People go to Calgary for a variety of reasons: they have the famous postage stamp, it is near Banff, or they come to Canada as a trade center in the region.
Sure, it’s full of skyscrapers, but underneath all the glass it’s a cosmopolitan city, with its fairly beautiful and wild cowboy attraction. There are lots of hiking, kayaking, skiing, waterfalls and camps throughout Calgary. The city itself is one of Canada’s most vibrant, especially during the Calgary stampede in July, which attracts thousands of people around the world.
Add a rotating roster of food trucks, craft beer bars and world-class museums and you’ve got one of my favorite cities in Canada.
Also from here, you can head to Banff National Park or Canmore to get intimate with nature (just get out of season because the summer crowds here are the worst.
This travel guide to Calgary will help guide you through what to look for, how to spend, budget tips and ways to save money.
When to Go to Calgary:
The end of Calgary is the perfect time to look at spring and summer, especially in May and early September. There is a lot going on in the city, and everyone is out there earning the most. The average daily temperature is about 73.4 ° F (23 ° C) but it is often higher than 86 ° F (30 ° C). Calgary never truly crowd the audience, except for the time stamped in early July.
Things start to cool down in the autumn, and you shouldn’t be surprised if you see snow in late September. It can be extremely cold in winter, with average temperatures between 12-6.8 ° F (-11 to -14 ° C) from December to March. This does not discourage Calgaryians in the slightest, and you will find most people are hitting the opals around Kanansky and Banff from time to time. If you are into winter sports, take advantage of the continuous perfect snow conditions.
Things to See and Do in Calgary:
Hang out in Prince’s Island Park: On the banks of the Bow River, the park is 20 hectares and is the most popular park in the city. There are free festivals and events throughout the year events here. You will find walking and hiking trails, cross-country skiing trails, picnic areas, flower gardens and lots of easy places and places to relax. In the winter, people go skating in the lagoon.
Check out Fish Creek Provincial Park: Fish Creek also sits on the banks of the Bow River and is perfect for walking, cycling and roller bleeding along its paved trails. In the summer months, people come here for fishing, swimming in Sikom Lake and having a barbecue. People hit the trail for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months. The park closes at 10 am-4pm depending on the time of year.
Explore the nightlife of Kensington: Located in the northwest of the city, Kensington is a small business district, ocked full of trendy shops, bars and restaurants if you are looking for a perfect pub, an outdoor patio or fun-filled night of dancing, you will find it here. Kensington Pub, Winebar Kensington & Container Bar is a great place to wait for their relaxed atmosphere and unique décor.
Go Brewery Hopping: If you are a craft beer lover, Calgary has a lot of breweries and small breweries! Cold Garden Beverage Company and Big Rock are some of my favorite, Citizens Brewing Company. Big Rock offers tours of the brewery for 25 CAD ($ 19 USD), which includes free samples. You can also take a tour of the brewery with Canadian Craft Tours to three or four different breweries for $ 89 CAD ($ 67 USD).
Watch the Calgary Flames: Hockey is a religion in Canada, and the people of this city take their hockey very seriously. Never try to get into a local and their game! The chances of you coming to a real NHL game are pretty slim (Without giving away at least a huge amount of cash) Grab a beer Find a busy pub or bar Find some new friends and watch the game.
Visit Eau Claire Market: There are a variety of shops, restaurants and a food court for everyone in this market. In the summer months, there is a playground and a wedding pool for the kids. Bookers everywhere are making balloon animals or performing music, even shutting down puppet shows. Eau Claire is also a festival district, so there is often a community event (like concerts). It’s a bit indifferent, but if you’re traveling with family, it’s a fun place.
See the Family of Man Sculptures: A collection of ten aluminum cast sculptures, some of which weigh 1,500 pounds and 21 feet tall, create ample views for viewing in the Calgary suburbs surrounded by skyscrapers and office buildings. Originally designed by Mario Armengel, these sculptures were created and dedicated by Maxwell Cummings & Sons back to the city in 1969.
