The legendary 10-day celebration that is the Calgary Stampede unsurprisingly becomes the centre of the city during the first few weeks of July. The result? The rest of the city often goes unexplored.
Rather than heading back down to the grounds for the fifth day in a row, why not explore the city from a different perspective instead. Everyone else will be at the rodeo, so you’ll have these spots (almost) to yourself!
Nerd out at TELUS Spark
Science rules at TELUS Spark. With visiting special exhibits and a mainstay of permanent displays, there’s an emphasis on interactivity here that will bring out your inner child. Plus, there’s an Adults Only Night each month where you can explore the centre with a drink in your hand.
Stroll along the Bow River
Though it’s not by the sea, this land-locked city does boast an expansive RiverWalk along the Elbow and Bow rivers that is beautifully photogenic. Whether you choose to explore by foot or bike, the pathway takes you through the riverside neighborhoods, including Chinatown and the East Village. Punctuated by public art and inviting outdoor furniture, you’ll be perfectly positioned to soak up the Calgary culture and sunshine. Start your journey at the iconic Peace Bridge, an architectural masterpiece that’s gained both critical and Instagram fame.
Explore public art
Add some colour to your day and seek out the inspiring public art throughout Calgary. Outdoor galleries dot the city’s streets and feature a changing programme of artists and works. Get inspired by works such as Julian Opie’s “Promenade,” which features animated people strolling by, Jaume Plensa's "Wonderland" steel mesh sculpture of a young girl’s head, or Ron Moppett’s mosaic wall which has transformed Riverfront Lane into a dynamic outdoor art gallery.
Chow down at Tubby Dog
If you didn’t get your fill of decadent, deep-fried, quirky foods at the Stampede, stop by Calgary cult favourite Tubby Dog. This little spot on 17th Ave.(a hotbed for all things trendy) serves up the craziest hot dogs you’ll ever taste. These include a classic frankfurter smothered in peanut butter and jam, sprinkled with Cap’n Crunch cereal, and a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with even more pork, cheese, and chili, then finished off with a fried egg. In the mood for something a little less outrageous? Try any one of Calgary's dining options for a tasty culinary experience.
Get wild at the Calgary Zoo
Swap cattle and horses for dinosaurs and red pandas at the Calgary Zoo. Besides their hugely popular Dinosaurs Alive exhibit, take time to discover animals from around the world at Canada’s number one zoo, according to TripAdvisor. Hang out with a hippo, parade with a penguin, and definitely snap a dinosaur selfie.
Calgary is so much more than just horses and cowboys. Take advantage of the Stampede and explore the city like a local!