Calgary Stampede – Yee Haw!

Alberta. Canada’s Texas. Literally. Cowboys, big hair, rodeos, farming, and oil. And every July (usually the first two weeks of the year) they hold the Calgary Stampede, a collection of all of these things rolled into one.

Calgary Stampede Dancers

Calgary Stampede Dancers

I first learned about the Stampede when I moved to the west coast and was talking to a coworker about things to do over the fourth of July weekend that didn’t involve staying in Seattle. He suggested that I do a search for the stampede and see if any seats were still available. Seats have a tendency to sell out very, very quickly, and flights are rare. Hotels know you’re stuck, with few options, and main line hotels (such as Hyatt, Westin, and Marriott) go for upwards of $500 a night.

Hyatt during Stampede - NO THANKS!

Hyatt during Stampede – NO THANKS!

Notice how just 2 days after the stampede is over, the rates become slightly more palatable.

Hyatt After Stampede - much more reasonable

Hyatt After Stampede – much more reasonable

The secret to getting a good deal at a downtown hotel during Stampede is using Hyatt and redeeming Gold Passport points. Hyatt is a Chase transfer partner, and transfers Hyatt with Points Calgaryare instant. So as long as you see the space available you can usually get those transferred and confirmed in less than a minute. Rates are only 12,000 a night and for me, that’s a fantastic use of points. I’m not sure I’d pay that for a non Stampede night, since the rate is pretty reasonable otherwise.

 

When you get tickets to a show in the grandstand you also get admission to the Stampede’s fair, which is just like most of the state fairs that you and I know and love. Fried foods, Whack-A-Mole, Quasi-dangerous rides that were assembled the night before and enough rednecks to make it truly a Texas-like experience.

Stampede Fairgrounds

Stampede Fairgrounds

Stampede Fairgrounds

Stampede Fairgrounds

We secured tickets to the evening stagecoach races at around $60CAD each, and afterwards there was an evening show including fireworks, music, song/dance numbers, and even a swearing in ceremony for immigrants who have made their pledge to become Canadian citizens. Take that USA State Fairs!

Calgary Stampede nighttime show with fireworks

Calgary Stampede nighttime show with fireworks

Calgary Stampede nighttime show

Calgary Stampede nighttime show

Swearing in ceremony for new citizens

Swearing in ceremony for new citizens

If you’re looking for daytime activities, Calgary is a very walkable city. There are breweries, distilleries, parks, and even Banff National Park if you wanted to drive a little bit outside of the city (approx. 1 hour).

Downtown Calgary park

Downtown Calgary park

If you’re going to go, don’t forget your checklist: Cowboy hat, beer, jeans, boots, and country music. With that said, get your tickets, as this year’s Stampede starts July 8!

 

Author: Ben Nickel-D'Andrea

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2 Comments

  1. remember that the US dollar is worth more in Canada so the $494 dollar a night canadian room is only $385 US. Takes some of the sting away. Calgary is also in an economic downturn some hotel deals should be easier to find. There a loads of hotels. The Hyatt is the high end downtown hotel. There are many other to chose from and Calgary has a great transit system and light rail transit that stops at the Stampede grounds.

    Come and Visit, you wont be disappointed.

    A PROUD CALGARIAN….

    Post a Reply
    • Absolutely! We’ve already been to Calgary twice in a couple years and wouldn’t hesitate on going back, even if the US dollar weren’t as favorable to us.

      Post a Reply

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