Visit the Glenbow Museum: The Glenbow Museum is a museum of history and art and the largest of its kind in western Canada with more than 20 galleries and more than one million objects. The exhibits here focus primarily on life in western Canada, with interactive exhibits about First Nations tribes, as well as entire floors dedicated to military history. There are also exhibitions of European art, Asian sculptures and even artifacts from West Africa, such as ceremonial masks and pottery. Admission is $ 18 CAD ($ 14 USD).
Check out the Canada Olympic Park: The Calgarians are an active group: on Friday afternoons in the winter months, you will see SUVs and trucks loaded with ski equipment that leave the city towards the mountains. The Olympic Park is where many of them start with winter sports. This ski and training / competition complex serves as a tribute to the 1988 Olympic Games and is primarily used as a training ground for young athletes. If you are here in winter, sign up for an alpine or cross-country skiing class, which will cost you around $ 75 CAD ($ 57 USD) for 90 minutes. You can even try bobsleigh or luge!
Head to the top of the Calgary Tower: Built in 1967, the Calgary Tower is 626 feet high and commemorates the Centennial of Canada. It is the centerpiece of the city, and at the top you will get uninterrupted views directly to the Rocky Mountains. Also, the glass floor on the observation deck is quite exciting (and scary). A ticket to the top costs $ 18 CAD ($ 14 USD).
Visit the Heritage Park Historical Village: This heritage park is like a living museum, which shows the history of western Canada between the 1860s and 1950s. You can travel on the steam train, learn how to make old-fashioned ice cream, chat with the settlers in the meadow, explore First Nations site and take a horse-drawn cart ride. It’s another one of those somewhat cheesy experiences, but you’ll really learn a lot. Tickets cost $ 27 CAD ($ 20 USD).
Take a food tour: If you want to try the best foods that Calgary has to offer, take a gastronomic tour with Alberta Food Tours. They have several different excursions, including a tour of the Calgary farmers market and a walk in the Inglewood neighborhood, but the tour of Craving Kensington is one of the best for its variety. You will try poutine, cheeses, deli, sweets, some drinks and more throughout the night for $ 95 CAD ($ 72 USD).
Calgary Travel Costs:
There are only a couple of hostels in Calgary. A bed will cost around $ 46 CAD ($ 35 USD) per night for a room with four or six beds. A bedroom with eight beds or more costs around $ 40 CAD ($ 30 USD) per night.
The hostel’s double private rooms start at approximately $ 87 CAD ($ 66 USD) per night for two people, but can cost up to $ 135 CAD ($ 102 USD). During the Stampede, prices rise approximately 50% and sell out months in advance, so be sure to book in advance!
Budget hotel prices:
Rates per night for a budget two-star hotel room with private bathroom start at around $ 60 CAD ($ 45 USD), but this is not close to the city center. For something closer to the city center, expect to pay at least $ 80 CAD ($ 60 USD) per night.
Airbnb is available everywhere in Calgary, with shared accommodation (such as a sofa in a living room) starting at $ 35 CAD ($ 26 USD) per night. For a private room, expect to pay between $ 46-80 CAD ($ 35-60 USD) per night, while a full apartment averages around $ 192 CAD ($ 145 USD) per night.
During the summer months, there is also the option to rent a dormitory from a university. Rooms are generally available from the beginning of May until the end of August and offer access to services on campus (laundry, parking, cafeterias). Both the University of Alberta and Mount Royal University have single rooms starting at $ 56 CAD ($ 42 USD) per night. Check directly with their websites.
Calgary has an epic scene of food trucks, and their locations change daily. You can find pizza per serving for $ 4 CAD ($ 3 USD), or a giant pie for $ 4.25 CAD ($ 3.35 USD). Larger meals such as a taco salad or a curry will cost around $ 11 CAD ($ 8 USD).A meal at McDonald’s will cost around $ 10 CAD ($ 7.50 USD). Pubs and restaurant chains are very reasonable at around $ 20 CAD ($ 15 USD) for a meal, but a beer is approximately $ 5 USD ($ 7 CAD). High-end restaurants will cost you around $ 45 USD ($ 60 CAD) if you also order a snack and a drink.If you cook on your own, you can spend as little as $ 65 CAD ($ 50 USD) on groceries per week, which would include some meat, bread, eggs, rice / pasta, some vegetables and fruits.
