The leaves are turning, the air is crisp and pumpkin spice abounds – autumn has arrived in Alberta, bringing with it ample excuses to snuggle up to your honey. So whether you’re looking to keep that summer fling going or you’re handholding with your long-time love, make the most of this colourful season and keep the sparks flying.
Rekindle the romance in a mountain hot spring
A good hot soak is a fitting antidote to the autumn chill in the air. What better place to warm up than a steaming thermal pool surrounded by stunning mountain views at one of the province’s natural hot springs? Head with your partner to Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park. While Miette is open seasonally from May to early October, a late-season option is Banff Upper Hot Springs in Banff National Park, open year round. Afterward, try a rejuvenating couple's massage followed by a romantic dinner and a stroll under starry skies. You may even be treated to a viewing of the northern lights.
Cook something up
Even when you are on vacation, heading back to the classroom with your partner can be fun, informative – and delicious. Calgary's Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) hosts a variety of evening cooking classes for couples. You’ll get quality time in the kitchen with a top chef, learn new recipes, and enjoy the fruits of your labours over a glass of wine. Another option is Turner Valley-based Eau Claire Distillery, Alberta’s first craft distillery, which hosts numerous evening courses perfect for couples. Choose from topics such as the history of gin, how to make classic punches, or how to spice spirits with infusions. You’ll learn, you’ll snack, you’ll drink, plus tickets include pick-up and drop-off at Calgary’s Hotel Arts.
Share in the harvest
Meander together through a local farmers’ market to see and sample the season’s bounty. Edmonton’s City Market Downtown runs Saturdays on lively 104th Street for a few more weeks, before moving indoors to City Hall after Thanksgiving. Explore the sprawling, indoor Old Strathcona Market in Edmonton, open Saturdays, or the Calgary Farmers’ Market, open Thursdays through Sundays. You’ll find a host of friendly vendors selling an abundance of fresh fall produce, from heirloom tomatoes to fingerling potatoes, pumpkins, eggplant and bell peppers every colour of the rainbow – perfect for trying out those new recipes.
Embrace the season with a late afternoon amble amid bright foliage and the waning autumn sun. If you’re in Edmonton, start your date at Cavern, a cheese store and café/bar on 104th Street with an intimate atmosphere. From there, it’s a short walk to the Alberta Legislature grounds, a perfect setting for an scenic stroll. In Calgary, begin with appetizers and drinks at Charbar in the historic Simmons Building in the East Village, then wander across the foot bridge spanning the Bow River and explore beautiful St. Patrick’s Island.
This classic date idea gets a boost around this time of year, thanks to breathtaking fall foliage. In Edmonton, watch the sunset from Const. Ezio Faraone Park, where you’ll also get a good view of the colourful river valley. In Calgary, a popular sunset spot is McHugh Bluff. From this vantage, fall colours will be on full display in Prince’s Island Park below, while the city skyline, Bow River and distant mountains enhance the scene.