Travel Guide North America Canada Alberta Edmonton

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Introduction

Edmonton Skyline

Edmonton Skyline

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Sitting right in the centre of Alberta, Edmonton is the second biggest city and the capital of the province. It has about 750,000 inhabitants living in the city itself, 875,000 in the urban area and over 1 million in the total metropolitan area. Founded on the banks of the North Saskatchewan river by the Hudson's Bay Company in the days of the exploration of the Canadian West, Edmonton has grown into an important political, educational and cultural centre of western Canada.

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Neighbourhoods

Downtown

Downtown Edmonton is bounded by 97 street on the east, 109 street on the west, and between 97 and 104 ave.

The cultural centre of downtown is Churchill square, at 102 Avenue and 100 Street. The Square underwent major transformation in 2004 and is now designed to cater to the many festivals it hosts each year such as the Edmonton International Street Performer's Festival and Taste of Edmonton. During the summer, Churchill Square is full nearly every weekend for one of the many summer festivals. The Square contains many pieces of public art as well as areas for lounging, performing, eating, shopping, and people watching.

Just off of Churchill square to the east is the world-class performance hall Francis Winspear Centre for Music, and the Citadel theatre. The Winspear is home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Davis Symphony Organ. This organ is world renown with many of the world's top organists coming just to play it. The Citadel is one of the largest theatre spaces in Canada and also houses an atrium with tropical plants. Just north of Churchill Square is Edmonton city hall, and a wading pool, popular on hot summer days, which doubles as a skating rink in the winter. At City Hall is a restaurant called Kids in the Hall Bistro. It is a place where troubled teens are given a job and are taught basic work and life skills.

Much of the downtown is connected through underground pedways which culminate at City Centre Mall. With over 170 shops and services, this mall becomes packed at lunch time.

Warehouse District

The west end of downtown, is the Warehouse District was previously used almost exclusively as warehouse space. In recent years, however, the warehouse district has seen a rebirth as many old warehouses have been renovated for residential or commercial uses. The main street of the warehouse district is the 104 street promenade, where high rises tower above popular restaurants and stores. 104 street is also the setting of the City Market where residents can by fresh produce and crafts every Saturday from mid May until October. There are also a few amazing restaurants such as the Blue Plate Diner and Tzin that offer unique meals with fresh ingredients.

Oliver

Just west of downtown is Oliver. Oliver is one of Edmonton's old neighborhoods, however throughout the years it has undergone a lot of development. Although there are only few buildings that demonstrate the history of this neighborhood, it is a dynamic neighborhood anchored by a large number of residential high rises overlooking the river valley, with some popular restaurants and bars.

Old Strathcona

Originally a separate city located from across the river from Edmonton, Strathcona was incorporated into the city of Edmonton in 1912. The neighborhood of Old Strathcona centres along trendy Whyte Avenue (82nd avenue) and extends from between about 99th street on the east to about 109st on the West where it meets Garneau. Probably one of the most alternative areas of the city, Whyte Avenue attracts all sorts of people, and is popular for its clothing stores, bars, clubs, shops, and restaurants. Old Strathcona is also home to a vibrant art scene , just off whyte ave is the Old Strathcona Theatre District which is home to popular locations such as the Varscona Theatre and the Transalta arts barns. Old Strathcona is also home of Edmonton International Fringe Festival.

Garneau

Located just between Old Strathcona and the University of Alberta, Garneau is one of Edmonton's oldest neighborhoods. Made up of high rise apartment buildings, walk-ups and some restaurants, Garneau is a popular location for a large amount of the University of Alberta's student population.

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Sights and Activities

A young city, Edmonton's historic structures are still relatively new. The City of Edmonton's Municipal Historic Resources are buildings or structures that have been designated by bylaw as buildings or structures legally protected from demolition and from inappropriate changes and alterations. For further reading about Edmonton's architecture from 1940-1969, Capital Modern is a book available from the Art Gallery of Alberta.

