Insider tip #1
In Alberta we say “Ya-hoo” not “Yee-haw”. Does it matter? Probably not, but when you’re at the parade and throughout the stampede grounds you’ll often hear a random, “Ya-hoo” hollered and it is definitely appropriate to holler back!
Insider tip #2
On the first Friday of July the Stampede Parade begins around 7:30am with the prelude until 9:00 when the actual 2-hour long parade starts. If you want the best seats, be downtown by 6:30am but see tip #3 if you like to sleep in a bit longer.
Insider tip #3
After 16 years of attending the Stampede Parade, I think I finally found the perfect viewing spot! At the corner of 9th Avenue and 6th Street SW there is a large parking lot. You can park there for $20 before 7:30am (when they close the streets downtown) and have excellent parade seats. Alternately, you can have someone drop you (and your chairs, snacks, water, and kids) off at that location, go park, then walk back; with coffees in hand, of course. I recommend sitting on the south side of 9th Avenue so the sun is at your back during the parade. If you really want to catch the parade later in the day, sit along 6th Avenue but you’ll be viewing a tired bunch of dancers and marching band musicians by the end of the parade route.
The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth
Insider tip #4
Speaking of coffee… if you camp out in that spot I just told you about, there is a big office tower across the street and you can get Starbucks (2nd floor) as well as public washrooms (3rd floor) in that building. You can also safely cross the road on the Plus 15 bridge during the parade.
Insider tip #5
There are special days during the 10 day celebration to get discounted tickets. Check the Calgary Stampede website for more details but it’s customary to get in to the stampede grounds for free on the same day as the parade; as long as you’re through the gate before 1:30pm. This makes for a very long day (especially if you stay right until the fireworks at the end of the night) but if you only have one day to enjoy the stampede, this is the way to go!
Insider tip #6
Skip the midway! There is so much to see and do that is specific to the Calgary Stampede it would be a shame to miss it just because you were playing on the midway. Now, if the pop-up fair rides are your thing, have at ‘er but I like to save my ride time for Disneyland.
Insider tip #7
Plan out your day, or week, ahead of time. There are different events held on certain days of the 10-day Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth so check the Calgary Stampede website to find out what you’re interested in seeing and plan your trip accordingly. Our favourites are:
- Cowboy Up
- Heavy Horse 6-horse Hitch with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
- Stock dog trials
- Cattle Penning
- Calgary Stampede Showband
- Barn tours
All these events are included with your daily admission. The Rodeo and the Grandstand Show are also incredible but they are an added ticket cost. If you plan to attend the Rodeo and Grandstand show, purchase your tickets ahead of time as your admission is included with those tix. YA-HOO!!!!