Driving down the highway, swaths of yellow came into view. Was it sunflowers? Mustard seed? No, these were the canola oil fields of Edmonton, Alberta.
It’s a lucky day to be there when these massive yellow fields are in bloom, but we are just as happy to see snow across the plains provinces of Canada.
You see, Edmonton won’t let a little weather stop it from enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer. After all, when you live in Canada, you can’t let a little snow get in your way. The same goes when you visit.
So if you only have 24-hours in the city, you need to make the most of your time.
What to do in Edmonton Alberta Canada?
- Cultural Attractions: Edmonton is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene. You can explore the Art Gallery of Alberta, attend theatrical performances at the Citadel Theatre, or visit the Royal Alberta Museum.
- Natural Beauty: The city is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. You can take day trips to Elk Island National Park or explore the North Saskatchewan River Valley, North America’s largest stretch of urban parkland.
- Festivals: Edmonton hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, including the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, Ice on White, and the Edmonton International Film Festival.
- Outdoor Activities: If you enjoy outdoor activities, Edmonton offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking, biking, and golf in the summer. You can also try your hand at ice skating in the famous West Edmonton Mall.
- Culinary Scene: The city’s culinary scene is thriving with a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and food trucks. You can savor local and international cuisine, plus they have a great cocktail scene, which I always love.
- West Edmonton Mall: This massive shopping and entertainment complex is a major attraction, featuring over 800 stores, an indoor water park, a skating rink, and even an indoor amusement park.
- History and Heritage: Edmonton has a rich history that you can dig into at Fort Edmonton Park, a living history museum.
- Northern Lights: If you’re lucky and visit in the right season, you might get a chance to witness the stunning Northern Lights in the Edmonton area. The farther from go from the city, the easier it will be to see them, especially in Jasper National Park and Banff National Park.
Why go to Edmonton?
Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, which makes it worth a visit just to see the seat of government, if that’s your thing. However, there are so many activities and destinations to experience in Edmonton that you won’t likely have time to consider politics at all during this visit.
It’s also home to the West Edmonton Mall, North America’s largest mall, making it one of the best places in the world to go shopping. But when we only have one day, we have to skip the city-sized shopping experience and head to some of the city’s many highlights.
As the second-largest city and the capital of Alberta, Edmonton isn’t one to hibernate no matter the weather. This festival city, with its warm summers and cold winters, has embraced the arts during the Fringe Festival, literature during the Shakespeare Festival, and All Things Winter during Ice on Whyte.
It’s an urban oasis filled with funky neighborhoods emerging from its fur-trading past, rich foods that will rival most kitchens in New York City, and shopping that will make American’s think everything is discounted thanks to a favorable exchange rate.
Extend your stay after the National Parks
During a recent visit to Edmonton, I finally got the chance to dive into the city to find out what makes this place tick. I’ve flown in and out on my way to Jasper National Park and Banff National Park plenty of times. One winter, I even stayed overnight but didn’t have time to linger.
This trip, however, I was going to get out of the hotel and find out why people would want to hang out in the city for a day or more before heading into the parks (or home after riding the Rocky Mountaineer).
The local spirit of Edmonton comes out in full force each summer, as windows are open wide in restaurants, shop doors are left open to welcome you in, and everyone stays out late to watch the sunset after 10 p.m.
There is a joy that resonates across the metropolitan landscape when layers are shed and neighbors come out to say hello. When you visit, you should feel free to do the same.
Summer temperatures average in the low 70s but have been known to get into the 80s, thanks to global warming. Nights are cooler, in the 50s, requiring travelers to pack a light jacket (at the very least).
Winters are just as welcoming but quite a bit colder. While doors won’t be propped open, bar stools and tables are ready for you to settle into, have a chat and meet your neighbor as you all stay warm together. Winter temperatures are often in the 20s, with nighttime temperatures dipping into the single digits.
Layers and ski gear are encouraged, especially in Jasper National Park and Marmot Basin, just four hours away.
Want more National Park info? Read our Jasper National Park guide.
Start Planning Your Trip to Edmonton
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Flying into Edmonton?
Looking for the best flights to Edmonton? You will want to fly into Edmonton International Airport (YEG), set just 30 minutes south of the city.
We love to track flights via Expedia.com. Not only do we find great rates, but we earn points to use on future travel too.
You can also keep an eye on GOING deals, which is how we got to Ireland roundtrip from LAX for under $500 each. The free version is good, but the paid subscription will save you way more than the cost of the actual subscription.
