Known as Canada’s Western Frontier, Calgary is where urban charm and city glamour meet. It’s where the rolling foothills and the dusty prairies suddenly give rise to tall skyscrapers, all to the backdrop of the Canadian Rockies. It’s also one of the fastest-growing and youngest cities in Canada, resulting in a vibrant energetic city that is full of world-renowned attractions, eateries, beautiful parks, and an entrepreneurial can-do spirit. Thanks to its incredible location, it also makes an incredible base for exploring Banff National Park and the Alberta Badlands.
While Calgary might be known for its world-famous Calgary Stampede, which attracts more than a million people each July, there are actually many fun things to do in Calgary, such as touring the remarkable National Music Centre, strolling around the Calgary Zoo, or looking for all the stunning public art displayed around the downtown core.
Although hotels in Calgary book up quickly – particularly around Stampede and in the summer in general – there isn’t a shortage of great places to stay. With a range of choices ranging from high-end hotels to budget-friendly hostels, the hardest part might be trying to find the right one for you. That’s why we’ve created this guide.
In this guide to where to stay in Calgary, we’ll help you pick the right hotel in the perfect location.
Quick Tips for Where to Stay in Calgary
Best Area in Calgary for sightseeing: Downtown
Best area in Calgary for nightlife: 17th Ave and Beltline (for dance clubs)
Best Area in Calgary for Food and Restaurants: 17th ave
Best Luxury Hotels in Calgary: Hotel Fairmont Palliser, Le Germain Hotel, Hotel Arts, Hotel Arts Kensington
Best Budget Hotels in Calgary: Regency Suites Hotel, Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Wicked Hostel, Econo Lodge Inn & Suites University, Royal Hotel Calgary, Trademark Collection by Wyndham
Best Calgary Hotels for families: Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire, Best Western PLUS Calgary Centre Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton Calgary Downtown
Downtown Calgary Hotels
As with most cities, downtown is often the first place a visitor goes. In downtown Calgary, you’ll find numerous skyscrapers, some of which are incredibly beautiful, as well as a large array of restaurants, bars, shops, and inner-city parks. There’s also a variety of heritage buildings and a number of popular areas to walk, such as Stephen Avenue (8th Avenue), which is sort-of an outdoor pedestrian mall with some people-only streets, and many boutiques, restaurants, and bars. In terms of malls, Calgary’s most popular ones are not downtown but you will find the CORE Shopping Centre, which spans three blocks and features some high-end shops like Holt Renfrew. However, one of the features of this mall is actually the Devonian Gardens, which is an urban oasis of botanical gardens, fountains, and an indoor playground.
Other popular places to visit in downtown Calgary are the Jack Singer Concert Hall, Theatre Calgary, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vertigo Theatre, the Calgary Tower, and also the Calgary Public Library and Studio Bell. However, the last two are technically in East Village. One of our favourite things to do in downtown Calgary is to search for all the public art pieces, which include popular ones such as the Wonderland Sculpture in front of the Bow, the Brotherhood of Mankind, and the Women of Persons. If you walk east on Stephens Avenue, you’ll also find City Hall and a beautiful park in front that sometimes plays home to concerts or a skating rink in the winter. Another popular neighbourhood is Eau Claire, which is where you’ll find the Bow River and many beautiful parks and pathways, but we’ll talk about those later in this article.
Another great feature of downtown Calgary is transportation. The C-train, for example, which connects much of Calgary is free when in the downtown core. You can find it on 7th Avenue.
Hyatt Regency Calgary (4 stars)
This is one of our top picks in Calgary. It’s centrally located and offers an indoor pool and space centre, as well as an on-site restaurant and lounge. It also offers free WiFi and is just 200 metres away from both the Calgary Telus Convention Centre and the Calgary Tower.
Hotel Le Germain Calgary (5 stars)
For a city with the most millionaires in Canada, it’s hard to believe that is the only 5-star hotel in Calgary, but at least we have one. This centrally located hotel offers on-site dining, a 24-fitness center and in-room massages, free WiFi, an iPod docking station, and modern rooms. Continental breakfast is provided daily and is located right across the street from the Calgary Tower.
