you love a good community pub, Cleaver if you want your belly to be full of delicious food, or Gringo Street if you’re craving some margaritas.

There are a ton of places to hop around to as you head west along 17th Ave. Wherever you go, you’re guaranteed a good time.

9. Spend an afternoon at Lougheed House


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Where are our history buffs at? This one is for you. The historic mansion was constructed in the 1890s by James and Isabella Lougheed. Sir James Lougheed was a senator, lawyer, and businessman who was a prominent figure in Calgary. His name is still echoed around Alberta.

Touring through Lougheed House, you’ll note impressions of Queen Anne Revival and French chateau architecture, with stained glass windows and octagonal towers. It boasts Spanish mahogany and interior furnishings that were a reflection of the Lougheeds’ wealth and social status.

The house offers an interactive experience where you can go to enjoy events, exhibits, live performances, a full-flavoured restaurant, and an artisan gift shop.

When: Thursday and Friday from 11 am to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: 707 13th Avenue SW, Calgary
$8.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors and students, and $5 for children
Phone: 403-244-6333

10Fly downhill at Downhill Karting by Skyline Luge Calgary


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Have you got a need for speed? This is downhill karting, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s fast-paced and a great activity for all ages. There is more than 1,800 metres of downhill track, with over 50 twists and turns.

One lap of this luge course takes about 20 minutes, and you might want to prepare for a queue, as Downhill Karting by Skyline Luge Calgary is very popular in the summer months. A half-day ticket is recommended, and if you get tired of the karting, there’s always the nearby mini golf course.

When: Reopening for the season in spring 2022; check back on their website for details
WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park (88 Canada Olympic Park Road SW, Calgary)
Check website prior to opening, as 2022 prices have yet to be released
Phone: 403-776-0617

11. Explore Fish Creek Provincial Park


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Located just a stone’s throw away from downtown Calgary, Fish Creek Provincial Park is another beautiful nature spot that you need to experience.

There are paths for biking, trails for hiking, and a river for splashing around in, and the entire park is a fantastic wildlife viewing area.

When: Hours vary by location and time of year; visit website for details
Where: The park has a number of entrance points, including the following:

  • Woodpath Road SW, Calgary (Shannon Terrace)
  • 14428 Bannister Road SE, Calgary (Glennfield)
  • 2300 Fish Creek Boulevard SW, Calgary (Marshall Springs)
  • 153rd Avenue SE, Calgary (Burnsmead)
  • 13511 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary (Votier’s Flats)
  • Canyon Meadows Drive SE, Calgary (Mallard Point)
  • 13610 24th Street SW, Calgary (Bebo Grove)
  • 153rd Avenue SE, Calgary (Bankside)
  • 15979 Bow Bottom Trail SE (Bow Valley Ranch)
  • 24th Street SE, Calgary (Chinook Rotary Nature Park)

12. Check out Canada’s home for incredible music


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Studio Bell is Canada’s National Music Centre and home to many concerts, entertainment, and events – and it’s located right here in Calgary.

Their goal is to be an innovative organization that renews music and amplifies the love and understanding of music through new means. The venue houses more than 2,000 pieces that help tell the story of music across the country, and you can visit artists-in-residence and check out over 200 functional historic instruments.

If music is your jam, then you definitely need to check this place out.

When: Weekends from 10 am to 5 pm
850 4th Street SE, Calgary
Cost: At Studio Bell, they have a pay-what-you-can option, with a suggested rate of $15 per entry
Phone: 403-543-5115

13. Bounce alongside kangaroos at Cobb’s Adventure Park

Perhaps the 16+ hour flight to Australia is a little far for a family outing to see our bouncy friends, so why not head to Cobb’s Adventure Park to visit some kangaroos?

These cuties are one of the main attractions at Cobb’s, but they also have resident emus, snakes, sugar gliders, alpacas, ferrets, and green iguanas. And if that’s not enough to convince you to go and visit, then how about fainting goats?

The park also features pedal carts, outdoor games, a giant slide, mazes, tractor rides, and mini golf.

When: Spring 2022 hours are Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays from 11 am to 5pm
1500 84th Street NE, Calgary
Cost: Online tickets are $19.75, and tickets at the door are $23. Children under 2 years old are free
Phone: 403-210-2676

14. Ride the rollercoaster at Calaway Park


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Calaway Park is a Calgarian staple. It will be opening for the season this spring, and the countdown is on.

This is a very family-oriented spot and will be a fun-filled day out for all. At Calaway, you’ll find unlimited rides, attractions, street performers, jugglers, clowns, and shows for the price of admission, along with a ton of different options for eating and drinking.

For the adrenaline seekers, we suggest Chaos, a ride that rises up in the air, flips you around, and spins the carrier at the same time. For those who prefer the more gentle rides, the Dream Machine, a giant swing ride that goes around in a circle, or the Hilltop Railway train ride could be for you!

Calaway Park is western Canada’s largest outdoor amusement park, and it’s definitely an experience to add to the list.

