Calgary is located at the transition zone between the Canadian Rockies foothills and the Canadian Prairies, and is relatively hilly as a result. Calgary's elevation is approximately 1,048 metres (3,440 ft) above sea level downtown, and 1,083 metres (3,553 ft) at the airport. The city proper covers a land area of 726.5 km² (280.5 sq mi) (as of 2006) and as such exceeds the land area of the City of Toronto.
There are two major rivers that run through the city. The Bow River is the largest and flows from the west to the south. The Elbow River flows northwards from the south until it converges with the Bow River near downtown.
Since the climate of the region is generally dry, dense vegetation occurs naturally only in the river valleys, on some north-facing slopes, and within Fish Creek Provincial Park.
The city is large in physical area, consisting of an inner city surrounded by various communities of decreasing density.
Unlike most cities with a sizable metropolitan area, most of Calgary's suburbs are incorporated into the city proper, with the notable exceptions of the city of Airdrie to the north, Cochrane to the northwest, Strathmore to the east, and the sprawling Springbank district to the west.
Though it is not technically within Calgary's metropolitan area, the town of Okotoks is only a short distance to the south and is considered a suburb as well.
The Calgary Economic Region includes slightly more area than the CMA and has a population of 1,146,900.
The city of Calgary proper is immediately surrounded by two municipal districts, Rocky View No. 44 to the north, west and east; and Foothills No. 31 to the south.