Edmonton Visitors Guide [y]

[y] Edmonton Vacation Guide

The natural beauty of Edmonton is prominently displayed in the deep, wide North Saskatchewan River Valley that winds through the city center. Edmonton’s downtown overlooks the north bank of this picture-perfect river. Its stately Old Strathcona historic shopping and entertainment district and the University of Alberta overlook the south bank.

Edmonton is a bustling metropolitan center that is home to about 800,000 people. As Edmonton has grown, it has remained a place of beauty and prosperity. Unlike some other oil boomtowns, Edmonton has never allowed uncontrolled development. Now known as “Canada’s Festival City“, Edmonton has developed an amazing park system, world-class sporting facilities, and a cultural ambiance that attracts major annual events of the highest caliber.

The city is well known as the home of the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping and entertainment complex in the world, with over 800 stores and services. The Mall is located in the city’s west end, and all freeways seem to lead directly to it. The Mall has the world’s largest parking lot, an indoor wave pool, indoor waterslide, and an indoor rollercoaster. To make a visit to this exciting megaplex even more enjoyable, there is a hotel in the Mall, as well as an area featuring its own nightlife district (Bourbon Street), complete with a Las Vegas-style casino.

Other major Edmonton attractions are the Muttart Conservatory and the Alberta Legislature Building, both noted for their architectural design, and Fort Edmonton Park, considered to be Canada’s largest living history museum.

Edmonton has turned its greatest natural resource, the North Saskatchewan River valley, into a 17-mile greenbelt of parks and recreational facilities. As the seat of the provincial government, the city has an unusually sophisticated atmosphere that has generated many fine restaurants and a thriving arts community.

Summer activities include golf, bicycling, swimming, jogging, racquetball, squash, and spectator sports. Edmonton is home to three professional sports teams. The Oilers play hockey from September to April; the Trappers excel at baseball in the summer months, and the Eskimos play football from June to November. In the winter there is cross-country skiing, ice skating, dog sledding, and snowshoeing.

For visitors who prefer the indoors, there is an extensive system of underground and overhead “pedways” in the downtown area that makes it possible to travel in comfort regardless of the weather outside. For ease of access, phenomenal natural beauty, and a wide variety of year-round activities for the entire family, Edmonton is unsurpassed.

Edmonton Downtown Hotels

Downtown Edmonton ranges from the historic neighborhoods of the Old Strathcona theatre district to the modern area of the city around the University of Alberta. Edmonton’s long river valley provides many urban parks along with the city, including connected accessible hiking, walking, and biking trails. There are several large festivals held downtown throughout the year, earning Edmonton the name “The Festival City”. The city is also home to many museums, including the Royal Alberta Museum, Telus World of Science and the Alberta Aviation Museum. In addition, Edmonton contains the Fort Edmonton Park, the largest living history museum in the country.

The downtown Edmonton area is home to North America’s largest shopping mall, the West Edmonton Mall, which contains an amusement park and water park among its many retail shops. Winspear Centre is a huge concert hall that houses the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. To get around, the Edmonton Transit System operates a light rail system as well as a network of buses throughout the city. Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Edmonton that are quality hotels at an affordable price. Use our Search box above or click here to see available hotels!

Edmonton Weather

If you are planning a trip to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, you need to spend some time preparing for the city’s weather conditions. As a Canadian city, Edmonton receives its share of cold weather, but the city also experiences some fantastically warm temperatures during certain times of the year. Additionally, Edmonton can be subject to a wide variety of weather patterns and conditions over the course of a single day, making it necessary for visitors to be prepared for a number of scenarios. Generally, the city experiences four seasons, and each season has its own weather characteristics. Knowledge of these characteristics can help Edmonton visitors prepare appropriately.

Winters in Edmonton are actually milder than those in other Canadian cities, but they are still quite cold. Average winter high temperatures range from the low teens into the mid-20s. This means that travelers should dress in warm clothing, preferably in layers. Snowfall in the city is minimal, but icy conditions can exist. Therefore, travelers should be prepared with proper footwear to avoid slips and falls.

Springtime in Edmonton brings temperatures that can rise into the 50s and 60s. Spring also brings increased precipitation in the form of rainfall. The spring season in the city is quite short, and it can feature a wide variety of weather patterns. This is why springtime travelers to Edmonton should be prepared for anything from freezing temperatures and snow to balmy, breezy and sunny warmth.

The summer season is considered to be the most pleasant in Edmonton. This is because temperatures rise into the 60s and 70s and humidity remains quite low. Additionally, the city receives an abundant amount of sunshine that lasts well into the evening hours. Summers generally lasts from late June until the early part of September in Edmonton.

