Ah, Spring Break! It’s right around the corner. The thought of leaving everything behind, sleeping in, and sticking your toes in the sand is just so tempting…
Here’s another thought for you. Flight delays, lost luggage, and overpriced tourist traps!
Do you know what kind of vacation doesn’t involve any of those things? Staycations.
With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can actually create the ultimate local getaway right here in Calgary. From exploring hidden gems to indulging in the city's finest cuisine, there's no shortage of activities and attractions to enjoy.
So, if you’re in desperate need of a vacation but you’re on a budget and don't want to leave the city… look no further than a staycation! In this post, we'll provide tips and ideas for a memorable getaway in Calgary.
Use our quick navigation guide below to jump to any point of our blog on creating the best staycation:
- Planning your Staycation in Calgary
- Choosing Dates and Themes
- Setting a Budget
- Selecting Accommodation Options
- Creating an Itinerary for your Staycation
- Exploring Calgary's Attractions
- list of Calgary’s top tourist attractions
- Discovering Lesser-Known Local Gems
- Planning Activities for Different Weather Conditions
- Incorporating Relaxation and Downtime
- list of our favourite Calgary spas
- Ideas for Staycation Activities in Calgary
- Outdoor Activities
- Cultural Activities
- Entertainment Options
- Making the Most of your Staycation in Calgary
- Disconnecting from Technology
- Trying Something New
- Creating Memories
- Planning for Future Staycations
Planning your Staycation in Calgary
Choosing Dates and Themes
The beauty of a staycation is that you have complete control over the length and theme of your getaway. Need a quick escape from the daily grind? Opt for a long weekend staycation in Calgary. Want to immerse yourself in the city's culture and attractions? Take a full week off work to explore the hidden gems you never knew were right in your backyard.
Set the tone! Are you a couple in need of a romantic getaway? A family looking for a change of scenery? A foodie looking to taste your way around town?
Once you've determined the duration and theme of your staycation, it'll be easier to plan your itinerary and budget. So, sit down with your calendar, pick your dates, and get ready for a stress-free vacation that's tailor-made just for you.
Setting a Budget
Just because you're staying in the city doesn't mean you shouldn't set a budget. Determine how much money you are willing to spend on accommodation, activities, food and drink, and transportation.
This will help you avoid overspending and ensure you have an enjoyable local getaway without breaking the bank.
Selecting Accommodation Options
Depending on your budget, there are plenty of accommodation options in Calgary for your staycation. Whether you're looking for a luxurious hotel, a cozy bed and breakfast, or an affordable Airbnb, there's something for everyone.
Alternatively, consider using the money you save on accommodation to splurge on local experiences like dining out, visiting attractions, or attending events.
Do some research and compare prices, check out what is going on in the city, and find the best option for your needs.
Creating an Itinerary for your Staycation
Exploring Calgary's Attractions
Calgary has plenty of attractions that are perfect for visiting on a staycation. Take a ride to the top of the iconic Calgary Tower for a 360-degree view of the city, or explore the beautiful gardens at the Calgary Zoo.
For history buffs, the Glenbow Museum and Heritage Park offer a glimpse into Calgary's past.
Here is a list of Calgary’s top tourist attractions:
Heritage Park Historical Village
Canada Olympic Park
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre
Fish Creek Provincial Park
TELUS Spark Science Centre
Prince's Island Park
The Military Museums
What other time can you act like a tourist in your own city? Fall back in love with your surroundings, get a deeper appreciation, or even a fresh perspective!
Discovering Lesser-Known Local Gems
Maybe the well-known attractions in Calgary are the last thing you want to do during your beloved relaxation time. We get that! How about discovering some hidden gems, or finally heading to that local favourite you keep hearing about!?
Explore the city's lesser-known gems. If you're an art buff, check out the Beltline murals! This outdoor art gallery features murals by local and international artists spread out all around the area.
Getting thirsty? Grab a cup of joe at Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, this independent coffee shop has been roasting its own beans since 2007. Enjoy a pint at The Polar Park Brewing Company, a microbrewery located in the industrial Manchester area.
Planning Activities for Different Weather Conditions
If you’re a local you already know, Calgary weather is unpredictable. It's important to have a plan B!
Let’s say your first option is to have a riverside picnic at Baker Park, overlooking the stunning views of the Bow River and the Rocky Mountains. You might want to have a backup plan of spending the afternoon at The Hangar Flight Museum.
If it’s sunny, take advantage of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, or fishing. If it's raining or cold, explore indoor activities like museums, galleries, or breweries.
Incorporating Relaxation and Downtime
We know… it’s exciting to have all the time in the world to explore your city, but don’t forget: relaxation is key!
You don't want to come back from your staycation needing another vacation. Downtime is when the real magic happens. This is when you can truly let go of all the stress and chaos of everyday life and sink into a peaceful break.
We’re not saying you have to sit in silence for hours on end (although, if that's your thing, more power to you). There are plenty of ways to relax and enjoy yourself in Calgary. Have you heard of float tanks? You can float weightlessly in a tank filled with Epsom salt and achieve a deep state of relaxation.
What about taking advantage of Calgary’s abundant nature? We are known for it after all. Nothing beats lounging in the sun with good food and good company.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you carve out some time to unwind and recharge. Your mind and body will thank you.
