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25 Best Things to Do in Edmonton

May 19, 2020 By Matthew G. Bailey 28 Comments

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Things to Do in Edmonton

Things to Do in Edmonton Last updated: April 10th, 2023

Known as the “Gateway to the North”, Alberta’s capital city is the farthest north of Canada’s major cities and is home to a variety of things to do and places to see. Stretched along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton is a city that can be visited year-round, depending on what you’re looking for. Due to its location, Edmonton’s winters can be some of the coldest and darkest in Canada, and yet, it can be a great time to visit if you’re looking to experience frozen castles, ice hockey, or perhaps the Northern Lights. The summers, in contrast, can be quite hot with the sun staying up until close to midnight. This is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, as well as an incredible array of festivals and events.

Speaking of festivals, Edmonton is known to some as the “City of Festivals”. This is, in part, due to the fact that Edmonton has lively festivals all year round. However, the best of them is during the summer, when the city comes to life with the International Fringe Theatre Festival, Heritage Festival, the Folk Festival, and the International Jazz Festival, just to name a few.

So whether you’re looking for some of Canada’s best festivals, a beautiful river valley, a delicious culinary scene, or North America’s largest mall, Edmonton is a great place to visit. In this guide, we’ll show you what to do, how to get there, how to get around, and more.

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Edmonton

There are so many places to see and things to do in Edmonton, including visiting North America’s largest mall and the largest urban park in Canada! But there’s much more than that. Here are the best things to do on your next trip to Edmonton, Alberta!

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall is probably the only mall in the world where you can stay indoors for multiple days and still have so much fun. Home to over 800 stores, it is North America’s largest mall and breaks a lot of records in many other ways as well. It’s also home to Canada’s largest parking lot, North America’s largest indoor waterpark, and North America’s largest indoor amusement park. But we’re not done yet. You’ll also find a massive movie theatre, an aquarium, a full-size replica of the Santa Maria (Christopher Columbus’ flagship used to sail to the Americas in 1492), a full-size skating rink, mini-golf, bars, restaurants, and even one of the nicest hotels in the city – the FantasyLand hotel – which is home to a variety of really cool themed rooms.

Edmonton’s River Valley Parks

Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley Parks System is the largest urban park in Canada. With more than 160 kilometres of pathways and an area of more than 7,284 hectares, the River Valley is a great place to get into nature without leaving the city. There are also 11 lakes, 22 ravines, and a host of facilities and attractions such as the Fort Edmonton Zoo, Gold Bar Park, the Edmonton Valley Zoo, a golf course, skiing opportunities, skating, and more. There’s even wildlife, including hares, deer, skunks, and porcupines.

Travel Idea: Click here to learn about a fun 1-Hour Segway tour in Edmonton’s River Valley .

Muttart Conservatory

Perhaps one of the most iconic images of Edmonton, not to mention a great place to get views of the city skyline, the Muttart Conservatory is more than just three beautiful glass pyramid structures. In fact, it’s home to a climate-regulated biome with three different zones, such as the tropical climate of Burma and Fiji and the temperate pavilion with its American redwoods and Australian eucalyptus, all with a mission of education and conservation. This premier horticultural facility features over 700 species of plants as well as an on-site restaurant. Note: the Muttart Conservatory is closed for rehabilitation work and will reopen in early 2021.

Neon Sign Museum

Located outdoors and thus, free of charge, this first-of-its-kind museum in Canada is home to 20 functional historic signs that tell the story of Edmonton’s “neon” past. It’s always “open” and is located on the east wall of the TELUS building and the south wall of the Mercer Warehouse building on 104 Street and 104 Avenue.

Edmonton Ice Castles

If you happen to be in Edmonton during the winter months between January and March, you simply should not miss the chance to experience the Edmonton Ice Castle s. Often compared to “Narnia”, this acre-sized castle is home to a variety of rooms and is extremely popular with Instagrammers. You’ll also find tunnels, a waterfall, and an ice maze. This is a truly unique thing to do in Edmonton.

Things to do in Edmonton

Alberta Legislature Building

Whether you’re interested in history or just coming to look at the impressive design, the Alberta Legislature Building is well worth the visit. Built back n 1913, this attractive building is the meeting point for the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and the Cabinet of Alberta. Free tours of the building are available 362 days a year and cover topics related to the levels of government, Alberta’s political history, and the art and architecture of the building. The tours are highly recommended and this is also a great spot for beautiful views of the North Saskatchewan River.

Experience Many Festivals

Considering the fact that Edmonton is known as the “City of Festivals”, you should definitely try to experience one if you can. While the city is home to more than 50 festivals annually, some of the most popular ones include the Edmonton International Fringe Festival , the Edmonton Folk Festival, and the 10-day-long K-Days , which brings Street-parties, dancing, parades, live entertainment, gold panning, and a midway that really livens up the city.

Heritage Festival

Speaking of festivals, we recently attended Heritage Days, which occurs every year on August’s long weekend. This is a really cool event because it showcases the many different cultures that call Alberta home. It’s also free and is perfect for families as it’s both alcohol and tobacco-free as well. It’s located at Hawrelak Park and consists of a collection of Alberta Based cultural groups that come together, annually, to share their history, song, dance and food with the world. They supply all the songs, dance, crafts and music. We watched all sorts of cultural dances from Russia, Poland, Israel, Palestine, and many more, as well as food from countries such as Mexico, Azerbaijan, Nicaragua, and Ukraine. Considering the fact that Canada is known as one of the top multicultural countries in the world, this is a great festival to really see it up close and personal.

Walk Whyte Avenue

Edmonton’s most popular street is Whyte Avenue , which is located in Old Strathcona. This historic district is full of historic buildings but is also one of the trendiest parts of town, including many art galleries, music shops, and trendy restaurants and cafes. You’ll also find the nearby picturesque Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park, which is often home to festivals, public events and informal gatherings. If you happen to be there on a Saturday between 8 am and 3 pm, don’t miss the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market.

YEG Scoot Tour

Edmonton and Calgary are some of the few cities in Canada that allow scooters to be operated throughout the city and they are really fun to ride! But besides renting them by the minute, you can also join a tour with YEG Scoot tours and get a guided scooter tour around the city and the river valley. They offer a number of different tours, including a Wanderlust Picnic tour, and make it easier to explore the city, especially if it’s your first time on a scooter.

Paddle the North Saskatchewan River

As you’ll notice, there’s a big river that cuts through the centre of Edmonton and it’s called the North Saskatchewan River. Located in the river valley, paddling the river is one of the top things to do in Edmonton, for both locals and tourists. You can kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or go canoeing down the river. During our visit, we rented a raft from River Valley Adventure and paddled the river from the Edmonton Valley Zoo to the heart of downtown Edmonton. The river is different throughout the year but for us, it was extremely calm, almost to the point of not moving at times. We love tubing down rivers so it was a great way to see some nature and see Edmonton from a different vantage point.

Take a Segway Tour

Another activity that River Valley Adventure offers is Segway tours. We had no idea how much fun a Segway is but they are truly a great experience. They look far more difficult than they really are but there’s something about utilizing your balance to control them that makes it such a fun experience. Even better, River Valley Adventure takes you on a tour through downtown Edmonton to see some of the top sites such as Rogers Place, the Royal Alberta Museum, and the Legislative Building. They can set up tours as you like but it’s a great way to experience your first Segway.

Fort Edmonton Park

For a deeper look into the history of both Edmonton and Canada, Fort Edmonton Park is the place to go. Home to costumed historical interpreters, this 150-acre park is the largest living history museum in Canada. The Park includes a reconstructed Hudson’s Bay Fort from 1846, as well as historically accurate reconstructed streets from 1885, 1905, and 1920, each depicting the evolution of Edmonton’s early history. Visitors can also enjoy a ride on a horse-drawn wagon or a steam train and enjoy the brand-new Indigenous Peoples Experience. You’ll need at least a full day to truly enjoy this park as it’s both large and simply incredible to visit.

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

Located 25 minutes east of Edmonton, this open-air museum houses refurbished buildings from east-central Alberta that tell the tale of the early Ukrainian settlement in Alberta from 1892 to 1930. These early settlers made a significant impact on Alberta’s identity and the museum, which opened in the 70s, showcases the stories of survival and perseverance through more than 35 restored historic buildings and costumed interpreters. The delicious Ukrainian food available at the concession is worth the drive alone.

There are many living history elements to explore at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village , including a blacksmith, a market, and an old-fashioned general store. Part of the fun is the opportunity to interact with the costumed guides who are there to explain what life was like for these early settlers. If possible, try to time your visit with one of the many events or workshops hosted throughout the year, which include cooking demonstrations, harvest celebrations, and the commemoration of Ukraine’s national day.

Royal Alberta Museum

Since its move to a new location in 2018, the Royal Alberta Museum is now western Canada’s largest museum. Home to a fascinating mix of permanent cultural and natural history exhibits, as well as temporary installations, a visit to this ultra-modern facility is a must-do when visiting Edmonton. Some of the most impressive exhibits include the many fossils from the dinosaur and ice age eras, a large aquarium of native fish, and live insects-including some exotic and enormous species.

You’ll also find a large feature gallery hosting travelling exhibits from across Canada and around the world, a new kids’ gallery, and a bigger bug room with live invertebrates and a visible nursery. The museum’s cultural history departments explore aboriginal cultures with artifacts from Blackfoot, Cree, and other First Nations.

Art Gallery of Alberta - Top things to do in Edmonton

Art Gallery of Alberta

Another beautiful modernist building in Edmonton, located on Sir Winston Churchill Square, is the Art Gallery of Alberta , which is dedicated to visual arts with an emphasis on Western Canada. The gallery features changing and travelling exhibitions and maintains an extensive collection of more than 6,000 pieces. The site also features a gift shop, restaurant, and theatre space, as well as lectures and workshops. Private guided tours are also available and can be tailored to suit your particular interests.

edmonton valley zoo things to do in edmonton

Edmonton Valley Zoo

Opened in 1959, the Edmonton Valley Zoo has traditionally focused on research into threatened animal species. However, its beautiful family-oriented grounds are also home to more than 350 animals representing over 100 species, from both the province of Alberta and around the world. The animals are regularly out and about meeting and engaging with guests and some of the popular species include red pandas, lemurs, snow leopards, and arctic wolves. This is also a wonderful thing to do in Edmonton with kids as the zoo also has paddle boats, a miniature train, and a carousel.

Alberta Aviation Museum

For those interested in aviation, the Alberta Aviation Museum is a must. Located near the Edmonton city center airport, the museum is easy to find with its two fighter jets mounted outside. Along with its 40 aircraft on display, the museum is home to a rare form of aircraft hangar constructed as part of Canada’s pilot training program back in WWII. Informative guided tours are available and last around 90 minutes.

University of Alberta Botanic Garden 

For those who love gardens and flowers, you’ll want to make your way to the 240-acre University of Alberta Botanic Garden . Founded in 1959 and the largest such garden in the province, this massive site is split into two parts. One part consists of 160 acres that have been set aside in their natural state. The other part, which includes 80 acres, features dazzling gardens including a Japanese Garden, a large tropical greenhouse with butterflies, an Indigenous Garden, as well as numerous displays of many other plant species, both indoors and out. Another feature is the Aga Khan Garden, a nearly 12-acre site inspired by Islamic architecture and landscapes, but with a northern twist. You’ll find a number of pleasant forest paths, peaceful terraces, ponds, pools, and even a waterfall.

Visitors are free to roam on their own or can opt for a free guided walking tour, which comes highly recommended. For those interested in Opera, you may want to time your visit with the annual Opera al Fresco event performed here by the Edmonton Opera Company each June.

Alberta Railway Museum

Located in the northern suburbs, the Alberta Railway Museum (ARM) features a selection of still-operating and static locomotives and rolling stock. Founded in 1976 to preserve the province’s rich railway heritage, the museum features more than 75 engines and railcars, a number of original railway buildings, and many related artifacts. One of the highlights of visiting is having the chance to ride on one of the trains during the summer months.

TELUS World of Science

For those looking to get an immersive experience, the TELUS World of Science (TWOS) is a great place to go. Fun for all ages, this educational science center experience features many interactive and hands-on science and technology exhibits covering topics like space, robots, forensics, and the environment. Another feature is the excellent planetarium called the Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre, as well as the IMAX Theatre. You can also visit the on-site observatory for free, which offers a variety of interesting star-gazing opportunities.

Rogers Arena, Edmonton Alberta things to do

Hockey with the Edmonton Oilers

For sports fanatics, Edmonton is home to one of the most iconic NHL teams – the Edmonton Oilers . Once known as the “City of Champions”, the Edmonton Oilers had one of the top dynasties to ever play in the NHL, including players like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Juri Kurri, and many others. They won 5 Stanley Cups in just 6 years. They now have the NHL’s #1 player (Conner McDavid) and play in the brand-new Rogers Arena in downtown Edmonton. If you like hockey and can get a ticket, this is one of the most exciting places to watch a game.

Football with the Edmonton Elks

Another popular team in Edmonton is the CFL’s Edmonton Elks . For those who like American Football, you’ll definitely want to make it out to a Canadian Football Game, which is typically faster in play and is played on a larger field at 110 yards long and 65 yards wide. Either way, it’s a fun, fast-paced sport and a great way to spend a summer day and witness the passion that Edmontonians have for the sport and for their team.

Another cool feature of Edmonton’s winter is the inner-city ski hills. These are great places for those looking to learn how to ski as they’re not that big or intimidating. Popular hills include Snow Valley Ski Hill and Rabbit Hill Snow Resort . If you’re looking for more of a thrill, you’ll want to head west to Jasper where you can ski at the world-class Marmot Basin Ski Resort.

Eat Some Delicious Food

We all have to eat and there are some incredible restaurants in Edmonton to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a mouth-watering brunch or fine dining to impress your date, there’s no shortage of options in Edmonton. While we certainly recommend you check out our full guide on the best Edmonton restaurants, some of our favourites include DOSC, Pips, and RGE RD. We also have a guide to the best brunch in Edmonton .

Drink Some Great Beer

Just like the many amazing restaurants in the city, there are also many Edmonton breweries that you should visit. From dark stouts to fruity sours and everything in between, Edmonton has some of the best breweries in the province.

what to do in Edmonton - Night Skyline

Where is Edmonton?

Edmonton is located in the middle of Alberta, just 3 hours North of Calgary and about 4 hours east of Jasper. Although it’s now one of Canada’s biggest cities, it was once a small fort, dating back to 1821.

Fun facts: Canada’s largest parking lot is located in Edmonton, but it’s also home to a massive River Valley urban park that is 22x the size of New York’s Central Park. So, whether you’re looking for inner-city nature or a concrete jungle, you can find it here. For more fun facts, check out our article on both Alberta facts and Canada facts .

Getting to Edmonton

If you’re a visitor looking for different ways of getting to Edmonton, here’s some practical advice on how to get here.

Getting to Edmonton by Car

Calgary to Edmonton: The drive from Calgary to Edmonton is approximately 300 km and takes roughly 3 hours. The highway is basically straight the entire way and the halfway point is the city of Red Deer.

Jasper to Edmonton: The beautiful town of Jasper is just 4-hours west of Edmonton. If you’re in Edmonton and want to experience the Rocky Mountains and/or the world-famous Icefields Parkway , this is where you’ll want to go. If you’re already in Jasper, you’ll simply take Highway 16 and head east all the way to Edmonton.

Edmonton to Saskatoon: Edmonton is fairly popular with Saskatoonians as well, as it’s the closest major city and somewhat similar in culture. The drive takes just over 5 hours, heading east on Highway 16. There are lots of things to do in Saskatoon once you arrive, including the beautiful Prince Albert National Park just north of the city.

Vancouver to Edmonton: The drive from Vancouver to Edmonton is one of the most beautiful drives in the country. While it can be relatively hazardous in the winter, it’s fairly straightforward in the summer months. The drive takes approximately 12 hours but you’d be better off adding a few days or even a couple of weeks to truly enjoy the sights along the way, such as Wells Gray Provincial Park and Jasper National Park. If you’d rather get to Vancouver via the Trans-Canada, you’re better off driving south to Calgary and then driving from Calgary to Vancouver .

Getting to Edmonton by Plane

Edmonton is home to the Edmonton International Airport (YEG), which is one of the biggest airports in Canada and also a hub for reaching Canada’s far north, such as Nunavut, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Downtown Edmonton is about 30 kilometres from the airport, which takes approximately 30 minutes by car. There are a variety of ways for getting into Edmonton, including:

  • Rental cars: We recommend using Priceline to find the best deal, however, any search engine should do the trick. Generally, it’s cheaper to book in advance.
  • Taxi: taxies can be found at the airport and will take you to downtown Edmonton in 40 minutes for a $48 flat fee.
  • Public Transportation: For $5, you can take route 747 which travels from the airport to the southern transit station of Century Park. Once here, you can take the light-rail transit, bus, or taxi.
  • Shuttles: If your hotel doesn’t offer a free shuttle, you could take the non-direct service from the airport to any hotel downtown for $18 ($10 for kids). Please note that this is the slow option as it takes up to 90 minutes, depending on the number of stops. Rides must be pre-booked.
  • Uber: If you have the Uber app, this is another option.

For more, click here to see transportation options from YEG .

Getting to Edmonton by Bus

Although Greyhound has suspended service in Western Canada, there are some options for getting to and from Edmonton by bus. The best way to search is by using Busbud . The only bus we’ve personally used is the Red Arrow, which is really good and costs around $72 to and from Calgary. We love the free snacks. There are three drop-off points (south, downtown Edmonton, and the International Airport), and the current cost, if originating in Calgary, is nearly $72. Another less-luxurious option is the Ebus, which is just $42 for the same trip. Prices can change so please check with the bus companies for accurate pricing.

Getting to Edmonton by Train

Since Edmonton is actually home to the VIA Rail, it can be reached by passenger train. Connected destinations include Toronto , Winnipeg , Saskatoon, and Vancouver .

What to Do in Edmonton

Getting Around Edmonton

Like most major cities, Edmonton offers a plethora of ways for getting around the city.

  • Taxis: For the fastest, most convenient option, albeit more expensive, you could opt for a taxi. Edmonton has multiple taxi services.
  • Uber: If you have the Uber app, this is another popular option that serves the city and nearby communities.
  • Transit: Edmonton has both public buses and a light-rail transit system, which makes getting around quite easy. You can buy an adult day pass for less than $10 or pay per trip if you like.
  • Cycling: If you’d rather exercise while you get around, you can rent a bike at a variety of places, including the River Valle Adventure Co., Revolution Cycle, Edmonton Bike Rentals, and United Sport & Cycle. Options include everything from mountain bikes to road bikes, and even electric bikes as well.

Best Time to Visit Edmonton

During the winter months, Edmonton is one of the coldest cities in Canada. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do if you’re willing to brave the cold. For example, you can go skiing, snowshoeing, hang out in West Edmonton Mall, or experience the famous Ice Castles! However, there’s no doubt that the most popular time to visit is during the warmer months. From June to August, the scenery is much more beautiful and the city comes to life with a variety of festivals and activities. The sun is also out until almost midnight, giving you lots of time to do everything you need to do.

Where to stay in Edmonton

Where to Stay in Edmonton

As with any major city, there are no shortages of places to stay in Edmonton. While there are hundreds of hotels, here are some of the best options for your next stay.

Budget: One of the best budget hotels is actually the Best Western Plus South Edmonton Inn & Suites , which includes a hot Buffett breakfast, an indoor heated pool, a hot tub, and a fitness centre. Normally, these hotels are mid-range, but with costs often ranging lower than $100, this is definitely a GREAT hotel for those on a budget. There’s also the Jasper B&B and the HI-Edmonton Hostel .

Mid-range: While this might be considered somewhere between mid-range and luxury, we have to recommend the Fantasyland Hotel , which is located inside West Edmonton Mall and offers a truly unique experience with themed rooms, including Roman, Polynesian, and  Hollywood Themes. However, if you rather be on trendy Whyte Avenue or in the heart of downtown Edmonton, we’ve stayed in and recommend The Matrix and Metterra on Whyte . The Matrix is our favourite out of the two as they offer a better breakfast and a bigger, more modern hotel, but the Metterra is a great option if you want to be where the action is as Whyte Avenue is truly alive with loads of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

Luxury: When it comes to luxury, the top choice for most would be the iconic Fairmont Hotel MacDonald . This luxurious hotel offers spectacular views of the Edmonton River Valley and features a restaurant and spa.

Things to Do in Alberta Near Edmonton

While Edmonton itself is a great place to explore, there are also a TON of awesome things to do and places to see not that far away. Some examples of what to do outside of Edmonton are below:

Elk Island National Park

If you’re looking for a beautiful slice of nature, make your way to Elk Island National Park . Located just over 30 minutes east of the city, this wooded area with lakes and wetlands is a great place for spotting wildlife, stargazing, watching the Northern Lights, and camping. It’s also an important refuge for bison, elk, and more than 250 species of birds. The park is open year-round but is especially popular in the summer months when the area opens up to camping. Other activities include hiking, biking, kayaking and canoeing, as well as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months.

Another cool area to see is Beaver Hills, which has now been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve featuring a dark sky preserve, a bird sanctuary, and a wilderness center.

Reynolds-Alberta Museum

One hour by car south of downtown Edmonton is the little town of Wetaskiwin , which is home to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, dedicated to everything to do with aircraft and vehicle construction. There are open-air displays of old agricultural machinery and tools, including some real old dinosaurs-steam tractors, threshing machines, caterpillar tractors, and trucks. There are also close to 100 historic aircraft housed here, as well as in the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, and numerous vintage motorcycles to see as well.

Sylvan Lake

Known as one of Canada’s top 10 beaches, this beautiful lake community can be reached just a two-hour drive south of Edmonton. It’s also the halfway point between Edmonton and Calgary, making it a great place to stop while visiting Alberta’s other major cities. The 2.5km white sand beach is perfect for relaxing and the lake is very popular with boaters as well. There are a variety of hotels as well as campgrounds and cute cabins.

Alberta Beach

If you want a beach but don’t want to drive as far as Sylvan Lake, head 1-hour north from Edmonton to Lac St. Anne’s Alberta Beach . This cute cottage-filled village is a popular spot for boating, swimming, and fishing but there’s also a campground and a weekly farmers market from spring until fall.

best things to do in Jasper alberta

Jasper National Park

Located just four hours west of Edmonton is one of the most beautiful places on Earth – Jasper National Park. Home to the quaint mountain town of Jasper and the Canadian Rockies, there are so many things to do in Jasper , including a scenic tour on the Jasper Sky Tram, a boat trip on Lake Maligne, a hike into Maligne Canyon, and so much more. To learn more, check out our article about getting from Edmonton to Jasper .

Travel Idea: Click here to check out the many tours and activities offered in Jasper .

By now, your schedule is going to be full for weeks. As you can see, there are many to do in Edmonton and Alberta. For more things to do nearby, check out these travel guides below:

  • Things to Do in Alberta
  • Things to Do in Banff
  • Things to Do in Canmore
  • Camping in Alberta
  • Drumheller Camping

Note: Many of the photos above were taken by Edmontonian photographer Steven Li of stevenliphotography.com .

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About Matthew G. Bailey

Matthew G. Bailey is the founder and editor-in-chief of Must Do Canada. Growing up in Alberta to a mother from Quebec and a father from Newfoundland, Matt spent his childhood playing hockey under the Northern Lights and hanging out in the forest before moving to Calgary and travelling to more than 250 cities spanning 42 countries and 6 continents. He loves travel, learning new things, playing sports, writing, making videos, photography, and scuba diving. You can also find him at LiveLimitless.net .

Reader Interactions

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June 8, 2020 at 5:44 pm

Where and when are the best Times and places to see northern lights in Canada. I’m from Alberta. I’m thinking of taking the train to Manitoba to see them .

