There’s way more than meets the eye in Calgary, a city commonly known for its energy and western hospitality. You likely know all about the Calgary Stampede and our zoo, but do you know you can also explore the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio right here in Calgary? There’s way more than 7 unique things to do in Calgary, but these will start you off in the right direction.
When’s the last time you had a view like this one? (Photo credit: Calgary Tower)
Updated April 2020. This post may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
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Unique things to do in Calgary
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. Another decidedly different things to do in our city focuses on the arts and caters to all age groups. Oh, did I mention all these unique things to do in Calgary have major discounts? Read on for how to claim yours.
Calgary art gallery
Take the Glenbow Museum for instance. Calgary’s premier art gallery has 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.
Studio Bell tours
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 at Studio Bell, 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 Stampede Park wasn’t my first thought either. But there is actually a ton of art on display at the Calgary Stampede grounds.
The outdoor pieces which range from murals to bronze sculptures are totally impressive and this art walk is 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 the coolest dinner theatre in Calgary. If you’re a fan of mysteries, you’ll love their current line-up. Fort Calgary has this fully-equipped, state-of-the-art theatre, so 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.
Calgary aviation museum
There’s tons of airplanes to admire inside the Hangar Flight Museum, Calgary’s sole aviation 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
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.
Gasoline Alley is open during the winter months, whereas Heritage Park is a May long weekend to Labour Day destination, with the occasional weekends thrown in.
During the summer season, 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.
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 from the Calgary Tower of the Rocky Mountains to the west and the cityscape down below.
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.
Unique hotels in Calgary
Looking for something different? Sheraton Cavalier guests receive complimentary access to 3,000 sq ft of wild and wet fun. Two 250 ft slides, hot tubs, plus an adult and kiddie pool make this an ideal outpost for kids of all ages.
Not many hotels offer an in-room telescope, but that’s just what you’ll get with a stay on the concierge floor of the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel. Located within the International wing of the airport, you’ll get epic views of planes taking off and landing, plus there’s an indoor pool and fitness facility.
Hotel Elan is a former apartment building situated in Calgary’s trendiest neighbourhood known as 17th Ave. You’ll be steps away from trendy coffee shops (Cafe Beano), some of the city’s best restaurants and lovely independent shops (Steeling Home!). A fitness center, heated toilet seats plus a hot buffet breakfast are included.
I’d like to experience the Dinner Theatre in Calgary
Would love to go to heritage Park have not been there since my daughter was very young . Would be wonderful
The dinner theatre at Fort Calgary sounds amazing. I’ve been to Stage West in the past but did not know about Fort Calgary.
I hardly ever make it to Heritage Park, but would love to go again!
I hardly ever make it to Heritage Park, but would love to go again!
My favorite Calgary outing has always been Heritage Park! We love to walk around there and look at all the olden day stuff. The horse rides are so fun, the kids rides and the ferry as well as the train!
I would love to take my grandchildren to Hertige Park. They have never been as money is to get in their household since their daddy was laid off from work 6 months ago from the oil and gas industry and I’m on disability as well Rhink this would big Happy smiles and their faces.
I haven’t been to the Calgary Tower almost since it first opened! Would love to go with my hubby as we celebrate our 4oth anniversary! Well any of these attractions would be great to visit! Thanks for the contest Jody!!
Calaway Park is our family’s favourite place to hang out 🙂
The National Music Centre/Studio Bell is of special interest to me. I’d love to check out the new facility.
i love the national music centre
I would be wonderful to visit Heritage Park over the long weekend!
I have lived in Calgary for over 14 years and have never been up the Calgary tower! would love to experience this with my family 😊
I have wanted to take my nieces to a Heritage Park for years ….
Can’t go wrong with dinner theatre!
Love walking down Stephen Ave as well.
I am in love with the National Music Centre, a visit makes for an amazing day in the East Village/Inglewood area with family!
My favourite Calgary outing is the Calgary Zoo. There is always something to see there regardless of how many times you have been before.
All of these attractions are fabulous but haven’t taken my children up the Calgary tower yet.
Company coming from out of town
Would love tickets for some of Calgary best things to do and see 👀
Would love to check out the Hangar museum this summer! Some young airplane enthusiasts in the family
My kids love to go to Calaway Park in the summer. It’s a fun way to keep them entertained!
I’d love to visit Heritage Park. I’ve been meaning to but usually end up in the mountains instead. Guess it’s about time!!
I would love to see Granary Road. We love Fort Calgary
Love to see the vie2 from there so Nice
I love studio bell and heritage park! Would love to go there with the kids again!
Love heritage park!!
we love going to Calaway park my kids and I have so much fun especially the log ride
Bowness Park in any season is our favourite activity!
Any would be great but I have never been to heritage park.
