Best Places to Take Photos In and Around Calgary
Best Places to Take Photos In and Around Calgary
In the City: Iconic Architecture and Buildings
The Calgary Tower can be seen rising from the city’s heart and can be captured as part of the Calgary skyline from vantage points like Scotsman’s Hill and Crescent Heights. For an alternative perspective, head to the 191-metre-high observation deck for a 360-degree view of Calgary.
Over 100-years-old, this former mattress factory is a dream location for anyone with a creative eye. Original elements including the faded signage, brick walls and solid pine features make for some truly stunning pics. Fuel up after your photoshoot at the Simmons Building with food and drink from Phil & Sebastian, Charbar and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery.
“The East Village is a great place to capture early morning light and provides epic sunrise photos. Phil & Sebastian inside the Simmons Building also makes incredible coffee. For a unique angle, try crossing the Skipping Stone Bridge, head into St. Patrick's Island, and set up along the riverbank. From there you have great views of the Calgary Tower, the Bow Tower, Fort Calgary, downtown and the East Village.” - Trevor Lalonde
See musicians and buskers perform, couples proposing and people snapping pics of this striking piece of architecture from a range of unique perspectives.
“Day or night, this iconic bridge provides great shots from both the north and south shore of the Bow River. Whether capturing photos inside the bridge, outside the bridge, or a couple blocks away, you’re sure to be happy with the results. For a unique photo head under the bridge on the north side of the river at night and aim your camera back towards downtown, set up a long exposure on your tripod to take in all the light off the water. Cool right!?!” - Trevor Lalonde
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre
Inspired by the design of musical instruments, Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, is the state-of-the-art home to music in Canada. Use your lens to capture various angles of the exterior or venture inside to experience the light and shapes created by the different surfaces and design elements.
In the City: Public Art and Meeting Spots
Since it’s 2015 installation on St. Patrick’s Island, Michel de Broin’s Bloom sculpture has become a popular landmark for park-goers and photographers alike. Check out the sculpture against the early evening sky for a stunning photo opportunity.
In 2013, Calgary joined the ranks of London, New York City and Dubai as a proud owner of one of Spanish artist Jaume Plensa’s fantastic urban sculptures. The Wonderland sculpture sits below the Bow Tower so you capture both in one great photograph.
Join the growing list of Instagrammers who stop and take a photo along Stephen Avenue. The photogenic pedestrian mall is home to the visually-stunning Galleria Trees between 2nd and 3rd Street; a series of ten metal sculptures equipped with a sound and LED lighting system.
“Stephen Avenue is a pedestrian district in downtown Calgary that offers excellent architecture, artwork, and people-watching for candid street photography. It is located in the heart of corporate Calgary and is sure to inspire some great photo ideas. For a unique perspective try going into the +15 walkway that goes between the TELUS Convention Centre and Glenbow to get a long-stretching view west all the way down the avenue.” - Trevor Lalonde
In the City: Vantage Points
Offering panoramic views of the city, Scotsman’s Hill is also a popular spot to catch glimpses of the Rocky Mountains and is a well-known vantage point to catch the Calgary Stampede fireworks.
“For a very popular downtown view, try Scotsman's Hill. From this vantage point, you can capture the Saddledome, Stampede Grounds, and the city's skyscrapers in all their glory. Located in Ramsay, near Inglewood, this area has lots of character and has hosted many photographers over the years. Try walking the entire ridge to find your favourite angle of downtown Calgary.” - Trevor Lalonde
Crescent Heights Hill
Located in Northwest Calgary, the neighbourhood of Crescent Heights offers one of the best vantage points for Calgary skyline photos.
Beyond the City: Rocky Mountains
With its iconic turquoise water, Lake Louise is a photographer’s dream location. Take a snap from the shore, paddle out in a canoe and go hiking to see it from every angle. In the cooler months, see it transform into a winter wonderland complete with festive ice sculptures and skating.
Chances are you’ll recognize Moraine Lake as one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada. Known as the “twenty dollar view”, the photogenic lake features on two of Canada’s previous twenty-dollar bill designs.
Beyond the City: Canadian Badlands
Located near Drumheller, Horsethief Canyon is one of the most popular spots for viewing and snapping shots of the striking Canadian Badlands. Whether you come for the hiking trails or the views, make sure your camera is handy at all times.
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Part of the Canadian Badlands, Dinosaur Provincial Park is one of six UNESCO World Heritage sites in Alberta. The park is known as one of the richest locations for dinosaur fossils in the world, and it’s lunar-like landscape makes for some truly remarkable photo ops.
Hoodoos, also known as “fairy chimneys”, are a landscape photographer’s dream. The oddly shaped sandstone rock formations created by wind and water erosion over millions of years can be found in the Drumheller area, northeast of Calgary.