Insider's Guide to Calgary, Canada
Calgary’s incredible location, close to the Rocky Mountains as well as Banff and Lake Louise, means the city itself is sometime overlooked. Our Calgary insider explains what there is to do in his city - and why you shouldn’t miss it:
A BIT ABOUT OUR INSIDER:
Name: Simon Greenwood @simonpatrickgreenwood
Place of birth: UK
Occupation: I’m a Clinical Vascular Scientist - cool title right?
Hobbies and interests: Football (known as soccer here in Canada), photography (check out some of my pictures below), snowboarding and hiking.
How long have you lived in Calgary? I’ve been here around a year.
A BIT ABOUT CALGARY:
How do you best navigate your city?
By car. While downtown is condensed, Calgary as a whole is very spread out so I’ve found a car is essential! However, the tram system is straight forward and you can get to pretty much anywhere via public transport. Uber is also great after a night out.
What do you think Calgary does better than other cities?
Its location is incredible - Calgary is such a great place to be if you’re in to exploring and adventuring. We're just a 45 minute drive from the Rocky mountains and you can drive to Banff or Lake Louise for a day of skiing or snowboarding, then be back in time for dinner. You'll find great walking and cycling paths in the city, plus great places for coffee or brunch, and some really unique restaurants.
Where is your favourite view of the city?
There are loads. My favourite is McHugh bluff, you can see the downtown core, the Bow river and the rocky mountains. It's especially great during those few weeks in fall when all the trees are golden.
Where is your favourite respite from hectic city life?
Sitting on my balcony after work with a homemade cold brew, watching the sunset over the city.
What is your favourite building in Calgary?
The Bow skyscraper, it dominates the skyline in Calgary and has an amazing art sculpture sitting at its base.
What's a 'must do' in your city? Calgary is famous for ice hockey - not check out our local team, the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.
What is your favourite place for a workout?
I play soccer a couple of times a week which is my main form of exercise. As the mountains are so close I love to go out hiking at the weekends and exploring the Rockies. There some great independent studios such as Fit Republic who only provide trainer lead classes such as spin, core, Barre and TRX.
Where do you consider to be Calgary's most underrated location that more people should visit? Inglewood just outside the city centre is a really cool neighborhood with independent shops, good restaurants, breweries and generally great vibes. The Friday night summer street markets are awesome.
Where would you stay if you were visiting, and why?
Hotel Arts is a really cool hotel in the centre of downtown, they have an outdoor pool so it’s great in the summer! The Fairmont Palliser is a bit more of an upmarket option and this hotel chain is hugely famous throughout Canada for its palatial style and grandeur.
Any tips on etiquette and/or cultural faux pars?
Everyone I’ve met has been so friendly and welcoming so you can’t really go wrong. Tipping is kind of a big deal out here, typically 15-20% in restaurants and even for your server when you’re propping up a bar.
TELL US ABOUT THE FOOD SCENE:
Which dish is a must-try?
The national dish of Canada is Poutine (fries, covered in cheese curds and gravy). I’m a massive fan and they have so many variations from breakfast poutine to lobster poutine; most restaurants have their own special take on it.
Weekend brunch Mussels from River Café.
Which restaurant has the best atmosphere?
Where serves the best value for money dining options?
Where is the best place to splurge on a delicious meal?
NOW, ONTO THE NIGHTLIFE:
Where might we find Calgary's best cocktail? Banish the Ghosts from Cannibale, Bridgeland.
Who has the city's best winelist?
UNA pizza & wine.
And the bar with the best atmosphere?
Which bar is the best value for money?
Añejo for $5 margaritas during happy hour!
And the best splurge?
FOR CULTURE VULTURES:
Who is your favourite local artist?
Doug Driediger and his 'Giving wings to the Dream’ mural.
Where is your favourite local gallery?
And your favourite international gallery?
Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art.
Can you sum up why you love living in this city?
I love living in Calgary because I felt settled straight away thanks to the openness of the people, and the outdoorsy lifestyle here. We have the full range of crazy weather; summer hits 30+C winter is often below -30C, with soooo much snow! Being so close to the mountains is incredible and I love making the most of that at the weekends.
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