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June 8, 2020 at 9:50 pm

Oh wow, you mean the train from Winnipeg to Churchill? I mean, Churchill is a good place but so is Alberta. I grew up in Fort.McMurray and saw the Northern Lights hundred of times. I miss that part quite a bit. So, Fort Mac is a great spot, and probably a number of regions north of Edmonton. Another famous place is Yellowknife and the Yukon. The best times is typically October to November, although the winter months are also good. The only reason the fall and winter are better than the summer is because of the sun. We have so much daylight that they’re hard to see in the summer. Lots of things have to fall in place, which makes them unpredictable. It needs to be an active night, no clouds (or few) and the darker the better. So, for example, a full moon would make it harder to see. This is one good place to check the forecast: https://www.gi.alaska.edu/monitors/aurora-forecast

June 8, 2020 at 10:42 pm

Thanks for the reply! You sure know Canada! Great stuff? Why is the posted time so different from my tune?

June 9, 2020 at 2:32 pm

what do you mean? like the time the comment is posted? I’m not sure. It should be at my time MST but I’ve noticed it can be off as well

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April 7, 2021 at 3:49 pm

Great article! I look forward to Covid free days when we can take part in all the activities that Edmonton has to offer. I especially miss the summer music festivals.

April 8, 2021 at 5:42 pm

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April 25, 2021 at 6:39 pm

Check out the High Level Bridge Streetcar ride next time you visit.

April 25, 2021 at 7:51 pm

Yes! Looks awesome. Hope to be back this summer

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April 28, 2021 at 4:39 pm

Great to see ideas for things near by- thanks

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April 29, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Always so many great things to do and see in YEG

May 8, 2021 at 9:51 am

It’s nice to be reminded all the possibilities close to home

It’s nice to be reminded all the possibilities close to home and near by without travelling too far

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May 12, 2021 at 1:28 pm

Get your Edmonton Website tools ready – they claim that the Eskimos Football franchaise being as it was forced to find another name for the team is sure to make it a ‘good?’ name!? Far too many fans out there will still live for the Green and Gold Eskies – good luck with the name change!

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May 12, 2021 at 6:55 pm

According to the news on TV last night, pretty soon (they were forced by major supporters (big company spenders) they will be changing the name of the Edmonton Eskimos (Football Team) to something else that likely will never hold a flame to the old name that should never have been changed. Inuit people of the north had no issue with the name as they are as they call themselves – Eskimos Good luck to the name change

May 12, 2021 at 9:15 pm

When we were up in Nunavut last year, we were told by the Inuit that it is an offensive name. So….

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May 13, 2021 at 9:12 am

Great site – thanks!

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May 13, 2021 at 9:02 pm

I live in Edmonton. I sure miss those festivals.

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May 14, 2021 at 10:06 am

Edmonton is definitely under-rated -it’s a remarkable city with a great variety of amenities.

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May 14, 2021 at 10:07 am

Excited to visit!

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May 14, 2021 at 11:26 am

Can’t wait to check Edmonton out when this Covid nonsense is over, didn’t realize there’s so many places to see and enjoy.

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May 21, 2021 at 5:45 pm

Lots of seasonal and year-round greenhouses and plant boutiques for plant lovers 🙂

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May 25, 2021 at 7:30 pm

I’ve lived in Edmonton most of my whole life, barely ever saw the northern lights.

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May 25, 2021 at 9:15 pm

There are the cafes that encourage board game playing. There are also live Interactive Improv shows to join and see. Hidden gems all over the city.

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May 25, 2021 at 11:53 pm

I grew up in Edmonton and need to plan a summer trip back so I can reminisce!

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August 24, 2021 at 11:43 am

So many things to do in Edmonton. There are lots I haven’t done too. Great post!

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September 1, 2021 at 4:41 am

Revisited this beautiful city in 2018 and crammed lots of things into the few days we had. Enjoyed The Taste of Edmonton and the Legislature Grounds. After reading your article I discovered so many things that I’d love to do that it’s back on my list for when travel is safer.

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September 1, 2021 at 1:49 pm

I had teen out of towners in for volleyball camp, 9am-4:30pm. Everything closed at 5pm. Only thing to do was the Segway, but cancelled due to rain and WEM, but attractions closed 7pm. Why do we roll up our sidewalks at 5pm?

September 1, 2021 at 3:01 pm

yea i never understood why museums close so early

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places to visit near edmonton canada

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14 Day Trips From Edmonton That You Didn’t Know Existed + themed itineraries

By: Author Aly Smalls

Posted on Published: June 17, 2022  - Last updated: July 31, 2023

14 Day Trips From Edmonton That You Didn’t Know Existed + themed itineraries

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You don’t need to use up your vacation days to find some of the best fun-filled spots in Alberta.

There are a ton of hidden gems and unique places to visit near Edmonton that are less than two hours from the city, which make for some budget-friendly travel ideas.

Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly outing, a couple’s getaway (maybe with your dog, too) or something fun to do with your besties for the day, escape the city and check out some of these ideas for day trips from Edmonton.

If you’re bored of the ‘Alberta’s Largest’ roadside attractions road trips, this list provides a new set of ideas for you to check out.

Take a peak and then visit my list of 40 of Alberta’s hidden gems and most unique things to do.

From waterfalls to breweries to historic towns to rural gems and outdoor adventures, take a mini road trip and choose your own adventure with these unique getaways from Edmonton.

If you can’t go very far from the city this summer, any of these trips would make for the perfect cheap vacation from Edmonton!

I’ve tested all of these day trips and certify that they’re unique, adventurous and showcase some of the best of Alberta!

And scroll to the end to catch the full YouTube video !

This post contains some affiliate links, I may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase. I only share information about places, products and services I know, love and trust.

14 Best Day Trips From Edmonton

1. waterfalls, breweries and distilleries.

Head west on Highway 43 for some different scenery other than the usual Highway 16.

Stop in Alberta Beach for some coffee, lunch or antique shopping, or a picnic by the water.

Continue on Highway 43 to Whitecourt and follow the signs for Hard Luck Canyon . It’s an easy 5-minute hike and then some stairs which take you down into the canyon bed and waterfall.

It’s a gorgeous spot to play in the water on a hot summer day.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Then, head south on Highway 32 for one of the nicest drives around Edmonton. This road is almost a copycat of the scenic David Thompson Highway (but with no cars).

Stop in at the Apex Predator Brewery just north of Edson.

It’s tucked away in the woodlands, but makes for a delightful patio experience (and you can bring your dog to this one).

For more bevvies, head over to Rocky Mountain Big Horn Distillery (only 15 minutes away) for some craft cocktails.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Make a weekend out of it and stay in a tiny house cabin in the middle of the woods nearby. This cabin is located in your own private, forested oasis. It’s close to some amazing trails, is dog-friendly and the perfect spot for a secluded, quiet weekend.

If you’re headed to Jasper , stopping at the waterfalls or the Apex brewery is a great way to break up the drive.

2. Babas, Bison and Big Burgers (or Caesars)!

places to visit near edmonton canada

This road trip from Edmonton takes you east of the city.

Take the Yellowhead Highway to the quaint town of Mundare, Alberta.

Along their adorably scenic main street you’ll find Baba’s Bistro. Stop in for authentic Ukrainian food – try homemade Borsch and a plate of perogies, sausage and cabbage rolls (it’s all made super fresh).

If you’re not that hungry, not to worry. Have a slice of pie or gigantic cinnamon bun and a cup of coffee.

Local art adorns each wall and antique furniture finishes off the charm of this bistro.

Down the street, you’ve got to stop by the world’s biggest sausage!

Then make your way to the town of Lamont and go hunting for treasures at the Elk Island Thrift Store.

Just south of Lamont is the north entrance to Elk Island National Park. Go for a scenic cruise and see if you can spot some bison!

places to visit near edmonton canada

The bison roam wild throughout the park, and sometimes they’ll come right up to your car!

If you need to work off some lunch, there are a variety of hiking and walking trails throughout the park.

When you’re ready for a big meal to finish the day, it’s time to head to the Unwind Bar & Grill in Andrew, Alberta – home of the revved up drinks!

Order the Caesars that comes with a burger, poutine, mac ‘n cheese bites and fried pickles ON TOP of the burger!

I order the one that comes with a bit of everything – dry ribs, cactus cut potatoes, jalapeno poppers, fried pickles, onion rings and who knows what else was on there!

The staff and locals are super friendly, and if you find yourself wanting to do this day trip on a Sunday, make Andrew your first stop. They serve a breakfast buffet and bottomless mimosas for $15!

3. Botanical Garden Tour

How about a road trip to stroll through gorgeous flower gardens?

Stop by the St. Albert Botanic Park , and wander through the adorable cottage gardens for some of the most picture perfect photography spots near Edmonton.

Then, continue west along Highway 43 for another 45 minutes until you reach the George Pegg Botanic Gardens, a spectacular peaceful spot in rural Alberta.

There are a couple historic farmhouses, flower gardens, interpretive signage and a tranquil boardwalk through the trees.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Round out your floral day trip from Edmonton with a visit to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, just north of Devon.

And if you time it right, you can visit on an evening where you can reserve a picnic in the garden during evening twilight hours.

Be sure to book in advance because this is popular!

places to visit near edmonton canada

4. Wine Spa & Unique Goodies in Red Deer

places to visit near edmonton canada

This one is perfect for a girls getaway or even a fun way to celebrate a low-key bachelorette party.

Make reservations at the Solorzano Spa, Café and Wine Bar . This day spa is located within a cozy historic home built in 1906 and has kept all of its vintage charm.

Upon entering, you’re swept away to a Victorian past, among the original brick and woodwork and collection of vintage decor and antiques.

I recommend booking a vino therapy treatment! Try something like the vino pedicure.

Enjoy 90 minutes of heaven while your feet soak in a tub of merlot and includes a special cabernet scrub and a Grenache spray.

After your treatments, enjoy light snack and a glass of wine in the tea room or on the garden patio.

Then head to Sweet Capone’s for a sweet treat – the best Italian cannoli!

Not only are these pastries to die for (there’s usually dozens of flavours to choose from), the inside of the cafe is eclectic and adorable.

If you want to get outdoors in between the spa and Sweet Capone’s (or afterwards), Red Deer has an abundance of parks and trails to explore.

Visit the Bower Ponds and enjoy the scenic trails, have a picnic with your goodies from the bakery or even rent a paddle boat and get out on the water.

Make this a weekend trip from Edmonton by booking this gorgeous newly renovated home in the heart of the city, close to trails and parks.

places to visit near edmonton canada

5. Trains, T-Rexes and Treats (best for kid-friendly)

This unique day trip north of Edmonton includes trains, dinosaurs and an adventure farm.

On this adventure, you’ll find some of the best kid-friendly places to visit near Edmonton.

Start your day with a stop at the Alberta Railway Museu m where you can witness one of the only few remaining steam locomotives in Canada that still operates.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Continue your road trip by heading north to the Jurassic Forest .

Here, you can explore 40 acres of trails that pass by life size animatronic dinosaurs in the bushes.

Plan to spend 1.5 to 2.5 hours here! You can also bring a packed lunch and enjoy a picnic onsite.

There’s also dinosaur themed mini golf, a playground and a sandbox where kids can dig for dino bones and fossils.

places to visit near edmonton canada

If you have time, the Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm where they have a u-pick, petting zoo animals and fun outdoor farm games for the little kids.

This place is extra special in the fall though, with all the pumpkins and harvest colours and decor.

Or you can head into Fort Saskatchewan and go straight to Miller’s Ice Cream.

It’s located inside an old train station and at the start of a beautiful municipal park where you can stroll around and enjoy the sunshine.

Read Next: Why Agritourism Should Be Part of Your Next Weekend Getaway in Alberta

6. Central Alberta Craft Breweries

places to visit near edmonton canada

For the bigger kids, one of my favorite day trips from Edmonton with a dog is to visit some rural Alberta breweries and their patios!

Of course, you can still visit without your furry friend, but these ones are dog friendly.

Head south to Rimbey (about 1.5 hours) to visit Hawk Tail Brewery. The views from the patio are picturesque as you overlook the farmer fields across the highway.

Travel tip – the last couple weeks of July is when the canola fields pop their gorgeous golden colour.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Then head to Sylvan Lake to visit Snake Lake Brewery. It’s not located on the lakeshore, but the patio is big and the beers are crushable!

From here, you can head into Red Deer and start to make your way back north. We loved Sawback Brewing and Troubled Monk.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Make one more stop in Lacombe at Blindman Brewing which always has a ton of unique beers on tap, and they’ve got a great big patio area complete with couches.

Make this into a weekend trip from Edmonton and spend some time at Gull Lake.

It’s got a massive beach and is perfect for swimming or catching some rays.

You can book this cozy guest house for the perfect weekend getaway from Edmonton.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Not into beer? Follow this wine & wellness road trip from Edmonton (itinerary here)

7. Historic Lacombe and Rural Attractions

Lacombe is less than 1.5 hours from Edmonton, and has one of the most picturesque historic downtowns in the province.

Most notably is the flatiron building which is the oldest in Alberta and now home to the visitor centre.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Go boutique shopping, take a walking tour of all the murals and be sure to end your day with dinner at Cilantro and Chive .

P.S. don’t miss the Sweet Capone’s Bakery for their famous cannoli or another sweet treat.

If you want to spend a whole day in the area, spend some time at the rural attractions nearby.

Ellis Bird Farm deserves a visit, where you can stroll through the trails, butterfly gardens and ponds, admire the large collection of bird houses and enjoy a coffee or snack at the tea house.

places to visit near edmonton canada

For a little more adventure-paced, head to Kraay Family Farm for a corn maze, mini golf, farm animals, tractor train rides, a mini zipline and over 30 more activities for the kids.

Tip – take a look at these other ideas in this local guidebook titled Best Day Trips from Edmonton .

8. Hiking and History East of Edmonton

For a couple places that aren’t too far from Edmonton but feel like a world away, head east for about 45 minutes.

Start at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village , an outdoor living museum that tells the important history of the Ukrainian settlers to this area from the late 1800s to the 1930s.

places to visit near edmonton canada

All the buildings in this establishment are real houses, businesses and churches that were donated and moved to the museum to be restored for visitors to enjoy.

Fuel up with some Ukrainian food at the restaurant and then work it off with a hike at Elk Island National Park, only a few minutes away.

If you visit at dusk you’ll have a better chance to see bison and other wildlife! And if it’s going to be a clear night, stay for the star gazing.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Read More About 8 Scenic Hikes Near Edmonton

9. The Village at Pigeon Lake

Only an hour south of Edmonton is a cute tourist destination known as the Village at Pigeon Lake.

All the buildings remind you of cape cod style architecture and the community has a cute little park in the middle of the shops.

places to visit near edmonton canada

There’s a great antique store, a couple of boutique shops, great ice cream and a couple restaurants.

The lake is 5 minutes away if you want to check out the beach, have a picnic by the water and then go play mini golf at Blackstone.

You could even stay overnight at the Village Creek Country Inn , which made the list for the top romantic getaways in Alberta .

10. The Dreamcatcher Association

places to visit near edmonton canada

Spend a morning or afternoon outside at the ranch feeding horses, donkeys, goats and chickens.

This organization’s main mandate is providing nature-assisted therapy, but they’ve recently added public programming called Time on the Land for those that just need to get out of the house and spend some time with the animals.

The ranch is located near Ardrossan, about 30 minutes east of Edmonton.

If you want to continue your day outside, a little further east is the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Outdoor Recreation Area with lots of hiking trails.

11. Wine Tastings and Historic Camrose

places to visit near edmonton canada

Make your way east for some wine tasting, historic main streets and sweets.

Your first stop is at Barr Estate Winery, just off of Highway 14, only 20 minutes from the city.

This rustic-chic farm is a picturesque setting for a fruit winery. Stop in for a tour and tasting, where you’ll sample both whites and reds made from rhubarb and raspberries.

Continue east of Edmonton toward New Sarepta, home to Alberta’s newest mead winery – Old Station Honey and Mead .

Tastings are conducted in an old renovated fire hall – you’ll love the story of how this winery came about.

Once you’re ready for some more country scenery, make your way to the historic community of Camrose.

Downtown Camrose has one of the best main streets in all of Alberta.

Enjoy some boutique shopping or stop in at one of the many bakeries for some sugary sustenance. The Sweeterie is my favorite.

If you prefer to stroll through some parks, Mirror Lake is stunning in the summer time, where you can watch Trumpeter Swans glide through the water.

If it’s hot out, the local ice cream shack at Mirror Lake is the best way to beat the heat.

And if you’re able to stay in town for dinner, Hart House offers a fine dining experience among a casual gastropub vibe, inside a heritage home!

Try the locally sourced menu items like buffalo or walleye – but the wine selection and charcuterie boards are always a hit.

12. Country Delights and Flower Farms

places to visit near edmonton canada

On this day trip you’ll discover donuts, antique shopping, a flower farm and maybe more wine or a brewery!

Start this one early! Head southwest to the hamlet of Calmar, and go straight to the Calmar Bakery.

They sell out early so you don’t want to miss out. Just read the reviews – many of them say they’re the best in Canada!

If you like antique shopping, you’ll love strolling through treasures to be found across the street at the aptly named, Yesterday’s Treasures.

Not far from here, you can visit Bio-Way Gardens, which has a mini-farmer’s market and a tea house on site!

Continue onwards to Sunnybrook to visit a flower farm – Farm Fresh Florals, where you can u-pick your own flower bouquet!

Don’t miss shopping at the Silo Farm Store (onsite at the flower farm), which has locally made goods and vintage and antique home decor.

If you’re feeling thirsty or peckish on your way back to Edmonton, make a stop in the Village of Pigeon Lake at Familia Brewing, just opened in 2022.

13. A Vintage Adventure

places to visit near edmonton canada

This trip takes you south through a small town to the Reynolds Alberta Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of agricultural, industrial, mechanical and aviation artifacts and technologies of the past.

Make your way south to Highway 2A to the town of Millet. Stop in at the Old Bank Café, located in – you guessed it – an old bank building!

This cafe, bakery and bistro has kept the vintage charm of its early years and now serves the perfect cup of coffee, breakfast plates and light lunches.

If you’re a fan of fancy breakfasts, try the brioche French toast stuffed with cheesecake filling!

Then only 15 minutes down Highway 2A, you’ll arrive at the Reynolds Alberta Museum.

If you’ve never been here before, or if it’s been years since your last visit, you’ll be so impressed by the every growing collection of restored vintage cars and farm equipment that was used all over Alberta.

The aviation portion of the museum has plenty of activities for kids, and you can even take part in a behind the scenes ‘white glove’ warehouse tour.

There are often events happening all summer long, so check the website for more info!

14. Country Cafes and Confections: Rural Foodie Tour

places to visit near edmonton canada

Start off at Cherry Lane Café (also a bed & breakfast). This quaint country setting is aptly named and looks like you’re entering a scene from the Notebook.

Dine in the vintage-inspired café, where you can choose from gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

I had to try the Albertan – layered brisket, bacon, cheddar, mozzarella and caramelized onions – I’m still dreaming about this 2 weeks later

And make sure you save room for the decadent salted caramel, 4-layer chocolate cake.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Our next stop was Stettler – known as the heart of Alberta. I’m a sucker for small town mainstreets, and Stettler fits the bill.

Our main mission though was to pay a visit to Bloke’s Bakery , a Stettler staple.

Here we found classic donuts – you won’t find crumbled potato chips or unicorn parts on top of these to mask the bland dough.

Just the opposite – soft, fresh, gooey and just sweet enough – one might say the perfect donut. If you can’t bring yourself to buy half a dozen, the cream johns are their signature treat. 

places to visit near edmonton canada

We continued south on Highway 56, passing through Big Valley , a charming village with an aesthetic grain elevator and little blue church on the hilltop.

A great place for photography, picnic and a road trip pit stop.

The Jimmy Jock Boardwalk is perfectly quirky and offers fudge, pie and ice cream if you haven’t had enough sugar yet. 

places to visit near edmonton canada

Finally, after descending into the Alberta badlands landscape, we arrive at DNA Gardens which has everything you could want in a country getaway – a farm store, café, trail walks, greenhouses, the friendliest and most hospitable staff and a winery!

places to visit near edmonton canada

We’re not ones to shy from a beverage or two, so we were delighted to partake in a wine tasting.

Alberta has a budding wine industry, and the fruit wine grown here, from the onsite Delidais Estate Winery is an exceptional showcase of our province’s bountiful produce.

We sampled 8 wines, ranging from cherry, rhubarb, black currant and Saskatoon berries.

Unexpectedly, this fruit wine was dry and crisp, on par with something you’d find along the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley. We left with too many bottles to mention.

places to visit near edmonton canada

This is a full day trip or you could make a weekend out of it! Stay overnight at Cherry Lane B&B, or the Phoenix House B&B , a lovely heritage home in Stettler. 

Here’s a YouTube video of us exploring the best day trips from Edmonton!

I hope you enjoy your time discovering more of Alberta – don’t forget to pack your road trip essentials for a smooth ride.

If you liked these ideas, be sure to subscribe to be notified for new posts. Stay tuned – I’ll be updating this list with more ideas as I travel around Alberta!

Looking for More Alberta Ideas? You Might Like These Posts:

  • 8 Warmest Lakes in Alberta for Swimming (no leeches or swimmer’s itch)
  • You Can Go on a Wine & Wellness Road Trip Through Alberta This Summer: Here’s the Itinerary
  • 13 Unique Calgary Day Trips (fresh ideas + mini itineraries)
  • 35 Unique Things to Do in Alberta (+hidden gems and secret spots)
  • 6 Iconic and Unique Alberta Road Trips
  • 23 Best Things to do in and Around Drumheller
  • 27 Things to Do in Alberta That Are Bucket List Worthy

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places to visit near edmonton canada

Canada Crossroads

17 Best Day Trips from Edmonton (by an Edmontonian)

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Looking for the best day trips from Edmonton? We’ve got you covered. As an Edmonton local who has called this vibrant city home for more than nine years, we’ve come to cherish the opportunity to escape the daily grind through the myriad of destinations accessible right from our doorstep. 

fall colors in Edmonton

Edmonton’s position in Alberta offers a launchpad to a remarkable blend of destinations, each providing a unique glimpse into the region’s natural beauty and cultural offerings. 

In this journey of local exploration, we’ll guide you through the standout experiences that lie a short drive from our urban center. From tranquil parklands to bustling attractions and cultural landmarks to picturesque getaways, the options for adventure and leisure are as diverse as the landscapes of Alberta itself.

Best Day Trips from Edmonton (by an Edmontonian)

Best day trips from Edmonton Alberta pin

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

1. Elk Island National Park: A Local’s Escape

  • Distance from Edmonton: 35 to 40 minutes
  • Perfect for: Outdoors, snowshoeing, northern lights viewing, wildlife, picnic

We have hit the trails of Elk Island National Park more times than we can count. Just a short drive from Edmonton, this gem offers an abundance of wildlife and pristine nature. 

Elk Island National Park canoe tour in the fall

Begin your adventure early in the morning, as the sun rises, casting a golden glow over the landscape. Bison, moose, and elk roam the park, so keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready. 

Remember to maintain a safe distance from the animals – they’re wild.

Choose from various trails, but I’d recommend the Wood Bison Trail for those seeking a moderate hike. It’s well-marked and meanders through diverse terrains.

Bison at the Elk Island National Park: Best day trips from Edmonton Alberta

As you walk, listen to the songs of native birds, a peaceful serenade that enhances the experience. This is the only trail where you can see wood bison. 

For lunch, claim a spot on the shores of Astotin Lake. The picnic areas are equipped with tables and fire pits. The gentle lapping of the water creates a serene soundtrack for your meal. 

