There’s nothing like taking weekend getaways in ole’ Calgary. This vibrant city nestled in the southern region of the Canadian province of Alberta is known as the Gateway to the Canadian Rockies. Also known as “YYC”, the city offers a plethora of exciting possibilities and is a great place for a memorable weekend getaway.
Whether you’re a resident looking for a change of scenery, or a visitor looking to explore the Rocky Mountains, partake in fun outdoor activities, or saunter through art galleries, Calgary is the perfect place! It literally has something for everyone.
From walking downtown Calgary on foot to visiting the quirkiest of coffee shops, and even partaking in some mountain adventures, read below to learn the best places to stay, where to eat, and what to see. In fact, this blog includes more than 30 individual recommendations for fun activities that are the best way to see the city.
So, pack your bags and get ready to explore all the best places in what I refer to as the Nashville of the North!
This post was created in collaboration with Tourism Calgary.
Getting to Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Thanks to Calgary International Airport, there are hundreds of flight routes available from most major airports around the world. Airports such as Nashville International Airport (BNA), Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, and Honolulu all have direct flight options as well.
You can often find great deals on cheap flights to Calgary on sites such as Skyscanner, Expedia, and WayAway. If you monitor Google flights in the months leading up to your trip, you can also find some amazing last minute deals whenever price trends dip. I happened to find a round trip flight from Nashville to Calgary on WestJet for only $200 on WayAway (linking here so you can sign up and check for yourself!)
The best time to find these cheap flights in during the winter months for the following year — March, April, and early May are considered off-season for Alberta!
1. Indulge in Luxury at a Marriott Bonvoy Hotel
The Westin Calgary by Marriott
Known as one of the most luxurious hotels in the heart of Calgary, The Westin Calgary beckons with modern lodgings catering to everyone from business travelers to couples and even families with small children.
Nestled in downtown Calgary, The Westin is a stone’s throw from Calgary International Airport. It’s also close to iconic attractions like Calgary Tower, Eau Claire Market, and the Calgary Zoo.
Picture plush rooms where tranquility meets invitation. You can choose from a Standard King Room with a city view, a Business Tower Queen Room, or a Junior Suite. I chose the Junior Suite which boasted a balcony and an extra-large double bed. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen cable TVs, and bathrooms adorned with luxurious toiletries. Its a perfect place to stay for weekend getaways in Calgary!
Now, let’s talk food (my favorite part!). The Westin Calgary houses incredible dining options. This includes Starbucks for your caffeine fix to Essence Bistro serving up local delights including a free buffet breakfast and lunch options. Come evening, Liquid Lounge takes center stage, crafting exceptional small bites and sharable dishes that will surely satisfy your appetite. Be sure to order the Korean fried chicken!
But it’s not just about the rooms and food. In fact, The Westin Calgary is quite the experience. You can dive into relaxation at the pool, maintain your fitness routine at the 24/7 fitness center, and melt away stress in the sauna. The staff even surprised me with a bottle of local wine and the most beautiful charcuterie board!
The hotel also has a business center and meeting facilities, a 24/7 front concierge, and is pet friendly. What is there not to love?
As always, be sure to check Booking.com for The Westin Calgary’s availability, special nightly rate discounts, and perks
Conveniently linked to the Calgary International Airport, this modern haven isn’t just a place to rest; it’s a hub of convenience. With shopping, dining, and entertainment just minutes away – oh, and free WiFi — it’s a home away from home and ideal lodging for weekend getaways in Calgary.
Worried you’ll hear the roar of jet engines all night? Don’t worry. The entire hotel is sound-proofed bliss. Imagine sinking into fluffy duvets and wrapping yourself in terry bathrobes for the perfect night’s sleep. Need to catch up on work? The well-appointed work area has you covered. After getting off my five hour flight from Nashville I was able to get some work done myself!
For fitness enthusiasts, the 24-hour fitness center is the perfect amenity. It’s fully equipped with free weights and cardiovascular wonders. Post-workout, you can take a dip in Delta’s indoor pool or let the adjacent whirlpool work its magic. It’s the perfect finale to a day of travel or exploration.
If you’re hungry, Delta Hotel Calgary Airport In-Terminal has you set there, too. Not only do they have a snack area to curb late night cravings, but an on-site restaurant, Codo Agave Social House (see image below). From upscale loaded nachos to more traditional Latin American dishes, everything is fresh and flavorful. Order the Shrimp Aguachile and a Pisco Sour!
