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Calgary, Alberta: Prairie Town Goes Urban

With a blossoming culinary culture, an energized music scene, and a revitalized city core, Canada's premier prairie town has its moment.

George C. King Bridge to St. Patrick’s Island in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, picture
Photo credit
Photo: Courtesy of CMLC
Photo caption
You can walk or bike the George C. King Bridge to St. Patrick’s Island.
  • Launched in 2016, Calgary Brewery Tours leads participants to distilleries and beer makers experimenting with local grains and the Canadian Rockies' glacial water. Tastings might include Wild Rose Brewery's Velvet Fog or kombucha beer from Tool Shed Brewing Company.

  • If you're here in July, don't miss the Calgary Stampede, an annual event that transforms the city into a continuous outdoor party for 10 days (July 5–14 this year) with rodeos, livestock exhibits, and a parade.

  • CharCut Roast House confirms Alberta's reputation as Canada's beef capital with such fare as a shaved Alberta Angus prime rib sandwich. But don't skip the veggies fried in duck fat or Canada's gift to the world: poutine.

  • With architecture paying homage to Alberta's landscape, the National Music Centre honors Canada's musical heritage in exhibits of artifacts and interactive experiences such as the mobile recording studio once owned by the Rolling Stones. In addition to a 300-seat performance space, the center incorporates the Canadian Music Halls of Fame, an exhibit featuring musical artifacts, memorabilia, and tributes to inductees including Bryan Adams and Neil Young.

  • Pigeonhole transforms everyday ingredients into genre-defying dishes—say, charred cabbage atop a jalapeño-and-Mimolette-cheese emulsion— served with a wink on china.

  • The Simmons Building heralds a new era for the East Village. In the former mattress warehouse, find Canada-meets- Argentina charcuterie at Charbar, single-source espresso from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery's artisanal loaves featuring traditional grains.

  • Pedal new bike lanes to St. Patrick's Island, 31 acres in the center of Calgary. Dotted with public art and playgrounds, the site symbolizes the city's progressive streak.

    Visiting Calgary in winter? Check out Banff's Winter Delights.

This article was first published in Summer 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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