15 Things You Cannot Miss in Edmonton

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There is something for everyone in Edmonton, boasting natural beauty, culture, history, and attractions. Among its offerings are the largest living history museum in Canada, the largest historical park in Canada, and North America's largest shopping mall. If that's not enough it also has a lively theater scene, many professional sports teams, and amazing architecture. In the city you'll find plenty of opportunities for shopping, dining, hiking, ice skating, and even skiing, making it one of Canada's top tourist destinations.

Here are the best things to do in Edmonton:

1. Visit the Mall

West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The West Edmonton Mall is not like any other mall. There are more than 800 shops and services in this 490,000 square meter shopping mall! It also happens to be one of the largest malls in North America. There are more than 32 million people who visit the mall every year. Some shop at the stores there, while others come to enjoy the attractions. At the West Edmonton Mall, you'll find a theme park, an aqua park, mini-golf, four cinema complexes, and a huge entertainment center. It is also home to a large indoor ice rink, located right in the middle of the shopping center.


2. Take a Walk Through the Park

Edmonton Skyline Alberta Canada People relax on bench

The River Valley Parks in Edmonton is incredibly large, just like the mall. This vast park is actually a combination of 20 different parks which are combined to be 22 times larger than Central Park in New York. There are many reasons to visit the River Valley Parks, including escaping the city center. This area features 22 gorges, 11 lakes, golf courses, and nature centers. Cycling, hiking, and camping are popular there during the warmer months. During the winter, hiking trails transform into cross-country trails, while four hills become downhill slopes. There are trails directly connecting the park to the city, which makes it the best park in the city.

3. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane in the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

Ukrainian church at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village near Edmonton Alberta

Ukraine has a very large population in Edmonton, settlers began arriving as early as 1899. Ukrainian villages with rich heritage are abundant in Edmonton. There is an open-air museum located near the city that is a provincial historical site. The district consists of more than 30 historic buildings, gardens, and monuments that display settlers' life between 1899 and 1930. As the workers are dressed in traditional costumes, they perform activities that were part of everyday life at that time. You can watch the gardens being tended and the bread being baked as well as the work of the blacksmiths and carvers.

4. Explore the Downtown Core

Art Gallery of Alberta in downtown Edmonton Canada

A number of cultural festivals take place in Churchill Square, which is part of the Edmonton Arts District. This was Edmonton's original town square. Edmonton City Hall, the Alberta Art Gallery, the National Bank, and the Francis Winspear Music Center are some of the landmarks surrounding the square. In addition to fine art stores and boutiques, the Arts District has many boutiques. You can also walk to the central business district and warehouse district from the Arts District.

5. Spend a Day Hiking in a Historic Location

Farmers Market in the Old Strathcona Bus Barns in Edmonton Alberta

Located in South Central Edmonton, the Strathcona district is a historic district. Historically, it was the city's commercial heart, but today it is a provincial historical district. Despite being a historic part of the city, it is also very modern and lively. A vibrant nightlife can also be found in the streets, where you'll find fun cafes and trendy shops. District 102 and 106 stretches from 85th Avenue to 80th Street across five city blocks. There are several historic buildings in the neighborhood, including the Strathcona Hotel, Canadian Pacific Station, Princess Theater, and the South Side Post Office.

6. Have Fun During the Festivals

Woman dressed up for Edmonton's Cariwest festival

Edmonton hosts many events throughout the year. The city is sometimes referred to as the 'Festival City of Canada'. The Cariwest Caribbean Art Festival is a unique one you must check out typically held in August. One of the most famous festivals takes place between June and July, the Works Art & Design Festival. The Edmonton International Street Artists Festival is another option for those who cannot attend it. The Canadian Rodeo comes to Edmonton for huge rodeo events. During the summer, K-Day is a big event. An exhibition featuring rides, games, and parades takes place for 10 days.

7. Explore the Museums

Year 1920 Street in Fort Edmonton

Fort Edmonton Park is the largest living history museum in Canada. You should not miss this museum, which consists of four sections, each of which depicts a different era in history. There are many museums in Edmonton, each offering something unique for those interested in history. One of the largest is the Royal Alberta Museum, which features more than 10 million objects that represent the original tribes.

In addition to the Cranwell CLA.4, the de Havilland Mosquito MK B35, and the only BOMARC missile in Canada, the Alberta Aviation Museum has a wide collection of military and civilian aircraft. A planetarium and observatory can also be found in the Telus World of Science, which is a more modern facility.

8. Have Endless Fun Watching a Sports Live

Rogers Place in Alberta, Canada

The city of Edmonton is home to a number of professional sports teams. Its most famous team is the legendary Edmonton Oilers of the NHL, which was once led by Wayne Gretzky. Catching an Oilers game is a must if you are in town during the season. In addition to the Edmonton Eskimos, Edmonton has two other professional sports teams: FC Edmonton and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. There is also a great deal of junior sports activity in Edmonton. Watching these games gives you a look at the next biggest hockey, football, or soccer star.

9. Head Out to a Nearby Ski Slope

View of Jasper from the ski area

There are four ski slopes near Edmonton that are worth visiting during the winter season. Three of them are Edmonton Ski, Sunridge Ski, and Snow Valley. Skiing can be enjoyed at Jasper, which is 365 kilometers from town. Jasper is often reached through Edmonton and is nestled against the Canadian Rockies. There are many reasons to enjoy a vacation in Jasper, including the fact that it is stunning. It also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its breathtaking beauty.

10. Appreciate Some Wonderful Animals

Black and white profile of a peregrine falcon. Photographed at Edmonton Valley Zoo

There are more than 350 animals at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. The zoo provides educational programs regarding endangered animals and is divided into eight separate areas displaying the different species of animals from around the world. There are meerkats, otters, red pandas, emus, and alpacas living in the oldest segment of the indoor zoo. Among the newer areas that were built to house lemur zoos is Makira Outpost. There's also the carnivore alley, where you can find big cats, and the Elephant House and Exhibit.

11. Wander Through the Botanical Garden

Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton Canada

The Muttart Conservatory is one of the most well-known landmarks of the city. There are three greenhouses, four pyramids, and a public garden at the city's botanical garden. The four pyramids were designed by the British architect Peter Hemingway and are arranged in a tight loop around the central core. They include a variety of plants from a variety of biomes, including those found in Australia, Asia, and Canada. In addition to these, there are a number of trees at the Muttart Conservatory, such as eucalyptus trees and tropical evergreen trees. Among the flowers, you will see begonias, roses, geraniums, and water lilies. Stop at a local cafe for a bite to eat right after the tour.

12. Shop Until You Drop

Skyscrapers and shops in downtown Edmonton

The city also has a number of shopping districts in addition to the West Edmonton Mall. The vibrant Whyte Avenue can be found in South Central, which makes it a great start. There are many fashion boutiques, luxury furniture stores, and designer shops along 124th Street in Central. It is also home to the Gallery Walk, where you can choose from a wide variety of unique pieces of art. There are many major brands to choose from at City Center Mall. The second-largest shopping center in Edmonton is Kingsway Mall in North Edmonton. The two-level mall has more than 200 stores.

13. Enjoy Fantastic Meals Throughout the City

Downtown Edmonton Alberta Canada Restaurant Patio

Edmonton offers a variety of restaurants serving cuisines from around the world. There are a number of authentic dining options in Central Edmonton, including Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and Portuguese cuisine. The Central district is also host to many great restaurants offering French and Japanese cuisine. You can also find cheap restaurants as well as mid-range ones in the area. Another great area for gourmets is South Central. In addition to Indian food and Mexican, you can also find Italian and Korean food here too. Since the University of Alberta is located in this area, you can find plenty of cheap dining options here.

14. Have a Look at Some Bison

A herd of Plains Bison on natve prairie land. This is in Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada.

The Elk Island National Park is home to the smallest and largest terrestrial mammals in North America, dwarf shrews, and bison. This area is not only home to these mammals, but also to deer, lynx, porcupines, and coyotes. There are red-throated grebes, double-crested cormorants, herons, American buzzards, and red-tailed hawks in the park. A 35-kilometer drive east of the city will take you there. At a size of 194 square kilometers, Elk Island National Park is quite impressive.

15. Watch Some Horseracing

Horse Racing down the stretch they come

Horseraces are held at Century Mile Racetrack about a 4-minute drive from the Edmonton International Airport. If you're looking for some quick fun when you first land in the city or while you wait to catch a flight out, the Century Mile Racetrack and Casino will satisfy that urge. Bet on the horseraces or sit back and enjoy the show, there's no pressure to gamble. Of course, if you're into gambling, they do offer a whole host of options from over 600 slot machines, to electronic blackjack, and off-track betting areas to name a few.

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