Weekend Away: Calgary, Alberta
Living in a smaller city like Medicine Hat makes me pretty restless. I am the type of person who was always meant to live in a large centre. I wanted to fund my undergrad myself without incurring any debt, so part of achieving that meant staying in Medicine Hat to complete my degree. In order to maintain my sanity, Joel and I find ourselves in Calgary at least once a month, and lately it has been closer to twice per month. Generally when we go away it is for a purpose like a concert or another event, this weekend was no exception. This weekend I lived my 17 year old dream of seeing emo band Brand New; let me tell you, they did not disappoint. I may or may not have cried when they played the song I have linked below, but in my defense I wasn't the only emotional one, the guy in front of me had a lot of feelings about it too!
Let's start with accommodations; when we go to Calgary we generally stay one of three places: The Fairmont Palliser, Hotel le Germain, or The Grey Eagle. The first two are based downtown and are pretty central to anything you could possibly want to access and are stunning hotels. The Grey Eagle is a little farther from downtown but it is affordable, comes with a pretty good breakfast, the accommodations are newer and are very clean. I generally prefer hotels that are downtown because they are within walking distance of so much, the great thing about both Hotel le Germain and the Fairmont Palliser is that they are within walking distance of Stephen Avenue, the BMO Centre, Calgary tower, 17th Avenue and so much more.
Lately we have been favouring the Fairmont Palliser because honestly, it has the most comfortable hotel bed we have slept on. I also appreciate the level of customer service we receive there; I am a president's club member and this allows me access to different amenities and you get freebies. It is completely free to join and then the more you stay with Fairmont the higher status you achieve. I would recommend this hotel to anyone, we have never had any issues staying with them and you really cannot beat the location. We find ourselves walking to our destinations if they are located downtown because this hotel is so central to all the amenities we want to access.
So the next highlight is probably my favourite: FOOD! I have a huge confession to make, I love Taco Bell. Like no shame, follow all their social media and we go to Taco Bell every time we are in Calgary. But that is not the highlight of this trip, even though I could make an entire post about my love of Taco Bell (maybe in the future hehe). Our meal on Saturday evening was at this amazing pizza joint in Inglewood called 'Without Papers'. Let me tell you, they have some of THE best pizza I have ever had, and I know my way around a pizza!
The vibe at this pizza joint is so cool, the names of their pizzas are a play on famous movies and they have art work on their walls that reflect this. They also play quirky old movies, this weekend they were playing an old western film, but previously we have seen Purple Rain; ode to the artist formerly known as Prince.
They make their cheese in house and their other ingredients like the meat are all sourced locally. They have a pretty solid craft beer list along with wines and some fun cocktail beverages. All in all I highly recommend checking out Without Papers if you are in Calgary, it's been less than a week and I am craving a fix! After dinner Joel and I strolled along Stephen Avenue, which was lively on a Friday night, we stopped into a pub and had a nightcap. We then headed back to our room and fell into bed.
So I am a firm believer that if I am not in Medicine Hat that means I am basically on vacation, so boozy brunches are not only acceptable, they are basically a must. I follow Craft Beer Market on Instagram and so I already knew their brunch looked delicious but I really needed to taste it to truly be fulfilled. The brunch menu was not extensive, but it hit all the big brunch items that you may want. I had a real craving for chicken and waffles, so that was the breakfast I decided on and it did not disappoint one bit!
Now it doesn't matter if my meal choice is spectacular, Joel always managers to choose better than I do; basically no matter what his dish is always delicious and I am envious. Thus in typical Joel fashion made the better choice than I did; he chose the breakfast tacos and oh my goodness were they amazing. He gave me a few bites and I honestly had an inner debate that if he went to the washroom would I steal a full taco from him, or would I just stare at it longingly. Thankfully I didn't have to make that choice because he has a bladder of steel.
I definitely ordered a beverage called a Beermosa which is Hoegaarden and orange juice, so after that and all the food I needed a bit of a walk. The festival season in Calgary is kicked off with the 4th Street Lilac Festival, and this happened to be the weekend that it fell on. So we decided to take a stroll though the 500+ vendors and get some sun. This is one of the things I love the most about Calgary, there is always something going on and it doesn't have to cost you anything. We were feeling stuffed from our brunch, so we did not partake in any of the delectable offerings at the festival but they had everything from jugglers and magicians to jewelry stalls, to spin and yoga studios, all so many other things I can't even recall them all. I was seriously pooped from the 8000 steps that accrued from that little jaunt.
Later that evening we did a bit of shopping at Chinook and then attended the concert with a couple friends and my best friend for her birthday. All in all it was a pretty standard Calgary trip for us, but I always find myself refreshed when I am there. It is a city that has so much to offer and the more you go the more gems you manage to find. I am sure this will be one of the cities I post about the most so stay tuned for more Calgary gems to come!