Sites and Landmarks Worth a Visit in Calgary, Canada

Calgary’s Peace Bridge is a self-supporting structure
Calgary’s Peace Bridge is a self-supporting structure | © Jeffrey Whyte / Alamy Stock Photo
Calgary is a fusion of cowboy vibes, winter sports, cattle rearing and country music. Just east of the Canadian Rockies, Alberta’s largest city is among Canada’s most liveable and cleanest. While it’s home to one of the largest rodeos in the world, there are countless sites and landmarks no visitor should miss out on. Culture Trip’s local insiders share their favorites.

Fort Calgary

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Canada, Alberta, Calgary: Fort Calgary Historic Park, Exterior Stockade
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo
Calgary’s story starts right here, where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet – a cultural meeting place for Indigenous people. Fort Calgary was built in 1875 to stamp out the whisky trade and establish Canadian law, eventually becoming a focal point for settlers, ranchers and businesses. While little of the fort remains today, visitors can tour the museum’s comprehensive exhibitions and understand the region’s long – and complicated – history. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
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Studio Bell National Music Centre

Music Venue

This music center, in the East Village just minutes from Downtown, celebrates all things music. It has recording studios, a Canadian Music Hall of Fame – cue Neil Young memorabilia – and an interactive barn dance where visitors can try their hand at designing cowboy outfits or composing a country song. If “walking the line” isn’t for you, check out the public library next door. It’s among the city’s most remarkable feats of wooden archways, sleek glass walls and sweeping hexagonal structures. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park

Sports Center
Sliding tracks in the Ice House, a training facility at Canada Olympic Park for sliding sport athletes to practice push-starts.
© Rosanne Tackaberry / Alamy Stock Photo

If the story of a Jamaican bobsled team who’d never seen snow – or even a bobsled – before taking part in the Winter Olympics in 1988 rings a bell, this is where they made their debut. Today, the park is home to the only urban downhill ski facility in Calgary, offering snowboarding, zip-lining, mountain biking, luge, snow hockey and many other wintersports. If you’re wary, watch Cool Runnings (1993) before you go. Everyone starts somewhere. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Stephen Avenue (8th Ave) and Olympic Plaza

Architectural Landmark

Stephen Avenue is Calgary’s beating pulse of cultural and commercial activity. The typical sandstone architecture and the Calgary Tower on Centre Street are famous, and if you go in the winter, try your hand – or rather, your feet – at ice skating in the Olympic Plaza. There’s no shortage of bars or restaurants nearby, though take note: Alberta is cattle country, meaning steaks are juicy, plentiful and everywhere. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Calgary Tower

Architectural Landmark
Visitors looking at downtown, standing on glass floor on top of Calgary Tower, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
© Witold Skrypczak / Alamy Stock Photo

Calgary’s tallest building for a brief time, this 626ft (191m) observation tower offers panoramic views of the city and is made of 11,000 tons of steel-reinforced concrete. There’s a revolving restaurant, which serves the city’s best elk sirloin with foie gras. You could try walking up the 802 steps, but the tower has two high-speed elevators that can whisk you up in 62 seconds flat, which, frankly, sounds a lot more fun. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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University of Calgary Outdoor Centre

Sports Center

Calgary is clearly a city for folks who love the outdoors. And that applies to its students. The University of Calgary is best known for sports, engineering and sports medicine and boasts a speed-skating oval, climbing gym and fitness center, all of which are open to the public. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Repsol Sports Centre

Sports Center

Built in 1983, this multiuse sports center has an inverted V-shaped roof, which is partially transparent, allowing for natural light to seep through. It’s just another addition to Calgary’s extensive sporting tradition and offers a variety of swimming pools (for sports, competitions and diving), as well as a massive indoor track and gym facilities. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

Music Venue, Theatre
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
© Michael Wheatley / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re exhausted from all the sports, the Jubilee Auditorium, in southern Alberta, offers visitors a place to sit and watch opera, ballet, theater, dance festivals and bands. Built in 1957 to celebrate Alberta’s 50th anniversary, which took place in 1955, the facility is located in Hillhurst, next to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Peace Bridge

Architectural Landmark

This pedestrian bridge pays tribute to the Canadian flag, with its dazzling red-and-white color scheme. This cultural landmark stretches across Bow River completely unsupported by beams or cables. Instead, it supports its own weight. It’s best to go at night when the bridge is lit up, and views of the sparkly city on both sides of the river stretch out for miles. If you go during the summer, expect to be met with the hopeful faces of graduating students, snapping their pre-prom pics. Recommended by local insider Yamila

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Wonderland Sculpture

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Wonderland sculpture by Jaume Plensa. Bow Tower, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
© Michael Wheatley / Alamy Stock Photo

The Wonderland Sculpture, in front of the Bow, is one of Calgary’s tallest buildings, featuring the 39ft (12m) head of a girl. Visitors can walk through this artistic representation at the base of her neck, then look upwards. The artist who designed it, Jaume Plensa, did so as a representation of youth and hope. Recommended by local insider Yamila

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