The major city in Alberta, Calgary lies where the plains end and the foothills begin, making it Canada's eastern gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Also as Canada's fifth largest metropolitan are, this cities unique neighborhoods and proximity to the mountains makes it a great destination for all kinds of travelers.

WHAT TO DO

Calgary has a very densely packed downtown, full of shopping, restaurants and bars and club. The city's downtown buildings are also connected by means of a 10 mile long network of elevated walkways and bridges (most of which are covered), which allows pedestrians to easily travel between buildings above traffic.

No visitor to Calgary should miss the Eau Claire/Festival District. With unique shopping, riverside condos, restaurants, hotels and urban parks, this area is Calgary's liveliest district. You can visit one of the many pubs of restaurants, hang out in Prince's Island Park, or visit the boutiques and shops of the pedestrian mall at the Stephen Avenue Walk.

Visitors can also take a trip to the top of the Calgary Tower, which gives a great view of the Rockies to the west on a clear day. Calgary's Chinatown has a high density of Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese restaurants and boasts the Chinese Cultural Centre, which features a domed ceiling patterned from the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

If you are visiting Calgary on a cold winter day, you can visit the Devonian Gardens, which is a large indoor urban park or visit the Olympic Plaza and Arts District, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988 (remember the movie Cool Runnings?).

GETTING THERE

Calgary International Airport (YYC) is serviced by many major American carriers as well as Air Canada and British airways. There are major flights to Calgary coming in from Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles as well as many international cities, making getting a cheap flight to Calgary fairly easy.

The easiest way to get to and from the airport is to either get a Calgary airport shuttle or by renting a car. For those driving to the airport, arranging your airport parking at Calgary in advance can save you both time and money.

WHERE TO STAY

Calgary is a large city with a wide rang of accommodation options for every budget. If you spend a little more money, I would recommend staying close to downtown, as most of the cities major sights are located close to this central area. You shouldn't have any trouble finding anything from a luxury to mid-range hotel in Calgary. If you are on a tight budget, there are also a few hostels in Calgary.