Calgary Tourist Activities
Calgary Airport serves the large city of Calgary, and is located approximately 17km, or 11 miles from the city centre. Is a busy airport, ranked as the fourth largest in Canada, and handles around 12 million passengers per annum. Calgary Airport is also the premier airport of the Alberta region of the country. Calgary is a city well known for its numerous attractions, and as one of the biggest and youngest cities of the country. It is also nearby the Canadian Rockies, where popular tourist resorts are found, and several smaller cities that have their own attractions. Calgary attractions include the Olympic Plaza, the Calgary Tower and the Big Rock Brewery, as well as few very entertaining museums.
The city of Calgary grew rapidly in size after the oil boom in the 1970’s, and today the city centre boasts a number of modern skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. The city is also characterised by many over-street walkways and bridges that are known as the ‘Plus 15’ system. The city is divided into four districts, which are easily determined by their names of northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast. In general, Calgary has well signposted streets and highways, which are well organised and easy to travel. The city is also located on a flat area, with few steep roads to navigate. The main languages spoken are Canadian English and Canadian French, and approximately 1.1 million people are residents of Calgary, in an area which covers around 305 square miles, or 790 square kilometres. Additional aspects of the city include a large university, an important business centre and many modern shopping centres and restaurants.
Calgary Tourist Attractions
A popular attraction of the city is the Olympic Plaza, where the medals of the 1988 Olympic Games were awarded. Although the Games were quite some time ago, it is still a very popular part of the city, where many large festivals and events are held, for example, music concerts. It also features a large wading pool that is used as a skating rink in the colder months. Bus tours are available to see the entire facility, including the 90 metre high ski jumps. One of Calgary’s top attractions is the Calgary Tower, a tall building of around 650 feet in height. Stunning views over the city can be enjoyed from the top, and from its wonderful revolving restaurant. There is also a planetarium and observatory in the tower, and to complete the building, a torch is located atop the structure that is often lit for festivals and events.
The Big Rock Brewery and the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre are another two popular attractions of the city. The Big Rock Brewery can be found at 76th Street in Southwest Calgary, and one hour tours are given to demonstrate the brewing processes (adults only of course, as tasting is involved!). It is the best known brewery in the city, where many quality beers are produced. The Chinese Cultural Centre in the same area of the city, and in the heart of Chinatown has an excellent museum, a large Chinese restaurant and an art gallery. Its main attraction is the ornate hall of Prayers of the Temple of Heaven, featuring numerous paintings. The centre is free to enter, but there is a charge to see the museum.
Calgary Attractions – Museums, Parks and Gardens
Visitors fond of museums will find a couple in Calgary to their liking. The Ford Calgary Historic Park was founded in 1875, and was a building used by the North West Mounted Police for defence purposes. Today it depicts the history of the Indians of the region, the Mounted Police and the European settlers. An excellent and exciting museum to visit with the whole family is the Calgary Science Centre, found at 11th Street of Southwest Calgary. The museum features a large number of wonderfully amusing and educational interactive science exhibits. The Science Centre also features the Discovery Dome, the Children’s Discovery Centre and Alberta’s largest indoor theatre, where many shows are held throughout the year. The Glenbow Museum is another interesting place to visit, as well as the Museum of the Regiments.
There are no shortages of peaceful, green areas in the city of Calgary, and they are often used to escape the hustle and bustle of the city’s activities. A three-in-one attraction in this regard is the Calgary Zoo, the Botanical Gardens and the Prehistoric Park. Calgary Zoo is one of the best in Canada, and its main feature is often considered to be the underwater hippo viewing area. The Prehistoric Park area of the zoo is filled with some stunning life-sized dinosaur statues. Exotic animals can be seen at the zoo as well.
Prince’s Island Park is another popular area to visit with plenty of walking and biking trails, as well as a children’s water park. The Calgary Folk Music Festival is held here every year. The Devonian Gardens feature many ponds that are filled with various kinds of fish and turtles, and is also home to over 20,000 plant species. To the south of downtown Calgary is the Fish Creek Provincial Park, known to be Canada’s largest urban park. It has a visitor’s centre and many wildlife residents.
Calgary Attractions Nearby
Just a thirty minute drive from Calgary is Airdrie, a small town that is a popular place for visitors, due to its large number of superb golf courses, recreational activities, places to swim and other festivals and events that are held here. A few World Heritage Sites are nearby, including the Dinosaur Provincial Park and Banff, one of Canada’s foremost ski towns. It was also the first natural park. To the south of the city is the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site, a well-preserved and still-operational cattle ranch.
Find out more information regarding Calgary attractions from the Calgary Airport Visitor Centre, or from the numerous tourist offices in the city.