Spruced Up—Calgary, Canada
The city of Calgary, a providence of Alberta, right near the Canadian Rockies, is one of the largest metropolitan cities in Canada. Exploring the city may seem overwhelming at times, however there are many hidden and not so hidden gems that cannot be missed.
Though the skyscrapers may give off a business-oriented feel, there are many multicultural districts in Calgary. Among the most popular areas is Forest Lawn, especially down International Avenue, formally known as 17 Avenue SE. Several fun, ethnic restaurants and shops are there to enjoy. To get the fine dining Canadian experiences, the River Café is the place to visit. River Café uses local ingredients and creates delicious food with the customer’s health in mind. In the summer months, picnics are even offered at Prince’s Island Park.
The Core Shopping plaza is the best downtown shopping area of Calgary. The first three levels of the mall are quite impressive, with over 100 high-end stores; there are stores of interest for everyone in the family. There are also events happening all through the year, whether it is entertainers, music events, or late night social hours throughout the mall. On the fourth floor of the Core Shopping Centre is the Devonian Gardens. With over 550 plants, trees, ponds, water fountains, and fish, the “urban oasis” is Calgary’s only indoor park. The garden is a hotspot for kids birthday parties, weddings, fundraisers, and private events.
Many horse lovers tend to love animals of all types, which is why a visit to the Calgary Zoo would be a good place to check out. With hundreds of animals of all different classes, visitors see well-maintained animals in this indoor/outdoor park. The Calgary Zoo constantly has new additions, including many endangered species. With the addition of their Land of Lemurs, the zoo has seven “destinations,” or habitats, open to the public.
Among the shopping, dining, and exploration of Calgary, there are also annual events that make the city a hot spot. There are many film, music, comedy, pride, and ethnic events to list, however among the most popular is the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede, held for 10 days in July, is known for its variety of food vendors, concerts, rodeos, and other adrenaline–rushing events. This huge fair even has its own venue in Calgary and focuses on keeping the western culture and heritage alive and well in Canada. The hundred-plus-year-old event brings in over a million guests per year.
At the bottom of the Alberta Rocky Mountains lies Spruce Meadows, a 400-acre show jumper’s dream facility. Among the beautiful landscape, filled with flowers, statues, and gorgeous parks, tourists get to enjoy show jumping like nowhere else. Popularly known for its state of the art facilities, Spruce Meadows holds national and international shows throughout the year for various levels of competition. The four main tournaments include Masters, Nationals, Continental, and Pan American. Other smaller events are held throughout the year. Spruce Meadows also plays host to other interests. Visitors may find weddings, organized road races, and other special events held at the center, such as trade shows and conferences.
WHERE TO STAY
CARRIAGE HOUSE INN
Partnered with Spruce Meadows, this lovely inn is pet friendly, has four restaurants, and includes free breakfast, free wifi, and discounted pricing during events.
WINGATE BY WYNDHAM CALGARY
Wingate is located just off the banks of the Bow River and is right near Spruce Meadows. This hotel offers easy access to popular restaurants, shopping, and local attractions.
ACCLAIM HOTEL AT CALGARY AIRPORT
For those flying in that want the convenience of a hotel right near the airport, the Acclaim Hotel at Calgary Airport is a nicely priced and clean hotel to accommodate your needs.
WHERE TO EAT
Along International Avenue is this fantastic restaurant specializing in Indonesian food. All their noodles are amazing and their wide selection will have something for everyone.
River Café is among the most popular and highly praised restaurants in Calgary. If you’re looking for fantastic, local-grown food, this is the place for you.
CHARCUT ROAST HOUSE
Carnivores will love this urban-rustic restaurant, profoundly known for their house butchered meats, homemade preserves, and seasonal menus.
WHAT TO DO
There is something for everyone in the Core Shopping Centre. After a bit of shopping, be sure to head upstairs to the fourth floor and see the Devonian gardens, one of the largest indoor urban garden centers in the world!
Adrenaline-seeking tourists who love big crowds will love Calgary’s biggest food, musical, and rodeo festival.
Book a private tour, see a featured program staff work with the animals, or just meander around the Calgary Zoo to see animals from around the world.