Old Strathcona features funky shops in historic buildings. // © 2013 Edmonton Tourism
His and her golf and spa breaks have become commonplace these days, but what do you do if you have one partner who is an avid shopper and another who is not? At first glance, vacationing at a shopping mall does not seem like the best idea, and I can’t say that I didn’t have second thoughts when I made a reservation for my family at the Fantasyland Hotel located inside of West Edmonton Mall.
Things started off well when we checked into our Igloo family theme room. The kids were impressed with the igloo-style bunk beds and the dogsled chair, but the giant four-person Jacuzzi tub was the first order of business for them. While I popped out to investigate the mall, my kids were checking out the hot tub inside our room.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you dumped an entire miniature bottle of shampoo into a giant Jacuzzi tub with the jets running? When I returned and walked into the main living area of our theme room I didn’t have to wonder anymore. All four of our children were in the tub and the top of our youngest child’s head was barely visible under a mass of bubbles that seemed to be working its way toward the ceiling. Their father was supervising and watching a hockey game at the same time. It was pretty clear that multitasking is not one of his special skills.
Fortunately, our second day went much better than the first. After a great sleep, we spent the day exploring the world’s largest indoor amusement park — something my husband and kids could really get into. With a day pass giving them unlimited access to all of the park’s attractions and play areas, they were busy all day long. While the kids were off exploring, I decided to slip out and do a little more shopping. No worries though — I left the children in their father’s watchful care. I was pretty sure things would go better the second time around.
North America’s largest indoor entertainment and shopping venue has more than 800 stores and services, and there are a number of flagship stores and unique shops you won’t find elsewhere in Canada. Entertainment options are vast and include a huge indoor waterpark complete with one of the world’s largest indoor wave pools, an ice rink, a marine life center and a full-sized replica of Christopher Columbus’ flagship Santa Maria. West Edmonton Mall has what it takes to keep family members occupied while the shoppers in the family scour the stores for bargains.
Whether clients prefer a large indoor shopping center or a funky boutique shopping district, they will find that Alberta’s capital city has it all. There is also a large variety of entertainment options for those who are shopping averse.
With more than 600 businesses, Whyte Avenue in the Old Strathcona historic area has been named one of Canada’s top five shopping destinations by Pure Magazine. Its close proximity to the University of Alberta gives the area a youthful vibe and there are a number of funky boutique and designer shops housed in the unique historic buildings.
The theater district, restaurants, hopping night clubs and live music venues round out the offerings of this part of the city and make it appealing for both shoppers and non-shoppers. There’s also a great Saturday farmers’ market where visitors will find more than 130 artisans, food producers and growers with unique products on offer.
Edmonton’s 124th Street area is home to 12 of the city’s best art galleries as well as an alternative theater venue, but in recent years it has also become a vibrant shopping area. The area extends from Jasper Avenue to 111 Avenue along the 124 Street corridor and is filled with boutiques owned by independent retailers as well as a great selection of restaurants. The galleries are the place to go for those interested in seeing some excellent Canadian art, but clients will also find interesting items on offer in the shops.
Stretching from east to west between 95th and 116th streets is an area of the city known as the Avenue of Nations. Alongside Chinatown, the Avenue of Nations is a mix of ethnic shops that reflect the cultures of China, Japan, Italy, Latin America, Poland, Ukraine and Vietnam. The residential area is a cultural melting pot and the commercial area reflects this with Chinese restaurants, Polish bakeries and Halal stores right next to each other. It’s the best place to find ethnic foods and goods.
Without fail, whether your client is a hippie or a hipster, Edmonton is the spot for them to shop until they drop.