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  • Last Updated: 29th July 2014

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Things to do and see in Alberta

Alberta includes some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, five UNESCO World Heritage sites and some of Canada’s most charming cities and towns.

Among the province’s most popular sightseeing destinations are the cities of Edmonton and Calgary, and the mountain towns and national parks of Banff and Jasper. Both cities are based on river valleys so there’s never a shortage of things to see and do.

Calgary

Calgary is host to the annual Calgary Stampede, which is one of the world’s largest rodeos, with no shortage of cowboy boots and Stetson hats. In addition, Calgary boasts a downtown area with innovative skyscrapers and a wide range of shops and restaurants, a vibrant arts and culture scene, beautiful parks, interesting forts and museums and the largest amusement park in western Canada.

Among the top attractions in Calgary are:

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    Devonian Gardens, one of the biggest urban indoor gardens in the world.

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    Fort Calgary, which was built in 1875 by the North West Mounted Police and now provides an interesting glimpse into Western Canada of the 19th Century, and Heritage Park Historical Village, which recreates scenes from pre-1914 Alberta.

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    The Art Gallery of Calgary, the Telus Spark science museum and the Aero Space Museum .

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    Canada Olympic Park, with bobsleigh and luge rides, skiing and snowboarding in winter and, in summer, an exhilarating, 500-metre zipline, an obstacle course, mini-golf and opportunities for hiking, biking and rock climbing.

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    Calgary Tower, which reaches a full 1228 metres above sea level and includes a 360° observation deck with a choice of two restaurants.

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    Calgary Zoo, one of the top zoos in North America.

Edmonton

Alberta’s capital, Edmonton, is the gateway to Canada's North. Situated on a bend of the North Saskatchewan River, it boasts more parkland per resident than any other Canadian city. It’s nicknamed the Festival City, thanks to the large number of festivals it hosts throughout the year.

Among Edmonton’s key attractions for tourists are:

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    The city’s many festivals, including the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, the Edmonton International Street Performers' Festival and, in winter, the Ice on Whyte Festival.

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    West Edmonton Mall, which is North America's largest shopping mall, includes a waterpark, skating rink, Marine Park and even an indoor amusement park.

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    The charming neighbourhood of Old Strathcona for shopping, excellent cafés and restaurants.

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    Fort Edmonton Park, which includes re-creations of scenes, buildings and artefacts from four periods in the city’s history.

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    The Muttart Conservatory botanical gardens, with displays in four distinctive glass pyramids.

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    The newly revamped Art Gallery of Alberta, with its ultra-modern exterior and over 6,000 works of art.

Banff

The town of Banff is located in the Banff National Park, which spans 6,641 square kilometres of magnificent Rocky Mountain scenery. Things not to miss in and around Banff include basking in the hot springs at Upper Hot Springs Pool, visiting the underground cave at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, walking, having a picnic or biking at the incomparably beautiful Lake Minnewanka and following the paved Banff Legacy Trail, for 26 kilometres of beautiful mountain scenery. Also don’t miss the emerald-coloured Lake Louise with Victoria Glacier in the background - why not hike up to Lake Agnes tea house or let the horse train take the strain. Equally beautiful is Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Whilst you're in Banff take up the Banff Gandola, see the Hoodoos and enjoy a walk up Mount Rundle.

Jasper

Like Banff, Jasper is a town and a national park. The park features incomparable scenery, with craggy snow-topped mountains, turquoise lakes and dramatic glaciers. There are ample opportunities for walking, hiking, biking and even white-water rafting. In the town of Jasper, you’ll find a good mix of restaurants, comfortable lodging and art galleries. Top Jasper attractions also include Canada’s leading resort golf course at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, the Jasper Tramway, which takes passengers to the top of Mount Whistler for stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and boat trips on the beautiful Pyramid Lake and Maligne Lake. For the ultimate experiance in Jasper why don't you tour the area by Harley Davison?