Be part of the energy: Your go-to guide for the ultimate 48 hours in Calgary

Apr 21 2022, 9:08 pm

Calgary’s motto is “Be part of the energy,” and it certainly lives up to the phrase.

With so many things to do, see, drink, and eat, narrowing down an itinerary for a quick weekend trip can be a challenge — but we’re here to help you out.

If you’re new to the city and want to see the highlights or only touching down in Alberta’s biggest city for a few days, you might need a handy guide on where to stay, eat, drink, and what to see to make the most of your time.

From the best food, bars, and coffee, to places to stay and things to do, we’ve rounded up some of our go-to spots in Alberta’s largest city.

Here’s Daily Hive’s ultimate guide on how to spend the perfect 48 hours in Calgary.

Where to sleep

Fairmont Palliser

 

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Located in downtown Calgary, just steps from the Calgary Tower, is the Fairmont Palliser, with guest rooms, suites, and Gold Floor accommodations. The rooms are equipped with the latest business amenities and in-room entertainment features, and the hotel is conveniently situated close to plenty of dining, shopping, and attraction options in YYC.

Address: 133 9th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-262-1234

The Westley Calgary Downtown

 

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Bringing ’70s vibes to the heart of Calgary, The Westley opened in June 2021 and offers one of the most unique accommodation options in the city. Perfect for both business and leisure travel, the hotel is close to The CORE Shopping Centre, the Bow River, and Prince’s Island Park, and its onsite restaurant, Fonda Fora, is not to be missed.

Address: 630 4th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-764-6262

Hotel Arts

 

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Hotels Arts is the perfect place to stay and play in Calgary – you might not even want to leave the property. Enjoy this “urban resort experience” with mouth-watering eats at one of Hotel Arts’ award-winning restaurants, sip a creative cocktail, relax with an in-room massage, sit poolside, and take in the unique art pieces scattered throughout the accommodation.

For something entirely different, check out the Hotel Arts Kensington location too.

Address: 119 12th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-266-4611

Le Germain Hotel Calgary

 

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Situated just across the street from the Calgary Tower, you’ll enjoy convenience, luxury, and incredible views at Le Germain Hotel Calgary. The hotel features boldly designed rooms, eco-friendly technologies, a 24-hour gym, and an onsite spa to ensure your trip is a memorable one.

Address: 899 Centre Street S, Calgary
Phone: 403-264-8990

Alt Hotel Calgary East Village

Stay at the Alt Hotel in one of Calgary’s most upcoming-and-coming communities, on the banks of the Bow River and right on the outskirts of downtown, so you’re not far from the main action. With views of the river, unique designs, and ultra-comfortable rooms, you’ll find plenty to enjoy at the hotel itself before venturing out to explore the revitalized neighbourhood. Onsite dining options include NUPO & EIGHT (a restaurant, bar, and omakase sushi experience all in one) and CHIX Eggshop, offering a delicious breakfast and lunch menu.

Address: 635 Confluence Way SE, Calgary
Phone: 587-441-6635

Where to eat

OEB Breakfast Co.

 

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OEB has several varieties of its signature dish, the Breakfast Poutine. One of our favourites is the Gold Digga, made with poached eggs, duck fat fried herb potatoes, Saint Cyrille curds, Berkshire roast pork, black truffles, and brown butter hollandaise. In addition to the breakfast poutine, you’ll find plenty of traditional staples at one of OEB’s four Calgary locations.

Address: 825 1st Avenue NE, Calgary
Phone: 403-278-3447

Address: #110 222 5th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 587-352-3447

Address: 2207 4th Street SW, Calgary
Phone: 587-356-6323

Address: 4132 University Avenue NW, Calgary
Phone: 825-205-9942

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River Cafe

 

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River Cafe is set in a magical place where guests must take a scenic walk through Prince’s Island Park to get to it. Chefs prepare regional, seasonal cuisine, using local ingredients and serve it to you on their river-facing patio. A true oasis!