If you’ve packed a kayak or canoe, the afternoon is your chance to glide across the lake. Paddling on the tranquil waters offers a unique perspective of the park and a chance to spot turtles or beavers. 

Elk Island National Park Sunset tours

If you don’t own a kayak, rentals are typically available but check ahead for availability. We booked a summer sunset tour on one of our day trips, which was amazing!

Wrap up your visit with a leisurely drive around Park Loop Road, where you might catch a final glimpse of the majestic bison herds. Take your time, soak in the views, and breathe in the fresh Alberta air. 

A day at Elk Island National Park is one I assure you’ll want to repeat.

2. Sylvan Lake: Lakeside vibes

  • Distance from Edmonton: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Perfect for: Outdoors, lakeside views, food, water sports

Located in the heart of Alberta’s parkland region, Sylvan Lake is a popular summer destination for Edmontonians looking to escape the city heat. This charming town offers plenty of activities to entertain you all day.

Sylvan Lake best day trips from Calgary Alberta

Start your visit with a stroll along the lakeside promenade, taking in the views of turquoise waters and the pretty lighthouse. You’ll also find a variety of shops and restaurants along the way, perfect for some window shopping or grabbing a bite to eat. 

For those seeking adventure, many water sports are available on the lake, including paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing. If you prefer to stay dry but still want to enjoy the water, rent a boat or sunbathe.

If you’re visiting in the winter, don’t worry; Sylvan Lake has you covered, too. The lake freezes over, creating a natural ice rink for skating and hockey. It’s also a popular spot for ice fishing.

Lighthouse in Sylvan Lake Alberta

We visited the lake in the winter, and it was perfect for a day out. 

As the day winds down, grab some ice cream from one of the many vendors along the lake and find a spot on the beach to watch the sunset. The sky turns into a canvas of pink and orange hues, creating a picture-perfect end to your day trip from Edmonton.

3. Alberta Beach: Small-town beach vibes

  • Distance from Edmonton: 1 hour
  • Perfect for: Beach vibes, relaxation

For a more laid-back and rustic experience, head to the quaint town of Alberta Beach. Tucked away on the shore of Lac Ste. Anne, this hidden gem offers a peaceful escape from the city.

places to visit near edmonton canada

This village was incorporated in 1920 when the Canadian Northern Railway built its Edmonton–Vancouver line. It is primarily used for recreation and is a great way to enjoy a short drive out of the city and soak in amazing sunset views. 

Besides recreation, you can visit the Alberta Beach Museum and explore 11 historical buildings on-site. You can also enjoy walks and strolls along the lakeside. 

After eating, head to the beach for sunbathing, and relaxation. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and a good book!

Girl in Alberta in fall

Alberta Beach also offers camping options for those looking to extend their stay. Spend the night under the stars and fall asleep to the soothing sounds of nature (May to September annually). 

Before returning to Edmonton, indulge in local cuisine at one of the town’s charming restaurants or cafes. Don’t forget to try some bannock, a traditional Indigenous food item, and a staple at many local eateries.

4. Smoky Lake: Small town and history

  • Distance from Edmonton: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Perfect for: History, small-town vibes, nature

Smoky Lake is the place to go if you’re looking for a unique day trip experience. This small town may not be on many people’s radars, but it’s worth the drive. There is so much greenery as you drive from Edmonton to Smoky Lake. 

places to visit near edmonton canada

You will find a dozen restored historical buildings in the cute village, including a schoolhouse, church, and blacksmith shop. We enjoyed checking off the many Ukranian Churches we found along the way – they were very charming. 

We stopped by the Our Lady Of Atonement Roman Catholic Church (4904 50 Street), and Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church and were impressed by the architecture. 

Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site is another must-visit in Smoky Lake. This complex engages as you navigate the premises and learn from costumed interpreters. They share the history of Victoria Settlement and enact how life was in those times.

CN train Smoky Lake

Next, we recommend stopping at the CN Train Station site, also home to a small museum. 

You will also find a cute pumpkin park near it with large pumpkins!

The Smoky Lake Pumpkin Festival is held annually in October, making for a great fall trip. This festival is famous for its giant pumpkin weigh-off, showcasing pumpkins weighing over 1000 lbs. 

Pumpkin Park

There are also food vendors, live music, and activities for the whole family during the festival.

If you are into golfing, head to the Smoky Lake Golf Club. You can play one of the finest 9 Hole Courses in Alberta at an affordable price! 

As you can see, there’s no shortage of unique experiences in Smoky Lake; it’s worth adding to your day trip list. 

5. Metis Crossing: History and Naturescape  

  • Distance from Edmonton: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Perfect for: Metis history, educational, relaxed atmosphere
  • Entry fees : Tickets and hours here

When in Smoky Lake, you can also visit the beautiful and tranquil Metis Crossing. 

Metis Crossing Smoky Lake

Metis Crossing is a remarkable and pioneering cultural center, proudly holding the title of Alberta’s first major Métis establishment.

Situated just a short 10-minute drive from the Smoky Lake center, it offers an immersive experience into the vibrant world of Métis culture. 

Through engaging workshops, educational gatherings, and captivating events, visitors can delve deep into the heart of this rich heritage.

Metis Crossing

What we loved about this place is that it is so calming and is perfect for learning about Metis culture. 

Set against the backdrop of the original river lots once inhabited by Métis settlers dating back to the 1800s, the cultural center boasts a breathtaking setting.

At Metis Crossing, there are many activities to partake in, ranging from museum exploration and overnight camping to live events, workshops, and serene picnics. 

Each experience offers a glimpse into the captivating tapestry of Métis life while also providing awe-inspiring views that will leave a lasting impression.

6. Skaro Shrine: Religious pilgrimage 

  • Distance from Edmonton: One hour
  • Perfect for: History, Ukrainian culture, religious
  • Entry fees : Free

Tucked away in the small town of Skaro lies a hidden gem often overlooked by tourists – the Skaro Shrine. 

Skaro Shrine, one of the day trips from Alberta

The Skaro Shrine, lovingly constructed by Polish and Ukrainian believers, is a testament to their faith and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. They painstakingly gathered and hand-built this magnificent grotto using 600 wagonloads of stone. 

But the real gem of Skaro is its annual celebration. Every year, on August 14-15, thousands of pilgrims gather here to seek blessings and pay tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a place of reverence and spirituality that continues to captivate visitors from near and far.

Whether you’re interested in history or culture or just want to discover hidden gems near Edmonton, this is a must-add to your list!

7. Town of Vegreville

  • Distance from Edmonton: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Perfect for: Iconic Easter egg, history, golf course

We often embark on spontaneous road trips, letting the endless Alberta Prairies guide us. This freedom to explore brings us to charming locations like the town of Vegreville (which we first visited on a road trip from Saskatchewan).

Vegreville Small town Alberta

Known for its impressive Ukrainian heritage, this small town ‘s pride is the world’s largest pysanka, a giant Ukrainian Easter egg. Stopping here provides a unique photo opportunity and a peek into the cultural tapestry of Alberta.

Along this journey, the vast landscapes themselves are attractions worth admiring. Golden canola fields, rolling hills, and the wide, open sky inspire a deep appreciation for the region.

The Ukranian Cultural Heritage Centre is also located nearby. Golfers will love to hang out at the Vegreville Kinsmen Golf Course.

8. Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village: Historic Heritage

  • Distance from Edmonton: 25 to 39 minutes
  • Perfect for: History, Ukrainian culture, educational
  • Entry fees : $15 CAD for adults

As an Edmonton local who loves the region’s rich history, I love exploring the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. This open-air museum is a testament to the cultural legacy of the Ukrainian immigrants who settled in east central Alberta. 

A stroll through the village is a journey back in time, where authentic buildings and costumed interpreters offer a glimpse into the lives of these pioneering families from 1899 to 1930.

You can engage in historical activities, where the air is filled with the scent of traditional Ukrainian bread baked in clay ovens. You might join in on a dance or learn a few words in Ukrainian from characters that embody the spirit of the settlers.

With over 30 relocated and restored buildings, each corner of the village tells a story of hardship, resilience, and community.

The village holds special events throughout the year, so check the calendar to coordinate your visit with a vibrant festival or harvest celebration. These living history experiences enrich our understanding and foster a deep appreciation for the pioneers who shaped Alberta’s cultural landscape.

9. Wetaskiwin: The Past Comes Alive

  • Perfect for: History, museums, culture, aviation enthusiasts

A day trip to Wetaskiwin is a must for those interested in history and culture. This charming city has deep roots in Alberta’s past and offers several interesting attractions. In fact, it is one of the oldest cities in Alberta.

Start your visit at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, a large facility preserving the province’s transportation history.

You’ll find various exhibits here, including vintage cars, trucks, airplanes, and farm equipment. Kids will love the interactive displays and activities like driving a mini-car or riding in a biplane simulator.

Next up, head to the Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum to learn about the city’s history and local culture. The museum has an impressive collection of artifacts showcasing Wetaskiwin’s past, from its early days as a trading post to being an important railway hub.

For lunch, head to the Glens Grill and then take a short drive to the Alberta Central Railway Museum to glimpse Alberta’s railway history. This outdoor museum features restored locomotives and train cars that you can explore. Their staff is amazing and will provide helpful insights into Wetaskiwin’s history.

Wetaskiwin is a fascinating destination that will transport you back in time and give you a greater appreciation for Alberta’s history. Keep an eye on their event calendar, as they often host special events and festivals. 

10. Lacombe and Aspen Beach Provincial Park

  • Perfect for: Nature, beaches, camping, relaxation

For a peaceful and relaxing day trip from Edmonton, look no further than Lacombe and Aspen Beach Provincial Park. This hidden gem is located on the shores of Gull Lake and offers stunning views of Alberta’s prairies and foothills.

From Edmonton, it is less than a 2-hour drive to Lacombe. Fuel up and enjoy the quaint town known for its historic downtown area. Stroll through the streets lined with charming boutiques, cafes, and galleries. 

Be sure to stop by the Flatiron Building Museum to learn about Lacombe’s history as a bustling railway town.

Traveling with kids? Hit the Kraay Family Farm and enjoy a few hours of mini-train rides, zip lines, corn mazes, and more. 

Next, head to Aspen Beach Provincial Park for outdoor fun. The park features a sandy beach, perfect for sunbathing or building sandcastles. You will also find a section at the beach where you can swim. 

In the winter, you can snowshoe, hike, and ice fish. For those looking to stay overnight, the park offers several RV and tent camping options with stunning lake views. 

Read: Best photo spots in Edmonton

11. Red Deer

  • Distance from Edmonton: 2 hours
  • Perfect for: Mid-size city, charming parks and nature trails

I’ve resided in Edmonton for over nine years, and Red Deer emerges as a perfect stop when we head to the mountains. Red Deer is halfway between Edmonton and Calgary, so it is great if you wish to extend your day’s itinerary by exploring this mid-size city. 

Red Deer

Having said that, we also like visiting Red Deer in the winter. Popular places like the Bower Ponds and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame are perfect for winter hikes, snowshoeing, and ice skating. 

Thriving in the chill requires proper attire – so don’t forget to think of cozy layers, a sturdy pair of boots, and accessories that seal in warmth. Red Deer’s scenic beauty under a blanket of snow invites photographers and nature lovers to capture and marvel at the serene white wonderland.

Other Red Deer attractions include the Discovery Canyon (waterpark), Sunnybrook Farm Museum, Heritage Ranch, Three Mile Bend, and more. In the summer, floating down the Red Deer River is a popular activity.

12. Pembina River Provincial Park Day Trip

  • Distance from Edmonton : 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Perfect for: Outdoors, river tubing, camping, bonfires

For those seeking a day full of adventure and relaxation, look no further than Pembina River Provincial Park. This hidden gem is located between Entwistle and Evansburg, and we often stop here on our way from Edmonton to Jasper National Park . 

Couple at the Pembina River Provincial Park

The main attraction here is river tubing, a popular summertime activity where you float on an inflatable tube. The tranquil waters of the Pembina River are perfect for this, with its gentle currents and stunning scenery. 

After your tubing adventure, find a spot along the river to set up a picnic and enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Or explore the park’s hiking trails.

If you want to extend your day trip into an overnight adventure, Pembina River Provincial Park offers camping facilities. Spend the evening roasting marshmallows over a campfire and soaking in the dark skies of rural Alberta.

With its scenic views and peaceful atmosphere, Pembina River Provincial Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

13. University of Alberta Botanic Gardens in Devon: Botanical Gardens

  • Distance from Edmonton : 15 minutes
  • Perfect for: Nature, tranquility, relaxation, educational experience

The University of Alberta Botanical Gardens in Devon is a hidden gem outside Edmonton. This 240-acre property boasts different themed gardens, including a butterfly, herb, rose, and more. 

places to visit near edmonton canada

And… it is just a 15-minute drive away from the city and is perfect for a year-round visit. 

At the gardens, visit the Aga Khan Garden, a stunning 4.8-hectare Mughal-style garden boasting water features, pavilions, and over 25,000 trees and shrubs. It’s also an educational experience, with informational signs throughout the grounds.

Japanese gardens in Devon

Next, head to the Kurimoto Japanese Garden for a peaceful stroll through traditional Japanese landscaping. You’ll feel transported to another world as you admire the koi pond, zen garden, and tea house.

The ​​Indigenous Garden is home to plants traditionally used by Indigenous Peoples for medicinal, dietary, and ornamentation purposes. 

For a unique experience, head to the indoor showhouses. Here you can learn about plants through various showhouses, from tropical plants, arid to temperate, and check out various plants, shrubs, trees, and more from different climates.

The gardens also host events throughout the year, such as date nights and winter fests (like the Luminaria). The University of Alberta Botanical Gardens is a hidden oasis outside Edmonton, making it the perfect day trip destination for nature lovers.

14. Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, Camrose

  • Distance from Edmonton : 1 hour 
  • Perfect for: Outdoors, camping, bird watching

If you want to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park is the perfect day trip destination. This park offers a variety of outdoor activities and is a popular spot for camping.

Begin your sightseeing at Miquelon Lake, one of the largest in the park. The sandy beach is perfect for sunbathing or building sandcastles (however, swimming is impossible here). 

There are also several hiking trails in the park, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including deer, moose, and many bird species. The park is a designated wildlife sanctuary known for its diverse bird population.

After a day of outdoor fun, set up camp at one of the many campsites in the park. Enjoy a cozy bonfire as the stars light up the night sky.

If camping isn’t your thing, there are also day-use areas for picnics and BBQs. 

Miquelon Lake Provincial Park is a natural playground that offers something for everyone in the family. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, this hidden gem is the perfect day trip from Edmonton. 

Read : Best places to eat in Edmonton

15. Whitecourt and Hard Luck Canyon

  • Distance from Edmonton : 2 hours
  • Perfect for: Outdoors, scenic drive, hikes

If you’re up for a longer day trip and seeking an outdoor adventure, head to Whitecourt and later drive to explore Hard Luck Canyon. This hidden gem is one of Alberta’s best-kept secrets and offers spectacular views and hiking opportunities.

Drive to Whitecourt and fuel up at the charming downtown area, and then visit the Forest Interpretive Centre to learn about the forest and forest industry in Whitecourt.

You will love the natural attractions near Whitecourt. Start with Coal Mine Hill Lookout, located about 13 km from the centre, which welcomes you to a view of rolling fields and forest. 

Then, head to Hard Luck Canyon for a moderate hike through the rugged terrain.

The highlight of this hike is the breathtaking falls cascading down the canyon walls with views of ancient cliffs. Watch for wildlife, including deer and moose, as you enter the canyon.

After hiking, head back to Whitecourt and explore this small town’s charming streets. You’ll find locally-owned shops and restaurants, perfect for a mid-day break and some souvenir shopping. 

If you visit in the summer, you can hit the farmer’s market and other stores. 

End your day with a delicious meal at one of Whitecourt’s restaurants, or hit the popular Fermented Moose Brewing Equipment & Co. for chilled beer!

16. Strathcona Wilderness Centre: Winter Wonderland

  • Distance from Edmonton : 50 minutes
  • Perfect for: Outdoors, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter activities

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a day trip from Edmonton. The Strathcona Wilderness Centre offers a variety of winter activities and is the perfect destination for those seeking an outdoor adventure.

Rent cross-country skis or snowshoes and explore over 12 kilometers of groomed trails. The park also offers a skating rink, tobogganing hill, and warming hut with hot chocolate and snacks available for purchase.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed day, take a leisurely walk through the snow-covered trails and admire the beautiful scenery. 

The Strathcona Wilderness Centre is open all year round, and you can go camping and hiking in the summer. There is a golf course on-site. 

You can also go wildlife viewing – the wilderness center is home to moose, white-tailed deer, snowshoe hares, fishers, porcupines, and frogs that live along the trails. It is perfect for sight birds such as chickadees, woodpeckers, and owls, and migratory birds include Canada geese, ducks, hummingbirds, and swallows. 

Escape the city and embrace the magic of winter at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre, just a short drive from Edmonton. 

17. Gibbons and Jurassic Forest

  • Distance from Edmonton: 45 minutes
  • Perfect for: Family-friendly, educational, outdoor adventure

Travel back in time and visit Jurassic Forest in Gibbons, just a short drive from Edmonton. This immersive attraction lets visitors explore a prehistoric forest with life-size animatronic dinosaurs.

Visit the Interpretive Centre to learn about the dinosaurs that once roamed the area and see fossils and artifacts on display. Then, take a guided tour through the forest and explore the 40-acre prehistoric preserve. 

Kids will love the scavenger hunt and playing in the playground modeled after a dinosaur skeleton. A mini-golf course, Discovery Trail, and a food and gift shop are also on-site.

After your adventure in the forest, head to Gibbons and explore the quaint streets. You’ll find unique shops, restaurants, and an outdoor pool perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day.

Jurassic Forest is a unique day trip destination that will be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike. Don’t forget to bring your camera for some epic dinosaur photo opportunities!

Note: Dinosaur Provincial Park is different and is located 4 hours and 45 minutes from Edmonton. 

Combine day trips from Edmonton for an epic itinerary: Travel Tips

Edmonton is Alberta’s capital city and is set amongst the beautiful wilderness of the North Saskatchewan River Valley. It is one of Canada’s largest northernmost metropolises and is a perfect base for travel and work. 

From outdoor adventures to lakeside relaxation and cultural experiences, there are lots of options to choose from. Here is how you can make the most of your day trips by adding roadside attractions and stops:

Edmonton > Sylvan Lake > Red Deer > Abraham Lake

You can visit Sylvan Lake on a short day trip from Edmonton. Then head south to Red Deer, and you can travel further to see the water bubbles on Abraham Lake. 

Edmonton > Red Deer > Calgary > Banff National Park

The Edmonton to Red Deer day trip is great, and to extend the trip, you can go to Banff National Park with stops in Calgary and Canmore. 

Edmonton > Pembina > Entwistle > Rocky Mountain House

When you visit the Pembina River Provincial Park, you can also hit side attractions like Matthews Crossing Natural Area (north of Entwistle).

From Entwistle, you will be at the Rocky Mountain House in another hour. 

The Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is a remarkable testament to the significant role of the fur trade in the Western region. You can embark on a journey to explore this historic trading post nestled along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, where captivating tales of Indigenous Peoples and legendary explorers await. 

Edmonton > Smoky Lake > Metis Crossing > Skaro Shrine > Josephburg (return)

Drive to Smoky Lake and visit the Metis Crossing from there. On your return trip, stop at the Skaro Sharine and Josephburg. 

Till Next Time: Edmonton Day Trips

We hope you found this post on the best day trips from Edmonton useful. As an Edmonton local, we have enjoyed these trips and side stops over the years (and all year round). 

Whether it’s the serene landscapes of Elk Island, the historical whispers of Wetaskiwin, or the mesmerizing hues of the Devonian Gardens, nearby adventures abound.

So pack your bags, grab your friends or family, and hit the road for a memorable day trip in Alberta! 

Happy travels!

More Alberta Travel Tips

  • 3 days in Banff National Park
  • Best hikes in Banff National Park
  • Things to do in Jasper National Park
  • Things to do in Waterton National Park

Pin: Best day trips from Edmonton, Alberta

Best Edmonton Day Trips pin

Mayuri Kashyap is an Indian Canadian traveler, writer and photographer based in Alberta. She moved to Toronto as a student in 2009, and has been calling Canada home ever since. She started the blog - Canada Crossroads - to share her travel and living experiences in the Great White North!

A History graduate and an MBA, Mayuri is a destinations marketing expert. She loves traveling with her husband, Salil and soaking in experiences across Canada, India and Europe.

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Mountain range of Kootenay National Park reflected in a body of water alongside a sun drenched, lush forest

Best Road Trips From Edmonton

Top road trip destinations from edmonton.

Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada with a panorama view of the beautiful Spirit Island, trees in the foreground, the stunning lake before the striking mountains in the distance and taken on a sunny day.

Jasper National Park

🚗 315 km ⏱️ 3 hours, 15 minutes

Visit Jasper National Park for spectacular views of glaciers, blue lakes and snow-capped mountains. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers endless outdoor activities year-round.

This drive to Jasper National Park is a feast for the eyes with Wabamun Lake Provincial Park and William A. Switzer Provincial Park on the way.

Charming townhouses with majestic mountains in the background in autumn

🚗 390 km ⏱️ 3 hours, 45 minutes

Visit the lakes, go on a hike or two, and take your time as you leisurely drive along this scenic roadway to Canmore, a mountain town perfect for exploring Banff and Kananaskis Country.

On your way to Canmore, you can visit the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer , the beautiful Sylvan Lake and even detour to Calgary .

Banff National Park, Canada taken at Moraine Lake under the ice at morning spring time with mountains in the distance.

Banff National Park

🚗 415 km ⏱️ 4 hours

Banff National Park is possibly most iconic park in Canada, with towering mountain peaks, turquoise glacial lakes, glaciers and therapeutic hot springs. Ideal for skiing in winter and hiking in summer.

We recommend putting aside some time to explore Red Deer , Calgary and Bow Valley Provincial Park on your way to Banff.

A colorful sunrise sky over downtown Calgary in the summer

🚗 300 km ⏱️ 3 hours, 10 minutes

If you are looking for a cosmopolitan experience, Calgary will definitely tick that box. Famous for its beautiful skyline and Calgary Stampede, the city is also a great place for shopping and dining.

As you drive to Calgary, you can make a short detour to Wetaskiwin to visit the Reynolds-Alberta Museum and spend some time in Red Deer .

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with a beautiful view of the city in the background and the bridge crossing the water, plus mountains in the distance on a sunny clear day.

🚗 1,165 km ⏱️ 13 hours

Vancouver is one of Canada's most diverse and beautiful cities, with a spectacular mix of coastline juxtaposed with mountains. You can go whale-watching and see the ocean, and the weather is mild in summer and winter.

We recommend stopping at Red Deer and Calgary for an urban fix and Kootenay , Banff and Yoho National Parks for some stunning scenery.

Athabasca River, Alberta, Canada where the glacial Silt turns the Athabasca River blue on Icefields Parkway, surrounded by trees and snow-capped mountains in the distance against a clear blue sky.

🚗 150 km ⏱️ 1 hour, 50 minutes

This destination is a charming town on the bank of the Athabasca River. The Athabasca Riverfront is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic, and the historic buildings provide a glimpse into the area's past.

On the way to the charming and friendly town of Athabasca, you can make a short detour to Cross Lake Provincial Park .

Yoho National Park, Canada with a bridge over Emerald Lake, a coniferous forest and mountains in the background on a sunny day.

Yoho National Park

🚗 485 km ⏱️ 5 hours, 10 minutes

See the stunning Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, which is equally as scenic as Banff but much less crowded. This park is known for its high elevation scenery, with rugged peaks, ice walls, glaciers and wildlife.

On your way to Yoho National Park, enjoy otherworldly views of Columbia Icefield , Banff National Park and Lake Louise .