Autumns in Edmonton are similar to the city’s normal spring seasons. During this time, temperatures can vary, but they fall within the range of the 40s and 50s throughout most of the season. Since autumn weather can vary so wildly, visitors should be prepared for a wide variety of conditions.

Even though Edmonton is a fairly dry city, it can experience long spells of precipitation, particularly during the months of May, June, and July. Thunderstorms can pass through the region during this time, as well. Occasionally, tornadoes visit the area, some of which can cause significant damage. Although weather patterns in the city do not cause major problems on a regular basis, they can wreak havoc at certain times. This is why visitors to Edmonton should always keep their eyes and ears open for the latest weather information to help them enjoy their visits.

Edmonton Transportation

Edmonton, a major aviation gateway to northern Canada, is served by the Edmonton International Airport (EIA). The airport has regularly scheduled non-stop flights to locations through Canada, the United States, Europe, and Latin America. The EIA express bus service operated by the Edmonton Transit System provides transportation to and from the airport. Also, the Edmonton Sky Shuttle is a convenient transportation service that operates between EIA and an extensive list of locations within the city. For drivers, the airport is served by six car rental companies (Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National).

Edmonton is also a major rail hub, and intercity rail service is provided by Via Rail Canada. Via Rail’s ‘Canadian’ route serves Edmonton as it runs between Toronto and Vancouver. The passenger trains stop at the Edmonton railway station in each direction. The route runs twice per week from November to April during the off-peak season and three times per week from May to October during peak season. The Edmonton Railway station is located approximately six miles from the city center. Free short and long term parking is available at the station.

The Edmonton Transit System, also known as ETS, is Edmonton’s public transportation provider, and the system operates a network of light rail transit lines and buses throughout the city. The network is broken into two route systems, the base network and the community network. The base network joins communities and major destinations, such as the University of Alberta. This network is open daily with service running every 30 minutes or less. The community network serves local communities and provides commuter express service to downtown and major destinations in the city. All users of the transit system must pay a fare or possess a valid transfer, ticket or pass. There are a variety of fares and pass products for use on the light rail system and bus network. Tickets may be purchased at many locations throughout the city, the ETS online store and at automated machines at the light rail stations.

Edmonton is easily accessible via car from Alberta Highway 2 and Highway 16. The streets of Edmonton mostly consist of a grid system, with streets running south to north and avenues running east to west.

Cycling is a popular form of transportation in Edmonton, and dedicated bicycle lanes and shared used lane markings have been added throughout the city. Bicycles are allowed on any of the city streets, and they are also allowed on light rail vehicles and buses outfitted with bike racks.

Edmonton Attractions

Fort Edmonton Park transports visitors back in time to experience what life was like in Edmonton’s past. The park is divided into four sections each representing a distinct historical period. One section is a fort from the 1840s that takes visitors back to the time of the fur trade. 1885 Street allows visitors to see what life was like at that time through blacksmith demonstrations and other exhibits. The 1905 Street includes a farm tour and an old-fashioned penny arcade among its exhibits. Finally, 1920 Street is the home of the Selkirk Hotel and Capitol Theatre. All of the park’s staff dress in period costumes to give an even more authentic feel. One of the highlights of the entire park is a ride on the Edmonton, Yukon and Pacific Railway train.

For those wanting to learn as much as possible about the history of Alberta, the Royal Alberta Museum provides a wealth of information. The museum is noted for its major collection of mounted bird specimens. Another museum highlight is the Ethnology exhibit of interesting artifacts from the history of Canada’s native people including the Cree and the Blackfoot. The Military and Political History exhibit is also interesting. The museum is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Nature lovers surely won’t want to miss seeing the Devonian Botanic Garden operated by the University of Alberta. The garden contains almost 200 acres of garden space with peony, iris, dianthus, and scores of other flower species. There are several greenhouses in the park containing numerous tropical plants. The botanic garden also includes a butterfly house and the Kirumoto Japanese Garden. The garden is open daily from May through Canadian Thanksgiving Day.

Those wishing to see more of the natural world can visit the Edmonton Valley Zoo. This zoo has a collection of over 300 animals from a variety of species. Some of the major animal attractions include the Siberian tiger, the Arctic fox, the Arctic wolf, and the Asian elephant. Several animal talks are scheduled throughout the zoo during the day. These presentations allow visitors to learn more about the animals and see some species up close. The Edmonton Valley Zoo is open every day except Christmas.

