How to Enjoy a Car-Free Trip to Calgary
This fall, leave the car behind and explore Calgary by bike, on foot or via public transit.
Framed against the Rocky Mountains and home to a vibrant and creative population, Calgary is a beautiful destination that’s full of surprises—many of which are easy to experience without ever having to get in the car. During your visit, don’t be daunted by Calgary’s ever-widening city limits. Base yourself downtown, ditch the car rental, and experience some of the city’s best attractions on foot, by bike or by train (CTrain, that is). Here are some suggestions for a car-free adventure in Calgary.
With more than 1,000 kilometres worth of bike trails, including the 138-km Rotary/Mattamy Greenway that encircles the city, Calgary is definitely a bike-friendly destination. Rent your wheels from cool and quirky Rath Bicycle in East Village, then revel in a ride along the scenic pathways that follow the Bow River. Or, pedal over the George C. King Bridge, through woodsy St. Patrick’s Island and into the trendy neighbourhood of Bridgeland, where you can enjoy tasty brunch and lunch options, browse boutique shops or check out Bike and Brew, “Calgary’s original caffeinated Bicycle and Repair shop.” For something a little different, explore Calgary’s rapidly blossoming craft beer scene on a group bicycle tour with Urban Pedal Tours, which offers two distinct multi-stop brew tours via a massive, U-shaped 15-passenger bike.
Buy a ticket for $3.30 and hop on a Calgary Transit train (CTrain), which can zip you around to a variety of worthwhile destinations. Start your day with a visit to the Calgary Zoo (take the Saddletowne train and disembark at the Calgary Zoo station). There, go back to a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth in the locally loved Prehistoric Park, then meet the zoo’s most famous new residents, the four giant pandas. Once you’ve had your fill of the animals, take the CTrain west to Sunnyside station, where you’ll land in Kensington, “Calgary’s Urban Village.” Take in unique architecture at the Peace Bridge, shop for second-hand treasures at the cluster of curated vintage shops or purchase fine wine and cheese at Peasant Cheese Shop and Vine Styles. Finish off your day with a train trip back to downtown’s City Hall station, from which you can meander through pretty Olympic Plaza and maybe cap off your evening with a show at Theatre Calgary.
Slide on your walking shoes for day of easy exploration on foot. The National Music Centre is a must-see. There, you’ll learn about Canada’s musical history while viewing the more than 2,000 pieces in the Centre’s collection, or by sitting in on one of its ongoing education sessions or performances highlighting Canadian music genius. From September 19-23, you can also experience the magic of the Beakerhead Festival, a part-science-and-engineering, part-art-installation event that takes place all over Calgary—including many downtown spots. One exhibit, called Pulse and Bloom (and just a short walk from the National Music Centre) will feature 12-foot-tall pyrotechnic lotus flowers that light up and pulse according to your heartbeat when touched. Finally, a visit to Calgary wouldn’t be complete without strolling along its famous Stephen Avenue. Public art installations like the towering Galleria Trees and some of the best restaurants in the city—including Saltlik, where Alberta Beef is served up in a variety of mouthwatering entrees—are steps apart along this popular pedestrian thoroughfare.
Where to Stay in Calgary
Lock in the best rates of fall when you book your stay at participating Calgary hotels across 8 unique brands – including Aloft®, Courtyard®, Delta®, Westin® and more. With the most properties, in the best locations throughout the city, we look forward to welcoming you to Calgary this fall. Book Now.
Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® and SPG® have become one program with more than 6,700 participating hotels across 29 brands worldwide. Learn more at members.marriott.com.