Downhill skiing at Revelstoke ski resort in British Columbia, Canada

🚗 700 km ⏱️ 7 hours

Revelstoke is a mountain community with small-town hospitality - it has everything from high class dining and craft beer drinking, to adventure mountain sports, beautiful scenery and romantic charm.

As you drive from the city towards the Canadian Rockies past Red Deer and Calgary , you can also visit Banff , Yoho and Glacier National Parks .

Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada with the amazing Rocky Mountains and view from Abbott Ridge on a cloudy but sunny day.

Glacier National Park of Canada

🚗 605 km ⏱️ 6 hours

You will fall in love with the rugged beauty of Glacier National Park of Canada. Known for its historic Rogers Pass, the park offers challenging hikes, stunning vistas, and historic Canadian rail and alpine exploration.

Another stunningly scenic drive, Banff , Yoho , and Kootenay National Parks are only a few of the breathtaking landscapes you will enjoy en route.

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada with a vineyard in the foreground overlooking Okanagan Lake and the town in the distance in the fall.

🚗 890 km ⏱️ 9 hours, 30 minutes

Located in the heart of a fantastic wine region of Canada, Kelowna is home to plenty of vineyards to tour. A chance to escape the typical mountain settings of Canada, you can head to this lush wine valley.

Past Calgary, some of the amazing national parks you can visit on this drive to Kelowna are Banff , Yoho and Glacier National Parks .

Kamloops, Canada with a scenic Lookout at the town and river and mountains beyond, taken at sunset with a dramatic sky.

🚗 810 km ⏱️ 8 hours, 30 minutes

Kamloops is a hub for outdoor sports and activities, featuring everything from hiking and biking to golf and water sports. It's also known for its popular seasonal festivals.

In addition to the incredible national parks en route, such as Banff National Park , make sure to add charming towns, such as Sicamous and Salmon Art , to your itinerary.

Giant sculpture of a pysanka, a painted egg, on a sunny day

Giants of the Prairies Loop

🚗 530 km ⏱️ 6 hours, 10 minutes

This quirky road trip takes in some of the unique and random roadside attractions and giant statues across Alberta. It's a fun way to explore the lesser-travelled towns—you'll certainly get a few artsy Instagram pictures!

As you visit one giant, quirky culture after another, you can also spend some time at Elk Island National Park and the cute town of Vegreville .

Red chair look over Waterton Lake Marina Point in autumn foliage season sunny morning. Blue sky with colourful clouds reflect on the lake water surface.

Waterton Lakes National Park

🚗 550 km ⏱️ 5 hours, 20 minutes

Waterton Lakes National Park borders the US Glacier National Park and pulls its weight in terms of scenery, offering vistas of mountain peaks, colourful lakes and crashing waterfalls.

As you drive to the national park, you can visit cities like Red Deer and Calgary or enjoy the small-town charm of Nanton and Fort McLeod .

Northern Lights in the sky over the national park at night

Elk Island National Park

🚗 50 km ⏱️ 35 minutes

Just a short drive from Edmonton, here you can see majestic elk and bison roaming, and explore a boreal forest (or “taiga”) within this fenced national park that features fantastic hiking trails.

This is a short drive, so we recommend extending your road trip to make a detour to visit Cooking Lake - Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area .

Old train bridge over Red Deer River, now part of the bike path. The river can be seen from both sides of the bridge where it connects on both sides of the path to forested downtown area.

🚗 155 km ⏱️ 1 hour, 40 minutes

Red Deer is located along the scenic Red Deer River and offers quaint shopping, swimming holes, and parks to explore. Sylvan Lake nearby is a popular getaway where you can swim, boat, or fish.

If you'd like to spend more time on this otherwise relatively short drive, you can visit William F. Lede Park just outside Edmonton and Pigeon Lake Provincial Park .

Small bird sitting on reeds in Rotary Park next to the river

Hard Luck Canyon

🚗 200 km ⏱️ 2 hours, 10 minutes

Visit Hard Luck Canyon near Whitecourt for a scenic adventure. The canyon features stunning geological formations and a series of waterfalls that provide a great backdrop for hiking and photography.

If you are not in a hurry to reach your destination, you can visit Wabamun Lake Provincial Park and Rotary Park Outdoor Waterpark en route.

"Welcome to Drumheller" sign with dinosaur at the entrance to town on a sunny day

Drumheller and Dinosaur Provincial Park

🚗 490 km ⏱️ 4 hours, 50 minutes

Located in Drumheller, make this a dinosaur-themed road trip and see rare, preserved dinosaur bone fossils and active paleontological dig sites at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On your way to Drumheller and Dinosaur Provincial Park, you can spend some time at Sylvan Lake and Red Deer and detour to Calgary .

Wetaskiwin Historic City Hall Night Shot, Alberta, Canada

🚗 70 km ⏱️ 1 hour

Visit Wetaskiwin to see a whole host of unique cultural centres and museums to learn about indigenous people. The town is located on Treaty 6 Territory and is rich in First Nations ancestral history and influence.

If you have time, stop at Millet & District Museum, Archives and Visitor Information Centre and learn more about the small towns of the area.

White exterior of a Ukrainian Catholic Church during sunset

🚗 100 km ⏱️ 1 hour, 10 minutes

Discover Vegreville, home to the world's largest pysanka (Ukrainian Easter egg). This unique attraction symbolizes peace and cultural identity, nestled in a lively community with a rich Ukrainian heritage.

One stop you will not want to miss en route from Edmonton to Vegreville is the beautiful Elk Island National Park .

Exterior of historic buildings in downtown as the sun sets

🚗 380 km ⏱️ 3 hours, 40 minutes

A drive to the charming small town of Nanton is a nostalgic journey through time. Explore its antique shops, the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, and other historic sites that offer a peek into the past.

Make sure to plan for stops in Red Deer and Calgary on your way to this pretty small town, and enjoy sightseeing and a meal en route.

Longer road trips from Edmonton

Northern Lights above teepees in Aurora Village

Yellowknife

🚗 1,450 km ⏱️ 15 hours, 10 minutes

Yellowknife is the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories, known as one of the best places to view the Northern Lights.

Seattle skyline during sunset with Space Needle in view and mountain in the background

🚗 1,560 km ⏱️ 16 hours, 30 minutes

While in Seattle, make sure to visit the iconic Space Needle, the bustling Pike Place Market, and enjoy the city's vibrant music scene.

Anchorage, Alaska, USA with the city skyline in winter at dusk with the Chugach mountains behind.

🚗 3,120 km ⏱️ 34 hours

Experience Alaska's rugged beauty and vast wilderness, where you can witness both the Northern Lights and the midnight sun.

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16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Edmonton

Written by Chloë Ernst and Michael Law Updated Dec 27, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Edmonton, the capital of Alberta , stretches along both banks of the North Saskatchewan River in roughly the center of the province. The city has had a long rivalry with Calgary , just over two hours south, which claims that Edmonton is a boring government town. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Edmonton is Alberta's center for culture, with excellent theaters, top-notch museums, world-class galleries, and a thriving musical scene.

Walterdale Bridge, Edmonton, Alberta

The folks that live in Edmonton are a stout and hardy breed. The city is among the coldest cities in the world, with a population of over one million, other members of this elite club include Moscow and Harbin, China.

The cold weather doesn't stop Edmontonians from getting out and getting busy at winter festivals and events, including the Deep Freeze Festival and the Ice on Whyte, featuring fun and crazy events sure to beat the winter blues.

Learn more about the best places to visit in this exciting city with our list of attractions and things to do in Edmonton.

See also: Where to Stay in Edmonton

1. Shop & Play at West Edmonton Mall

2. royal alberta museum, 3. enjoy nature at elk island national park & beaver hills, 4. ukrainian cultural heritage village, 5. fort edmonton park, 6. whyte avenue, 7. muttart conservatory, 8. alberta legislature building, 9. art gallery of alberta, 10. reynolds-alberta museum, wetaskiwin, 12. edmonton valley zoo, 13. alberta aviation museum, 14. telus world of science, 15. university of alberta botanic garden, 16. alberta railway museum, where to stay in edmonton for sightseeing, when is the best time to visit edmonton.

West Edmonton Mall

Canada's West Edmonton Mall is not only the country's largest shopping center and one of the largest in the world — it's also a major tourist attraction. In addition to hundreds of shops and restaurants, the facility contains a hotel, movie theaters, an ice rink , an aquarium , and much more.

Adding to the appeal are the themed sections of the mall, designed to mimic the feel of popular travel destinations around the world. In Europa Boulevard, for example, many of the shops have European-style fronts and carry the names of international fashion designers, while Bourbon Street, a copy of the famous New Orleans street, is the place to visit for Creole food and live music.

The mall's Galaxyland is one of the largest covered, indoor amusement parks in the world, boasting a variety of family-friendly rides. Also fun is the recently renovated World Waterpark , the largest such attraction in North America. Highlights include the world's biggest indoor wave pool, and two 83-foot-tall (and very steep) water slides. The park has a variety of slides, ranging from beginner to extreme.

Address: 8882 - 170 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta

Royal Alberta Museum

The Royal Alberta Museum is Western Canada's largest museum. Home to a fascinating mix of permanent cultural and natural history exhibits, as well as always-changing temporary installations, a visit to this ultra-modern facility is certainly time well spent.

Particularly impressive are the many fossils from the dinosaur and ice age eras, a large aquarium of native fish, and live insects-including some exotic and enormous species.

Be sure to visit the large feature gallery hosting traveling exhibits from across Canada and around the world, a huge new kids' gallery, and a bigger bug room with live invertebrates and a visible nursery. The museum's cultural history departments explore aboriginal cultures with artifacts from Blackfoot, Cree, and other First Nations. A well-stocked gift shop and a café are also located on-site.

Address: 9810 103a Ave NW, Edmonton, Alberta

Bison

This national park is just a 30-minute drive from Edmonton and covers a wooded area with lakes and wetlands, and is home to all kinds of wildlife, including moose, elk, deer, and beaver. But the main attraction of Elk Island National Park is the large herd of buffalo (bison), which graze over a special enclosure.

Anyone driving slowly along the road through the park cannot fail to catch sight of one of these massive shaggy beasts. Fun things to do here in the summer include hiking and biking, kayaking and canoeing, as well as camping, while winter activities include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

The Beaver Hills area has now been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and includes a dark sky preserve, a bird sanctuary, and a wilderness center. Originally the tribal home of the Sarcee Indians, it was the Cree, however, that hunted the beaver and buffalo for their pelts, which were then traded with the large fur-trading companies.

With hunting and settlement, the buffalo were almost wiped out, though some Beaver Hills buffalo are thought to have been captured in 1909 and placed in a reserve of their own. These are the forebears of the animals now living in Elk Island National Park.

Address: 54401 Range Road 203, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

Established in the 1970s along the Yellowhead Highway, this open-air museum preserves the cultural heritage of the many immigrants from Bukovina and Ukraine who settled in what is now Alberta in the 1890s.

The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village , known locally simply as "the Village," various historic buildings have been reconstructed on the site, and the pale onion dome of a Ukrainian church is visible from afar.

There are many living history elements to explore, including a blacksmith, a market, and an old-fashioned general store. Part of the fun is the opportunity to interact with the costumed guides, here to explain what life was like for these early settlers.

If possible, try to time your visit with one of the many events or workshops hosted throughout the year, from cooking demonstrations to harvest celebrations and a commemoration of Ukraine's national day.

Address: Hwy 16 E, Tofield, Alberta

Fort Edmonton Park

Another open-air museum that should be included in your Edmonton travel itinerary, Fort Edmonton Park has old buildings faithfully reconstructed to reflect Edmonton's historical development. The buildings include a typical 1846 fort belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, a street from a pioneer town of 1885, the up-and-coming provincial capital in 1905, as well as buildings from the 1920s.

Among the different forms of old transport, visitors can ride a horse-drawn wagon or a steam train. At the John Janzen Nature Centre nearby, there are exhibits about local geology and ecology.

Address: 7000 143 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta

Whyte Avenue

No trip to Edmonton would be complete without some time spent on Whyte Avenue, one of the most popular and vibrant neighborhoods in the city. Whyte Avenue is a hub for arts and culture, shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Whyte Street is located in the trendy Old Strathcona area, and this area comes alive at night with live music, trendy restaurants, theaters, and other entertainment options. During the day, the area is also popular with shoppers and culture vultures. A heady mix of trendy clothing stores, unusual shops, art galleries, and home décor places make shopping here a popular and fun pastime.

Throughout the year and especially in the summer, Whyte Street and the Old Strathcona area are home to multiple events such as the Whyte Avenue Blues Festival, the Edmonton Fringe Festival, and a weekly farmers market.

Muttart Conservatory

On the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River, four pyramid-shaped hothouses at the Muttart Conservatory are home to rare and far-traveled species of plants. Each pyramid features a distinct environment representing different biomes of the world, from the tropical climate of Myanmar (Burma) and Fiji to the temperate pavilion with its American redwoods and Australian eucalyptus. With so many species of plants on display, the conservatory is the premier horticultural facility in Edmonton.

From the high ground above the river, there is a beautiful view of the gleaming pyramids of the Muttart Conservatory against the skyline of Edmonton city center.

Address: 9626 96A Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta

Legislature Building

In the midst of a park-like garden, where the last Fort Edmonton once stood, is the 1913 Legislature Building . It's an imposing and attractive building, and from the terrace, there are beautiful views across the North Saskatchewan River to the far bank. Guided tours are the best way to learn about the history of what the locals refer to fondly as "the Ledge," including its architecture and secrets of the building. A highlight of a visit is spending time wandering the park-like grounds surrounding the building.

Be sure to also visit the nearby Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre, which includes important displays related to local art, culture, and history. There's also a 4D immersive experience that provides an impressive visual history of the province and its people, as well as a great gift shop selling arts and crafts from across Alberta.

Address: 10800 97 Ave NW, Edmonton, Alberta

Art Gallery of Alberta

A twisting modernist building on Sir Winston Churchill Square , the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton is dedicated to visual arts with an emphasis on Western Canada. The gallery features changing and traveling exhibitions and maintains an extensive collection of more than 6,000 pieces.

The site also features a gift shop, restaurant, and theater space. Private guided tours are available and can be tailored to suit your particular interests. The facility also offers a variety of educational programs for all ages, as well as lectures and workshops.

Address: 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, Alberta

Reynolds-Alberta Museum, Wetaskiwin

One hour by car south of downtown Edmonton is the friendly little town of Wetaskiwin . Here, the main attraction is the Reynolds-Alberta Museum , dedicated to everything to do with aircraft and vehicle construction. There are open-air displays of old agricultural machinery and tools, including some real old dinosaurs-steam tractors, threshing machines, caterpillar tractors, and trucks.

There are also nearly 100 historic aircraft housed here, as well as in the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame , and numerous vintage motorcycles to admire. A café, store, and theater are also located on-site, and a good time to visit is during one of the regular summer events when a variety of machines and vehicles are operating.

Address: 6426 40 Avenue, Wetaskiwin, Alberta

K Days

The greatest event in Edmonton's calendar is the 10-day festival known as K Days (formerly called Capital Ex) held every year at the end of July, when the wild days of the 1890 Klondike Gold Rush come to life once more.

Street parties, dancing, parades, top-notch live entertainment, gold panning, and a midway liven up the whole city. A highlight of a visit to K Days is definitely the food. Tickle your tastebuds on everything from bison burgers right through to foot-long hot dogs and, of course, cotton candy.

Visitors who plan to be in Edmonton during the festival should be sure to book accommodation well in advance.

Edmonton Valley Zoo

Opened in 1959, the Edmonton Valley Zoo has traditionally focused on research into threatened animal species. However, its family-oriented grounds are also home to more than 350 animals representing over 100 species, both exotic and from the province of Alberta.

The animals and their caregivers are regularly out and about meeting and engaging with guests. Popular species to visit include red pandas, lemurs, snow leopards, and arctic wolves, each located in specially themed areas to represent their natural habitat. Children's rides at the zoo include paddle boats, a miniature train, and a carousel.

Address: 13315 Buena Vista Road, Edmonton, Alberta

Alberta Aviation Museum

The Alberta Aviation Museum is a must-see for all aviation buffs. Located near the Edmonton city center airport, the museum is easy to find with its two fighter jets mounted in interesting positions, one nearly vertical. Along with its 40 aircraft on display, the museum is home to a rare form of aircraft hangar constructed as part of Canada's pilot training program in WWII.

Informative guided tours are available and last around 90 minutes. They include a look at the fascinating restoration facility where many of these vintage airplanes were rebuilt.

Address: 11410 Kingsway Ave NW, Edmonton, Alberta

TELUS World of Science

Situated in a modern white building, the TELUS World of Science (TWOS) in Edmonton is a fun, all-ages, educational science center experience perfect for those traveling with kids. The attraction's many interactive and hands-on science and technology exhibits cover topics like space, robots, forensics, and the environment.

Adjoining is an excellent planetarium called the Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre , and the IMAX theater shows fascinating films from all over the world.

One of the best free things to do in Edmonton is to visit the on-site observatory, which offers a variety of interesting star-gazing opportunities. A gift shop and café are also available.

Address: 11211 142 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta

University of Alberta Botanic Garden

Another Edmonton attraction for those who enjoy flowers and gardening is the University of Alberta Botanic Garden . Founded in 1959 and the largest such garden in the province, this 240-acre site includes 160 acres that have been set aside in their natural state.

Of the remaining 80 acres, notable features include a Japanese Garden, a large tropical greenhouse with butterflies, plus numerous displays of many other plant species, both indoors and out. Of special interest is the Indigenous Garden, consisting of plants that have been used by Canada's indigenous peoples for centuries.

A must-see is the Aga Khan Garden , a nearly 12-acre site, inspired by Islamic architecture and landscapes, with a northern twist. It's a delightful garden to explore, and notable features include a number of pleasant forest paths, peaceful terraces, ponds, and pools, plus a waterfall.

Free guided walking tours of the botanic gardens are available and come highly recommended. Of special interest to those who also love classical music is the annual Opera al Fresco event performed here by the Edmonton Opera Company each June.

Address: 51227 AB-60, Spruce Grove, Alberta

Alberta Railway Museum

Located in the northern suburbs of the city and well worth the effort to visit, the Alberta Railway Museum (ARM) features a selection of still-operating and static locomotives and rolling stock. Established in 1976 to preserve the province's rich railway heritage, the museum features more than 75 engines and railcars, a number of original railway buildings, as well as many related artifacts.

A highlight is having the chance to ride on one of the trains during the summer months (check their website for schedules). Self-guided tour maps are available when picking up your tickets.

Address: 24215 34 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta

We recommend these great hotels in the vibrant downtown area of the city, along with a selection located in West Edmonton near the famous mall.

Luxury Hotels :

  • The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald leads the way in luxury accommodations in Edmonton and boasts a beautiful riverside location in a landmark building dating from 1915, along with elegant décor, a heated indoor pool, and a well-equipped fitness center.
  • Also popular in the luxury hotel category is the Union Bank Inn , located in the downtown core in an old bank and boasting chic rooms with vintage décor and fireplaces, a great breakfast, and an exercise room.
  • Although on the somewhat gaudy (but fun) side of the luxury scale, the Fantasyland Hotel, West Edmonton Mall is a great choice for those wanting to be close to the world's largest shopping center, and comes with quirky rooms, plus a restaurant, and free parking.

Mid-Range Hotels :

  • A favorite in the mid-range hotel category, the Matrix Hotel boasts a great downtown location with free breakfast and parking; great restaurants nearby; and light-filled, contemporary-styled rooms.
  • Staybridge Suites West Edmonton is another great choice, an affordable three-star hotel featuring spacious suites with kitchens, a social evening reception, a complimentary buffet breakfast, and a lovely indoor pool.
  • Also, check out the hotel deals at the Metterra Hotel on Whyte , located close to the botanic gardens and featuring bright, attractive rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, a breakfast buffet, and the use of bikes to get around the city.

Budget Hotels :

  • The Hilton Garden Inn West Edmonton offers budget-friendly rates, helpful front desk staff, a hot tub and heated saltwater pool, comfortable beds... and free cookies!
  • Other great affordable accommodation options include the Crash Hotel , a fun location with bunk beds and shared bathrooms, just steps from the river and the downtown core.

This is an easy question to answer: any season except winter. Edmonton is the coldest major city in North America. Spring, summer, and fall are all great times to visit with moderate temperatures. This is also the time that the city comes alive with festivals, concerts, and celebrations that the citizens, who have to endure long winters, embrace with passion and gusto.

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Awesome Alberta : The Canadian province of Alberta offers no end of fun things to do and top-rated tourist attractions. Topping our list would be a visit to beautiful Banff, which would include not just the lovely town itself, but the UNESCO-protected Banff National Park . The city of Calgary is another must-visit here, especially if you're able to coincide your trip with the famous Calgary Stampede.

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Beautiful BC : Beautiful British Columbia (BC for short) on Canada's west coast is a province with plenty of fun things to see and do. On the mainland, be sure to explore the city of Vancouver . On Vancouver Island , just a ferry ride away, explore the capital of Victoria , remote towns like Tofino , or enjoy some of the wild scenery on Vancouver Island's best hiking trails .

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Canada Vacation Ideas : The largest of Canada's world-class cities, Toronto offers no end of fun things to do, from climbing the tall CN Tower to experience its amazing shopping and dining opportunities. It's also a great base from which to explore places like Niagara Falls , a fun family destination for its huge falls and arcades; and the nation's capital of Ottawa , famous for the amazing Rideau Canal . For a more complete guide, see our Canada Itineraries guide.

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Road Trip Alberta

30+ BEST Things to Do in Edmonton, Alberta (for 2024)

Disclaimer: this page may contain affiliate links. please review our full terms and conditions for more information and our privacy policy. note that any pricing, operating hours, or other such information provided below may have changed since initial publication..

Compiled by the Road Trip Alberta team

Last Updated on January 8, 2024

Edmonton, Alberta’s capital city, is the farthest north of all of Canada’s capitals, but don’t expect it to be cold, dark, and inhospitable. It is exactly the opposite of all those things – except for maybe the cold, YES, winter temps can dip quite low – but it also exudes a level of “coolness” (pardon the pun), friendly warmth, and charm. The city has fully embraced its northerly location, and now there are many wonderful and exciting things to do in Edmonton year-round.

Edmonton river valley in the fall.

Acknowledgments

The land on which Edmonton is located is Treaty 6 territory and a traditional meeting ground and home for many Indigenous Peoples, including Cree, Saulteaux, Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Métis, and Nakota Sioux Peoples.

About the City

Edmonton is Canada’s “Gateway to the North”, and the country’s fifth-largest city, with a population of nearly one million people.

The city of Edmonton started out as Fort Edmonton in 1821. The name came from the town of Edmonton, England (which is now a part of London). People were slow to settle the area, largely because the Canadian Pacific Railway line only went up as far as Strathcona. It only received its own connection in 1905 after becoming the Capital City and being incorporated as a city in 1904.

An aerial view of the Edmonton river valley

Where is Edmonton located?

Edmonton is 610 metres above sea level and is situated almost smack dab in the middle of Alberta (although the area is often called “northern Alberta”). To be exact, it’s at 53.55 latitude and -113.47 longitude. It is 300km north of Alberta’s 2nd biggest city – Calgary.

  • Edmonton’s River Valley is 22 times the size of Central Park. The urban green space is filled with many pathways for the public to enjoy.
  • One of Canada’s sunniest cities, Edmonton sometimes getting up to 17 hours of daylight.
  • Being farther north, Edmonton is a hot-spot for the Aurora Borealis in wintertime.