When: From May 21 to June 26, the park is scheduled to be open Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays from 10 am to 7 pm. From June 29 to August 31, the park will be open daily from 10 am to 7 pm
245033 Range Road 33, Calgary
Cost: Tickets will be available for purchase online starting in May; check back here soon
Phone: 403-240-3822

15. Watch the sunset at Nose Hill Park


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Nose Hill is located in the northwest quadrant of Calgary and has a fantastic skyline view. It covers over 11 square kilometres of space and has multiple hiking trails and park benches, which are perfect for watching the sun go down over the city.

Be wary of animals that frequent the area, including deer, coyotes, and porcupines.

When: Park is open from 5 am to 11 pm daily
6465 14th Street NW, Calgary

16. Pedal your way around Calgary on a brewery tour

Pedal Pub is a popular summer activity that pairs exercise with a booze-filled day. They offer three different routes: the Beltline West Tour, the Beltline East Tour, and the Brewery Flats Inglewood Tour.

Depending on which tour you choose, you’ll travel along roads such as 17th Avenue and 10th Avenue, home to many of the staple brewpubs, restaurants, and bars in Calgary.

This is a party on wheels – what’s not to love?

Bookings: Email [email protected] for reservation inquiries, or head to their website
1417 9th Avenue, SE, Calgary
Phone: 403-472-5697

17. Travel back in time at Heritage Park Historical Village

Heritage Park has been open to the public since the 1960s and offers a fantastic immersive historical experience. Travel as far back as the 1860s to the settlement of western Canada and the fur trade era.

The park has a multitude of exhibits, consisting of the Hudson’s Bay Company Fur Trading Camp, a First Nations Encampment, Nightingale Colony House, and a coal mine, along with a 1910s ice cream parlour, a bakery, and more. There really is a little bit of everything and the park is expansive.

When: Heritage Park will be open daily between May 21 and September 5 from 10 am to 5 pm. From September 6 to October 10, it will be open on weekends from 10 am to 5 pm
1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary
Cost: $14.95 for children age three to six, $19.95 for youth age seven to 15, $29.95 for general admission (age 16 to 64), and $22.95 for seniors (age 65+)
Phone: 403-268-8500

18. Let Calgary ZOOLIGHTS illuminate your world


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This is Calgary’s biggest annual Christmas light display. For over 25 years, ZOOLIGHTS has been bringing a smile to visitors’ faces with a display of over two million lights.

This experience was designed to delight. In 2021, they installed a Dinos in the Dark exhibit, a Tunnel of Light, and Memory Lane. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next season.

There are activities for the whole family, including ice skating, axe throwing, and shopping. There are fire pits spread throughout the grounds and hot chocolate is available from the cafe to keep you toasty as you wander the illuminated paths.

When: Please check the zoo’s website for details about operating hours and admission closer to the date (event typically starts at the end of November each year)
Calgary Zoo (210 George’s Drive NE, Calgary)

19. Challenge your mind at TELUS Spark Science Centre 


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The TELUS Spark Science Centre has a ton of exhibits every year. Their current promoted event, Quantum Sandbox, is a gallery with floor-to-ceiling images that create an intriguing connection between physics and local Indigenous worldviews. Read more about it and purchase tickets now.

This centre inspires curiosity, challenges norms and current ideas, and, through collaboration and innovation, is able to create an experience like no other.

When: Open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday through Thursday and 9 am to 5 pm Friday through Sunday
220 St. George’s Drive NE, Calgary
$19 for children age three to 17, $19 for students with valid ID, $26 for adults (age 18 to 64), and $24 for seniors (age 65+)
Phone: 403-817-6800

20. Indulge at Village Ice Cream 


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Village Ice Cream has become a household name around Calgary. They now have five locations spread across the city and are home to some of the most unique and yummy ice cream flavours ever.

Sparked from sitting on his Grandma Glady’s porch as a child, Village’s founder, Billy Friley, has been a pioneer on the dessert scene since he tasted a life-changing pint of locally made huckleberry ice cream.

Head to one of Village’s locations for ice cream that envelops your mouth. Their flavours change often, so you’ll always be in for a surprise when you go. Think Cherry Chocolate Fudge, Strawberry Milk Tea, and Jammy Coconut Cream Cake.

We’re not sure about you, but our mouths are already watering.

Address: 431 10th Avenue SE, Calgary (Victoria Park)
Phone: 403-261-7950
11 am to 11 pm

Address: 820 49th Avenue SW, Calgary (Britannia Plaza)
Phone: 403-457-9808
11 am to 11 pm

Location: 2406 34th Avenue SW, Calgary (Garrison Corner)
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm

Location: 69 7A Street NE, Calgary (Bridgeland)
Phone: 403-764-5211
11 am to 11 pm

Location: 4019 University Avenue NW, Calgary (University District)
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm

That’s it, folks! This is your go-to bucket list of experiences you need to have when in Calgary.

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