Pay a visit to Calgary’s “Wonderland” statue between meetings. (Photo: Amber McLinden)
Tied up working? With smart scheduling you’ll have time to sneak out between meetings and experience Calgary’s cultural hot spots. Once known as “Cow Town” during its cattle-trading rancher days, the city may still be most famous for its summer Stampede rodeo. Still, it’s fast becoming a city with a vibrant arts scene.
From lunchtime theater to indigenous art and outdoor sculptures like the “Wonderland” statue, Calgary offers plenty of interesting places to explore.
See the World at the Glenbow Museum
Walking time from the Delta Hotels Calgary Downtown: 7 minutes
Duration: 1 hour
One of Canada’s unsung gems, the Glenbow Museum houses four floors of exhibits showcasing art, culture and history from around the world. If you’re pushed for time, head straight to the third floor and get a maple-soaked dose of Canadiana with the excellent “Mavericks” permanent display.
This quirky collection delves into heroes and heroines of Southern Alberta with hands-on exhibits. The William Van Horne CPR rail car display is especially amusing for travel geeks.
Have a few minutes extra? On your walk back to the hotel, pop by the much-acclaimed “Wonderland” statue outside Bow Tower.
Soar Above the City
Walking time from hotel: 8 minutes
Duration: 30 minutes
You might not have time to visit the downtown zoo, or the Saddledome where the Stampede is held, but at least you can say you’ve seen them. Head to Calgary Tower to see the view from the top of the word’s highest 360-degree observation deck.
Pick up the complimentary multimedia guide at the tower entrance and brace yourself as you whiz up the elevator 4,029 feet (1,228 meters) above sea level. At the top you’ll find sprawling views over the flatlands of the prairies. If it’s a clear day, you’ll even catch a glimpse of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the distance.
Take in a Lunchtime Show
Walking time from hotel: 9 minutes
Duration: 60 – 90 minutes
Calgarians are a cultured crowd. You’ll often find them on their lunch breaks at one of the world’s longest-running afternoon venues, the Lunchbox Theatre, founded in 1975. Doors open 30 minutes before the performance, giving you time to get a good seat and enjoy your lunch before the show.
Yes, you can order and eat lunch in the theater. Lunchbox focuses on one-act plays — this is only lunch, after all — and much of its repertoire is written by local playwrights.
Word of warning: There are no bathrooms; if you need a break, you’ll have to dip just outside to the Calgary Tower Centre.
Pose by the Peace Bridge
Walking time from hotel: 22 minutes
Duration: 5 minutes
Grab your camera and snap selfies on the iconic Peace Bridge. One of the most photographed landmarks in the city, the 428-foot steel bridge spans the Bow River from Sunnyside to Downtown. The tubular double-helix structure is used by both pedestrians and cyclists, and its curious copper-red loops make for a killer selfie background. At night the bridge is lit, which provides great reflection for shots of the river.
Say Yes to a Serious Steak Dinner
Walking time from hotel: 12 minutes
Duration: 90 minutes
Go seriously old school at Caesar’s Steakhouse, which has been keeping carnivores delighted since 1972. Calgary has always been famous for its cattle; make it a point to feast on the local, grass-fed beef. Meat is poetry here: Each Sterling Silver and AAA Alberta beef steak is hand cut to order and cooked on an open-flame grill.
Garlicky Caesar salads are made tableside, and the martinis are a hefty three ounces. Make like you’re in Mad Men and dine like Don Draper.
This article was brought to you by Delta Hotels, where simple is made perfect.