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Whether your trip to Calgary is to see the spectacular Rocky Mountains, to throw lassoes on the Cowboy trail, or to get absorbed in history, visitors here will be captivated...
The city is the gateway not only to Alberta's Rocky Mountains, but also the four towns - Black Diamond, Turner Valley, Longview and Millarville - that form the so-called Cowboy Trail. Indeed, 2012 also marks the centenary of the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo, exhibition and festival held annually which attracts more than a million visitors over a 10-day period in early July.
Of course, Calgary is not only about cowboys and ranching. The city offers something for all ages and interests. Children, for example, will love Calgary Zoo, which features native North American species and exotic species from further afield. Calgary Zoo is open all year round. The Calgary TELUS World of Science has interactive displays and a range of activities, programmes and workshops specifically designed for younger visitors. Last but not least, the award-winning Calaway Park, the largest amusement park in western Canada, is a must for all families.
Anyone interested in history is also amply catered for. Fort Calgary today houses a museum chronicling the development of the city, while the Glenbow Museum is the largest museum in western Canada. For those who like to get up close and personal with history, Heritage Park Village offers a chance to meet friendly pioneers from the Old West, see how they lived and ride on an authentic steam train from the period.
For those with a liking for the great outdoors, Fish Creek Provincial Park in south Calgary is a nature reserve but also features many trails for cycling, hiking and walking. Other attractions in Calgary include Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, which features numerous galleries, creatively titled Ride, Motion, Contact, Bounce and so on, filled with interactive exhibits. Construction of Calgary's National Music Centre, which will house a live music venue, recording studios and a museum, is due to start in the autumn of 2012 and be completed by 2015. Similarly, the tallest skyscraper outside Toronto, known as The Bow, in downtown Calgary is expected to receive its final occupants by the end of 2012.
Find out the easiest way for you to get to Calgary so you can get your holiday started...
Non-stop flights to Calgary are offered by British Airways, Air Canada and Air Transat from London, with Air Transat also offering some regional services from Manchester and Glasgow. Additionally, you can connect on services via Toronto.
Several European and US carriers also offer connections through their hub airports, such as American Airlines, Delta, US Airways, United, Lufthansa and KLM.
Once your flight touches down, you'll want the journey to your accommodation to be as straight forward as possible. Here are your options...
The local bus company, Calgary Transit, provides public bus services from Calgary International Airport (YYC) to the city. These services include a rapid, limited-stop one via Route 300, which operates every 30 minutes between 05.00 and 24.00, 7 days a week.
Taxis and vans for passengers with excess luggage are also available 24 hours a day from the taxi stand on the Arrivals level of the airport.
The many districts that make up Calgary all have their own character and charm - but where should you choose to stay?
Downtown Calgary is the place to opt for if you want to be in the hub of it all as it offers a huge range of shops, restaurants and bars. Here you can visit the looming Calgary Tower where you can get great views from the observation deck and have a bite to eat in its revolving restaurant. You will also be within walking distance of attractions such as the Glenbow Museum and EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts.
For a taste of Old Calgary, across the Elbow River is Inglewood. Here you can find historical buildings and antique shops as well as some of the city's top restaurants, while bohemian Kensington with its numerous coffee houses also has a variety of boutiques and shops.
The design district is the place to stay near to if you're hoping to take in fine art galleries, as well as visit spas and cafes, while party animals may want to book accommodation near to Uptown 17 which plays host to a number of bars, restaurants and clubs.