It was beyond difficult to make this list of best travel experiences as 2017 had so many wonderful experiences to pick from. I would like to take the time to thank everyone who joined me on any of adventures throughout the year, and I hope we can share new experiences together again in 2018.
10. Dining At Canada’s Best Resturants
This year I had the pleasure to dine at plenty of outstanding restaurants, including both Atelier and Fairouz (both are listed as Canada’s best restaurants for 2017)! Fun fact: the balloon in the photo is a dessert that you can eat at Atelier – which was part of the blind tasting menu when I visited.
9. Phantom Of The Opera
Musicals have long been a favorite of mine, and while I’ve seen plenty of big-name productions, The Phantom of the Opera has long been on my bucket list. This year I managed to grab tickets to see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phanom of the Opera at the newly renovated National Arts Center. The spectacular production was fabulous, and in 2018 I hope to see more theater productions – I’ve already purchased tickets to see the Illusionists next April.
8. Puzzle Master: Escape Rooms & More!
This year I had the pleasure of testing my problem-solving skills with my friends by completing various of escape rooms, VR rooms/games, traditional board games, and scavenger hunts across Ottawa.
As someone who grew up playing video games, I adore teaming up with my friends to see if we can work together and conquer the puzzles. Over the year I’ve managed to try every company offering escape rooms in Ottawa! While I’ve been a long fan of the Escape Manor, this year I also got to try: Unlocked Ottawa (Our Man On Sussex & Krylon Crew), Cannamore Orchard (Escape Maze), Captive Escape Rooms (Dracula & Charlotte), Amnesia Escape Games (Ehscape To Canada), Lockdown Ottawa Escape Rooms (Trudeau Towers), Jigsaw Ottawa (Castle, The Cabin & Heist), and Room Escape Ottawa (Serial Killer Charade)!
Earlier in the year I also got the chance to try virtual reality games for the first time at Colony VR and XPR, which proved to be some useful training as several months later I visited Room Escape Ottawa to try Canada’s first virtual reality escape room which my team smashed through and easily escaped! If you haven’t tried virtual reality gaming yet, you should add the experience to your 2018 bucket list.
Similar in the concept of escape rooms, I also tried for the first time some of Ottawa’s scavenger hunts including Big City Hunt & City Quest. Moving across downtown Ottawa, I worked with my team to solve clues, do silly challenges and answer trivia questions to complete the scavenger hunts before the time runs out.
If you like escape rooms, then you need to try a collaborative board game! 2017 marked the first time I tried playing a cooperative game, where all the players work together against the game. These type of board games are perfect for escape room loving players, as you need to work as a team to use your logic to solve the problem. Curious to learn more about playing a collaborative board game? Read my article about my time in the Loft Lounge.
7. Let There Be Brunch
At the start of 2017, I made the goal to find more time amongst all my travels to get together with my closest female friends. As such I organized a brunch group with my closest female friends where we would test out Ottawa’s best brunch and high tea spots in Ottawa. A huge thank you to all the ladies who joined over the year, and I can’t wait to continue into 2018. My two favorite brunch spots in Ottawa in 2017 were the ultra trendy Bubbles Beats and Brunch at the Andaz and the innovative vegan dishes at Cafe My House who won the 2017 Gold Medal Plates Awards.
6. Take Me To The Circus!
No matter how many Cirque du Soleil shows I see each one leaves me mesmerized by the spectacular brilliance of the production and artistry of the performers.
This year I had the pleasure of seeing Cirque Du Soleil’s Volta which was made even more memorable as I happened to get to see Prime Minister Trudeau!
5. Learn New Skills
2017 brought so many fun experiences including a vast range of classes that I took including technology and culinary classes.
Some of my favorite classes were learning how to: fly a camera drone, make chocolate truffles, play texas hold em, cocktail mixing, pour the perfect cup of coffee, better describe wine in a blind wine tasting in Saint Emilion.
Related: My Top 10 Travel Moments of 2016
4. Flying In A Vintage Biplane
I absolutely adore flying and the view from the sky. This year I got to soar above Ottawa in a vintage WW-II era Biplane with an open top for a flight experience I’ll never forget.
3. Paris Je T’aime
This year I was invited with 5 other bloggers to take part in the France Nature challenge where each of us would head to a different area in France to write about our experience. At the end of the journey, we had the pleasure to meet up and spend some time together in Paris.
Paris has long been one of my favorite cities in the world, but this time it was fun to meet up with a group of strangers who I quickly became friends with. From touring the landmarks of the city, fancy tea parties at Hermes or dining on a boat outside of the Eiffel Tower I got to explore the city with some outstanding and inspirational women.
2. Exploring Bordeaux (And Surrounding Areas)
As part of the France Nature challenge, I was invited to go to the airport where I would discover which region of France I was heading off to. The entire challenge felt a bit like Amazing Race in the sense I had no idea where I was traveling to until I opened the envelope at the airport, and each day I would be challenged to two different activities.
I was thrilled to discover I was heading to Bordeaux, one of the main wine region of France where I did have plenty of opportunities to drink the wine and see the vineyards, but I also loved eating local cuisine, hiking Europe’s tallest sand dune, exploring Bordeaux and surrounding cities, and boating.
1. Taking Part In Ottawa 150th Celebrations
In 2017 Canada was celebrating 150 years as a nation, and in Ottawa the capitol – and my hometown there was non-stop festival and events throughout the year. Attempting to attend as many as possible some of my highlights include Kontinuum (an underground art installation), MosaiCanada (beautiful plant sculptures), and La Machine (a giant robot spider and dragon battled around Ottawa for a weekend).
Out of all the Ottawa 150 events that took place, the Sky Lounge was by far my favorite. The experienced allowed me to hang above Ottawa from a crane with a picture perfect view of the sun setting on downtown Ottawa.
2017 was such a wonderful year, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings. If you have any suggestions for activities I should do in 2018 feel free to send me an email and let me know!