  • Fort Edmonton Park
  • West Edmonton Mall, which for many years held the title of of being the largest mall in the world is a popular destination for visitors. The mall includes a huge indoor water park showcasing the worlds largest indoor wave-pool as well as a large indoor amusement park. West Edmonton mall is also home of many big name stores that cannot be found elsewhere in western Canada.
  • Royal Alberta Museum
  • Telus World of Science
  • Art Gallery of Alberta
  • Muttart Conservatory
  • Elk Island National Park is located a good 50 kilometres east of Edmonton. People mainly visit it to have a chance to spot the bisons in the park, However much more wildlife can be observed like elk, moose and many species of birds. There are many hikes that can be done. Kayaking on the lakes is possible aswell. You can also decide to spend a couple of nights here on the campingsite.

One of Edmonton’s greatest attractions, the North Saskatchewan River Valley park system provides a natural corridor for all-season recreation and relaxation. The river valley is the longest expanse of urban parkland in North America at 7,400 hectares – 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park – with golf courses, 22 major parks and over 160 kilometres of maintained multi-use trails for walking, cross-country skiing, cycling, and more. Several attractions are located along the river valley including Fort Edmonton Park, the Valley Zoo, and the Muttart Conservatory.

One of the most popular river valley parks is Hawrelak Park, located just west of Groat Road near the University of Alberta. It encircles a large pond, summer home to a variety of ducks and geese. It's the site of several Edmonton festivals, including Shakespeare in the Park and Symphony Under the Sky. In winter it is a popular venue for outdoor ice skating and cross-country skiing.

Edmonton is home to a number of professional and amateur sport teams. The Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League are the most recognized team and have won five Stanley Cups. Since 2016, they have played at the 18,641-seat Rogers Place, located at the north edge of downtown. This arena replaced the Northlands Coliseum (known most recently as Rexall Place), which had been home to the team since 1974. Tickets are available, but games are routinely sold out, and tickets must usually be bought from a broker at higher prices. Minor league hockey is also part of the Edmonton sports scene: the major junior Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League also moved to Rogers Place from Northlands Coliseum, while several junior 'A' and senior 'AAA' teams play in metro Edmonton. Tickets to these games are available at the door.

Edmonton is also home to the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. The Eskimos have won 13 Grey Cups and play at the 60,000 seat Commonwealth Stadium. Good seats can be bought in advance, but few games are sold out and tickets can be purchased at the door. For basketball, the Edmonton Energy of the International Basketball League play at Grant MacEwan Gymnasium against smaller American cities and other Canadian cities. There is no professional soccer in Edmonton at present, but FC Edmonton, which most recently played in the North American Soccer League, will resume play in 2019 as a founding member of the Canadian Premier League, returning to their previous home of Clarke Park. There is no professional baseball in Edmonton at this time, but the collegiate Edmonton Prospects play at RE/MAX Field in the summer.

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Events and Festivals

Edmonton is known as Canada's Festival city. During the summer the city hosts a number of world class festivals. Some of the highlights are:

  • Edmonton International Fringe Festival - Edmonton’s world-renowned theatre festival, the oldest and largest in North America and the second-largest in the world.
  • Edmonton International Street Performers Festival - Top performers from around the world come to downtown Edmonton to impress and entertain.
  • Capital Ex - Formerly "Klondike Days" Capital Ex features many live entertainment and cultural events, as well as midway and exhibitions.
  • Edmonton Heritage Festival - A proud demonstration of Canadian multiculturalism, over 60 pavilions representing different world cultures provide food, artwork, and cultural demonstrations.
  • Taste of Edmonton - Usually run at the same time as Capital Ex, a large group of Edmonton Restaurants set up downtown and give people a chance to sample some their fare.
  • Festival of Trees - A collection of Christmas activities, markets and exhibitions set around a collection of unique and elaborately decorated Christmas trees.
  • Edmonton International Jazz Festival
  • Edmonton Folk Music Festival - World class folk fest featuring a large variety of artists and types of music.
  • Cariwest - Edmonton's Caribbean Arts Festival including a colourful parade downtown and exciting entertainment.

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Weather

Edmonton's climate is one of extremes, with hot summers and very cold winters. The warmest months are July and August, where the average daily high averages around 22 °C to 23 °C with the temperature sometimes reaching well over 30 °C. December and January are the coldest months, where the average high is between -8 °C and -5 °C, but temperatures can plummit below -40 °C on some winter nights.

Most visitors to the city try to come in the summer and avoid the bitter Canadian winter. It is important to remember that in Edmonton, except for on exceptionally hot and humid days, the temperature does drop significantly at night. A day that is scorching the afternoon will likely require at least a light sweater in the late evening.

