Being the fourth largest city in Canada, Calgary is packed with exciting places to visit. This “urban oasis” sits surrounded by pristine nature, allowing you to experience the best of both worlds.
The city’s cattle-rearing legacy combined with it being a major business center of North America makes Calgary a truly unique place with a special atmosphere. If you happen to make your way to “The Heart of the New West,” here are a few spots that you ought to check out.
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The Glenbow art and history museum is one of Canada’s finest. Established in 1966, this institution boasts more than 30,000 works of art from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Aside from this, Glenbow is famous for having an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, particularly those from Plains Indians.
Planning to come with your kids? No problem. The museum features a number of engaging activities for children that’ll make them remember their visit for a long time.
Glenbow is conveniently located in downtown Calgary and is reachable by public transportation. If you decide to go there, set aside at least 2 hours to experience all that the museum has to offer.
Nature lovers who find themselves in Calgary should not miss out on Devonian Gardens. This large indoor park/botanical garden includes more than 500 trees, 50 varieties of plants, fish ponds, and many other neat things to see.
One of the main attractions of Devonian is the 900 square foot living wall that is nothing short of spectacular. Inside the gardens, you’ll also find a play area for kids surrounded by – you guessed it – trees and bushes.
The gardens are located on the fourth floor of the Stephen Avenue pedestrian mall, so you can grab a bite or do some shopping after you enjoy all that flora.
Located on the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers, Fort Calgary is a symbol of the Canadian westward expansion. It is important to point out that the original fort was demolished in 1914 and that the one that you can see now is an exact replica.
The fort was an outpost of the North-West Mounted Police, a peace-keeping force of the North-West territories. Currently, it is a museum that’ll let you in on the lives of Canada’s pioneers.
The site includes a souvenir shop, and you can even have brunch there on Sundays. Not far from the NWMP barracks, you’ll find the Dean and Hunt Houses, both historically connected to the Fort. Make sure to visit those two as well!
Named after Felix McHugh, the McHugh Bluff is one of Calgary’s most treasured parks. It runs along the northern bank of the Bow river and passes through the heart of the city. Despite being so close to downtown, the park was never heavily urbanized due to its steep grade.
While the bluff is technically surrounded by the city, it feels remote and lets you experience a piece of wilderness in an urban area. In the park, you can go for a hike, jog, or many other outdoor activities.
There is a popular stairway that leads to a viewing platform from which you can get a breathtaking view of the city. McHugh Bluff is also home to various bird species such as the American robin and the black-billed magpie.
To the west of the city, the foothills of the mountains hide the Calgary Olympic Park, these days better known as WinSport. It was the site of the XV Winter Olympic Games, which were held in 1988.
Currently, it serves as a place for winter recreation and offers a plethora of activities like skiing, snowboarding, bobsled, zipline, and many more. The ski jump tower is perhaps the most monumental feature of WinSport. You won’t be able to do any jumps from it, but you could go to the top of the tower and enjoy a spectacular view.
The Calgary Tower is another amazing spot in the dead center of the city. At the top of the tower, at no less than 191 meters, lies a viewing platform with a glass floor. In case you get hungry while you’re up there, you can grab a meal in the tower’s revolving restaurant.
Even though the Calgary Tower isn’t the tallest building in the city anymore, it still offers an impressive 360 view. You can even see the Rockies from up there!