If you’re not from Canada, you may not have heard of Edmonton, but you’ve certainly heard of it if you’re a local. With a growing population of around 100,000, Edmonton is the fifth largest city in Canada. However, with plenty to do and see within the city limits and the surrounding area, there’s no surprise to Edmonton’s growing popularity. If you’re planning a road trip or simply wish to see an up-and-coming city, then continue reading below for everything you need to know about visiting Edmonton.
Why Visit Edmonton?
We could write a separate article on reasons to visit Edmonton because there truly is something to suit everyone’s taste, but we’ll tease you with the following snapshot:
● The food lovers out there will enjoy the vast range of eateries.
● Nature fanatics will love soaking up the wildlife in the town and its surroundings.
● There are mountains worth of shopping destinations.
● Winter is done right in Edmonton – topped off with stunning views of the Northern Lights.
● There is a thriving art scene committed to pushing the boundaries.
● Downtown Edmonton is a hub for sports enthusiasts.
How to Get to Edmonton
If you’re travelling to Edmonton domestically, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s well-connected to neighbouring cities. For example, the four-hour journey from Calgary can easily be made with this Calgary to Edmonton bus, which passes through Red Deer city. Even if you’re travelling from Toronto, which is 3473 km away, you can arrive by public transport (if you’re willing to travel for around 60 hours).
When it comes to travelling from Europe, the majority of people fly into Edmonton. In some cases, like with this Amsterdam to Edmonton route (and back), you can get to the city on a direct flight. Alternatively, travellers can fly into Calgary and get the Calgary to Edmonton bus mentioned above or hire a car and make a proper road trip out of the experience.
The Best Time to Visit Edmonton
Edmonton’s seasons are pretty European, in terms of duration and timeframes, but the temperature changes are much more noticeable. For example, winter runs from November to March and the temperature can reach up to -35°C. In the springtime, temperatures begin to increase and snow melts away to pave way for summer. During the summer months, temperatures tend to sit around 25°C. Lastly, autumn begins to bring the temperature back down, but the stunning vistas make it well worth a visit.
There’s no real “best” time to visit Edmonton, as it all depends on personal preference and the type of weather you wish to experience. However, if you’re searching for an action-packed holiday, June-August tends to be the favourite because it’s when the majority of Edmonton’s festivals are held. For example, the International Street Performance festival in July, and promises to be a truly unique experience.
Great Places to Stay
There are plenty of incredible accommodation options in Edmonton, but where you stay will largely depend on the type of holiday you’re after. For example, Downtown Edmonton is where all of the top hotels and attractions are, whereas West Edmonton is the perfect destination for families, and it’s packed with amusement parks and exciting malls. Alternatively, if you want to be away from the hustle and bustle, hop on a train to South Edmonton to experience the true residential feel.
Dining Out in Edmonton
As an up-and-coming city, Edmonton embraces forward-thinking, which becomes clear when you’re trying to find somewhere to satisfy your tastebuds. For example, Old Strathcona is full of quirky restaurants including MEAT, &27, and El Courtex Mexican Kitchen. Additionally, if you head down Whyte Avenue, you will find tons of incredible restaurants.
If you head into Central Edmonton, you’ll find international cuisine, with a variety of authentic Chinese, Italian, and Portuguese restaurants you can enjoy. If you’re a fan of Mexican food, there are Mexican restaurants where you can make Mexican dinner reservations. Additionally, there’s also a thriving Japanese and French food scene in the area. If you head into South Central, there are plenty of Korean, Tex-Mex, Indian, and Italian eateries to enjoy.
Things to Do in Edmonton
Edmonton is a city stacked full of nature, history, culture, and incredible attractions for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re into the arts, shopping, visiting museums, or wandering through wildlife, you’ll find it in Edmonton. Here are the top picks:
● Visit the museums. The largest museum in Edmonton is the Royal Alberta Museum, which displays a strong collection of native tribe objects.
● Watch a game. Home to NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, once the great Wayne Gretzy’s team, Edmonton has a thriving sports scene to enjoy.
● Skiing. Find a touch of adventure at one of the nearby ski slopes, which you can enjoy all year round.
● Visit the mall. Edmonton mall is a true marvel, as it’s the largest in North America and attracts over 32 million visitors annually. You will find water parks, cinema complexes, and theme parks inside.
● River Valley Parks. This park network is 22x larger than New York’s Central Park, and it’s well worth the visit. You can access the trails straight from the city.
● The Downtown art scene. Beginning at Churchill Square, take a stroll through Edmonton’s incredible art district.
● See the animals. There’s a range of incredible mammals at Elk Island National Park and more than 350 international animals can be found at Edmonton Valley Zoo.
If you can’t fill up your vacation itinerary in Edmonton alone, there are some truly incredible sights to see in the surrounding area. For example, the Canadian Rockies are a four-hour drive away, where you can visit Jasper for a completely different vibe. Alternatively, you can tag the famous city of Calgary on your journey.
Edmonton has the power to match more well-known Canadian powers, including Toronto and Vancouver, but the city simply doesn’t feel the need to brag about it. The weather is true to the traditional seasons, making any time of year the perfect time to visit. Scattered across the various districts, there’s an experience to satisfy anyone’s holiday, whether that be a restaurant, a sports game, or one of the many attractions.