After our recent trip to Western Canada, we wanted to share a list of some of the top things to do in Edmonton Alberta. As Alberta’s capital city, there are loads of things to do in the city from skiing and biking to visiting farmers’ markets and perusing art galleries.
During our time in the capital, we did a Segway tour in Canada’s largest urban park, went to a hockey game, visited an art museum, searched for street art, rode a roller coaster in North America’s largest shopping mall, appreciated plants in a glass pyramid, and ate our way around the city’s growing food scene. We also made a day trip to nearby Elk Island National Park for some great wildlife spotting!
Where is it?
Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, one of the provinces in the western part of Canada. The city is located in south central Alberta and is the province’s second largest city. Both Jasper National Park and Banff National Park are about a four hour drive away. Calgary, Alberta’s largest city, is about a three hour drive south.
Most visitors outside of Canada will likely arrive by air, and the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) is the main airport serving the city. There is also an airport in Calgary. Those in Canada (or in parts of the United States) may also want to drive or come by train as Edmonton is also well connected by rail.
Getting around Edmonton?
Edmonton is a fairly easy city to get around, with an extensive public transit network that includes buses and light rail trains. You can also take taxis or use Uber.
We had a rental car during our stay, which made getting around a lot easier. However, if you have a car be aware that parking in the city center is generally not free, and most city center hotels charge in the region of $15 to $20 CAD per night for parking.
Best Times of Year to Visit Edmonton?
Edmonton has a seasonal varied climate with cold winters (average temperatures often below freezing) and warm summers. Winter lasts from about November to March with short autumn and spring like seasons in between. The wettest month tends to be July.
There is no best time to visit Edmonton as it depends on your interests but the weather does have some effect on the available things to do in Edmonton. In the summer, you’ll find more attractions open, warmer weather, and the majority of the city’s festivals take place between June and August. However, in the winter you have the opportunity for skiing and other winter sports, winter festivals such as the Silver Skate Festival, holiday celebrations, outdoor ice rinks, lower prices, and fewer visitors.
Tour the Alberta Legislature Building
Edmonton is the capital of Alberta so the main buildings of government for the province can be found here. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Alberta Legislature Building, an impressive Beaux Arts style building built between 1907 and 1913.
The guide will tell you the history of the building, show you the primarily architectural features and art of the building, describe a bit of the political process in Alberta, and tell you a bit about some of the most famous premiers (leaders of Alberta’s government). A curious feature inside the building is the palm trees growing around the inside of the dome of the legislature building; how they got there is unknown although they are believed to have come from California in the 1930’s.
Get your Learning On at Edmonton’s Museums
For those interested in a good general museum that has a bit of everything from the history and culture of the area to natural history and science, I’d recommend the Royal Alberta Museum.
For art, I’d recommend the Art Gallery of Alberta which has a funky photogenic building and a collection of over 6,000 works from both Canadian and international artists. For everything science and for some great IMAX movies, head to the TELUS World of Science.
There are also plenty of museums for those with a special interest such as the Alberta Railway Museum, Alberta Aviation Museum, Edmonton Public Schools Archives and Museum, and the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta.