When hosting an event in Calgary, meeting organizers have everything they need right at their fingertips. Located in the heart of downtown, the convention district includes theaters, restaurants, bars, retailers, hotels, state-of-the-art convention space, and unique offsite venues — all within a four-block radius.
“Once in the city, visitors will find the area easy to explore and wonderfully compact,” Dave Sclanders, executive director of Meetings + Conventions Calgary, tells Convene.
From local watering holes to upscale dining to mixed-use event spaces, here are some of the best unique offsite venues, networking hotspots, luxury accommodations, and places to play the city has to offer.
Where to Meet
Planners will find their perfect fit in Calgary with two major venue options: the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre and BMO Centre at Stampede Park. In addition to the flexible convention and exhibit space, planners can also host events at a plethora of unique spaces downtown. Organizers can wow delegates at the Art Commons, a multi-venue art center that is home to Theatre Calgary and One Yellow Rabbit Performing Theatre. Or they can create authentic Canadian experiences at Studio Bell, National Music Centre, The Glenbow Museum, and at Hudson Loft in the Canadian department store, Hudson’s Bay.
Where to Network
Pubs, bistros, and wine bars line Stephen Avenue, the pedestrian walkway in the heart of Calgary’s convention district. Blink Restaurant & Bar is a great spot for drinks and charcuterie or a dinner of traditional Italian cuisine. Next door you will find Bar Anna Belle — the cozy new bar which offers an intimate escape complete with wine, whisky, and small plates. Sky 360 provides attendees panoramic views of the city along with handcrafted cocktails. For casual late-night drinks, the Palomino Steakhouse offers a distinctive Western experience and is great for private parties and business lunches. And for an upscale night out, visit Proof Cocktail Bar, an offbeat, stylish watering hole specializing in artisanal, seasonal libations and shareable plates.
Where to Stay
The Calgary TELUS Convention Centre is directly connected to four hotels, including the 355-room Hyatt Regency Calgary, the 384-room Calgary Marriott Downtown, the 405-room Fairmont Palliser Calgary, and the 143-room Le Germain Hotel Calgary. Delegates can reach 1,100 guest rooms without going outside by using the Calgary +15, an above-ground indoor walkway. The destination as a whole offers more than 14,000 guest rooms, 4,000 of which are downtown.
New hotels opening soon include:
- Alt Hotel, opening August 2018
- The Westin Calgary Airport, opening 2018
- Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown, opening 2019
- Courtyard by Marriott and Autograph Collection, opening 2019
Where to Play
With meeting venues in the center of Calgary’s cultural district, attendees can easily experience the city. Enjoy a day of shopping at The Core, the downtown shopping center, featuring Canada’s iconic department stores Hudson’s Bay and Simons. Experience Canadian music history at Studio Bell’s National Music Centre. And immerse in nature with a stroll along the downtown River Walk connecting two island parks: Prince’s Island Park and St. Patrick’s Island. River Café on Prince’s Island Park even offers gourmet picnic baskets for those who want to enjoy a casual lunch break under the sun.
“The opportunity to explore outside of the conference hall gave delegates a well-deserved break,” Nancy Chick, 2017 ISSOL Annual Conference Chair, tells Convene. She said attendees enjoyed Calgary’s vibrant downtown and the nearby Rocky Mountains.
Meetings + Conventions Calgary (MCC) assists meeting planners, corporate clients, and association executives looking for a destination to host, connect, and inspire their delegates. As the city’s destination sales and marketing organization, MCC is your connection to Calgary.