2. Get Adventurous in Banff National Park
Just a short drive or private shuttle ride from Calgary lies the picturesque Banff National Park. Brimming with stunning emerald lakes — the most famous being Lake Louise and Lake Moraine — Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and makes for the perfect day tour from Calgary. It’s also known as one of the best places to enjoy a honeymoon, ski trip, or romantic getaway.
The national park is also home to one of the most luxurious mountain resorts in the world: the historic Fairmont Springs Banff Hotel. This 4-star property offers lavish guest rooms with stunning mountain views, and a luxury spa with couples massages, mani / pedi combos, a mineral pool, and waterfall whirlpools.
The modern amenities don’t stop there! The property also features one of the best restaurants in Banff — Waldhaus Restaurant. This Bavarian-style cottage in the woods serves up amazing alpine cuisine, and is a great spot to warm up by the fire during the long winter months. The Fairmont Springs Banff property is also a very short distance from the town of Banff. You can take the Roam Transit buses to get from the hotel to downtown Banff, or, choose to walk on a pretty day.
Check out hotel availability and unlock prices and perks for select dates via Booking.com!
Other Banff Must-Sees
Immerse yourself in the breathtaking views of Banff’s snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, and abundant wildlife. Take a hiking tour of Johnston Canyon, a relaxing horseback riding tour along the stunning Bow Valley, or soak in the therapeutic waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs. Prefer to stay indoors and relax? You can always take a relaxing, long soak in a hot tub — most hotels, resorts, and Airbnb’s in the area have them!
If hotels and resorts in Banff are full during peak tourist season, be sure to check out the nearby friendly town of Canmore. It’s just a short hour drive or private shuttle ride from Banff, and offers a number of adorable cafes where you can get a delicious meal, boutique shops, and cozy cabins and hotels. No matter where you stay in Banff National Park, you’ll be sure to have the best time!
3. Explore the Heritage Park Historical Village
Have you heard of Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary, Alberta? It’s like teleporting back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries! This living history museum sprawls over 127 acres. It showcases historical buildings, exhibits, and activities that bring the past to life. It’s a fascinating glimpse into Western Canada’s history and is a must-see when taking weekend getaways in Calgary.
Key features of Heritage Park Historical Village include:
The park is home to over 200 exhibits and structures, including historic homes, businesses, schools, and other buildings. Many of these structures have been relocated from their original sites and meticulously restored to reflect the architecture and lifestyle of the time. Lastly, if you’re simply looking for an Instagrammable spot — this is it! Be sure to bring your camera to get plenty of photos.
Gasoline Alley Museum
Located within Heritage Park Historical Village, The Gasoline Alley Museum is like a time machine for transportation lovers. It’s home to an awesome collection of antique cars, motorcycles, and all things transport-related. It’s an amazing journey through the evolution of Canada’s transportation history. This was my personal favorite exhibit at Heritage Park. The staff were so interactive and genuinely happy to have guests. They even dressed up with me and helped me take photos in the vintage cars (the ones you’re allowed to sit in, that is!)
Vintage Amusement Rides
Heritage Park offers a variety of adorable vintage amusement rides. These include a steam-powered train, a paddlewheel boat, and a horse-drawn wagon. They are such a fun and nostalgic way for visitors to explore the park, and make it easier on those who might have physical impairments.
To make the experience more authentic, the park employs costumed interpreters who portray characters from times past. These interpreters converse with guests, share stories, and describe the daily life, customs, and challenges faced by people in those times.
Be sure you check the special event calendar, hours of operation, and buy tickets to the Heritage Park Historical Village prior to your trip!
4. Relax in the Calgary Central Library
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without actually leaving the city, exploring the Calgary Central Library is a great way to do it. Known as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, its hexagonal facade stands out as one of the city’s shiniest, most unique architectural wonders. This 240,000 square foot space of tranquility in the East Village plays with light in a way no other library can.
I spent half a day pursuing its shelves and taking it all in — especially the layered red wood cedar steps and stunning archway. The best part is that it is easily accessible using Calgary’s Light Rail Train. And if you’re hungry for a snack after taking in all that beauty and knowledge, walk next door to the iconic Tim Horton’s for an ICED Capp.
5. Explore New Heights at the Calgary Tower
This iconic landmark in downtown Calgary provides the most amazing 360° view of the city and beyond. From the Observation Deck of Calgary Tower, you can see everything – the city skyline, the majestic Rockies, even the sprawling prairies.
