An Insider's Guide to YYC

Calgary's combustion of high energy citizens and it's charming western hospitality provides an ultimate travel destination. I was fortunate to live in Calgary for a year and with my sister currently still living there, it proves to be a city I frequently travel to. Therefore, next time you're visiting the Rockies, why not spend a day or two enjoying what this city has to offer.

Here are some of my favourite Calgary hotspots:

Shops

Metrovino, The Cookbook Company. Both of these gourmet stores are connected to each other which makes it dangerously tempting not to go a bit crazy. Metrovino is a gorgeous wine boutique carrying some of the hard-to-find small producers. They also host exciting wine tastings and you'll leave wondering where the last two hours escaped to. The Cookbook Company is attached and sells an abundance of cookware, kitchen gadgets and of course, cookbooks.  Why not try something new and take one of their many cooking classes as well. Located at: 722 11 Avenue, Southwest

Steeling Home. I always get tremendously excited when I make a stop in this upscale general goods market. It's literally the perfect spot for one of a kind treasures and gifts. They sell everything from rugs, books, jewelry and other home decor items. It was recently featured in Enroute Magazine's must see's in the city. Located at: 1010 17 Avenue, Southwest.

Silk Road Spice Merchant. This flavorful retailer is the home of fine spices, rubs, herbs and seasonings. They offer only the best quality products and so many varieties. A destination that will definitely open your eyes to new possibilities for old dishes. Located at: 1403A 9th Avenue, Southeast

Coffee Shops 

Analog Coffee. Analog prides itself for working directly with the farmers to make delicious java. Stop by this hipster but amazing cafe before discovering 17th avenue to get that extra kick of energy. Located at: 740 17th Avenue, Southwest

Higher Ground Cafe. Such a cozy spot in the Kensington district. All the beans here are organic and fair trade certified. This place is perfect to grab some breakfast, lunch or even a night cap with a friend. Located at: 1126 Kensington Road, Northwest

Restaurants

Vintage Chophouse. You can't come to Calgary without having a proper steak experience. If you're vegetarian, than I suggest you forget your values for one meal and go eat here too. This mouthwatering restaurant was voted for serving Calgary's best steak by the 2014 "Where to Dine" awards. When I worked at the hotel nearby, repeated guests would demand reservations here each stay. Located at: 320 11 Avenue, Southwest.

River Cafe. Nestled in Prince's Island Park this "cabin" in the woods is an extraordinary setting in the summer and winter months. It's been voted one of the best restaurants by a series of well respected sources. A perfect spot to bring guests, celebrate exciting news or even for a brunch to get away from it all. Located at: 25 Prince's Island Park

Farm. This restaurant is like your down to earth friend that you love hanging out with because they make you feel all good inside. It serves classics like bubbly mac n cheese with homemade pickles (extra please) and farm to table charcuterie boards. Located at: 1006 17th Avenue, Southwest 

Glam squad

Frilly Lilly. The name itself got me to book my first appointment. This pink house in the mission area of Calgary is ultra whimsical and welcoming. They specialize in waxing, mani and pedis. While you're waiting for your appointment, browse at their large selection of jewelry, purses and body products. I mean, if you're going to suffer throughout a wax you might as well be in a adorable setting to distract you from the pain. Located at: 2105 4th Street, Southwest. 

Hedkandi, Hotel Arts. Stylist at Hedkandi know how to make you feel like a million bucks. The head massage that you'll experience during the washing stage is worth it in itself. This was my go to spot for a refreshing hair pick-me-up. Located at: #146 13th Avenue, Southwest.

Activities 

Stampede. An obvious choice. The Calgary Stampede takes place the first two weeks of July every summer. Skip the traditional carnival activities and buy a ticket to the rodeo. It's an great experience to immerse yourself in the Western culture. Also do yourself a favor, try a bison burger, you won't regret it.

Floating in Bow River. On a hot lazy summer day, grab some of your friends and float down the river. You'll not only have an awesome time outdoors but you'll get a new perspective on the city.

Glenmore Reservoir. This reservoir the primary source of drinking water for Calgarians. This area is popular with residents for it's scenic biking trails and water sports.