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Post-Turkey Winter Walks

by Curtis Wright

A big part of what makes our city great is its walk-ability. We’re very used to throwing on a scarf and an extra layer and getting down to business. Now perhaps ‘getting down to business’ means a third helping of turkey dinner or so many sweets that you find yourself in a deep food coma. Never fear, I've got you covered with some great post-meal-time walks. Get out there and enjoy some of the best sights and scenes in Edmonton. Fair warning though, I've outlined some great food pit-stops along the way - couldn't help myself.

Candy Cane Lane
(148th Street between 92nd & 100th avenue)
Candy Cane Lane offers a 45 minute stroll (or drive…but don’t, just don’t. Park nearby and stroll) through wildly impressive feats of homeowner talent, festive ingenuity and pure holiday magic. If musically-timed Christmas lights and massive ornamental yard displays are your thing (and they should be because…wow), then get here and burn off your second (fourth?) eggnog and spiced rum. Bonus points if you spot what is perhaps the most Canadian and/or creative ‘Nativity Scene’ ever.

ProTip: Grab a round of hot chocolate at Café Blackbird and walk over. ProTip #2: Head back again after your walk and grab a Spanish Coffee or their wonderfully festive Figetaboutit.

Alberta Legislature 
(10800 97 Ave NW)
The Alberta Legislature is probably the most romantic spot in the city – maybe even the entire province. If you are open to walking off the holiday calories – and we certainly condone the exercise – you’ll have a lot of fun in this winter wonderland. In fact, as Anne Murray’s “O Holy Night” pipes through the speakers and the kids wander around and have fun, you'll feel like you’re part of a great Christmas community. What a bright time. It’s the right time to walk the night away.

Need an even longer walk? Head over to the brand new funicular, right beside the Hotel MacDonald, on 100 Street and 100 Avenue. Take in some beautiful views of the river valley and downtown from the outstretched perch or walk into the river valley itself for a true winter wonderland.

ProTip: I know I keep preaching this but…hot chocolate. Again. This time, head to District Cafe near the Alberta Legislature. Their latte is absolutely festive. And…if you need a stop after, why not head back and have a craft cocktail or some Alberta beer? You’re welcome.

124th Street
If the weather’s right and the spirit is high, this is another great walk to take right after the Legislature. Not only is Jasper Ave energetic, it’s got the Christmastime feels. Bend around the corner on to 124th and I'm talking movie-scene beauty. The white light-lined streets, the much-ado-about-a-lot-of-things restaurant, café, pub scene, the noteworthy boutiques and family-run shops bring you right into the Edmonton community.  I know we’re talking about walking off a few extra holiday bites here, but you shouldn’t deny yourself life’s pleasures…124th covers all the senses.

ProTip: Is the weather a bit colder than you hoped or are you feeling like some culture? Take yourself on a Gallery Walk through an awesome collection of 8 galleries that focus on local and Canadian artists. Best to call in advance to figure out your schedule. Lastly, it wouldn’t be any 124th jaunt without a croissant from Chocorrant that will stop you in your tracks.

Old Strathcona
There’s just something about this neighbourhood. Summer or winter, morning or late night – you’re always in for something unique and vibrant.  This is the perfect place to burn a few hours (I would say calories, but let’s be honest here, too much great #yegfood to resist). Date night, a family walk, strolling with mom, a jaunt with the headphones in... the options are endless. Even better if you get to stay at the Metterra or Varscona hotel – right in the heart of the action.

ProTip: Stop in at La Boule just off Whyte Avenue for a cappuccino and a lemon tarte with a crisp, buttery crust, and luxurious lemon curd.

Castrol Raceway's Magic of Lights

So you'd rather drive off that holiday meal? Don't worry, we've got you covered too. Imagine an entire raceway full of outrageously awesome animated lights and one jaw-dropping wall of LEDs which is as psychedelic as it is truly amazing (especially when you add in timed music which really hits its crescendo in the Christmas light tunnel). Luckily for you, the difficulty level is low (no Clark Griswold temper tantrums here, people) and the wow factor is high. At $25 a car load, it’s completely worth it. Not only does it put you in the spirit, it is a true display of ingenuity.

ProTip: After Castrol Raceway, head back into the city via Gateway Blvd but before going too far, sneak over to Town Square Brewing and talk about how you ‘really have to step it up next year in the Christmas-lights-at-home department.’