Pack your bags: 5 trips to take in the Calgary area in 2018

January 12, 2018

By Seema Dhawan

With its stunning mountains, sweeping prairies and remarkable desert badlands, Alberta is a world-class travel destination. With so much to see, it's hard for travellers looking to explore Calgary and area to know where to start. With 2018 upon us, there's no better time to start planning your getaway calendar – and we've got your year covered. [Photo courtesy of Pam Doyle/Canmore Winter Carnival]

Pack your bags: 5 trips to take in the Calgary area in 2018

Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a stunner all year-round, but there's a fairytale-like beauty about the frosted lake in the winter. Kick off your year of travel at the world-famous destination beloved for its mountain sights and unbeatable outdoor adventures.

When you should visit in 2018: Grab a hot chocolate and explore the area during the Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival, scheduled Jan. 18 to 28. The festival is a veritable winter wonderland, with horse carriages, a torchlight dinner and snowshoeing expeditions all on the itinerary. Of course, the main attraction brings the best international ice carvers to Alberta to create mesmerizing pieces as part of a competition. Indulge in the beauty of the winter at this classic event.

Though the official dates of the festival run from Jan. 18 to 28, the ice creations will remain on the premises until they melt.


Located a little more than an hour's drive west of Calgary, the town of Canmore is known for its beautiful views, countless hikes and charming townsite. Like Lake Louise, Canmore is particularly magical in the wintertime, making it a great stop for your second excursion of the year.

When you should visit in 2018:  The Canmore Winter Carnival, scheduled Feb. 1 to 11, has long been a draw for Albertans situated around the Canmore and Calgary area. The festival features dog sled races, hockey games and an ice carving competition. Best of all, the valley vantage point of Canmore means you'll truly be within the Rockies. Stay in the area for its stellar dining and shopping scene, with restaurants like Tapas and the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company among popular local options.


Banff is a beauty that mountain town postcards are made of. From a picturesque downtown with the backdrop of the Rockies, quaint restaurants, natural hot springs and the beautiful Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff more than lives up to expectations.

When you should visit in 2018: Head out for your third excursion of 2018 to Banff during the Canada Day long weekend. What better way to celebrate all things Canada than to indulge in the park's natural beauty and take in a magical fireworks display? The Town of Banff also hosts a number of events throughout the day July 1, including the famous Canada Day parade.

Canadian Badlands

Dinosaur fossils are reason enough to visit the mysterious rocky formations that are the Canadian Badlands. Take the whole family out to Drumheller, located about an hour and a half northeast of Calgary, where you'll take in remarkable coulee landscapes and meet dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

When you should visit in 2018: On your fourth trip out of Calgary in 2018, why not head out to Drumheller to take in the Canadian Passion Play at the Badlands Amphitheatre? The natural outdoor amphitheatre plays host to a play focused on the life of Jesus Christ – a yearly tradition for many Calgarians. The play runs on select days between July 6 to 22.


What else is going on in Calgary in 2018?



Situated approximately one hour east of Calgary, Rosebud is a hamlet of less than 100 residents – a tiny town, to be sure, but one that still manages to draw more than 35,000 guests each year thanks to Rosebud Theatre. The theatre, which is also home to a professional performing arts school, presents multiple productions each year and draws Albertans to the hamlet to check out the local dining and shopping available.

When you should visit in 2018: Plan a trip to this tiny town in August for its annual 15 Minutes of Fame music festival, scheduled this year on Aug. 26. Entering its 13th year, the festival features emerging and veteran artists alike. Head there a day earlier and catch a show (or two) at the theatre and know you'll be back for more.

Those are just five trips to get you started exploring the natural beauty and exciting festivals around Calgary in 2018. Wondering where to wrap up the year? That’s the beautiful thing about Alberta. From a cozy mountain celebration in a cabin in the Rockies, a night of dancing in Banff or an evening of world-class drinks and dining in Calgary, the year is yours for the taking.

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