The millennial. Maybe he’s currently wearing ironic suspenders while typing a text message on a typewriter. Perhaps she’s wearing a floppy hat, taking a picture of her brunch. However you feel about them, these Instagram-happy, eco-aware, darkly humorous explorers have something you can’t deny: They have excellent taste in travel.
Millennials aren’t just trend adopters, they’re trendsetters. This is why just about everyone is dying to know about millennial travel trends these days. Luckily, they’re happy to share the goods. Here at Expedia.ca, we asked 1,000 real Canadians where they’d recommend travellers visit in 2018, and then filtered by the millennial voice (ages 18-34). The respondents were more apt to international destinations, more introspective in their reasons, and more creative in their preferences—which makes us confident that these top places will soon become too popular for the average visitor. In no particular order, here are the top places millennials recommend you visit in 2018!
Victoria, British Columbia
It’s no secret that Victoria, British Columbia, is a beloved city. But we’ll let the survey speak for itself. Victoria was one of the most recommended destinations by name. Given its attractions, location, and overall vibe of good living, we can’t say we’re surprised how popular it is with millennials.
- Did someone say vinyl? Because those babies are almost as popular amongst this group as craft beer. Check out the largest vinyl record store in Victoria when you look for treasures at Ditch Records.
- Vintage is the name of the game when it comes to millennials, which is why we’d like to direct your attention to Six Mile Pub & Eatery. This is the oldest pub in all of British Columbia, as this watering hole first opened in 1855 when it was a part of a hotel. There have been plenty of owners and insane stories along the way, and it’s pretty much begging you to create some stories of your own.
- In case you haven’t noticed, board games are all the rage with this age group right now. Get your fix of old-school games and caffeine with an afternoon at the Interactivity Board Game Cafe.
How come none of your friends are free to meet you for Taco Tuesday? Because they’re all in Iceland. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Reykjavik is the place to be these days. Maybe it’s the affordable airfare, maybe it’s the stunning Instagram-worthy landscapes, or maybe it’s the chance to listen to Of Monsters and Men on Spotify as you’re actually driving through the mountains they sang about. Whatever the reason, it’s one of the top travel destinations for millennials, and one of the most recommended places by name.
- The Blue Lagoon is iconic and well worth the social shares when you post a picture of it on your feed. The geothermal spa is located roughly 47 km outside of the main city, and those magical waters will make you feel like a goddess.
- If you want to show off those fancy hiking boots you bought at an eco-friendly outfitter, the Golden Circle is where you want to be. The 305-km route starts about 40 km from the main city and offers views of waterfalls and unusual vegetation.
- Ok, so you know that Iceland is popular, but why? Learn more about this wacky and beautiful place when you spend time in the National Museum of Iceland.
Oddly enough, both stuffy economists and pierced baristas could tell you the same thing: Oakland is one of the hottest places for millennials. From a pure numbers perspective, Oakland is one of the top growing cities in America for this age group—coming in second in a 2015 SmartAssets report that looked at U.S. population trends. When we saw “California” recommended in our poll, we had a hunch where everyone was visiting.
- Can’t find your friend Madison? Just scream out “Mimosas!” and she’ll apparate to the seat next to you. Brunch isn’t just a time to eat; it’s a fiercely held tradition amongst millennials, and Oakland doesn’t scrimp. Indulge in tasty treats like the stuffed challah French toast at Portal or the savory porridge from Grand Lake Kitchen, which has shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, scallions, hot sauce, and a poached egg.
- Running away and joining the circus is still an option when you visit Oakland. Sign up for classes at Trapeze Arts Inc. and get to flying.
- As any good hipster knows, craft beer is king. And you know what? It’s even better if you brew it yourself. That’s exactly what you can do at Diving Dog Brewhouse—if you plan on a two-week vacation to the States (and why not?). You’ll be able to brew your own beer with their equipment, design your own label, and then bottle your suds two weeks later.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Want to know a secret? One in four millennials in our survey said that Vancouver was their favourite big city. Furthermore, it was one of the most recommended cities by name. And really, what’s not to like? Tons of breweries. Excellent vintage shopping. Plenty of distinctive attractions. In other words, a mecca for millennials.
- Take relaxation to a whole new level with the flotation tanks at Float House. Sometimes called “sensory deprivation tanks” or “isolation tanks,” you’ll float inside a sound-proof, light-proof tank that has about 25 cm of water and 360 km of dissolved Epsom salt. You can float around quietly and really focus your thoughts.
- We’ll be honest, The Woods Studio is such an exclusive music club that it may not want attention. Sorry, but the secret is out! This little space puts on some truly one-of-a-kind music performances.