More Ways to Get to Edmonton
- By Train: Via Rail Canada operates passenger train services that connect Edmonton to other major Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Jasper and Toronto. The Edmonton Train Station is located downtown.
- By Bus: Several bus companies provide long-distance services to Edmonton from various Canadian cities. The Edmonton bus terminal is located downtown.
- By Car: If you are traveling within Alberta, or from neighboring provinces like British Columbia and Saskatchewan, you can drive to Edmonton. Major highways like the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) and the Queen Elizabeth II Highway (Highway 2) connect Edmonton to other cities in the region.
- By RV or Motorhome: If you prefer a road trip, you can rent an RV or motorhome and drive to Edmonton. Alberta offers scenic routes for RV travelers.
- By Bicycle: For the adventurous traveler, there are long-distance cycling routes that can lead you to Edmonton, especially if you are exploring the Canadian countryside.
- By Boat: Edmonton is situated along the North Saskatchewan River, but it’s not a common route for travelers. However, you can research river cruises within the city itself.
- By Foot: If you are hiking or walking long distances, the Trans Canada Trail offer sections that pass through Alberta and may lead you to Edmonton.
Hotels in Edmonton
- Fairmont Hotel MacDonald: Always great service, that Fairmont smell plus a pool.
- Metterra Hotel on Whyte: Set up your home base in Old Strathcona.
- The Westin Edmonton: Downtown plus a pool.
- JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District: Close to Rogers Place (hockey!).
- Canterra Suites and Hotel: Pet-friendly with suites available.
Find more Edmonton hotels HERE.
Need a Rental Car?
Do NOT forget to buy travel insurance for your trip, even if you booked through a travel agent.
Things do and will happen, and it’s cheaper to buy travel insurance ahead of time instead of paying out-of-pocket later.
Check out Travelex for rates on a single trip or an annual plan that could be right for you if you take more than one or two trips a year.
Don’t Forget about Your Vacation Photos!
Don’t forget to book your Flytographer session to capture awesome memories from your trip. We do it as often as we can. Sometimes, this mom just wants to be in a few photos with her kiddos (or gorgeous shots at sunset).
A Brief History of Edmonton
- Indigenous Peoples: The area now known as Edmonton boasts a long history of Indigenous habitation. The Indigenous peoples of the region, including the Cree and Blackfoot, had established communities along the North Saskatchewan River for thousands of years before European contact.
- Hudson’s Bay Company: In the late 18th century, the Hudson’s Bay Company established a fur trading post called Fort Edmonton near the present-day city. This fort played a crucial role in the fur trade in Western Canada.
- Riel Rebellion: In the late 1800s, the region was caught up in the political turmoil of the Riel Rebellion (North-West Rebellion) of 1885, a conflict between Métis and First Nations peoples against the Canadian government’s expansion.
- Railway Connection: The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 and the Canadian Northern Railway in 1905 marked significant developments for Edmonton, facilitating transportation and growth.
- Provincial Capital: Edmonton has been the capital since Alberta became a province in 1905.
- World War I: Edmonton played a significant role during World War I as a training center for Canadian troops, which further contributed to its growth.
- Oil Discovery: The discovery of oil near Edmonton in the early 20th century, particularly in the Leduc area in 1947, led to the rapid expansion of the oil and gas industry. It transformed the city and Alberta’s economy.
- Post-War Growth: After World War II, Edmonton experienced substantial growth in population and infrastructure, becoming a major regional hub.
- Cultural Development: Edmonton has also nurtured a vibrant cultural scene with the establishment of institutions like the University of Alberta, the Citadel Theatre and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
- Urban Development: The city has seen continuous urban development, including the construction of the West Edmonton Mall, which held the title of the world’s largest mall for a time. (The Dubai Mall currently holds the title.)
- Economic Diversification: While oil and gas remain vital to Edmonton’s economy, efforts have been made to diversify, including investment in technology, education and healthcare sectors.
- Host City: Edmonton has hosted various national and international events, including the 1978 Commonwealth Games and the 2001 World Championships in Athletics.
Headed to Calgary too? Read our Calgary Canada guide.
One-Day Itinerary in Edmonton
- Breakfast at Pip. Do not skip the French toast!
- Morning shopping and mural hunting in Old Strathcona.
- Lunch at Situation Brewery with a little beer tasting on the side.
- Take the High Level Bridge Streetcar to Downtown.
- Explore the Edmonton museums.
- Pre-dinner cocktails at Clementine.
- Dinner at Uccellino for robust yet light Italian fair
- Sunset at the Muttart Conservatory; take a stroll along the river or in paddle around Elk Island to end the day.
