Calgary, lying just 88 kilometres west of the base of the Rocky Mountains, is among the warmest, sunniest vacation destinations in Alberta and the home to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, The Calgary Stampede.
Calgary is the second largest city (by area) in the country and has the largest population of young post-secondary graduates in the province.
Because of its youthful undertones Calgary, dubbed Cowtown by locals, has plenty to offer by way of urban experience. Thousands of shops and stores make the city a shopping mecca while dozens of galleries and museums provide opportunity to wander the hours away.
The city's most famous attraction, the Calgary Stampede, draws more than one million visitors from around the globe each July. The 10-day event features the famous stampede parade, rodeo, modern midway, concerts and stage shows, First Nations and agricultural exhibitions.
Calgary is also home to the Glenbow Museum, one of the largest in Canada that combines a museum, art gallery, library and archives and boasts more than one million artifacts and some 28,000 works of art in its vast collections. The city's Jubilee Auditorium is also the proud home of the world-renowned Alberta Ballet Company, which brings both classical and contemporary theatric selections to life. The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra remains the crux of central Alberta's arts community.
Among the city's most notable historical venues are Heritage Park Historical Village, the Aero Space Museum, Lougheed House, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, and Fort Calgary, which provide visitors a glimpse of the city's past.
Visitors continue to favour stops at Canada Olympic Park, the Calgary Tower, the Telus Spark Science Center, and the Calgary Zoo. A whole host of adventure opportunity awaits those looking to escape the confines of urban life, and all within a couple hours' drive of the city. Equestrians at heart almost never leave the city without a visit to the world renowned Spruce Meadows, where spring and summer guarantee a host of jumping competitions and championship like the Spring Welcome, Continental, and Masters.
Kananaskis Country, spanning the area southwest and west of Calgary, is an outdoor enthusiast's quintessential Eden. Over 4,000 square kilometres of foothills and majestic mountain scapes are just 30 minutes west of the metropolitan centre.
Opportunities for hiking and mountain biking are endless. Anglers appreciate the crystal clear waters found in the preserved area's various lakes and rivers, while the campers seeking a true mountain getaway are amazed by the mother moose and her pup who wander through the numerous retreats located within the borders of world renowned Kananaskis Country.
Whether vacationing in the city, or recreating outside its limits, the Calgary area includes many destinations to suit any family. As western Canada's largest outdoor amusement venue, located about five minutes west of the city along the Trans Canada Highway, Calaway Park will make everyone squeal or scream.
Just an hour south of the city, aviation enthusiasts will find the Aviation History Museum, in Nanton. With 23,000 square feet, the museum is a must see for history and aviation buffs alike. One hundred and twenty kilometres northeast of the city, travelers will find the town of Rosebud, and the province's largest professional theatre in the Rosebud Opera House.
Central Alberta's diverse landscape, with its rolling hills and mountainous border, offers an expansive array of suggested activities/destinations available online at www.visitcalgary.com and www.travelaberta.com.