- Want to support independent designers and boutiques? Since 2011, much & little has been sourcing all of its products from local designers and fair-trade artisans. Front and Company is another favourite boutique in town, and well-known for their window displays that showcase intricate whimsy.
One thing that surprised us when we looked at our survey results was how many times Ireland and Scotland came up as answers. The millennials are coming, guys! We saw “Edinburgh” come up the most by name, which is why we’re going to give it extra love. Not that it needs it. As Scotland’s capital city, this hot spot is well-regarded for its pretty sights and good pubs.
- Those succulents decorating your apartment have nothing on the towering plants inside the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. This landmark is the second-oldest botanical garden in the UK (it opened in 1670) and features a wealth of lilies, orchids, and camellias.
- Millennials have no patience for “normal” museums. Instead, bring on the strange and beautiful. Case in point, the Surgeons’ Hall Museums. This three-part centre includes antique medical devices, skulls, and at least one book made of a deceased murderer’s skin.
- You can’t go to Edinburgh and not sample the brews. For “shabby chic” and a name that evokes Harry Potter, there’s Under the Stairs. If you prefer “The Dude” instead, make your way to Lebowskis, which has 30 types of White Russians. Or, if you can’t get enough of all things retro, the 600-year old Sheep Heid Inn is waiting for your order.
We saw Ontario show up on the recommendations list as often as “avocado toast” shows up on millennials’ shopping lists. And when you look at the data, it isn’t surprising to see why this province is so popular. Many of the major cities are teeming with millennials. Per Statistics Canada, Brampton in particular is one of the youngest big cities in the country, with an average age of 36.5 (Calgary is next with 37.6). Where are all those cool kids hanging out? We’ll tell you.
Top Things to Do in Brampton
- Bring back dodgeball! As we all know, this age group is all about nostalgia, which is probably why Aerosports Trampoline Park Brampton is such a trendy attraction in the city. Don’t worry, you won’t get picked last for the team nowadays.
- If you’re not busy creating your own art, get some inspiration at the esteemed Peel Art Gallery Museum + Archives. There are tons of different mediums here, including calligraphy and miniatures.
- Friday night in Brampton means one thing: Something awesome is happening at the Rose Theatre. This spot puts on everything from stand-up comedy to live performances of classic albums (like Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors”).
Port Alberni, British Columbia
Recommended by name in our survey, Port Alberni is the hot lumberjack-hipster of British Columbia. This outdoorsy destination is well known for its easy access to the Barkley Sound and a wealth of hiking and boating activities. And after stretching your legs, there are plenty of options for a good craft brew or ice cream cone. In other words, it’s an active millennial’s dream spot.
Things to Do in Port Alberni
- Some of the best hiking around here is Cathedral Grove, located about 15 km outside of downtown. This where you’ll find 800-year-old Douglas firs that line the misty pathways.
- When you’re ready for some sour suds, make your way to Twin City Brewing. Beers include the Mindflayer, which is described “a menacing, creeping, shadow in a glass,” and the Tickity Boo, which is an award-winning medium-bodied pale ale.
- If you’re more of a sweet than sour person, prepare to indulge at Coombs Country Candy. There’s nothing but hand-crafted chocolates and sweets here.
Roswell, New Mexico
We had one respondent super excited to recommend New Mexico because of the “aliens.” Frankly, we’re not sure if they were serious about their hunt for extraterrestrial life, but hey, aliens are indeed something unique on a vacation! And there’s no better place to “find” them than Roswell, where there was a famous UFO “landing” in the mid-1940s. And if you don’t run into any little green men while you’re in town, there’s always green chile enchiladas.
Top Things to Do in Roswell
- What really happened on that strange day in 1947? Did beings from another planet land in America? The International UFO Museum and Research Center answers these questions, along with information about crop circles, Area 51, and flying saucers.
- For other out-of-this-world sights (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves), you can’t miss all of the pretty colours at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s almost like one of those rainbow bagels come to life.
- When you’re done looking at the galaxies, it’s time to ponder the swirls in your glass. As all proper millennials knows, nothing beats wine on vacation, and Pecos Flavors Winery & Bistro packs a punch. And if you need something to sop up all the booze in your belly after, local favourite Martin’s Capitol Cafe with their green chile enchilada plate will fill you up.
Grande Prairie, Alberta
When we saw how often Alberta was recommended by millennials in our polls, we decided to do a deeper dive into the province. Where exactly are all the millennials located? Well, according to Statistics Canada – Municipal Affairs Alberta, Grande Prairie is one of the youngest cities in the entire province, with an average age of 33.5 years old. With that many young people, you can find some dynamic things to do around here.
Top Things to Do in Grande Prairie
- It’s not a cool city without a specialty coffee shop, and what could be better than Fusion Cup? This popular cafe offers options like coconut mochas, almond lattes, and a variety of teas.
