Most Calgarians know that they live in a great city where they can feel safe, find a good job, own a home, and raise a family. In fact, Calgary was recently named the fifth most livable city in the world by The Economist Intelligence Unit due to its high scores in the areas of education, health care, and stability.
Despite the city’s achievements in these areas, many residents often feel that Calgary lacks in activities that aren’t focused solely around work. Though urban sprawl might make them a little difficult to find, the truth is that this great city has many fantastic cultural and recreational opportunities, if you just know where to look!
Don’t wait to explore your own city until you have visiting friends and family to entertain. Get out today and see Calgary the way a tourist would by checking out and enjoying some of the following locations.
Heritage Park Historical Village
Where better to begin your journey into the culture and history of Calgary than at Heritage Park Historical Village? Heritage Park is usually number one on a tourist’s list of must-see places, but many residents have sadly never been there. Did you know that Heritage Park is considered to be the largest living history museum in all of Canada? The historical buildings and exhibits will immerse you in the past, covering a period of over 100 years of Western Canadian history.
Heritage Park is located right along the Glenmore Reservoir, so why not make the quick trip and check it out after your journey through the past? The reservoir, which is held back by the Glenmore Dam, provides most of Calgary’s drinking water. You can rent a boat and explore the reservoir for the day, and you can even take sailing lessons from the City of Calgary! The Glenmore Reservoir is flanked by two parks, known as South Glenmore Park and North Glenmore Park. Both offer great opportunities for walking, biking, and picnicking.
TELUS Spark Science Centre
Residents know that despite Calgary’s sunny and warm summers, the other seasons aren’t all that conducive to outdoor activities. If you’re looking for something to do indoors on a chilly fall day, then you should take your kids to the TELUS Spark Science Centre. With many exhibits and presentations, you’ll easily be able to spend a whole day exploring this interactive science museum.
Another great indoor activity to consider on a cold and possibly snowy Calgary day is a trip to Devonian Gardens. Re-vamped and re-opened in 2012, many residents have not yet found the time to visit this large, indoor botanical garden. However, the $37-million renovation has definitely made this attraction worth your while. Devonian Gardens is located on the top floor of The Core Shopping Centre, so plan to do some shopping here as well.
Bowmont Park is a 165-hectare natural environment park located in northwest Calgary along the Bow River. Locals enjoy Bowmont for its fantastic views of the Rocky Mountains and Canada Olympic Park, un-crowded walkways, numerous hiking trails, picnic areas, and untouched natural features. Waterfall Valley is a particularly neat trail to explore. A wooden path takes you to a three-metre-high waterfall, which tumbles down a rock wall just a few metres away from shores of the Bow River.
Prince’s Island Park
Prince’s Island Park is located on an island on the Bow River. It offers unbeatable views of downtown Calgary, many easy pathways and hiking trails, and a host of year-round activities. You can go canoeing when the weather is nice, and ice skating once the lagoon has frozen over. Prince’s Island Park is also the home of many of Calgary’s well-known festivals and events, such as Canada Day celebrations and Calgary Folk Festival.
Stephen Avenue, also known as Stephen Avenue Walk, is a historic pedestrian mall conveniently located on 8 Avenue SW, right beside the 7 Avenue SW CTrain line. Stephen Avenue is one of Calgary’s major cultural hubs, as it is home to many pubs, cafes, bars, restaurants, high-end retailers, and small, quirky, local boutiques. Stephen Avenue also often hosts festivals and live performances that you can stop to watch as you take a break from your shopping.
The Glenbow Museum
At the end of Stephen Avenue, on the corner of 1 Street and 9 Avenue SE, you will find the Glenbow, a history and art museum that is often overlooked by Calgary’s residents. Everyone knows that it is there, but not many have actually taken the time to give it a visit. With very affordable admission prices and a beautiful collection of art and historical artifacts, the Glenbow Museum is a gem of culture that every Calgarians should see at least once.