Address: 25 Prince’s Island Park SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-261-7670

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Major Tom

 

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Located on historic Stephen Avenue, 40 storeys above the streets of downtown Calgary, Major Tom offers stunning vistas, a glamorous atmosphere, and, of course, drool-worthy eats. You’ll find the MT Burger, Slow-Roasted Duck, Rotini pasta, Beef Tartare and much more on the menu, paired with creative cocktails and an extensive beer and wine menu.

Address: #4000 – 700 2nd Street SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-990-3954 (text only)

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Sky 360

 

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For more amazing views of the city (and even as far as the mountains on a clear day!), head to Sky 360 at the top of the Calgary Tower. Find the best seat in the city at one of Calgary’s most notable landmarks, while you dine in style at this revolving restaurant. Don’t forget to head to the observation deck after your dinner to check out a majestic view of the city streets, while also learning about Calgary’s history, landmarks, and future plans.

Address: 101 9th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-532-7966

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Caesar’s Steakhouse

Caesar’s has been around since 1972, so you know it’s good. The eatery’s two Calgary locations serve ribeyes, New York strips, filet mignon, T-bones, and more in a nostalgic atmosphere.

Address: 512 4th Avenue SW
Phone: 403-264-1222

Address: #110 10816 Macleod Trail SE
Phone: 403-278-3930

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The Silver Inn

 

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If you’re a fan of Chinese cuisine, you’re going to want to try ginger beef straight from the source. Responsible for the creation of this iconic dish, The Silver Inn is also credited with taking delicious dishes such as grilled pork dumplings and chicken and cashew in yellow bean sauce and adapting the classic Chinese recipes to match locally available products.

Address: 2702 Centre Street N
Phone: 403-276-6711

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Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus

This Dutch-style eatery is home to incredible crepe-style pancakes, offering over 40 varieties of the sweet and savoury treats.

Address: 2439 54th Avenue SW
Phone: 403-243-7757

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RE:GRUB

 

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When it comes to epic milkshakes, Regrub is one of YYC’s best places to get one. This spot now has two locations where you can grab its over-the-top sweet creations, along with burgers, fries, corndogs, and more.

Address: 625 11th Avenue SW
Phone: 403-700-0912

Address: 901 64th Avenue NE
Phone: 403-700-0912

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Chicken on the Way

If fried chicken is what you want, then fried chicken is what you shall receive at Chicken on the Way. This longstanding establishment (family-owned and operated since 1958) offers fast, fresh, and delicious fried chicken. Purchase by the piece or as a combo.

Address: 1443 Kensington Road NW
Phone:
 403-283-5545

Address: 3235 17th Avenue SE
Phone: 
403-265-1350

Address: 9673 Macleod Trail SW
Phone: 
403-452-7118

Address: 27 McKenzie Towne Avenue SE
Phone: 
403-720-2367

Address: #114 – 5401 Temple Drive NE
Phone: 
403-453-5557

Address: #207 – 150 Crowfoot Crescent NW
Phone: 
587-356-2689

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Rouge

 

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Located in historic Inglewood, Rouge occupies the former Cross House, built in 1891 by AE Cross. Cross was one of the West’s most prominent cattlemen, founder of the Calgary Brewing and Malting Co., and one of the original founders of The Calgary Stampede. Today, Rouge uses ingredients from their onsite garden and partnerships with local food growers to bring patrons incredible, handcrafted dishes.

Address: 1240 8th Avenue SE, Calgary
Phone: 403-531-2767

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Deane House

The Deane House was built in 1906 on the Fort Calgary site as a home for Captain Richard Burton Deane, the last serving North West Mounted Police Superintendent in Calgary. In modern times, the award-winning restaurant serves up refined and seasonal Canadian cuisine in a gorgeous setting.