Things to do in Edmonton
There is no shortage of things to do in Edmonton. In fact, if you get bored, you’ve clearly never left your hotel room. This northern capital city in Alberta, Canada, offers plenty of provincial politics, local artists, big-city-quality food and festivals that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Whether you are visiting in spring, summer, fall or winter, you are sure to find some fun things to do (and even a little warmth) in one of our favorite Canadian cities.
Tour Edmonton City Centre and Beyond
Neighborhoods are where you will want to spend most of your time because it’s where the local scene–food, pastries and shops–come to life. The mural art scene in Old Strathcona and 124th Street is thriving, for example, putting Edmonton on the public art map.
Urban parklands, including the beautiful River Valley, Rundle Park and Victoria Park, make it easy to get out year-round (if you are willing at times to brave frigid cold). Multiple running and bike paths connect neighborhoods, allowing the ease of getting around without the need for a car. Just watch those hills: They can be a killer on your thighs.
Explore the River in Edmonton
The North Saskatchewan River divides the city of Edmonton into two halves. Chances are you will crisscross it several times throughout your stay, but don’t skip actually getting on the river.
In the summer months, you can paddle around, hang out at Accidental Beach and ride along the bike paths. Or you can simply enjoy a leisurely float. You just have to know how and where to do it.
Take a sunset paddle
For those looking to see the sunset over the city, you can hop in a Voyageur Canoe with Haskin Canoe to paddle from Laurier Park to Capilano Park. Tours run about two to three hours and start around 6 p.m., depending on the month.
As you may know, the sun doesn’t set until about 10 p.m. here at the height of summer. So be prepared to stay up late in July if you want to be on the water for sunset.
You can also enjoy the sunset at Elk Island National Park. Experience the quiet lake waters with the full moon overhead and more stars than any city girl could count. Listen for loon calls and the splash of a beaver.
You may hear the grunt of the local bison herds or even a moose if you’re very lucky. Bring your binoculars to scan the shoreline and glimpse birds in their nests or in flight.
Hang Out on Accidental Beach
Edmonton offers no proper beach, unfortunately. But thanks to construction of the Tawatinâ LRT bridge, an “accidental beach” appeared along the North Saskatchewan River near the Cloverdale neighborhood in 2017. An existing sandbar emerged as the water levels went down, creating the perfect spot for Edmonton residents to play and soak up the summer sun.
The beach isn’t guaranteed to reemerge every year, though. So don’t be surprised if you don’t see it, as it’s dependent on the river flow and water levels.
If you are lucky enough to experience Accidental Beach, however, be aware that there are a few safety precautions you should take.
- Check for open hours BEFORE you go to the beach. It may not be open.
- The beach is only accessible for a short time while the river is low.
- Swimming is not recommended. The river runs swiftly and can take you away with it.
- There are no lifeguards on duty.
- If you picnic, remove all trash that you bring.
- The city provides port-a-potties and trash cans. Use them.
- Fires are not allowed on the beach.
- Dogs on a leash are allowed on the beach, but please clean up after them.
- Alcohol is not permitted on the beach or in any city park.
Explore Old Strathcona
Old Strathcona is by and large our favorite neighborhood to hang out while staying in Edmonton. Not only is it home to Pip, one of the best breakfast spots in Edmonton, and the Strathcona Spirits Distillery. It’s also where you will find more than a few festivals.
If you are in town in July, make sure you pop in for the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, where you’ll love seeing acts along 83rd Ave NW and beyond.
The area also offers lots of local spots to grab a bite. But its Provincial Historic Area is the perfect place for shopping. From avant-garde to boho chic, goth to 1940s swing favorites, there is something for everyone at the shops of Old Strathcona. For Americans, just remember the exchange rate is in our favor. So if you see a sale, it’s an even bigger discount for you after the exchange rate kicks in.
If you are staying in the neighborhood for more than a day or two, make sure you load up at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Products are brought in from all of the plentiful area farms. Produce, meat, seafood, flowers, coffee, specialty foods, plus arts and crafts, are all on sale throughout the year.
The market is so fantastic, that it might be worth planning your trip around a Saturday visit there. And once you’ve had enough, walk around the corner to the streetcar and head downtown to the museums.
Check out the Edmonton Museum and Attraction Scene
Edmonton isn’t as plentiful in museums as many cities its size. But there are plenty to keep you busy, especially if you’re only visiting for a day or two. Here are the must-see museums and attractions you should prioritize during your visit.
