Layover in Calgary – the ultimate guide 2024

Published by: BouncePosted Updated
Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is the fastest-growing city in Canada, and although it is an ultra-modern destination, it has never lost touch with its pioneering roots. Calgary International Airport serves not only Canada but also the US and many European destinations. It is not uncommon, therefore, for passengers to find themselves on a layover in this city.

Waiting for hours in an airport for a connection can be tedious. At only 14 kilometers from the downtown area, there is no reason why your Calgary layover can't be an opportunity to explore a destination you might not otherwise have had the opportunity to explore.

There is an easy bus connection to the city center, but to make the most of your time in Calgary you will need to plan ahead. One thing that will make your visit much more pleasant will be to store your bags in a Calgary luggage storage service so that you are free to explore unencumbered. This applies just as much to the overnight stopover as it does to shorter Calgary layovers.

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6 hour layover in Calgary

Six hours doesn't leave you too much time, especially if you need to collect bags and clear customs. Route 300 of the bus service offers an express service to the heart of downtown Calgary and you will also have the option of catching a taxi.

Glenbow Museum is an art museum whose motto is "art is for everyone," and they go out of their way to lived up to that statement. The works on display start with the First Nations and then take you on a journey through time right up to the most modern of creations. They have been in operation for fifty-three years and are constantly expanding and rejuvenating their displays to be able to offer a memorable experience to their visitors.

  • With customs to clear, six hours doesn't leave you too long to explore so plan in advance.
  • The 300 bus service is an ideal way to get to the downtown area.
  • Glenbow Museum and the Calgary Tower are both options to consider on a short layover.
Calgary skyline at night

8 hour layover in Calgary

Depending on how much time you have, you may also want to visit the Calgary Tower or treat this as an attraction on its own. The 191-meter high tower was designed by W.G.Milne and offers three hundred and sixty-degree views of the city. The nearby Steven Avenue Walk offers a wide range of dining options so you can sample some local cuisine while in the area. It’s a great way to explore the vibrant heart of the city, and you could easily spend an hour or more at the Tower and in downtown Calgary.

  • Head to Calgary Tower to see one of the city’s most iconic buildings and get great views. On a clear day, you may even see the Rocky Mountains.
  • Get some retail therapy or just enjoy a leisurely meal or drink in one of the many restaurants in the downtown area.
Bow River, Calgary, Alberta

10-hour layover in Calgary

Ten hours gives you enough time to drop your bags at a Calgary Airport luggage storage service before heading to town to explore. This city teems with parks and outdoor spaces that just beg to be explored on foot – the perfect break between flights. Follow Centre Street to Sien Lok Park and then cross the River to Rotary Park. If you climb the boardwalk stairs, you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the city skyline and some of the fabulous houses in the area.

Along the way, you will pass many coffee shops and restaurants, but you may want to hold off and make your way to Crossroads Market. Here there are over 150 individual stands offering you an almost infinite eating experience. No matter where your culinary tastes lie, there is likely to be something that will meet your needs. In addition, you will be able to peruse crafts and art by local artisans. 

  • With a ten-hour stopover you will have time to extend your visit, but remember to allow time to get through security on your return.
  • Calgary is a nice city to explore on foot which enables you to get some exercise between flights.

12-hour layover in Calgary

Twelve hours gives just that little bit of extra time so that you can consider more than just one option for your Calgary stopover. One of the city's premier tourist destinations is Calgary Park. This living history village is one of the largest in North America and offers a fascinating insight into life in Calgary, starting with the first fur traders in the 1860's. 

The city has seen many changes since then, and this museum-cum-living-history-village tracks them all. It has attractions suitable for all ages and a regular line-up of special events as well as a shop and eating facilities.  All in all, it offers and an ideal escape from the airport during your Calgary International Airport layover.

  • The Calgary Park offers something for all of the family and is large enough for you to stretch your legs between flights.
  • If you are careful with your time management, you could easily combine this visit with a quick walking exploration of downtown Calgary.
Calgary, Canada

24-hour layover in Calgary

With an overnight layover in Calgary, you immediately open yourself to a whole range of possibilities that wouldn't be practical on a shorter stopover. After dropping your extra bags at a Calgary luggage locker service, you might be interested in choosing some of the many attractions that will take only a couple of hours to visit. In between, you can dive into a local restaurant or do some wandering on foot.

Fish Creek Provincial Park lies just south of the city and offers the perfect place to do some hiking, try your hand at fishing, or just explore the great outdoors. What's more, it is free so you can spend a few hours there without worrying about blowing the budget.

The Calgary Zoo will take a little more time to explore thoroughly, so if you opt for this one allow between three and five hours. It is less than a mile and a half from downtown Calgary.

Stephen Avenue Walk is a great way to lose a few hours. Here you will find a wide range of shops and restaurants, but you will also be exposed to street performers and local artists. Don't be surprised if the locals refer to this area as the heritage district.

The Military Museums offer displays from all of Canada's armed services and are the perfect spot to kill some time if you are a military buff. Two to three hours are recommended, but you might find yourself spending much longer in this fascinating museum.

  • There are enough options when on a layover in Calgary to keep anyone entertained.
  • Even on an overnight layover, you will need to manage your time carefully to do all that most attracts you.
  • To make the most of your visit, don't try to do too much.

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