Landing in Calgary at the tail end of winter (after a long flight from Brisbane) we are exhausted and excited in equal parts. Alas we walk the streets, attempting to out run the jet lag, we discover a thriving foodie scene and a city bursting with history and pride.

Modern yet vintage with character filled streets and friendly folk to match, the city is built on a grid system and is all about the Avenues. From the array of eateries, bars and shops on 8th and 9th Avenue to the cafe scene on 5th Avenue that borders the picturesque Bow River.

We choose to stay at the Fairmont Palliser central to the action, its character filled and charming- formerly a railway hotel built in the early 1900’s. We get a sense of the people that have passed through the stately building, with a delightful art deco vibe, grand 50’s ballroom and suitably styled rooms.

A hearty restaurant ‘ Hawthorn Dining Room’ specialises in steak and curated cocktails and adjoins the lobby bar that boosts a decadent high tea throughout the weekend. We take a short stroll around the corner to 11th and 12th Avenue and discover a happening quarter with street eats, craft breweries and late night bars- they know how to brew beer in this town.

Word on the street, we try the authentic Mexican taqueria ‘Native Tongue’ that is raising the Calgary food bar, with quality dishes that fuse locally sourced ingredients-hot tip they do a banging chilli margarita. Further up on 12th Avenue is 33 Acres Brewing Company and the lively Bottlescrew Bill’s Pub is located on 10th-ideal for a nightcap on your way back to the hotel.

An Alberta favourite is Anejo a colourful and authentic Mexican eatery that was born in Calgary over a decade ago and has spread across the country, including a new opening in Banff late last year. Food influences in Alberta range from latino to indigenous to the neighbouring US, with maple syrup thrown in for good measure.

New Calgary foodies on the block gaining recognition include Barbarella Bar serving coastal Italian cuisine and Major Tom with global fare and cocktails-located on the rooftop of the Scotia Centre capturing sweeping views across the city.

Snow is falling as the sun sets over Calgary, we head indoors to enjoy what Canadians describe as cabin food, hearty stews with lashings of Poutine, (Canadas answer to french fries) loaded with cheese curd and gravy.

After a rejuvenating siesta, we head out to what is billed as the live music precinct, Inglewood with venues aptly named King Eddy and Ironwood Stage & Grill, you get the picture. From local folk bands to blues and roots and top-tapping country, Calgary is a melting pot of live music.

A brisk, long walk down the avenues from the hotel we discover the majestic Bow River that weaves and turns its way across Alberta. Frozen in all its glory, the river is framed by the picturesque Rocky Mountains with quaint bridges that join the city to the other side.

The newly gentrified area beside the river is called Eau Claire, with a market, cafes and Eau Claire Distillery specialising in single malt and honey gin. Scouring the streets for real coffee, (Australian latte style) we stumble across Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar.

The friendly Gravity team have 3 central locations in the city, including Ingelwood, Beltine and Eau Claire, a lively cafe scene that uses local coffee roaster company ‘Phil & Sebastian’. The part owners are from Britain and Columbia, indicative of contemporary Calgary-a multicultural city.

Calgary- often referred to as ‘Cow Town’ after the ever popular ‘Calgary Stampede’ is Albertas largest city with 3 groups of recongised Aboriginal People-the Indians (more often referred to as First Nations People), Inuit and Metis- an array of indigenous organisations and museums reflect the rich history.

Visit Calgary in winter and discover a picturesque city peppered with snow and white capped mountains that watch over the city as the avenues light up the brisk days.

If you’re looking for the best travel blog and podcast on Alberta, Canada-make sure to check out As a travel writer and podcast host, I’m dedicated to sharing the best travel experiences, tips, and insights. Join me on my adventures as I explore the wonders of this captivating region and beyond.