After our long flight and errand running yesterday we both slept a solid 10 and 11 hours to catch up. Waking up around 9.30 we got up and ready for our first day at the Calgary Stampede so once we were dressed we headed out in search of breakfast. Canada has this great place called Jugo Juice that sells all different dairy free smoothies and breakfast options. I got this awesome smoothie bowl which had mango smoothie on the bottom and granola, nuts and chia seeds on the top. Yum! Awesome start to the day.
Seeing as we pre purchased our rodeo and evening show tickets, entry to the stampede was free but normally it’s $20 per adult. Inside the stampede it is impossible to see everything in one day. There are 3 pavilions, one with shopping/art, one with animals/petting zoo and one with a big range of international foods. All throughout the park are food stalls, merchandise stalls, arcade games and various rides. There are free shows all around the park including a stunt show, heavy pull horse show, dog show, acrobat show and various music stages surrounded by beer gardens. Finally the main events of the show are the rodeo and evening grand spectacular.
We arrived at opening time 11am giving ourselves enough time to explore the route to the rodeo grandstand before grabbing some food and finding our seat for the show. The rodeo was enjoyable even though it rained for part of it and there were a few incidents that involved horses and Cowboys being lucky to survive (Don’t worry, animal lovers were onto that straight away with plenty of protesting for animal rights). After the rodeo is was more food and exploring until the evening show which was a little boring at the beginning because of the amount of chuck wagon races but as soon as the big ass tractor brought out the main stage things got interesting. The evening show is like watching a short version of Eurovision meets a Las Vegas show like cirque du soleil but for a third of the price and with a huge fireworks display at the end.
The evening show finishes at 11pm each night and marks the end of the stampede so we headed on home to unload our backpacks and grab a jacket. After our quick change of bags we headed out in search of some Calgary nightlife. First stop a bar called National on 10th which wasn’t only a bar but also a bowling alley on the lower level and a bar / hang out on the upper level with pool and ping pong tables. This bar also made great cocktails. We moved along to the place next door which was called Craft Beer Market and was another big place serving as a sports bar and restaurant. Unfortunately nightlife in Calgary ends at 2am so around this time when the bar started clearing out and there was no where to continue the party we were offered our own private walking tour of the city by the nice Calgarian guy we met at Craft. We decided we wouldn’t get another chance to explore the city with nice weather and someone to guide us so we took him up on his offer. He showed us some cute gardens and good places to eat around downtown Calgary. Finally we decided after 40 minutes of walking that it was time to sleep and caught a cab home to bed.
A bit of food porn from today’s stampede experience…