Address: 806 9th Avenue SE, Calgary
Phone: 403-264-0595

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Peters’ Drive-In

 

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Peters’ is practically a Calgary institution, and you’ve just got to try one of its burgers paired with a milkshake. The drive-in allows patrons to choose up to three of their many flavours for milkshakes, meaning that there are over 4,500 flavour combinations up for grabs.

Address: 219 16th Avenue NE
Phone: 403-277-2747

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Where to drink

Cold Garden Beverage Company

Cold Garden’s beer lineup is vast and varied because “we think beer is for everyone,” and the space even allows dogs, both indoors and outdoors, so beer and animal lovers alike are sure to adore this space. The laidback, comfortable atmosphere, delicious brews, and very affordable pints make this a must-visit.

Address: 1100 11th Street SE, Calgary
Phone: 403-764-2653

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Last Best Brewing & Distilling

This brewpub serves up house-made beers, signature gin cocktails, and an eclectic menu of Canadian pub fare. Their private patio is the perfect place to enjoy a cold bevy, and an extended happy hour and late-night menu make this the ideal spot to visit regardless of the time of day.

Address: 607 11th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 587-353-7387

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National

 

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Popular beerhall and gathering spot National has four locations in Calgary, so you know it’s gotta be good. Two of its locations have epic rooftop patios, one offers its own bowling alley, and all of them boast great food, cold drinks, and fun times.

Address: 550 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-229-0226

Address: 341 10th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-474-2739

Address: 180 Stewart Green SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-685-6801

Address: #360 – 225 8th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-237-5556

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Palomino

 

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For barbecue eats, a patio that gives us serious Austin, Texas, vibes, friendly service, and live music, head to the Palomino. Located in the heart of downtown, you’re sure to have a great night out here – and maybe even discover your new favourite band.

Address: 109 7th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-532-1911

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Eighty-Eight Brewing Co.

Eighty-Eight is known for its loud colour scheme, flavourful and unique beers, and for repping a part of Calgary’s history by way of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. Find everything from Imperial IPAs to Dry-hopped Sours, and Pilsners to Stouts, to be enjoyed in the taproom, or brought along on your next adventure.

Address: #1070 – 2600 Portland Street SE, Calgary
Phone: 403-452-5880

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The Establishment Brewing Company

If you’re looking for award-winning beer, you’ve come to the right place. Establishment was named both the 2021 Alberta Brewery of the Year and the 2021 Canadian Brewery of the Year, and many of its beers have won awards as well, so this is one you can’t miss. Spend an afternoon in its bright and airy taproom, or snag one of their limited edition barrel-aged wild beers to bring home.

Address: 4407 1st Street SE, Calgary
Phone: 403-453-6212

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Ship & Anchor

 

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A 17th Ave staple, the Ship & Anchor has a perfect patio for people-watching, a laidback vibe, and, of course, a wide selection of thirst-quenching beers on tap. The Ship features weekly events, live music, and frequently shows sports on its TVs, especially soccer games.

Address: 534 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-245-3333

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Where to get caffeinated

Monogram Coffee

 

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Not only does Monogram roast its own beans, but they also have three adorable cafe locations in Calgary. Stop in and pair a coffee or another one of their tasty beverages with a pastry, or snag a whole bean subscription online.

Address: 4814 16th Street SW (Altadore)
Phone: 587-893-0444

Address: 420 2nd Street SW (Fifth Avenue Place)
Phone: 403-975-2203

Address: 800 49th Avenue SW (Britannia)
Phone: 403-619-6207

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Analog Coffee

 

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With five coffee shops in Calgary, you’re sure to never be far from Analog. Serving up drinks made with their own brand of coffee beans, Fratello, this local spot works hard to brew each cup to perfection while providing a modern cafe atmosphere.

