It’s the most wonderful time of year to shop for that special someone and Alberta’s mix of urban malls, homegrown designers and small-town boutiques and Christmas markets makes it easy to find the prefect gift. Here are five Northern Alberta shopping districts not to miss this holiday season.
West Edmonton Mall
Some people visit Edmonton just for West Edmonton Mall, a destination unto itself with more than 800 shops and attractions. Find something funky at new stores including Desigual with its colourful fashions, Swatch for modern watches or Kit and Ace for stylish clothes made from high-tech fabrics. Explore the mall’s themed streets for a tailored shopping experience – you’ll find designer items from Lacoste to Versace on Europa Boulevard, and dining options galore on BRBN Street. When it’s time to unwind you can hit the rides at Galaxyland amusement park, strap on skates at the Ice Palace or make a splash at World Waterpark, all located inside North America’s largest indoor shopping and entertainment complex.
Find a unique gift in Edmonton’s historic Old Strathcona District, near the University of Alberta where many local designers have set up shop. Shoe lovers will go gaga over the Edmonton-designed, ethically-made flats and boots at Poppy Barley, or on-trend footwear at Gravity Pope’s original location. Pop in to Workhall to check out the latest runway styles from independent Edmonton designers, or browse C’est Sera for a wider selection of Canadian brands. In between stores there are plenty of restaurants and pubs to refuel, and a not-to-be-missed farmers’ market that runs every Saturday from 8 a.m to 3 p.m.
Main Street in Camrose
Stroll down Main Street in Camrose, an hour’s drive southeast of Edmonton, where Western-style storefronts beckon like a movie set. Inside the cute shops you’ll find something for everyone on your list. Unique Boutique sells trendy clothing and accessories for children, teens and women—think cute toques and plaid over-sized scarves. Twig Designs is the place to go for bohemian threads, while From Kicks to Kids has baby toys and maternity fashions for expecting parents. Finally, check out the wine and beer making kits and supplies at Ezee Brew for the hipster in your life.
Spruce Grove for kitchen wares
Spruce Grove is just 30 minutes west of Edmonton, an easy day-trip destination for shoppers looking for kitchen gifts, from canning supplies to specialty knives. Spice up your life with a visit to Mad Platter Bistro, where the “wall of spices” includes fresh spices such as whole nutmeg (if you time it right, you can eat lunch there, too). Gifts and Gadgets can outfit a cook space with everyday implements like blenders or more obscure items like tart pans. Ratchet up your dining room’s funk factor with vintage glassware from Raggs to Riches, or cute knick knacks that make a perfect host gift.
Central Alberta’s Christmas Markets
Get into the holiday spirit at a Christmas market in Central Alberta. The Lacombe Christmas Faire takes place in Lacombe Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features over 70 vendors selling everything from holiday decorations to hand-made soaps, oils, knitting and baked goods. Check out the Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival in Sylvan Lake on Nov. 25 and 26 to load up on local jams and jellies, arts and crafts, and to take in the festive entertainment including a Santa Claus Parade, ugly sweater contest and live music.