In the present study, the effects and mechanism of action of U50,488H (a selective κ-opioid receptor agonist) on calcification of rat vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) induced by β-glycerophosphate (β-GP) were investigated. VSMCs were isolated and cultured in traditional FBS-based media. A calcification model was established in VSMCs under hyperphosphatemia and intracellular calcium contents. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and lactate were detected in cell culture supernatants before and after treatment. Alizarin red staining was used to detect the degree of calcification of VSMCs. Expression levels of key molecules of osteogenic markers, fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 3 (PFKFB3), and proline hydroxylase 2 (PHD2), were determined using western blotting. Further, vascular calcification was induced by vitamin D3 plus nicotine in rats and isolated thoracic aortas, calcium concentration was assessed in rat aortic rings in vitro. We demonstrated that U50,488H inhibited VSMC calcification in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, U50,488H significantly inhibited osteogenic differentiation and ALP activity in VSMCs pretreated with β-GP. Further studies confirmed that PFKFB3 expression, LDH level, and lactate content significantly increased during calcification of VSMCs; U50,488H reversed these changes. PHD2 expression showed the opposite trend compared to PFKFB3 expression. nor-BNI or 3-PO abolished U50,488H protective effects. Besides, U50,488H inhibited VSMC calcification in rat aortic rings ex vivo. Collectively, our experiments show that κ-opioid receptor activation inhibits VSMC calcification by reducing PFKFB3 expression and lactate content, providing a potential drug target and strategy for the clinical treatment of vascular calcification.