With a little planning, two days in Calgary—the gateway to the Canadian Rockies—give you enough time to discover the city, catch a hockey game, and take a day trip to the mountains for which the region is famous. Here’s how to do it.
Day 1: Explore the City
Morning: If you’re wondering what life was like in Calgary and Western Canada in the 19th and early 20th centuries, go to Heritage Park Historical Village. The pre-1915 buildings and staff in period dress transport visitors back in time to the Canadian Wild West. See reenactments of farming, trading, and everyday life in the past, then take a ride in a steam train or on a horse-drawn cart.
Afternoon: Spend the afternoon at the Calgary Zoo, a beloved year-round attraction with more than 1,000 animals housed in habitats such as Canadian Wilds, Destination Africa, and Prehistoric Park.
Night: Sports enthusiasts should embrace an opportunity to watch Canada’s national winter sport, ice hockey. The local team is the Calgary Flames, and it’s fun to rub shoulders with local fans. If it’s not hockey season or you’re not into sports, head up to the Sky 360 restaurant in the Calgary Tower instead, for dinner with a view.
Day 2: Journey to Banff
Morning and afternoon: Don’t miss the chance to visit the Rocky Mountains. Get an early start to the town of Banff, about an hour and a half from Calgary by car, and choose from a plethora of activities that suit different fitness and energy levels. Ride the gondola, soak in hot springs, or shop and dine. If you feel like being more active, numerous hiking trails offer stunning views of the Rockies and surrounding forests.
Night: If you’re back in Calgary early enough, walk along the Bow River or stroll through Eau Claire Park, a pleasant riverfront green space. Then head downtown for dinner.