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17 Reasons Why You Should Travel To Edmonton Canada in 2017



Visiting Canada is an absolute must: breathtaking nature, adventure activities and some of the nicest (and politest) people in the world. Plus, this year it's Canada's 150th birthday, you've got to go and say hi! 








It's the capital of Canada's Alberta province and we absolutely LOVE it! We think you will too, so here are 17 reasons why we think you should travel to Edmonton Canada in 2017:





Imagine for a moment, a place of true beauty: icicles upon icicles glitter in the sun, each perfectly crafted not just in a feat of engineering, but as a pure celebration of the beauty of winter that only Canada can show us. 

No we're not talking about Narnia (though you will definitely think you've stumbled upon it) - we're talking about the Ice Castles in Edmonton! 


Canada is the first country we've ever been to which actually embraces and celebrates the cold weather! And nothing says celebration like an ice castle. 

Everyday, around 10,000 icicles are grown and placed throughout the ice castles - water is then sprayed on them (and subsequently freezes) which is how the ice castles are formed!

Frankly, we don't think you've been to Canada until you've been named King or Queen of an ice castle.


King and Queen of the Weasels







A fat bike is exactly the same as a normal bike, but with super wide (fat) tires - around 5 inches! This means that you can safely cycle on snow and ice without slipping. 

Fat biking is all the rage in Edmonton and with bike friendly roads and the woods being just a stone's throw away, it's easy to see why: it's the perfect city to bike in, so why stop just because it's snowing? With fat biking, cycling can be enjoyed year round!

We went fat biking in the snow thanks to Revolution Cycle and loved it - ostensibly it seems hardcore and dangerous, but it felt very safe: I'm a big advocate of sports that look cool but actually have little-to-no risk so it was perfect for me.  

We even cycled on the frozen river - this felt super strange (all my safety instincts were saying that it was wrong), but it was super safe and made a great photo! 

[Incidentally, we absolutely were safe, but before you go to Canada definitely grab some Travel Insurance, better safe than sorry!]



Our fat biking experience was made 100% cooler with the addition of Chris Tse - fitness expert. He put us through our paces alright, but was also so much fun to hang out with: he told us some hilarious stories, did some cool fat-bike stunts and was kind enough to take billions of photos for us <3






Edmonton has a great hipster/entrepreneurial feel to it - there are loads of cool cafes with innovative ideas and creative menus. Edmonton is also super vegan friendly!

Heading to a cafe for breakfast, brunch, lunch or just a coffee is an absolute must when you go to Edmonton - it's such an important part of their culture. Here are some of our favourite places: 

Mosaics  


We had one of the best meals of our lives at Cafe Mosaics: I had the Scramble: tofu crumble, hash browns, sausage, pepper and Tanbay had the Pancake experiment: massive pancakes with both sweet and savoury toppings. 

My God it was all so delicious and the portions were gigantic - we actually took most of ours home.

Da Capo
Da Capo is perfectly located for catching a bite and a coffee after a morning of yoga. Da Capo is located in a building where all the businesses are cool: a yoga studio, an organic grocery store, an organic restaurant. 

We went on a Sunday morning and it was very busy - but this gave it a lovely, friendly atmosphere as opposed to a chaotic one - mainly because the staff are so chill and lovely! 

Farrow
Farrow is like central perk meets hipster: super cool, super tasty and the staff are super friendly!! 

We had two vegans sandwiches and coffee from here and my God! They may just well be the best sandwiches we've ever had. 

Perhaps it's because they source all their food locally, perhaps it's because of the vegan mayo - who knows. 


District Cafe


We had breakfast at District Cafe before our fat biking adventure and boy oh boy were we glad we did - District Cafe fuelled us up with a delectable three course vegan meal: 

We started off with beautiful forest fruits, followed by mouthwatering home made bread and apple sauce and ended off with rice pudding made with coconut milk. 

I'm obsessed with their coconut rice pudding - I've tried to recreate it since and it's no way near as good. 









Edmonton is absolutely beautiful, but it can't truly be appreciated until you've seen it by air. We went up with Edmonton Regional Helicopters - conveniently located by the airport.   





The great thing about flying in from the airport, is that you can see the miles and miles of countryside around Edmonton, before seeing the actual city itself. 

It was SO COOL to see Edmonton from the air - especially getting to peek into their resident billionaire's house!






For those that get a bit tired of the quick city life, Edmonton can cater to you too: less than an hour's drive away is one of the most beautiful national parks ever: Elk Island National Park.

Here you can spot bison, or even try your hand (foot?) at snow shoeing! 







Chances are, one of the first things you'll think of when I say Canada, is ice hockey. 

Edmonton is home to the Edmonton Oilers: a team so awesome that they have been given dynasty status by the hockey wall of fame.

Unfortunately they weren't playing when we went to Edmonton, but we did get to see the Oil Kings play at Rogers - Edmonton Oilers' home. 

Rogers itself is a sight to be seen - it's MASSIVE! 

Admittedly, our favourite part about hockey is where the players slam into the walls, but the atmosphere is undeniably electric - you've got to see an ice hockey match when you go to Edmonton!





Situation Brewing is a pub with a very unique set up - on one side is a hip pub with delicious beers and incredible burgers, but just through a door is the brewery!! Talk about zero food miles! 

The guys showed us around and it was clear how much they care about their craft.   