Royal Alberta Museum
- Address: 9810 103a Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB
Edmonton’s largest museum is ideal for those who love archaeology, indigenous culture, geology, botany, zoology and the history of Western Canada. More than two-million objects make up the Royal Alberta Museum’s collection, telling the province’s story through permanent and rotating exhibits. (Temporary exhibits have yet to return post-pandemic.)
The museum is located in the Downtown/Boyle Street neighborhoods, an easy walk from the Art Gallery of Alberta (below) if you are trying to see both museums in one day.
Art Gallery of Alberta
- Address: 2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq., Edmonton, AB
One of the most unique buildings in town, the modern exterior of the Art Gallery of Alberta is worth at least walking by if you can’t actually visit. Some of its past exhibits, many supporting Alberta artists, include works by painter Marigold Santos, photographer Manny Hall, and a perspective of work by Indigenous artists and how skateboarding/snowboarding and art intersect.
Kids as well as strollers are welcome at the gallery. Regular, family-friendly programming is offered as well. But BMO World of Creativity is a regular part of the museum for those seeking some hands-on, interactive spaces for the kids to explore.
Alberta Legislature Building
- Address: 10800 97 Ave. NW, Edmonton
Known as “The Ledge” by locals, the building opened in 1913 for the Legislative Assembly and the Executive Council to meet. Heritage Interpreters welcome visitors 362 days per year to tour the building and learn about the province’s legislative process, as well as the art and architecture of the building. All tours are free and last approximately 45 minutes. Yes, it’s even interesting if you’re not Canadian!
- Address: 9626 96a St. NW, Edmonton, AB
Anyone who loves a good horticultural greenhouse and botanic gardens will want to visit the Muttart Conservatory. These pyramid-shaped biodomes are home to 700 plant species of in three climate-regulated biomes. Arid, temperate and tropical flora and fauna thrive throughout the year here. And It’s the perfect spot to warm up, even in winter months when Alberta is frigid.
You can walk a nice loop trail just under a kilometer that travels around the pyramids featuring local wildflowers. Dogs are welcome, and it’s great for kids to run off some energy before you enter the greenhouses. If you need a bite, you can also pop into Cullina’s in the lobby of Muttart.
Need More Museums?
Alberta’s capital city offers a LOT of them, plus botanical gardens, art galleries and several historic buildings. Here are more of the best things to do in Edmonton.
- Alberta Aviation Museum
- John Walter Museum
- Art Gallery of Alberta
- Alberta Railway Museum
- TELUS World of Science – Edmonton
- Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
- Fort Edmonton Park
- Musée Héritage Museum
- Rutherford House
- Royal Alberta Museum
- The Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum
- Ukrainian Canadian Archives & Museum Of Alberta
- Edmonton Radial Railway Society
- Old Strathcona Streetcar Barn & Museum
- University Of Alberta Museums
Ride the High Level Bridge Streetcar
- Address: 10254 82 Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB (Whyte Ave. Terminal)
Great views? Check! Cheap date that dives into the history of Edmonton? Check! Highest river crossing streetcar in the world? Check, check!
It’s not every day that you can say you did something that is the biggest, tallest, highest and greatest. But it’s easy to do so in Edmonton by taking the High Level Bridge Streetcar, especially if you are traveling with kids. Little ones will think they are simply taking the train. Parents will know they are getting from Downtown Edmonton to Old Strathcona, all while sneaking in a little learning.
Each streetcar comes from a different part of the world, including Osaka, Japan, and St. Louis, Missouri. The volunteers running the trolleys are more than happy to tell you the history of the car you are riding in, as well as facts about the journey across this 100-year-old High Level Bridge. Just be prepared to wait because the popular cars only hold so many people. So you may have to wait for one or two cars if the line is long, particularly during festivals.
Tour Edmonton Street Art
Edmonton is a creative hub of murals and street art. In fact, one local has made it her mission to document them all, including any beautifully colored walls, on her site Linda-Hoang.com. There are more than 70 murals around Whyte Avenue, downtown and along 124th street thanks to Rust Magic International Street Mural Festival (est. 2016). So you’ll have plenty to enjoy!
While the idea behind Rust Magic is to mentor young artists and get them a space to put up their work, it is also putting Edmonton on the mural art map. Many pieces are located in alleyways and parking lots, which can be frustrating for visitors at times because they’re often crowded with picture takers.
So just remember this public art is beautifying Edmonton, filling empty walls and drab alleyways with creations by local and international artists. Indeed, the city’s street art rivals that of other big Canadian cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, which helps draw visitors to its businesses (big and small).
