Calgary is divided into four quadrants: NE, NW, SW and SE. The downtown core is at the centre of Calgary and offers easy access from each quadrant. You will need to determine individually if you prefer inner city or more of a suburban community. It comes down to personal preference and lifestyle. Within each choice and each quadrant, there are a variety of home styles to accommodate your housing needs and budget. For more detailed information on the four quadrants of Calgary, review A little bit about Calgary.
Calgarians are very proud of their communities. Each year, Avenue Magazine publishes the Top 30 Communities in Calgary based on the votes and comments of their readership. You can read their review here. Avenue Magazine is a valuable source of other information for newcomers and long time residents alike. Packed full with restaurant reviews, style, trends and events, this publication will give you another perspective of life in Calgary.
Commuting in Calgary is different (and much shorter) than most major cities in Canada. The newer, suburban communities tend to rely on a car for the commute. Residents in the SE and deep SW may have to drive in to work and pay for parking, or drive a portion of the way, park at a commuter lot and then take a transit bus. Within the next five years, the city of Calgary will be expanding the LRT line into the south (think along Deerfoot) that will go into downtown. The west side of the SW quadrant has enjoyed the new west extension of the LRT into downtown, while still offering many bus routes. Residents in the NW and NE have the option of taking the LRT (train) into downtown, with city plans to add the Green Line which will extend north on Centre Street to McKnight in the early phase, and further north in a subsequent phase. Visit Calgary Transit to view the train and bus routes.
Inner city in any quadrant of the city has efficient bus service, bike lanes and in some cases, the ability to walk to work.
There are lots of older communities in between the inner city and suburbia. To learn about geographical boundaries and more information on individual communities, check out Calgary Communities and the Federation of Calgary Communities.