Backpacking Calgary Suggested Budgets:
If you are going backpacking to Calgary, expect to spend around $ 100 CAD ($ 76 USD) per day. This means that you are staying in a hostel, eating cheap food and cooking some of your meals, using local transportation to move around and limiting your paid activities as much as possible. You can reduce this number by approximately $ 20 CAD ($ 15 USD) per day if limited to free activities. It’s expensive here, even with a backpacker’s budget!
With a mid-range budget of $ 180 CAD ($ 135 USD) per day, you can stay in a two-star hotel or in a private Airbnb room, eat more (but cook like breakfast), rent a bike to move around or Use public transit and visit more expensive attractions (such as the Calgary Zoo).
With a luxury budget of $ 372 CAD ($ 280 USD) per day or more, you will stay in a four-star hotel in the city center, have a good dinner every night with a drink, eat fast food for the rest of your meals , take some taxis and take day trips (or do other paid activities, such as ski lessons). After that, the sky is the limit!
Keep in mind that many of these prices (especially accommodations) will increase by 50% during the time of the Stampede!
You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind that these are daily averages: some days you will spend more, some days you will spend less (you can spend less every day).
How to Stay Safe in Calgary:
Calgary is a very safe city, and you are unlikely to be attacked during your visit. Your biggest risk is a misdemeanor, such as theft of wallets, but even that is rare. The eastern part of the city center (east of the City Hall) is a bit incomplete at night, so avoid walking alone through that area.
If you are not used to severe winter weather, be sure to wear many layers and appropriate clothing. Avoid staying outside for a long time if you are not adequately protected.
If you’re worried about being cheated, you can read about the 14 travel scams you should avoid here.
Always trust your instinct. If a taxi driver seems bleak, stop the taxi and get out. If your hotel is more sleazy than you thought, move to another place.
If you don’t do it at home, don’t do it in Calgary! Follow that rule and you will avoid being a victim of misdemeanors.
The most important advice I can offer is to buy good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect against illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It is a comprehensive protection in case something goes wrong. I never go on a trip without him, since I have had to use it many times in the past.
Calgary Travel Guide- Money Saving Tips:
Couchsurf: If you plan ahead, you can usually find a really nice Couchsurfing host in Calgary. In this way, you not only have a free place to stay, but you will also have a local host who can tell you the best places to visit and things to see.
Take a free walking tour: Walking tours are a great way to get acquainted with a city and culture. Walk the YYC is the only free walking tour in the city, but it’s good! You can also book a Calgary Greeter, a local volunteer who will accompany you through the city.
Avoid the Calgary Stampede: If you are not too interested in the Calgary Stampede, avoid the dates of this event. Prices will be higher everywhere. On the other hand, if you are here during Stampede, take advantage of the many FREE pancake breakfasts in the city (stampedebreakfast.ca).
Look for free events: Most Calgary street festivals are free, and there are free events throughout the year. Visit the Visit Calgary website to see their updated event listings!
Use coupon sites: Monitor sites such as Living Social and Groupon for local offers and savings. There are always good listings in some of the best restaurants and attractions.
Spend your time in nature: With its abundance of outdoor activities, walking / biking trails and relaxing parks, if you spend most of your time absorbing the great nature of Calgary, you will save a lot of money.
Where To Stay in Calgary:
There are only a few hostels in Calgary, which really limits your options! If you can’t find anything there, check one of the universities to see if they have dormitories available. Otherwise, here are your hostels in Calgary:
- HI Calgary City Centre
- Wicked Hostels Calgary
- HI Kananaskis (located west of Calgary, near the mountains)
How to Get Around Calgary:
Bus: Calgary is much better off its bus system. You will have to use cash to buy a ticket on the bus (an exact change is required), or you can buy tickets at many pharmacies, supermarkets and corner stores. Fares are $ 2.56 USD ($ 3.40 CAD) each way, or you can pay $ 8 USD ($ 10.75 CAD) for a one-day pass. One-way fares are valid for 90 minutes.
