Calgary is a large city, and because of this there is plenty of shopping to do. If you look around you will find some great shops. Roots, which is like a Canadian Gap, has great clothing. They are inexpensive and they have some of the latest trends. Many young people wear Roots clothing which proudly shows the Canadian flag. In Calgary, there are many malls that often have some really good deals on clothing and other items for sale. Because the value of the Canadian dollar is usually less than the value of the American dollar, if you are traveling from the United States, you may have a bit of extra cash in your pocket. However, you should always check before you travel abroad just to make sure what the most recent exchange rate is; in Oct 2007, the Canadian dollar was at par with the US dollar. Sometimes smaller shops that ofter souvenirs will allow you to use American currency, but this is actually costing you more money than it should, since they set an exchange rate that favours the store. Ask what exchange you will receive before you pay, to avoid unpleasant shocks; often it is posted in the store.
If you're looking to do some rainy-day shopping, Calgary's largest indoor shopping centres are:
- Chinook Centre (in south Calgary, at Macleod Tr. and 58th Ave. SW); features an Egyptian-themed movie theatre, some fantastical "flying machines" and an antique carousel in the huge food court. There are lots of comfy chairs for tired shoppers. Major stores are Sears, the Bay, and Zellers.
- Southcentre (south Calgary, on Macleod Tr. and Anderson Rd.) Major stores are the Bay, Sears, Eddie Bauer, Indigo Books and Music.
- Market Mall (NW Calgary, on Shaganappi Trail); major stores are the Bay, SportChek, Zellers, Safeway, Toys R Us. Comfy chairs. Huge food court features a fireplace in the centre.
- The Core , a downtown 7th Ave SW shopping complex. It is huge. It consists of Calgary Eaton Centre, TD Square (with the Devonian Gardens on the fourth floor), Scotia Centre, and the Lancaster Building food court. At the far east end of The Core is the four-storey Bay department store; at the west end of The Core is the large Sears department store. All of these buildings are connected by enclosed elevated pedestrian walkways ("Plus 15s"), and the shops cover at least three floors of each building. They also connect to other nearby retail centres in Banker's Hall, Gulf Canada Square, Bow Valley Square, and others. Busy during the work day, especially at lunch time; much quieter in the evenings and weekends. Virtual tour of the downtown Plus 15 system.
- If you want to find districts that have more small, independently-owned shops and fewer chain stores, consult Inside Calgary : Neighborhoods and Inside Calgary : People-watching .
- Good sources of outdoor winter clothing are Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) (just outside of the downtown core at 830 – 10th Avenue SW) and Mark's Work Wearhouse (several branches including one in North Hill Shopping Centre on TransCanada Highway / 16th Avenue at the intersection of 14th Street NW). MEC also sells supplies for cross-country skiing. See note on MEC memberships below.
- Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) also is a good source of clothing for outdoor summer activities such as hiking. They also sell supplies for all kind of "self-propelled outdoor activities", such as tents, sleeping bags, freeze-dried food, climbing gear, cycling essentials (but not bicycles), and paddling supplies (PFDs, wetsuits, paddles, canoes and kayaks). Their prices are very competitive. You must be a member to shop at the MEC, but a lifetime membership is only $5. Make sure to go to the customer service counter to sign up for your membership before lining up to pay for your purchases. National Parks passes may also be purchased at the customer service counter.
- The Outdoor Centre at the University of Calgary is a great place to rent camping and sports equipment at reasonable prices. In summer you may want to rent items like tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, mountain bikes, kayaks, and rock climbing gear. In winter you may have a need for skiing equipment (whether downhill, cross country or back country), snowboards, ice skates or snowshoes. The Outdoor Centre is located in the Faculty of Kinesiology on the university campus at 2500 University Drive NW.
- You can rent baby equipment — infant car seats, strollers, playpens, high chairs — from Radar's Rentals at 9212 Horton Road SW (just west of Macleod Trail, between Heritage Drive and Southland Drive) or from One Tiny Suitcase, which will deliver supplies to the airport or your accommodations, or you can pick up equipment from their location just off of the Trans-Canada Highway in NW Calgary.
- If you live in a hot climate, will be visiting Calgary in winter, and do not want to invest a lot of money in outdoor winter clothing, you might consider buying secondhand clothing. There are a number of secondhand clothing stores in Calgary. The largest one is Value Village .
- If you will be self-catering in the mountains and want to buy groceries, you could wait till you reach Canmore, where there also are good grocery shopping facilities. However, if you do want to purchase food in Calgary, the Real Canadian Superstore has the best prices on canned and packaged products. The Sunridge store at 3575 - 20th Avenue NE is conveniently located in relation to some of the RV rental companies in the northeast quadrant. Other supermarket chains include Safeway, Sobeys and Calgary Co-op . The other supermarkets, while their prices are higher, tend to have better quality fresh produce than Real Canadian Superstore. Although it is possible to purchase a membership at Calgary Co-op and although members earn patronage refunds based on the amount they have spent at Calgary Co-op in a given year, drop-in shoppers also can shop at Calgary Co-op. By the way, Calgary Co-op is a mainstream supermarket. Its range of products is not confined to wholegrain rice, quinoa, bulgar and couscous. The only reason this is worth mentioning is that some participants on travel discussion forums seem to associate the "co-op" brand with organic and vegan food ("hippie food"). The last major grocery store in Calgary, on the route to Banff via the Trans-Canada (16th Ave N), is the Safeway at 5048 - 16 Ave NW (just west of the Home Road intersection) .
- To find out Calgary outlets from which you can purchase national parks passes, read the Inside Banff National Park : National Park Entry Fees here at TripAdvisor.
- Links to Canada-wide store chains are listed on the Inside Canada : Survival Shopping page here at TripAdvisor.
Clothing sizes : The Online Conversion website tells you the Canadian size that is equivalent to your size in your home country. If one of the pages on the Online Conversion website does not show Canadian sizes, assume they are the same as U.S. sizes.
There is some variation from one shopping mall to the next and one supermarket to the next. The following hours are fairly typical, give or take an hour.
Downtown : Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday: 10.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Thursday & Friday: 10.00 a.m. - 8.00 p.m.
Sunday and Holidays: 12.00 noon - 5.00 p.m.
Suburban shopping malls : Monday - Friday : 10.00 a.m. - 9.00 p.m.
Saturday : 8.00 a.m. - 8.00 p.m.
Sunday and Holidays : 11.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Big box stores (IKEA, Toys R Us, Michael's, etc.) : Monday - Friday : 10.00 a.m. - 9.00 p.m.
Saturday : 9.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Sunday : 11.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.
Supermarkets : Monday - Friday : 9.00 a.m. - 10.00 p.m.
Saturday : 8.00 a.m. - 10.00 p.m.
Sunday : 9.00 a.m. - 9.00 p.m.
Small, independent stores in strip malls : tend to be closed on Sundays and holidays.
Convenience stores (small corner stores where you can buy bread, milk, etc.) : 7.00 a.m. - 11.00 p.m., seven days a week; many are open 24 hours.
Holidays : Stores (except some convenience stores) are closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Otherwise stores tend to observe Sunday shopping hours on public holidays .