The Alberta Aviation Museum is one of the largest flight museums in Canada. Many aircraft are on display including a De Havilland Cirrus Moth from 1926 and a Barkley-Grow T8P from 1937. There are also many displays detailing the history of aviation. The museum is closed on Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Edmonton Dining

De Dutch
This is hands-down the best spot in Edmonton for breakfast. Their freshly squeezed orange juice is to die for. They make a great eggs Benedict, awesome omelets and fantastic pancakes. Their crepes are simply magical. This is a great spot to impress others with the best breakfast in town.

Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus
For barbecue fans, there is no better spot in town than Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus. They slow cook their meat to smoky perfection, and their sauces will satisfy the most discriminating palettes. Their side dishes are all great and served in generous portions. Be sure not to miss the ribs that fall off the bone and almost melt in diners’ mouths.

The Makk on 124
This is one of the best upscale choices in Edmonton. Diners will enjoy eating some of the most progressive dishes in town. The chef is not afraid to make bold choices with his creations. Their best dishes are the seafood selections. The mango chili shrimp is an amazing dish that should not be missed. The wine list is extensive and diners will enjoy the prompt, knowledgeable and friendly service.

XIX Nineteen
Head Chef Andrew Fung is perhaps the chef who has gained the most accolades in the Edmonton area. Diners who sample the cuisine here will soon find out that he deserves every bit of that praise and more. He is particularly talented at serving diners mouth-watering meats that are cooked to perfection and seasoned fantastically. The baby back ribs are particularly noteworthy. Also worth noting is that this restaurant has the most extensive wine list in town. No one will walk away from XIX Nineteen disappointed.

One One Eight
Beer fans will really love sampling the huge beer list that is on hand here at One One Eight. The food is traditional pub food that is prepared with the freshest ingredients. Anyone looking for a great place to go with large groups will find this is an excellent spot to bring them. Their servers are very good at handling large crowds with aplomb, and they get large groups in and out of the door with remarkable efficiency.

Three Boars Eatery
Pork lovers will find their heaven on Earth at this Edmonton jewel. The pig is the star here, and it is served up in all kinds of playful ways. The place is small and there is not a lot of pretensions. Many dishes are served simply with wax paper on a cutting board. The simplicity of the presentation belies the sophistication of the dishes. This is a place that will impress the most discerning of gourmets.

Edmonton Events

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is known as “The Festival City,” which means that the calendar is filled with special events throughout the year. Many of the city’s events are held in Churchill Square, which is located in the city’s downtown district. One of the city’s most popular annual events is The Works Art & Design Festival. This festival begins in late June and ends at the beginning of July. The purpose of this particular festival is to promote visual art and design pieces created by Canadian artists, but it also showcases fantastic works by non-Canadians. This event has been taking place every year since its inception in 1986, and it costs nothing to attend. The artwork displayed during the festival is shown in a number of places throughout Churchill Square and the downtown section of the city.

The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival is another terrific annual event that takes place in Churchill Square. This event showcases the performances of talented artists, many of whom practice diligently throughout the year in order to display their talents to the public. This festival is held every July, and there is no cost for public attendance.

The most popular summertime event in Edmonton is K-Days. It was formerly known as Klondike Days, but the name was changed to Capital EX, for Capital Exhibition, in 2006. Many members of the public disagreed with the name change, which is why it was changed to the more familiar “K-Days” in 2012. Each year, the event runs during the latter part of July, and it attracts an annual crowd that approaches 800,000 people. K-Days has existed in one form or another since 1879, making it one of the area’s oldest annual events.

Music fans have been enjoying trips to Edmonton for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival since its inception in 1980. Although it is called the Folk Music Festival, a number of different types of music are represented each year. Music at the festival comes from a number of traditional genres such as folk, blues, jazz, country, and even reggae. The festival takes place over four days every August, and it is held at Gallagher Park.

Finally, fans of film love visiting Edmonton during the annual Edmonton International Film Festival. This film fest began as a small, three-day event in 1986, but it has expanded considerably since then. These days, the festival occurs over the course of nine days in September, and it features over 150 different films from creators who are based all over the world. As of the 2010 festival, all of the event’s films are shown at Empire Theatres, which is located in the Edmonton City Centre.

Family Fun near Downtown Edmonton

When visiting Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, there are many different attractions that will provide hours and days of fun for the entire family. Historical sites, parks, and theme parks are just a few types of family-friendly destinations that visitors and residents can enjoy while in Edmonton.

