- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Calgary Guide (PDF)
Despite being a bit isolated, hemmed in by the Rocky Mountains and their surrounding plains, expats will find plenty to see and do in Calgary.
From exploring the open space and parkland in and around the city to partaking in the (traditionally American) pastime of rodeo shows or engaging in Calgary's burgeoning theatre scene, expats are unlikely to endure a boring weekend during their sojourn in Alberta's largest city.
Over and above the sights listed below, Calgary’s main attraction for expats remains its proximity to the majestic Rocky Mountains. Just an hour's drive away, there are myriad outdoor recreational activities on offer among the snowy peaks and gorgeous surrounding lakes.
Recommended attractions in Calgary
Heritage Park Historical Village
Heritage Park is a 'living history village', comprised of over 150 exhibitions that attempt to show what life was like in Alberta in the 19th and 20th centuries. Set on 127 beautiful acres of parkland, and located just 15 minutes from Calgary's city centre, Heritage Park makes for a worthwhile day trip, especially with the kids. Highlights include steam train rides and an impressive collection of vintage automobiles.
Fort Calgary Historic Park
A more grown-up version of Heritage Park, Fort Calgary Historic Park tells the story of Calgary's history through sober exhibitions and an interesting interpretive centre. The reconstructed 1875 fort, located on the site, is considered by Calgarians to be the birthplace of their city.
Canada Olympic Park
Canada Olympic Park was a major venue during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, and now hosts skiing and snowboarding programmes every winter, and also houses the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. The sporting facility has multiple exhibitions and interactive visitor experiences and boasts a small movie theatre featuring sporting highlights throughout Canadian history.
Located in the heart of the city, the Glenbow is Canada's largest museum, with plenty of exhibition space, spread over three floors. It houses more than a million artefacts, filling up 20 galleries which showcase the colourful story of Canada's frontier history.
Canada's second-largest zoo is home to more than a thousand animals from all over the world, as well as a huge variety of fish and insects housed in natural habitat enclosures. It also features a prehistoric park with life-size animatronic dinosaurs on display. It's a great place to take the kids.
The city's most recognisable structure, Calgary Tower is a must-see landmark for expats seeking a bit of perspective. There is a revolving restaurant as well as a glass-floored observation deck offering spectacular views of the city below.
Children love visiting Calaway Park, western Canada's largest outdoor amusement park. Open seven days a week – and featuring exciting rides and rollercoasters, live magic shows and musical performances – Calaway Park is the ideal destination for a fun-filled family outing.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
A 'buffalo jump' is a ledge of rock traditionally used to lure stampeding buffalo to their deaths. This one not only has an awesome name but is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, proudly displaying exhibitions detailing the life and history of the Blackfoot people, the original inhabitants of the Great Plains region of southern Alberta.
►Our What's On in Calgary page provides an overview of great annual festivals in the area
Are you an expat living in Calgary?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Calgary. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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