Believe it or not, it’s got quite the history. And even though newer buildings have popped up, the Calgary Tower still stands tall and proud, blending history with modern vibes.
The light shows at night are pretty magical. Additionally, if you’re lucky enough to have the Tourism Calgary VIP Experience Pass like I did, you can enjoy can get a behind-the-scenes look at Calgary’s past and present with an exclusive tour. Alternatively, you can also book a Calgary Sightseeing tour, which takes you to most of the major attractions in the city.
The Observation Deck has an incredible yet slightly terrifying glass floor that was added in 2005. You you can literally see right below your feet! And if you’re feeling fancy, check out the revolving restaurant at the top of the Tower, Sky 360 Restaurant – it’s like dining with a constantly changing view.
6. Take a Stroll Through the Calgary Zoo
Home to over 1,000 animals from around the world, the Calgary Zoo promises a day filled with wonder and excitement. Marvel at majestic tigers, playful penguins, and friendly giraffes. Don’t miss the enchanting Land of Lemurs exhibit, where you can observe these fascinating primates up close and personal.
They’ve got many other incredible exhibits, too. The Panda Passage and the Prehistoric Park with life-sized dinosaurs aren’t to be missed. However, I have to admit that the penguins and giraffes are a personal favorites. Can you blame me?
You can plan your adventure online or by snagging tickets at the gate. They offer single, family passes and annual memberships. A visit to the Calgary Zoo is anything but a visit to your typical zoo — it promises a day filled with excitement and plenty of learning.
Getting there is a breeze. If you want a scenic route, hop on Calgary’s Light Rail Transit (LRT). Take it to the Bridgeland/Memorial station. If you drive, there’s parking galore, making your journey to this 120-acre zoo a literal walk in the park.
7. Discover Calgary’s Musical Culture at Studio Bell
Calgary has a rich musical heritage, and it’s all on display at Studio Bell! Also known as the home of the National Music Centre, it’s not just a showcase of global musical evolution; it’s a party celebrating Calgary’s musical roots.
The city has given birth to music legends like Paul Brandt, Jann Arden, and Chad Kroeger of Nickelback. They’re like the hometown heroes of the Canadian music scene, leaving a mark that’s etched in musical history. With multiple floors dedicated to interactive exhibits, galleries, and performance spaces, this is a must-visit destination for any music enthusiast. The most fun part is that you can try your hand at playing different instruments, explore the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and catch a live concert if you’re lucky.
When you book a tour of Studio Bell, you’re not just stepping into a museum; you’re stepping into a musical time machine that celebrates the beats, the rhythms, and the stories that have shaped the city’s musical soul.
8. Wander Through the Peace Bridge and Prince’s Island Park
Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the iconic Peace Bridge, an architectural marvel that spans the Elbow River. As you cross the bridge, you’ll be greeted by the serene Prince’s Island Park. This urban oasis offers ample green spaces, scenic picnic spots, and bike trails. Rent a paddleboard or kayak to explore the river, or simply unwind and enjoy the peaceful ambiance.
This scenic 6.5-kilometer path invites both pedestrians and cyclists to soak in the beauty. When the sun come out, Prince’s Island Park transforms into a buzzing hub of excitement. The Calgary Folk Music Festival and Shakespeare by the Bow turn the park into a lively carnival, and creates an atmosphere that’s nothing short of magical.
As you walk along this charming pathway, you’ll smell delicious aromas wafting from numerous food trucks which are usually nearby. The park’s strategic closeness to downtown Calgary is the cherry on top – a seamless transition from the urban hustle to a serene natural oasis. Prince’s Island Park is a perfect blend of nature and city life.
9. Indulge in Calgary’s Culinary Scene
One thing you must do during those weekend getaways in Calgary is to savor the local cuisine! Believe me when I say that Calgary offers a very impressive array of gastronomic delights. Read below to learn the best places to drink and dine in any season!
Where to Dine During the Warmer Months
During the warmer months, begin your culinary adventure with a visit to the Calgary Farmers’ Market where you can sample fresh produce, artisanal products, and mouthwatering food stalls. After, head for some al fresco drinks at Joey Restaurant in the Eau Claire neighborhood. It’s a local establishment!
Alternatively, you can engage in a diverse culinary experience at one of the many bustling food festivals hosted throughout the year! There’s the Wine Fest in March and Taste of Calgary in August, to name a couple!
