The Calgary Stampede is famous for a reason, but during the first few weeks of July, the rest of the city can often go unexplored. Rather than heading down to the grounds for the fifth day in a row, check out one of these activities or attractions to get a sense of the city from a different perspective.
Added bonus: Everyone else will be at the rodeo, so you’ll have these spots (almost) to yourself.
Get wild at the Calgary Zoo
Swap cattle and horses for dinosaurs at the Calgary Zoo. Besides their hugely popular Dinosaurs Alive exhibit, be sure to take a day to explore the animals of the world at Canada’s number one zoo, according to TripAdvisor. Hang out with a hippo and definitely dance with a dino.
Nerd out at TELUS Spark
Science definitely rules at TELUS Spark. With rotating special exhibits and a mainstay of permanent displays, there’s an emphasis on interactivity that will bring out your inner kid. Plus, there’s an Adults Only Night each month where you can explore the center with a drink in hand.
Stroll along the Bow River
No ocean? No problem. This province boasts an expansive RiverWalk along the Elbow River and Bow Rivers that is most certainly scenic. Whether you choose to explore by foot or bike, you can saunter along over a mile of pathway that will take you through the riverside neighborhoods, including Chinatown and East Village. Punctuated by public art and inviting outdoor furniture, you’ll be perfectly positioned to soak up the Calgary culture and sun. An added bonus is starting your walk at the iconic Peace Bridge, an architectural masterpiece that’s gained both architectural and Instagram fame.
Explore public art
Add some color to your day and check out the inspiring public art throughout Calgary. Outdoor galleries dot the city’s streets and feature rotating artists and works. Get inspired by Julian Opie’s “Promenade,” which features animated people strolling by, Jaume Plensa's "Wonderland", an unique sculpture of a youthful face, or Ron Moppett’s mosaic wall that’s transformed Riverfront Lane into a vibrant plein air art gallery.
Chow down at Tubby Dog
If you didn’t get your fill of decadent, crazy, quirky food at the Stampede, stop by the Calgary cult favorite, Tubby Dog. This little spot on 17th Ave., a hotbed for all things trendy, serves up the most outlandish hot dogs you’ll ever see. These include a classic frank smothered in PB&J and Cap’n Crunch, and a bacon-wrapped dog topped with even more pork, cheese, chili, and finished off with a fried egg. In the mood for something a little less outrageous? Stop by any one of Calgary's dining options for a tasty culinary experience.
It’s more than just horses and cowboys, Calgary has a lot to offer when it comes to exploring like a local.