The City of Calgary (403/268-2489, www.calgary.ca ) operates a wide variety of recreational facilities, including swimming pools and golf courses, throughout the city. They also run a variety of excursions, such as canoeing and horseback riding, as well as inexpensive courses ranging from fly-tying to rock-climbing.
A good way to get a feel for the city is by walking or biking along the 210 kilometers (130 miles) of paved trails within the city limits. The trail system is concentrated along the Bow River as it winds through the city; other options are limited. Along the riverbank, the trail passes through numerous parks and older neighborhoods to various sights such as Fort Calgary  and Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.
From Fort Calgary, a trail passes under 9th Avenue SE and follows the Elbow River, crossing it several times before ending at Glenmore Reservoir and Heritage Park . Ask at tourist information centers for a map detailing all trails.
The ski slopes at Canada Olympic Park  (west of downtown along the TransCanada Hwy., 403/247-5452) are the perfect place to hone your downhill mountain-bike skills. Full-suspension-bike rental is $40 for two hours or $60 for a full day, while a day pass for the chairlift is $28.
Brewster (403/221-8242, www.brewster.ca ) runs a Calgary City Sights tour lasting four hours. Included on the itinerary are downtown, various historic buildings, Canada Olympic Park, and Fort Calgary. The tours run June through September and cost adult $53, child $27. Pickups are at most major hotels. Brewster also runs day tours departing Calgary  daily to Banff , Lake Louise , and the Columbia Icefield . The latter is a grueling 15-hour trip that departs at 6 a.m. Brewster’s downtown office is located on Stephen Avenue Walk at the corner of Centre Street.
Calaway Park (10 km/6.2 mi west of city limits along the TransCanada Hwy., 403/240-3822, May–June Sat.–Sun. 10 a.m.–7 p.m., July–Aug. daily 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Sept.–mid-Oct. Sat.–Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.) is western Canada’s largest outdoor amusement park, with 27 rides including a double-loop roller coaster. Other attractions include an enormous maze, Western-themed mini-golf, a zoo for the kids, a trout-fishing pond, live entertainment in the Western-style “Showtime Theatre,” and many eateries. Admission including most rides is $32 for those aged 7–49, $25 for those aged 3–6 and 50 and over.
When Calgarians talk about going skiing or snowboarding for the day, they are usually referring to the five world-class winter resorts in the Rockies, a one- to two-hour drive to the west. The city’s only downhill facilities are at Canada Olympic Park  (403/247-5452), which has three chairlifts and a T-bar serving a vertical rise of 150 meters (500 ft). Although the slopes aren’t extensive, on the plus side are a long season (mid-Nov. to late March), night skiing (weeknights until 9 p.m.), extensive lodge facilities including rentals, and excellent teaching staff. Lift tickets can be purchased on an hourly basis ($28 for four hours) or for a full day ($38). Seniors pay just $16 for a full day on the slopes.
There’s no better way to spend a winter’s night in Calgary than by attending a home game of the Calgary Flames (403/777-2177, www.calgaryflames.com ), the city’s National Hockey League franchise. The regular season runs October–April, and home games are usually held in the early evening.
The Stampeders (403/289-0205, www.stampeders.com ) are Calgary ’s franchise in the Canadian Football League (CFL), an organization similar to the American NFL. The season runs July–November. Home games are played at the 35,500-seat McMahon Stadium (1817 Crowchild Trail NW). From downtown, take the C-train to Banff Trail Station. Tickets range $29–89.
It is somewhat ironic that a city known around the world for its rodeo is also home to the world’s premier show-jumping facility, Spruce Meadows (Spruce Meadows Way, 403/974-4200, www.sprucemeadows.com ). Ever-encroaching residential developments do nothing to take away from the wonderfully refined atmosphere within the white picket fence that surrounds the sprawling 120-hectare (300-acre) site. The facility comprises 6 grassed outdoor rings, 2 indoor arenas, 7 stables holding 700 horse stalls, 90 full-time employees (and many thousands of volunteers), and its own television station that broadcasts to 90 countries.
Spruce Meadows hosts a packed schedule of tournaments that attract the world’s best riders and up to 50,000 spectators a day. The four big tournaments are the National, the first week of June; Canada One, the last week of June; the North American, the first week of July; and the Masters, the first week of September. The Masters is the world’s richest show-jumping tournament, with one million dollars up for grabs on the Sunday afternoon ride-off.
General admission is free. Except on the busiest of days, this will get you a prime viewing position at any of the rings. The exception is tournament weekends, when covered reserved seating ($25–35) is the best way to watch the action. To get to Spruce Meadows on tournament weekends, take C-train south to Fish Creek–Lacombe Station, from which bus transfers to the grounds are free. By car, take Macleod Trail south to Highway 22X and turn right toward the mountains along Spruce Meadows Way.