The Mystique of Calgary

When I was first invited to travel to Calgary, I didn't even know where it was on the map or what I can do there. For most of us who are not familiar with Canadian travel, it is the city where most tourists fly into to make a one hour drive to the famous Banff National Park. For the 150th anniversary of Canada, all national parks in the country are free so I quickly packed my bags to see what was waiting for me. 
Visiting Calgary for Canada's 150th anniversary.
Downtown Calgary
Compared to its more popular sister cities, Toronto and Vancouver, downtown Calgary is smaller, cheaper in all aspects, exudes a charm of its own, and still doesn't impose a foreign buyer real estate tax. It has a small albeit lively retail and entertainment street on 17th Avenue where I got to try Made by Marco ice cream, a local cafe, Presotea for bubble tea (especially for my boba-addicted readers), and Model Milk for dinner. 

My list of must eats include: 
1. Model Milk - At the edge of the bustling 17th Avenue, you can find Model Milk, which serves dishes utilizing Alberta's freshest ingredients. 

A relaxing vibe at Model Milk.
Foie gras for appetizer with buckwheat.
Calamari fricasse which was so good but didn't expect to have red meat mixed in it :( 
2. Alforno Bakery and Cafe - It has a menu that sounds boring but actually my salmon benedict bursted with unexpected flavors. It also doesn't hurt that the ambiance reminds me of contemporary New York style cafe.

Smoked salmon with poached eggs at Alforno Bakery.
My treat after a long hike. Always a sucker for strawberry shortcake!
3. River Cafe at Prince Island - A bit pricey but this is one of those establishments you must visit to complete a trip in Calgary.
A peaceful lunch at River Cafe while people watching.
4. Suzette - For a more proper French breakfast, head to Suzette for their famous savory and sweet crepes.
French food
Crepes for a late lunch at Suzette.
5. Regrub - Ok, I know they have countless of locations in Canada, but if you are looking to calorie-load before a hike in Banff, this is the place to do it with their over-the-top milkshakes.  
Caught on video at Regrub.
Scooped out the whip cream before enjoying the Oreo milkshake with glazed donut.
6. Made by Marco - This ice cream shop actually made waves due to its Instagram friendly interiors. When you are in the middle of Canadian summer, this is your best bet for cooling down. 
ice cream
Matcha for me, of course!
Thanks to Elon Hotel, a block away from 17th Avenue, for making it easy for me to walk around during my entire stay in Calgary. I highly appreciate boutique hotels that obviously invest on interior design with matching branding colors even on its shower head and faucets. 

hotel in calgary
Thanks to a convenient location, I was able to walk everywhere in downtown Calgary.

Comfy stay at Elan Hotel.
bathroom hotel
Admiring the matching red faucet, shower and tiles.
hotel breakfast
Simple breakfast at Hotel Elan
Enjoying the many parks in downtown Calgary.
Calgary downtown
Strolling on Stephen's Avenue.
A 10-minute walk up north is the upcoming area of Eau Claire, where I was tempted to go to an open house for luxury condos and envied the professionals soaking in the summer sunshine around Prince Island park during their lunch break. There are a few bridges in this area, one of which you can take to stroll to River Cafe, but the Peace Bridge is the most picturesque of them all.

sight seeing
The Peace Bridge in all its glory.
Up next, watch out for my misadventures in Banff National Park. 

Disclaimer: I received a media rate from Hotel Elan in exchange for an honest review. 

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