Other stops to consider include cocktails at The Wilde on 27, dinner at NOtabLE for Canadian fare, and Codo Agave Social House at the Delta Calgary Airport Hotel In-Terminal. You’re already familiar with this hotel, but this Marriott Bonvoy property really is perfect for a satisfying meal before you catch your flight home after weekend getaways in Calgary!
Where to Dine During the Colder Months
During the colder months (and it gets *cold*), treat yourself to a delicious steak and frites meal at one of the renowned steakhouse establishments. The Keg Steakhouse or Chop Steakhouse are both A+ choices.
Another local favorite, The Cactus Club, serves upscale international favorites with a comforting twist. You really can’t go wrong with their Truffle Parmesan Chicken, Crab Cake Frites, or Tuna Stack (my personal favorite!)
Afterwards, cozy up with a spicy cocktail at the Major Tom Bar rooftop while you take in stunning views of the city.
10. Experience the Thrilling Calgary Stampede
If you haven’t heard about the Calgary Stampede yet, let me introduce you. It’s the biggest party in Southern Alberta. And honestly, one of Canada’s top festivals! For years the festival has been headlining amazing performances by big-time stars like Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, Katy Perry, and many more. I guess when you attract more than a million people every year, you have to bust out the big guns.
If you’re fortunate enough to plan your weekend getaways in Calgary during July, you absolutely can’t miss exhilarating Calgary Stampede. After all, there is a reason it’s called “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!”
You’ll witness heart-pounding rodeos, exhilarating chuckwagon races, thrilling rides, and exciting live entertainment. Indulge in fair food favorites like mini donuts, classic BBQ, corn dogs, and of course, poutine. Did I mention you will also have access to all the food trucks you could possibly want at your disposal? Yep, I did.
If you’re thinking about going this year, plan ahead! Reserve tickets and flights early, especially if you want catch all the action in early to mid-July. If you’re one of those people who lives on the edge, you can also buy tickets at any of the festivals’ entrances. Oh, and don’t forget to pack your best cowgirl / cowboy boots. You’ll need them!
11. Dine at River Cafe in Prince’s Island Park
River Cafe in Prince’s Island Park is a hidden gem right in the heart of nature. It’s a place where rustic charm meets culinary genius, creating the perfect escape from the city hustle.
It was recommended to me by my best friend who happens to be a local. When I went there, I couldn’t resist trying their Bison Bolognese. It was packed with homemade linguine noodles and rich meat sauce which I paired with a local Chardonnay from British Columbia. It was the perfect pair.
I loved that the menu used all local, seasonal ingredients, which made every bite feels like a taste of the park’s serene surroundings.
12. Grab a Nightcap at The Wilde on 27
If you’re in the mood for a nightcap, head over to The Wilde on 27. This chic bar is all about sophistication…and has a killer rooftop view. The vibe there is like elegance meets relaxation, blending for a perfectly chill evening.
I ordered the Wilde Royale cocktail – a mix of pineapple, St. Germaine, Plantation XO Rum, and Gardet champagne. It was so refreshing on a hot summer day. The rooftop is the literal cherry on top! panoramic views, a cool breeze, and a setting that’s just downright comfy.
If you’re into vibrant atmospheres, expertly crafted cocktails, and unwinding in style, The Wilde on 27 is your spot. Cheers to indulging in a nightcap done right!
If fancy cocktails aren’t quite your thing, but you could go for a pint or two of brew, check out this Calgary Brewery Tour. It’s sure to quench your thirst!
Conclusion: Weekend Getaways in Calgary
Calgary, the gateway to adventure and culture, offers a multitude of weekend getaway options that will leave you with cherished memories. From exploring stunning national parks to immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant culture and cuisine, this city truly has it all. No wonder it’s consistency ranked as one of the top 10 most livable city in the world!
You can easily explore the very best of Calgary during a long weekend getaway if you make the most of the time you’ve given. It’s also an extremely clean and safe destination, which makes it an ideal place for families and solo female travelers.
To create unforgettable weekend getaways in Calgary, aim to visit in late spring through early fall when the weather’s just right. Commit to the trip and book that sweet flight and hotel deal around 1-3 months ahead. Heads up, though – summer gets crazy busy with tourists, so plan ahead for crowds and a bit more hustle and bustle if you plan to visit anytime from mid May to late August.
So what are you waiting for? go ahead and plan your perfect weekend escape to Calgary, where adventure and excitement await!