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Calgary City Guide

Make the most of your stay with a room at a retreat in the foothills of the Rockies, lunch from a former TV contestant's rotisserie chicken joint, shopping for fashionable finds at Gravity Pope and more.

Where to Stay  /  Where to Eat and Drink  /  What to Do  /  How to Get Around

Where to Stay

Hotel Arts

Hotel Arts

For a Stampede-adjacent suite

Located just minutes away from the fairgrounds of the Calgary Stampede, the boutique Hotel Arts is the perfect place to lean back and wash off the dust in your Luxury Jacuzzi Suite. Then, quench your thirst on the sleek poolside patio with one (or several) custom cocktails.

119 12th Ave. S.W., Calgary, 403-266-4611, hotelarts.ca

Fairmont Palliser

Photo: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Fairmont Palliser

For business travellers

The Palliser’s Edwardian Commercial style reflects the all-business attitude of its downtown location. The Rimrock Restaurant has been the venue of choice for handshake deals among the city’s power brokers for half a century.

133 9th Avenue S.W., Calgary, 866-540-4477, fairmont.com/palliser

Hotel Elan

Hotel Elan

For proximity to the action

With a location near buzzy 16th Avenue Southwest, this modern property boasts a clean and contemporary design with shiny crimson tiles covering its facade. The bright rooms feature pillow top mattresses, L’Occitane en Provence bath products and complimentary Wi-Fi. The fitness centre houses Google Maps-enabled treadmills, allowing you to train on a variety of terrains from around the world.

1122 16th Ave. S.W., Calgary, 403-229-2040, hotelelan.ca

Hotel Le Germain

For the rooftop haven

Surrounded by the gleaming skyscrapers of downtown, this hotel aims to impress, from its champagne bar to its rooftop garden. The property features green-minded design elements like geothermal heating, energy-efficient water systems and windows that actually open. Stop by the intimate Charcut Roast House – voted one of Air Canada enRoute’s Best New Canadian Restaurants in 2010 – if only to dine at its three-metre-long Douglas fir table.

899 Centre St. S.W., Calgary, 877-362-8990, germaincalgary.com

Hyatt Regency Calgary

Hyatt Regency Calgary

For familiar comfort

The renovated guestrooms of this downtown hotel feature the chain’s signature mattresses, for a truly restful sleep. In the summertime, grab a spot on the patio of the Sandstone Lounge for people-watching along bustling Stephen Avenue. And for a change of dining pace in this steak-loving town, head to the property’s award-winning Catch & The Oyster Bar for fresh and sustainable seafood.

700 Centre St. S.E., Calgary, 403-717-1234, hyattregencycalgary.com

Kensington Riverside Inn

Kensington Riverside Inn

For the cozy setting

With just 19 guest rooms, most with shaded outdoor patios, this boutique hotel on the Bow River feels like a private retreat – one that’s conveniently close to Kensington and downtown shops.

1126 Memorial Dr. N.W., Calgary, 877-313-3733, kensingtonriversideinn.com

Auzridge Estate Hotel

Photo: Thomas Higgins

Auzridge Estate Hotel

For a quiet getaway

Decked in timber beams and rundle rock, this retreat in the foothills of the Rockies combines the tranquillity of a mountain lodge with the elegance and service of a boutique hotel. (The general manager is a member of the prestigious Guild of Professional English Butlers.) Take in the views of the pine-dotted Albertan landscape from the comfort of your suite through floor-to-ceiling windows.

178057 272 St. W., Priddis, 403-931-0100, azuridgehotel.com

Where to Eat and Drink

Charbar

Photo: Candace Bergman

Charbar

For the Alberta beef

Executive chef and part-owner Jessica Pelland puts the focus on locally sourced meat, vegetables and fish. Pelland knows her way around the restaurant’s 900°F hardwood coal-fuelled parrilla: There are short ribs, grass-fed butcher steaks and ultra-dry-aged porterhouse steaks as well as the accompanying Argentine-inspired pit sauces and sides. (Hello wood-roasted beets with seeds and queso azul.)

618 Confluence Way S.E., Calgary, 403-452-3115, charbar.ca

Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters

Photo: Vanessa Ng, Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters

Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters

For coffee and breakfast sandwiches

Start your day with a trip to Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters for a single-source-origin espresso and an egg and crispy smoked meat sandwich. This Calgary chain’s latest outpost in the Mission neighbourhood is decked out with white-marble countertops, blond walls, original art and a state-of-the-art Kees van der Westen “Spirit” espresso machine.

2207 4th St. S.W., Calgary, 403-245-1111, philsebastian.com

Pigeonhole

For a night out

Named Canada’s Best New Restaurant in 2015, Pigeonhole serves favourites that have been on the menu since day one, such as chicken and dumplings and red Kuri squash with burrata and honey. Don’t miss the Hakurei turnips with pear and chawanmushi (a delicate egg custard) or the duck, parsnip and sea buckthorn.

306 17 Ave. S.W., Calgary, 403-452-4694, pigeonholeyyc.ca

River Café

River Café

For a gourmet picnic

Located in Prince’s Island Park, River Café serves up local produce, from Olson’s High Country Bison and Spragg’s Meat Shop pork to locally grown eggplant and strawberries. Dine in or order a picnic basket – with 24 hours advance notice, the restaurant will supply you with utensils, linen, beverage, choice of sandwiches or entrées, fresh fruits and a homemade dessert.

25 Prince’s Island Park, Calgary, 403-261-7670, river-cafe.com

Cluck N Cleaver

For a takeout lunch

Former Top Chef Canada contestant Nicole Gomes has partnered with her sister Francine to open Cluck N Cleaver. Choose from quarter, half and full rotisserie chicken dinners, fried chicken sandwiches and several sides, including potato salad, coleslaw and handmade buttermilk biscuits.

