Before my first visit to Calgary, the 1988 Olympics and the Stampede made up my entire knowledge of the city. A quick autumn drive through the city on my way to the airport a couple of years ago did little to alter that. Thankfully I was able to expand that vision when I visited Calgary earlier this year. The vision I now have of the city includes a vibrant urban centre with an active outdoor culture and a burgeoning art scene. In one week, I became so endeared with the city that I considered moving before I remembered I have children who like their current home, school and friends. Since moving isn’t currently an option, here is a simple Calgary travel guide to help you with your next visit.
700 Centre Street SE, Calgary, AB, CA, T2G 5P6
The Hyatt Regency Calgary is in the heart of downtown Calgary. Just steps away from the Calgary Tower, Stephen Avenue Walk, Studio Bell and the Glenbow Museum, the hotel offers an excellent central location for those looking to enjoy the local culture on foot. Hop on local transit to head to the Calgary Zoo, Fort Calgary or to take a craft brewery tour.
I arrived at the hotel several hours prior to check-in time so my room was not quite ready. The desk clerk took my name and cell number, stored my luggage and gave me some suggestions of places I could visit in the area while I waited. Rather than wander too far on my first day, I visited the hotel restaurant for the buffet breakfast. After devouring fresh fruit and bacon from the buffet and a la carte eggs benedict I was sufficiently stuffed. My room was soon ready, and I was introduced to a comfortable room, a view of the city and a soft bed.
During my stay at the Hyatt Regency Calgary, I took advantage of the Regency Room for the rest of my breakfasts and the occasional late-night snack or drink. The service in the Regency Room and throughout the hotel was impeccable. The desk clerk greeted me by name every time I passed through the hotel and the service staff in the Regency Room allowed me to grab a soft drink when I arrived shortly after they closed for the night.
Calgary has a long list of hot spots for grabbing a light snack, a full-course meal or a bite from a food truck. I was able to try just a few of these outlets which I describe in detail in “Beyond the Beef: Dining in Calgary” but will list here for quick reference.
618 Confluence Way SE, Calgary, AB
A community gathering place and historic landmark, the Simmons Building is now home to charbar, Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery. The three businesses provide one another with products and partner to bring the city a central location for all their culinary needs.
1136 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB
Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey is the place to go for mouthwatering BBQ and delicious sides like bacon wrapped smokestack corn. Whiskey drinkers have over 100 different varieties of the brew to choose from or choose from regular or craft brews.
1229-9 Avenue Southeast, Calgary, Alberta
Inglewood’s beloved music venue plays host to open mic nights, blues jams and visiting artists. Like the Ironwood’s well-worn wood plank floor, the menu isn’t precious and it covers all tastes, with steak sandwiches, battered halibut, bowls of chili, jambalaya and a selection of flatbreads.
25 Prince’s Island Park, Calgary, Alberta T2P 0R1
The River Café prides themselves on their partnerships with local growers and producers, choosing only responsible and sustainable sources for their customers. Their exceptional care and pride extend to the plate with beautiful presentations and exquisite meals.
Rosso Coffee Roasters is a specialty coffee roaster that can be found in several locations within Calgary, Alberta. Along with a seasonal coffee menu made from quality focused coffee producers around the world, Rosso has a menu of fresh baked pastries and lunch items.
1216-9 Avenue Southeast, Calgary, Alberta
Not your average pizza joint, WOP is nestled in the historic neighbourhood of Inglewood overlooking 9th Avenue. With inventive pizzas, an excellent wine list and the odd movie projected on the wall, WOP is an excellent place to unwind and enjoy Calgary at its finest.
This guide would be chapters long if I listed every attraction and venue to visit in Calgary, so here are some of the places that I was able to visit while I was there.
101-9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, CA, T2P 1J9
Located 191 metres above the downtown core, the Calgary Tower offers a 360 view of Calgary, the Rocky Mountains, the foothills, and the prairies. It provides visitors with a unique view of downtown Calgary.
- September to May 9am – 9pm
- June to August 9am – 10pm
- Infant(3 and under)FREE
130 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0P3
The Glenbow Museum is an art and history museum right across the street from the Hyatt Regency Calgary. Inside, guests will find stories about people, places and industry in Alberta, along with geological displays and art pieces.
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday – Saturday: 9am – 5pm
- Sunday: 12pm – 5pm
- Kids 6 and under are free
- Kids 7 – 17 $10
- Adults $16 Families (2 adults, 4 children) $40
Calgary is home to many scenic bike paths that will take visitors around the city. Nomad Bike Tours YYC can help visitors experience these sites through their bike tours. They offer a bike and coffee tour, a bike and brewery tour or custom tours. Guests who wish to explore on their own can rent bicycles, skis and snowshoes.
Nomad Mobile Gear Rentals are 100% mobile, delivering summer and winter sport rentals right to the door of a home, office, hotel, community centre – wherever it is most convenient.
340-8 Avenue Southwest, Calgary, Alberta, CA, T2P 1C1
Stephen Avenue Walk is Calgary’s only pedestrian mall. Situated both indoors and outdoors, it offers a year-round walking experience to visit shops, restaurants and be entertained by live buskers and festivals.
Stephen Avenue Walk is managed daily from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm by the Calgary Downtown Association on behalf of the City of Calgary.
850-4 Street Southeast, Calgary, Alberta, CA, T2G
Studio Bell is a huge music centre and museum in Calgary’s East Village. It includes five floors of exhibition space, a 2000+piece collection of artifacts, instruments and music technology, and other features including recording facilities, workshops, classrooms, an event space, and a 300-seat performance hall.
- Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Monday: Closed*
- Tuesday: Closed
- Wednesday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Thursday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Friday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Adults $18 Seniors/Students $14 Youth $11 Children Under 3 Free
#9 801 30 ST NE Calgary, AB T2A 5L7
Tool Shed Brewery is an Albertan craft brewery developed by two friends with the entrepreneurial spirit. Their unique brews each come with a back story that is shared on the can and in more detail on their website. After doing a brewery tour and taste testing, my favourite Tool Shed beer is People Skills, named after a man who lacked them entirely.
Visit the tap room:
Mon-Wed 1pm to 9pm | Thurs-Sat Noon to 10pm | Sundays/Holidays 1pm to 6pm