6 mistakes people make when visiting Calgary for the first time

Aug 5 2022, 8:11 pm

Tourists come from all over to visit Calgary, for the Stampede, the mountains, or any number of other reasons. But they aren’t always prepared.

Just because you saw Cool Runnings 100 years ago or your cousin came to Stampede one time doesn’t mean you know what you are doing.

But fear not, we have you covered with a list of mistakes to avoid making while in Stampede City so you can have the best time here.

Overestimating how close we are to the mountains


Highway 1A/Shutterstock

Yes, Calgary is close to some amazing scenery and nature in the Rocky Mountains. Close as in “a close drive,” not “we’ll just pop over when we get there.” Canmore is 103 km from here, which is a close drive but a REALLY long walk. Too many people plan to “just figure it out when we get there” for their transportation to the mountains. Make sure you know how you are getting there ahead of time.

Not ready to get around

calgary transit bus

Calgary Transit

Calgary is a beautiful city with a lot to do. But a lot of those events are all over the place. This is a sprawled-out city, but a lot of people assume they can just take transit wherever. This is probably true, but it might take a bit more planning than getting on one train or one bus. The City Transit website has a trip planner to help with this, so make sure you know where you are going and more specifically, how you are getting there.

Relying on Big Brands

Image: Nando’s on 17th Avenue / Daily Hive Calgary

Look, we’ve all been there. You are in a place you aren’t familiar with but then you see a store you know. Either a big clothing store, a fast-food chain, or a restaurant you recognize. The familiarity is comforting, but if you stick with it you will be missing out on so much. Calgary is overflowing with local shops, restaurants, and breweries and if you don’t at least sample some of the local places you will really be missing out.

Being Stampede unaware

Calgary Stampede

Ronnie Chua/Shutterstock

This one goes both ways. Either people come here during non-Stampede time and expect the full Stampede experience or their trip just happens to land on the 10 days of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth and they are not ready. Each of those comes with a major reality check. Make sure you know what time of year you are coming so you can know the appropriate amount of yeehawing you should be doing.

Don’t assume parking will be easy

Image: Calgary Parking

There are lots of great places to check out in Calgary. Do you know who knows that? Everybody in Calgary. And, as discussed earlier, sometimes life is easier if you drive to those amazing places which means parking can be a bit of an issue at times. Too many people come here and assume the perfect spot will be waiting for them. Leave yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination, you might need it.

Let lines scare you away

Calgary nightclub

Back Alley Nightclub/Facebook

This may surprise you but the city that turned a rodeo into one of the world’s biggest parties likes to party. Sometimes, getting into that party requires some patience. Don’t be one of those people who rides by a place, sees the line, and gives up on the night. Odds are, that line is going to move quickly. And if it doesn’t, we have so many excellent bars in the city that a replacement will be easy to find.

Peter KleinPeter Klein

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