When deciding what to do in Calgary over the summer months, visitors are spoiled for choice. Not only do we have loads of cool attractions, but they cater to all interests and age groups. Here are the top things to do in Calgary for both culture vultures and transportation buff. Oh, did I mention all these awesome Calgary attractions have major discounts? Read on for how to claim yours.
Culture in Calgary
When the Tragically Hip sang about the Paris of the Prairies, do you think they were talking about Calgary? They could’ve been. There’s way more than meets the eye in this city commonly known for its energy and western hospitality.
Calgary art gallery
Take the Glenbow Museum for instance. I bet you didn’t know they have over one million artworks, artifacts and photographs in their collection. And with over 30,000 works of art, it’s the largest collection in all of Western Canada. Take that Vancouver and Edmonton.
Glenbow’s feature exhibitions change three times a year. These exhibitions bring nationally significant art and stories from across Canada and around the world to Calgary. Every time the exhibitions change, they host a huge all-ages party with local bands and other performances. Everyone is invited and admission is by donation. Catch Friday Kahlo: Her Photos at the Glenbow until May 21.
Studio Bell at the National Music Centre
Did you know that Backstage Pass Tours at Studio Bell offer access to even more of the National Music Centre’s vast collection – from early instruments to modern electronics? Running every Sunday at 12 pm and 1:30 pm, this tour is guided by a trained musician and provides a behind-the-scenes look at rare artifacts and world-class recording spaces and equipment, including the legendary Rolling Stones Mobile Studio!
Calgary Stampede Art Walk
Some of the world’s most significant pieces of western art are found right here in Calgary – at Stampede Park. I know, I know, viewing public art at the Stampede grounds wasn’t my first thought either. But these outdoor pieces that range from murals to bronze sculptures are totally impressive and something you can do year-round. They’ve even developed a self-guided art walk that describes each piece and where it’s located (mostly around Stampede Park and downtown Calgary). Access the art walk info here.
Dinner theatre in Calgary
Yes, there’s historical artifacts at Fort Calgary, but they also host a very cool dinner theatre. If you’re a fan of mysteries, you’ll love their current line-up. Because Fort Calgary has this fully-equipped, state-of-the-art theatre, it’s also a fantastic venue for events like film screenings and presentations. I believe I’ve waxed on about their Sunday brunch before, so I’ll just give a gentle reminder that it includes access to the museum.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
It seems in every family, there’s someone who’s totally into transportation. These guys want to see steam engines, bomber planes and retro cars. Fortunately for them, they can easily get their fix in Calgary.
Calgary aviation museum
There’s tons of airplanes to admire inside the Hangar Flight Museum, but the Lancaster bomber is one of the most popular. While the one on display was never issued to an active squadron, it was converted to Maritime Reconnaissance configuration and taken on by 404 Buffalo Squadron in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. Besides the Lancaster, there’s loads of rare and historically significant military and civilian planes here. Why not visit on Father’s Day weekend to suss out their wings and wheels exhibit?
Gasoline Alley Heritage Park
From May long weekend until Labour Day, visitors at Heritage Park can hop aboard their historic steam train. Interestingly, the train switches directions halfway through the summer season. Why, you may ask? It’s so the wheels don’t wear out on one side. The train runs so often, each summer it travels around the Park the same distance as a coast-to-coast trip across Canada.
Just outside the entry gates to Heritage Park lies Gasoline Alley. Its Grand Hall is chock-a-block with vintage vehicles and retro automotive memorabilia. Take a gander the next time you visit.
Views from the Calgary Tower
Towering over the city at an altitude of 1,236 m (4,028 ft.), the Calgary Tower is the highest observation tower above sea level in the world. That makes for some pretty epic views of the city and the surrounding mountains. If you’ve got a transportation buff in your brood, hustle them up to the top of the tower to take in all the action. Down below vehicles like tiny toy sets, while at eye level you’re apt to see planes streaking across the sky.
Calgary attractions discounts
To score major discounts and half price coupons for all these attractions (and others!) check out Calgary Attractions. On that site you’ll find valuable, printable coupons to the city’s most interesting tourist spots.