Edmonton is a city known for its natural beauty, culture, history, and attractions. There are lots of things to do in Edmonton for everyone. Edmonton is a Canadian city located on the North Saskatchewan River in Alberta and is also known as the “Gateway to the North” and is Canada’s top tourist destination.
You can go to Edmonton by train, bus, plane, taxi, or rental car depending upon your choice and distance.
Best Time to Visit Edmonton
The summer season which is from June to August is the best time for visiting Edmonton since the city is more beautiful and comes to life with different festivals and activities. However, you can visit Edmonton during winter also if you can bear the low temperatures. In winter you can enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, and ice castle visits.
Places to Stay in Edmonton
There are budget, mid-range, and luxurious hotels available in the city. You can choose as per your liking. The iconic Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is a luxurious hotel with spectacular views of the Edmonton river valley.
Modes of Communication in Edmonton
You can roam around the city through different modes of communication like multiple taxi services, trains, buses, cycles, scooters, and bikes.
Things to do in Edmonton
1. West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping mall in a 490,000 square meters area that has over 800 stores and different services.
Things to do in Edmonton, at West Edmonton Mall include:
- West Edmonton mall is North America’s largest mall and houses North America’s largest indoor water park (World waterpark) and also houses North America’s largest indoor amusement park (Galaxyland).
- Inside West Edmonton mall, there is a golf course, movie theatre complexes, aquarium, scuba diving, and a huge entertainment centre.
- Enjoy skating in the large indoor skating rink.
- See here a full-size replica of the Santa Maria (flagship used by Christopher Columbus to sail to America in 1492)
- Visit the on-site hotel (The Hotel Fantasyland) in West Edmonton mall which has one-of-a-kind themed rooms including pirates, space, and more.
2. Muttart Conservatory
Muttart conservatory is an innovative botanical garden housing 3 greenhouses, four glass pyramids, and public gardens. It was designed by British architect Peter Hemingway.
Things to do in Edmonton, at Muttart Conservatory include:
- Muttart Conservatory is home to a climate-regulated biome with three different zones that are arid, tropical, and temperate like Asia, Australia, and Canada.
- This horticulture facility has over 700 species of plants like American redwoods and Australian eucalyptus. All for education and conservation.
3. Alberta Legislature Building
Alberta legislature building was built in 1913 and is also known as “The Ledge”. It is the meeting point for the Legislative assembly of Alberta and the Cabinet of Alberta or Executive council of Edmonton.
Things To do in Edmonton, at the Alberta legislature building are:
- Take a guided tour here in any of 362 days and get to know about the levels of government, Alberta’s political history and culture, and the daily routine of the legislative assembly.
- The 45 minutes tour also gives an in-depth look at the design, art, and architecture of the building and the parliamentary ceremonies and traditions that take place here.
4. Fort Edmonton Park
Fort Edmonton Park is a magnificent living history museum in Canada. This beautiful wooded parkland covers 158 acres of land, located southwest of Edmonton’s river valley.
Things to do in Edmonton, at Fort Edmonton Park are:
- Visit here to know about the evolution of Edmonton’s early history.
- Fort Edmonton Park has 4 sections representing a different era each of them, that includes a reconstructed Hudson’s Bay Fort from 1846, streets from 1885, streets of 1905, and streets of 1920.
- Get to know the brand new Indigenous people’s experience.
- Enjoy a ride on a steam train, horse-drawn wagon, or streetcars here.
- Costumed historical interpreters are present during a long weekend or national holiday to share the history of the park.
- You can also enjoy watching a short film in the restored 1929 Edmonton Capitol Theater.
5. Edmonton River Valley Parks
Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River valley parks system is Canada’s largest urban park. It covers more than 7,284 hectares of land and 160 km of the pathway.
Things to do in Edmonton, at Edmonton River valley parks are:
- Edmonton river valley Park has 20 major parks, 11 lakes, 22 ravines, and different attractions and facilities like Fort Edmonton zoo, Gold Bar park, the Edmonton Valley Zoo, a miniature golf course, skating or skiing area.
- You can also spot wildlife like hares, skunks, porcupines, and deer.
- You can do cycling, hiking on trails during summer, and skiing during winter.
6. Edmonton Valley Zoo
Edmonton Valley Zoo was opened in 1959, located along the banks of the Saskatchewan River. Traditionally it focuses on research into threatened animal species.
