Let’s face it: few people visit Edmonton in the winter unless they have family obligations or are home for the holidays. So it’s our duty to be good ambassadors by taking them to one of these unique-to-Edmonton hotspots which highlight our winter wonders and proud treasures.
Zocalo: The name, in Spanish, means “public square,” and although you’ll find it in the heart of Little Italy this greenhouse is truly a community hub. Seek out fresh cut flowers, beautiful indoor and outdoor plants and memorable gifts. After shopping with guests, catch up in the Zocalo’s café over its tempting espresso milkshakes, delicious house-made chocolates and pastries or a European-style lunch. 10826 95 St.
The IceWay Skating Trail: This fairy tale skating trail lets you and your guests wind through trees and experience nature along Edmonton’s river valley. The journey begins at Victoria Oval Park, our official speed-skating track, and turns into a skating trail lined with multi-coloured lights and lanterns. 10am–10pm, 12130 River Valley Rd.
Confederation Lounge: Reminisce on old times in wing-backed chairs and cozy up in this estate library-style setting in the iconic hotel’s lounge. The “Mac” has been a gathering spot for good times for 101 years. With a creamy cappuccino or Mission Hill Reserve’s Pinot Noir in hand, and a breathtaking river valley view, treat your guests like royalty and make them wish they never left Edmonton. 10065 100 St., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–1 a.m., Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–12 a.m.
Made Local Society: Explore Edmonton’s creative hub, a character house filled with hands-on workshops. Inside you’ll find jewellery-making, mixed media art journaling and social media marketing for beginners. Other attractions include artist studios and a shop selling locally made treasures, from decor to skin-care products. Whether you and your guests want some bonding time, need last minute Christmas gifts or want to show of Edmonton’s brilliant minds, Made Local is a great destination. 10149 122 St.
Vacancy Hall: Burrow into Mercer Warehouse’s basement, where a versatile retail and studio space gives up-and-coming artists, brands and entrepreneurs an eclectic place to promote their products. Introduce your friends to artisans at Clo’s General Leather Co., the Skinny and Edmonton in a Box, and show them a side to this city that’s rarely recognized. 10363 104 St., Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat 11am–3pm
Holland Plaza: Swing by Provisions, the kitchen and baking store created by the Duchess Bake Shop. Friends and family will swoon over its international and hard-to-find cookbooks, ingredients and bakeware. You’ll find it hard to leave, so pair it with an interactive cooking class or breakfast next door at its sister bistro Café Linnea. This multi-purpose building holds something for everyone, like Barre Body Studio for the fitness-obsessed cousin or the Local Omnivore for low-key friends. 10934 119 St.
Victoria Park Cross-Country Ski Trails: Grab your skis or borrow some from MEC, then enjoy your choice trail around the Victoria Golf Course in Edmonton’s river valley. Whether you want to try out a leisurely path just for fun, or challenge your friends on a 2.5-kilometre race, this is the place to start. Refuel at the course’s Dogwood Café for all-day breakfast offerings; consider the Portuguese-inspired breakfast sandwich or, if you need to warm up, a cup of a hot cocoa or coffee. 12130 River Valley Rd.