Subway: Calgary has two light rail transit lines (LRT) known as C-Train. You can buy tickets in cash or by credit card at any C-Train station, and ticket prices cost the same as the bus. You can travel on the C-Train for free in downtown Calgary, between City Hall Station and Downtown West / Kerby Station, but make sure you have a ticket as soon as you leave the free zone. You can plan your route using Google Maps.
Taxi: Taxis are not cheap here. Its base rate is $ 3.80 CAD ($ 2.86 USD), and is an additional $ 1.66 CAD ($ 1.25 USD) per kilometer later. Calgary United Cabs and Checker Cabs have applications to book a taxi.
Bicycle: Calgary has more cycling routes than anywhere in North America, with almost 528 miles (850 kilometers) of routes! In addition, most of the main streets have designated bicycle lanes. Lime Bike is a public bike sharing program that allows you to rent a bike to move around. Simply download the application, find a nearby bike and unlock it for $ 1 CAD ($ 0.75 USD). After that, it costs $ 0.30 CAD ($ 0.23 USD) per minute, which means that a 30-minute trip will cost around $ 10 CAD ($ 7.55 USD).
Travel sharing: Calgary has a unique car-sharing program called Car2Go, with hundreds of smart cars throughout the city. Use the Car2Go app to find the nearest car, unlock the car and you’re on the way! (Of course, you must prove your license in advance) Car rates start at $ 0.32 CAD ($ 0.24 USD) per minute for two people. If you go to the airport, you will spend an additional $ 12.50 CAD ($ 9.40) to park your car in the Car2G0 parking lot there.
You can also use Uber to move around Calgary. You can save $ 15 on your first Uber trip with this code: jlx6v. LYFT (my preferred company) is recently available in Calgary, so use my MATTHEW999 code to save $ 10.
Calgary Travel Guide- The Best Booking Resources:
These are my favorite companies to use when traveling to Calgary. They are included here because they constantly find offers, offer world class customer service and great value, and are generally better than their competitors.
Momondo: this is my favorite booking site. I never book a flight without first checking here.
Skyscanner : Skyscanner is another great flight search engine that searches many different airlines, including many of the low-budget airlines that the biggest sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I also use this site to compare prices.
Airbnb: Airbnb is an excellent accommodation alternative to connect with owners who rent their houses or apartments.
Hostelworld: this is the best hostel accommodation site that exists, with the largest inventory, the best search interface and the widest availability.
Couchsurfing : this website allows you to stay in people’s free sofas or rooms for free. It is a great way to save money while meeting with locals who can tell you the ins and outs of your city. The site also lists events that you can attend to meet people (even if you don’t stay with someone).
Booking.com: the best booking site that constantly offers the cheapest and lowest rates. They have a policy of no initial payment, excellent interface and the widest selection of economic accommodation. In all my tests, they have always had the cheapest rates of all reservations.
Intrepid Travel: If you want to take a group tour of Canada, go with Intrepid Travel. They offer good tours for small groups that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on tour with someone, go with them. And, as a reader of this site, you will get exclusive discounts by clicking on the link!
Rome 2 Rio : this website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B in the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane or ship routes that can take you there and how much they cost.
World Nomads: I buy all my World Nomads travel insurance. They have excellent customer service, competitive prices and deep coverage. I have been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
EatWith: This website allows you to eat homemade food with locals. The locals publish lists of dinners and special meals that you can sign up for. There is a fee (each sets its own price), but this is a great way to do something different, choose the brain of a local and make a new friend.
Travel carefully. Hope you enjoy it. You cannot think about this trip how amazing this trip is! Exactly you need to be prepared physically, mentally with economically. As it is also a costly trip, for this reason, You have to be prepared a well-economical budget. Stay with us. Hope you like it. Have a nice trip. We are always with you. We will usually help you with the journey. Thanks for having us.