13 must-do things to do in Edmonton

Vallée de la rivière Saskatchewan Nord

Planning a stopover in Alberta’s capital during your trip to Canada? Discover the 13 best things to do in Edmonton!

Located in the center of the province, three hours north of Calgary, Edmonton is Canada’s fastest-growing capital.

Indeed, the city is very young: it’s only 150 years old! With its youthful population, it is characterized by its dynamism and unparalleled cultural diversity. The city, which has grown up around the Saskatchewan River over the years, exudes an atmosphere that is both calm and invigorating.

Between unforgettable attractions and natural landscapes that would be a shame to miss, here are the 13 best things to do in Edmonton. We look forward to hearing from you!

1. Discover Fort Edmonton Park

visiter Edmonton

Photo credit: Shutterstock – NAB_Photography

Fort Edmonton Park has set itself the challenge of combining fun with historical discovery. Actors dressed in costumes from the 1800s transport you back to the days of horse-drawn carriages, antique carriages and the fur trade. Canada’s largest living history museum is well worth a stop on your visit to Edmonton.

2. Stroll through Elk Island National Park

Elk Island National Park

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Chris971

Come to this national park for a tête-à-tête with nature during your city trip! Elk Island National Park was originally created to preserve Canada’s elk. Today, although deer are still present, it’s mainly bison that live on the almost 200 km² of this protected area.

Asphalt routes allow you to admire and observe these animals, which represent the largest terrestrial species in Canada. Hiking trails also criss-cross the park.

3. How to get to the Muttart Winter Garden

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – 2009fotofriends

The Muttart Winter Garden, or Muttart Conservatory, is a charming botanical garden created in 1976. Its four glass pyramids make it one of Edmonton’s most distinctive buildings. Three of them are each dedicated to a particular climate, while the fourth is reserved for temporary exhibitions.

Passing through the winter garden will give you a different view of Edmonton, since in addition to its flora, the site offers a lovely view of the city.

4. Stroll around the West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ronnie Chua

The West Edmonton Mall is Alberta’s most popular tourist attraction. And with good reason: the West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping mall in North America! Even if you’re not a big fan of shopping, it’s worth a detour, if only to say: « I’ve been there!

Covering almost 500,000 m², you’ll find over 800 stores, an indoor swimming pool, an amusement park, a zoo and even an ice rink. We told you it was something to do in Edmonton!

5. Fun at Galaxyland theme park

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – IQRemix

Galaxyland is the second largest theme park in the world, no less! Located inside the West Edmonton Mall, it deserves a paragraph of its own. If you’re a thrill-seeker, this is the place to be in Edmonton.

Its four roller coasters and numerous other carousels, bumper cars and Ferris wheels unfold in a fantastic, dreamlike world. A visit to Edmonton for young and old.

6. Marvel at the North Saskatchewan River Valley

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – Sean Xu

The North Saskatchewan River Valley is 22 times the size of Central Park, enough to make you dizzy. With endless trails, golf courses and tree-lined driveways, it’s a must-see stop in Edmonton.

Locals agree: it’s a must for picnics, Sunday strolls or morning jogs. And as the terrain lends itself to it, you can also enjoy canoeing, pedal-boating and even snowshoeing in winter!

7. Admire the Alberta Legislative Assembly

Assemblée Législative de l’Alberta

Photo credit: Shutterstock Vikvad

The Alberta Legislative Assembly building, or The Ledge to its natives, is a sight to behold. Its marble pillars and carved oak facade alone are a good reason to visit Edmonton. Add to that a free hourly tour of the Assembly, and you’ve probably already piqued your curiosity. The building’s staff will passionately explain the history and secrets of this Beaux-Arts-style building, inaugurated in 1912.

In particular, you’ll learn more about the works housed at the Assembly, and about the Famous Five, the five Canadian women who fought for women’s rights. Two of them once sat in the Assembly, and gave their names to five Edmonton parks.

8. Discover Ice Castles

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – Eva Lachendrova

Edmonton’s Ice Castle is one of the country’s most popular winter attractions. And it’s easy to see why, when you stand in front of this penetrating white edifice, where light projections are created. The result is a breathtaking spectacle, so magical it almost feels like something out of an animated film.