I would love to go to Calgary zoo. Please give me a family pass. It’s my favorite!
Would love to bring the kids to calgary tower. Thanks
Heritage Park is such a nice way to spend a day!
used to love dinner in the Tower. can’t beat that view any day
What a great list of things to see and do in Calgary! Honestly all of them interest me I love exploring new places with my girls. My favorite place is probably Heritage Park. It’s great to share the past.
They would all be great. I haven’t done the tower in a long time.
We love going to Calaway park every summer!
My favorite one is the Glenbow museum. I wish they could host more exhibitions every year!
Calaway Park is a family favorite,would love to check out heritage park!
Our favourite family outing in Calgary is Telus Spark. Being that we are still fairly new to the city we have many of these on our list to try and see this summer. We also love our evening walks along the path system in Bowmont Park.
Our favourite is Gasoline Alley and Heritage Park. We will miss the boat rides this year. Taking a ride is always fun.
Has to be the zoo – can spend hours there . And now with the new residents – really ecxciting
We love to spend time at Calgary Tower!
Would love to go to heritage park
Love the zoo! My BF just moved here from Hinton and has never been to any of the Calgary attractions, so any of the attractions would be awesome!
We love going to Heritage Park for their Halloween event every year. It’s a big highlight of my toddler’s year.
My favourite outing would be fort Calgary
I would love to check out the dinner theatre at Fort Calgary. My all time favourite attraction in Calgary is the Zoo followed by Heritage Park
I still love going to the zoo ❤️
I would love to take my four kids to Heritage park!!
We would take our Japanese student to Heritage Park – my favorite place to visit!
My brother lives in Calgary so a visit and outing at one of these attractions would be great!
We love going to stampede every year and hitting up all the free pancake breakfasts!! We also love the zoo!
I was at studio bell for an event last year and need to go back to check out the rest of the place. It is amazing!
Heritage park looks like a great family day out!
What a great list – we haven’t done most of them yet! I would love to take the kids up the Calgary Tower and see how they react to being that high up.
Would love the dinner theatre at Fort Calgary. Looks like a blast. Good luck all
We love going to Calloway park, but have never been to heritage park. This would be so awesome!
I love the zoo and Heritage Park. It is so fun to see these things through the eyes of my 2 year old grandson.
My favourite is the Calgary Tower but I’d love to go to Studio Bell for the first time!
I think Calgary Tower is my pick.
Edmonton hurts with your competitiveness in fine arts; see you and your baby pandas soon!
My favorite is Calgary zoo.
Oh wow! Would LOVE to take my kids to see all of these!! Would be fun!! But I know my daughter really really wants to go to the zoo this year to see the Pandas 🙂
Can’t go wrong with Dinner Theater, food and entertainment!
Studio Bell at the National Music Centre is so much fun! I love trying out the tutorials on different instruments. I’ve never been to Fort Calgary and the dinner theatre sounds like a lot of fun. Would love to check it out!
I think the Calgary zoo is a great place for families, Id love to win tickets to Gasoline Alley Heritage Park or the Dinner Theater. Thanks for the chance
I went to the Glenbow museum as a kid and I have great memories going there.
I’ve been to (more than once!) and like almost all of these Calgary Attractions but I think my fave is a wanna-be fave: I’ve never been to Studio Bell at the National Music Centre (despite a few derailed attempts) but I really want to! And I have a sneaking suspicion that I might like it a lot!
There’s always something new to discover at the Glenbow. I’ve gone back again and again.
Would Love To Go Up The Calgary Tower or visit Heritage Park! Thank You! The Dinner Theatre would be wonderful also!!
Would like to take my kids to heritage park
The NMC, I love music and this is the most amazing place. Did you know that Corey Harts sunglasses are on the 5th floor. 🙂
I can’t believe I live in Calgary but haven’t been to ANY of these places. Thanks for the great giveaway.
Dinner theater sounds awesome. I am a huge fan of vertigo theater.
My favorite outing is definitely studio bell. Would love to go again!
What a great description of all these attractions – some I didn’t know about – thanks for all the info! My family would love tickets to the Zoo (my kids really want to see the pandas) or the Calgary Tower (they’ve been asking to go).
We love the National Music Center – such a gem! There are so many of the other Calgary spots we’d love to check out this spring/summer too!
Favourite attraction, heritage park.. would love to go check it out again too, it’s been years.
Oh gosh, they’re all such amazing things to do!
I’ll have to say my favorite is Heritage Park, I have so many memories from there growing up
My favourite is the National Music Centre
The Calgary Zoo is a great place to go with the family for a day. Even when the weather is not great there i always something to do.
I’d love to take the kids to check out Heritage Park (my absolute favourite Calgary attraction) and bring the hubby for a date night to the dinner theatre! We checked out Bow Habitat the other weekend and loved it!