There is a nice pedestrian street just a block from the Tower, on Stephen Ave. And if you walk north (I think!) from there, you'll find a can't be missed Chinese Cultural Center building at the basement of which is a nice Chinese restaurant which offers sumptious food! ;-)
Stephen Ave is the place to go if you are looking for shopping. Typical shopping with a mix of local boutiques and trendy name brand stores. There is a shopping mall tucked away with 3 floors and pubs like the Unicorn, chocolate shops and more.
If you are downtown and wondering where there is to go that will give you the feel of the city and it's residents, hop in a cab and get dropped off on 17th ave.
This is where you will find all the hipsters, pubs, funky shops and cafes. But mostly pubs with very crowded patios.
Originally a planetarium, the facility has been upgraded to a complete hands-on Science Center. There are numerous exhibits which change frequently and admission includes access to two shows. Check out the Telus World of Science website for the latest features.
A fire in 1886 destroyed many of Calgary’s largest buildings. City council of the time enacted an ordinance stipulating that sandstone, fireproof and locally available, would be used for all new large buildings. In the ensuing building boom Calgary became known as the Sandstone City . Many of these early buildings have been torn down but some well preserved examples remain.
One of the best contrasts between Calgary’s sandstone era and its current designs is the City Hall . The old city hall is built with traditional sandstone and was completed in 1911. The latest addition to City Hall is a tiered glass structure rising behind the older building.
(see additional photos for remaining buildings)
The thirteen story Palliser Hotel was the tallest building in Calgary from 1929 until 1958. Originally referred to as the Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel, the name Palliser was chosen to commemorate Captain John Palliser, leader of the famed British expedition responsible for exploring Western Canada.
The six story Grain Exchange was one of the tallest buildings in Alberta when it was completed in 1910.
Alberta’s first teacher training center, McDougall School , was completed in 1908. At the time, it was Alberta’s largest educational facility. These days, the grounds are popular with newlyweds for wedding pictures.
Designed by the same architect who designed the Alberta Legislature building in Edmonton, the Court of Appeal was completed in 1914.
For a bit of quiet in the midst of the city, visit the Devonian gardens. This is an indoor garden with many many plants, but it also has pools and fountains, including koi fish and turtles.
It is set between about 6 buildings in downtown Calgary and has no admission cost. Best time to come is in the dead of winter when you can dream you are in Hawaii. Worst time to come is lunch time when all the local office people fight for all the available seats whilst they eat lunch.
Downtown Calgary isn't like a New York or Miami- many businesses close at 8PM. There are still the pubs and bars open, but as you explore Calgary be aware that if you are downtown and need some essentials of business, you'd better get in finished early on in the evening, or you'll have to drive out to the malls or whatnot to get things finished.
I have a fun time in downtown each time in. I always hit Stephens Avenue for great food and drinks- and then cab it to nightlife around. If you need to find the heartbeat of the city- Stephens Ave is the center of it all, especially during Stampede or Flames games.
Stephen Aveune Mall is for walkers, and has been gussied up to look sharp these days. Very pretty with all the lights at night!
This will give you easy access to most shopping downtown Calgary including Holt Renfrew, The Bay, Winners and coutless restaurants and pubs.
Located in the Toronto Dominion Square (or TD Square) building, this charming oasis occupies the top floor. Filled with lush gardens, fountains, waterfalls, koi ponds, and quiet nooks to relax, it's a wonderful place to escape the bustle of the city and sightseeing. When I visited, there was a woman playing piano and singing, which added wonderful ambiance. There were also plenty of employees from nearby businesses having lunch on the many benches scattered throughout the gardens. Admission was free, but there are a few donation box if you're so inclined. Tours can also be booked for $5/person, and the whole place can be booked for parties and other special functions.
Definitely a must see - especially if you're visiting in winter, as I was.
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