Can you find them all? One of the most visible and beloved murals is Curious George in Old Strathcona, so don’t miss it. You can also refer to this map.
Visit Elk Island National Park
- Address: 54401 Range Rd. 203, Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Have you ever wanted to see a bison up close? How about one of the last pure plans and Bison herds left in the world? Then head just 45 minutes east outside of Edmonton to this
UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve.
What makes these herds so unique, i.e. “pure, is that they have never been cross-bred. The bison are also free from disease, which means they are closely monitored to maintain their health and population.
Spring and summer are when you’re most likely to see calves wandering with their mamas. But that also means the mothers will be much more territorial, so keep your distance. In fact, you should always stay 100 feet from wild animals, but giving mom a little extra space never hurts. (No selfies with bison, people!)
You may spot other wildlife in the park, including moose, mule deer, elk, wolves, coyotes, white-tailed deer, black beer, beavers and more than 250 species of birds. But the main attractions and the ones you’re most likely to see are bison and birds. (It’s a large park, 75 square miles or 194 square kilometers, so it’s tough to see other wildlife.)
Get the best chances for wildlife viewing by stopping at the visitor center to get the best intel from park rangers, who can tell you where they’ve seen animals wondering lately. Get more information on the park here.
Get a Taste of Edmonton Restaurants
Edmonton’s food scene continues to grow with every passing year. While Pip is our favorite breakfast spot (book a reservation in this tiny Old Strathcona restaurant), there are several other places you should make sure you enjoy while in town. Beer lovers will need to take a sip at one of the many breweries, favorites like Omen Brewing or Sea Change Brewing Co. If you’re a cocktail connoisseur, head to Bar Clementine for the best libations.
For a truly heavenly meal, you go to Uccellino for fresh pasta and Italian food. They call it simple; we call it perfectly balanced flavors for our palette. A glass of prosecco is the ideal start to every meal here (in our opinion); make sure you also listen to (and order) the specials.
If you are in the mood for more Asian flavors, hop over to Baijiu by the Commonwealth Stadium. Bring a few friends to share plates, sip cocktails and groove to the old-school hip-hop bursting out of the speakers. Not only does the restaurant hire the best staff, but they’re also stunning. (Although unconfirmed, we’re pretty sure you have to be a model to work here!)
Eat All of the Edmonton Pastries
We aren’t ones to say no to pastries, and neither should you. Here are just a few of the top shops in Edmonton where you should never skimp on calories.
- Duchess Bakeshop: We can’t say no to macarons, and why would we? Get a half dozen to sample with your friends or family members, along with a cup of coffee as you sip and savor every morsel.
- Hazeldean Bakery: Grab the apple fritters and sticky buns in the morning before they sell out. And they will!
- Sugared & Spiced Baked Goods: Hidden in an alleyway off of Whyte Ave., this locally run shop is whipping up decadently high cakes, meringues (our fav!), dense chocolate brownies, and cinnamon buns with a bourbon glaze. Good thing you will be doing a lot of shopping (AKA walking) after this trip to the pastry shop. Because it means you can eat more calories!
Experience one of Edmonton’s Many Festivals
Edmonton is a city of festivals. And there are several amazing ones throughout the year. It’s best known for the International Fringe Festival in August, but that doesn’t other festivals aren’t worth checking out if they’re taking place during your visit.
For example, the International Street Performers Festival in July will make you appreciate the art that goes into getting in front of an unknown crowd every day just to earn some cash.
Of course, some are better than others, drawing huge groups of onlookers. But all are talented men and women who’ve traveled come from around the glob to perform and get noticed. You’ll definitely be entertained!
Here Are the Festivals We Most Want to See:
- Edmonton International Street Performers Festival (July)
- Edmonton International Fringe Festival (August)
- Edmonton International Film Festival (September and October)
- Boardwalk Ice on Whyte (January and February)
Explore 124th Street
Duchess Bakery put 124th Street on the map, but the growing art and boutique shopping scene is what has kept this neighborhood alive. It continues to thrive as galleries move in, showing off local and international artists you have yet to discover.
Grab a macaron and a cup of tea at Duchess Bakery before taking a stroll along 124th street, popping into the shops and galleries. You may also stumble upon murals that might not be on any map.
TIP: Don’t miss Canada’s oldest Gallery Walk, which takes place twice annually. It’s free and open to the public.
Tastings at Strathcona Spirits Distillery
- Address: 10122 81 Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB
Love gin, vodka and fine, small-batch liquors? Then head to Strathcona Spirits Distillery, the first and oldest distillery in Edmonton, established in 2016. (It’s also the smallest distillery in North America.) At less than a decade old, it may seem like a baby. But thanks to local liquor laws, this truly is a historic spot for more than one reason.
