Hygge is harder to pronounce than it is to practice. To Canadians, the Danish-word is often mispronounced like “higgey” (rhymes with piggy), but the proper pronunciation is somewhere between “hoo-gah” or “hue-gah.” The word and concept translates to an idea of coziness. Think snuggling up under a blanket with a loved one with a warm cup of cocoa in front of a fire.  

However, there is no one exact way to practice hygge as it’s different for everyone. It’s simply the idea of coziness, indulgence, a pleasant ambience and good company. (Similar to what we call “self-care” in North America) It’s been a particularly cold winter this year with a heavy polar vortex hanging over the city, so where can you head out to find a little piece of this coziness concept? Here are 8 places to stay warm and find hygge here in Saskatoon:

1. Swing in hammocks with a hot cup of cocoa

Credit: The Golden Media Company

Head to Drift Sidewalk Cafe to indulge in some solo-swing time in their Hammock Cafe. Order a hot drink (the mochaccino is great) and a build-your-own crepe. The vibe at Drift is laidback, chill and creative with ample plants hanging around to make you feel good.

2. Go to a local movie but bring a blanket

Whenever I head out for a movie in Saskatoon, I bring a small fleece blanket with me. It's a way to make a night out at the movies a little more cozy, a little more hygge. Check out what's playing at the Broadway Theatre or The Roxy and choose a title you wouldn't normally see.

3. Go for a night skate

Two of the best skating rinks in town are the Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink at Nutrien Plaza near the Delta Bessborough Hotel and the Boffins Public Garden-turned-ice-rink.

The Cameco Meewasin rink is one of the most popular in the city. Along the South Saskatchewan River, skates can be rented for free and there's both a warm-up hut with an indoor fire as well as an outdoor fire pit. The evergreen trees in the skating rink are always beautifully lit and the amber glow of the street lights spill onto the rink making it cozy despite the cold temperatures of winter.

At Boffins, the small pond freezes over and turns into a beautiful skating pond in the winter. The on-site chalet is accessible only to tenants but the rink is open to the public and beautifully lit at night.


4. Get out of the house for a cooking lesson

Pasta making, dim sum, cooking with beer - there are a variety of different cooking class options to choose from. Make a standard night of cooking something a little more fun by heading to the Local Kitchen for public cooking classes. There are several classes a week, check out their schedule here.

5. Take a bath that will blow your mind

Indulge in a bit of float therapy and sensory deprivation at Float Now in Saskatoon. Pod or cabin float tanks are filled with 11 inches of warm water containing 1000 pounds of Epsom salts. Ninety-minute sessions mean you have enough time to disconnect from life and reconnect with yourself. The result is a meditative floating experience unlike anything else.

Check out Saskatooning blogger John Early's experience of floating here.

6. Peruse a used book store

Spend an afternoon wandering the aisles of Saskatoon's used bookstores getting lost in the thousands of stories printed on paper. Take your time to explore each section and look for books whose titles and summaries catch your interest (not just the cover design). Make it a whole afternoon by stopping by Westgate Books, Books Unlimited or Turning the Tide Bookstore.

7. Keep it simple and go for a walk

There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing (so the Scandinavians say). And I agree! Slide on your warmest pair of wool socks, a pom-topped toque and a cozy pair of sweatpants (also called hyggebukser in Danish) and get outside for a short walk. You don't have to go far or be out long. The simple act of taking ten or more minutes to get outside in nature and enjoy the outdoors can help you feel cozy and refreshed. Walk through one of Saskatoon's dozens of parks or along the Meewasin Valley Trails.

8. A book and a bakery

Take the book you picked up from one of the city's used bookstores and go solo to a local bakery. (Or invite a friend out to sit and read with. Not all hangouts have to be full of chatter. Sometimes sitting in silence is just as wonderful). Some of the coziest bakeries in town include Little Bird Patisserie, Calories and City Perks Coffeehouse.