Best Time to Visit Edmonton

Though Edmonton is great to visit any time of the year, visiting from June through August will ensure a lot of available activities and a beautiful river valley bursting with green. You’ll get to enjoy summer in the prairies – mild weather and no* snow! This is also peak time for the festival season, so there are plenty of activities to take part in. Longer days in the summer (up to 17 hours!) are also something to take advantage of.

*Once in a blue moon, it will snow in summer, but that’s Alberta for you .

A view of the Edmonton river valley

If you are not scared by winter, then Edmonton should also be on your must-visit list. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to marvel at aurora borealis (the best time to see northern lights in Alberta is winter). Consider also planning your visit around the Ice on Whyte Festival , which features an ice carving competition and even an ice slide! (Try not to worry too much about the weather! If you get cold, book an experience at one of the excellent Edmonton spas to warm yourself from the inside out.)

Getting Here

How far is Edmonton from Calgary? From one city centre to the other city centre, it is approximately 300 km. It takes just under three hours to drive via Highway AB-2 (or as locals know it, the QE2). Want a more scenic route? We have a guide outlining two alternatives to get from Edmonton to Calgary , plus it gives plenty of ideas for great places to stop along the way.

How far is Edmonton from Saskatoon? 522 km sit between Saskatoon and Edmonton , and it takes roughly 5 1/2 hours to make the drive.

How far is Edmonton from Vancouver? A whopping 1,159 km via the most direct route between Vancouver and Edmonton . If you want to make this drive (which takes over 12 hours), consider splitting it up with stops in Kamloops, BC, and/or Jasper, AB.

The Walterdale Bridge at night in Edmonton, Alberta

The Via Rail Canadian train connects to Edmonton! Experience travelling by train and you’ll have time to appreciate all the beautiful sights out the windows. Connected destinations include Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Vancouver.

Several bus companies also service Edmonton (easy comparisons can be made on Busbud , but a couple of the options are outlined below):

  • We’ve personally taken Red Arrow several times and always had a seamless and on-time journey. There are three drop-off points (south, downtown Edmonton, and the International Airport), and the current cost, if originating in Calgary, is nearly $80.
  • Ebus is Red Arrow’s less-luxurious sister company, with similar pick-up/drop-off points but at a lower rate. If originating in Calgary, the cost is approximately $51.

Skyscrapers in Edmonton, Alberta

With non-stop service to 50 destinations around the world, the Edmonton International Airport (YEG) is a popular spot for people travelling to the city. Travelling from the airport to the rest of the city is easy through a number of options:

  • There are multiple options for renting a car at the airport. Book in advance to avoid any hassle! We recommend booking via  RentalCars.com , to select the cheapest rate or to book with whichever company you prefer.
  • A taxi from the airport to downtown will take approximately 40 minutes, and all taxis charge a flat rate of $62 or splurge and take a limo for $71. You can phone the Edmonton International Airport Ground Transportation Office at 1-800-268-7134 or 780-890-8553 for assistance booking a taxi.
  • Uber is in Edmonton and does pick-ups and drop-offs at YEG.
  • The Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) operates a bus ( route 747 ), that travels from the airport to the southern transit station of Century Park (from there you can get on the light-rail-transit, or take a bus or taxi to get to your final destination). The one-way fare is $5. The ETS has this handy trip planner to help you figure out the system from there.
  • At the time of writing this, the Edmonton Skyshuttle service from the airport is reported as being currently suspended.

Edmonton International Airport YEG

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Getting Around Edmonton

  • Taxis – There are multiple taxi services available to get around! Download the Greater Edmonton Yellow Cab app for easy access to eight taxi fleets. The app is available on the App Store and Google Play (or just the good ol’ telephone)!
  • Uber – Edmonton Uber gives you a large area of travel with nearby communities of Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, Leduc and Sherwood Park making the map.
  • Transit – A cheaper option for travelling around Edmonton is its transit system. An adult day pass is only $10.25! The Edmonton LRT map and bus route maps can all be found on their website. There is also a handy trip planner to help you figure out how to get from point A to point B.
  • Cycling – Looking for a more active way to travel? Rent a bicycle at United Sport & Cycle – they’re just a few blocks south of the River Valley. Travel around on either a mountain, road, electric or casual bike. (Here’s a map of all of Edmonton’s bike trails.)

An aerial view of the Edmonton River Valley

The Best Things to Do in Edmonton

There are so many things to do in Edmonton. From beautiful parks to explore, a vibrant food and beverage scene and more festivals than any other destination in Alberta, Edmonton has a plethora of things to do in any season.

West Edmonton Mall

Most likely, Edmonton’s number one tourist attraction, West Edmonton Mall, is on your to-do list. It’s a destination in and of itself! What was once the largest mall in the world is now the largest mall in North America, with over 800 stores and services. Also inside, the mall hosts theme parks, a giant amusement park (Galaxyland), the massive World Waterpark, two miniature golf courses, an indoor race track, multiple movie theatre complexes, and even a large indoor skating rink, so you don’t have to spend all your time shopping.

Conveniently, there is also an on-site hotel at West Edmonton Mall that has one-of-a-kind themed rooms, including Pirate, Space, Polynesian, and more. 

A view inside West Edmonton Mall

Fort Edmonton Park

Experience a true immersion into the history of Canada in one of the best Edmonton museums ! Complete with costumed historical interpreters, Fort Edmonton Park is the largest living history museum in Canada by area at 64 hectares (158 acres).

Dancers at Fort Edmonton Park

The Park includes a reconstructed Hudson’s Bay Fort from 1846, as well as historically accurate reconstructed streets from the years 1885, 1905, and 1920, each depicting the evolution of Edmonton’s early history.

Muttart Conservatory

The iconic glass pyramids of the Muttart Conservatory juxtapose the river valley that surrounds them. Inside each pyramid is a climate-regulated biome with three different zones – arid, temperate, and tropical – with a mission of education and conservation. The conservatory is home to more than 700 species of plants and has an on-site restaurant to make a nice afternoon out of a visit.

The pyramids at the Muttart Conservatory Edmonton

Stroll Along Whyte Ave

If you are in the mood to get a taste of Edmonton and really feel what the city is all about, a trip to Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona is a must. It is full of historic buildings but also is the trendiest part of town – with art galleries, music shops, and trendy restaurants and cafes (including some of the best Edmonton cafes and coffee shops). Also, take a stroll through the picturesque Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park, which, in true Edmonton fashion, is a place for festivals, public events, and informal gatherings at the notable gazebo.

A sign that says Old Strathcona Farmer's Market against a blue sky

Also, don’t miss the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market , which is just off of Whyte Avenue and is open every Saturday from 8 am – 3 pm year-round!

Take the High-Level Bridge Streetcar

Running on what used to be Canadian Pacific Railway’s mainline over the North Saskatchewan River (from Old Strathcona to downtown), the High-Level Bridge Streetcar is a fun way to experience this piece of history plus get gorgeous views of Edmonton’s river valley. Running at limited times and only from May through October, don’t miss a chance to enjoy (and support) this volunteer-run streetcar service.

An old streetcar at the Whyte Avenue stop in Edmonton

Alberta Legislature Building

Known to Edmontonians as “the Ledge,” the Alberta Legislature Building is definitely a sight to see during your stay in this capital city. Constructed in 1913, not only is the building architecturally interesting to look at, but political buffs would be interested to note that the building is the meeting point for the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and the Cabinet of Alberta.

The Alberta Legislature Building

Free tours of the building are available 362 days a year and cover topics related to the levels of government, Alberta’s political history, and the art and architecture of the building.

TELUS World of Science

Everyone loves to learn, right? Science nerds rejoice at the TELUS World of Science in west Edmonton. It’s their mission to: “Ignite curiosity. Inspire discovery. Celebrate science. Change lives.” Spending a day at the World of Science is easy for the family as there is always so much to do with the fun and interactive exhibits. And the best part is that the exhibits change so often, each time you visit it’s a new experience.

TELUS World of Science photos of birthday parties and families

Want more family-friendly fun? Read our recommendations for Edmonton bowling alleys and Edmonton escape rooms .

Winspear Centre

“My dream is to have a place where the people of our region can make the most beautiful music they are capable of – and share it with each other.” – Dr. Francis G. Winspear .

The Winspear Centre is home to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and attending a symphony here is a special experience. There are scheduled performances throughout the year and special holiday shows over Christmas.

Winspear Centre

Alberta Art Gallery

One of the most unique pieces of architecture in Edmonton is the Alberta Art Gallery . The building itself is a piece of artwork, and the artist, Randall Stout, wanted to juxtapose a 190-metre steel ribbon that took inspiration from the North Saskatchewan River and the Aurora Borealis. Inside, there are three floors of galleries, a gift shop, and a 150-seat theatre. Exhibitions rotate throughout the gallery, so check the website to see what’s currently on display.

The Art Gallery of Alberta in downtown Edmonton on a summer day

Royal Alberta Museum

One of the top Edmonton museums is the  Royal Alberta Museum  (RAM). It’s the largest museum in Western Canada and opened to the public in 1967. It showcases all that makes Alberta so incredible, with exhibits ranging from the province’s natural history, Indigenous culture, botany, archaeology, political history, geology, zoology, plus much more. It’s a fantastic place for individuals or families to indulge all their curiosity about the history of Edmonton and Alberta.

Visitors look at an exhibit at the Royal Alberta Museum

Edmonton Riverboat

Step onboard and cruise down the North Saskatchewan aboard the Edmonton Riverboat . There are options for weekend brunch, dinner on board, or just a beautiful sunset cruise. The new owners have invested in a million-dollar renovation on what was formally known as the Edmonton Queen (it’s now known as the Edmonton Riverboat). Tickets can be purchased online.

Edmonton Riverboat

Edmonton Riverhawks

Is there anything better than a beer in hand, a footlong hotdog and watching a baseball game on a hot summer night? It’s tough to beat, and that’s why going to an Edmonton Riverhawks baseball game is a fantastic idea. The stadium is nestled right in the Edmonton River Valley and on the footstep to downtown. Grab a ticket and cheer on the ‘Hawks – kaw kaw’ ! Tickets are available online and at the stadium on game day.

Edmonton Riverhawks

Edmonton Valley Zoo

Nestled in the river valley and open 364 days a year (only closed on Christmas Day) is the Edmonton Valley Zoo . Home to more than 350 animals, it’s a popular spot for families to spend a day. There are interactive exhibits, petting farms, performances, a gift shop and spots to grab a bite to eat. In the winter, it’s home to Zoominescence, a popular spectacular Christmas light display in Edmonton.

Edmonton Valley Zoo

We must mention, however, the controversy surrounding the Edmonton Valley Zoo, which has been named the Worst Zoo for Elephants because of its treatment of Lucy the Elephant. Among many issues recorded over the years, one of the most damaging is that Lucy has lived alone for over 15 years, which violates zoo standards because of the fact that elephants are highly social. For years, many activists such as Jane Goodall have called for the move of Lucy to a sanctuary. But now, because of Lucy’s advanced age and health problems, an independent review at Goodall’s request has determined that moving Lucy would be unethical .

Edmonton Festivals

The festival season never seems to end in Edmonton; there is a good reason why it is called ‘the Festival City’. From music, street performing, heritage and culture, and even ice sculptures, Edmonton hosts over 100 festivals annually across all genres. The renowned International Fringe Theatre Festival, Flying Canoe Volant, Cariwest, and the Folk Festival are just a few that give a taste of what Edmonton has to offer.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival

Since 1981, the second weekend in August has played host to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in beautiful downtown Gallagher Park. The four-day festival sees popular folk artists from around the world come to Alberta’s capital. It’s one of the world’s leading folk festivals.

Edmonton Folk Festival at Night

International Fringe Theatre Festival

For the last 40+ summers, the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival has entertained the city. It is the largest, longest-running Fringe Theatre Festival in North America and ranks among the top 5 Fringe Festivals in the world. For 11 days, it is also one of North America’s most influential art movements. Located in the heart of Old Strathcona, there are over 160+ shows in 25+ venues, including live and street performances, plus many more events throughout the 2 weeks. Tickets for shows can be purchased in advance.

Formerly known as Klondike Days, K-Days is a 10-day festival and midway that runs during mid-to-late July in Edmonton. There are thrilling rides, exciting games, free concerts, performances, and the zaniest festival food. It’s fun for all ages!

Klondike Days in Edmonton - photo via Northlands Events

Cariwest Festival

The 3-day Cariwest Festival in downtown Edmonton and Churchill Square is one of the most colourful and vibrant to experience in the summer! It was first introduced to Edmonton in 1984, and over the 3 days, there is Caribbean art, music, scrumptious food, costumes, and carnival culture. There’s a parade, a Costume Extravaganza, live entertainment, a marketplace, plus much more!

A Caribbean festival in Edmonton, Alberta

Flying Canoe Volant

This high-energy evening outdoor festival is a must-do if you appreciate local Canadian folklore and great storytelling. The Flying Canoë Volant festival is lit by colourful LED lighting, and festival-goers wander among tipis and enjoy live performances. There is live music and dancing, Indigenous art, hot drinks, and bannock roasting. There is lots of good cheer at the Flying Canoë Volant – and it will warm you to your very soul! Best of all, admission is FREE!

Flying Canoe Volant in Edmonton

Enjoy the Holidays in Edmonton

It’s magical to visit Alberta’s capital during the holiday season! From enjoying the holiday lights at the Legislature to taking in some of the awesome Christmas markets, there is always so much going on (see our post on  Christmas in Edmonton  for plenty of ideas). And if you plan to be in the city at the end of December, check all of the party hot spots inside our  New Year’s Eve in Edmonton article.

Christmas at Old Strathcona Farmers Market

Things to See in Edmonton

Edmonton really is a beautiful city. The city has a lot to offer, with the downtown core surrounded by the beautiful river valley. Plus there are so many parks, murals, and other viewpoints throughout.

Edmonton River Valley

Did you know that Edmonton has the largest urban park in all of Canada? With more than 160 km of maintained pathways and 20 major parks , the Edmonton River Valley provides endless outdoor opportunities for exploration and recharging in nature. Bonus: You don’t even have to leave the city to immerse yourself in nature! The north Saskatchewan River valley is a must-see on any visit to Edmonton, especially in the summer.

Edmonton River Valley

Neon Sign Museum

The Edmonton Neon Sign Museum is a blast from the past, shining in neon! The first of its kind in Canada, 20 functional historic signs tell the story of Edmonton’s neon past. You can find this installation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on the east wall of the TELUS building and the south wall of the Mercer Warehouse building on 104 Street and 104 Avenue. No admission is required.

places to visit near edmonton canada

Sir Winston Churchill Square

Sir Winston Churchill Square, next to city hall in downtown Edmonton, is the place to be in the summer months. There’s always something happening in the lively plaza in the heart of downtown. There are festivals, pavilions, public art, a pool and water features and plenty of seating areas. It’s a perfect spot to grab a bite to eat or an ice cream and watch the world go by.

Edmonton Churchill Square

100 Street Funicular

The 100 Street Funicular opened in 2017 and gives visitors viewpoints of Edmonton’s north Saskatchewan river valley. At the bottom, there is a viewing platform over the river and a panoramic view of downtown from below. Taking the funicular is a fun and scenic way to get from the river valley up McDougall Hill to reach downtown or vice versa. Feeling energetic? You can also take the stairs and race your friends up to burn off a few calories.

The view of downtown Edmonton from the 100 Street Funicular

Edmonton Murals and Street Art

Scattered throughout Edmonton, there are a bunch of amazing murals and sculptures. The murals are painted on buildings, walls, sidewalks and more. Every year, more and more appear, with businesses getting into the spirit by decorating their own premises. Here is a detailed list of Instagrammable Walls of Edmonton curated by resident Linda Hoang.

Art Tunnel REVO Cycle

The Silver Balls

Better known as the Talus Dome, this pile of silver balls is both a sculpture that represents the landscape and also the reflection of that landscape. It’s made up of nearly 1,000 handcrafted stainless steel spheres forming an abstract talus shape, and it reflects the sky, weather, and passing cars. It’s a fun spot to capture a selfie.

Talus Dome Edmonton

Edmonton Parks and Outdoor Spaces

Finding a park in Edmonton for a picnic, a hike, a running or biking trail or ice-skating in the winter is simple. There are so many beautiful parks and green spaces to choose from. Some of our favourites include William Hawrelak Park, Gallagher Park (home of the Folk Festival), Mill Creek Ravine in the south, Terwillegar Park (be sure to check out the view from Wolf Willow Stairs) and Borden Park. For more park suggestions, visit the City of Edmonton website .

Aerial View of William Hawrelak Park

Things to Do Near Edmonton

Venturing just outside the city limits, there are a number of fun and unique places to visit near Edmonton. For more ideas, check out our 11 day trips from Edmonton post for some family-friendly travel suggestions.

University of Alberta Botanic Garden

Over 240 acres of gardens, plants, flower collections and stunning natural spaces have long impressed visitors at the University of Alberta Edmonton Botanical Gardens . Visitors can (and are encouraged to) spend hours wandering through the variety of gardens and sprawling landscapes, including a Japanese garden for that moment of zen. Take in the sights of all of the trees, plants, flowers, shrubs, plus much more. You may even see a wedding because it’s a very popular spot for one.

U of A Botanical Gardens

Edmonton Corn Maze

One of the most popular attractions west of Edmonton is the Edmonton Corn Maze . It’s a giant 15-acre corn field which each year is uniquely themed into a maze. It opens in August (the corn has to grow all summer) and runs until October. There are plenty of other fun activities and games for the kids, a marketplace, and the best part – a petting zoo with goats.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

Can’t get enough of local history? The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is located 25 minutes east of Edmonton , and this open-air museum houses refurbished buildings from east-central Alberta that tell the tale of the early and abundant Ukrainian settlement in Alberta from 1892-1930.

Ukrainien Village Dancers

These early settlers made a significant impact on Alberta’s identity, and the museum showcases the stories of survival and perseverance through more than 35 restored historic buildings and costumed interpreters. The 25-minute drive is also well worth it for the mouth-watering Ukrainian food available at the concession!

Elk Island National Park

Another wee jaunt from the city, Elk Island National Park , is also well worth the trip. It is one of the best spots for stargazing and northern lights viewing, and the park is also an important refuge for bison, elk, and more than 250 species of birds.

Bison in Elk Island National Park, Alberta

The national park is open year-round, but a summer visit also includes some incredible camping options (including “comfort” camping)! Note the fees that come with visiting National Parks in Canada.

Elk Island National Park Fees

Effective January 1, 2024 Elk Island National Park daily pass fees are:

  • Adult: $8.50
  • Senior: $7.25
  • Youth (up to 17 yo): FREE
  • Family/group (up to 7 people): $16.75
  • Commercial group (per person): $7.25

Annual Elk Island National Park pass fees:

  • Adult: $41.75
  • Senior: $36.75
  • Family/group: $83.75

The daily passes expire at 4 pm the following day. If you’re looking to enter multiple times or staying longer, consider the Parks Canada Discovery Pass . It gives you unlimited admission for a year to all the national parks in Canada.

Discovery Pass fees are as follows:

  • Adult: $72.25
  • Senior: $61.75
  • Family/group: $145.25

Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve

As mentioned above, areas just outside of Edmonton are incredible for stargazing and northern lights viewing. Encompassing Elk Island National Park and the neighbouring Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve is home to the annual Star Party every September, or you can independently go to witness the beauty of the night sky on your own. Our tips? Choose a clear, cold night, and if you’re aiming to spot the Northern Lights, the winter months are your best bet.

Where to Eat in Edmonton

Tasting Edmonton is also exactly what you should do. The culinary scene has really been heating up, rivalling Alberta’s other major delectable metropolis of Calgary. Be sure to line up some of these top Edmonton restaurants to complement your full day of exploring (or dive into a fabulous meal for breakfast or brunch in Edmonton to start your day off right)! Oh, and save room for the craft beer scene, too – don’t miss enjoying any of these excellent Edmonton breweries .

We cannot recommend Rge Rd enough. It tops our list of best Edmonton restaurants with its exciting menu of local fare that changes with the seasons. Meat-eaters will especially rejoice here (you can’t go wrong with any protein on the menu – but especially try the bison with spaetzle), and more adventurous dinners can order the “questionable bits” which exemplify the restaurant’s commitment to using all parts of the ingredients they source.

A chef prepares dishes in Edmonton, Alberta

Vaticano Cucina

Ranked as one of the best restaurants in Edmonton, Vaticano Cucina is the place to go for authentic rustic Italian food. With a warm ambiance and creative decor, Vaticano Cucina is a welcoming place to warm your belly with fresh pasta and hot pizza that is made fresh with the highest quality ingredients for a reasonable price.

Frida Urban Taqueria

Frida Urban Taqueria , just outside the downtown core, is fairly new to Edmonton. The restaurant is all about authentic Mexican street food and family. The result? They take tacos to the next level. Every tortilla is made by hand in their kitchen and the tacos, in our opinion, are as close to eating a taco at a taco stand in Querétaro, Mexico as you can get.

Frida Urban Taqueria

Hathaway’s Diner

Offering one of the best breakfasts in Edmonton, Hathaway’s Diner is a secret local spot! There’s a good reason why it is such a popular restaurant in Edmonton. Despite the lack of curb appeal, Hathaway rocks the old-school-cool-diner atmosphere while serving up quality food at reasonable prices. Don’t forget to finish your meal with some pie…it is to die for!

Duchess Bake Shop

Looking for something sweet? The Parisian-inspired Duchess Bake Shop offers the perfect blend of classic French pastries with Alberta favourites that are made from scratch daily. The quality is especially notable as only the finest ingredients are used to create their fresh goodies, including imported chocolate from France. It’s no wonder they are regularly mentioned as one of the best cafes in Edmonton.

Inside the Duchess Bake Shop

Where to Stay in Edmonton

Being Alberta’s capital city, there is no shortage of great Edmonton hotels to rest at during your travels. Not all are created equal, though, and the quality you get is really dependent on your budget.

Fairmont Hotel MacDonald (Luxury)

In terms of luxury accommodations in Edmonton, nothing beats the iconic Fairmont Hotel MacDonald . You can’t miss this hotel as it offers spectacular views of the north Saskatchewan river valley and features a restaurant and spa. Close to many Edmonton attractions and located right in the heart of downtown, this hotel is worth the splurge, even if it’s just for one night!

View from the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald Edmonton

Mettera Hotel on Whyte (Mid-range)

The Mettera Hotel on Whyte is close to the shopping and vibrant amenities Whyte Ave is known for. Fitting in with the funky vibe of Old Strathcona, Mettera Hotel on Whyte offers rooms decorated in fire, earth, air, or water themes. Additionally, this boutique hotel features a cozy library with a fireplace!

Travelodge by Wyndham Edmonton South (Budget)

Close to Whyte Ave and West Edmonton Mall, Travelodge by Wyndham Edmonton South gives you access to Edmonton sightseeing without breaking the bank. Great for kids, it also has a hot tub and pool and also includes a complimentary continental breakfast.

Edmonton Airbnbs

Being such a large city, there are plenty of options for Edmonton Airbnbs . We recommend staying at the cozy carriage house in Strathcona, perfect for 2 people and close to Whyte Avenue.

Quick Day Trips From Edmonton

Sylvan lake.

You don’t need to go all the way to British Columbia to enjoy time at a quality lake! Sylvan Lake is one of the most popular lakes in Alberta and is less than a two-hour drive away. The 2.5 km white sand beach is perfect for relaxing. Grab some ice cream at the ‘ Big Moo ’ on Lakeshore Drive to help you cool off on those hot summer days. During the summer, catch the weekly movie at the beach. The food trucks are always out during movie nights so you can grab some great local food too! There are great campgrounds in Sylvan Lake , hotels, and cute cabins to stay in to extend your visit.