- Need some more #artlife and #nofilter hashtags in your life? Make a trip to the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie, where you’ll see a world of paintings that includes “The Slothful” by Salvador Dali. The Grant Berg Gallery is another favourite around here, and spotlights over 35 regional artists, with a wide variety of methods and subject matter—including Aboriginal and Indigenous works.
- Creativity in Grande Prairie isn’t limited to paints and oils, however. The Grande Prairie Live Theatre puts on a number of concerts and performances for every type of taste.
Winnipeg got tons of love in our survey, which is why we’re excited to highlight it here. This big city in the prairies offers plenty for those upscale twenty and thirtysomethings to do, with everything from relaxing day spas to thought-provoking museums.
Top Things to Do in Winnipeg
- Start your vacation with a jolt to the heart when you visit the extremely popular Little Sister Coffee Maker. With pastel green cups and beautiful latte designs, it’s the perfect place for both an Instagram pic and cappuccino.
- Want to spoil yourself and tell the world about how energized you feel? Make a stop at Thermëa, which offers hot stone and deep tissue massages. They even offer mom-to-be massages, if could use some pampering before your mini me arrives.
- Millennials are known for being more political active than previous generations. With this eye toward activism and making positive changes, it’s no wonder that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is such a favourite attraction around here. Learn about human history, from its struggles to its perseverance.
Golden, British Columbia
We had one respondent enthusiastically recommend “The Rockies” at large. Truth be told, there are so many fantastic towns illuminating the rugged peaks of the mountain range that it was hard to highlight just one. But if we had to narrow it down, we’re going with Golden, British Columbia. It’s crisp. It’s lovely. The name itself implies a golden winner.
- Pair that brisk air with a chilled brew. If we had to direct to you one brewery in town, make time for Whitetooth Brewery. They have options like the Speed Metal, with herbal hops and dark chocolate malts, or the Truth Dare Consequence, with juniper berries and smoked malt.
- Maybe after a few rounds at the pub you’ll finally be brave enough for the ultimate activity: skydiving. Steel your nerves and jump out of a plane with Skydive Extreme Yeti.
- They say that things can get weird in the woods, and we think that’s a good thing. Check out Motion Notion, which features camping, electronic music, yoga, and a trippy atmosphere that will leave you open to the universe.
St. John’s, Newfoundland
Here’s something that may not be news to you: All the millennials are moving to St. John’s (and Halifax, but we’ll get to that in a minute). When we saw Newfoundland and Labrador on the suggestions list, we did a little digging and discovered that the most affordable house prices these days are located in Atlantic Canada—creating a swell of the millennial population in the city. With so many young people calling St. John’s and the general area home, you can count on excellent attractions for visitors.
Top Things to Do in St. John’s
- When it comes to dinner, millennials have one question: Is it farm-to-table? If reservations are for The 5th Ticket, the answer is yes. Gorge on favourites like seafood gumbo, polenta fries, and NL cod.
- Scuba diving is the new rock climbing. And for excellent teachers and tours, you can’t go wrong when you sign up for an excursion with Ocean Quest Adventures.
- Where do all the cool kids hang out on Friday night? That would be the George Street area. While this part of town always has something good going on, the George Street Festival (happening at the tail end of July) includes a ton of live music and good vibes.
South America is having a moment. Left and right, millennials are packing up and heading down south for epic adventures in some of the most beautiful and dynamic countries on earth. When we saw Chile singled out in particular, we figured it was someone who just got back in time to type their answer. If you’ve never been here, Santiago (the capital) is a fantastic place to start your adventure.
- “Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs, you look like a world, lying in surrender.” If you know those words, you know Pablo Neruda, a Nobel Prize winning poet from Chile. You can visit one of his houses, La Chascona Museum House, to learn more about his life.
- Speaking of museums, don’t miss Museo de la Moda, an esteemed fashion museum that includes both historical and extravagant clothes to admire.
- Another thing that millennials love: farmers markets! One of the best happens to be in Santiago. Explore Mercado Central de Santiago, which offers seafood, baked goods, and cheeses.
Powell River, British Columbia
Have you noticed a theme, yet? Because yes, British Columbia was mentioned over and over and over by millennials in our survey. What can we say? This province is what we would call “trending.” One town in particular caught our attention: Powell River. Mentioned by name in our poll, this town has everything any millennial could want—coastal views, tasty food, and way more festivals than you’d ever expect.
Things to Do in Powell River
- This is a festival-happy kind of town. Spring brings out the Marathon Shuffle Run, where you can hike or run along the 180-km Sunshine Coast Trail. Summer hosts a number of events, including the Texada Blues and Roots Festival, which is an upbeat music fest on nearby Texada Island; the Blackberry Festival Street Party, which celebrates the ripe juicy fruit; and Arts Alive in the Park, with tons of art for display. Late fall and winter brings out holiday parties, like Carols by Candlelight.
