live music, entertainment, and family-friendly activities, creating a festive atmosphere for all to enjoy
Every July, the vibrant city of Calgary, Canada, transforms into a thrilling western wonderland as the world-famous Calgary Stampede takes center stage. For ten adrenaline-fueled days, locals and visitors from around the globe gather to celebrate Alberta's rich cowboy heritage, indulge in exhilarating rodeo events, savor mouthwatering Stampede food, and immerse themselves in an electrifying atmosphere. As the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," the Calgary Stampede offers an unforgettable experience where tradition, excitement, and entertainment converge. Get ready to don your cowboy boots, throw on a Stetson hat, and embark on an unforgettable adventure into the heart of Calgary's western spirit.
Having just returned from my first experience at the Stampede, I had to share how this unique Bucket List event thrills and transforms the whole city into a large western village; it's something you won't want to miss.
Check the official Calgary Stampede website for the most up-to-date events, schedules, and ticketing information. The 2023 Stampede is almost over (July 7th - 16th), but we know you'll have a fantastic time at the Stampede next year, July 5th - 14th, 2024, and we suggest jumping on the chuckwagon (pun intended) as soon as possible. Here are ten MUST-DO activities when visiting The Calgary Stampede:
Kick off your days with a Stampede Breakfast: This beloved tradition during the Calgary Stampede is a community gathering where locals and visitors are treated to a free breakfast of pancakes, sausages and other delicious morning staples. The breakfast, held in various locations across the city, is often accompanied by live music, entertainment, and family-friendly activities, creating a festive atmosphere for all to enjoy.
Attend the Calgary Stampede Parade: A grand procession and free to view, this spectacular parade features a vibrant display of marching bands, floats, mounted riders, and various community groups as they make their way through downtown Calgary. The parade showcases the rich western heritage of Calgary and sets the stage for the exciting events and celebrations that follow throughout the Stampede. Spectators will delight in the colorful costumes, lively performances, and festive spirit.
Experience the Rodeo: Watch adrenaline-pumping events that showcase the best of professional rodeo competitions. Featuring thrilling disciplines such as bull riding, barrel racing, tie-down roping, and more, the Stampede Rodeos attract top-notch cowboys and cowgirls from around the world who display their skills, strength, and determination in pursuit of championship titles and significant prizes. The Calgary Stampede Rodeos provide an exhilarating and action-packed experience that captivates audiences and pays homage to the timeless traditions of the Wild West.
Enjoy the Chuckwagon and Relay Races: Witness the exhilarating Chuckwagon races, where skilled drivers guide teams of horses pulling wagons in a thrilling high-speed competition around the track. First Nations pay tribute to the indigenous heritage of Canada, showcasing horsemanship skills and competing in exciting relay races. Spectators are captivated by their speed, precision, and thunder of hooves.
Explore the Stampede Park: Visit Stampede Park, the heart of the festival, and explore the various exhibits, interactive displays, and entertainment stages offering live music, dancing, and performances. A wide array of attractions, from classic carnival rides to adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, provide visitors with a memorable and exciting experience.
Indulge in Stampede Food: The Calgary Stampede is a haven for food enthusiasts, offering a wide array of delectable treats that cater to every palate. From classic fair favorites like mini donuts, corn dogs, and deep-fried delights to unique culinary creations and international cuisines, the Stampede's food scene is a feast of flavors, enticing visitors to indulge in a mouthwatering gastronomic adventure.
Check out the Agricultural Show: The agricultural shows at the Calgary Stampede showcase the rich agricultural heritage of the region, featuring farm animals, livestock competitions, educational exhibits, and interactive displays that offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn about and appreciate the importance of agriculture in Alberta.
Catch a Concert: Attend one of the live concerts featuring renowned artists and bands who take the stage to deliver unforgettable performances and electrifying energy to the enthusiastic crowds. From country music stars to internationally acclaimed acts, the Stampede concerts offer a diverse lineup that appeals to music lovers of all genres, creating an atmosphere of excitement and entertainment throughout the festival.
Experience the Evening Grandstand Show: End your day with the Evening Grandstand Show, a captivating spectacle that occurs nightly at 7:45 p.m. during the festival. It combines music, acrobatics, fireworks, and stunning visual effects to create a dazzling entertainment display celebrating the Stampede's spirit. Audiences are enthralled by the mesmerizing performances and the grand finale of fireworks, making the Calgary Stampede Evening Show an unforgettable experience for all who attend.
Explore the Stampede Market: Shop for authentic Western apparel, jewelry, crafts, and more at the Stampede Market! This unique market also showcases "As Seen on TV" items, adding fun novelty. It's a shopper's paradise, so bring an extra bag for your Stampede finds!
Whether you're a seasoned Stampede enthusiast or a first-time visitor, the Calgary Stampede promises an enchanting journey into the spirit of the Wild West. From the thunderous hoofbeats of the chuckwagon races to the awe-inspiring fireworks of the Evening Grandstand Show, each moment at the Stampede is full of excitement, wonder, and the shared joy of community. As the sun sets on the Stampede grounds, the memories made will forever be etched in your heart. So, gather your loved ones, embrace your inner cowboy or cowgirl, and set your sights on Calgary's Stampede, where the spirit of the West comes alive, leaving an indelible mark on all who dare to experience its magic. Yeehaw!
IF YOU GO:
Airport: YYC (Calgary) Use Air Canada or WestJet
Start planning your trip now for July 5th - 14th, 2024 (2 or 3 days are sufficient to experience The Stampede.) Combine this tour with a train trip to the Canadian Rocky Mountains and explore some of the most impressive landscapes of Western Canada. Banff is 80 miles (1.5 hours) away.
Chanin Victor, the Travel and Lifestyle Editor at the Santa Monica Observer, presents her column "Travel Trends" bi-weekly in the print edition, offering readers a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of travel. Become a Subscriber Today! Beyond her role at the Observer, Chanin is a versatile freelance travel journalist, crafting engaging narratives that transport readers to intriguing destinations. In her 9-5 role, she serves as a creative director, dedicating her expertise to promoting tourism destinations across Southern California, blending her passion for storytelling with her professional pursuits. Based in Los Angeles with her family, Chanin seizes every opportunity to embark on new adventures. Discover her travels and insights at chaninvictor.com - PLUS - if you're interested in Chanin's family-friendly travel stories, inspiration and travel tips, look HERE: https://chaninvictor.com/travel-trends/ at the Santa Monica Observer!