Calgary Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- Don't be strapped for cash The official currency is the Canadian dollar, which is roughly equivalent to the American dollar. You can avoid cash conversion fees by relying on credit or debit cards instead.
- Don't forget your jacket Calgary's temperatures fluctuate frequently due to its location near the Rocky Mountains. Even during the summer months, it's a good idea to have some extra layers on hand.
- Don't drive during the winter Because this can be dangerous, especially if you're not used to snowy conditions. Be wary of black ice and unplowed roads or, better yet, use public transit.
From rags to riches, Calgary has experienced its very own Cinderella story. First founded as a Rocky Mountain outpost for the mounted police, this Canadian cow town went from honky-tonk to high-end with the discovery of oil in the early 1900s. Over the next century, shimmering office buildings replaced mom-and-pop businesses. By 1988, the city's reputation as a commercial powerhouse (plus its ideal location near the snowy Rocky peaks) earned it the honor of hosting the Winter Olympics. Since then, Calgary has been riding high.
Despite this transition, Calgarians continue to see their city from the eyes of the conventional cowboy: Here, leather boots and wide-brimmed hats still reign supreme. As Lonely Planet writes, "The vision of a Wrangler- and Stetson-clad urban cowboy stepping out of a Ferrari or Hummer isn’t uncommon." If your inner buckaroo still isn't satisfied, visit during the summer's annual Calgary Stampede, which summons bronco-busters from all walks of life to try their hands at wrangling. As any cattleman (or woman) will tell you, it's the most fun you can have with your boots on.
How To Save Money in Calgary
- Rely on public transportation When cruising and perusing downtown, there's no need to splurge on parking or a taxi. The CTrain (Calgary's light-rail system) offers free rides within that area.
- Bring your own hotel You can save money on lodging by laying your head at the Calgary West Campground, which features bathrooms, showers and laundry all for around $30 CAD per night.
- Bundle up Winter is the cheapest time to visit, so pack your parka and prepare for a blizzard.