Best Western PLUS Calgary Centre Inn (3 stars)
We always love the value that Best Western’s bring and this one is no different. It features an indoor pool, hot tub, an on-site gym, free WiFi, and a continental breakfast that is served daily. Located on Macleod Trail, this hotel is just 5 minutes from the city centre and less than a 10-minute walk from the C-train. Chinook Mall is also nearby
Delta Hotels by Marriott Calgary Downtown (4 stars)
Featuring an indoor swimming pool and seasonal sun deck, this Calgary hotel is located in the heart of the city center with views of the river and the downtown skyline. Guests can enjoy their on-site restaurant, free WiFi, and more.
Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel (4 stars)
This is another one of our top picks for Calgary. This hotel is located right across the street from the Calgary Tower (it’s actually connected by the +15 network) and features an indoor pool and fitness centre, an on-site restaurant, a and 24-hour business centre. Other attractions that are within walking distance include the Glenbow Museum, Studio Bell, and Stephens Avenue.
The Fairmont Palliser (4 stars)
Fairmont hotels are known for their luxuriousness and this one is no different. It’s also one of our top picks in Calgary. Featuring a large indoor pool and hot tub, this luxurious hotel is connected to the Calgary Telus Convention Center by the +15 “skywalk” network. It offers several on-site dining options, a state-of-the-art spa, fitness centre, and laundry services. It’s only 100 metres from the Calgary Tower and is very close to the National Music Centre.
Holiday Inn Express and Suites Calgary (3 stars & Budget-Friendly)
For those looking for more of a budget-friendly hotel, this is one of the best sellers in Calgary. Rooms feature 42-inch flat-screen TVs, balconies, and free WiFi whereas the hotel offers an on-site fitness centre. It’s also in a great location as it’s walking distance to Eau Claire Park, the Bow River, and Kensington.
Wicked Hostels (Hostel)
Located right across the street from the Calgary Stampede, Wicked Hostels offers unique hostel accommodations in Calgary and a great place to party during the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. This hostel offers a shared kitchen, a large free breakfast each morning, and both shared dormitory rooms and private rooms. They also offer towels, linens, and a seating area.
Eau Claire/Prince’s Island Hotels
Prince’s Island Park is the biggest and best park in Downtown Calgary, located along the beautiful banks of the Bow River, and offering large shady trees, flower gardens, a lagoon, walking trails, and the Riverwalk – an extra-wide paved pathway along the Bow and Elbow Rivers. You’ll find an upscale gourmet Canadiana restaurant called River Café, as well as Eau Claire Mall and Market, which is home to a number of restaurants, eateries, bars, and shops.
This is a popular area for locals to go biking, walking, or jogging, and it’s also home to a number of events, such as the Calgary Folk Fest and Shakespeare by the Bow. It’s practically the heart of Calgary and is quite central to almost anything you would want to do. It’s also 5-6 blocks away from the downtown Calgary C-train.
The Westin Calgary (4 stars)
This hotel is right in the heart of Eau Claire and is one of our top picks in Calgary. It features a rooftop heated pool and sauna, in-room spa services, free WiFi, and a couple of restaurants such as the Keg Steakhouse & Bar.
Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire (4 stars)
This is another popular hotel right in the heart of Eau Claire, featuring a restaurant and pub, a pool with a waterslide and a hot tub, an on-site fitness center, a hair salon, a gift shop, and a business centre. All suites include a full kitchen, iPod docking stations, and flat-screen TVs.
Regency Suites Hotel (Budget 3 stars)
Featuring an on-site gym, this Calgary hotel is right in the heart of the city and only a 5-minute train ride to Calgary Stampede. All suites include a full kitchen as well as free WiFi. They also offer 24-hour laundry services.
Connected to downtown Calgary by the 10th Street Bridge and the iconic pedestrian-only Peace Bridge, Kensington is a fun, funky, and trendy inner-city neighbourhood. It’s one of our favourite neighbourhoods to stroll around and is somewhat similar to the 17th Avenue area, but on a slightly smaller scale. It also has a distinctly British character and consists of two commerce streets, Kensington Road and 10th Street NW, which includes a mix of unique shops, bars, and restaurants. The nearby pathway along Memorial Drive, which follows the Bow River, is a great place to walk, jog, or cycle. This neighbourhood is also connected by the C-train, which can take you to most places you need to go in the city.
Those looking to actually stay in Kensington only have one option. However, you could easily stay in downtown Calgary and walk to Kensington.
