Best of Calgary
Collected by Jeff Bartlett , AFAR Local Expert
Once known as Cowtown, because of both the annual shindig known worldwide as the Calgary Stampede and its place in Canada’s wild western culture. Calgary has become a truly cosmopolitan city. From seasonal cuisine to trendy cocktail bars on 17th Ave, it’s clear menus aren’t limited to Alberta Beef and spicy Calgary-invented Caesars. Walk through history from Inglewood to Olympic Plaza and discover the many layers of Calgary.
1410 Olympic Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2W1, Canada
Calgary is famous for the Calgary Stampede, ten days of cowboys, rodeo events, chuckwagon races, a midway (complete with deep fried Mars bars and corn dogs) and great music. No one’s kidding when they call it The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
698 Eau Claire Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P, Canada
A two minute walk from the bustle of downtown Calgary, Prince’s Island Park—which is surrounded by the Bow River—is home to festivals all summer long. The Calgary Folk Music Festival and 52,000 of its closest friends rock and/or folk out on the...
1006 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0M4, Canada
Calgary’s Inglewood neighborhood has come a long way from its trading-post roots. Founded in 1875 as a commerce hub along the Bow and Elbow rivers, it emptied out as residents moved to the suburbs. Now it’s seeing a revival, with shops, galleries,...
220 St Georges Dr NE, Calgary, AB T2E 5T2, Canada
Little scientists can’t wait to get into this brand new science center, with its climbing playground, indoor water park (complete with plastic shirts to keep the little ones somewhat dry), and a giant atrium, with hula hoops just waiting for...
169 Canada Olympic Rd SW, Calgary, AB T3B 6B7, Canada
The world often thinks of Canada as the land that hockey built, but the truth is, Canada has a rich, diverse sports heritage that extends well beyond the stick and puck. Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, established in 1955 and opened at its new...
1900 Heritage Dr SW, Calgary, AB T2V 2X3, Canada
Heritage Park's antique steam train thunders through the Living Historical Village, giving the park a sense of place in time that deepens the experience for visitors young and old. History comes alive on two wheels at Heritage Park, though...
88 Canada Olympic Rd SW, Calgary, AB T3B 5R5, Canada
One of the best things about Calgary is the winter playground in the center of town. Canada Olympic Park, on the western edge of the city, features a ski hill, snowboard park, cross-country trails, an Olympic luge track, Canada's Sports Hall of...
1240 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0M7, Canada
One of only two Canadian restaurants to ever make the S. Pellegrino Top 100 list, this Inglewood fine dining establishment has reopened post-flood with a revamped, local, seasonal menu. When the weather permits, take a seat on the garden patio...
1414 8 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J6, Canada
Both a store and a food truck, this is the home of all things sweet, stuffed and iced. Jelly Modern makes its artisanal donuts fresh daily with local, organic ingredients whenever possible. There’s an online schedule to remind you that Madagascar...
308 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A8, Canada
Definitely the coolest restaurant on the block, Model Milk, housed in a former dairy building, does eclectic fine dining in a rustic-hip setting (think exposed brick, and uncovered light bulbs dangling from salvaged wood). There’s nothing stuffy...
340 13 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0W9, Canada
This little sister of the award-winning River Café stands on its own two feet. The same philosophies abound, however (local ingredients, herbs and greens from the restaurant’s garden, slowly roasted meat, and lots of vegetarian options), and, like...
1429 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0T4, Canada
This live blues bar in Inglewood is known for its great music and its Cajun menu. Come for dinner and stay for the show. But if you don’t want to pay the $15-25 cover fee, then it’s best to book a table early and enjoy the deep-fried pickles with...
1212 13 St SE #104, Calgary, AB T2G 5R3, Canada
This home of modern design is part gallery and part store. It’s full of innovative abstract art and functional contemporary decor such as John Greg Ball’s subsonic chair with built-in subwoofers, Eveline Kolijn’s sculptural installations, and...
718 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B7, Canada
Nominated for the Best New Restaurant Canada award in EnRoute Magazine, this exciting eatery hit the radar when its former chef competed on Top Chef Canada. He then relocated to British Columbia, leaving his sous chef in charge of both the market...
1609 14 St SW, Calgary, AB T3C 1E4, Canada
With five locations and a well-organized in-store digital database, the friendly staff of family-run Fair’s Fair used bookstore can easily find what you’re looking for, and they have the best selection of popular and hard-to-find books in the...
2043 33 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 1Z5, Canada
Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters are the golden standard of well-made, high-quality coffee in Canada—two of its baristas placed first and second at the 2012 Canadian National Barista Championship. P&S has been roasting its own coffee since 2009,...
197 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 4M4, Canada
You’ll have to check the calendar for the next pop-up event from this collective of over a hundred local artists and musicians. From upcycled, eye-popping necklaces by Tinged to the masculine characteristics of designer Rebecca King's elegant...
1122 16 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0T6, Canada
Located just off trendy 17 Ave SW, Hotel Elan combines stunning comfort and modern luxury in a boutique hotel. The suites are massive, with a bedroom, living room, and full kitchen, so you’ll feel right at home throughout your stay. Just don’t...
119 12 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0G8, Canada
While it isn’t uncommon for a hotel, a restaurant and a bar to live under the same roof, it's rather unprecedented that all three are both award winning and local favourites. Contemporary décor and chic styling define Hotel Arts, a...
700 Centre St S E, Calgary, AB T2G 5P6, Canada
Located right downtown on Centre Street, The Hyatt Regency provides more than a luxurious place to sleep in Calgary. It’s more of a swank home base for exploring the entire city. The Olympic Plaza and Calgary Tower are both within a few minutes'...
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