Highlights beyond the usual chains include Hotel Arts (119 12th Ave. SW, 403-266-4611, hotelarts.ca), which boasts funky, modern touches such as dark-walled rooms; rates start at about $149 plus tax. Kensington Riverside Inn (1126 Memorial Drive NW, 403-228-4442, kensingtonriversideinn.com) sits at the edge of the Kensington neighborhood near downtown, and rooms start at $209 per night plus tax. Part of a Canadian hotel chain, Hotel Le Germain (899 Centre St. SW, 403-264-8990, germaincalgary.com) is considered one of the higher-end properties in town, with rates beginning at $209 plus tax.
Note that weekday hotel rates are significantly more expensive because of Calgary's high volume of business travel.
What to do
Prince's Island Park (698 Eau Claire Ave. SW, 403-268-2489) is an urban jewel full of rolling grassy acres, paths for walking and biking, Santiago Calatrava's Peace Bridge and the well-regarded River Cafe (403-261-7670, river-cafe.com).
The National Music Centre (134 11th Ave. SE, 403-543-5115, nmc.ca) offers a fascinating history of keyboards dating from the 16th century through today.
The largely chain-free Kensington neighborhood is worth a visit for its restaurants and boutique shops.
For late-night action, check out 17th Avenue, just south of downtown, which teems well into the night with people packing quality bars and restaurants.
Finally, dig deep into Calgary's burgeoning food scene.