Things to do in Edmonton, at Edmonton Valley zoo are as follows:
- It is home to 350 animals, representing over 100 species from around the world.
- Some animals are taken out with their carrier to meet and engage with the guests, popular species of them are red pandas, snow leopards, lemurs, and arctic wolves.
- Kids can enjoy paddle boats, miniature train rides, and a carousel.
7. Royal Alberta Museum
Royal Alberta Museum is the largest museum in western Canada. It was earlier known as the Provincial Museum of Alberta. It showcases over 10 million objects, a marvellous mix of permanent natural and cultural exhibits including wildlife, entomology, arachnology, and some temporary rotating exhibits too.
Things to do in Edmonton, at Royal Alberta Museum are:
- Royal Alberta Museum has 3 permanent galleries that are named the wild Alberta, a Syncrude Gallery of Aboriginal culture and natural history.
- You will get to explore fossils from the dinosaur and ice age, a huge aquarium of native fishes, and live insects of exotic and enormous species.
- Children can enjoy an interactive kid’s gallery.
- In the Cultural History department, you will get to discover aboriginal cultures with artefacts from Blackfoot, Cree, and other First Nations.
8. Art gallery of Alberta
Art Gallery of Alberta was founded in 1924, main work was to exhibit and preserve art and visual culture. It is the oldest cultural institution in the region. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2010 with glossy zinc and stainless steel designed structure representing the meandering North Saskatchewan River and aurora that is the Northern lights. It is located at Sir Winston Churchill square.
Things to do in Edmonton, at the Art gallery of Alberta are:
- The Art gallery of Alberta is home to more than 6000 artworks from early local Alberta and western Canadian art to modern artworks from around the world.
- Different art, educational and public programs are offered here for children, and adults.
- You can enjoy it here and explore the place through talks, movies, late-night Wednesdays, Alberta culture days, and family activities.
- Private guided tours are also available and a restaurant is there to kill your hunger.
9. Downtown Edmonton
Churchill Square is the core of Downtown Edmonton. It is surrounded by a city hall, the art gallery of Alberta, and the Stanley Milner Library.
Things to do in Edmonton, at Downtown Edmonton are:
- You can walk through the streets of Downtown Edmonton to access the river valley.
- Pay a visit to the iconic hotel Macdonald at the edge of downtown.
- Towards West, 104 street is a beautiful one with views of its historic red brick buildings, restaurants and bars, and neon sign museum too.
- During summer, the streets of downtown Edmonton fill in with local vendors every Saturday from 10 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon.
10. Elk Island National Park
Elk Island national park is located east of Edmonton city within 30 minutes drive. It is a beautiful wooded area with lakes and wetlands covering 194 square kilometres of land. It is the largest fully enclosed park in Canada.
Elk island national park is home to diverse ecosystems and habitats, including native grasslands, boreal forests, northern prairies, and Asian parklands. Things to do in Edmonton, at Elk Island national park are:
- Elk island national park is a great place for activities like spotting wildlife, stargazing and watching the Northern lights.
- This place is a home for bison, tiny pygmy shrew, elk, and 250 species of birds.
- During summer, you can go camping, hiking, biking, kayaking or canoeing, or golfing.
- During winter, cross country skiing and snowshoeing are popular.
11. Jasper National Park
Jasper national park is known as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is s beautiful national park located 4 hours west of Edmonton city. Things to do in Edmonton, at Jasper national park include:
- It is home to the quaint mountain town of Jasper and the Canadian Rockies.
- Enjoy an adventurous scenic tour on the Jasper sky tram and a boat ride on Lake Maligne.
- Do hiking on Maligne Canyon hiking trails.
- You can do skiing in winter here.
12. TELUS World of Science
TELUS World of science is an educational science centre that is a place for the person of all ages. Things to do in Edmonton, at TELUS World of science are:
- Here, you can experience interactive and hands-on science and technology exhibits on space, robots, forensics, and the environment.
- Enjoy watching short educational movies at Margaret Zeidler Star Theater planetarium and IMAX theatre.
- Experience stargazing at an on-site observatory.
- Different varieties of programs, workshops, camps like scout and guide or summer camps, and astronomy classes for adults are also offered here at TELUS world of science.
