If you’ve ever thought of a trip to Canada I bet Vancouver, Toronto, maybe Banff are the first places to come to mind…um especially if like me you wanted to run Seawheeze.
But guess what right smack almost in the middle of the country is a great summer vacation spot in Alberta Canada! Especially, if like me you tend to plan a lot of vacations around say… a race!
Edmonton summer vacations have a lot to offer, as I was super lucky to experience over the weekend thanks to Explore Edmonton and a fantastic crew of ladies.Thanks to The Lost Girls Guide and AVibrantMind for some high quality profession photos this weekend. And TrackClubBabe and Fight For Growth making this an all around stellar girls weekend.
First up, for all my runners checkout my review of the Lululemon 10K!! That’s right, if you missed out on Seawheeze here’s your next chance to fully enjoy the experience they create with 7,000 other runners!
Outside of the race, you can also take advantage of the fact that The Running Room, North America’s largest running retailer, has their flagship store here which means free group runs every Wednesday and Saturday morning! With a no runner left behind policy, it is a great way to explore or get tips on trails to try!
But as you know, I was eager to get out on my on and runsplore. It did not disappoint thanks to street art, flowers, great paths everywhere and beautiful views. You could literally run for days here thanks to all of the paved paths.
I absolutely need to come back to explore more of the trail system and nature!!
River Valley Trails
Whether you opt to head out for a run as I did or want something the whole family can do, you’ll be set thanks to the massive River Valley park system. It’s 22 times larger than Central Park, say what?!
And with great pedestrian access across the bridges, you’ll safely be able to see all sides of the city, which makes for a ton of incredible views. Our group opted for an ebike tour from Revolution Cycles.David has wanted to rent these for ages, but I was always so nervous.
I mean I like having my feet on the ground and I couldn’t quite imagine how this heavier faster bike would work for me, but it was PERFECTION. The day prior to a race I didn’t want to toast my legs and it made hills so fun.
Turns out that you can control the amount of power and so I would turn it way low on the flats to just allow myself easy pedaling and then go turbo on the uphills, where suddenly by downshifting gears I felt like I was barely working!
We opted to head out with a guide, which means you’ll learn even more about the city as you pedal along and you can 100% tell them in advance we want a leisurely pace or we’re looking for a workout. On any other day this crew would have been like make us sweat!!!
Elk Island National Park
Once you’ve run and biked, grab four wheels and go for a little drive. Just 45 minutes from the city you’ll find this fantastic national park.
The 30 minute tour gives you some fascinating information about the parks main residents: bison. Did you know there used to be 30 million in the US and within a few short years it was down to just 1,000?! I’m usually not a tour person, but this one is totally worth your time.
Here the animals are allowed to live totally wild and when the herd is large enough they send off some to other conversation parks throughout Canada and the US. We were incredibly lucky when driving around after the tour to see one hanging happily alongside the road!! I mean, we could have stayed forever just to see him looking so regal.
Additionally, you could hike tons of trails or rent a canoe or picnic turning your drive in to a full day of adventures!
We wanted to, but this was the one moment of the trip where the weather actually started to rain and lightning, so maybe not the best timing. All though you know we considered it because you gotta get those photos for the Gram ;)
Be prepared to be shocked with the availability of delicious vegan, plant based, gluten free food options throughout Edmonton! I mean a city of a million people is putting my outdoorsy Denver to shame!!
KB and Co definitely got hit up a few times thanks to their beautiful green smoothies with protein powder and maca….ok and the absolutely divine vegan energy balls. Cause who doesn’t love a ball.
Bonus points if you walk just a couple stores down this great street you’ll find Jacek Chocolate Couture. Yes, it’s as heavenly as it sounds from the name with handmade deliciousness including a TON of vegan options, like the edible gold infused bar I got because ummm gold.
Another evening we found ourselves at The Moth Cafe for an entirely plant based menu filled with creative things like jackfruit crabcakes or my dinner of Spicy Tofu Tacos, which would have stuffed any meat eater.
For my legit foodie friends you must go to Biera, where you’ll find insanely creative dishes to share among the table and cheese…so much cheese. This one was really interesting for me, but ya know, dairy free and I’m just not uber food fancy.
Edmontonians (err is that a thing) are super excited for summer to finally break outside again after a long winter, so they pack the streets weekly with great open air markets, street performers, art festivals and more.
But even when those aren’t available the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market is situated inside so they can roll right along despite the weather. And you never get to understand the local area better than doing your shopping here than yet another chain.
- You’ll find over 130 local vendors
- The produce is always so beautiful and fresh
- You can see the huge variety of food types that people love here
- This is the place to buy your souvenirs because they’re unique and usually handmade
Whewwww that was just a snippet of what we packed in to our 4 day trip. It’s definitely a great spot for any race vacation or Edmonton summer vacation to get away from other large cities while still having all the amenities you’d love.
Have you ever been to Edmonton?
Do you love exploring cities based on a racecation?
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