Here’s a list of our favourite Calgary spas:
Leela Eco Spa: Known for its eco-friendly and sustainable practices. They offer a wide range of services, including massages, facials, and body treatments.
Kananaskis Nordic Spa: Located just outside Calgary in the Rocky Mountains, perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway! They offer a unique outdoor experience with hot, warm, and cold pools, steam and sauna cabins, and heated hammocks.
Stillwater Spa: An award-winning spa located in the heart of downtown Calgary. In addition to a variety of treatments, they also have a rooftop terrace with a hot tub and stunning views of the city.
RNR Wellness Spa: Head here for a personalized approach to wellness. They offer a range of services, including massages, acupuncture, and reflexology.
Ideas for Staycation Activities in Calgary
Calgary is known for its beautiful parks and outdoor spaces… now is your chance to get out there and enjoy it! Take a bike ride along the Bow River Pathway, go fishing at Fish Creek Provincial Park, or hike up to the top of Nose Hill Park for a view of the city that will remind you why you love living here.
Bow River Pathway: Enjoy a leisurely bike ride or walk along the Bow River Pathway, which stretches for over 48 km through the heart of Calgary.
Prince's Island Park: A popular spot for picnics, frisbee games, and live music events. Take a stroll through the gardens or rent a bike and explore the island.
Heritage Park Historical Village: This living history museum is a great place to learn about the history of Western Canada. Take a ride on a vintage steam train and explore the historical village.
WinSport: Calling all avid skiers or snowboarders, hit the slopes or try out the bobsleigh and luge tracks. In the summer, enjoy mountain biking and ziplining.
Banff National Park: Just a short drive from Calgary, Banff National Park is a nature lover's paradise. Take a hike, paddle a canoe, or soak in the hot springs while surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery.
Calgary has a vibrant arts and culture scene. Visit the National Music Centre, explore the Contemporary Calgary gallery, or attend a performance at the Jubilee Auditorium.
Glenbow Museum: The largest public art collection in Western Canada, with over 33,000 artifacts, art pieces, and archives.
Studio Bell, The National Music Centre: Features interactive exhibits, rare instruments, and memorabilia showcasing Canadian music history. A fantastic space for music lovers!
The Military Museums: A collection of eight separate museums dedicated to Canada's military history and heritage.
The Esker Foundation: A contemporary art gallery showcasing emerging and established artists.
Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre: Showcasing the rich Chinese heritage and culture in Calgary, offering an environment for cultural activities, arts, and recreational programs.
The New Gallery: An artist-run contemporary gallery featuring experimental and innovative art pieces.
The Nickle Galleries: Featuring contemporary and historical art pieces and exhibitions, this art museum has grown from a basement collection to a permanent collection of just under 30,000 artifacts.
The Calgary Stampede's Western Heritage Centre: Over 10 million visitors from around the world have sought out this unique museum, showcasing the history and heritage of the Calgary Stampede and Western culture.
Tsuu T’ina Culture Museum: Celebrating the history and heritage of the Tsuu T’ina Nation. Exhibits and displays showcase the traditional arts, crafts, and way of life of the Tsuu T’ina people.
Calgary also offers plenty of entertainment options to get immersed in during your staycation. Catch a movie at the Globe Cinema or a live performance at the Loose Moose Theatre Company. For those with a competitive streak, try virtual reality gaming at VRCORE or take a swing at mini-golf at Monster Mini Golf.
Catch a Show at the Jubilee Auditorium: This iconic venue hosts some of the best live performances in the city, from Broadway shows to classical concerts.
Go on a Ghost Tour: Experience Calgary's spookier side with a ghost tour of the city's haunted sites and eerie alleyways.
Enjoy Live Music at King Eddy: This historic venue has been a hotspot for local musicians for over a century and continues to host some pretty rad live music.
Watch a Movie at the Drive-In: Enjoy a classic movie experience at Calgary's only drive-in theatre, with screenings of both new releases and beloved classics.
Try Your Luck at the Casino: Feeling lucky? Head to the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino for a night of gaming and entertainment, including live music and dining options.
Challenge Your Friends to an Escape Room: Put your puzzle-solving skills to the test with an escape room adventure, where you'll have to work together to escape before time runs out.
Go Bowling at National on 10th: This trendy spot combines craft beer and gourmet snacks with a classic bowling alley experience.
The Rec Room: A sprawling entertainment complex with arcade games, virtual reality experiences, axe-throwing lanes, a restaurant, and a bar.
Making the Most of your Staycation in Calgary
Disconnecting from Technology
It's tempting to stay connected to work and social media during your staycation, but it's important to disconnect and enjoy your surroundings. Leave your phone at home or turn it off during activities to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
Trying Something New
A staycation is a perfect opportunity to try something new. Whether it's a new restaurant, activity, or hobby, step outside of your comfort zone and experience something different.
Make the most of your staycation by creating lasting memories. Take photos of your experiences, journal about your adventures, or bring home souvenirs to remember your local getaway.
Planning for Future Staycations
Once your staycation is over, start planning for future local getaways. Calgary offers plenty of activities and attractions that you may not have had time to experience during your staycation, so make a list of places to visit next time.
Now get out there and… don’t go anywhere!
A staycation in Calgary can be just as memorable as any other vacation. By planning your itinerary, setting a budget, and exploring the city's attractions and hidden gems, you can create the ultimate local getaway. Remember to disconnect, try something new, and create lasting memories. Happy staycationing!
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