Compiled by the Road Trip Alberta team
Last updated on May 18, 2022
Billed as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” – it is hard to dispute that the Calgary Stampede is exactly that. As one of the world’s largest rodeos, this annual Calgary event in early July has happened every year since 1912 (except for 2020, due to COVID). It regularly draws over one million visitors from all over the world.
Originally bankrolled by 4 prominent ranchers in the area for $100,000 and steeped in traditional rodeo fanfare, the Calgary Stampede is now a multi-million dollar production that includes fairgrounds, beer gardens, eclectic food vendors, live concerts, free pancake breakfasts throughout the city, and of course, exciting rodeo events.
The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth returns July 8-17, 2022! We’ve compiled all the best things to see and do at this one-of-a-kind event below. Get your cowboy swag ready and read on to find out more!
21 Things to do at the Calgary Stampede
Take in the Calgary Stampede Parade
The Stampede Parade is the official kickoff of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth! Giving just a taste of what you can expect at the Calgary Stampede, the parade is full of colourful floats and proud cowboys and cowgirls astride horses, all walking to the beat of a joyous marching band in downtown Calgary. It is a great display of the community spirit that takes over the city during Stampede.
Parade Marshals of the Calgary Stampede Parade have included names such as Walt Disney, Bing Crosby, and William Shatner. The parade route is very busy and typically packed with people – we suggest getting there early to save a piece of pavement, or pre-book bleacher seating along the route here.
Watch Rodeo Events
Seeing the World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo is a must during a visit to the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede Rodeo features the world’s best competitors and animals. Every afternoon at 1:30 pm, watch cowboys and cowgirls face off in 6 different rodeo events including barrel racing, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, and bareback. Every win builds towards Showdown Sunday where competitors are looking to score their share of $1.5 million dollars in prize winnings to be had.
Ticket prices to witness one of the world’s largest rodeos range from $24 to $312. Your Calgary Stampede Rodeo ticket includes admission to Stampede Park on the day the ticket is valid.
Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon Racing
Calgary Stampede is home to the world’s premier chuckwagon racing event! The very best of the best chuckwagon drivers and a total of 162 horses come from all over the world to compete throughout the 10 days of Calgary Stampede. Every night there are nine chuckwagon racing heats; races start nightly at 7:45 p.m. and are followed by the world-famous Bell Grandstand Show.
Bell Grandstand Show
The iconic Evening Show doubleheader returns for Stampede 2022 and this nightly event is always a spectacle! It kicks off with the Cowboys Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races, and when the last wagon crosses the finish line, the Bell Grandstand Show brings the heat with elaborate song and dance numbers, acrobatics, and a spectacular nightly fireworks display that lights up the night sky.
Your ticket includes admission to Stampede Park on the day the ticket is valid.
Watch the Calgary Stampede Powwow
This is a brand new event for 2022, and opens as one of the largest competitive powwows in Canada! The is a one-of-a-kind event that will feature dancing, singing, and a showcase of other Indigenous performances. These three days of competition will run from July 12-14th and feature the best Indigenous dancers and singers from all over North America, competing for $175,000 in prize money.
Sample Some Wacky Food
The food alone (especially the BBQ stations) is worth a trip to the Calgary Stampede! With great food vendors offering traditional midway fare all the way to outlandish creations, it’s definitely a must-stop foodie destination of the summer.
The list of adventurous foods to try for 2022 is a jaw-dropper. Included are some mouth-watering items (deep-fried oreo mini-doughnuts, cotton candy lemonade), some head-scratchers (pop rocks popcorn chicken, samosa poutine), and perhaps some gag-inducing items (mealworm or cricket hot dogs). How much of an adventurous eater are you? Go find out this year!
Free Pancake Breakfasts
Rumor is that the Calgary Stampede has been associated with pancake breakfasts since 1923 when a local rancher began serving pancakes from his camp stove during the festivities to anyone who came by.
The tradition has continued and morphed into numerous local businesses and charities throughout Calgary hosting breakfasts for employees, customers, and others during the stampede. Check out StampedeBreakfast.ca or FreeStampedePancakes.com for a full list of pancake breakfast opportunities throughout Calgary during the 2022 Calgary Stampede.
