Calgary Alberta Canada Things to Do and See

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YYC is the airport code for my hometown Calgary Alberta Canada. I enjoy returning every year to visit friends and family. Around the end of June is when I like to visit Calgary so that I can enjoy the long summer days. It’s great weather for hiking and spending time outdoors.

There’s lots of fun things to do and see in and around Calgary especially in the summer months. If you love spending time outdoors Calgary has a bunch of hiking and biking trails. Get more info on the best hikes in Calgary.

While the YYC airport is not the busiest in Canada they still receive a lot of travelers through the facility.

The Calgary International Airport recently reported that the terminal saw 17.3 million passenger trips in 2018 which is a new record. And it’s about a million more trips compared to 2017.

Beautiful pink wild roses - official flower of Alberta Canada

Wild rose is the official flower of Alberta and you’ll see lots of them around the hiking trails

Where is Calgary?

Calgary is located in Southern Alberta in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, to the west of the city. In this post I’ll just give you a little taste of what Calgary Alberta is like. Hope you get to visit sometime.

Hiking trails near Calgary

Even when I fly into Calgary and only stay a few days I like to go hiking around town and get out to the mountains.

Beautiful bright pink cone shape cluster of blooms on lupine flowers in Calgary. Many alpine flowers bloom in Alberta Canada

Beautiful pink lupine flowers in Calgary AB

A short drive to Kananaskis Country will get you to the Rocky Mountains and Ptarmigan Cirque, one of my favorite hikes in the Rockies. You should also read my post about 5 easy hikes in Kananaskis.

Another short drive to Banff National Park for some outstanding hiking, camping, nature viewing, and enjoying the outdoors.

Hiking Ptarmidgan Cirque Trail in Kananaskis AB Canada

Hiking trails near Calgary are excellent for panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains – Ptarmigan Cirque Trail

Be sure to check out Johnston Canyon for the beautiful waterfalls and the Ink Pots.

From Banff you can take one of the most scenic drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway. This is also known as Hwy 93 and it takes you from Lake Louise to Jasper where you can see some of the most amazing glacier lakes in Canada.

Plus you can walk on a glacier on the Columbia Icefield. Just south of Jasper you can see 5 beautiful glacial lakes in one easy hike!

Kayaking and canoeing at Glenmore Reservoir

One of the best places to enjoy the outdoors is on the water. Calgary is located where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet. In southwest Calgary you’ll find the Glenmore Reservoir which is Calgary’s primary source for drinking water.

While you cannot swim or paddleboard on the reservoir you can enjoy sailing, canoeing, or kayaking.

You can rent a canoe from Calgary Canoe Club at North Glebmore right next to the Glenmore Reservoir but they do not rent kayaks to non-members.

Another great place to rent outdoor gear is the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre. They rent both winter and summer gear. Here’s a link to their gear rental price list. Inquire about gear rentals by calling the Outdoor Centre at 403-220-5038.

On the first Friday of July each year Calgary begins the Greatest Outdoor show on earth, the Calgary Stampede. Downtown Calgary becomes lively with pancake breakfasts every morning and country music is abundant.

There is a big parade to celebrate the start of stampede and the city of Calgary is in party mode for 10 days enjoying the rodeo, fairgrounds, music events, and just having fun.

Bright red skeleton of the Peace Bridge which connects pedestrians to downtown Calgary. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava

Bright red skeleton of the Peace Bridge which connects pedestrians to downtown Calgary across the Bow River

Parks in Calgary

When I visit Calgary now I love going to the parks especially along the water at Glenmore Park or Prince’s Island Park downtown.

I visited a new park recently, Silver Springs Botanical Gardens in Northwest Calgary. Bowness Park is another popular spot for enjoying the water and spending time outdoors.

Goslings feeding at Prince's Island Park in downtown Calgary AB Canada

Goslings feeding at Prince’s Island Park in downtown Calgary

Prince’s Island Park in downtown Calgary is a popular place for walking, bicycling, or jogging on the paved trails alongside the Bow River.