Like lots of cool, zen things yoga is very loved in Canada. We went along to the Sattva School of Yoga one morning and had the most incredible time. Our teacher was such a pro and everyone in the class was lovely and welcoming. 






Jasper is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and at only a four hour drive away from Edmonton, it would be rude not to visit!

For those that don't drive, there's also a convenient bus that goes from Edmonton to Jasper and back again (and if you ask nicely they'll drop you off at your hotel). 





Another thing Edmonton is great at is festivals - they have lots all year round, with a particular emphasis on winter festivals to (in Edmonton Tourism's own words:) "force people to come out of the house and have fun".

We went along to the Ice on Whyte Festival and it was awesome!! Countries from all over the world (Russia, Latvia, Netherlands, Canada, US and -for some reason- Malaysia) gather to find out who can make the best ice sculpture. 

Having a wander round checking out the sculptures is a great way to spend an afternoon! 





What's a trip to a city without a bit of culture? The Art Gallery of Alberta is located in Edmonton and is teaming with art exhibitions, programs and events. 

As for the building itself, it was built in 1968 but renovated in 2010 giving you the best of both retro and contemporary worlds. 


The Muttart Conservatory is a botanical garden right in the centre of Edmonton. Come here to connect to nature and see some awe-inspiring specimens. 


Delectable food in quirky, cool settings doesn't just stop at lunch and breakfast - Edmonton also has some incredibly wonderful places to go out for dinner. These were our favourites:

El Cortez 


El Cortez serves the best guacamole and margaritas we've ever had! The secret to their cocktails lies in their tequila - they are absolute pros and know everything there is to know about this spirit.

They taught us that the reason most people have horrible tequila hangover headaches is because sugar is almost always added to tequila. Not at El Cortez though, they do things right (and we can confirm we definitely did not have a headache the next day). 

The food is absolutely incredible as well! And they are so accommodating to vegans - they didn't have anything suitable on their dessert menu, so the chef decided to make up a dish for us!! And it was delicious!

The food and drinks are so great at El Cortez, it doesn't matter what kind of dive your dinning in - but, El Cortez goes the extra mile with its location and decor! There are cool projectors, cool art works and just a general quirky cool feel to the place - we loved it!

Rostizado


Rostizado is a delicious, modern place with a classy vibe - they also serve Mexican food! 

We both had a roasted pineapple salad with a side of 'vegetales rostizados'. The salsa on the pineapple was the most delicious sauce I've ever tasted - I couldn't get enough of it! 

We also loved that you could watch the cooks making your food - this is always entertaining (and you know nothing's been dropped on the floor! )

The Common 


At The Common we had Sweet Potato Hummus & Grill Bread - served with warm Mona mushrooms and beetroot and a Green & Grains salad - Quinoa, kale, leeks & spinach. And it was all incredible!! We had it with a Canadian beer for Tanbay and a virgin Margarita for me (I was driving). 








For those that love to shop, Edmonton is the city: they've got it all, from organic produce and locally made gifts at Old Strathcona Farmer's Market; to unique boutiques on 4th Street Promenade; to funky, bohemian steals at Whyte Street.

Oh yea, and they have one of the biggest malls in North America: West Edmonton Mall.

Complete with rollercoasters, an ice skating rink and an actual water park (not to mention hundreds of shops), this place is crazy!

Although we don't agree with the fact that you can also see sea lions at their sea life exhibit, this mall is humungous!  




Despite being a large city, Edmonton is crazy easy to travel round. 

I'd never enjoyed driving in a city until I came to Edmonton. Edmonton is so easy to drive around! It's partly because the streets are just so damn clear (set out in clear blocks which are numbered clearly); but mostly because Edmontonians are so damn nice - not once was I beeped at for driving slowly - and in an average country I'll get beeped at at least four times per day. Thank you Edmonton!

And it doesn't just stop with easy driving, we also tried out the public transportation system in Edmonton and LOVED it! 

You know how when you get a bus in a foreign country and you've no idea where you're supposed to be getting off and you ask the bus driver to stop when you get there and nine times out of ten they forget? 

Edmonton has a cure for this: the bus tells you just before you get to the next stop!! How clever is that?







After all your winter sports and shopping and cultural intakes (not to mention eating), you're going to want to have a great place to rest your head. No worries, Edmonton can cater for you.

If you're staying in downtown, we recommend the Matrix hotel - they're in a great location, they serve a delicious buffet breakfast and the rooms are massive.

If you're staying in uptown, we recommend Metterra Hotel on Whyte they also serve a delicious buffet breakfast and have massive rooms - the staff also go out of their way to help you and they have a great, complimentary, valet service. 








What's a city without its people? Not a city. And your city can have absolutely everything: good food, easy transport, cool sights, hot clubs.. but if it doesn't have nice people, then it's not going to be great.

This is where Edmonton really shines: with its lovely people. We've never met a group of cooler, nicer people. Everyone in Edmonton seems to have some kind of hip, entreueneoural business: from breweries to kids' books.

But it's not just their business prowess that makes us want to become Edmontonians - they are so nice!!! And chill. 

Conclusion
So there you have it - 17 reasons to visit our new favourite city: Edmonton. Edmonton surprised us with its delicious food, kind people and with so many things to do there, you could never get bored!

So when will you be booking your flight

Kiwi.com - Book Cheap Flights!

Have you been to Edmonton? Let us know in the comments below! 

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ABOUTME

We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same! We also want to make it clear that we sometimes use “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

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