Address: #740 17th Avenue SW
Phone: 403-910-5959

Address: #510 77th Avenue SE (in the Calgary Farmers’ Market)
Phone: 403-910-5960

Address: #11 100 Anderson Road SE (Southcentre Mall)
Phone: 403-910-5962

Address: Suite 228, Bow Valley Square 2, 205 5th Avenue SW
Phone: 403-910-5961

Address: 102 Mahogany Centre SE (Westman Village)
Phone: 403-910-5973

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Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters

 

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Phil and Sebastian is practically an institution in Calgary, with eight locations across the city and their own doughnut brand (hello, Hoopla!) Each cafe has its own unique design and vibes, so you’ll probably want to visit them all to experience everything this local roastery has to offer.

Address: 618 Confluence Way SE (Simmons Building)
Phone: 403-261-1885

Address: 2043 33rd Avenue SW (Marda Loop)
Phone: 403-261-1885

Address: 6455 Macleod Trail SW (Chinook Centre)
Phone: 403-261-1885

Address: 2207 4th Street SW (Mission)
Phone: 403-261-1885

Address: 102 8th Avenue SW (Hudson Block – Stephen Avenue)
Phone: 403-261-1885

Address: #248 414 3rd Street SW (Calgary Place)
Phone: 403-261-1885

Address: 69 7a Street NE (Bridgeland)
Phone: 403-261-1885

Address: +15 Level, 225 7th Avenue SW (Stephen Avenue Place)
Phone: 403-261-1885

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Sierra Cafe

 

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Located just a few minutes from North Glenmore Park, Sierra Cafe serves up handcrafted espresso beverages along with tea options, cold drinks, and delicious pastries and meals, including salads, bowls, and sandwiches. Take your drink to go and head to the Glenmore Reservoir for a stroll, or stick around Sierra and enjoy its thoughtfully designed space and patio.

Address: #39 – 6439 Crowchild Trail SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-242-3884

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Deville Coffee

 

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Deville’s 11 Calgary cafes are each steeped in connection, boasting friendly staff, handcrafted lattes and other espresso beverages, pastries delivered daily by the city’s best bakeries, and a menu of fresh, creative, sandwiches and goodies.

Address: 333 5th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-700-4422

Address: 600 6th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403.-452-7777

Address: 215 2nd Street SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-402-9952

Address: 807 1st Street SW, Calgary
Phone: 587-664-9338

Address: 3625 Shagnappi Trail NW, Calgary
Phone: 403-990-1185

Address: Level 1 – 225 6th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 587-955-8877

Address: #100 – 685 Centre Street SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-262-9078

Address: 1122 Kensington Road NW, Calgary
Phone: 403-764-2669

Address: 8509 Broadcast Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-454-5234

Address: 1103 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-764-9110

Address: 227 12th Avenue SW, Calgary

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Higher Ground Cafe

 

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A perfect spot for studying or catching up with friends in Calgary, Higher Ground is a local favourite. It’s cozy, it’s comfy, and it’s been around since the 1980s, so staff definitely know what they’re doing. This cafe puts great effort into being an environmentally conscious business, and that gets a solid two thumbs up from us. There are little fireplaces, the coffee is 100% organic and fair trade, and it’s got a wide selection of food items that will pair perfectly.

Address: 1126 Kensington Road NW, Calgary
Phone: 403-270-3780

Address: 715 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-243-7070

Address: 2502 Capitol Hill Crescent NW, Calgary
Phone: 403-668-1175

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I Love You Coffee Shop

This quirky Calgary coffee shop is the perfect spot to refuel while checking out the trendy shops and boutiques of 4th Street. I Love You Coffee Shop is inspired by Japanese jazz bars and plays vinyl albums all day while offering up caffeinated sips and tea alongside local craft beer, wine, and other adult beverages.

If you’re in the Beltline, be sure to check out their micro coffee bar, I Love You Coffee Shop Jr.

Address: 348B 14th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-454-1901

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Rosso Coffee Roasters

Rosso laid its roots in Ramsay before opening a number of other cafes across Calgary. The roaster has traveled as a company to seven locations around the globe to purchase green coffee beans directly from the source, and Rosso has won two barista championships, along with other awards.

