All the Stampede concerts, when you can get free entry to the grounds, and how to save money on admission.
FAQ's for people who are new to the Calgary Stampede:
At it's core, the stampede is basically a fair held in the middle of the city. So when you hear people say they are going to "the stampede" or "down to the grounds" this means they are going to the fair area. Inside the grounds you'll see a midway with a lot of games and rides. There's also a lot of food trucks and vendors. Inside the buildings are a lot of different things, you'll see animals, art, a market place. honestly you just kinda wander and see what you run into.
Nashville North and the Coke Stage are the main places to see concerts on the grounds. Nashville North is free to enter but often has long line ups (like hours long). The Coke stage is also free, but is outdoors so people just crowd around. Go early if you are excited to see an artist. The rodeo is also a big part of the Stampede. It starts daily at 1pm and you need a separate rodeo ticket to attend. (You'll have dedicated seating in the stands). Ticket prices start around $40.
Following the rodeo daily are the popular chuckwagon horse races and the grandstand show. These are considered a separate event from the rodeo and you'll need a ticket. The grandstand show consists of singing, dancing and fireworks.
There is also a parade that kicks off Stampede on the first Friday of Stampede. This is a family friendly event, largely for kids.
You have to pay admission to enter, this year it's $23. Expect crowds at the gates as people enter but usually you don't have to wait as they move fast. Note there are different lines for buying tickets and for scanning tickets for entry. If you enter the grounds and leave, get a stamp and you can re-enter the same day. I believe there are 3 main entry points onto the grounds, it doesn't matter which one you use. All are good. Once on the grounds, everything is expensive, food and ride prices definitely add up quickly.
So while the core of the stampede is the fair or midway grounds, the whole city participates in "Stampeding." You'll see people in cowboy/girl outfits all around downtown. There are parties and pancake breakfasts all over the city. The downtown is the centre of the action, but these parties and breakfasts happen through the entire city.
Actually yes. This is mostly referring to the tents. Massive temporary tents are set up to host country music artists. A lot of drinking and dancing happens. Cowboys is the most infamous tent. You don't have to go to Cowboys to get the full experience though Wildhorse, Nashville North, The Badlands, and Whiskey Rose and National Saloon tent will offer similar experiences.
Anywhere downtown ideally, or for cheaper accommodation stay somewhere close to the Ctrain line. The train takes you right to Stampede (get off on Earlton station).
Whatever you do, don't drive. The traffic next to the grounds is insane. Your best bet is to ctrain or take an uber/taxi and be dropped off near the grounds and walk the rest of the way. You'll move much faster on foot within the area close to the grounds. When leaving the grounds I usually walk as far away from the grounds as possible and then take a cab from there (e.g. 17th Ave or Stephen Ave)
The Stampede happens for 10 days every July in Calgary. The exact dates change each year but it always starts on a Thursday and ends on a Sunday 10 days later.
Yes, but only in designated beer garden, tent, or restaurant areas.
Comfortable shoes! (or cowboy boots). Whatever you're doing it'll involve a lot of walking. Also, it's usually quite warm in Canada in July so wear light summer clothing. A cowboy hat is good to block the sun. Sunscreen may be a good idea too. Whatever western wear you have if you want to, but you certainly don't have to dress western..
A big part of Stampede are the pancake breakfasts. Some are free, some are not. Some are invite only others are open to the public. There are so many on each day of stampede someone built a website to help keep track of them all. https://stampedebreakfast.ca/events/category/freestampedebreakfast/ If you go to a free Stampede pancake breakfast I would lower expectations about food quality. You may get small portions, cold portions and little or no side dishes. You may also have to wait in line for a long time. I just want to set expectations about the food experience lol some are better than others of course.
Free for all ages
Suncor Family Day
Free for all ages
TC Energy Community Day
Free for all ages
Free for Seniors 65+ all day
BMO Kids Day
Free for all ages
Free for Kids under 12 all day
$11 entry (52% off)
Visit any participating Circle K location purchase 2 General Admissions and 2 500ml Coca-Cola products for $32. (30% off)
Save $10 on a Park Admission when you spend $10 on any participating Coca-Cola products at Calgary Co-op.
The problem with Stampede is that everything is coming at ya from everywhere. Here's a one-stop-shop for all the BIGGEST stampede parties. They're probably the dirtiest and most expensive too. I'll see ya there.
Each year has to top the last in terms of weird and wacky Stampede foods to try at the midway. Some highlights for this year include: