While it doesn’t have centuries-old architecture like Europe or glittering temples like you’ll find in Asian cities, Calgary’s urban streetscapes combined with its proximity to the mountains makes it a great spot for photographers. Here are some of the most photogenic spots in the city, whether you’re looking for a backdrop worthy of a bridal party or simply want to beef up your Instagram gallery.
The Rundle Ruins
One of the city’s best-kept secrets, you’ll find this group of ruins along 12 Ave. S.E. near the Saddledome. There are a few different sandstone formations, which means there are still plenty to go around if you find yourself there at the same time as a bride and groom—which is pretty much guaranteed to happen if you visit on a Saturday during the summer.
This huge metal sculpture sits in front of the massive Bow Tower on Centre Street and 6 Avenue. A wire portrait of a girl’s head, it was the subject of scorn when it was first unveiled. However, Calgarians have grown to love it and it’s now become a famous site in the city—just don’t try to climb it!
This area has been completely transformed over the past decade into a vibrant, hip, happening area. Sandwiched between the Bow River and downtown, it has one of the city’s most enviable spots and makes the most of it. Photogs love the glimmering National Music Centre which changes colour depending on the sunlight, as well as the historic Simmons Building.
Another one of those controversial art projects (due to its $25 million price tag), the Peace Bridge has arguably become one of the most photographed spots in the entire city since opening in 2012. The bright-red steel beams are a shutterbug’s dream, and the fact that its backdrop happens to be the glittering downtown skyline and the bright green river doesn’t hurt much either. You can find the Peace Bridge along the Bow River pathway, just off 7 Street S.W.
Scotsman’s Hill in the southeast community of Ramsay is a favourite of photographers thanks to its unique perspective of the city. Overlooking the aptly-named Saddledome arena, it offers a fantastic vantage point of the city’s high-rises and is also a prime spot for watching fireworks during the Calgary Stampede.
Surrounded by towering skyscrapers, 8 Avenue has made the most of its surroundings thanks to some cool sculptures that line the popular thoroughfare. Of note are the 10 ‘tree’ sculptures which reach up to 26 metres high, and can be found near the twin Bankers Hall buildings. Another popular spot for portraits and wedding photos is the walkway alongside the Hudson’s Bay building on 1 Street S.W.
A favourite spot for lovebirds, the views from this affluent community just outside the city centre are extraordinary. After heading up a steep hill, you’ll reach the cliff side which looks straight over downtown. Not only is this a great place to watch the Canada Day fireworks, but it’s also great for checking out Christmas lights during the holidays.
Central Memorial Park
The site of a historic library, this beautiful park in the heart of downtown Calgary is a great place to unwind. Not only is the library itself a great backdrop, but there are also meticulously manicured gardens, numerous fountains including some that light up at night, war memorials and a great little restaurant. Central Memorial Park is located on 12 Avenue and 2 Street S.W. in the Beltline.
Hillcrest Avenue lookout
This tiny slice of land boasts one of the best vantage points in the city. With an unobstructed view of the downtown skyline as well as views of the Mission and Beltline communities, it’s also a prime spot for watching the Calgary Stampede fireworks. Located in the community of Mount Royal, the quiet park has pretty gardens and a couple of benches, perfect for sitting back and enjoying the view.
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