Edmonton is the most northern major city in North America. The high latitude means very long summer days, where the daylight lasts about 17 hours. In the the early summer, it is often not completely dark until after 11:00pm.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max-8 °C-4.7 °C1 °C10.7 °C17.4 °C20.5 °C22.2 °C21.7 °C16.9 °C10.9 °C-0.4 °C-5.9 °C
Avg Min-19.1 °C-16.3 °C-9.9 °C-2.2 °C3.4 °C7.7 °C9.5 °C8.3 °C3.3 °C-2.4 °C-11 °C-16.7 °C
Rainfall22.7 mm13 mm16 mm26.3 mm49.9 mm87.4 mm95.2 mm70.3 mm47.1 mm19.8 mm17.7 mm17.3 mm
Rain Days11.18.39.1811.314.214.412.69.96.68.510.1

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Getting There

By Plane

Most flights in and out of Edmonton fly out of the Edmonton International Airport (YEG). The airport is actually located near the city of Leduc, about 35 kilometres south of Edmonton downtown. There are shuttle buses and taxis available into the city.

The airport has domestic flights to most locations in Canada, as well as many major American hubs. Some direct flights are also available to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. The airport is growing quickly with new direct flights to various locations being added frequently.

By Train

The Canadian by ViaRail operates between Vancouver and Toronto, stopping en route is many places, including Edmonton.

By Car

The are two main highways with access to Edmonton. Highway 2, or the Queen Elizabeth 2 highway (locally known as QE2) connects Edmonton to Red Deer, Calgary and southern Alberta. Highway 16, or the yellowhead highway is part of the Trans-Canada highway system. To the east the yellowhead highway continues into Saskatchewan and connects to central and eastern Canada. To the west the yellowhead leads to the Canadian Rockies and Jasper.

By Bus

Greyhound Canada serves a number of cities in Canada and the USA.

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Getting Around

By Car

Driving around Edmonton is pretty easy for a city of its size. The city is laid out in a grid pattern, with numbered streets running north/south and numbered avenues running east/west. The traffic is not usually too bad for a city of its size. If you are coming to Edmonton in the winter and are not used to winter driving be aware that the roads will likely be slippery and be sure to drive cautiously.

Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:

By Public Transport

Edmonton has a well established public transportation system. Most attractions are on main bus routes, which are usually pretty reliable. The LRT, or light rail transit system only services the northeast side of the city, through downtown and to the University Campus, however is currently being expanded and plans are being made to extend it to all parts of the city.

During peak hours, buses run as frequently as every 15 minutes. Outside of peak, the frequency drops to every 30 minutes and on some routes to industrial areas or far-flung suburbs as infrequent as one service per hour. Many major bus routes will operate as early as 5:00am to as late as 1AM, but there are a number which stop running at 8:00pm-9:00pm or only run only during peak hours (6:00am-9:00am and 3:00pm-6:00pm). Some bus routes do not run on Sundays.

Edmonton was the first North American city with a population of under 1 million to have developed a light rail system. It is a part of the Edmonton Transit System (ETS), which also manages the buses. The light rail system has two lines: the Capital Line and the Metro Line. The Capital Line runs from Century Park Station (formerly known as Heritage) via Health Sciences/Jubilee and Churchill Stations to Clareview Station in the northeast section of the city. The Metro Line shares the tracks of the Capital Line from Century Park Station to Churchill Station where it branches off to terminate at NAIT Station (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Nights and Sundays, the Metro Line's southern terminal becomes Health Sciences/Jubilee Station instead of Century Park Station. Both lines go past the University of Alberta main and South campuses.

The LRT operates between 5:00am and 1:00am daily. Trains run on a 5-minute frequency during rush hour, ten-minute frequency midday and Saturdays, and on a 15-minute frequency in the evening and on Sundays. When the Metro Line is running at full capacity, train frequency will double between Health Sciences/Jubilee station and Churchill station.