Party at Nashville North
Free with general park admission, Nashville North is a legendary venue for live entertainment, regularly featuring famous country bands and solo artists. The tent is for adults only and brings live country music all day long with a foot-stomping party atmosphere and beer gardens aplenty. In the past, it has hosted acts like Eric Church, George Canyon, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and many more. As of the publishing date, the 2022 lineup has not been announced.
Watch this space for details.
See Live Entertainment on the Calgary Stampede Coca-Cola Stage
The Stampede Summer (Coca-Cola) Stage is the ultimate outdoor live music experience and party atmosphere for all ages! Offering a multi-genre lineup including hip hop, rock, pop, and EDM, the experience is free with general park admission.
As of the publishing date, the 2022 lineup has not been announced. Watch this space for details.
Watch the Showriders
The Stampede Showriders was originally formed to accompany the Stampede Showband but have since evolved in their own right and broadened the scope of their activities. They’re a team of young equestrian riders that now travel all over North America performing routines and riding in parades representing the Calgary Stampede.
Their duties at the event are to perform musical rides several times a day and be part of the parade.
Calgary Stampede Showband
Be entertained by the 6-time World Champion, Calgary Stampede Showband! Comprised of 140 youth, this talented group is more than your regular marching bands, and they make an astounding 100 appearances over the 10-day festival. Featured twice daily on the Saddledome Steps, the Rodeo, and via many other pop-up performances throughout the park, keep your ears open to watch the Stampede band in action.
Games and Rides at the Midway
Including iconic carnival games and exhilarating rides, the Calgary Stampede Midway provides an endless amount of family fun (and a cheap teddy bear, if you’re lucky)! Ride on favourites such as Crazy Mouse, Polar Express, Mega Drop, and the Zipper. You can also test your hand-eye coordination at the plethora of midway games to get a prize. There is even a kid ride zone for the littles called the Great FUNtier!
Ride and game coupons can be purchased at the kiosks throughout the main midway and FUNtier midway. Each ride or game has signage indicating how many coupons are required to ride or play and the 2022 pricing is as follows:
- 22 Coupons – $20
- 55 Coupons – $50
- Ride All Day Wristbands – $58
Tip: To get a special gated entrance and skip the lines, purchase a Midway Express Access Pass. For only an additional $25, it’s worth not waiting in all of the regular ride lines.
Experience the Elbow River Camp
Paying homage to the Indigenous people who have walked these lands for centuries, Elbow River Camp (previously called the “Indian Village”) is an immersive experience of Indigenous culture and western heritage where visitors can experience the cultures of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai, Tsuut’ina, and Stoney Nakoda First Nations.
Throughout the 26 tipis to visit, you can find local artisans selling jewelry and art, bannock and saskatoon berry jam, and you can also witness traditional dancing. In addition, there are special events such as a Pow-wow competition, a meat cutting competition, and special days for each of the individual communities during the 10 days of the Calgary Stampede.
Experience Calgary Stampede with a side of daring flips and tricks at the Freestyle Motocross event! Watch motocross athletes reach new heights and push the limits of physics by performing crazy tricks.
Take in Live Entertainment at the Big Four Roadhouse
On Sunday, July 10th, see a little rock, a little country, and a little alternative at The Big Four Roadhouse! With an incredible lineup including Steve Earle & The Dukes, The Mavericks, Matt Mays, Whitehorse, and Lucette, this concert is a whole evening full of fun!
Tickets start at $89.00 and include admission to Stampede Park.
Don’t Miss the Dog Bowl
Dog lovers, rejoice! The Dog Bowl is the show for you to witness a group of highly-trained canine athletes perform various skills for your enjoyment. Watch as they maneuver the agility poles and dock-diving, amazing frisbee catching, and even freestyle dancing! These dogs are sure to impress even the cat-lovers in the crowd.
Full details to be confirmed closer to the date.
Enjoy the Calgary Stampede Art Show
Part of the Western Oasis, the Stampede art show tradition began in the 1930s and 40s. Offering a touch of class, the art show is touted as one of the finest art shows in Western Canada and includes some of North America’s most celebrated artists from a variety of disciplines.
