Everyone will tell you that you have to experience the Calgary Stampede at least once in your lifetime. This 10-day mega-festival, celebrating Alberta’s western culture, is an opportunity to wear denim from head to toe, to attend rodeos, to see many concerts, and more. Here are some tips from our teams at Le Germain Hotel Calgary and the Alt Hotel Calgary East Village to ensure you fully enjoy your visit to this year’s Stampede, from July 5 to July 14, 2019.
Choose your tickets wisely
According to Ben Phillips, concierge at Le Germain Hotel Calgary, you should allow yourself two to three days to see everything worth seeing at the Calgary Stampede. He suggests a day at the Rodeo, a day at the Evening Show and a day for the Agriculture Showcases, carnival rides, food trucks and more.
Buying tickets works like this: you need a ticket for entry to the site and a ticket for each rodeo, show or concert you want to attend. Buying a ticket for an evening show includes entry to the site, but a general admission ticket doesn’t include evening shows.
A daily general admission ticket costs $18. If you plan to go there several times, you better get the Superpass, valid for 10 days, at a cost of $39.
Some important things to consider when ordering tickets, according to Ben Phillips, is whether or not you want to be undercover. "From personal experience, I prefer to sit under a roof to be covered as it can get very hot at times during the Rodeo and also in case it rains it is nice to have shelter", he explains.
To look at price differences and seat locations you can take a look at the Calgary Stampede Virtual Venue.
For the Rodeo many people prefer to sit at the Grandstand main level, whereas for the Evening show (The Chuck Wagon Races) it is better to have a seat on the balcony to get an overview of the entire race track.
There is a way to save money or even get to the Stampede for free. On the occasion of certain special thematic days, admission is indeed free at certain times of the day.
July 5 : free until 1 :30 PM July 7: free from 8 to 11 July 10: free from 7 to 9
Other deals can be found here.
There are also free concerts daily on the Coca Cola Stage. Big names like Feist, T-Pain, Metric, Chromeo and Death Cab for Cutie have been announced.
Use public transportation to get from your hotel to the festivities. Parking spaces are expensive and hard to find.
A tip: have cash on you. Many vendors don’t accept cards. Although there are ATM machines on the site, the queue to access them can be very long.
What to wear
Dust off your cowboy boots and hats and wear your best plaid shirt! If you do not have cowboy accessories, you can purchase them on the spot at the Stampede’s official boutiques as well as at several Calgary stores, such as Lammle’s Western Wear, Smithbilt Hats, Albert Boot Co. and Irvines Saddles.
In 2020, the Stampede will take place from July 3 to 12 and July 9 to 18 in 2021. Because dates are known years in advance, it’s easy to plan your trip ahead of time. You can even book your room at Le Germain Hotel Calgary or the Alt Hotel Calgary East Village one year in advance.
Photos: Calgary Tourism