Started in an old radiator parts repair shop, the distillery was once an underground music venue and screen-printing shop. Co-owner Adam Smith (who owns the distillery with Andrea Shubert) started playing shows with friends, which soon turned into a cult following of sorts. Once the city got wind of this activity, however, they shut it down.
But in 2013, Alberta ended its minimum-production requirements, allowing small-batch breweries and distilleries like Strathcona to produce and distribute liquor. (In essence, the spirits were once considered “moonshine” in these parts.) In addition to craft breweries popping up, gin, vodka and whiskey connoisseurs entered the fray.
That’s where Strathcona Spirits enters the picture in 2016. Specializing in barrel-aged gin called Badlands Berry Gin (our favorite!), as well as a single grain vodka, their first whisky brand, Dreamland Whisky, launched in 2020.
Not sure what to do with these fine liquors? The Midnight Cocktail Club of Edmonton regularly challenges bartenders to get creative with what the local distilleries are creating. You can find some of the best recipes crafted on the company’s website.
Farm to Table dinner at the Old Red Barn by Kitchen by Brad
- Address: 25518 Township Rd. 490, Leduc, AB
Edmonton is farm country, despite looking and feeling like a big city. Just go 10 minutes outside of the city, and you’ll discover some of the fabulous farms of Alberta. And what better way to celebrate this cultivated culture than with a true farm-to-table dinner?
While we city folks understand the concept of getting our food from a farm, actually sitting on a farm where most of the food was produced, or brought in from neighboring farms, takes on a whole new meaning.
Melissa and Matt Schur from the Old Red Barn teams up with chefs from Edmonton and the surrounding areas to host seasonal Farm to Table dinner.
One is Chef Brad from Kitchen, who puts his own spin on this simple, yet impactful menu that combines local ingredients to show off the best Alberta (specifically Edmonton) has to offer.
City folk and area residents all come out to experience this unique meal with a few equine friends hanging out in the distance (or sometimes right next to you).
Local wine is also brought in to complement each course. After all, British Columbia is located right next to Alberta. And we like to think the area is making some of the finest wines in North America. It’s a fabulous dinner pairing some of the best food and wine we’ve ever tasted!
Want to attend a dinner? Check for the next date here!
Take the Gloves Off at an Edmonton Oilers Game
- Address: 10220 104 Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB
Hockey fans (and even people like us who have no idea what is going on in the game) will enjoy an Edmonton Oilers game at their home arena, Rogers Place arena, as if they are locals. A massive arena that seats up to 18,500, you will definitely feel the full force of the Oilers fans at every game.
And don’t even think about getting these Edmonton hockey fans started on Wayne Gretsky. The city took home the Stanley Cup three times while “The Great One” played with the Oilers from 1979-1988. In other words, he is an undisputed Edmonton hero (so just accept it)! You can even snap a photo with him in the form of a statue, located outside the arena.
Winter in Edmonton
- Ice Skating: Enjoy outdoor ice skating at popular rinks like the Victoria Park Oval or the Victoria IceWay Skating Trail at Victoria Park.
- Skiing and Snowboarding: Head to nearby ski resorts like Snow Valley or Rabbit Hill for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
- Festival of Light: Explore the Edmonton Valley Zoo during the holiday season at Festival of Light, featuring thousands of sparkling lights displays.
- Ice Fishing: Try ice fishing on one of the frozen lakes or rivers in the area. Just make sure it’s safe and that you have the necessary permits.
- Winter Festivals: Attend winter festivals like Ice on Whyte, Deep Freeze or Silver Skate Festival, which offer ice carving, winter sports and cultural activities.
- Winter Hiking: Bundle up and explore the scenic trails in the River Valley parks, which transform into spectacular winter wonderlands.
- Indoor Attractions: When it’s too cold outside, visit indoor attractions like Telus World of Science, where you can learn about science and space.
- Snowshoeing: Enjoy the tranquility of winter by snowshoeing through the snowy forests and trails in the area.
- Hot Chocolate and Treats: Warm up with hot chocolate and treats at local cafes and bakeries, such as Duchess Bake Shop.
- Winter Photography: Capture the beauty of the winter landscape with photography. Edmonton’s parks and the North Saskatchewan River Valley provide great opportunities for winter shots.
- Northern Lights Viewing: If conditions are right and the sky is clear, venture out of the city for a chance to see the mesmerizing Northern Lights. (You can spot them year round, but the peak times are between October and April, when longer nights offer more opportunities.)
