Explore the heart of Calgary from the 191-meter Calgary Tower. Whether you take the elevator up, race to run up the stairs or dine at the revolving restaurant on top, we’ve got you covered with first-hand experience and tips for visiting Calgary Tower.
Calgary Tower is an iconic landmark of the 4th largest city in Canada. It was also our first stop when we visited Calgary over a decade ago, and we have returned several times.
Visiting Calgary Tower always appears on every list of things to do in Calgary, no matter the season. While European cities have castles, North American cities have observation towers as landmarks. So it’s understandable why many visitors are drawn to visit.
You get to see Calgary from above and get the best perspective of the city. On a clear day, you can see the Canadian Rockies on the west and prairies on the east. Calgary Tower also offers a unique experience of standing on the glass floor with the 9 Avenue below you. It’s a fun experience not all visitors are willing to try.
Our Calgary Tower travel guide includes essential info for your visit, including basic facts, how to get there, admission fees, opening hours, and first-hand tips to race up the stairs or dine in the revolving restaurant.
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Calgary is Canada’s sunniest city, averaging 333 yearly sunny days. So, even in colder temperatures, there are many amazing things to do in Calgary in winter, and Calgary Tower is one of them. In fact, it’s one of the three top-rated attractions in Calgary.
The 3 most popular attractions in Calgary
- Calgary Tower, where you get to experience Calgary from a different point of view and can see as far as the Rocky Mountains.
- Heritage Park Historical Village is the largest living history museum in Canada.
- 3-hour Sightseeing Bus Tour during which you see the most important landmarks of Calgary.
Quick facts about Calgary Tower
Before I share the facts, I need to mention that before you go up the tower, you can read lots about the construction and different observatories around the World in the vestibule.
- Calgary Tower was built in 1968
- It used to be the biggest building in Calgary, but now it’s in the 7th place.
- Its original name was Husky Tower (after Husky Oil Company), and three years later, it was renamed Calgary Tower.
- For comparison, Calgary Tower is 191 meters, Vancouver Lookout is 168 meters, and the Empire State Building is 443 meters.
- There are 802 steps leading to the top, which you can climb during an annual race in March.
- Calgary Tower is the largest Olympic torch in the World
- The tower has 132 LED lights on the outside and even has a lighting schedule when it changes the colours to honour special dates
How to get to Calgary Tower
Calgary Tower is located at 101 9 Avenue SW downtown, and you can easily see it from many places around the city.
Calgary Tower by public transport
If you’re further from downtown, take the C-train to the city center and get off at 1st Street SW or Centre Street. From there, it’s only a short walk. And if you’re taking a bus, look for bus stops 5518, 7380, and 3884.
Calgary Tower by car
The recommended parking lot is Palliser Parkade. The entrance is located on the 10th Avenue. This parking lot was closed when we visited, so we found street parking quite easily. When you purchase a parking ticket, you can park on the street for 2 hours from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday. Outside these times and days, street parking is free.
Opening hours & admission fees
Calgary Tower is open year-round.
Summer hours are June to August from 10 am to 10 pm daily. Winter hours are September to May from 10 am to 9 pm daily.
You can buy admission in person or online in advance, which is a bit cheaper. Buy your Calgary Tower tickets right here.
- 19 Cad/adult (21 Cad in person)
- 17 Cad/senior (age 65+)
- 9 Cad/child (ages 4-12)
Visiting the Calgary Tower
Calgary Tower by elevator
Since you purchase the tickets in advance, you can skip the line when you arrive. You walk towards an elevator, which takes 60 seconds to reach the top.
Once at the observation deck, you can take in the 360-degree views. From 191 meters above the ground, the views are spectacular.
Since Calgary is located at 1,045 meters above sea level, the Calgary Tower is the highest observation deck in the World at 1,228 meters above sea level.
After your visit, you can head up to Sky360 restaurant for drinks – if seats are available, which leads me to the next option.
Calgary Tower from the revolving restaurant
Another option to have an amazing view of Calgary from above is the dining experience at Sky360, the revolving restaurant just above the observation deck. In this case, there is no need to purchase Calgary Tower tickets; you will see the same from the restaurant.
They recommend reservations for the restaurant; you can book directly here.
Their opening hours are:
- Brunch on Saturdays & Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm
- Lunch during the weekdays from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
- Dinners Sunday to Thursday from 5 pm to 11 pm, and Friday & Saturday from 5 pm to midnight
When booking, you can choose the time reserved for your 2-hour dining experience. The best thing is the restaurant is revolving and makes a full circle in about 45 minutes, so you see the 360-degree views during your meal.
We visited Sky360 for a birthday lunch and were very satisfied with our meal choices. For starters, we had Shaved prosciutto and Poplar bluff potato croquettes. We had Soffrito’s casarecce and Steak frites as a main course – I highly recommend all of these! As a special treat, everyone celebrating birthdays gets free ice cream.
Calgary Tower race on foot
For some people, it’s a race; for others, it’s a challenge to test their stamina and see if they can reach the top.
This special event runs every Tuesday in March. The Calgary Tower ticket is 50% off for all racers. This is the only time the staircase up the tower is open.
There are 802 stairs up the Calgary Tower, and many people love the challenge of getting to the top as many times as possible. I climbed up twice but met a girl on her 7th climb, and even met firefighters with their gear on for training.
It’s a gruelling climb as you can hardly catch your breath without fresh air on the stairwell. At least you can admire the murals during your water breaks. All murals are Alberta or Canada-themed, and since they’re on every level to the top, it’s called “Tallest gallery in the West.”
When we reached the top, there was a DJ set up with funky music as everyone was celebrating finishing their climb and taking proud pictures on the glass floor.
As you can see, there are many ways to explore Calgary Tower and its stunning views of the city, the prairies, and the Rocky Mountains. Whether you’re local or visiting, I highly recommend visiting and experiencing it uniquely however you like.
More fun activities in Calgary
- Calgary Zoo
- Hot Chocolate Festival
- Ice Skating at Olympic Plaza
- Global Fest
- B-Line Indoor Bike Park
- 50 Awesome Things to Do With Kids in Calgary
- 15 Day Hikes near Calgary