1511 14 St. S.W., Calgary, 403-266-2067, cluckncleaver.com

Blink

Photo: Ingrid Kue Photography

Blink

For French-inspired fare

Artfully merging traditional French cooking with seasonal ingredients, dishes at this award-winning restaurant include Alberta beef tartare, duck and pork terrine, chicken ballotine and hanger steak. Save room for pastry chef Courtney Thomas’s excellent deserts, such as the Valrhona chocolate tart.

111 8 Ave. S.W., Calgary, 403-263-5330, blinkcalgary.ca

Ricardo’s Hideaway

For rum cocktails

Just off 17th Avenue, Ricardo’s is loved for its kitschy island vibe and $10 cocktails. Rum is the house act, with a list that features favourites like mojitos, mai tais, piña coladas and dark ‘n’ stormies. Dishes are casual and include a variety of snacks and tapas-style starters, such as plantain and yucca chips and ahi tuna ceviche, with jerk chicken and spicy curries rounding out the mains.

1530 5 St. S.W., Calgary, 587-349-2585, ricardoshideaway.ca

What to Do

Gravity Pope

Gravity Pope

For fashionable finds

This Edmonton shopping staple recently upgraded to a larger, five-storied contemporary space on 17th Avenue Southwest. Browse through racks of labels, like Acne Studios, Paul Smith and Maison Kitsune, as well as shoes from Fly London, Fluevog and hard-to-find Aigle boots. Owner Louise Dirk’s effortlessly cool offerings also include bags from Montreal’s Want Les Essentiels and a selection of jewellery and fragrances.

1126 17th Ave. S.W., Calgary, 403-209-0961, gravitypope.com

DaDe Art and Design Lab

DaDe Art and Design Lab

For an immersive shopping experience

Inspired by the famous New York concept store Apartment by the Line, co-owners Darcy Lundgren and Greg Fraser repurposed their home into a retail space where everything is for sale. The collection includes works by local Calgary artist Barry Lorne displayed on the walls, Seletti Hybrid dishes in the cupboard and colourful Spanish linens by Zuzunaga on the bed.

1212 13 Street S.E. #104, Calgary, 403-454-0243, dadeartanddesignlab.com

Canadian Olympic Park

For the love of sport

On winter weeknights, the Canadian Olympic Park is a favourite skiing spot for Calgarians looking to keep their legs in shape for weekend excursions to Banff. If you visit in the summer, try the perfectly safe (but harrowing) indoor luge course.

88 Canada Olympic Rd. S.W., Calgary, 403-247-5452, winsportcanada.ca

Metrovino

Metrovino

For wine tastings

This large, airy room attached to the Cookbook Company carries an excellent selection of wines and spirits. With the spotlight on family-owned French and Spanish wineries, Metrovino hosts unique tastings and events at the Calgary Wine Tasting and Education Center next door.

722 11th Ave. S.W., Calgary, 403-205-3356, metrovino.com

Esker Foundation

Esker Foundation

For the contemporary art

Inglewood’s once empty warehouses and packing plants have given way to a mix of design stores, cafés and contemporary galleries. Check out the custom suiting for men at Espy, then stop by the Esker Foundation, located on the top floor of the Atlantic Avenue Art Block, a four-storey building dedicated to retail and art galleries. An integral part of the Art Block, the Project Space is home to a rotating series of displays visible from the street 24 hours a day.

Esker Foundation, 1011 9th Ave. S.E., Calgary, eskerfoundation.com
Espy, 1009 9th Ave. S.E., Calgary, espyexperience.com

Spruce Meadows

For the horse jumping

A fixture on the international show jumping competition calendar since 1976, this world-class facility is open year round, accessible to competitors and spectators alike. The five-dollar dollar admission price has remained the same since day one.

18011 Spruce Meadows Way S.W., Calgary, sprucemeadows.com

Stillwater Spa

Stillwater Spa

For the Rescue Remedy Serum

After a deep clean facial, a trained aesthetician at Stillwater Spa will apply a Luzern rescue remedy serum. In addition to Vitamin B5, it contains essential fatty acids to ease dryness – a notorious side effect of Calgary’s high elevation.

700 Centre Street S.E., Calgary, 403-537-4474, hyatt.com

How to Get Around

Getting from the Airport

A number of downtown hotels run airport shuttles – call your hotel in advance for details. Meanwhile, a taxi from Calgary International Airport to the city centre costs about $40 to $45.

yyc.com

Taxis

Cabs can be easily hailed from most downtown streets, and most hotels will have a few waiting outside.

Mayfair Taxi: 403-255-6555
The Checker Group: 403-299-9999
Black Top Taxi: 403-735-3222

Public Transportation

There’s no subway system in Calgary, but if you’re going too far to hoof it on the city’s many enclosed walkways and skyways, a city bus or the above-ground Light Rail Transit system should get you where you need to go.


Car2Go

New to the city, Car2Go is a convenient option for visitors. Reserve, find your car and drive to your destination.

1-855-454-1002, car2go.com

Bow Cycle

Bike lanes in the downtown core make cycling an easy way to get around. Choose from a variety of bikes at Bow Cycle, including fat tires for the snow, mountain bikes, electric wheels, or a city ride.

403-288-5422, bowcycle.com

Walking

Handily numbered streets and avenues make navigating the city delightfully straightforward. In the winter, the fully enclosed Plus 15 walkway system connects a large portion of the city’s downtown core to keep pedestrians warm and cozy.

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CALGARY     CITY GUIDE     HOTELS