Warm up to the holiday spirit in Grande Prairie 

Editor's note: With the unpredictability of COVID-19, some 2020-'21 events are up in the air. Be sure to watch the local organizers' websites for the latest updates. 

Slide your way into the holidays and uncover the true feeling of the spirit of the season. You can warm your way into winter with a cup of hot chocolate, tasty treats and some outdoor winter adventures in Grande Prairie – one of Canada’s biggest northern cities. It is so easy to slip into holiday mode here.

We’ve worked with Grande Prairie-based photographer Marilyn Grubb to bring you a SnowSeekers’ look at what’s happening in December.

Ring in some holiday cheer. #SkiNorthAB #exploreNorthAB

Just wait until you take a spin on the snow tubes and surf at the dino-themed water park (yes, I said surf, and you can do it there all winter.) Read on and do your friends a favour, share this story and give the gift of travel this season. Come #SkiNorthAB and #exploreNorthAB.

Holiday mode in this city of 63,000 includes a bustling itinerary – snow tubing, light shows, surfing and more treats then even Santa could chow down in one weekend.

Locals, Braulio Molena and his family, originally from Colombia had the chance to go with Grubb to find some of Grande Prairie’s top winter activities and photos that say holiday cheer.

Nitehawk Adventure Park

Grande Prairie
Photo: Marilyn Grubb

Self-admitted “big fans of family movie nights,” SnowSeekers was stoked when Braulio’s first comment about the day was: “Our favorite part was tubing at Nitehawk! We enjoyed this together as a family; this was our first time.” Grubb said it was tough to tear Braulio’s son, who has the same name, and his sister Maria away from the hill, but their modelling talents were required elsewhere.

Take the Holiday Plunge

Photo: Marilyn Grubb

Braulio hit the water at the Four Points Sheraton, conveniently across the street from one of the coolest water parks at Grande Prairie’s Eastlink Centre. (For now, change rooms, hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas remain closed. Please check the website for the latest information on times and activities). Yes, they have surfing there and yes, anyone can go! One of Alberta’s few surf rider machines will definitely keep you riding the waves all holiday season.

Photo: Nancy Shields

Next to the surf machine, the centre is home to an amazing dinosaur-themed water park. Check out this video and read the story about Grande Prairie’s winter attractions.

Fuel up for Shopping

Photo: Marilyn Grubb

All this activity will make you hungry and thirsty. Hit up Ole’ Smokes Coffee Roasters for some hot chocolate. If you’re looking for something heartier, bite into their elk, bison or turkey breakfast sandwiches.

Photo: Marilyn Grubb

Feeling like something a little sweeter? Grande Prairie is home to Jeffrey’s Café where you can try to decide between 20 different in-house made cheesecakes. We love this photo of Braulio hoping for an extra spoon to help his mom with her double chocolate brownie with caramel sauce.

Jeffrey’s Café is opening a third location in GP in 2020. You’ll quickly see why they are growing with a menu that is local as possible, fresh and tasty.

Photo: Marilyn Grubb

You know on Christmas morning, when you dig under the tree and up pops one more present? The hidden away 55A Kaffee is kind of like that kind of surprise. Note all the amazing tile work next to the delicious toffee pudding? That’s because the Kaffee is actually located in a tile shop. Check out the menu on their Facebook page and get ready for some tasty baked goodies and specialy coffees. 

Northern Spirit Light Show

Photo: Breanna Gouschuk

The Northern Spirit Light show runs through December at Evergreen Park.

Here’s how Grubb describes this event: “The Peach Country Draft Horse Club is an annual event. They spend about a month putting together a light display and set up a trail through the park. They bring in the horses and wagons and the public can go for a ride with quilts to keep them warm. Bundled up, you can listen to the clippity-clop of the horse’s hooves and experience Christmas magic. It feels like you are in the country, but you are only five minutes from the city.”

Photo: Marilyn Grubb

This is great experience for children because they can learn about the horses from the patient club volunteers.

The cruise around the park takes about 20 to 30 minutes and you get to be wowed by the pretty light show that makes everyone ooh and aaah. It’s so magical you’ll lose all sense of time.

After your ride, head over to the bonfire for a hot chocolate or a hot cider. 

It sounds like the makings of a perfect Christmas season. Start making plans with your family to head into Grande Prairie this winter and warm up to some holiday cheer.

Light up Your Life

Photo: Marilyn Grubb
At the top of December, Grande Prairie hosted its annual Santa Clause Parade and tree lighting, downtown and at Revolution Place (home to the Grande Prairie Storm Hockey Team).

While downtown explore the city centre vibrant atmosphere and don’t forget to give yourself a gift, with a winter walk or a snowshoe through Muskoseepi Park. In addition to trails, the downtown park includes a pavilion to warm up by the fire, change into your skates and hit the frozen fish pond.  The folks at Grande Prairies’ Downtown Business Assocation will get you shopping, click here for more.

When You Go

Besides the Four Points Sheraton, the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association rounds up some other suggested overnights here.

Nitehawk Adventure Park’s lists all of its fun activities on its Facebook page.

We’ve rounded up just an appetizer to what is on the full menu of eating around Grande Prairie. Check out more places to eat here.

Share with us what you find this holiday season and we may feature your pics on SnowSeekers’ social media channels. Learn more about how Nitehawk and Grande Prairie will light up your winter. 

#SkiNorthAB is proud to partner with Community Futures Grande Prairie in this coverage - what do they do? Check out their success stories in helping awesome businesses like Nitehawk Adventure Park and others grow.

This story was published in partnership with Travel Alberta.

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