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  • Writer's pictureCalgary Brewery Tour Guy

Be A Tourist In Your Own City - Calgary Edition

When you think of being a tourist, your mind might wander to far-off places and exotic destinations. However, you don’t need to travel far to experience the thrill of discovery and the joy of exploration. Sometimes, the best adventures can be found right in your own backyard. Especially if you enjoy great beer, wine, spirits, cider and food. 

Calgary, known for its vibrant culture and breathtaking natural beauty, offers a wealth of experiences that even long-time residents can overlook Notably, being home to two former Canadian Breweries of the Year. Whether you're a lifelong Calgarian or a recent transplant, playing tourist in your own city can reveal new and exciting facets of this dynamic urban landscape. 

Calgary vista

Here is how you can be a tourist in your own city. 

1. Research Like a Tourist

Start by researching your city as if you were visiting for the first time. Look up the same attractions and activities that you would search for if you were going somewhere else. Online searches and Tourism Calgary’s website can offer insights into popular destinations and hidden gems, while you can also check out blogs like this one, or social media for recommendations from other locals and visitors.

2. Take a Tour

Many cities offer a variety of cultural experiences that include transportation and Calgary is no exception. YYCTOURS, offers educational tours of all types including craft beer, wine and spirit tours and will be launching new food tours soon. These events can introduce you to venues you may never knew existed or haven't had a chance to visit yet and can even offer a new perspective on familiar locations. If alcohol and food tours aren’t your thing, create your own. Plan a route through different neighborhoods, noting interesting buildings, public art, historical markers and photo-op locations along the way. Many local companies, including YYCTOURS have vehicles with drivers that you can rent to take you wherever you need to go for that perfect expedition.

People raising their beer glass in a cheers
Guests on an educational Calgary brewery tour at the 2021 Canadian Brewery of the Year-The Establishment..

3. Try Local Cuisine

Experience your city’s culinary scene by visiting new restaurants, food trucks, or markets. Try dishes you’ve never had before or visit that new spot that everyone’s been talking about. Food is a fantastic way to experience the culture and vibrancy of your city. If you do like beer, there are a few breweries in town that have excellent food menus you definitely need to check out.

4. Attend Local Events

From music and food festivals to markets, trivia nights and more, Calgary and many of its venues are bustling with events and activities. Keep an eye on community calendars, social media, and local bulletin boards to stay informed about what’s happening. These events can help you connect with your community and discover new interests. If you are interested in beer, this neat events calendar shows what is happening on any day of the week at local Calgary breweries. From trivia to cask nights and drag shows, you should be able to find the type of event that suits you best. 

5. Capture Your Adventures

Document your experiences by taking photos, journaling, or creating a blog. Sharing your discoveries on social media or with friends and family can inspire them to explore the city as well. Plus, looking back at your documented adventures can remind you of the fun and unique aspects of your hometown.

Ladies taking pictures in a barrel aging room
Snapping a photo in the barrel aging room at Bridgeland Distilling

6. Connect with Locals

Engage with fellow residents, venue owners, and tour guides. Their stories and insights can enhance your understanding of the city and offer a more personal connection to the places you visit. Building these connections can enrich your experience and foster a deeper sense of community.

Alcotourism- Be a tourist in your own city

Visiting local breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries can be a delightful and enriching experience for a variety of reasons. Here are several compelling reasons to support and visit your local craft producers in Calgary.

1. The Local Economy

Local producers contribute to the economy by creating jobs and sourcing ingredients from nearby farms and suppliers. By visiting and purchasing from them, you're helping to sustain local businesses and the community. 

2. Unique and Fresh Products

Local craft producers often create unique and innovative items that you can't find from larger commercial operations. These drinks are usually fresher since they don’t have to travel long distances to reach you and likely don't sit on the shelf at liquor stores for months.

3. Community Engagement

These types of venues often serve as community hubs where locals gather. They host events like trivia nights, live music, and food truck festivals, fostering a sense of community and belonging.

4. Sustainability

Local breweries often prioritize sustainable practices, such as reducing waste, recycling materials, and using local and organic ingredients. Supporting these breweries means supporting Calgary’s environmental sustainability.

5. Personal Connection

When you visit a local venue, you often have the chance to meet the owners, brewers and staff, gaining insights into their passion and stories behind the beers they create. This personal connection enhances your overall experience.

7. Cultural Exploration

Local craft spots often reflect the culture and heritage of the region. Visiting them allows you to explore local Alberta flavors, traditions, and even manufacturing techniques that are unique to your area. Smaller makers have the flexibility to experiment with different methods and ingredients. This means you can often find limited edition or seasonal products that showcase the creativity of the people that made them and that you can not find with big producers.

9. Socializing and Relaxation

Breweries, wineries and the like provide a relaxed and casual environment perfect for socializing with friends, family, or even meeting new people. It's a great place to unwind and enjoy good company along with great drinks without having to go to a crowded nightclub or restaurant. 

10. Supporting Passion Projects

Many local breweries start as passion projects by individuals who love their craft. By supporting them, you are encouraging entrepreneurship and the pursuit of dreams.


Visiting local craft producers offers a range of benefits, from supporting the local economy and sustainability to enjoying fresh, unique drinks and fostering a sense of community. Each visit should not just be about drinking, but about experiencing and contributing to a vibrant and dynamic local culture.

Being a tourist in your own city is about seeing the familiar through new eyes and embracing the adventure that lies just around the corner. It’s an opportunity to appreciate the beauty, history, and culture of the place you call home. So take a day, a weekend, or even a week to see your city through fresh eyes and uncover the hidden gems that make Calgary truly special.



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