A word of advice: take a good pair of shoes with you, as the floor is very slippery in places! It takes one to two hours to admire the entire ice castle.

9. Visit the Art Gallery of Alberta

Galerie d’art de l’Alberta

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Stella Blu

The unique architecture of the Alberta Art Gallery rivals that of Valencia ‘s Cité des Sciences or Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum.

Inside this masterful beauty, more than 6,000 classic and contemporary works are on display. From sculpture and painting to installations and photography, this art gallery in downtown Edmonton is one of the city’s cultural hotspots. And if you don’t have time to visit it, at least take a detour in front of it: its building alone is a must-see in Edmonton!

10. Stroll through the University of Alberta Botanical Garden

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – Derek Belsham

The University of Alberta is one of Canada’s leading research institutions. So it’s no surprise that its buildings and surroundings are among the things to see in Edmonton. Among these is the university’s botanical garden.

Spanning 32 hectares, its landscaped areas abound with secret corners, bridges and ponds of all kinds. It is also home to the Aga Khan Garden. Of Mughal inspiration, it’s an interesting detour if you’re interested in Islamic landscape architecture.

11. Discover the Old Strathcona district

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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – TGNch12

For the record, Old Strathcona takes its name from the town of Strathcona, once located south of Edmonton. The two cities merged in 1912. The neighborhood of Old Strathcona harkens back to the days of the Edmonton Railway Company.

Its beautiful red brick towers still stand proudly, and the surrounding area is dotted with independent boutiques and cafés. A resolutely bohemian atmosphere emanates from the narrow streets, which are a pleasure to wander through. Every Saturday morning, the district hosts a farmers’ market. If you’re in Edmonton at this time of the week, don’t miss out on a visit and soak up the atmosphere!

12. Go to Valley Zoo

Valley zoo Edmonton

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons – IQRemix

Right in the heart of the city, Edmonton’s Valley Zoo is home to a beautifully landscaped trail of birds of prey and other tropical animals. If you’re visiting Edmonton with children, or are simply interested in wildlife, the Valley Zoo is well worth a visit.

13. Visit the Alberta Railway Museum

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – Bruce Raynor

As the name suggests, this museum is dedicated to the equipment of Alberta’s railroads, as well as the National Railway. Vintage locomotives are housed here, and the museum staff have endless stories and anecdotes to tell. A must-see in Edmonton if you’re interested in getting to know a region through the prism of its infrastructure.

How do I get to Edmonton?

Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, is a relatively well-served city. It is home to an international airport, a train station and a bus terminal.

Edmonton International Airport has regular connections to other major Canadian cities, as well as many American metropolises. If you’re flying fromIceland or the Netherlands, you can also book a direct flight to Edmonton.

If you plan to arrive in Edmonton by air, don’t hesitate to use a flight comparator like Skyscanner to find the best travel option.

Buses also run to Edmonton from most major Canadian cities in the surrounding area. Connections to Calgary, Red Deer and Fort McCurray are particularly frequent. The train, for its part, makes it possible to reach Edmonton from distant destinations such as Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.

When it comes to getting around Edmonton, renting a car offers a level of comfort unmatched by public transport, and lets you choose your departure times for your activities with complete peace of mind.

Where to stay in Edmonton

A city the size of Edmonton is made up of a number of neighborhoods, each with its own unique atmosphere. That’s why it’s a good idea to get to know the neighborhoods before choosing your accommodations.

Downtown is home to some of the city’s tallest buildings, as it is the nerve center of Canadian business. Quiet in winter, this district comes alive in summer. The Saint-Jean district is the city’s French zone: the cafés and shops here are French-speaking, which should reassure you if you’re not at ease with the language of Shakespeare. Whyte Avenue, near the university campus, is the city’s liveliest district.

The average cost of a hotel room in Edmonton is €70 to €100. To be sure of finding the right offer for you, don’t hesitate to use a hotel comparator!

If you want a more intimate comfort, don’t hesitate to rent one of the charming Airbnb that inhabit the city!

So, have you updated your Edmonton sightseeing schedule? What activities have you selected? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Map of hotels and accommodations – Edmonton,ca