Fares are $3.25 with children under 6 riding free. Day passes can be bought for $9.25 regardless of age group. A pack of 10 tickets can be purchased for $24.75 (adults) or $21.50 (seniors) and may be better than day passes if you plan only a few trips per day over multiple days. Single trip tickets are valid for 90 minutes and allow return and stopovers within that time limit. Day passes (also called family passes) allow one adult to accompany up to 4 children aged 12 or under at no charge for the children. Tickets can be purchased at the ETS online store, automated fare vending machines located at all LRT stations, or at the ETS Customer Information Centre located on the pedway level of Churchill Station.

By Bike

Edmonton has excellent cycling routes which allow for all-year cycling, though winter cycling can be challenging for those unaccustomed to Edmonton weather. These marked routes, combined with a lack of freeways to traverse and relatively low traffic compared to other major cities, low snow or rainfall, and a fairly flat terrain, make Edmonton an easy city to travel by bicycle.

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Eat

As per the Canadian culinary tradition, there is not much to be said for "Canadian" food in Edmonton. However, many restaurants provide delicious food from all over the world, and unique twists on traditional western dishes.

Warehouse district:

Old Strathcona:

  • Dadeos (Whyte Ave) - Cajun food.
  • Furusato (10002 82 AVE (Whyte Avenue) - Japanese
  • Lagano Skies (Whyte Avenue) - Ethiopian

Oliver:

Downtown:

  • The Four Rooms
  • La Tapa - Spanish

Garneau:

Elsewhere:

  • Tropica - Malaysian Cuisine. Two locations, south side or west end.
  • Red Ox Inn
  • The Cheese Factory has a large range of cheeses and is a good place to try some Poutine, a Canadian speciality involving fries, curd and gravy. Located at 8943, 82E Avenue Northwest.

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Drink

The three local microbreweries are Alley Kat, Ambers's Brewing, and Yellowhead Brewery.

There are many pubs, clubs, lounges, and bars clustered on Jasper Avenue (downtown) and Whyte Avenue (Old Strathcona). Some of the most popular in Old Strathcona include Hudson's', Lucky 13, Filthy McNasty's, The Rack, Funky Buddha, and O'Byrne's.

For those looking for a more indie experience should journey to Black Dog Pub and Empress Ale House who provide visitors with a less mainstream outing.

Downtown you will find a range of places to serve your drinking desires. Contemporary resto-lounges, such as Suede, The Hat, Sherlock Holmes, Red Star Pub, and The Pint.

A variety of dance clubs can be located in the downtown area and these include: Vinyl Retro Dance Lounge (Retro Classics/Top 40), Oil City Roadhouse (Country), Treasury Vodka Bar (Top 40/Electronic), and Warehouse (Top 40)

Edmonton also has a prominent LGBT community and offers several establishments that cater to this particular group; Buddy's Nightclub, Flash, and Junction. In addition, on the last thursday of every month Empress Ale House hosts a special 'Beers for Queers' night.

Further afield Edmonton also offers nighttime spots in less centralized locations. The Ranch Roadhouse is a country music nightclub located in South Edmonton at 6107 104 Street and has long been a favorite of country music enthusiasts. West Edmonton Mall located in West Edmonton provides visitors with a number of bars including Empire Ballroom a large vegas-style club, Whisky Jack's Urban Saloon yet another country music club, and Hudsons the west end location of the Edmonton pub chain.

Jasper Ave and 104th Street offers two quality offerings for cafes, Transcend Coffee and Credo Cafe. Transcend Coffee is a local coffee roaster and offers quality espresso and brewed Clover coffee options made to order. Transcend Jasper also has a live music venue and some beer and wine offerings. Credo carries Intelligentsia coffee from L.A. and Chicago and prepares it well. With either cafe you cannot go wrong.

Three Bananas Cafe is another perfect stop; it's on the way to the Churchill LRT station at Churchill Square (102 Avenue between 99 and 100 Street) they also carry Intelligentsia.

Elm Cafe just outside of the downtown core at 117th ST just North of Jasper Ave is worth the distance. Delicious unique breakfast/lunch sandwiches rotated daily and other offerings. Not to mention excellent espresso and brewed coffee. Elm cafe carries 49th Parallel Coffee from Vancouver.

Many Starbucks, Second Cups and other coffee chains are spread across the downtown core.

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Sleep

Most of the budget hotels in the city are concentrated in and around the south (e.g. Derrick Hotel) end of the city or in the deep east central area. There is also a lot in the nearby suburbs. There are also hostels located downtown, by Jekyll & Hyde's Pub, and just off of Whyte Avenue.

