If you are looking for a quick getaway with your girlfriends and are not in the mood to fork over cash for airfare or the all-mighty American dollar, a super speedy trip is up to Edmonton. Not only is Calgary’s closest neighbouring major city, but they also have amazing shopping (not only at West Ed!), great cocktails and an incredible food scene. I recently adventured up to the city with one of my best girls (@theoriginal10cent) and we got to know the more feminine side of this northern city.
TREATS + EATS
Breakfast, brunch, coffee dates and lunch; you’ll need to book these essential meals in between gallivanting all over YEG. Luckily, there are plenty of truly Instagrammable spots all over the city that will keep you coming back for more.
Duchess Bake Shop + Provisions: Duchess is now Internet-famous thanks to their amazing bake shop, self-published cookbook and attached general store (Provisions). You could literally spend all day (though you might have to keep buying pastries and cappuccinos to keep your spot) at this adorable bakery – it is that delicious. People drive from all over Edmonton (and sometimes Calgary!) to line-up and get first dibs on their amazing pastries, cakes and baked goods. A must on any girl-powered vacation.
City Farmer’s Market: Outdoors in the summer, indoors in the winter, The City Farmer’s Market is a must for any group of gals that want to sample as much food as possible! My personal favourite is Moonshine Doughnuts that happens to have gluten-free doughnuts on occasion!
Café Bicyclette: It appears that Edmonton is full of truly photo-worthy spots. Café Bicyclette is one of those photogenic places. Known for their fantastic and delicious eats, this café is the perfect spot to dish on gossip about last night…
Tres Carnales: If you love tacos as much as I do then you will love Tres Carnales. It is a quick and easy joint to get great gourmet tacos in a fast casual environment. They also have plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options to please just about everyone.
Urbano Pizza Co.: Another fast casual option, this tiny pizza shop is super tasty and full of great flavour. They make each pizza fresh to order, including press the pizza dough right in front of your eyes. I tried the Piri Squared pizza and it was a delight. Definitely a great spot to grab lunch if you want to eat something delicious and be off on your adventure again in no time.
And of course, you’ll need your caffeine fix; check out my post about my favourite #YEG coffee shops. You’ll want to try them all.
Sabor Restaurant: What happens when you combined Portuguese and Spanish flavours with the best OceanWise seafood in Alberta? You get Sabor, a sophisticated and down-right mouthwatering eaterie. We popped in here for an incredible dinner (you must try their Piri Piri Prawns – they are a house favourite!) full of incredible seafood and fish. One of the best parts for me was the fact that their whole menu is OceanWise, meaning that all of the seafood is sustainably and ethically raised and caught. They also were able to make every dish gluten-free for us which was a real treat. We had the special of the evening (I feel like you just can’t go wrong with the special, right?) which involved delicious scallops, prawns, risotto and a main fish course that was to die for.
While we dined and sipped on bubbly, this hoppin’ joint was full of joyous people enjoying their Friday night out. They had a musician in house which was a great accompaniment to the meal – one of the owners even took the mic for a song which was an awesome surprise!
They also have a little cocktail lounge near the front lobby where you can hang out after your dinner – also hopping, it is a great place to socialize before you head out for the rest of your evening!
Of course, now you must have cocktails!
North 53: More than one person recommended North 53 to me as THE place to have cocktails in Edmonton. These people are ridiculously hip (their website is off the hook) and their cocktails are even more amazing in person. Order the Northern Touch for something truly unique; Bacardi Superior, Linnie Aqua Vite, Yellow Chartreuse, Lime, Fenugreek Syrup and Maple Syrup!
Woodwork: Known for their amazing bartenders and cocktail menu, Woodwork is a must-stop on your cocktail adventure. They have everything from the classics like the Old Fashioned to handcrafted cocktails with fresh ingredients made in house.
Rostizado: This is the sister restaurant to Tres Carnales and it has a seriously delicious menu as well and I would totally recommend you pop in here for dinner as well. But if you’ve already eaten, there is no shame in enjoying the wonderful cocktails Rostizado serves up. This place is magical inside and the drinks are just as special. Try the El Emerador – made with Tequila Anejo and amaro laced with fresh basil, vanilla and manzanilla tea syrup. Yum.
Red Ribbon – A Place for Style: We happened upon Red Ribbon by chance and I am so glad we did. This adorable boutique is stocked to the brim with great clothing for men and women, home accessories like beautiful smelling candles and great paper products like letterpress greeting cards!
Plum Home + Design: Another shop perfected by their amazing curation of items from across Canada. I pretty much would buy everything in Plum if I could – from the beautiful woolen blankets to the amazing selection of apothecary items to the cutest baby and toddler items that flank a whole wall. I feel like this shop is a great stop if you have a group of gals who love home décor and design.
Salgado Fenwick: I mentioned this gem of a place in my Coffee Tour post but I had to give them another shout-out! Pretty much everything in Salgado Fenwick is handmade right in house – their t-shirts make seriously great gifts so check them out. And it is just so adorably awesome in there – their good vibes are infectious.
Habitat Etc: Hmm, another shop specializing in the wonderous talents of Canadian makers – are you seeing a theme? Edmonton is a massive supporter of small businesses, makers and creators and Canadian talent – I am absolutely loving it. This shop is the ultimate in Canadiana high design – expect warm blankets, handmade candles, adventure inspiration and more.
Nail It Spa: I have it on high record from a reputable Edmonton style blogger (Adventures in Fashion!) that Nail It Spa is the number one spot in town to get some serious manicure action happening. In fact, Vickie says they are a great salon if you are looking for some epic nail art to go along with your manicure. Sounds like a win to me!
Pura Botanicals: This gem of a business was one of the main reasons for visiting Edmonton – Pura Botanicals is a lovely apothecary and perfumery that is dedicated to making eco-conscious, natural products for the entire body. Lane Edwards, the visionary behind Pura gave us the full scoop on how she built this business from the ground up and is now sharing her plant-based concoctions with women all over the world.
Make sure to note that Pura is only open to the public on Wednesday’s so you will want to plan your trip around that so you can ensure scooping up some of their beautifully fragrant items for yourself!
WHERE TO STAY
Matrix Hotel: We stayed at the Matrix Hotel and found its central location really great when we wanted to explore the city by foot. We were very close to many great spots and had a Starbucks in the same building for early morning coffees.
Fairmont Hotel Macdonald: You can’t go wrong with a Fairmount Hotel property! Hotel Macdonald is a glamourous spot to spend your girl’s trip. Hit up the spa for some ultimate pampering or enjoy some handcrafted cocktails in the Confederation Lounge.