Galaxyland
Galaxyland in Edmonton is the largest indoor amusement park in the entire world. Children and adults alike can enjoy a variety of rides and attractions right in the center of the West Edmonton Mall. Hop aboard the Ferris wheel, carousel, swings and more for a fun, thrilling experience for all ages. Single ride tickets can be purchased when only opting to stay for a short period of time while all-day passes are available for hours of fun enjoying all of your favorite attractions within Galaxyland.

Speeders Indoor Prokarts
Speeders Indoor Prokarts is made up of 50,000 square feet of tracks in an indoor, high-thrill setting. Hop aboard an electric go-kart and make your way around the tracks as fast as you can. This may be one of the only places within Edmonton that you will not receive a speeding ticket for going high mile-per-hour speeds. Party and conference rooms are also available at Speeders Indoor Prokarts.

World Waterpark
Whether it’s winter or summer in Edmonton, enjoy all of the fun that this indoor waterpark offers. World Waterpark is located in the West Edmonton Mall and features a selection of enormous waterslides, swimming pools, hot tubs and even bungee jumping experiences. Stay for hours and watch as the kids splash around in special children-only areas. Changing rooms and complimentary tubes are available with all paid admissions to World Waterpark.

William Hawrelak Park
William Hawrelak Park is a calm, peaceful spot in the heart of the city for families to come and relax. Playgrounds with picnic areas are the ideal spots to let the kids run loose while you prepare a picnic meal. Feed the ducks at the duck pond, go ice-skating outdoors in the winter months, take a walk on the river valley trails and enjoy specially-themed festivals during each season. William Hawrelak Park is one of the best parks in Edmonton.

Fort Edmonton Park
Experience the history behind Edmonton as the Fort Edmonton Park. This living historical village puts guests into a time back in the beginning eras of the city. Different areas of the park represent different eras including the fur trade era, settlement era, and metropolitan era. Meet costumed residents and workers portrayed within their era, walk through historic buildings and more.

Shopping near Downtown Edmonton

West Edmonton Mall
As the largest shopping mall in the world, West Edmonton Mall is one of Canada’s most popular shopping destinations, receiving about 150,000 shoppers each day. A one-stop for shopping, entertainment and accommodation, this 6 million-square-foot complex contains one of the world’s largest indoor amusement parks, a waterpark, ice rink, movie theater, miniature golf course, indoor shooting range, ballroom, 24-hour gym and a recreation center that offers a bowling alley, arcade, pool hall and music stage. Additionally, the mall houses an indoor lake and a hotel. The mall’s stores and restaurants are all divided into sections that are designed to reflect various themes such as Bourbon Street in New Orleans, a European village and Chinatown. With more than 850 stores, shoppers can find a little of everything from cheap to designer brand items.

Londonderry Mall
Shoppers looking for a traditional mall in Edmonton with all the latest in trends, dining, and other customer services, the Londonderry Mall is an attractive option. Featuring more than 150 shops in a warm atmosphere of beautiful decor, the Londonderry Mall is where shoppers can find favorite Canadian stores like Army & Navy, The Bay, Sport Chek Supercentre and Winners. What’s more, this mall offers a food court, three full-service restaurants, a grocery store, and banking services.

South Edmonton Common
Located on 320 acres and covering more than 2 million square feet, South Edmonton Common is the largest open-air shopping center in all of North America. With more than 100 stores that range from outlets to upscale retailers, shoppers can purchase from a wide selection of products such as fashion, electronics, and home furnishings. Additionally, this attractive shopping center offers a variety of tenants that provide professional services such as beauty shops and more.

Old Strathcona
Shoppers who prefer specialty boutiques and independent shops over huge malls and elaborate shopping centers may want to check out Edmonton’s historic district, Old Strathcona. This lively district of pubs, theaters, and restaurants also offers a great number of quaint shops specializing in the likes of clothing, books, home decor, music, sporting goods, and unique gifts as well as health and beauty products. Also located within this district is the Old Strathcona Antique Mall, which houses more than 300 booths of fine antiques and collectibles. Shoppers here will also find spas and beauty salons.

High Street
Edmonton’s High Street is another popular option for unique shops and boutiques. Located near downtown, High Street is a great street for walking and offers plenty of independent shops as well as art galleries.

City Market Downtown
Opened year-round near downtown Edmonton, the City Market Downtown is a lively place where shoppers can find rows of vendors selling fresh produce, farm-raised meats, homemade bread and pastries in addition to handicrafts, jewelry, unique clothing, flowers, local artworks and much more. For the comfort of their vendors and customers, City Market hosts its market indoors during the winter months and outside in the summer.