The reasons to meet in Calgary are plentiful — there are more than a billion, in fact, with $1 billion-plus in new investment currently revamping the city’s convention package. Among the projects are a major expansion of the BMO Centre at Stampede Park, the new, $550-million Calgary Event Centre, and the debut of the city’s downtown Culture & Entertainment District, as well as a major enhancement of the city’s iconic Stephen Avenue and an expansion of the Light Rail Transit system.
But there’s more to Calgary than its booming downtown. A vast array of attractions and experiences in and around the city make it perfect for pre- and post-event vacations. And since the city is situated between the foothills and the Canadian Rockies, opportunities for outdoor exploration also abound. Read on for six great reasons why attendees should extend their stay in Calgary.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites — There are five to choose from within driving distance of Calgary, including the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Writing on Stone Provincial Park, and Dinosaur Provincial Park. At the latter, visitors can hunt for dinosaur bones themselves at a site where more than 150 full dinosaur skeletons and 50 species have been unearthed.
- Festivals and events aplenty — Calgary’s chock-full calendar offers year-round fun for everyone. Well-known events like the iconic Calgary Stampede and the popular Calgary International Blues Festival kick off in the summer, but the fall and winter months have great lineups as well, including the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival and Chinook Blast.
- They can play cowboy (or cowgirl) for the day — After all, this is the home of the world-famous Calgary Stampede. Options include taking a horseback ride through the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, visiting Homeplace Ranch for an authentic guest ranch experience, or learning about the meaning and history behind the symbolic White Hat at Smithbilt Hats Inc. And of course, they can’t leave without the perfect pair of boots — find the best of the best at Lammle’s Western Wear, Cody & Sioux, and Alberta Boot Co.
- Indulge in me time — This couldn’t be any easier, with so many lodges, spas, resorts, and other accommodations to choose from in and around Calgary. Take a turn through the many water therapy treatments at the spa at Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Autograph Collection, or head to the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel set on Lake Louise within Banff National Park, home to the 40,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa.
- Discover downtown — A packed schedule often leaves little time for exploration. Kick off the day at TELUS Spark Science Centre or the Calgary Zoo, and don’t miss the National Music Centre. CalgaryWalks and Bus Tours also offers walking tours of downtown. In the evening, head to Sky 360 restaurant and lounge at the top of the Calgary Tower for dinner and drinks with killer views.