- Being called “extra” can sometimes mean an insult—but not when it comes to food! Coastal Cookery brings extra attention to all of their dishes, including the Creole spiced popped corn, and the beurre blanc mac and cheese with crispy pancetta.
- Did you say that you were thirsty? If that’s the case, we highly recommend Townsite Brewing. Their Suncoast Pale Ale is only available in pubs and eateries along the Sunshine Coast itself, so drink up!
St. Lucia, Caribbean
Where do millennials hit the beach? Judging by our survey, St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Mentioned by name in our poll, this tropical paradise is a top destination for twenty and thirtysomething travellers. Filled with incredible sights, it’s practically an Instagram picture come to life.
- Need something new for your Snapchat story? Take some snaps of you walking through the epically beautiful Pigeon Island National Landmark. This enormous area takes you past two beaches, lookout points of the Northwest coast, and old military ruins.
- Speaking of lovely things, the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens feature exquisite flowers and ferns. You’ll feel like you’re on Naboo, rather than the Caribbean.
- Whether you’re looking for lunch, fresh produce, or gifts to take home, the Castries Market is ready to hook you up. There are tons of booths selling things like dried herbs, hot sauce, pottery, and food.
Summerside, Prince Edward Island
You might be surprised to know how often PEI was recommended by millennials in our survey. It wasn’t easy narrowing it down to one city in the province, but we happen to think that Summerside (the second-largest city on the island) is an excellent pick for its lobster and outdoorsy activities.
Top Things to Do in Summerside
- Some people may say that paddling is “basic” and those people have solved that problem by standing on the board itself. Whether you’re one of those folks who promote SUP above all else or just want to give it a whirl, SUP Prince Edward Island is happy to rent you a board and paddle.
- Oh goodness, the lobster in this town. Get your stomach ready, because you’re in for a massive feast when you go to Summerside Lobster Carnival in mid-July.
- Millennials know all of the best museums and art galleries, so it stands to reason that they already know that Summerside is the home of the PEI Sports Hall of Fame. This centre honours all of the best athletes PEI has ever known.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
If you feel like Halifax and millennials are becoming synonymous these days, you’re not alone. In terms of real estate, Halifax is one of the fastest growing markets with this age group. Given how many times Nova Scotia showed up on our poll, we have a feeling travellers are making their way to visit their friends in the suddenly very, very trendy Halifax.
Top Things to Do in Halifax
- Chalkboard wall? Check. Craft beer? Check. Beer garden with wooden tables? Check and check. Call it hipster or call it whatever you want—if you want to know what’s good in town, you make a stop at the Stillwell Beer Bar.
- Coffee isn’t just a drink around here, it’s a credo. Steve-O-Reno’s Cappuccino is an award-winning cafe that believes in locally roasted, ethically sourced coffee. They also bake their sweets every morning, so you know they’re made with love.
- If you’re someone who always supports the arts when you travel, you’re in for a treat with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The centre is home to over 17,000 art pieces between its Halifax and Yarmouth locations.
Sauble Beach, Ontario
You know the beach must be outstanding if it’s mentioned in the same list as St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Mentioned by name in our survey, Sauble Beach isn’t just a well-known freshwater beach town, it’s also one of the top recommended cities by millennials. Remember those flip-flops.
Top Things to Do in Sauble Beach
- Is it safe to say that we’re all a little guilty of wearing athleisure clothes when we haven’t been anywhere close to the gym? Well, you can actually get those stretchy clothes to work when you participate in the 8-km Shore Race in mid-April.
- After all that time stretching out on the shore, upgrade to a boat right on the water. Bruce Peninsula Boat Tours has several options for day outings.
- What is life without a juicy burger, cold beer, and ocean views? For the best of easy beach living, make your way to Sola’s Grill.
*Bonus “Any Mountain”
Well, well, well, humorous respondent who said, “Climb a mountain” when we asked for your recommendation. Guess what? Your answer is going on the list. Truth be told, good sir or ma’am, climbing a mountain is an excellent travel suggestion, and Canada happens to be full of them. There are the usual suspects, of course. Whistler is show-stopping, Revelstoke is ethereal, and we have a few favourite mountain towns, ourselves. But millennials tend to like things just about to go mainstream, so we’re going to shout out Elkford, British Columbia, which is nestled next to the Rocky Mountains. Tons of trails. Epic views. You’ll feel alive, alright.
When it comes to millennial travel destinations, we’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. Whether this crazy group is looking for aliens, mountains, or craft beer only brewed in one spot, you better believe that these locales are the hottest places to visit in 2018.