In the spirit of World Tourism Day, we want to encourage everyone to get out and explore a little more. While Calgary is renowned for its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, the city itself is full of worthy attractions. Instead of pining over photoshopped Instagram photos (admit it, we all do), be a tourist in this city and see the sights live and in-person. Here’s our guide to the perfect day in Calgary.
Side note: If your visiting, this is your guide to experiencing Calgary like a local (or better than some locals, if we do say so ourselves).
World Tourism Day aims to cultivate and create awareness among society globally on the significance of tourism, and it’s social, political, financial, and cultural worth and value. Calgary has truly diversified its tourist attractions and overall culture in the past decade, with a booming local restaurant scene, prominent art installations and tons of green space in the city.
The Beltline Urban Murals Project is an initiative by the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association to showcase art, promote tourism and local businesses, improve the public realm while building community spirit in Calgary’s Beltline neighbourhoods. BUMP is a relatively new project that has added so much vitality to our city. Once a year, when the new murals go up, guided tours are provided so you can gain extra context about the murals meaning and the artists themselves, but you can check out a map of all the installations on their website as well and do self-guided tours at any time.
While you’re cruising the town, checking out some sweet murals, pop into some quaint shops to stock up on some local goods. Inglewood is full of amazing local-centric boutiques, including The Livery and Plant, which both stock some amazing local brands, including CAMP and Drizzle Honey. Both are totally unique and full of treasures for all ages, genders and interests. Kensington is home to some great boutiques as well, specifically Meraki Supply Co., which stocks tons of local faves, including Calgary Heritage Roasting Co. and Local Laundry. It’s basically Alberta in a shop, with cozy cabin décor we can’t get enough of.
Looking for a little physical activity? Explore the Rotary Greenway. 138km connects 55 communities and 400,000 Calgarians, creates one of the largest pathway networks in the world. Of course, you can easily explore the inner-city, but the Greenway gives us ‘burb-dwellers some awesome pathways to explore, with scenic routes covering Bowmont Park and Weaselhead. Additionally, just a quick trip beyond city limits will take you to the historic Glenbow Ranch. Its perfect for an after-work adventure, when you just need a quick escape from the hustle. You’re greeted with rolling hills and a sprawling view of the Rockies.
After a long day of exploring, dine with the Top Chefs and check out Calgary’s booming craft-brewery scene. Calgary is home to some of Canada’s most prominent Top Chefs: Connie DeSousa heads both Charcut and Charbar (which, bonus, is located in the historic Simmons building). Chef Jinhee Lee showcases her take on Pan-Asian cuisine at the highly acclaimed Foreign Concept, and Top Chef All-Star winner Nicole Gomez does delicious fast-casual at fan-favourite Cluck and Cleaver.
Calgary’s brewing scene has also expanded like crazy in the past few years and are an extremely welcome addition. Eighty-Eight Brewing is the new kid on the block, making a big splash with décor that highlights the 88’ Olympics in pure 80s’ neon glory. Dandy crafts some of the highest quality drafts with their “small at heart” philosophy. They also recently opened a gorgeous new tap room in Ramsay, with top-class eats that pair perfectly with their brews. Coldgarden has an eccentric garage vibe, like you’re at your buddy’s backyard BBQ – plus its dog-friendly and since they don’t serve food, you can order in ANYTHING you like. Pups, a smorgasbord of food and wicked beers. Heaven.
This is only a tiny fraction of great spots in our city, so get out there and start exploring!
Let us know your favourite spots in and around Calgary in the comments below.