Have you always wanted to attend the amazing Calgary Stampede, which is held in Calgary, Alberta? Then read on! Here is all of the information you need to know to make your trip to this king of rodeos as enjoyable as possible, including tips on finding great motels in Calgary and what to wear to the Stampede.
About the Calgary Stampede
When you think about cowboys, chuck wagon races and bucking broncs, you may not immediately think about Canada, right? But Calgary, Alberta is home to a huge ten-day rodeo and festival, the Calgary Stampede, that attracts more than one million visitors a year for some rootin', tootin' cowboy fun. The event was first held in 1912 and was originally called "Frontier Days and Cowboy Championship Contest." Today, the Stampede is more than just a rodeo competition. It also includes a variety of events and shows, including concerts from big-name acts, amusement park rides, farm animals, showcases and motocross exhibitions. The Stampede also features a great marketplace where you can pick up a great cowboy hat, boots and local crafts.
With more than a million visitors and participants descending on the city of Calgary every July for this massive event, it's important to book your accommodations for the Stampede at least a month in advance. When searching for a hotel, you should consider the following:
- Stampede Park -- the location of this great event -- is located southeast of downtown Calgary. So you might want to start your search for accommodations in this area.
- Visitors can take Calgary's C-train (light rail) transit system to the park. You have a choice of two train stations, Victoria Park/Stampede Station, which is located at the north end, and the Erlton/Stampede Station, which is located at the south end. So if you can't find close-by accommodations, look for one that is close to a C-train station.
- Hotel rooms will be pricey throughout the city. This is the high season for motels in Calgary.
- When researching accommodations, remember to factor in things like free breakfasts, whether the motel offers free Internet or charges for the service, and whether or not there are parking fees when comparing motel room prices.
- You will want to spend at least two days at the Stampede -- it's huge and there's so much to see -- so book your room accordingly. And when choosing the dates for your visit, you should check to see when the chuck wagon races will be held. These wild races are typically the highlight of the Calgary Stampede.
Weather and Packing Tips
The weather in Calgary is very changeable, but you can typically expect daytime temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s and rain. And, remember, the Calgary Stampede is held outdoors, so you'll want to pack for all types of weather conditions. And Tripadvisor suggests that you definitely bring a windbreaker jacket if you are planning to attend the chuck wagon races or any events held outdoors in the evenings. In addition, you should also:
- Pack your casual clothes, especially jeans. Think cowboy and the wild, wild west when packing your bags.
- Wear shoes or boots that you have already broken in. You will be doing a lot of walking at the Stampede, so you don't want to wear brand new boots or shoes at this event. Your feet will hate you if you do.
- Consider wearing pants or skirts with elastic waists. Why? You're going to find some amazing -- and strange -- food at this large event, including the Stampede's famous mini-fried donuts, pizza topped with farm-raised scorpions, deep-fried butter and prairie oysters (bull testicles).
The Calgary Stampede is a lot of fun, especially if you book your accommodations ahead of time and pack well for this event.