Address: 2102 Centre Street NE (Tuxedo)
Phone: 587-356-1643

Address: 103 17th Avenue SE
Phone: 587-356-0232

Address: 1402 9th Avenue SE (Inglewood)
Phone: 587-353-7677

Address: 140 8th Avenue SE (Stephen Avenue)
Phone: 403-264-7900

Address: #15 803 24th Avenue SE (Ramsay)
Phone: 403-971-1800

Address: 425 11th Avenue SE (Victoria Park), temporarily closed
Phone: 587-352-5080

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Things you have to check out

Devonian Gardens

 

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Feel like you’re in a tropical paradise within downtown Calgary at Devonian Gardens. Perfect for a rainy day, or for anyone looking for a more humid, airy option (Calgary is so dry!). Stroll the boardwalk, take in the plants and ponds, and grab a quick bite at the food court.

Address: 400 – 317 7th Avenue SW (fourth floor of the CORE Shopping Centre)

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre

 

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Learn about talented Canadian artists at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. Check out new and updated exhibits, catch instrument show-and-tells, and delve into the history of iconic musicians. Plus, the attraction offers pay-what-you-can admission, so it’s a great budget-friendly option.

Address: 300 – 851 4th Street SE, Calgary
Phone: 403-543-5115

Scotsman’s Hill or McHugh Bluff

 

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For the best views (and photos) of Calgary’s skyline, head to Scotsman’s Hill or McHugh Bluff. Each is located on the outskirts of downtown and is easy to access, and offers the perfect spot for that commemorative Instagram photo of your time in the city.

Scotsman’s Hill location: Salisbury Street SE, in Calgary’s Ramsay community
McHugh Bluff location: Along Crescent Road NW, from 10th Street NW to Centre Street N

Take a stroll along the RiverWalk

Walk along Calgary’s turquoise Bow River and sightsee on foot! Points of interest along the RiverWalk include the infamous Peace Bridge, lush Prince’s Island, historic Centre Street Bridge, and recently revitalized St. Patrick’s Island. If you get hungry along the way, stop in at the Simmons Building for a coffee, a pastry or light lunch, or a rooftop meal with views for days.

Wander through the unique neighbourhoods of Inglewood, Kensington, and 17th Ave SW

 

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Calgary has plenty of quirky, cute, and unique neighbourhoods, each offering its own charm, with tons of options for shopping, restaurants, bars, and cafes. Historic Inglewood (home to Calgary’s first Main Street), trendy Kensington, and lively 17th Ave SW are a few of our favourite local areas to explore.

Downhill Karting by Skyline Luge

Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you! Skyline Luge allows you to navigate more than 50 twists and turns over 1,800 metres as you fly down a continuous downhill trajectory. Plus, it’s located at Canada Olympic Park, so you can see the site where many of the sporting events were held during the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.

Address: 88 Canada Olympic Road SW, Calgary (WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park)
Phone: 403-776-0617

Calgary Tower

 

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Get the best vistas of Calgary, the foothills, and the snowcapped mountains on a clear day from the Calgary Tower. Standing 191 metres/627 feet tall with 360º views, this is a great way to see “all” of Calgary from one place!

Address: 101 9th Avenue SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-266-7171

Heritage Park Historical Village

 

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Experience what Calgary looked like in the “old days” at Heritage Park Historical Village. 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. Plus, you’ll find an old-fashioned midway, complete with fully operational rides, and a steam train. There really is a little bit of everything, and the park is expansive.

Address: 1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-268-8500

And there you have it folks: the ultimate guide to spending 48 hours in Calgary.

Whether you’re super ambitious and jam-pack your days to hit up every single one of these spots, or just use it as a jumping-off point for a few ideas of things to do in the city, we hope you enjoy your time in YYC!

With files from Hogan Short, Ty Jadah, Laine Mitchell, and Madeline Hosking

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