Our Calgary Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to the capital city of Canada. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips.

It’s all compiled in this Calgary Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in Calgary, Alberta.

  • When is the best time to travel to Calgary?

    When is the best time to travel to Calgary?

    Calgary has a humid continental climate, with average temperatures ranging from -7°C in winter to 18°C in summer.

    • The rainiest time of the year is between May and August, with an average of 11 rainy days per month.
    • Snowfall can be expected between October and May.
    • June-August is peak tourist season, with great weather, but with hotel and flight prices rising accordingly.
    • April-May and September-October are great times to visit as you’ll avoid the peak season’s crowds and flight and hotel prices are more affordable. The weather is pleasant, but pack a jumper, just in case.
  • Calgary basics

    Calgary basics
    • Primary languages: English
    • Plug types: A and B
    • Electricity: 120 V
    • Currency: Canadian Dollar (C$)
    • International dialling codes: +1 403
    • Emergency telephone number: 911
  • How to get to my hotel in Calgary?

    How to get to my hotel in Calgary?

    Calgary International Airport

    Calgary International Airport is the primary airport serving the city. One of the busiest airports in Alberta, it sits 10 km northeast of the city centre. It has 2 passenger terminals, where you’ll find a great range of dining and shopping options, as well as facilities like banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options to get you to Downtown Calgary:

    • A taxicab takes around 20-30 minutes. The taxi ranks can be found by doors 1 and 6 outside of Domestic Terminal and doors 16 and 17 outside of International Terminal.
    • You can also use Uber and Tappcar from Calgary Airport. The pick-up areas are at doors 1, 12, and 17. The journey is slightly cheaper than with a standard taxi.
    • Many Calgary hotels offer complimentary shuttle transfers. Check out with your hotel to see if they offer this service.
    • The Calgary Transit bus route 300 BRT Airport/City Centre takes around 30-40 minutes. The ticket also gives you full-day access to buses and CTrains in Calgary. The bus stops are outside Arrivals doors 2 and 15. You can purchase your ticket directly on the bus (with the exact amount), at the Mac’s convenience stores near Arrivals doors 1 and 11, or at ticket vending machines located at Bay 7 and Bay 32. It’s the cheapest way to reach central Calgary.
    • Shared shuttle buses take around 20-30 minutes. The pick-up area is between doors 4 and 5.
    • Car rental agencies can be found opposite the Departures level of the Domestic Terminal.

    photo by Ken Marshall (CC BY 2.0) modified

  • How to get around Calgary?

    Travel tips

    How to get around Calgary?

    Downtown Calgary is compact enough to be explored on foot. Settled on the south bank of the Bow River, it covers roughly 3 sq km. You’ll find, within walking distance, many landmarks and attractions like the Stephen Avenue Walk, the Calgary Tower, and the Glenbow Museum, just to name a few. The city centre also hosts a great choice of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options. To reach more remote parts of Calgary, a good choice of public and private transport services is available.

  • Calgary Transit public transport networks

    Calgary Transit public transport networks

    Calgary Transit is in charge of public transport in Calgary. It operates over 150 bus lines and over 50 km of CTrain tracks that cover the entire city.

    • Tickets and passes can be purchased on the bus, at CTrain stations and online.
  • Taking a taxi

    Taking a taxi

    Taxis can be hailed down on the street in Calgary. You can easily find cab stands outside hotels and near the main attractions and shopping areas.

    • You can directly call popular companies such as Calgary United Cabs (403-777-1111), Checker Yellow Cabs (403-299-9999) or Mayfair Taxi (403-255-6555), just to name a few.
    • Most taxis accept the payment of the fare by credit card, but it’s better to ask the driver before you get in.
    • It’s common to give a 10-20% tip to the taxi driver.
    • Uber, Tappcar and local taxi apps can also be used to hail a taxi in Calgary.
  • What are the main annual events in Calgary?

    What are the main annual events in Calgary?

    Calgary Winterfest

    • What: Celebrate winter at this annual family-friendly festival that features many events, including ice sculpture competitions, live music performances, games, crafts and much more.
    • When: February
    • Where: Various locations throughout the city

    Calgary Exhibition & Stampede

    • What: Get a glimpse of the traditional Wild West culture of Calgary at one of the largest agricultural fairs and rodeos in the world. Parades, funfair, kids’ activities, live music, and many events make for a fun cultural week that attracts around 2 million visitors every year.
    • When: July
    • Where: Stampede Park

    Calgary Highland Games

    • What: This century-old festival is fun and attractive, whether you're a Scot or not. It features traditional events and contests such as tug-o-war, caber tossing, hammer throwing, as well as dancing, piping and drumming.
    • When: Early September
    • Where: Calgary Rugby Union