calgary canada

The city of Calgary in Alberta, Canada is nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains—and it’s an urban epicenter for outdoor activities. Hundreds of miles of bike trails, a former Olympic Park, easy getaways to the mountains and a downtown area with plenty of options for healthy eating await travelers to this city. 

Here’s a bit more on how to stay active, which restaurants to visit, and where to rest your head in Calgary.

What to Do 

Cycling

Did you know that Calgary has the most extensive bike network in North America? A nearly 86 mile long “ring road” bicycle path connects 55 Calgary communities and, when combined with the connections to the rest of the city’s bike paths, it equals over 620 miles of cycling routes. 

Visitors can rent bikes (or borrow for free from Hotel Arts) and cycle from downtown through the lovely Eau Claire and Highland Park neighborhoods to reach Nose Hill Park. Nose Hill Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America and an easy place to spend an entire day outdoors in Calgary.

Olympic Park

Back in 1988, Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics. Today, you can still visit the Olympic park—also known as WinSport—which is full of options for outdoor adventures. Interested in some mountain biking? Plenty of scenic trails are available with options for both newbies and advanced riders. Downhill Karting by Skyline Luge Calgary is an exciting, family-friendly activity that lets you hop in a go kart and descend at your own pace down a twisty turny track. Mini golf, a summer bobsleigh and zip-lining are also open to the public.

Hiking

Ready to head up into the Rockies? Rent a car and head up to Banff National Park (a 1.5 hour drive) where you’ll be surrounded by some of the best nature on Earth. The surreally beautiful Lake Louise is one of the most picturesque spots on the planet. Go for a hike on the Tea House trail to wind your way up the lakeside and into the trees to reach a tiny tea house as a mid-hike reward. 

If you need more time on two wheels, spend a night in nearby Canmore and you can bike along 12 miles of the backcountry Goat Creek Trail all the way to Banff. 

More Activities

Still looking for more activities to keep you moving in Calgary? The region has indoor axe throwing facilities, archery games, fishing charters, golf courses, ice rinks, paintball, whitewater rafting and even a flying trapeze. 

Where to Eat

The city has a plethora of healthy restaurant options no matter what you’re craving. The Coup is a modern, locally-sourced restaurant with vegetarian spins on dishes like Vietnamese banh mi and Middle Eastern shawarmas. The Dandelion in Calgary’s Ramsay neighborhood is a vegan, zero-waste cafe with crowd pleasers like ‘Chiktan and Waffles’ and a falafel quesadilla. 

If you’re looking for something slightly more elevated, check out Marko’s Kitchen. While ‘healthy’ isn’t always associated with Eastern European food, this restaurant does a great job at convincing you otherwise. Family-owned Marko’s is focused on fresh, homemade food with low carb, vegan and gluten-free options available. 

Where to Stay 

Hotel Arts in downtown Calgary was the first boutique hotel opened in the city. The outdoor pool offers guests a tropical escape in both summer and winter; when the weather drops, an inflatable roof keeps the poolside temperature in the 80s.

The hotel is located in the Beltline area of downtown Calgary nearby to plenty of restaurant options, including Ten Foot Henry with its fresh, vegetable-anchored menu. Nearby, visitors can wander the Stephen Avenue Walk, a pedestrian-only street lined with shops, bars and restaurants. Hotel Arts offers first-come, first-serve bicycles to guests, including helmets and locks so guests can easily explore the city. 

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About The Author

Danie is a full-time traveler and freelance travel writer. She’s been on-the-move since 2015 from Albania to Zambia (and 70+ others in between). She’s developed a very sophisticated algorithm that evaluates countries based on a thorough analysis of their wine, hot sauce, local friendliness, and how hard she happy-cries at their nature. You can find her portfolio at owentheglobe.com or her photos on Instagram @danieelizabeth

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