Closer to the core, Holiday Inn Express Downtown and the Comfort Inn & Suites are good options. These two offer great views along with easy access to the benefits of downtown. In the north end, the Prospector's Gaming Room and North Inn and Suites are some great examples of some modern and simple good priced hotels at that part of the city. In the West End, with the closeness of West Edmonton Mall, there are a ton of hotels to choose from, most of which are on 100 Ave.

South of the river, in Old Strathcona-University the Campus Suites is a great option for nice service and its proximity to the University. Days Inn Edmonton South is a recent addition to Old Strathcona, just a few blocks off Whyte Avenue. Also on Gateway Boulevard there is a lot of hotels like Greenwood Inn & Suites, Ramada South, Ramada Edmonton, Mayfield Inn, Travelodge South, Econo Lodge, Sawridge Inn Edmonton South and Cedar Park Inn are the highest quality. In the east, there is a lovely Four Points hotel with easy access to the city.

Edmonton has a good variety of high end hotels in different locations in the city. Some of the most popular locations are:

  • Downtown Edmonton. has the highest number of high end hotels in the city. One can choose from hotels with river valley views including Chateau Lacombe and the Courtyard Marriott and ones that have good views of the city such as the Sutton Place Hotel and the Westin Edmonton. There are also beautiful boutique hotels like Matrix Hotel and the Union Bank Inn. Either way, all of these posh empires have good access to downtown, friendly service, nice architecture, and luxury suites. For the extravagant traveller, the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is a classic, chateau-like building built in 1912 and is the most expensive in the city, overlooking the river valley in elegant style. edit
  • West Edmonton. The area is full of higher-class hotels due to the proximity of West Edmonton Mall. One can choose from Fantasyland Hotel that's right in the mall or further out ones like Hampton Inn & Suites and the Hilton Garden Inn.

View our map of accommodation in Edmonton or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet usage is wide-spread in Canada. Wi-fi is available in many locations in larger cities, sometimes free and sometimes at a cost. You will find Wi-Fi in coffee stores, some restaurants and also hotels and motels more and more offer this service for free, but with a code usually. Internet cafes are common along major streets, and and in larger cities, charge between $3 and $4 for an hour, usually in 20-minute increments.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Canada is: 1. To make an international call from Canada, the code is: 011. Emergency services can be reached by dialling 911. This number will give you free access to Police, Fire and Ambulance services and can be used from landlines, phone booths and cell phones.

The populous areas of Canada along the border with the USA have excellent cellular and wired telecommunications, meaning that travellers are never fair from an international phone call home, a WIFI connection or an internet cafe. Depending on the mobile phone provider, coverage could be either CDMA and GSM coverage. Travellers wishing to purchase SIM cards for GSM phones should look for Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility, which all offer nationwide availability.

Post

Postal service is provided by Canada Post, a crown corporation owned by the government but run as an independent business. Most post offices keep hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm though in bigger places longer hourse might be available.

To format the envelope of a letter sent within Canada, put the destination address on the centre of its envelope, with a stamp, postal indicia, meter label, or frank mark on the top-right corner of the envelope to acknowledge payment of postage. A return address, although it is not required, can be put on the top-left corner of the envelope in smaller type than the destination address.

The lettermail service allows the mailing of a letter. The basic rate is currently set at $0.63 for one standard letter (30 grams or less). The rates for lettermail are based or weight and size and determine whether the article falls into the aforementioned standard format, or in the oversize one. The rate is the same for a postcard. Mail sent internationally is known as letterpost. It can only contain paper documents. The rate for a standard letter is of $1.10 if sent to the United States, and $1.85 if sent to any other destination. Oversize or overweight letters may be charged a higher fee. Larger parcels can be shipped via Canada post both domestically and internationally, the rate is dependent on the weight and destination. [1]

Federal Express, TNT, UPS or DHL also provide interntional shipping from Canada and are usually very quick and reliable though might cost a little more compared to Canada Post.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 53.540941
  • Longitude: -113.493698

Accommodation in Edmonton

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Edmonton searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Edmonton and areas nearby.

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This is version 52. Last edited at 9:27 on Sep 24, 18 by Utrecht. 35 articles link to this page.

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