People playing frisbee at Sylvan Lake

Alberta Beach

On the southeast shore of Lac St. Anne sits Alberta Beach, just an hour north of Edmonton. The beach is in the center of town, with a grocery store and ice cream store within walking distance. This cute cottage-filled village is a popular spot for boating, swimming, and fishing. There is a campground in the middle of town too, open from May 1 to Sept. 30. Check out local goods at the weekly farmer’s market every Sunday from spring until fall.

The town of Jasper is a four-hour drive from Edmonton and one of our favourite towns in Alberta. It’s the anchor to Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies and is the laid-back counterpart to the more popular Banff. For more information, check out our post on travelling from Edmonton to Jasper , as well as our guide on what to do in Jasper .

Visiting other spots in Alberta? Check out our extensive guides for all the things to do while visiting Calgary , Banff , or Drumheller !

ALSO, don’t forget that while you’re on the road, you can download our FREE Road Trip Alberta bingo cards , to make it just that much more fun. One of those cards is for Alberta roadside attractions , of which there is a big one in Edmonton!

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The Top Attractions in Edmonton

Your Edmonton vacation (or staycation) bucket list starts here! We've gathered a list of Edmonton's best tourist attractions and local gems, perfect for making memories to last a lifetime. You'll find everything from kid-friendly outings to free outdoor experiences, immersive museums to inspiring galleries, and more. Blaze your own trail through the North Saskatchewan River Valley, take a deep dive into Alberta's history at the Royal Alberta Museum, then give your wallet a run for its money at West Edmonton Mall. Step back in time at Fort Edmonton Park, hang with the free-roaming bison at Elk Island National Park, and finish the day cheering on the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. It's all in a day's work, folks! These top attractions and experiences are ready to welcome you with open arms. Remember, this list is just the tip of the attractions iceberg. For even more to see & do, check out our Attractions & Experiences Listing. We've got fun tours, live theatre & concert venues, culinary programming, outdoor adventures, indoor family fun, and the list goes on!

North Saskatchewan River Valley

The North Saskatchewan River Valley comes in at 22 times the size of New York City’s Central Park – that's a whole lot of green space to explore! This natural attraction is the perfect place to spend the day, no matter the season. Here you can picnic, snowshoe, bike, run, kayak, skate, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, cross-country ski, or Segway. And that's just the beginning! Pro-tip: take your river valley adventures up a notch when you explore the Commonwealth Walkway with the help of an interactive app and step into Edmonton's rich history!

West Edmonton Mall

Welcome to North America's Mt. Everest of shopping and entertainment! Pack those comfy shoes and dive into 48 city blocks of shops, restaurants, roller coasters, and more at West Edmonton Mall . New additions include Drive – an exciting multi-level go-karting experience. Galaxyland has also transformed three-and-a-half acres of its amusement park into Hasbro-themed attractions. And there is SO MUCH MORE! You could spend a whole week at the mall and never run out of things to do.

The Royal Alberta Museum

Feed your curiosity at the Royal Alberta Museum ! Located in the Arts District downtown, RAM’s expansive galleries will immerse you in stories of Alberta's people and natural environment. Kids will beg to spend hours exploring the wonders of the Children's Gallery. The Human History Hall is a beautiful representation of both historical and contemporary Indigenous stories in Alberta. The museum also holds the Manitou Asinîy, a sacred meteorite believed to hold great power and significance to many Indigenous communities. With hundreds of stories, thousands of objects, and a million opportunities for discovery, a day at RAM will fly by faster than you can say Woolly Mammoth!

Elk Island National Park

Thirty-five minutes east of Edmonton lies a wild oasis. Elk Island National Park is the perfect place to day-hike, canoe, snowshoe, skate, and more. This is also a designated dark sky preserve – meaning it's an incredible place to spot the Northern Lights. Get your cameras ready! Canada’s largest fully enclosed park is a refuge for moose, elk, lynx, black bears, gray wolves, 250 species of birds, and of course, herds of plains bison.

Camping at Elk Island is a perfect summer activity – if you want to avoid the hassle of buying and setting up your own gear, Elk Island National Park offers you the luxury of calling one of their Tipis, Cabins, or oTENTiks home.

Alberta Legislature

Set atop the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, the Alberta Legislature is a marvel of marble pillars and carved oak. Discover the Legislature on a free guided tour, offered hourly – don’t forget to listen for the phenomenon known as the “magic spot”! Just north of the Legislature Building, you'll find the Visitor Centre on the main floor of the Federal Building. Open year-round to the public, it features the Pehonan Theatre, the Agora Interpretive Centre, and the Borealis Gallery. Plus, strolling around the grounds is just as magical in the winter as it is in the summer. Get a taste of history, right in the heart of the city!

The Art Gallery of Alberta

A striking architectural landmark, downtown’s Art Gallery of Alberta is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon expanding your mind. The over 6,000 paintings, sculptures, and installations on display include historical and contemporary works. The AGA has six gallery spaces, a rotating installation in the main hall, and more. There are 3 gallery spaces on level one (including a dedicated kids gallery), 2 gallery spaces on level two, and the largest exhibit space on the third floor. Click here to learn more about the exhibits currently on display! Has appreciating all that art made you work up an appetite? We HIGHLY recommend making a reservation at May , the incredible restaurant inside the gallery. You'll find an elevated dining experience that is truly one of the best in the city.

Rogers Place and the Edmonton Oilers

Rogers Place is sure to make your jaw drop. Home to young phenom, Connor McDavid, and the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, the arena features state-of-the-art technology including one of the largest high definition screens in the National Hockey League. Rogers Place also regularly welcomes some of the world’s biggest music acts all year long. Located in the heart of the city's Ice District , you'll find shopping, entertainment, world-class accommodations, and countless unique restaurants nearby.

University of Alberta Botanic Garden

The next attraction on our list is the perfect place for the ultimate picnic. Be amazed by the wealth and diversity of nature at the stunning University of Alberta Botanic Gardens – a must-visit for lovers of flora, fauna, and beautiful things. Don’t miss the Aga Khan Garden – 4.8 hectares of modern architectural beauty. It is also home to Luminaria, one of Edmonton's most anticipated yearly festivals. We promise you, it is nothing short of magical!

Fort Edmonton Park

History comes to life at Fort Edmonton Park ! Here, you'll have the opportunity to learn about four time periods: 1846, 1885, 1905, and 1920. The brand new Indigenous Peoples Experience is an awe-inspiring addition to the park's exciting offerings. Gather and explore life through the diversity of First Nations' and Métis Peoples' histories and perspectives. The stories, music, artwork, and text in the experience come from local Indigenous perspectives and voices, gathered through engagement with local Indigenous communities and research. The park is also home to DARK, one of the spookiest and most legendary Halloween events in the city. This attraction is open from spring to fall with special event days throughout the winter months.

Metis Crossing

Take a day-trip to Métis Crossing and discover how the Métis lived as trappers, learn about historical families and their homes, understand how plants are used as medicine, and much more. Métis Crossing is the first major Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta, sitting on 512 acres of land designed to engage visitors in immersive experiences. This incredible facility is located about an hour and a half outside of Edmonton, in Smoky Lake, Alberta. Discover new experiences as they open including a boutique lodge, the 'Visions, Hopes and Dreams Wildlife Park', cross country ski trails, and the 'Whispers from the Stars Stargazing Experience'.

Telus World of Science

Telus World of Science - Edmonton has recently undergone a massive renovation, meaning there's even more excitement around every corner! Visitors can explore the new Health Zone in the Allard Family Gallery – get ready to be placed at the centre of your own health story through hands-on experiences and experiments. Step inside a giant laboratory and come face-to-face with small sea creatures, learn to program a robot, and explore the limits of outer space. With astonishing permanent exhibit galleries to explore (as well as featured exhibits on rotation), there is something for the whole family to discover!

Muttart Conservatory

Obsessed with plants? We are too. Spend an afternoon at the Muttart Conservatory , and you'll be inspired to take your green thumb to the next level. Bathe yourself in the lush Tropical pyramid, alive with delicate orchids, a weeping fig, towering banana trees, and huge palms. The Arid pyramid bites back, with its spiky cactus and exotic desert species. Australian pampas grass and Eucalyptus trees are two colourful species you’ll find in the Temperate zone. Inventive Muttart staff create seasonal explosions of texture and life in the Feature Garden. Don't leave before paying a visit to the resident superstar, a giant Amorphophallus titanium, nature’s tallest flowering plant, also known as the corpse flower!

Edmonton Valley Zoo

Nestled in Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park, the Edmonton Valley Zoo is home to more than 350 adorable animals that are very excited to make your acquaintance. Bring along the kids for a chance to see the endangered peregrine falcon, native prairie dogs, zebra, fox, bighorn sheep, and more. Bird lovers can meet the snowy owl, bald eagle, and great-horned owl. The Polar Extremes exhibit gives visitors an up-close view of seals, sea lions, and arctic foxes. The zoo is also home to Zoominescence , one of the city's favourite events of the holiday season. You'll find a spectacular exhibition of artistic light installations, skating, hot chocolate and fun for the whole family!

Commonwealth Stadium

We love sports, and we don't care who knows! Commonwealth Stadium is home to the Edmonton Elks football team, with seating capacity for 56,400 fans. The Elks live for rivalries, so be sure to get tickets for the Battle of Alberta where they take-on the Calgary Stampeders. Look for painted faces in stands, and a historic battle on the field. This 42-acre complex has also hosted many unforgettable events such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 106th Grey Cup. The stadium routinely welcomes some of the most legendary names in music too, so keep your eyes peeled for concert announcements!

The Citadel Theatre

All the world's a stage! A hive of live theatre, the Citadel Theatre is Edmonton’s multi-stage entertainment hub where the city’s finest actors and comedians strut their stuff. When the lights dim and the heavy red curtains swing open, you can expect an evening immersed in laughter, excitement, raw emotion, and pure entertainment. A five-theatre multi-purpose complex in the Downtown Arts District, the Citadel is Canada’s biggest regional performing arts centre.

The Francis Winspear Centre

From Bach to Wagner, Baroque to folk, and Broadway to cabaret the Francis Winspear Centre for Music showcases diverse international performances. Set on Downtown’s Sir Winston Churchill Square, it is ground zero for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Another special musical resident is the grand, three-storey tall Québec-created Davis Concert Organ with 6,551 formidable pipes that resonate through a listener’s soul.

Every Season is Festival Season

In Edmonton, every season is festival season. Shakespeare under an open sky? You got it. A winter festival with sculptures made of ice and…fire? Done and done. If you’re in Edmonton, there’s a festival going on. Over 50 festivals annually means there’s no shortage of excitement to fill your stay - whether it’s 30 degrees above or below. Mark your calendars and check out our Festival City page for a list of some of Edmonton's best yearly celebrations.

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13 Things to Do in Edmonton

Last updated: November 28, 2021 . Written by Laurence Norah - 8 Comments

Somehow, in all my wanders, I’d not made it to Canada. This was a particularly nagging omission in my mind, largely because I’m a passionate landscape photographer, and, well, Canada has some pretty epic landscapes.

Thankfully, the nice folks at Explore Edmonton & Tourism Jasper thought to invite Jess and I over to have a little explore. We spent eight days in Canada in total, partly in the city of Edmonton, and then in Jasper National Park for the Dark Sky Festival. The Dark Sky Festival I’ll be covering in an upcoming post.

In this post, I’m going to share our Edmonton experiences, in the form of a series of suggestions to inform your visit, starting with the answer to a question you might have.

Where’s Edmonton?

Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, one of Canada’s provinces. Alberta is the second province along from the west, bordering British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east. South, you’ll find the US states of Washington and Montana.

Edmonton is relatively central in Alberta, with Jasper / Banff national parks around a four hour drive away. Alberta’s other major city, Calgary, is about three hours drive directly south.

High Level Bridge Edmonton by Laurence Norah-2

So that’s the geography sorted. Edmonton itself is a city sitting on a beautiful river valley, with the city on both sides of the river. With a population of over 800,000 it’s a fairly sizeable city, meaning there’s a lot to do, whatever time of the year you visit. So, without further ado, let’s look at:

What To Do In Edmonton

See an oilers game.

This is the first thing I’ve got on the list because this was literally the first thing we did in Edmonton after landing and checking in to our hotel. We walked to Rogers Place , and watched the Oilers defeat the Carolina Hurricanes.

Rogers Place Edmonton by Laurence Norah-2

If none of that means anything to you, don’t worry, I’m not exactly a huge sports follower. The Oilers are the Edmonton Ice Hockey team (I learnt to just call it Hockey in Canada or people looked at me oddly), and they have just had a brand new stadium built in the middle of downtown, called Rogers Place. This is part of a larger development project in downtown Edmonton, which is going to be bringing also sorts of new properties to the city, from hotels to shops. Definitely a case of watch this space.

Rogers Place is a very awesome place to watch sports (as well as music events and so on), and they have an absolutely gigantic TV screen. Hockey is a fast, fun and physical game to watch, and it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement when watching the home team winning. I’d definitely suggest learning a few of the rules before you go if you’re not familiar with it, but otherwise, grab yourself a couple of beers, some food, and enjoy!

Take in the Art and Cakes on 124th Street

Edmonton has a thriving art scene. It also has a wonderful culinary scene. If you want to combine the two, with a particular focus on baked good, head to 124th street. Here you’ll find two things – a series of excellent art galleries, and the Duchess Bake Shop.

places to visit near edmonton canada

We started our wander with some strength building pastries at the Duchess Bake Shop, who have an extensive selection of baked goods, as well as macaroons, tea and coffee.

Duchess Bakery Edmonton by Laurence Norah-2

Then, we visited a series of art galleries, including the must-visit Bear Claw Gallery and the Peter Robertson Gallery .

The former hosts a wide range of First Nations art, including Native and Inuit art pieces. I particularly loved the giant carved whalebone piece.

Art Gallery Edmonton by Laurence Norah

The Peter Robertson Gallery hosts a number of different artists. When we were there they had an incredible installation by leading Canadian artist Steve Driscoll . This involved actually flooding the gallery to create gorgeous reflections of the art pieces. To get up close and personal, we were issued with rubber boots. We really enjoyed this exhibition, although the owner of the gallery did say it was quite a lot of work to install!

Jess Steve Driscoll Painting Peter Robertson Gallery by Laurence Norah-5

There are plenty of other galleries and shops to explore along 124th Street.

Go on a Segway Tour

Time for something a little active. But only a little. A Segway tour through the beautiful river valley area of Edmonton with River Valley Adventure Co !

Edmonton Segway tours by Laurence Norah-6

If you’ve never tried a Segway before, it’s a lot of fun, and easy to pick up. Plus, the River Valley folks are very safety conscious, and do a full training session before you head into the real world, to be sure you’re fully equipped for action.

Situated in the largest urban park in Canada, there’s no shortage of trails for you to explore by Segway, and our trip took us along the beautiful Saskatchewan River, with gorgeous views of the city skyline. The tour lasted just over an hour, although a good part of that was dedicated to the training.

Edmonton Segway tours by Laurence Norah-2

Jess and I had both ridden Segway’s before, so we got through the training quite quickly, but usually it’s around half an hour of training.

The good news is that once you’ve done the training, you get a “Segway driver’s license”, which means you can book additional tours with River Valley Adventure Co that don’t include the training portion, meaning more exploring time! We didn’t have time for one of those, but we did learn that River Valley also operate tours of Edmonton’s downtown area, which sounded like fun.

Peruse Old Strathcona

Remember when I said that Edmonton has a river running through it? Well, south of the river is the historic district of Old Strathcona. This was once a separate city to Edmonton, but the two merged in 1912. It’s now a designated Provincial Heritage Area, a status that reflects the many historic buildings that can be found here.

Old Strathcona Edmonton by Laurence Norah

The focus of Old Strathcona is 82nd Street, also known as Whyte Avenue, running from 99th to 109th streets, and a few blocks surrounding. Here, you’ll find buildings that are over a hundred years old, as well as plenty of quirky shops and excellent eateries. More on eating in Edmonton towards the end of the post.

Some of the shops that we most enjoyed visitng were the Wee Book Inn , a lovely used bookstore that had pretty much every genre of book you can imagine at very reasonable prices, BlackByrd Music, where we perused vinyl records even though we have no way to play them, David’s Tea , because, frankly, Jess is obsessed with tea, and the Old Strathcona Antiques Mall , which has pretty much everything you can imagine, from vintage star wars collectibles to gaming consoles, and everything in between.

This was just scratching the surface of what’s on offer – you could easily spend a day in Old Strathcona, eating, shopping and peering at the wall murals. More on those shortly. First though you’ll want to…

Take in the Mall

When you’re in Edmonton, it’s kind of inevitable that people will ask you if you’ve visited “the Mall”. And what they’ll be referring to is the West Edmonton Mall . This is the largest shopping mall in North America, and until 2004, held the title of the world’s largest mall. Somehow, since then, 9 bigger malls have been built around the world. Progress eh.

West Edmonton Mall by Laurence Norah

Anyway, a visit to the West Edmonton Mall is essentially a must for a trip to Edmonton, even if, like me, you’re not a huge fan of shopping. That’s because there’s way more to do here than just shop (although if you want to shop, there are over 800 stores to choose from).

There’s Galaxyland, the world’s second largest indoor amusement park, which features 24 rides. We went on a number of these, including the Mindbender, which is the world’s largest indoor triple loop roller coaster, which was a heck of a ride. There are rides to suit all kinds, including of course, Jess’s favourite, the carousel.

West Edmonton Mall by Laurence Norah-12

Then there’s World Waterpark, the world’s second largest indoor waterpark. which features both the worlds largest indoor wave pool, and a 15 slides ranging from beginner to extreme. We tried a variety of these, and I can confirm that the extreme rides definitely are that! Definitely a fun way to spend an afternoon.

There’s also a sea life exhibit (with sea lions!), a replica of the Santa Maria, an ice rink and a UV dragon themed mini-golf park. We played the latter which was a lot of fun. Jess won.

West Edmonton Mall by Laurence Norah-5

The mall itself is a few miles west of Edmonton city centre, but there is a hotel on site (the Fantasyland hotel ), which you can stay at if you’re keen on enjoying all the facilities on offer. We imagine this would be particularly good for families wanting to take advantage of all the mall has to offer.

Check out the Street Art

Back into Edmonton, and something we noticed when wandering the streets was the high quality of street art on offer. This can be found in locations all over the city – just keep your eyes open for examples like this:

Edmonton Street art bridge street car by Laurence Norah-5

Visit the Muttart Conservatory

Slightly oddly, just across the river from downtown Edmonton are four large glass pyramids, surrounded by the greenery of the North Saskatchewan river valley. These are the home of the Muttart Conservatory, a botanical garden which hosts four different biomes (hence the four pyramids), featuring plant species from around the world.

Muttart Conservatory Edmonton by Laurence Norah-11

Three of the biomes are permanent displays, featuring a temperate zone, an arid zone and a tropical zone. We loved the warmth and lushness of the tropical zone, as well as the cacti on display in the arid zone! The fourth pyramid features a rotating display – when we visited it was a Tuscany themed exhibit, but this changes often.

Muttart Conservatory Edmonton by Laurence Norah-12

There’s also a decent cafe on site at the Muttart Conservatory, where we enjoyed coffee and some food. Definitely worth adding to your Edmonton adventure!

Take a tour of the Alberta Legislature Building

Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, which means that it has the main buildings of government. The most impressive of these buildings, and the seat of political power in Alberta, is the 1913 Alberta Legislative Building , an impressive Beaux Arts style construction which was popular in Northern America at the time.

Legislature Building Edmonton by Laurence Norah-2

The building, which features granite, sandstone, and interiors of marble, mahogany and oak, is both impressive to behold and to visit. More impressively, you can take an entirely free tour and learn all about both the history of the building, the political processes in Alberta, and the people who work here.

Legislature Building Edmonton by Laurence Norah-8

It’s an interesting tour that lasts around forty-five minutes, and you get to visit all the key parts of the property, learning as you go. Check the official website for tour hours and information. You’ll find the nearest public parking on 107th street.

Watch the Sunset

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time you’ll probably be aware that my main focus is photography, and I’m a sucker for a good sunset. So obviously I wanted to try and catch a great sunset whilst in town!

I asked a local friend for a good location, and she suggested I visit Ada Boulevard, to the east of the city centre, from where we’d be able to get a great view of the city skyline from a vantage point over the river.

Sunset over Edmonton by Laurence Norah-11

She wasn’t wrong. As you can see from the photos, I think this location worked out pretty well! Unfortunately, the weather didn’t really work in our favour, so we weren’t able to try out any other recommended spots.

Visit the Art Gallery

Even if you’re not an art buff, it’s worth swinging by the Art Gallery of Alberta anyway to take in the building itself, which was redesigned in 2010, and now looks rather funky.

Art Gallery Edmonton by Laurence Norah-2

Of course, you should pop inside too, to take in some of the 6,000 works on display that cover historical and contemporary arts pieces from both Canadian and international artists. We particularly enjoyed the David Altmejd piece titled The Vessel, and the Touch Lab, where you can actually touch and interact with the art.

Art Gallery of Alberta Edmonton by Laurence Norah-4

Jess especially enjoyed the “Beauty’s Awakening” exhibit, which featured drawings by pre-Raphaelite, and the opportunity to try out our own hand at portrait drawing. I think we’ll stick to photography though.

Visit the Schools Museum

A bit of a oddball for us, in that we just noticed it as we were walking by and decided to pop in, the Edmonton Public Schools Archives and Museum is definitely worth a few minutes of your time. This free museum has a fascinating exhibit on the history of the public schools system in Edmonton from it’s early beginning up to the more present day, covering things like curriculums, classroom designs, and how world events like wars and disease impacted daily school life.

Edmonton Public Schools Archive and Museum by Laurence Norah

It’s housed in the oldest brick school in Alberta, so has a serious air of authenticity, and the mock-up classrooms are particularly interesting.

Visit Elk Island

If you have a vehicle during your time in Edmonton, then we very much recommend taking the time to take a trip out to Elk Island National Park . This large expanse of wilderness, around an hour east of the city, is Canada’s largest fully enclosed national park, and is one of the best places near Edmonton to see a whole range of wildlife, including bison.

Elk Island National Park by Laurence Norah-4

The park offers a number of driving routes and walking trails. We visited on a grey, misty day, and did not have high hopes for seeing much of anything. We drove the “Bison Loop”, and only saw mist, which further dampened our optimism.

But then, we spotted a herd of bison in the distance, and after a little more driving, came across a whole clump of them chilling out by the road, almost close enough to touch. Then we saw a coyote, which was also very cool. Finally, we hopped out of the car and took a short walk at some of the lakes, although, I’ll be honest, the weather defeated us somewhat!

Elk Island National Park by Laurence Norah-7

Still, we were thrilled with our wildlife spotting, and would definitely recommend heading out to Elk Island National Park if you get the chance. There are also various activities in the park available – just check in advance on the official website for scheduling and booking information.

Elk Island National Park by Laurence Norah-14

Eat All The Food

Last but not least – you definitely need to check out the food scene in Edmonton. We had so many suggestions for amazing places to try that we were pretty overwhelmed, but we can definitely recommend that you visit the following locations at the very least:

MEAT – Found in Old Strathcona, as the name suggests, this restaurant has a heavy focus on meat. Specifically, BBQ’d meat, which you can order by the pound or half pound and then just ravenously consume. Or, you can cheat like we did, and order it in pre-made sandwich form. They smoke all their own meat, and they create their own BBQ sauces, and the results are pretty epic. Oh, the garlic fries here were some of the best potato based things I’ve ever eaten. Don’t skip them.

MEAT Edmonton by Laurence Norah-7

Next Act Pub – Right next door to MEAT (we did explore further afield, I promise), the Next Act Pub is a seriously popular venue, serving up a wide selection of great beers as well as some classic pub grub – think wings and burgers. They also feature some of the offerings from the MEAT smokery next door, so if you want to get your meaty fix in a more pub like environment, this is the spot to come.

