This eclectic neighbourhood just north of downtown is an urban oasis of exotic eateries, funky boutiques and independent cafes. Thanks to its leisurely atmosphere, it’s also a great place to stroll and people-watch.
THE SMELL OF BOOKS
Barb’s Book Loft, one of the area’s many used bookstores has knowledgeable, literature-loving staff who don’t need a computer to guide patrons to their book of choice. 328 – 10 St NW, 232-8299. But if that new book smell is a must, Pages Books on Kensington boasts more than 10,000 titles, plus weekly readings.
FESTIVE FEASTING For great Greek food, try Broken Plate, where the festive energy of a Mediterranean eatery is maintained despite an upscale atmosphere.
Two stalwarts of the Calgary coffee house scene are here: The Roasterie and Higher Ground. The Roasterie is the local student hub, where the clientele are more likely to wear Che Guevara t-shirts than business attire. Higher Ground is more subdued and elegant, with a fireplace, wireless Internet and wines by the glass.
ONE-OF-A-KIND SHOP Mañana Imports boasts exotic clothing, housewares and jewellery from 31 different countries. If you can, chat with owner Steve Burger, who can give you the history behind each product.
CUPCAKES, OH MY
Crave Cookies & Cupcakes on Kensington Road is building a reputation for the city’s most decadent, delightful and delicious baked goods. The Crave-O-Licious cupcake (chocolate cake topped with vanilla butter cream icing) is to die for, as are the chocolate chunk cookies. Go early—they’re often sold out by mid-afternoon.
Kensington boasts some of the city’s coolest night-time hangouts, including the Kensington Pub, a good place for some easygoing company and a pint of beer.
Kensington is just northwest of downtown across the Bow River. Take 4 Ave S west to the Louise Bridge; cross over and there you are. Most of the shops and restaurants line 10 St NW up to 5 Ave NW, and along Kensington Rd to 14 St NW.—Sally MacKinnon