Oil has given Calgary its swagger. Young and brash, with shiny skyscrapers popping up seemingly overnight, Alberta's largest city just keeps growing. Don't be fooled by the Cowtown nickname – it’s a remnant of Calgary's century-old, good-time Stampede each July. Provincial? No way. This metropolis is anything but unpolished.
Downtown ka-chings with big business. The Glenbow Museum, combining art and history, and the Calgary Tower, with its view-tastic observation deck, are both here. Nearby Fort Calgary Historic Park has the lowdown on Mounties. Calgary Zoo is Canada's most-visited menagerie, beloved for its rhinos, komodo dragons and life-size replica dinosaurs. Canada Olympic Park lets adrenaline junkies ski or snowboard in winter, mountain bike or zipline in summer, and bobsled at 75 mph any time.
For a night out, stylish Uptown 17th Avenue piles on martini lounges and hockey bars. Italian trattorias and cafes with rooftop patios draw a fun-loving crowd to the Mission district. Artsy Inglewood holds eclectic eats and live music clubs. Kensington swings upscale with wine bars and mansion-set restaurants.