I recently ventured to the West Coast of this beautiful, artistic and diversified country I call home.
It was my first time visiting Alberta, which marks the farthest west I’ve ever gone past, well, Ontario.
Calgary was amazing.
It’s one of those cities you instantly fall in love with the minute you step foot on the concrete slabs and catch a glimpse of the mountains off in the distance. It’s the best of both worlds, really.
10 days was not near long enough to experience everything this city has to offer, but I crammed as much activity into those ten short, busy days as I could. I walked. And I walked. I was my own two-foot taxi, and my Fitbit can quantify. I stopped to get coffee at cute little coffee shops I randomly saw as I explored the little avenues, which aren’t really avenues, but rather big streets that run parallel and convene with numbered streets to give you an odd sense of satisfaction at each intersection.
Here’s a short little list (in NO particular order!) of my favourite things that I experienced in and beyond Calgary, for if you ever take a visit, hopefully you’ll be able to experience some of the best things to eat, see and do in this fantastic city. Or, maybe you’ll find something better for me to encounter next time I make my way out there.
The Kensington Wine Market — What’s fascinating about Alberta is their devoid of liquor corporations (such as the NSLC, or LCBO). This got me adventuring, and I came across this lovely place. I bought some really good wine. Not only was it in the cutest little neighbourhood, and had the greatest selection of wines, but the employees there were phenomenal. They knew almost every wine out there, if not every wine in the store (not to mention the price, where it was, and what it paired well with), were very polite and approachable, and made the entire experience fun.
MacKay’s Ice Cream, Cochrane — It’s not located in the city, but a close friend of mine from Calgary suggested I make my way out to this neighbourhood and grab a scoop of their homemade, now-famous ice cream in a 70 year old shoppe. It was the middle of February, but HELL YES it was some damn good ice cream. Well worth the trip out of the city.
Pina Colada: 5/10
Chocolate Fudge Chunk: 8/10
Scotiabank Saddledome/Calgary Flames — It was a totally spur-of-the-moment decision to go to the game, but my sister won tickets through her work, and we ended up with the best seats, five rows from the ice. Also, the arena was shaped as a saddle (hence the name). It was cool, and I felt like my trip was complete after seeing a hockey game there.
thePark Kitchen & Bar — Wednesday’s are half priced bottles of wine and $2 oysters. Plus they have a super delicious portobello mushroom burger that will be in my dreams until the next time I have it.
Calgary Public Library — We all know I have a weird little obsession over city libraries. It wasn’t the new Halifax Central Library by any means, but it was still one of my favourite sights to see, and worth taking a quick visit to.
Banff National Park & Lake Louise — Ah yes, you knew this would be on here. I knew this would be on here. We all knew this would be on here, because Banff is spectacular. All of those pictures you see on the internet of this Rocky Mountain establishment doesn’t do it any justice. It’s a natural beauty you have to experience with your own two eyes. Go there. Live the ultimate-Canadian-tourist-vacation and grab a Beavertail while you’re at it. Also, take some cool pictures that will never compare to what you actually saw. I also recommend Elk & Oarsman Pub + Grill if you’re hungry.
YYC Hot Chocolate Festival — I was lucky enough to experience Calgary during the midst of their annual Hot Chocolate Fest, and fortunate to warm up from some of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had! If you ever get there in February, participate in this. There are vendors all over the city offering some of the most delicious cocoa. It was such a treat.
deVille Luxury Coffee — Okay, okay, maybe I did save the best for last. I give this cute, sophisticated and highly impressive coffee shop a 10/10. BEST latte, and the staff was so friendly. I felt at home, and in my natural habitat with a cup of fancy coffee at hand. If you’re struggling to pick the best cup of coffee in the city, skip trying all of the other places, and just go here.
(pst, they have Nutella coffee!)
Thank you for the experience; I’ll be back again soon, Calgary.