Next Act Pub Edmonton by Laurence Norah-2

Mercer Tavern – Directly over the road from Rogers Place, the Mercer Tavern is famous for its chicken, but serves up a wide variety of pub style food, along of course with lots of beer options. It’s a great spot to fill up before catching the game, with a nice atmosphere.

Mercer Tavern Edmonton by Laurence Norah-4

Woodwork Edmonton – Of course, Edmonton isn’t just pubs and meat. Although, I’d be fine with that. There are plenty of more formal restaurant options, one of our favourites being Woodwork, which offers both hand crafted cocktails and a more formal dining choice. It’s still a fairly relaxed location, but if you want something more restaurant and less pub, then this is a good option.

Woodwork Edmonton by Laurence Norah-3

Where to Stay in Edmonton

There’s a lot of choice when it comes to Edmonton accommodation, from hostels and motels to mid-range chains and luxury options!

We stayed in two different hotels in Edmonton, one in the downtown area, and one old Old Strathcona. Both were good choices, allowing us to explore different parts of the city.

Chateau Lacombe Edmonton

Our first hotel was the Chateau Lacombe . This is a large circular tower, which happens to also be home to Edmonton’s only revolving restaurant (we didn’t eat here on this visit, but it’s on the list for next time!).

We had a lovely suite with gorgeous views across the city skyline, and really appreciated how easy it was to walk to the downtown highlights, from Roger’s Place to the River Valley park.

You can check prices and book online here .

Chateau Lacombe Edmonton by Laurence Norah-3

The second hotel was stayed at was the Meterra Hotel . This was located on Whyte Avenue in the heard of Old Strathcona, and was the perfect location for exploring the south side of the city. Check prices and book online here .

We had a standard double room here, and very much appreciated both the included breakfast, as well as the afternoon complimentary cheese and wine tasting – something all hotels should have, we concluded.

Wine Tasting Edmonton by Laurence Norah

When To Visit Edmonton

Edmonton has a fairly varied climate. To someone like me, coming from the UK, the extremes of temperature between summer and winter were quite a surprise. There’s no “bad” time to visit Edmonton, although of course it depends what you’re looking for.

In summer, days are long and often hot, and there are lots of festivals to keep you entertained. In Winter, you can ski in the city centre. The main thing is to figure out what the climate is likely to be doing when you visit, and pack your clothes accordingly!

Getting Around Edmonton

Edmonton is a fairly easy city to get around, with an extensive public transit network that includes buses and trains. You can also take Taxis, and the city is of course covered with Uber as well.

We had a hire car during our stay, which made getting around a lot easier – but just be aware that parking in the city centre generally isn’t free, and most city centre hotels charge in the region of $18 CAD per night for parking.

If you want somewhere to head to after Edmonton, we can highly recommend visiting Jasper. Check out this guide to getting from Edmonton to Jasper for some tips on how to do that, and what to see on the way.

And that pretty much sums up our time in Edmonton! Have you visited Edmonton, or are you from Edmonton? Anything you’d add to our to-do list? Let us know in the comments below!

Everything you need to know for visiting Edmonton, Alberta, including what to do, where to eat, and where to stay!

Disclosure: We were hosted on our eight day trip to Canada by Explore Edmonton and Tourism Jasper who covered our accommodation, flights, car rental and activities, as well as covering additional expenses. Our ability to eat and explore and share our opinions remain our own – check out our code of ethics here for how we choose who to work with.

Muttart Conservatory Edmonton by Laurence Norah-14

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18th September 2018 at 6:33 am

Hi guys. Love reading your blog. I am from Edmonton and I loved how you covered some of our interesting places. I would also recommend visiting our Fort Edmonton Park. This is a unique place that shows and tells you not only a history of Edmonton , but of Canada too.

Laurence Norah says

19th September 2018 at 1:55 pm

Thanks very much Ells, and thanks for the recommendation! I was actually wearing my YEG t-shirt only yesterday, we have great memories of Edmonton 😀

Robert says

2nd May 2018 at 3:39 pm

An Excellent write up and photos for first time visitors to my Hometown, Edmonton! Will definitely bookmark this and save for others. Thanks for sharing and glad I found this on Pinterest! 🙂

2nd May 2018 at 8:22 pm

Thanks very much Robert – always nice to hear from a local that we did a good job! I still wear my YEG t-shirt with happy memories of our visit 😀

Alouise says

25th November 2016 at 9:26 pm

I’m from Edmonton and always love seeing posts like this about my hometown. You actually did quite a bit, and the fact you didn’t just spend a day at West Edmonton Mall and then take off is nice. I moved to Dublin a couple months ago and I miss Duchess Bakeshop all the time.

If you go back to Edmonton at any point I recommend checking out some restaurants on Alberta Ave like Battista’s Calzones and Sloppy Hoggs Roed Huss. If you come in the summer there are lots of festivals, well there’s lots of festivals year round, but my favourite The Edmonton International Fringe Festival is in August. The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Museum (out by Elk Island) and Fort Edmonton Park (in the city) are two great open air museums (open May to September)

And yeah never really thought about it, but we don’t call it ice hockey I think because we would just assume if someone says hockey it’s probably being played on ice (unless it’s the middle of July and then it might be a game of street or ball hockey).

Laurence says

13th December 2016 at 1:51 pm

Hey Alouise! Thanks very much for reading the post and taking the time to comment 🙂 We did our best to see as much as we could – there’s a lot to do in Edmonton and we definitely filled out days! We’d love to come back in the summer – the festivals look like a lot of fun – and thanks so much for your recommendations! We’ll definitely look them up for our next visit!

bryguy76 says

9th November 2016 at 8:32 pm

You forgot to go to the World Water Park in West Edmonton Mall? That is one of Edmonton’s best attractions! http://www.wem.ca/play/attractions-at-wem/world-waterpark

9th November 2016 at 8:36 pm

We didn’t miss it, we spent the afternoon there 🙂 it’s under visiting the mall above 🙂

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A first-timer’s guide to Edmonton, Alberta's capital city

Debbie Olsen

May 11, 2024 • 9 min read

Man walking on Terwillegar Bridge in Edmonton, Alberta.

Edmonton is full of fascinating corners – like this sci-fi spot in Terwillegar Park  770 Productions / Design Pics / Getty Images

Edmonton does things big: it’s home to Canada ’s largest sports and entertainment district, the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America, the oldest and largest fringe theater festival in North America and one of the largest shopping malls on the planet. But underneath that big, bold surface is a vibrant capital city with an unpretentious population and a rich and diverse culture.

Canada’s fifth-largest city and northernmost major metropolis is filled with so many fascinating places to explore that planning a visit can be a bit overwhelming. Where should I go? How can I get there? How can I experience the real culture of this place? This guide tackles those questions and provides practical advice on how to make the most of your first visit to Edmonton.    

What is the best time to visit Edmonton?

The summer months are the most popular time to visit – the city receives as much as 17 hours of daylight per day, and temperatures range between 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F). It’s also the season when you can enjoy many of the most popular festivals, like K-Days in July or the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival in August. Accommodations will cost more during the peak summer months. Edmonton can get quite cold in winter, with typical temperatures ranging between -5°C (23°F) and -15°C (5°F) and snowfall happening as early as November and as late as March. You shouldn’t be afraid of winter, though – it’s a great time to visit if you like skating, skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking. 

One added bonus to a fall or winter visit is that you might get the chance to see the northern lights . The University of Alberta’s Aurora Watch website monitors aurora activity near Edmonton and can send you alerts. There are festivals year-round, too, so there’s really no bad time to visit. Flying Canoë Volant is a highlight of winter, and the International Children’s Festival in spring is great family fun. Accommodations also tend to cost less during the fall, winter and spring. 

Northern Lights as seen from Elk Island National Park near Edmonton, Alberta

What is Edmonton best known for?

As the gateway city to Jasper National Park and the Canadian Rockies, Edmonton is a fast-growing city with a young population compared to other Canadian cities. It’s also known as Canada’s festival city because it hosts more than 50 festivals annually . And you may have heard of its biggest attractions: the beautiful North Saskatchewan River Valley and West Edmonton Mall (the biggest in North America). Edmonton is also a sports-loving city, home to the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey team and the Edmonton Elks CFL football team. The city used to have the moniker “City of Champions” in honor of its sports teams. 

Is it easy to get in and around Edmonton without a rental car?

A rental vehicle is the easiest and most convenient way to get around Edmonton, but you have plenty of other options. The city has a good public transit system with both buses and Light-rail Transit (LRT) services . Uber, taxis and bicycle rentals are also a possibility. If you want to get around on foot, Edmonton is a very walkable city .

How much time should I spend in Edmonton?

Ideally, you should have at least two or three days to explore Edmonton. It won’t be enough time to see everything, but you will be able to see some of the top attractions. If you only have one day, you’ll have time for one or possibly two attractions. Exploring West Edmonton Mall can take a full day, but you might be able to visit two smaller attractions in a single day. With three days, you could visit one of the attractions outside the city, like Elk Island National Park , the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village or Métis Crossing .   

Members of the First Nations dance in regalia during the traditional Pow Wow competition, at the K-Days Festival in Edmonton

How much money do I need for Edmonton?

Compared to other cities, Edmonton is a bargain. Accommodation rates vary depending on the location and the season, but they tend to be higher in the downtown core. Unsurprisingly, you can find some deals if you book early and avoid peak-season travel. Major attractions may charge hefty fees, but there are a lot of free festivals and things to do . There are some great farmers markets and picnic spots if you want to save a buck and still enjoy high-quality local food.

Here are some average daily costs at peak season (in $CAD):

  • Downtown hotel $150-375 per room per night
  • Private double room in a hostel $65 per night
  • Coffee (Tim Hortons or similar) $2
  • Entrée at a midrange restaurant $25-35
  • Glass of wine $8-10
  • Museum admission $14-21
  • Public transit single ticket $2.75 within Edmonton, $5 from the airport to Edmonton
  • Cab fare from Edmonton airport to downtown $62

What food is Edmonton known for?

One of the best things about visiting a place is discovering unique local foods. Green onion cakes were introduced to Edmonton in 1978 when Siu To, an immigrant from northern China, began serving them in his restaurants. These pan-fried pancakes filled with scallions are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and they are so beloved in the city that some have suggested they should be declared Edmonton’s official food. They are served at restaurants around the city and at many festivals, but try the original at Green Onion Cake Man restaurant. 

Other foods that should make your must-eat list: perogies, donairs and Alberta beef. There’s a huge Ukrainian and Polish community in Edmonton and some amazing restaurants that make perogies fresh daily. Sample the goods at  Uncle Ed's Ukrainian Restaurant , Taste of Ukraine , Shumka Ukrainian Foods or Widynowski's Sausage House . Next up is the donair, a uniquely Canadian food similar to a Greek Gyro with seasoned shaved rotisserie beef, veggies and special sauce wrapped in a pita. There are over 120 donair restaurants in Edmonton, and  Marco's Famous , Swiss Donair and Top Donair are all good places to try it. Finally, Alberta is famed for its beef (there are more cattle than people in the province), and many restaurants serve up this local specialty with flair.

A green onion cake on a wood chopping board with sliced scallions around it.

Where to eat in Edmonton

Edmonton’s food and drink scene is worth traveling for. Dynamic and always evolving, you’ll find some fantastic bakeries, ice cream shops, restaurants, breweries, pubs and bars. For breakfast or brunch, check out The Sugarbowl , where you'll find everything from fresh cinnamon buns to huevos rancheros and Belgian waffles. Duchess Bake Shop is the most famous French bakery in town, serving up amazing macarons, tarts, croissants and éclairs. Farrow Sandwiches is known for its uniquely delicious sandwiches, freshly brewed coffee and delicious baked goods. 

Small-batch, hand-crafted ice cream is a thing in Edmonton, and there are several fantastic shops, including Made by Marcus , Kind Ice Cream  and Yelo’d . For local prairie cuisine at its finest – including Alberta beef from an onsite butchery – go to RGE RD . For Asian-inspired food that’s meant to be shared, visit Baijiu , a trendy cocktail bar and eatery in a historical building. Also, take a brewery tour at Monolith , one of the only breweries in North America that offer barrel-aged beer. For cocktails and late-night snacks, check out Fu’s Repair Shop or Bar Clementine , two of the city’s trendiest spots. To get a taste of several different places, go on a food tour with Alberta Food Tours .    

Experience Edmonton’s must-see attractions

There are many attractions in Edmonton, and some of them are iconic. It’s hard not to be blown away by West Edmonton Mall . Canada’s largest shopping and entertainment complex has more than 800 stores, a water park, a theme park and much more. The Royal Alberta Museum is Western Canada’s largest museum – a great place to explore history. See 6000 pieces of art from Alberta and around the world at the Art Gallery of Alberta . Experience Canada’s national winter sport at an Edmonton Oilers hockey game at Rogers Place. Enjoy a performance of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at the Winspear. There are several places to enjoy live theater, but the Citadel Theatre is the city’s premiere facility. Just outside the city, you can enjoy hiking, canoeing, wildlife watching and other outdoor adventures at Elk Island National Park . Herds of bison, elk and more than 250 bird species are found in the park.

An afternoon view of the North Saskatchewan river valley and downtown Edmonton, the capital of Alberta province. Also visible is the train bride connecting the east and west sides of the city. It is the beginning of Autumn and the leaves have just started turning yellow, orange and red.

My favorite thing to do in Edmonton  

I love exploring the North Saskatchewan River Valley, often referred to by locals as the Edmonton River Valley – the city’s pride and joy. Take a free ride on the 100 Street Funicular  and embark on an adventure through the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America, an area 22 times bigger than New York City’s Central Park. There are 20 major parks in the river valley, many attractions and more than 99 miles (160km) of trails to explore by running, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or on a guided Segway tour; use this handy trail map for exploring.  River Valley Adventure Co is the place to go for Segway tours, mountain bikes, stand-up paddle boards and other sports equipment rentals.

If you prefer to hit the water, grab a canoe or kayak and glide along the North Saskatchewan River. Canoe and kayak rentals and shuttle service are available at Edmonton Canoe .

Download the free app if you’re exploring the six-mile (10km) Edmonton Commonwealth Walkway  to listen to one of five themed audio tours – Indigenous, history, family, river and winter.  There are quite a few attractions in the Edmonton River Valley, including Snow Valley Ski Hill , Snow Valley Aerial Park , Fort Edmonton Park , the Edmonton Valley Zoo , Muttart Conservatory and the John Janzen Nature Center .

Attend a festival in Canada’s festival city

You could plan your entire trip around Edmonton’s festival schedule. Hosting more than 50 festivals every year, Canada’s Festival City celebrates everything from arts and culture to music, food and LGBTQIA+ pride. Check out the Explore Edmonton event calendar to see what’s happening during your stay. Some recommendations in summer include the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival , Edmonton Heritage Festival , Edmonton International Street Performers Festival , Edmonton Folk Music Festival , K-Days , Edmonton Pride Festival  and Cariwest . In winter, Flying Canoe Volant , Silver Skate Festival  and Deep Freeze take the edge off cold days.

Discover the Indigenous side of Alberta’s capital city

Edmonton is located within Treaty No. 6 territory and within the Métis homelands and the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 4. The city has the second largest urban Indigenous population in Canada, and there are many unique opportunities to learn about Indigenous Edmonton. The Indigenous People’s Experience at Fort Edmonton Park is a multi-media experience that tells the stories and shares the cultures of the Indigenous Peoples of this region of Canada. To see the city from an Indigenous perspective, take a tour with Talking Rock Tours . Also consider making a visit to Métis Crossing , an 80-minute drive northeast of Edmonton, where you can learn about Métis culture and enjoy fun activities like paddling a voyageur canoe and taking a wildlife tour to see a sacred white bison.

Keep planning your trip to Alberta: 

Go remote with  the best of Banff and Jasper’s backcountry lodges Add  Canada's best experiences  to your itinerary Do your research with 12 things one local wants you to know about Canada Time your adventure perfectly with the best times to visit Canada

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The top 10 attractions in Edmonton

Downtown Edmonton

Things to do

From the continent's first, biggest and wildest  Fringe Theatre Festival External Link Title  to a  shopping mall External Link Title that spans over 48 city blocks, Edmontonians have never been afraid to do things a little differently. As Canada's youngest and fastest growing capital city, Edmonton is a hotbed of cultural diversity that embraces new ideas and experimentation. Here are the best ways to play, sightsee, tour, and relax on vacation in  Alberta's  Capital.

North Saskatchewan River Valley

places to visit near edmonton canada

There's green space, and then there's the North Saskatchewan River Valley. This vast collection of scenic parks is 22 times bigger than New York City's Central Park.  Over 150 kilometres of trails External Link Title , pathways,  golf courses External Link Title , and tree-lined, manicured lawns connect 20 parks, where locals and visitors picnic,  bike, run, kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, take a paddle boat or Segway  External Link Title , and, in winter,  snowshoe External Link Title  and ski (both  cross-country External Link Title  and  downhill External Link Title ).

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall

If you're thinking some big chain stores and a food court, readjust your lens. This  nearly 500,000-square-metre mall External Link Title  is the largest in North America, with  800+ stores External Link Title ,  100 dining venues External Link Title , a massive  indoor wave pool with 17 water slides External Link Title  and a lake, plus  amusement park External Link Title , zoo, and ice skating rink. You can stay at one of two hotels, including one aptly named  Fantasyland External Link Title  for its 120 themed guest rooms. 

Elk Island National Park

Elk Island

You'll want to spend time in  Elk Island External Link Title , just east of the city --  hike External Link Title , snap pictures of  wildlife External Link Title , lay on the  beach External Link Title , and, come sundown, watch the  Northern Lights External Link Title . Canada's largest fully enclosed park is a refuge for moose, elk, lynx, black bears, gray wolves, 250 species of birds, and herds of plains bison imported from Montana and rescued from extinction. Get stuck in a  bison traffic jam External Link Title  on purpose or  snowshoe and stargaze External Link Title in the serene wilderness.

Alberta Legislature

Alberta Legislature Edmonton

Set atop the banks of the  North Saskatchewan River External Link Title , the Alberta Legislature is a marvel of marble pillars and carved oak. Discover  the Legislature External Link Title  on a free guided tour, offered hourly. Ask about the Famous Five who fought for women's right to vote. Learn about the fascinating stories behind the portraits and magnificent art. Glance at the bejeweled gold and silver ceremonial Mace. And don't forget to listen for the phenomenon known as the "magic spot".

The Art Gallery of Alberta

Art Gallery of Alberta

A striking architectural landmark reminiscent of Bilbao's Guggenheim, downtown's  Art Gallery of Alberta External Link Title  is one of the province's prominent cultural venues. The 6,000 paintings, sculptures, and installations on display at this premier venue include historical and contemporary, international and Canadian works.

Rogers Place and the Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers

With its stunning curvilinear architecture and an interior that'll make you think you just stepped onto the Starship Enterprise,  Rogers Place External Link Title  is sure to make your jaw drop. Home to young phenom Connor McDavid and the  Edmonton Oilers External Link Title  hockey team, the arena features state of the art technology including the largest high definition screen in the National Hockey League. Catch an Oilers game at Rogers Place during the regular season, which runs from October to April each year and some of the world's biggest music acts all year long.

Festivals Galore

Edmonton Folk Music Festival

Shakespeare under an open sky External Link Title ? You got it.  A winter festival External Link Title  with sculptures made of ice and...fire? No problem. With over 60 festivals annually, there's no shortage of excitement to fill your stay - whether it's 30 degrees above, or below.  The Edmonton Folk Music Festival External Link Title ,  International Fringe Theatre Festival External Link Title ,  Flying Canoe Volant Festival External Link Title  and Boardwalk Ice on Whyte External Link Title  are just the beginning.

University of Alberta Botanic Garden

University of Alberta Botanic Garden

Be amazed by the wealth and diversity of nature at the stunning  University of Alberta Botanic Gardens External Link Title  - a must-visit for lovers of flora, fauna and beautiful things. With 80 acres of display gardens (and 110 additional acres of natural areas and ecological preserves), there's tons to explore. Don't miss the new  Aga Khan Garden External Link Title --4.8 hectares of modern architectural beauty inspired by Moghul traditions, and designed for the Edmonton region's climate and topography.

Outdoor winter activities

City-wide snowball fight Edmonton

Edmontonians don't hibernate, they strive to make Old Man Winter proud with outdoor patios, city-wide snowball fights, deep freezer races, and a spectacular view of the Northern Lights. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and you're off on an exhilarating day trip through areas like  Elk Island National Park External Link Title  or Edmonton's  river valley External Link Title , or slip on some skates and head to one of the city's many  outdoor rinks External Link Title . Downhill ski or snowboard at  Snow Valley Ski Club External Link Title ,  Rabbit Hill Snow Resort External Link Title  or  Edmonton Ski Club External Link Title , or  cross-country ski External Link Title through one of Edmonton's  beautiful parks External Link Title . You can't help but have a great time when you've got good company and the glory of a northern winter.

Royal Alberta Museum

Royal Alberta Museum

You'll want to pack your comfy shoes to explore the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) External Link Title in downtown Edmonton's Arts District. As Western Canada's largest museum, the RAM boasts over 82,000 square feet of exhibition space and houses a large and wide-ranging collection of artifacts External Link Title to foster wonder, inquiry and understanding about Alberta. Pull the curtain back on Alberta life and landscape in a remarkable journey from petroglyphs to prehistoric dinosaurs, and from 500 generations of First Peoples External Link Title to new beginnings on the windswept prairies. Feed your curiosity here.

Fort Edmonton

Fort Edmonton Park

Please note: Currently closed for the Summer 2019 season for renovations.

History is fun at 1800s-era  Fort Edmonton Park External Link Title , where actors dressed in period costume barter for beads at the fur trading post and socialize at the train station. Learn about four time periods: the 1846 fort, 1885 community, 1905 railway boom, and 1920 commerce hay day. You'll see horse-drawn carriages, historic cars, and 75 structures, including many originals, at Canada's largest living history museum.

Ready to explore museums, go shopping, and ice skate? See you in Edmonton External Link Title !

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  • 7 Beautiful Places To Visit In Edmonton You Must Not Miss On Your Canada Tour In 2024

04 Apr 2023

From stunning architectural marvels to enticing vistas of nature and the historical gateways, Edmonton is sprinkled with some of the best tourist attractions that you must check out at least once in your life. It is also renowned for its beautiful gardens, shopping malls and museums that will lure the wanderlust within you to pack your bags and get set for this amazing trip now. If you’re looking to explore Edmonton to the best of its capabilities, then here is a compilation of the best places to visit in Edmonton, where you can reel into tons of happy memories! So let’s together explore these scenic wonders in Edmonton that are a must-visit for every travel-bug-bitten soul.

7 Best Places To Visit In Edmonton

Relish a visit to these amazing Edmonton places to visit that will showcase a completely different world with surreal vistas and stunning attractions!

1. Royal Alberta Museum

Royal Alberta Museum

Image Source

Renowned as the biggest museum in Western Canada, Royal Alberta stretches in 7600 Sqm. Tourists especially come over here for a galore of exhibition activities and to witness the historical wonders in the display. The museum displays incredible exhibits of Canada’s incredible heritage and historical elements, which is a breath-taking experience for every person who witnesses it.

The museum also holds the fossils of one the largest and fiercest creatures of History, Dinosaur. You can also get an insight into the aboriginal culture over here that prevailed in Edmonton centuries ago. It also displays some of the most interesting remains of history and fun activities that truly fascinate the kids. Royal Alberta Museum is certainly one of the best places to visit in Edmonton with family.

