Calgary Stampede

Saddle Up!

Denim, plaid shirts and leather boots are de rigeur during the Calgary Stampede, the city's annual boot-stomping cowboy festival. Held in July and billed as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," Stampede is a legendary 10-day celebration of all things Western, encompassing rodeo competitions, chuckwagon races and glittering musical extravaganzas.

In the heart of downtown Calgary, the Fairmont Palliser couldn't be better placed for spotting Stetson-clad Stampede-goers and enjoying the city's buzzing festival atmosphere. It's steps from Calgary's finest shops, restaurants and bars and an easy 15-minute stroll to and from Stampede Park, where the main events take place.

Be sure to buy your rodeo tickets well in advance to secure the best seats. This also saves having to line up to purchase a general admission ticket when you arrive. If you're in town for the Stampede Parade on opening day, a Parade Day kick-off package gives you a bleacher seat for the downtown parade of marching bands, floats and riders, plus a ticket to that day's rodeo. Fairmont Palliser guests also have access to great seats to catch the parade go by. Make sure you're up early to snag your seat right in front of the hotel.

During Stampede, the hotel's public spaces are outfitted with cowboy-inspired décor, and rustic cocktails are served in mason jars. Be sure to visit the hotel's special booth where Stampede volunteer ambassadors offer tips on the festival's best adventures and activities.

Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Colin Way