If you’re looking for holiday experience less than an hour away from Mile Zero – spend a day in across the border in Alberta with the Molina family as I did. Talking about holiday cheer. Warmth of hot chocolate, the festive season, and more. Meet Braulio and Janneth, and children Maria and Braulio Jr.
Grande Prairie offers enough holiday activity and joy to keep it busy for the individual, couples on the grow, to those already established with families of their own.
Start a session at Ole Smokes Coffee. Majestic Black Tail. Raging Moose. Bugling Elk. These blends take you to the rustic cabin immediately. Hunter beans, the Rig Man’s mocha and more.
A combination coffee house, sandwich bar, and more. There is a lot going on here. Try the Hunter’s Blend Latte. Or the bison and/or elk paninis. The flavour profiles are as rich and as hearty as the interior design at Old Smokes. Echoes of nature in the midst of the GP bustle. Solid.
The warmth of Old Smokes is replaced by the electricity of Nitehawk in the afternoons.
All downhill from here.
Head south from Grande Prairie, cross the Wapiti River on the way to Grande Cache, hang an immediate right, slide past the O'Brien Park and into the Nitehawk Year-Round Adventure Park.
If you’re looking for a getaway to the east that carries some Alberta flavors, fun, and hospitality back to Mile Zero and to the BC side of the Peace, Go Nitehawk.
Skiing is a speed – however a more family friendly option is available. Experience the snow in a new way with the entire family all at once, or leave them behind at the top of the hill to catch you at the Nitehawk Snow Tube Park. Operating Friday through Sunday, the thrill you seek of sliding downhill while sitting and spinning is the shizz. Let 600 ft and more of two carpet deliver you back to the top to relive the experience again, and again. Tube at night under the lights, but keep an eye on extremely low temperatures to close the tube park for safety. Private rates are part of the mix for group get togethers and birthdays to make a day of the tube park.
"Our programs, camps and lessons are done to recognize the needs of students, and their abilities regardless of age," says one of the managers at Nitehawk Johnathan Clarkson.
The official tree light and Santa Claus parade brings the majesty and reality of Christmas with a slow paced trek through the downtown core – which allows kids to take in the parade at a much more appropriate kid-friendly speed for interactions.
The Molinas gathered to watch the tree lighting front and centre.
“There is so much to do right here or so close that many people don’t know about,” noted Dad Braulio. While the family has taken in the parade before, Nitehawk was a new experience.
“There is so much fun to do seconds from the city. It is a beautiful area.”
Children are almost encouraged to take to the streets with the slow pace of the procession travelling by.
Warm up with some dinner
55a Kaffee is like a present you find tucked way back, underneath the tree. This traditional kaffee with a bunch of twists is more than worth the stop, located in a tile shop! The marzipan tea (hot or iced) is to die for and their assortment of baked goods will leave any sweet tooth stoked. Experience a taste of Europe, without even leaving the city, bringing the taste, style & character of Germany, Switzerland, Austria & Northern Italy to Grande Prairie.
Jeffrey’s Cafe - whether its the 20 different types of homemade cheesecakes, or the local fresh fare, once you’ve eaten here you’ll realize how it keeps its top star rating.
Light chasing the night spirits.
Molina family, meet the Claus Family, horses and more at Evergreen Park to bring your Christmas holiday day of cheer to a classic close. The2019 Peace Draft Horse Club Northern Spirit Light Show at Evergreen Park has been set and offers a total of 38 days to ride into the light in your own vehicles or old school horse drawn wagons.
Evergreen Park is lit with millions of lights of soldiers, Santa, dinosaurs, princesses, reindeer, and nature, presents, and more. The northern lights, stars in the skies, and Mother Nature only add to the setting and tone. End your night hot with the lights and around the fire pits.
The event is open each night in December at 6pm except closed on Christmas day.
If are from further away, or feel the need to stay another day in Alberta, rest your face at the Four Points Sheraton.
Seconds away from the hustle of the downtown core, but far enough away to be considered a getaway, the Four Points Sheraton in Grande Prairie has room at their in for the weary family of travellers, family of four, or single editor. Across the road from the Eastlink center and various other amenities, you have enough to keep your clan busy, or stay inside the hotel, unplug the iPhone and discover a lost room of the past off the Four Points lobby - an actual library ...with real books that have words in them.
Directly across the road the theme and roar of the dinosaur continues at the Eastlink Centre -a one-stop shop for almost anything athletic in Grande Prairie. Field House, B-Ball, pool, pool, pool, and gym. There is a lot of water options here for families, and you can get your sweat on a hundred different ways. Log walk, steam and sauna, dive towers, tracks, and more, will help you make an adventurous splash at the Eastlink Centre.
Don’t get stuck riding one horse, as you can see there are more than enough experiences, events, and attractions in the Peace to keep you busy throughout the entire holidays.
For more on skiing or winter adventures in Northern Alberta search #goNitehawk and #SkiNorthAB on social media.
See also https://www.snowseekers.ca/story/warm-holiday-spirit-grande-prairie
Bonus! Looking for a rad countdown of things to do in Alberta before 2020 hits? Check this!