Looking for the perfect trifecta of shopping, spa and splurge-worthy restaurants for your next girlfriend getaway? You’ll find all this and more in Edmonton ~ Canada’s most Northern provincial capital. I went to University in Edmonton, but since I graduated oh-so-many years ago, I haven’t made it back much. There’s a bit of rivalry between my hometown of Calgary and Edmonton, but I’m kicking myself for letting pride get in the way. As I recently rediscovered, Edmonton is cool, like really cool. It’s always been know as an artsy city, but I had no idea how much this extended to their shops and restaurants. Here’s my advice on how to enjoy a hip Edmonton girlfriend getaway.
Get your shopping on in Edmonton
Edmonton has several trendy areas in which you’ll want to flex your credit card. My favorite, Whyte Avenue, lies in the historic Old Strathcona area. Here, you’ll find loads of indy shops, an art-house cinema and more hipsters swigging coffee than at a Modest Mouse concert.
Just off downtown, 124 Street is a posh shopping district that boasts an abundance of cafes, galleries and charming boutiques. Best of all is Pura Botanicals, where you can make your own custom perfume. I fell in love with their organic baby care line and the Overnight Watermelon Mask – the perfect anti-dote to winter’s harsh climes. They’re only open on Thursdays, though, so plan according or shop online.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention West Edmonton Mall. You think Mall of America is a big deal? Well, West Ed (as we local’s call it) is North America’s largest shopping mall. You’ll find most everything under its roof, including a skating rink, movie theater and delightful little cafes at which you can rest your weary legs and admire your purchases. If you happen to be towing the tots, check out it’s World Waterpark or Galaxyland, the world's largest indoor amusement park. If not, you’ll want to avoid these kid-populated zones at all costs.
Where to dine during your Edmonton girlfriend getaway
I’m not a huge fry gal, but I was converted at Woodwork. My girlfriend insisted we go here, as it was the site of the best cocktail she’d ever downed (Earl Grey tea, bergamot gin, Gallino, honey grappa and Chartreuse infused milk). The fries have a distinct edge to them from being tossing in smoked butter. Worth. Every. Calorie. The menu isn’t large, so you can order almost everything and share it.
Duchess Bake Shop is a destination in itself. Modeled after a Parisian tea salon, this is the spot for ladies who lunch. Their sister restaurant, Cafe Linnea, gets the thumbs up for brunch. Here, the theme is Scandinavia meets France and it works. Dishes are minimalist (without sacrificing portion size) yet savory. Their oeufs en cocotte was one of the best I’ve had in my life.
Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for your Edmonton girlfriend getaway
The most glamorous place to stay on your Edmonton girlfriend getaway is at Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. This swish hotel meets all your needs with a lovely Royal Tea service on weekend afternoons followed by a tour of the historic property (which looks like a castle, by the way). You'll definitely want to take advance of their full service spa and fitness center, too. For a hearty walk along the river trails, ask to borrow the hotel's canine ambassador, Smudge (a gorgeous golden labrador retriever. Read reviews of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald and book your stay on TripAdvisor now.
Final Edmonton girlfriend getaway thoughts
Edmonton, I owe you an apology. You may be further north, but that only adds to your charm. Next time I visit, I promise to check out your newly unveiled ICE District. And I'm crossing my fingers that I can score a table at Corso 32. (This restaurant is fully booked every time I call!)
For all my American friends reading, did you know Alberta has no sales tax? Or that your dollar is worth 25% more here?
Read more about Edmonton and book your girlfriend getaway with TripAdvisor or use the Booking.com form below!
Would you and your besties enjoy an Edmonton girlfriend getaway? Let us know in the comments below!
A Note from The Saucy Travel Mama: I paid for all accommodations, meals and entertainment during my Edmonton girlfriend getaway. All opinions are mine, as always. This story includes affiliate links. Your purchases help to keep TravelMamas.com a free resource for readers like you.