- Holiday Lights Tour: Take a self-guided or organized tour of holiday light displays throughout the city and in residential neighborhoods.
- Winter Markets: Shop for unique gifts and crafts at winter markets and holiday craft fairs held across the city.
- Snow Tubing: Have a blast snow tubing at nearby hills, such as Sunridge Ski Area or Snow Valley’s Tube Park.
- Cozy Fireside Dining: Dine at restaurants with cozy fireplaces, offering a warm and inviting atmosphere during the winter months.
- Winter Festive Performances: Attend holiday-themed performances and concerts at venues like the Winspear Centre and the Citadel Theatre.
- Winter Sports Equipment Rentals: Rent equipment for winter sports like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating at numerous facilities throughout Edmonton.
- Edmonton Ice Racing Club: Watch exciting car ice-racing events at the Edmonton Ice Racing Club’s track.
- Winter Bird Watching: Explore the river valley parks and spot winter birds like chickadees, grouse and owls that inhabit the region during the colder months.
View the Outdoor Neon Museum
- Address: 104 St. & 104 Ave., Edmonton, AB
The 4th Street Promenade is where those “in the know” go to see the neon signs of old that have been salvaged and restored. Run by volunteers from the City of Edmonton Heritage, the organization has collected about 30 signs that tell the story of old Edmonton through plaques displayed at each.
As neon goes out of use due to expense and a lack of artists working with the material, a collection like this is all the more unique and important to support. Plus it’s fun to see!
The Outdoor Neon Sign Museum is right around the corner from Rogers Place (above), where the Edmonton Oilers play. It adds a bit of nighttime flair to the neighborhood, even on a blustery night in January. Best of all, the museum is completely outdoors and free year-round.
Catch the Northern Lights … if you are lucky!
Once upon a time, we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning in Jasper trying to see the Northern Lights. But they decided to skip over us to put on a show over Edmonton instead. Never have I wanted to be Edmonton more than at that moment.
While you may think the Edmonton Aurora Borealis would be weak, there is a dark sky preserve just 40 minutes outside of the city in Elk Island National Park. And the best way to track it is via the Aurora Borealis tracker app. Then head into the park when the tracker shows good probability, making your way toward the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve in the park. The Bison Loop is a great spot to see the North Lights. Plus it’s not as populated as the Astotin Lake Recreation Area, where most visitors will go to park their cars and wait.
Other spots to view the Edmonton Aurora Borealis and night sky include the RASC Observatory at TELUS World of Science. The observatory is free, making it the perfect spot for families to explore, especially during the winter nights when the sun sets earlier. (Yes, we know it’s hard to push bedtime when you have little ones who also love to star gaze! But it’s worth it!)
The University of Alberta also opens up its observatory to the public on Thursday evenings. While we can’t promise the Northern Lights will be dancing, it never hurts to swing by, talk to the astronomers and learn more about the night sky.
Things to do in Edmonton with Kids
Alberta Aviation Museum
- Address: 11410 Kingsway NW, Edmonton, AB
Located in an authentic WWII hangar, enjoy interactive displays and an extensive collection of more than 30 historical aircraft.
Edmonton Corn Maze
- Address: 26171 Secondary Hwy. 627, Spruce Grove, AB
Open during the summer and early fall, this corn maze provides a fun and challenging adventure for families.
Edmonton Paintball Centre
- Address: 5104 67 Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB
For older kids and teenagers, paintball is an exciting and active way to spend the day.
Edmonton Public Library
- Address: Several locations
Many branches of the Edmonton Public Library offer special children’s programs, storytelling sessions and a vast selection of children’s books.
Edmonton Valley Zoo
- Address: 13315 Buena Vista Rd. & 87 Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB
A great place to explore various animal exhibits, including tigers, lemurs and more. They also have a fantastic playground for kids.
Fort Edmonton Park
- Address: 7000 143 St. NW, Edmonton, AB
Step back in time and explore this living-history museum, which features historical buildings, costumed interpreters and fun activities for kids.
Galaxyland Amusement Park
- Address: 8882 170 St. NW #2784, Edmonton, AB
Located inside West Edmonton Mall, this indoor amusement park offers a variety of rides and attractions suitable for children and teenagers.
John Janzen Nature Centre
- Address: 7000 143 St. NW, Edmonton, AB
Kids can learn about Edmonton’s natural environment through hands-on exhibits and guided nature walks in the surrounding park.
