The likelihood is, you haven’t actually heard of Edmonton?
And therefore, have no idea where it is in Canada or what on earth you can do there?
I was in the exact same position, until I was lucky enough to go on a trip with Edmonton & Jasper tourism earlier this month to suss the whole thing out.
I soon gathered from speaking with the locals that Edmonton is the no-need-to-brag-but-has-everything-to-offer Canadian city, falling quickly behind the likes of Vancouver, Toronto, Whistler and Jasper when it comes to tourists.
Edmonton is still undergoing a lot of construction and is very much up and coming, so if what it has to offer now is only a taster of what is to come…
Edmonton is definitely the one to watch.
Edmonton’s gorgeous downtown landscapes, trendy neighbourhoods, humungous shopping mall and close proximity to Jasper National Park are merely a few of the highlights I discovered about Canada’s hidden gem.
Earlier this year KLM launched a brand new air route from Amsterdam DIRECT to Edmonton, which now opens Edmonton up to a whole new European audience.
It’s time for Edmonton to shine & it has every right to do so.
Edmonton events to put in the diary:
Edmonton International Fringe Festival
When to visit?
I visited Edmonton 29th Sept – 5th October and couldn’t have wished for more gorgeous weather (for this time of year). Blue skies, 20 degree temp and just the odd downpour.
This time is considered to be fall (autumn) in Edmonton. Temperatures have already begun to descend and leaves are desperately clinging to the trees. We were lucky enough that the leaves found their inner strength to hold on for our arrival and so we got to see Edmonton in a blanket of mesmerising oranges and yellows.
Edmonton has similar seasons to us lot here in the UK, but with slightly more contrasting temperatures.
In the winter months (Nov-March), Edmonton see’s average temperatures of -8 to -20deg. Pretty cold, but apparently it’s a dry kinda cold, disguising the extent of the chill slightly.
In the summer months(May – Sept) temperatures average between +17 and +25 deg.
What to do?
Whilst we were in Edmonton we got to try a diverse selection of activites, from a Segway discovery of the North Saskatchewan River Valley in Downtown Edmonton (Segway River Valley Tours), to learning about the history of Edmonton at Canada’s largest living history museum – Fort Edmonton.
One evening, we ate and drank our way through Edmonton’s quirky, trendy neighbourhood of Old Strathcona, which at this time of year is filled with Pumpkin Pie goodness. I recommend: El Courtez Mexican Kitchen, &27 + MEAT.
A gorgeous walk within itself is through the gorgeous Whyte Avenue on which a few of the restaurants were situated & also home to our hotel – Metterra Boutique.
Another day had us visit North America’s largest shopping mall – West Edmonton Mall, a holiday destination within itself.
In the mall lies pretty much everything.
One of the world’s largest indoor waterparks, a life size ship, aquarium, theme park, haunted house, a full sized ice rink, cinema, a number of food courts and over 800 shops.
Oh and a super cool themed hotel – Fantasyland Hotel (which has now been added to my bucket list!!)
Edmonton, too, has a real urban creative flair and to show for it, scattered around the city, there are lots of public art displays.
I visited the Talus Dome installation which was pretty cool & my friend also took me to a hidden, illegal may i add, and dangerous if you climb it, spot called – ‘The end of the world‘.
P.s. I am in no way encouraging this activity.
If you have a car or have the time, it is DEFINITELY worth heading just under an hour outside of Edmonton to Elk Island National Park.
Here you can book onto a tour and witness the organisation that played a crucial part in reviving the Bison from being extremely close to extinction.
Within the park you can spot a diverse selection of wildlife and if you time it right, you may encounter the beauties themselves… the Bison.
By evening you can catch the incredible sunset over Lake Astotin & by darkness, Elk Island, also a Dark Sky Reserve, will display the most gorgeous blanket of stars. This is also a common place to spot the Northern lights, but of course – it’s never guaranteed.
If your Edmonton schedule isn’t already full, you can also drive 4 hours west of the city to reach the world famous Canadian Rockies. Adding a completely contrasting dynamic to your trip, Jasper’s beauty will capture you even further. With some of the most beautiful drives in the WORLD, Jasper is the perfect add on to your Edmonton trip.