Calgary Travel Guide
Oil riches meet the Wild West in Calgary, a brash, flash cowboy city that's also the jumping-off point for adventures in the Rockies.
Calgary stands at the point where the vast Canadian prairie touches the jagged, snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. At the city's heart is a cluster of glitzy towers, from which sprawling suburbs fan out into the prairies. Among the show-offs of Downtown's shiny skyscrapers are The Bow, a crescent-shaped Norman Foster creation, and Telus Sky, a glassy construction that looks like it's been squished by a child's fist. Not forgetting Brookfield Place, soaring skywards to become the city's tallest building.
The Rockies may pull the crowds, but Calgary is a happening destination in its own right. Its cowboy reputation draws over a million visitors annually to Calgary Stampede, a raucous celebration of Western heritage, where the city transforms into a giant party town and every second person seems to be wearing a cowboy hat. Then there are irresistible attractions like Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the snazzy Telus Spark science centre, and Studio Bell, a striking contemporary building home to Canada's National Music Centre.
Calgary's hip set enjoys a fast-evolving foodie scene matching their insatiable demand for fresh culinary creations, whether it's Argentine small plates at charbar, Korean pear pancakes at Anju or the juiciest Albertan beef at Modern Steak.
Trendy eateries extend throughout Calgary's diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods. Hit the Beltline for starters; steps from Downtown, its revitalised heritage buildings mingle with jazzy new condo and office blocks in this rapidly growing community, where locals shop for organic groceries, grab a java fix on a patio café, or compare goggle tans over cocktails.
And with the Rockies beckoning like a siren at sea, it's hard to resist the lure of the great outdoors. Phenomenal hiking and world-class ski resorts are little over an hour away. Classy city and gateway to nature? Calgary's pretty special.