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Calgary Travel Guide

About Calgary

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.

Key facts

Population:
1090936
Latitude:
51.045043
Longitude:
-114.063047

Featured Hotels

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Hotel Arts

Setting foot in Hotel Arts on a hot day is like arriving at a Miami beach party, with the cool and the beautiful draping themselves, cocktails in hand, by the outdoor pool. Calgary's chic, sexy and independently owned designer hotel is within walking distance of all downtown venues. Rooms are stylish, and the hip Raw Bar serves 'Vietmodern' cuisine.

Fairmont Palliser

The grande dame of Calgary's hotels, the Fairmont Palliser has been welcoming guests since 1914. Rooms are elegant and luxurious, and there's a posh health club and spa with an indoor pool. You can enjoy cocktails and craft brews in the sophisticated Oak Lounge or treat yourself to a fancy afternoon tea.

Centro Motel

Northwest of downtown, near the Bow River, Centro Motel is a little bit of affordable chic. Rooms are smart and spacious, with pillow-top beds and high-end linens and cosy duvets. Wi-Fi, parking and a continental breakfast are all included in the price.

Hotel Elan

Handy for the bars and eateries along nearby 17th Avenue, Hotel Elan has bright, modern rooms, plus one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens and separate living areas. Rates include an extensive continental breakfast and 15MB Wi-Fi. If you're here during Calgary's chilly winter, you're sure to appreciate the heating toilet seats.

Hotel Le Germain

This Montreal hotel has 101 designer rooms. Everything is eye pleasing from the minimalist furniture to the low-lit hallways. If you own an iPad and appreciate nice shoes, this trendy hotel should tick your boxes. Rooms are loft style and have superior cotton sheets, goose down duvets and – ladies will appreciate this - Aveda bathroom products.

Econo Lodge Inn & Suites University

This place does what it says on the tin: it's cheap. Free Wi-Fi breakfast and parking make it an even more attractive proposition to the budget traveller. All rooms come with a fridge and microwave while some have a kitchenette. Plus there's an indoor pool and fitness centre. The hotel is near the university and light rail.