Aerial view of Edmonton on a sunny day

Pocket travel guide: Edmonton, Canada

travel guide

Edmonton is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta - home to the Rockies! One of the sunniest places in Canada, Edmonton has a great mix of culture, food and a buzzy downtown, while being a safe city for travellers. I have been calling Edmonton home since 2015 and here's what you need to know when visiting this vibrant city.

When to visit Edmonton

The best time to visit Edmonton is in the summer months, when the river valley is bustling with festivals, activities and seasonal markets. During this season you can enjoy long daylight hours, go hiking, ride the historic streetcar and more.

If you are okay with the cold, Edmonton is amazing in the winter as well - just ensure you are wearing warm clothing so you can make the most of your visit! There are a range of festive events in the winter and over the Christmas season.

A snowy view of Edmonton in winter
Panoramic view of the Edmonton on a sunny day

Getting around Edmonton

When planning your trip, arrange to arrive at the Edmonton International Airport (located in Leduc). Although Edmonton has a decent public transportation network with buses and light rail trains, you do need a car to comfortably explore the city and head to different attractions.

Roads are well maintained in Edmonton, just be mindful to take more care driving in the winter time - drive slowly and always be prepared for the conditions.

Where to stay in Edmonton

In terms of accommodation, staying in the city centre is usually the best idea - there are many hotels to choose from, plus restaurants and attractions will be close by.

Where to go in Edmonton

Take the time to explore the downtown area - this is the heart of the city, and most of the primary attractions such as art galleries, museums and theatres are located here. Some of my favorites are the Royal Alberta Museum, Citadel Theatre, Muttart Conservatory, and the Walterdale Bridge.

Old Strathcona historical district, now Edmonton's premier arts and entertainment district.

A little further away from downtown is Strathcona, one of my favorite areas to eat in Edmonton. From local to international diners, cafes and bakeries (plus quirky boutiques) you will have to catch the sunsets at Strathcona/Whyte Ave.

Fort Edmonton Park is another spot worth adding to your itinerary. This is a heritage park that will bring to mind images of colonial shops and trading. There are buildings, structures, forts and street cars from the late 19th century. I highly recommend visiting this park to learn about colonial history, and introduction of industrialisation at the turn of the century.

Things to do in Edmonton

Being the capital city, you it's worth paying a visit to the Legislature Building, lovingly known as the Ledge (by locals). Visit the legislature grounds on a nice sunny afternoon, and enjoy a picnic. You can also go on a tour of the building.

The Legislative building in Edmonton reflected in a pond on a summer's day.

Visit Rogers Place for a game of ice hockey - one of must do items on a Canadian bucket list. Rogers Centre is a multi-use indoor arena and home to the Edmonton Oilers hockey team. This stadium is located in the Ice District, close to Edmonton city centre.

If you love to shop, you will be delighted to know that Edmonton is home to the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in the whole of North America!

Scenic views of Elk Island National Park, Alberta Canada

And, if you want to escape from the busy city for a while, there are also a lot of hiking trails and parks that you can enjoy during your stay. Edmonton truly has the best of city and nature combination.

During your trip you must also add a visit to Elk Island National Park, this is where you can chase northern lights, and also check out bison. This is perfect for a day trip from Edmonton, located only 40 minutes away each way.

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Mayuri Kashyap

Author - Mayuri Kashyap

Mayuri is the founder & editor of Canada Crossroads. An Indian Canadian globetrotter, she has traveled to over 100 cities and 25 countries. Mayuri has a graduate degree in History and is an MBA. She loves traveling the world, capturing historical nuances, and discussing that over a cup of coffee with her husband, Salil. She currently resides in Edmonton, Canada, and plots travel plans to Europe, and beyond.

Last Updated September 6, 2021

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