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Greater Calgary Tourist Attractions

• A WorldWeb.com Travel Guide for Calgary & Area, Alberta.
Sitting at the epicentre of Alberta's New West, the Calgary area provides a contrast of experiences, sights and attractions to delight all ages. With Calgary at its physical core, the area is characterized by its mix of cosmopolitan conveniences and quaint western-inspired towns. With the Alberta prairies spreading to the east and the Alberta Rockies on the western horizon, the area offers distinctive travelling opportunities. Urban adventures, small-town hospitality, unique recreation and cultural exploration await.

CALGARY

An urban centre of over one million people, the city of Calgary is a high-calibre destination replete with attractions sure to please the most discerning of travellers. A full range of sights and attractions await visitors, including museums, vibrant neighbourhoods, historic sites, top-notch sporting facilities, a world-class zoo, science centres, casinos and an abundance of urban parks and gardens. The annual Calgary Stampede is the city's hallmark, drawing visitors from around the globe for 10 days of wild-west hospitality and celebration. Regardless of preferences, the city offers something for everyone, including interesting day trips to surrounding communities. The many towns, villages and hamlets that lie beyond Calgary's boundaries are rich with western culture and heritage, just waiting to be discovered.

MOUNTAIN BOUND: WESTERN COMMUNITIES

With an appeal tantamount to the Calgary area, the mountain ranges of the Alberta Rockies are always within view and easily within reach from the city and surrounding communities.


Sitting in the foothills and at the heart of western cowboy culture, the quaint hamlet of Bragg Creek, located 44 km (27 mi) west of Calgary, is a popular day-tripping destination for its delightful town centre and access to outdoor recreation. In addition to offering an array of shops, services and amenities, the village also showcases local handicrafts and artistic expression at a handful of art galleries, where First Nations heritage and ranching influences are apparent. The Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area, home of the remarkable Elbow Falls, provides hiking trails, picnic areas, camping, non-motorized boating opportunities and winter skating.

The history of ranching comes alive at the Cochrane Ranche historic site, located in the mixed farming and ranching community of Cochrane, 36 km (23 mi) northwest of Calgary. Family recreation centres, art galleries, activities on nearby Ghost Lake and a blend of unique shops, restaurants and tours round out a visit to the picturesque town. Amateur astronomers will delight in the activities available at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, which offers interpretive tours and sky viewing opportunities year round about 30 minutes west of the city in the village of Priddis.

SOUTHERLY DIRECTIONS

Characterized by charming country landscapes and its scenic river valley, the town of Okotoks is one of Calgary's growing commuter communities, located just 15 minutes south of the city's limits. Its close proximity to mountain activities, a full range of amenities and unique attractions, including its famed glacial erratic, known locally as the Okotoks Big Rock, are highlights. Shopping enthusiasts will appreciate the offerings available in the Olde Towne Okotoks district, which features a cluster of merchants and eateries and is host to many community events year round.

Turner Valley, located 30 minutes south of Calgary on the edge of Kananaskis Country, is known as the birthplace of Alberta's oil and gas industry, which is showcased at the Turner Valley Historic Gas Plant. Interpretive tours of the historic plant are available May to September. River activities, community walking trails and seasonal cattle drives are additional features of the scenic town.

Families will appreciate the sights and attractions of High River, which is situated 37 km (23 mi) south of Calgary and features a nice mix of recreation, culture and charming, small-town amenities. A museum, parks, a year-round, kid-friendly recreation centre and ample opportunities for exploring agricultural traditions are available. A self-guided tour of the town's murals or a visit to a gallery are ideal ways to get a sense of the area's colourful history and cultural heritage.

NORTH OF CALGARY

Heading north of Calgary, visitors will encounter small-town warmth in bedroom communities like Airdrie and Crossfield, where railway and ranching culture, oil-industry-induced growth and a family-friendly tone are evident. Ascribed city status in 1985 due to its burgeoning growth, Airdrie offers a great blend of amenities, including dining, shopping and unique attractions, such as the Nose Creek Valley Museum, community centrepiece and public events venue, Nose Creek Park, and recreational haven, Big Hill Springs Provincial Park.

Located northeast of Calgary, Beiseker shows pride in its lengthy history of agriculture and rural traditions at the Beiseker Station Museum. Visitors can stop to have their picture taken with the village's mascot, Squirt the Skunk, which stands sentinel over the village at 4 m (13 ft) high.

EASTERN TOWNS

Located approximately 20 minutes east of the city centre, Chestermere is best known for its man-made lake, constructed in the late 1800s as an irrigation reservoir but serving presently as a year-round recreational destination. A public boat launch, winter skating and an adjacent golf course are a few highlights. The tiny hamlet of Langdon, just a short 16-km (10-mi) drive from Calgary's eastern limits, is a quintessential prairie town, complete with an attractive town centre of western-style flat-front buildings based on its original 1908 design. A central town park, with walking trails, sporting fields and a skate park, is the town's hub and host to numerous community events.
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