Sample the Wine Garden
Escape the cowboys and midway cacophony by relaxing in the peaceful garden oasis, also known as the Western Oasis. Indulge in some wine paired perfectly with a selection of meats and cheeses, pasta, and made-to-order paninis.
It’s the perfect way to infuse some elegance into your Calgary Stampede experience.
Window on the West Stage
Yet another location to enjoy live music and entertainment can be found at the Window on the West Stage in the Western Oasis! At the 2022 Calgary Stampede, live entertainment will run from 3 – 6pm, all 10 days of the event.
The lineup of performers will be confirmed closer to the date.
2022 Virgin Plus Stampede Concert Series
Take in a phenomenal evening show by some heavy hitters in the music industry at the Virgin Plus Stampede Concert Series. Previous acts have included names like Garth Brooks, Katy Perry, and Keith Urban.
8-time Grammy award winner Blake Shelton has already been announced for 2022, but the remaining acts are still to be announced as of publishing date.
Learn at the Cattle Trail
See the journey from pasture to plate that Alberta beef takes. The Cattle Trail is an interactive exhibit located in the Nutrien Western Event Centre that takes visitors through the product lifecycle of beef. Everything from cattle breeding all the way to understanding the different cuts of beef that end up on your plate, producers and industry experts will be available all 10 days of the Calgary Stampede to answer any questions you have about Alberta Beef.
Shop, Play, Explore, and Relax at the Market
Located in the BMO Centre, the Market is a dynamic mix of retail and entertainment that is open all 10 days of the Calgary Stampede. Perusing the Market is free with admission to the Stampede grounds and inside you can of course shop, but also play at a fun indoor playground that has interactive games and even some enticing food vendors. Note that the indoor playground is only open to adults from 6 pm until close.
Feeling tense? Pop into the Relaxation Zone in the Market for a free 15-minute massage. You can also explore the creative and imaginative installations throughout and source a great background opportunity for a photo for the ‘gram.
Located in the northwest end of the Agriculture Barns, Horse Haven is a family-friendly venture into all kinds of horse information including learning about different horse breeds, daily horse demonstrations, learning everything you need to know about owning a horse, and conversations with horse breeders. There are tons of educational opportunities and interactive displays, with an “activity zone” for some hands-on learning!
Calgary Stampede Tickets
The 2022 Calgary Stampede runs from July 8 – July 17, 2022. Tickets to the rodeo, evening show, Virgin Plus Stampede Concert Series, and The Big Four Roadhouse are available online now.
Stampede Park Admission Prices for 2022:
General (Age 13-64) . . . . . . . $23.00
Seniors (Age 65+) . . . . . . . $15.00
Child (Age 7-12) . . . . . . . $14.00
Child (Under 7) . . . . . . . Free
Where to Stay During the Calgary Stampede
People visit Calgary from all over the world to be part of the action at the Stampede grounds! The city is typically overrun during the Calgary Stampede so booking accommodations ahead of time is a must. We recommend allocating at least two full days at the Calgary Stampede to really get to see everything that it has to offer. Luckily between hotels, motels, and vacation rentals, there is a lot to choose from if you start looking early enough.
Luxury: Fairmont Palliser
Located in the heart of Downtown Calgary, the Fairmont Palliser is a luxurious place to unwind after a long day at the Calgary Stampede. Within walking distance to hip and trendy restaurants and tons of attractions, it is a great place to see everything else Calgary has to offer while also spending time at the Stampede. Either drive 6 minutes to get from the hotel to the grounds or skip the hassle of parking and walk 20 minutes.
Mid-Range: Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown / Beltline District
In terms of location, the Residence Inn by Marriott gets an A++. Not only is it within 0.5 km from over 100+ restaurants, but it is also only 2km away from Stampede Grounds. Hotel amenities include complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a 24-hour fitness center. Some hotel suites come equipped with dedicated kitchens and many rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto downtown Calgary and/or mountain views.
Budget: Comfort Inn & Suites South
Comfort Inn & Suites South is an economical option that has easy access to hop on the train for a quick zip over to Calgary’s Stampede Park. With a free breakfast offered each morning, and an indoor heated pool (with a two-story waterslide!), this is a great family-friendly option for those wanting to spend more money at the Stampede than on accommodations.
Need more options? Read our exhaustive guide to Calgary hotels.