We had a great time visiting another Canadian Prairie city, this time Edmonton in Alberta! Lots of greenery and bikes path here, friendly people and an impressive dining scene…we will be back for sure!
Here are some highlights from our weekend trip to Edmonton and ideas of where to stay, eat and drink if you’re visiting.
Stay: JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District
Located in downtown Edmonton’s ICE district, the JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District is a great place to stay! The hotel is conveniently located steps away from sports and entertainment options, as well as a number of restaurants, bars and shopping. It has 346 rooms of various types, a nice pool, an amazing gym (probably the most impressive hotel gym in Canada!), a spa, a lounge, and impressive dining options on site.
We used some expiring SNA (Suite Night Awards) and ended up in a King 1 Bedroom Executive Suite. The room was very comfortable and even had its own bar and dining area. The bathroom has a large shower and soaker tub too. The toiletries are Aromatherapy Associates brand with lavender and yang yang; we really like them and would purchase them for use at home.
The lounge is open all day for snacks, for breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres (alcohol available but you pay for it). The lounge has a nice setting with lots of spaced tables and windows. We found the quality and selection of food to be high and there were adequate healthy options for those who are more health minded.
The gym is something else; it is more or less the size of an actual commercial gym. With so many options for functional training, strength training, yoga, TRX, boxing, etc, you will want to spend hours enjoying a workout here! Tip: If you like running/HIIT, find the curved treadmill for a great workout! There is also a SOMA dome that you can book for relaxation.
For parking, the hotel has valet or you can park at one of the lots nearby or on the street for free (just make sure to read the signs). Tip: Edmonton reminds us of cities in Texas; it’s built around driving and so you will want to rent a car if you visit.
Things to Do:
Edmonton is Alberta’s capital and there are lots of government jobs, university/college jobs, as well as health care and so the dining scene has some gems and is more upper scale that you’d expect.
If you like walking and browsing, we highlight recommend spending time in Strathcona and Queen Alexandra areas: lots of shops, and places to eat and drink. The Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market is open year round and worth a visit; it has so many great products for people who like food, selfcare, and art.
No trip to Edmonton would be complete without visiting the West Edmonton Mall! The West Edmonton Mall is the stuff that kids born in the 80s dreamed of….a mall with a water park and other attractions?!?! The West Edmonton Mall is the 2nd largest mall in North America and the 23rd largest in the world. It has a number of attractions, like sea life caverns, a water park, and a skating rink. You can definitely see where Dubai got the inspiration for their malls. In addition, there are lots of stores and as a Canadian, you only pay 5% tax on purchases so make sure to stock up on things!
Here are some highlights and photos from our trip:
- Ube and pandan ice cream from Yelo’d.
- The best savoury and sweet pretzels ever from Zwick’s Pretzels.
- Dinner on the patio OTTO Food and Drink (still dreaming of those brussel sprouts!).
- Beer at SYC Brewing Co ; great beers and amazing service!
- Beer and the highly addictive chips and queso dip Sea Change Brewing Co.
- Cocktails at DOSC; love the tiles and the concept of having a cafe, bar, and steakhouse under one roof!
- Shopping for spices at The Silk Road Spice Merchant, a spice shop that reminds us of our beloved Penzey’s spices! They had all the hard to find spices and herbs here…and then some
- Tacos from Tres Carnales
- Discovering the unique shirts made by Gnomon Creative
As much as we miss getting to go on mileage runs on Alaska Airlines to cities in the US, we’ve been pleasant surprised with all the awesome things we’ve found in Canadian Prairie cities like Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon. If you do your research and venture out, you can find those small and unique businesses that you’ll enjoy and remember for a long time!