Travel doesn’t need to be limited to tropical or warm-weathered destinations. This winter, challenge yourself to explore something different with a winter-focused trip.
Nestled in the heart of Western Canada, Alberta emerges as a captivating winter destination. It’s perfect for travelers seeking a blend of adventure, cultural richness, and scenic beauty. This province, famed for its variety of picturesque cities, offers a unique escape from the ordinary; it’s a winter wonderland that combines the thrill of outdoor activities with the warmth of its diverse cultural scene.
Edmonton: The Urban Gateway to Adventure
Edmonton, Alberta’s capital, is a bustling hub of creativity and culinary excellence. The journey to Edmonton from the U.S. is accessible, with convenient flights from the West and East Coasts. The city’s charm lies in its ability to marry the excitement of urban life with the allure of natural beauty. From North America’s first and most dynamic Fringe Theatre Festival to the Flying Canoë Volant, a celebration of French Canadian, First Nations, and Métis traditions, Edmonton is a canvas of cultural vibrancy.
For the Black millennial traveler, the city’s diverse offerings are a treasure trove. The JW Marriott Edmonton Ice District, an embodiment of luxury and style, is the perfect place to stay when exploring the city.
In Edmonton, the culinary scene is a reflection of the province’s diverse heritage and rich natural resources. RGE RD, a standout in this gastronomic landscape, invites diners on a unique journey through Western Canada’s flavors. Try “The Road Trip” tasting menu, a multi-course, blind-tasting adventure that will guide your tastebuds on a culinary adventure.
Jasper: A Wilderness Retreat
Embark on an actual road trip from Edmonton to Jasper, about a four-hour drive, with tons of scenery along the way. Home to the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park is a must while in this alpine town. The Maligne Canyon Ice Walk is a highlight, offering a stunning perspective of frozen waterfalls and icy sculptures. Remember to prepare to brace the cold by packing layers of warm pants, sweaters, socks, and gloves. A waterproof and windproof winter jacket is needed when visiting Alberta, especially during outdoor activities.
When in Jasper, stay at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, where luxury and nature converge, providing a serene backdrop to this rugged landscape. If you need a bit of relaxation, head to the property’s outdoor heated pool, sauna, and spa. There are also trainer-led fitness classes such as yoga and Zumba.
For wildlife enthusiasts, the Winter Wildlife Discovery Tour by SunDog Tours gives you an opportunity to witness Jasper’s array of majestic creatures, such as elk, deer, moose, and more in their natural habitat.
Banff: A Symphony of Snow and Scenery
The third must-visit destination while in Alberta is Banff. The Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a symphony of towering mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and stunning forests. It’s a place where nature’s grandeur takes center stage. Warm up with a hot chocolate and epic views of Lake Louise at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Spend the afternoon ice skating on the frozen Lake Louise, set against picture-perfect snowcapped mountains.
In Banff, activities such as fat biking with Bikescape and a distillery tour at PARK Distillery showcase the region’s diverse offerings. Buffalo Mountain Lodge, nestled on Tunnel Mountain, offers a unique stay that epitomizes the essence of a mountain retreat. Here, wildlife sightings are common, adding to the sense of being in a special, secluded world.
Spend the last night on your winter wonderland escape with an unforgettable culinary experience at the Sky Bistro. Set 2,900 feet above Banff, Sky Bistro serves local prairie staples, including bison sirloin, Canadian mussels, and more. To get to the restaurant, you must take the Banff Gondola, which takes you over 2,000 feet above ground in a span of eight minutes to experience the majestic 360-degree views of the Canadian Rockies. It’s the perfect, magical end to a unique getaway to Alberta.
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