Location: 9810 103a Ave NW, Edmonton, Alberta Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM Entrance fee: $19 (Adults), $10 (Youth), Free for kids below 6

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2. West Edmonton Mall

Renowned as the largest mall in the country, this massive mall holds an incredible variety of privileges for all ages of people. Wandering at this mall, along with your family, would be an unforgettable moment of your life. With Enthralling gaming activities for kids, eminent shopping outlets for women, and stunning nightlife for adults, this is the place to be for each one of you. You can also relish some of the scrumptious cuisines at the restaurant over here, and you can also enjoy a dramatic movie in the movie theatre.

West Edmonton Mall also has a huge aquarium where you can witness the glorious marine life. Some other essential aspects are World Waterpark, Dragon’s Tale, Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace, and Professor Wem’s Adventure Golf. Thus, all in all, West Edmonton Mall is certainly one of the finest places to visit in Edmonton at night.

Location: 8882 – 170 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta Timings: 10 AM – 10 PM Entrance fee: $44.10 (Waterpark)

Suggested Read: 9 Best Hotels In Toronto To Taste The Luxury On Your Canada Trip

3. Telus World Of Science

the Dragon Boat festival

This place is an ideal destination for all those who are intrigued by the brilliance of science. With a galore of various science exhibitions, including forensic, robot-science, and space-science, you’re bound to be extremely amazed over here. It is an ideal place for kids to intrigue themselves about the wonders of science. One of the must-experience activities over here is star-gazing at the observatory site, which would give you insights into the majestic Galaxy!

There is an IMAX theatre where you can watch incredible sci-fi adventure. You may also visit Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre over here, where various science-related concerts and meetings are organized. All these wonderful prospects that Telus World of science offers makes it one of the best places to visit in Edmonton for tourists.

Location: 11211 142 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM Entrance fee: $10

Suggested Read: 8 Interesting Things To Do In Edmonton On Your Canada Vacay

4. Elk Island National Park

Island National Park

If you are a wildlife enthusiast, then this national park would be an ideal destination for you. Situated at just half an hour’s drive towards the east of Edmonton, this place oozes majestic vibes, which would fill you with exuberance and warmth as well. You can witness over here some of the finest breeds of animals and plants. This includes Bison, deer, beaver, and muskrat, as well. It is also renowned for birdwatching activities as it holds more than 200 species of birds, which are not found anywhere else in the country. Not only for wildlife enthusiasts, but this place is also perfect for adventurous outings. You may enjoy enthralling activities like Hiking, kayaking, and camping at this beautiful park in the summers. In winter you can enjoy activities like snowshoeing, skating and skiing over here. Thus, It is touted as one of the best places to visit in Edmonton in winter.

Location: 54401 Range Road 203, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta Entrance fee: Starting at $3.90

Suggested Read: 8 Refreshing Toronto National Parks That’ll Make Your Canada Trip An Awesome Affair!

5. North Saskatchewan River Valley

North Saskatchewan River

Verdant greenery, brilliant backdrop, and exhilarating activities are the essence of North Saskatchewan River Valley. It is an ideal spot for a picnic or day outing with family. It spreads in massive 7400 hectares and is a hotspot for various enthralling activities like Kayaking, Canoeing, paddleboarding and biking as well. In winters, the snow-covered blanket on the trails encourages the visitors to relish snow-oriented activities like Snowshoeing and Skating. The mind-boggling 150 km trail of greenery over here is ideal for playing golf as well. This massive hub of parks is certainly one of the most famous places to visit in Edmonton.

Location: Garden River No.490, SK, Canada Entrance fee: Nil

Suggested Read: Ring With A Bang At These 14 Best Places For New Year Parties In Canada!

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6. Alberta Legislature

Alberta Legislature

Alberta Legislature is an iconic historical site in Edmonton, where you can discover intrinsic details about the parliamentary history of Alberta. This is the hub for all legislative meetings and the executive council, as well. This site showcases the glorious heritage of Canada and is home to branded retail stores and Pehonan Theatre. Inside this towering building, there are stunning memorials and exclusive statues that you’ll love to adore. This place is frequently visited by a massive number of people from all around the globe due to its historical prominence. Thus, it is acclaimed as one of the finest tourist places to visit in Edmonton.

Location: 10801 97 Avenue NW, Edmonton Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM Entrance fee: Nil

Suggested Read: 40 Best Places To Visit In Canada That Will Leave You Spellbound!

7. The Art Gallery Of Alberta

Art Gallery Alberta

If you are fascinated by the stunning magnificence of art and craft, then this marvellous museum would be a paradise for you. Spread in a massive 8000 sq.m of space, you can relish more than 6000 varied samples of art and craft over here. The museum has been renamed numerous times, but it didn’t have any impact on its glorious possessions or popularity! This astonishing place also holds the possession of historical works of Canada’s imperious history. The impeccable sculptures and paintings at this place would definitely allure the artist within you. This certainly is one of the best places to visit in Edmonton, which should be a must-visit for every enthusiast.

Location: 2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq, Edmonton, AB T5J 2C1, Canada Timings: 11 AM – 5 PM Entrance fee: $12.50

Further Read: Skydiving In Canada: A Must-Have Experience On Your Canadian Holiday

Have you decided which ones of these fascinating places to visit in Edmonton you’ll be checking out first? We would prefer you to visit all of them instead of just settling for one so as to immerse yourself completely into the visid culture and heritage of this charming city on your vacation in Canada .

Disclaimer: TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Please Note: Any information published by TravelTriangle in any form of content is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of medical advice, and one must not take any action before consulting a professional medical expert of their own choice.

Frequently Asked Questions about Places to Visit in Edmonton

What are the top attractions to visit in Edmonton?

Some of the best attractions in Edmonton are: Royal Alberta Museum West Edmonton Mall Telus World Of Science Elk Island National Park North Saskatchewan River Valley Alberta Legislature The Art Gallery Of Alberta

What are the best outdoor activities in Edmonton?

Skiing, canoeing, golfing, and biking are some of the most popular activities that vacationers like to enjoy in Edmonton.

Can I visit Edmonton during the current Covid situation?

Yes, you can plan a visit to Edmonton during the current Covid situation. However, make sure that you are completely vaccinated and always carry your vaccination certificate. Besides this, you need to follow government protocols that include wearing a mask when in public, sanitizing hands at certain intervals, and maintaining social distance.

Which is the biggest mall in Canada?

West Edmonton Mall is the biggest mall in Canada. It occupies more than 800 stores, 23 amusement parks, and 100 stunning dining places.

Which is the best free place to visit in Edmonton?

North Saskatchewan Park Valley and Alberta Legislature are two of the best places you can visit without spending any money.

Which is the best place to visit in Edmonton with your family?

The West Edmonton Mall would prove to be an ideal place to explore with the family. This massive mall holds 23 amusement parks, movie theatres and other astonishing gaming events, which makes it great for families with kids.

Which is the best place in Edmonton for an adventurous outing?

Elk Island National Park is the best place for a fascinating experience of witnessing the wildlife in Edmonton. This place holds a massive 250 species of birds and rare mammals. You may also go kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. In winter you can also go snowshoeing and skating.

How many days are enough for exploring Edmonton?

A trip of 5-6 days would be enough to witness the best of Edmonton. To enjoy your vacation, you can go sightseeing and indulge in outdoor activities.

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Three to See in Edmonton Saturday: Gowan at River Cree, A Collection of Ashes and Turkish puppetry

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Your weekly look at things to do in Edmonton this Saturday.

Three to See in Edmonton Saturday: Gowan at River Cree, A Collection of Ashes and Turkish puppetry Back to video

Gowan : Well they say I should approach you with caution … but let’s just let the cat out of the bag that Strange Animal Canadian legend Gowan is bouncing into town Saturday!

This Scotland-born, multi-hit wonder and ongoing Styx singer and keyboardist has a remarkable radio-rock back catalogue, including that beastly, aforementioned CanCon classic — plus Moonlight Desires, fashion-world-favourite Cosmetics, Lost Brotherhood and wicked deeper cuts like Awake the Giant, 60 Second Nightmare, Keep the Tension On and the wistful and enduring Guerilla Soldier.

Should be a fun one — slàinte mhath!

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Details : 9 p.m. Saturday at River Cree (300 East Lapotac Blvd, Enoch), $58.80 at lawrencegowan.com

A Collection of Ashes : Kim Germshield calls her poetry book a meeting of Rupi Kaur, Nora Jones and Alanis Morissette poetry anthology that sounds a little like A Game of Thrones book.

But its name is poignant. In 2022, Germshield lost her home in a fire, a spark to write this 153-page book of verse like a phoenix bursting from ruin. Join the author as she shares her poems and prose and talks about healing and moving on.

“Swallowed hole — how foreign these feelings are to have lost it all and to feel more complete,” writes Kim Gernshield in the collection, which she’ll be reading from, then signing copies if you like.

Details : noon – 2 p.m. Saturday at Audreys Books (10702 Jasper Ave.), no charge

Karagöz, Witches and Indian Fakir : Theatre Tempo presents this take on the 600-year-old traditional Turkish puppetry show, Karagöz and Hacivat.

Watch as the two friends get caught up in a feud between an engaged couple whose parents happen to be witches — uh oh! The performance is three acts: shadow puppetry, juggling and a marionette show. Ages five and up.

Details : 7 p.m. Wednesday at Orange Hub Black Box Theatre (10045 156 St.), $22.71 at grindstonetheatre.ca/calendar

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places to visit near edmonton canada

Things to do on Canada Day in Edmonton

Today is the day — it’s Canada Day, so here are activities Edmontonians can do to celebrate the holiday.

Fireworks will light up the river valley at 11 p.m. from Kinsmen Park. The best viewing locations are at

the Alberta legislature grounds, Queen Elizabeth Park, River Valley Road trail and Constable Ezio Faraone Park.

The city warned that pedestrian and trail access will be unavailable in Kinsmen Park due to road closures. Kinsmen’s playground, tennis courts and picnic areas are closed starting at 6 a.m. on Canada Day.

Alberta legislature

From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., visitors are invited to the Alberta legislature grounds for a variety of Canada Day events.

Rob Clark, the Edmonton Oilers’ official anthem singer, will sing O Canada on the main stage at Violet King Henry Plaza at 12:30 p.m.

The Alberta Family Fun Zone will be happening from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., featuring interactive entertainment including Cree storytelling, magicians, balloon-twisting, crafts, a science show and circus performances.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be dance and musical performances, and Captain Tractor will headline the main stage show at 4 p.m.

Ice District

The Ice District will host free Canada Day celebrations headlined by Canadian country music star Tim Hicks and featuring Nice Horse and Taylor Rae from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Fan Park will have drop-in basketball, pickleball and street hockey, as well as snacks and non-alcoholic refreshments.

The Ice District Plaza will have music, games, inflatables, photo booths, face painting, performers, food trucks, non-alcoholic refreshments and adult beverages. Musical acts are set to perform on the plaza’s main stage starting at 5 p.m.

Art festival

The Works Art and Design Festival will take over Sir Winston Churchill Square on July 1.

There will be visual art installations, food trucks and tours opening at 11 a.m. All-ages art-marking workshops will run from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and guests can enjoy music and comedy on the Works Street Stage from 12 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is marking its 65th anniversary and will be hosting an all-ages event featuring music and magic activities. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and guests can learn about how the zoo protects wild spaces and wildlife.

The pyramids

The Muttart Conservatory will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Canada Day.

An event will take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. that will include henna, airbrush tattoos, crafts and a scavenger hunt.

Guests can explore the conservatory’s summer feature pyramid called “Where Pyramids Collide” and see how botanicals were used in ancient Egyptian society.

The nature centre

If you’re buzzing for something else to do, the John Janzen Nature Centre will be hosting an event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to kick off “Super Fly July.” Guests can discover what kind of insects live in Edmonton with a bug hunt and pond dipping for aquatic creatures.

From 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., Mill Woods Park will host its 32nd Canada Day celebration, which will include multicultural performances, dance, music, and fireworks at 11 p.m.

Riverhawks baseball

Edmontonians are invited to Re/Max Field to watch the Edmonton Riverhawks battle it out against the Port Angeles Lefties at 7:05 p.m. Attendees are invited to watch fireworks at the field, and a post-game party will include performances by Brasstactics and the Canadian classic rock band Giv’R.

Spray parks

The city’s spray parks will be open on Canada Day, but Kinsmen’s spray park will close at 7 p.m. In the event of extreme weather/poor air quality, city hall’s fountain and spray parks will close.

Recreation centres

City of Edmonton recreation and leisure centres will be open during the long weekend. Saturday and Sunday operate as regular hours, but statutory holiday hours are in effect for Canada Day.

Peter Hemingway Fitness and Leisure Centre will be closed due to rehabilitation work.

St. Francis Xavier Sports Centre and Central Lions Recreation Centre are closed on Canada Day.

Outdoor pools

The city’s outdoor pools — Borden Natural Swimming Pool, Fred Broadstock, Queen Elizabeth and Wîhkwêntôwin (formerly Oliver) — are open for the long weekend depending on extreme weather/air quality.

[email protected]

@kccindytran

— with files from Ramin Ostad

  • How to watch Canada Day fireworks in Edmonton on July 1
  • Edmonton golf courses, cemeteries and parking lots not paying some Epcor drainage fees will start next year

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Henry Stephens takes in Canada Day celebrations at the Alberta Legislature, Monday July 1, 2024.

Check out what's happening this Canada Day long weekend in Edmonton

From fireworks to the works art and design festival, here's what's happening.

Dark yellow fireworks are seen stacked on top of each other against a dark blue sky.

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Edmonton's reputation as the festival city is kicking into high gear as multiple events are set to take place during the Canada Day long weekend.

Quinn Phillips, communications manager at Explore Edmonton, told CBC News there will be a variety of ways to celebrate summer this weekend. 

"We want Edmontonians to make sure that they're getting out there, getting into local businesses, they're continuing to fill those places, because it is important when it comes to creating Edmonton as a tourist destination," Phillips said. 

A fireworks show will take place over Edmonton's River Valley parks and the North Saskatchewan River at 11 p.m. on Monday. 

The fireworks will be livestreamed by CBC Edmonton . 

Phillips said a good view would be from the Alberta Legislature, which will also host a pancake breakfast, then a road race, live performances and kid-friendly activities all-day along. 

The Works Art and Design Festival 

The Works Art and Design Festival is back in Churchill Square and is North America's largest free outdoor art showcase. 

It features larger than life art installations, performances, and hands-on workshops for all ages. 

A licensed patio area is also available for adults looking to unwind from the action. 

Rice Howard Way

Rice Howard Way in the heart of downtown, already dotted with restaurants and pubs, is a free flow of entertainment on Saturdays.

The city has designated the stretch as an entertainment district from June 1 to Aug. 24 this summer. 

The city closes 101A Avenue to vehicles between 100th Street and 101st Street on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A new bylaw allows local restaurants and bars to sell alcohol to people who can roam inside and outside within the designated borders during those hours.

Enjoying nature

The Edmonton Valley Zoo, Muttart Conservatory and John Janzen Nature Centre will be open on Canada Day.

The zoo will have a variety of activities to celebrate its 65th anniversary. 

The conservatory will have a special summer feature pyramid, Where Pyramids Collide, where it will be shown how botanicals were utilized in Ancient Egyptian society. Activities like henna, airbrush tattoos, crafts, and a scavenger hunt will also be available for families to take part in. 

It's the start of Super Fly July at the nature centre. Families can discover what kind of insects live in Edmonton by going on a bug hunt and pond dipping for aquatic creatures. 

Sports events 

The All Africa Soccer Tournament and Festival kicks off a weekend filled with friendly competition, live performances, family activities and local food vendors.

The Africa Centre is hosting the 15th annual event at M.E. LaZerte High School.

  • All Africa soccer tournament celebrates diverse cultures, unites community

The Edmonton Riverhawks will also face-off against the Port Angeles in a baseball game that will also feature a front row seat to view the Canada Day fireworks. 

The game will be hosted at the RE/MAX Field. 

The post-game party will include performances by Brasstactics and the Canadian classic rock band Giv'r.

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    Strathcona Wilderness Centre: Winter Wonderland. 17. Gibbons and Jurassic Forest. Combine day trips from Edmonton for an epic itinerary: Travel Tips. Till Next Time: Edmonton Day Trips. Pin: Best day trips from Edmonton, Alberta. 1. Elk Island National Park: A Local's Escape. Distance from Edmonton: 35 to 40 minutes.

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    10. Whyte Avenue. 1,252. Points of Interest & Landmarks. Whyte Avenue (also known as 82 Avenue) is an arterial road in south-central Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It became the main street of the City of Strathcona as it formed, and now runs through Old Strathcona….

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    See way to experience (1) 12. Alberta Aviation Museum. 221. Speciality Museums. For more than 80 years, Edmonton's Blatchford Field was the center of a bustling aviation community that spurred the growth of the city, the region, and the North. Hundreds of men and women let their….

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    Places to Visit in Edmonton. Explore popular experiences. ... Other Top Attractions around Edmonton. St. Albert Farmers' Market. 181. 13 km away. ... Western Canada: See & Experience it ALL in 10 Days, First Class Custom Tours. 1. 4WD Tours. from ₹4,25,516. per adult. Edmonton Food Bike Tour. 6.

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    Elk Island National Park. Found only a half-hour drive east of Edmonton, Elk Island National Park is one of our favourite day trips from Edmonton. Perfect for families, the park focuses on the conservation of the Plains bison. A refuge for bison, elk, and more than 250 types of birds, the park is excellent for wildlife viewing, stargazing ...

  8. Top 10 Weekend Trips From Edmonton, Canada

    10. Athabasca (from USD 189.0) Source: Pixabay. From Edmonton to Athabasca, you will only have to embark on a one and half hour journey and cover 151km (94mi) of distance. Athabasca is another small town in Canada, and its name used to be Athabasca Landing. From Edmonton, you'll be taking Highway 2 and Highway 55.

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    Giants of the Prairies Loop. 🚗 530 km ⏱️ 6 hours, 10 minutes. This quirky road trip takes in some of the unique and random roadside attractions and giant statues across Alberta. It's a fun way to explore the lesser-travelled towns—you'll certainly get a few artsy Instagram pictures!

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    On the hunt for the best things to do in Edmonton? You've come to the right place. Lose yourself in the immersive experiences at the Royal Alberta Museum or the Art Gallery of Alberta, breathe in the glory of the Northern Lights from our dark sky preserves, or embrace the excitement of West Edmonton Mall.

  11. 25 Day Trips North of Edmonton

    3. Town of Westlock. Just over an hour north of Edmonton, Westlock is a great place for a day trip. The Westlock Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course offering new challenge on the green. Check out the calendar of events on the website to plan your trip around some local festivities. Details.

  12. 16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Edmonton

    Learn more about the best places to visit in this exciting city with our list of attractions and things to do in Edmonton. See also: Where to Stay in Edmonton. On This Page: 1. Shop & Play at West Edmonton Mall. 2. Royal Alberta Museum. 3. Enjoy Nature at Elk Island National Park & Beaver Hills.

  13. 33 BEST Things to do in Edmonton, Alberta (2024 Guide!)

    3. Visit the West Edmonton Mall. Europa Boulevard is one of the neat themed streets in WEM. With over 800 stores to lose yourself in, West Edmonton Mall (aka"WEM") will satisfy even the most hardcore shopper! It is actually the largest mall in all of Canada and the 2nd largest in North America.

  14. 30+ BEST Things to Do in Edmonton, Alberta (for 2024)

    One of Canada's sunniest cities, Edmonton sometimes getting up to 17 hours of daylight. ... Venturing just outside the city limits, there are a number of fun and unique places to visit near Edmonton. For more ideas, check out our 11 day trips from Edmonton post for some family-friendly travel suggestions.

  15. The top 10 attractions in Edmonton

    Elk Island National Park. Bison in Elk Island National Park - credit: Edmonton Tourism. You'll want to spend time in Elk Island National Park, just east of the city -- hike, snap pictures of wildlife, lay on the beach, and, come sundown, watch the Northern Lights. Canada's largest fully enclosed park is a refuge for moose, elk, lynx, black ...

  16. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Edmonton (UPDATED 2024)

    Things to Do in Edmonton, Canada: See Tripadvisor's 152,664 traveller reviews and photos of Edmonton tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in May. ... Other Top Attractions around Edmonton. St. Albert Farmers' Market. 181. 13 km away. St. Albert. Farmers Markets. University of Alberta Botanic Garden. 320. 23 km away.

  17. The Top Attractions in Edmonton

    Thirty-five minutes east of Edmonton lies a wild oasis. Elk Island National Park is the perfect place to day-hike, canoe, snowshoe, skate, and more. This is also a designated dark sky preserve - meaning it's an incredible place to spot the Northern Lights. Get your cameras ready! Canada's largest fully enclosed park is a refuge for moose, elk, lynx, black bears, gray wolves, 250 species of ...

  18. Top Things to Do in Edmonton

    2024. 1. West Edmonton Mall. 4,262. Shopping Malls. The world's largest shopping and entertainment complex, with a roller coaster, tropical rainforest and an indoor bungee jump, in addition to the over 800 stores and 20 restaurants. 2024. 2.

  19. 13 Things to Do in Edmonton

    Take in the Art and Cakes on 124th Street. Edmonton has a thriving art scene. It also has a wonderful culinary scene. If you want to combine the two, with a particular focus on baked good, head to 124th street. Here you'll find two things - a series of excellent art galleries, and the Duchess Bake Shop.

  20. A first-timer's guide to Edmonton

    Edmonton does things big: it's home to Canada's largest sports and entertainment district, the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America, the oldest and largest fringe theater festival in North America and one of the largest shopping malls on the planet. But underneath that big, bold surface is a vibrant capital city with an unpretentious population and a rich and diverse culture.

  21. The top 10 attractions in Edmonton

    World Waterpark, West Edmonton Mall - credit: Edmonton Tourism. If you're thinking some big chain stores and a food court, readjust your lens. This nearly 500,000-square-metre mall is the largest in North America, with 800+ stores , 100 dining venues, a massive indoor wave pool with 17 water slides and a lake, plus amusement park, zoo, and ice ...

  22. 7 Places To Visit In Edmonton On Your Canada Holiday In 2023

    Royal Alberta Museum is certainly one of the best places to visit in Edmonton with family. Location: 9810 103a Ave NW, Edmonton, Alberta. Timings: 10 AM - 5 PM. Entrance fee: $19 (Adults), $10 (Youth), Free for kids below 6. Must Read: Ottawa In January: How To Make The Best Of Your Canada Trip.

  23. 24 fantastic things to do this weekend in Edmonton: July 5 to 7

    What: Edmonton's Canadian Elite Basketball League team draws quite the crowd over at the Edmonton Expo Centre, and you can catch them back in action this month.Cheer on the Stingers while enjoying $5 beer, an under $5 food menu, and free parking in addition to player autographs. Where: Edmonton Expo Centre — 7515 118th Avenue NW When: Friday, July 5, at 7 pm and Sunday, July 7 at 7 pm Cost ...

  24. The 10 Best Things to Do in Edmonton

    2024. 1. West Edmonton Mall. 4,263. Shopping Malls. The world's largest shopping and entertainment complex, with a roller coaster, tropical rainforest and an indoor bungee jump, in addition to the over 800 stores and 20 restaurants. 2024. 2.

  25. Three to See: Gowan, A Collection of Ashes and ...

    Unlimited online access to Edmonton Journal and 15 news sites with one account. Edmonton Journal ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition to view on any device, share and comment on.

  26. Things to do on Canada Day in Edmonton

    From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., visitors are invited to the Alberta legislature grounds for a variety of Canada Day events. Rob Clark, the Edmonton Oilers' official anthem singer, will sing O Canada on ...

  27. Check out what's happening this Canada Day long weekend in Edmonton

    Edmonton's reputation as the festival city is kicking into high gear as multiple events are set to take place during the Canada Day long weekend. Quinn Phillips, communications manager at Explore ...