13. Neon Sign Museum
Neon sign museum is the first-of-its-kind museum in Canada. It is installed on the east wall of the TELUS building and the south wall of the Mercer Warehouse building on 104 streets and 104 avenues. Things to do in Edmonton, at the Neon sign museum are:
- Get to know about the history of Edmonton through the 20 functional historic neon signs.
- It is always open and free of cost.
14. Alberta Aviation Museum
Alberta aviation museum is located near the Edmonton city centre airport. Two fighter jets mounted outside are the prominent feature of it. Things to do in Edmonton, at the Alberta aviation museum are:
- In the Alberta aviation museum, there is a display of 40 aircraft and their related information.
- Get to see a rare form of aircraft hangar constructed as part of Canada’s pilot training program back in world war 2.
- Get to know about aviation history in a 90-minute guided tour.
15. Alberta Railway Museum
Alberta railway museum is located in the northern suburbs. It was founded in 1976 to preserve the rich railway heritage of the province. Things to do in Edmonton, at the Alberta Railway museum include:
- A replica of a small terminal with a station, a water tank, and several shops will give you the experience of that time.
- It features some still operating and static locomotives and rolling stock from around the country.
- It features 75 engines and railcars, original railway buildings, and related artefacts.
- Enjoy a ride on one of the vintage trains or a speeder during summertime.
16. Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
Ukrainian cultural heritage village is an open-air museum, located 25 minutes east of Edmonton. This open-air museum houses refurbished buildings from the east-central Alberta depicting the tale of early Ukrainian settlement in Alberta from 1892 to 1930.
Things to do in Edmonton, at the Ukrainian cultural heritage village are:
- Get to know the story of the survival and perseverance of the Ukrainian people through the more than 35 restored historic buildings and costumed interpreters in the Ukrainian cultural heritage village.
- Explore living history elements like a blacksmith, a market, and an old-fashioned general store.
- Interactions with the costumed guides will give you a glimpse of the life of early settlers.
- Enjoy delicious Ukrainian food at the concession.
- Participate in events or workshops hosted throughout the year like cooking demonstrations, harvest celebrations, and commemoration of Ukraine’s national day.
17. Whyte Avenue
Whyte Avenue is the most popular street, located in Old Strathcona. Just walk Whyte avenue to see a glimpse of Edmonton city. Things to do in Edmonton, at Whyte avenue are:
- This historic district has many historic buildings as well as trendy parts too.
- It has many art galleries, music shops, trendy restaurants, and cafes.
- Visit picturesque Dr Wilbert Mcintyre park where different festivals, public events, or informal gathering takes place.
- Take a tour to nearby Old Strathcona Farmer’s market on Saturday between 8 am to 3 pm.
18. Alberta Botanic Garden
Also called as University of Alberta Devonian botanic garden, it was founded in 1959 and covers almost 240 acres of land. It is the largest botanic garden in the province. Things to do in Edmonton, at Alberta botanic garden include:
- This Botanic garden is divided into two parts. One part of about 160 acres of area is left in its natural state with trails and the other part of about 80 acres of area has different gardens like a Japanese garden, an Indigenous garden, a tropical greenhouse with butterflies, and numerous displays of indoor and outdoor plant species.
- Aga Khan Garden is a 12-acre site and it is inspired by Islamic architecture and landscape but with northern twists.
- Many Pleasant forest paths, peaceful terraces, beautiful ponds, pools, and waterfalls are also there.
- You can roam on your own or go for a free guided tour.
- You can enjoy the annual opera al Fresco event performed by the Edmonton opera company here in June.
- Visit the research centre which offers workshops, and educational programs for children or young people too.
19. Alberta Beach
Lac St. Ann’s Alberta beach is an hour north of Edmonton. It is on the southeast shore of the city and is in the centre of the town. Things to do in Edmonton, at the Alberta beach are:
- This cute cottage-filled village is beautiful and is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and swimming.
- You can enjoy staying in the campgrounds in the middle of the town.
- Visit the weekly farmers market every Sunday from the spring season till fall.
20. Sylvan Lake
The most popular lake in Alberta is less than a two-hour drive away from the city and makes a perfect day trip. Things to do in Edmonton, at Sylvan lake are:
- This white sand beach is beautiful, mesmerizing, and perfect for relaxing.
