On the banks of the Bow River, over sweeping prairies, and within the shadows of the Canadian Rockies sits this "Heart of the New West." Host of the 1988 Winter Olympics—the first Canadian city to do so—Calgary is a premier jumping-off point for eco-adventures galore, with skiing, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and more only an hour away. Grab a Calgary hotel at the center of town, near Princes Island Park, and you're within walking distance of the shopping haven of Eau Claire Market, the 626-foot-tall Calgary Tower, and the Glenbow Museum, where you can take in centuries of Canadian heritage and culture.
Rock the Rodeo
By far the biggest annual draw for visitors is the Calgary Stampede, 10 days of parades, wagon racing, midway entertainment, agricultural exhibitions, stock shows, and of course, a world-class rodeo event. There's even a casino for visitors who feel lucky. Calgary cheap hotels on the south side of town have quality accommodations for smaller budgets, and you'll be within walking distance not only of the rodeo festivities but of downtown as well. And if you want to venture to the parks and public spaces at the western and northern edges of Calgary, such as Rocky Ridge and Arbour Lake, a great public transit system serves the entire area and the mountains are 50 miles away.
Shopaholics and gourmands will want to venture out from their hotel in Calgary on Stephen Avenue, where more than 1,000 shops and some of Calgary's finest restaurants and pubs are located. Also be sure to take in the Inglewood District east of downtown—the best place to shop for antiques and home furnishings—the specialty stores and coffee shops of 4th Street and the Mission District, and 17th Avenue, a scenic neighborhood of upscale shopping just south of downtown, which boasts more than 450 art galleries, boutiques, cafes, bistros, and bookstores.