Muttart Conservatory’s Children’s Programs
- Address: 9626 96a St. NW, Edmonton, AB
Explore four glass pyramids filled with beautiful and exotic plants. Kids will love the lush greenery and unique environments. It also offers programs specifically designed for children, including hands-on activities and educational workshops.
LaunchPad Trampoline Park
- Address: 6142 50 St. NW, Edmonton, AB
Kids can bounce, jump and have a blast at this indoor trampoline park.
Rutherford House Provincial Historic Site
- Address: 11153 Saskatchewan Dr. NW, Edmonton, AB
This historic site offers guided tours and family programs where kids can learn about early 20th-century life in Alberta.
Snow Valley Ski Club
- Address: 13204 Rainbow Valley Rd. NW, Edmonton, AB
In the winter, you can take your kids for skiing or snowboarding lessons at Snow Valley, a family-friendly ski club in Edmonton.
Telus World of Science
- Address: 11211 142 St. NW, Edmonton, AB
Interactive exhibits, IMAX movies, and planetarium shows provide educational and entertaining experiences for children of all ages.
Whitemud Equine Learning Centre Association (WELCA)
- Address: 12504 Fox D.r NW, Edmonton, AB
WELCA offers horseback riding lessons and equine experiences suitable for children and families.
William Hawrelak Park
- Address: 9330 Groat Rd. NW, Edmonton, AB
This large park features a beautiful lake, picnic areas, playgrounds, and seasonal activities like paddle boating in the summer and ice skating in the winter.
Other Activities with Kids
Edmonton’s extensive River Valley parks offer opportunities for hiking, biking, and picnicking in beautiful natural settings.
Tobogganing and Sledding
In the winter, you can enjoy tobogganing and sledding at various city parks.
Check the local event calendar for family-friendly festivals and programming taking place throughout the year.
Frequently Asked Questions about Edmonton (FAQ)
What are some must-visit attractions in Edmonton?
Some top attractions include West Edmonton Mall, Fort Edmonton Park and the Royal Alberta Museum.
When is the best time to visit Edmonton for outdoor activities?
Like most places, the best time for outdoor recreation is typically from late spring to early fall, when the weather is milder.
What is the cuisine like in Edmonton?
Edmonton offers diverse cuisine, from local Canadian dishes to international flavors. Don’t miss trying Alberta beef and local craft beers.
Are there any annual events or festivals in Edmonton?
There are so many, including the Edmonton International Fringe Festival and Edmonton Folk Music Festival.
How can I get around the city?
Edmonton offers a reliable public-transit system, including buses and the LRT (Light Rail Transit). Taxis and rideshares are also available.
What is the currency used in Edmonton?
The currency used in Edmonton is the Canadian Dollar (CAD).
Can I see the Northern Lights in Edmonton?
Yes, the area offers numerous opportunities to see the Northern Lights, especially in the colder months.
Are there any hiking trails near Edmonton?
Of course! Elk Island National Park and the River Valley parks offer excellent hiking trails.
What are the best family-friendly activities in Edmonton?
Families can enjoy the Edmonton Valley Zoo, Telus World of Science and the Muttart Conservatory.
How cold does it get in the winter in Edmonton?
Winter temperatures can drop well below freezing, so be prepared for cold weather.
Is there a vibrant nightlife scene in Edmonton?
Yes! You’ll find plenty of bars, clubs and live-music venues in the city.
What is the official language in Edmonton?
English is the primary language spoken in Edmonton.
Can I visit the nearby Rocky Mountains from Edmonton?
Yes, the Rocky Mountains are within a few hours’ drive from Edmonton, making them accessible for day trips.
Are there any historic neighborhoods to explore?
Old Strathcona is a historic neighborhood with charming shops, restaurants and theaters.
Is it necessary to rent a car in Edmonton?
While it’s not necessary, renting a car is a convenient way to explore nearby attractions.
Are there any pet-friendly parks or accommodations in Edmonton?
Yes, many parks and hotels in Edmonton are pet-friendly. Check in advance for specific policies.
What are the top cultural institutions in Edmonton?
The Art Gallery of Alberta, Winspear Centre and Citadel Theatre are among the top cultural venues.
Are there any guided tours available in the city?
As in any big city, you can find guided tours of Edmonton, including culinary tours and historical walking tours.
Can I go ice skating in Edmonton during the winter?
Absolutely! There are outdoor ice rinks and indoor facilities for ice skating during the winter months.
Are there any hidden gems or lesser-known attractions worth visiting?
Consider exploring the Muttart Conservatory’s pyramids or taking a riverboat cruise on the North Saskatchewan River for unique experiences in the city.