- Catch the weekly movies at the beach during summer. The food trucks are there during movie night so you can enjoy local food too.
- Have an ice cream at the ‘Big Moo’ on the Lakeshore drive.
- It has a campground, hotels, and cute cabins to stay in and extend your visit.
Other Things to do in Edmonton
Edmonton is a city with numerous activities. Here are some more things to do in Edmonton city.
Edmonton is known as Canada’s festival city since it hosts more than 50 festivals throughout the entire year. Some of the most popular are-
- The Works Art and Design Festival takes place between June and July. It is one of the most famous festivals.
- The Edmonton international fringe festival is the largest and one of a kind in North America. It takes place in August. At Edmonton international fringe festive,l local artists perform world-class theatre arts.
- Edmonton Heritage Festival- This Festival occurs annually on August’s long weekend at Hawrelak Park. This showcases many different cultures of Alberta. Alberta Based cultural groups share their history, song, dance, and food with the world. This is good for the family since it is tobacco and alcohol-free.
- Silver Skate Festival- Edmonton’s oldest winter festival takes place for 10 days in February every year. This Festival offers sports, arts, culture, and recreation extravaganza for the whole family. Enjoy watching the Sculpture garden, and skate racers at the Kortebaan, Capital Classic Hockey tournament, try out jam-can curling and walk on the frozen silver skate folk trails. At Nights, musicians and street performers will entertain you.
- Edmonton International Street performer’s festival.
- November’s Canadian Finals Rodeo and Farm fair.
- K-days- The biggest event of the summer. It is a 10-day exhibition with rides, games, shows, and live entertainment.
- The folk festival.
- The international Jazz festival.
2. Go Skiing in Edmonton
Skiing Is most popular in Edmonton during winters. There are ski slopes namely Edmonton ski, snow valley ski club, Sunridge ski area, and Jasper.
3. Have a Fine Dining Experience in Edmonton
Edmonton is a foodie paradise with cuisines from all over the world in different budget ranges. There is a variety of eateries in Central Edmonton, the central district, and the south-central area. Some are-
- Tzin- it is the perfect spot for wine and tapas, try out the “surprise me” menu option here.
- Vaticano Cucina- authentic rustic Italian food is served.
- Craft Beer market- enjoy great food and samples of draft beer here.
- Duchess Bakeshop- Persian inspired bakery offers the perfect blend of classic French pastries with Alberta favourites.
4. Enjoy Sports and Games in Edmonton
For sports-loving persons, Edmonton is a great place. It is sometimes known as the city of champions.
- Hockey team Edmonton oilers- The most iconic NHL team, Edmonton is home to this team. If you like hockey, try to get a ticket to Rogers arena in downtown Edmonton and enjoy.
- Football team Edmonton Elks is a popular CFL team. Enjoy this fast-paced Canadian Football game in summer.
- North American soccer league’s FC Edmonton.
- Ice hockey– National sport in winter.
5. Paddle the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton
The big North Saskatchewan River cuts through the centre of Edmonton and is located in the river valley. One of the top things to do in Edmonton is paddling the river. The flow of the river is different throughout the year. You can opt for a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard as per your liking.
6. Visit River Valley Adventure Company
River Valley adventure company offers a good range of guided tours throughout the city and also provides equipment for use on self-guided tours. Its office is located at the Louise Mckinney riverfront park. Some adventures are:
- A Segway tour through North America’s largest urban parkland.
- High-end Mountain bike ride to explore the city.
- Some sports equipment like volleyball sets, football along with fishing equipment are offered.
- Enjoy Coffee and snacks at the Urban Green cafe.
7. Enjoy the Ride on a High-level Bridge Streetcar
The High-Level Bridge Streetcar is a vital component of the city’s heritage. It is run by the Edmonton Radial Railroad society. Streetcars were introduced in 1908 to the city and became famous for their Streetcar ride over the North Saskatchewan River (one of the highest river crossings by a Streetcar in the world).
Its history can be discovered at the museum in the Streetcar Barn at Strathcona. You Can enjoy a ride on the vintage 1912 Edmonton streetcar #33 across the High-level Bridge and admire the beautiful views.
Take some days off your busy life and plan a family trip to Edmonton. Indeed, there are lots of things to do in Edmonton, just enjoy life here.