The park is named after Peter Anthony Prince, a Quebec lumberman who founded a lumber mill in Calgary in 1886. The city of Calgary purchased the land in 1944 to develop it into a park.

Lupine flowers at Silver Springs Botanical Gardens in Northwest Calgary Alberta

Lupine flowers at Silver Springs Botanical Gardens

Calgary Chinatown

I also love to wander around Chinatown in Calgary because there are interesting shops and delicious foods to try out.

Lately the area has taken on a more modern look and there have certainly been some improvements but I do miss the old Chinatown I used to visit years ago.

Passing the wisdom of the old to the young - mural by Dale Barry in Calgary's Chinatown

Chinese Blossoms mural by Dale Barry

Lion at entrance of Sien Lok Park in Chinatown - near Prince's Island Park in Calgary Alberta Canada

Lion at entrance of Sien Lok Park in Chinatown – near Prince’s Island Park

Chinese Cultural Centre in downtown Calgary Alberta Canada

Pagoda of the Chinese Cultural Centre in downtown Calgary’s Chinatown

Plus 15 walkways connect downtown Calgary

When the weather is not pleasant one can walk all over downtown Calgary without going outside.

Connecting the downtown core of Calgary with a series of 2nd level walkways between the buildings known as the Plus 15 walkways getting around without going outdoors is easy.

You’ll find maps of this extensive walkway system in several of the downtown buildings.

Downtown Calgary Alberta Canada - Plus 15 walkway

Plus 15 walkway in downtown Calgary

Public art in Calgary

There is plenty of public in Calgary especially in the downtown area.

Calgary Alberta public art - Conversation by William McElcheran - located at 8th Ave and 1st Street SW

Conversation by William McElcheran – 8th Ave and 1st Street SW

Public art in Calgary Alberta Canada - 4th Avenue SW - “Porte Cochere de la Lumiere” “The Portal of Light”, a Michael Hayden sculpture.

Porte Cochere de la Lumiere (The Portal of Light) by Michael Hayden – located at 240 – 4th Ave SW Calgary

Sculpture - Wonderland by Jaume Plensa from Spain - Calgary Alberta Canada

Wonderland by Jaume Plensa

Although Calgary has a very short growing season there are some beautiful gardens in the city.

Visiting my mother’s flower garden is always a joy. She turned the entire front yard, and most of the back as well, into a beautiful English style garden.

Blue Flower - Mumsy's Garden in Calgary Canada

Bee collecting nectar from flowers in Calgary Canada

I love my visits to Calgary and I hope you enjoyed this taste of  my hometown Calgary Alberta Canada, known by it’s airport code YYC. Happy travels!

Read more about Calgary and nearby attractions


Calgary Alberta things to do and see including a walk across the bright red Peace Bridge by Prince's Island Park downtown

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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling solo around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 5 of a solo road trip around the USA and Canada, living a nomadic life, and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

10 Replies

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  1. Ann says:

    I really enjoyed YYC–beautiful flowers are everywhere. I’m sure your Moms garden is lovely.

  2. Amit Agarwal says:

    Absolutely wonderful!

  3. Reader Wil says:

    Thank you for the walk in Calgary! It’s a colourful and modern city by the looks of it.

    • Thanks Wil – yes it’s colorful and modern. There’s been a lot of growth in the past 20 years – a lot of oil money in the region has brought prosperity for many people but Calgary is now a very expensive place to live and rental accommodation is limited. There are pros and cons like every place.

  4. Leovi says:

    Stunning photos! delicious flowers!

  5. Lovely town, but I would NEVER have guess that city based on the airport code! BTW, I live in ALB, Albany, NY, a pretty easy one.


    • The Canadian airport codes don’t make much sense – next month I go to Montreal – YUL is the airport code. ALB for Albany – now that makes sense :)

  6. Joy says:

    Looks a fascinating place, flowers and art always a winning combination. I have some early 20th century postcards sent from Calgary by my grandmothers family when the fact that someone could keep an aeroplane aloft must have been excitement enough.

  7. Indrani says:

    Amazing art work, the painting and the sculpted work is so beautiful.
    The flowers of course are absolute delight!

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