Hotel Arts Kensington (5 stars)
This contemporary hotel is located steps from the Bow River and is less than 2 minutes walk from the Calgary city center. It features an award-winning on-site restaurant on-site and is located right on Memorial Drive. The elegant rooms are tastefully decorated with high ceilings, French doors, modern furniture, and flat-screen TVs. Guests will also enjoy the contemporary artwork in the lobby, as well as the Italian leather chairs and a large fireplace.
East Village Calgary Hotels
This revitalized old neighborhood is now one of the coolest places to visit in Calgary. Located right next to Riverwalk Avenue’s walking path and home to the Studio Bell National Music Centre and world-famous Calgary Library, this is a great place to enjoy a mix of both historic buildings and some of the newest, coolest, and raddest buildings in the city. Speaking of history, this is where you’ll find Fort Calgary, a historic site and museum that’s home to exhibits on the fur trade, early settler life and the Canadian Pacific Railway.
This once-ignored slice of downtown Calgary is now an urban oasis for adventurers with the Riverwalk pathway meandering along the Bow and Elbow rivers, making it a perfect place to combine city exploration with doses of nature. This place is also a short walk to Olympic Plaza, Stephens Avenue, and the Calgary Tower.
Alt Hotel Calgary East Village (4 stars)
This hip, trendy, and Canadian-owned hotel offers an on-site restaurant, free WiFi, a fitness centre, and an excellent location. You can play billiards in the lobby or walk your way to the super-cool National Music Centre.
Homewood Suites by Hilton Calgary Downtown (3 stars)
This is one of the best-selling hotels in Calgary and it offers full kitchenettes in each unit, a fitness centre, a business centre, and free WiFi. It’s walking distance to the Calgary Stampede and Studio Bell and offers a complimentary breakfast each morning. Private parking is available on site.
Hilton Garden Inn Calgary Downtown (4 stars)
Located in the same area as the Homewood Suites featured above, this is also one of the best-selling hotels in Calgary. Guests will find an on-site restaurant, fitness centre, indoor pool, free WiFi, and pet-friendly rooms.
Beltline & 17 Ave Calgary
With the Downtown core to the north, 17th Avenue to the south, and Victoria Park and Stampede Park to the east, the Beltline (also known as Calgary’s “Design District”) is a great place to stay. 17th Ave SW, which was once famous for its Red Mile (tens of thousands of people cheering on the local NHL team), is one of the top places in the city for nightlife. You’ll find dozens of bars and restaurants, as well as shops and boutiques. In May, it’s also famous for the Lilac Street Festival and is also one of the main “party streets” during the Calgary Stampede. In fact, 17th Ave SW leads right to the Stampede grounds.
The Beltline, however, is more of a residential neighbourhood with lots of apartment high-rises, but also many art galleries, home furnishing, and décor stores. It’s often ranked as the top place to live in Calgary.
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Calgary Downtown (3 stars)
Although we live in Calgary, we’ve actually stayed at this hotel before, back when we were attending the International Salsa Festival. It offers modern spacious rooms, an on-site fitness center, free WiFi, and a number of nearby popular restaurants such as The Beltliner and Native Tongues Taqueria. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary breakfast.
Hotel Arts (4 stars)
This is one of our top picks in Calgary. It offers an outdoor pool with a retractable roof, a fitness centre, free WiFi, and an on-site restaurant. In addition, they offer spa services and complimentary bike rentals. They even have free parking! This hotel is very close to the Calgary Stampede grounds.
Best Western Plus Suites Downtown Calgary (3 stars)
This is also one of our top picks in Calgary. It features an on-site gym and sauna, as well as microwaves and refrigerators in every guest room. A daily hot breakfast buffet is provided, as well as free WiFi, a business centre, meeting rooms, and a convenience store. Above ground and underground parking with electric plug-ins is available for a fee and the hotel is very close to 17th Ave SW.
Accommodation in Calgary
Calgary is considered an A-rated tourism city, which means there are lots of things to do and lots of places to stay. Whether you’re looking to browse museums, learn about history, or enjoy an incredible music festival under the backdrop of the city skyline, Calgary is a great place to visit as well as being a great base for exploring the magnificent Canadian Rockies.
Want more? Check out these travel guides below: