Active Layover: Calgary

Active Layover: Calgary

By Alex ToddGeneral

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It’s not often that people are stuck with extended layovers these days, as airlines often try to squeeze flight transfers into shorter and shorter windows for the sake of efficiency, but every once in a while you might find yourself facing a layover in a city that is interesting enough to consider extending your trip by a few hours or days. What better way to discover the previously unknown than to create your own active layover, where you can experience the sights, culture, and food of a city in a condensed period of time, all before jetsetting to your final destination!

So what makes a city a good option for an active layover? First and foremost in our books is that it needs to have easy access to outdoor adventure opportunities. From there everything else is gravy, but bonus points go to destinations with a great food scene and other unique experiences that can’t be found elsewhere. Meeting all of the above criteria is none other than the Stampede City: Calgary.

In addition to being an adventure hub on the front doorstep of the Rocky Mountains, Calgary is a cool city in its own right, featuring great restaurants, the world-renowned Calgary Stampede, and plenty of outdoor opportunities without even leaving the city limits. Whether you are hiking, biking, or rafting on the Bow River, there is always an amazing adventure around the corner in this fantastic city!

With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the things that make Calgary the perfect place to spend a few days on an active layover:

Two Great Hiking Adventures in Calgary

As mentioned above, the most critical component of a successful active layover - at least in our minds - is finding some amazing outdoor adventures to take part in. With plenty of parks and trails, there is no reason for you to leave Calgary without having some fun outdoors!

While many people choose to leave the city behind for a thrilling adventure tour in the nearby Rocky Mountains, those on a more time-sensitive schedule won’t be without options. Here are two of our favourite picks when it comes to hiking trails in and around Calgary.

Hiking Adventures

Bow River & Downtown Calgary

Distance 10.5 km | Elevation 56 m | Duration 2-3h

Hiking along the Bow River and Downtown Calgary is a great option for anyone that doesn’t want to stray too far from the downtown core. While out on this paved trail you will meander along the winding banks of the Bow River, taking in the views of the surrounding cityscape as you loop through different neighbourhoods. Accessible, scenic, and suitable for all skill levels, this is the perfect adventure that can easily be slotted into your busy schedule.

Nose Hill

Distance 6.8 km | Elevation 103 m | Duration 1.5-2h

Located a bit north of the city centre, Nose Hill Park is a fantastic place to spend a few hours surrounded by nature. This easy-going hiking trail features sweeping views that extend across Calgary to the Rocky Mountains, making it a great option if you want to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind. It may take a bit more effort to get there, but the beautiful views are well worth the effort.

If you are looking to spend more time exploring Calgary or these trails don’t seem like your cup of tea, then don’t worry! The 10Adventures trail app features plenty of amazing - and free! - outdoor activities in Calgary, so make sure to download it on iOS or Android for some pre-trip inspiration and to use as a helpful guide while out exploring.

How to Get Around Calgary

Figuring out the transportation system in an unfamiliar place can be a bit tricky, but there is a good chance you will need to do so if you want to make the most of your layover. There is however, good news for anyone wondering how to get around Calgary, as the city boasts a great transportation network that makes exploration a breeze! Be sure to check out the Calgary Transit website for information on fares, routes, closures, and more!

How to Get Around Calgary

Places to Eat in Calgary

If you are making the effort to spend a few days exploring a new city, chances are that you will be on the lookout for a place to eat. Lucky for you, Calgary has a number of great places to grab some delicious eats - who knows, maybe one of them will even be the highlight of your mini layover trip!

First Street Market

This urban food hall is a fantastic place if you are visiting Calgary with a group that likes to have options. First Street Market features a wide selection of trendy restaurants serving fare that ranges from pizza and pasta to raw juices and Asian inspired street food. It’s also home to a great bar serving beer, wine, cocktails, and coffee - if you find yourself needing a bit of a boost after your hike. You can’t go wrong popping in here for a quick bite or drink!

Places to Eat

Ten Foot Henry

If family-style eating in a hip and trendy spot sounds like it is up your alley, then you will definitely have to visit Ten Foot Henry on your layover in Calgary. This all-day restaurant puts a spotlight on quality fresh vegetables and succulent fish/meat dishes, boasting that they “bridge the gap between what you should be eating and what you really want to eat” - and we believe it!

Unique Calgary Experience

While spending some time exploring the outdoors and eating some great food are fun ways to get acquainted with a city and its surrounding area on your active layover, you might find yourself looking for a new experience that you can’t find anywhere else. Every city has something unique about it that draws in visitors from around the globe, and Calgary is no exception!

Unique Experience

Calgary Stampede

Whether you are from Canada or some country further afield, almost everyone has heard of the world-renowned Calgary Stampede. This annual rodeo and exhibition takes place every July for 10 days, and can trace its roots back to 1886 when the first fair was held by the Calgary Agricultural Society.

Since then, the event has transformed into a true spectacle that is engrained in the cultural and international identity of Calgary, featuring one of the world’s largest rodeos, stage shows, a parade, wagon races, agricultural competitions, and so much more! If you find yourself visiting Calgary in July, then there is no excuse for missing out on this incredible experience - at least for one day!

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