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The top 10 attractions in Edmonton

Downtown Edmonton

The top 10 attractions in Edmonton

From the continent's first, biggest and wildest Fringe Theatre FestivalExternal Link Title to a shopping mallExternal Link Title that spans over 48 city blocks, Edmontonians have never been afraid to do things a little differently. As Canada's youngest and fastest growing capital city, Edmonton is a hotbed of cultural diversity that embraces new ideas and experimentation. Here are the best ways to play, sightsee, tour, and relax on vacation in Alberta's Capital.

North Saskatchewan River Valley

Cycling, walking, or paddling the huge River Valley is a must - credit: Edmonton Tourism

There's green space, and then there's the North Saskatchewan River Valley. This vast collection of scenic parks is 22 times bigger than New York City's Central Park. Over 150 kilometres of trailsExternal Link Title, pathways, golf coursesExternal Link Title, and tree-lined, manicured lawns connect 20 parks, where locals and visitors picnic, bike, run, kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, take a paddle boat or Segway External Link Title, and, in winter, snowshoeExternal Link Title and ski (both cross-countryExternal Link Title and downhillExternal Link Title).

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall
World Waterpark, West Edmonton Mall - credit: Edmonton Tourism

If you're thinking some big chain stores and a food court, readjust your lens. This nearly 500,000-square-metre mallExternal Link Title is the largest in North America, with 800+ storesExternal Link Title100 dining venuesExternal Link Title, a massive indoor wave pool with 17 water slidesExternal Link Title and a lake, plus amusement parkExternal Link Title, zoo, and ice skating rink. You can stay at one of two hotels, including one aptly named FantasylandExternal Link Title for its 120 themed guest rooms. 

Elk Island National Park

Elk Island
Elk Island National Park - credit: Parks Canada/Gary Harrold

You'll want to spend time in Elk IslandExternal Link Title, just east of the city -- hikeExternal Link Title, snap pictures of wildlifeExternal Link Title, lay on the beachExternal Link Title, and, come sundown, watch the Northern LightsExternal Link Title. Canada's largest fully enclosed park is a refuge for moose, elk, lynx, black bears, gray wolves, 250 species of birds, and herds of plains bison imported from Montana and rescued from extinction. Get stuck in a bison traffic jamExternal Link Title on purpose or  snowshoe and stargazeExternal Link Title in the serene wilderness.

Alberta Legislature

Alberta Legislature Edmonton
Alberta Legislature Credit: Chris Amat @christopheramat

Set atop the banks of the North Saskatchewan RiverExternal Link Title, the Alberta Legislature is a marvel of marble pillars and carved oak. Discover the LegislatureExternal Link Title on a free guided tour, offered hourly. Ask about the Famous Five who fought for women's right to vote. Learn about the fascinating stories behind the portraits and magnificent art. Glance at the bejeweled gold and silver ceremonial Mace. And don't forget to listen for the phenomenon known as the "magic spot".

The Art Gallery of Alberta

Art Gallery of Alberta
Art Gallery of Alberta - credit: Edmonton Tourism

A striking architectural landmark reminiscent of Bilbao's Guggenheim, downtown's Art Gallery of AlbertaExternal Link Title is one of the province's prominent cultural venues. The 6,000 paintings, sculptures, and installations on display at this premier venue include historical and contemporary, international and Canadian works.

Rogers Place and the Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers NHL Hockey Game - credit: Edmonton Tourism

With its stunning curvilinear architecture and an interior that'll make you think you just stepped onto the Starship Enterprise, Rogers PlaceExternal Link Title is sure to make your jaw drop. Home to young phenom Connor McDavid and the Edmonton OilersExternal Link Title hockey team, the arena features state of the art technology including the largest high definition screen in the National Hockey League. Catch an Oilers game at Rogers Place during the regular season, which runs from October to April each year and some of the world's biggest music acts all year long.

Festivals Galore

Edmonton Folk Music Festival
Edmonton Folk Music Festival

Shakespeare under an open skyExternal Link Title? You got it. A winter festivalExternal Link Title with sculptures made of ice No problem. With over 60 festivals annually, there's no shortage of excitement to fill your stay - whether it's 30 degrees above, or below. The Edmonton Folk Music FestivalExternal Link TitleInternational Fringe Theatre FestivalExternal Link TitleFlying Canoe Volant FestivalExternal Link Title and Boardwalk Ice on WhyteExternal Link Title are just the beginning.

University of Alberta Botanic Garden

University of Alberta Botanic Garden
University of Alberta Botanic Garden - credit: Travel Alberta, Jennifer Rooyan

Be amazed by the wealth and diversity of nature at the stunning University of Alberta Botanic GardensExternal Link Title - a must-visit for lovers of flora, fauna and beautiful things. With 80 acres of display gardens (and 110 additional acres of natural areas and ecological preserves), there's tons to explore. Don't miss the new Aga Khan GardenExternal Link Title--4.8 hectares of modern architectural beauty inspired by Moghul traditions, and designed for the Edmonton region's climate and topography.

Outdoor winter activities

City-wide snowball fight Edmonton
City-wide snowball fight - Credit: Edmonton Tourism

Edmontonians don't hibernate, they strive to make Old Man Winter proud with outdoor patios, city-wide snowball fights, deep freezer races, and a spectacular view of the Northern Lights. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and you're off on an exhilarating day trip through areas like Elk Island National ParkExternal Link Title or Edmonton's river valleyExternal Link Title, or slip on some skates and head to one of the city's many outdoor rinksExternal Link Title. Downhill ski or snowboard at Snow Valley Ski ClubExternal Link TitleRabbit Hill Snow ResortExternal Link Title or Edmonton Ski ClubExternal Link Title, or cross-country skiExternal Link Title through one of Edmonton's beautiful parksExternal Link Title. You can't help but have a great time when you've got good company and the glory of a northern winter.

Royal Alberta Museum

Royal Alberta Museum
Credit: Royal Alberta Museum

You'll want to pack your comfy shoes to explore the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM)External Link Title in downtown Edmonton's Arts District. As Western Canada's largest museum, the RAM boasts over 82,000 square feet of exhibition space and houses a large and wide-ranging collection of artifactsExternal Link Title to foster wonder, inquiry and understanding about Alberta. Pull the curtain back on Alberta life and landscape in a remarkable journey from petroglyphs to prehistoric dinosaurs, and from 500 generations of First PeoplesExternal Link Title to new beginnings on the windswept prairies. Feed your curiosity here.

Fort Edmonton

Fort Edmonton Park
Fort Edmonton Park, credit - Edmonton Tourism

Please note: Currently closed for the Summer 2019 season for renovations.


History is fun at 1800s-era Fort Edmonton ParkExternal Link Title, where actors dressed in period costume barter for beads at the fur trading post and socialize at the train station. Learn about four time periods: the 1846 fort, 1885 community, 1905 railway boom, and 1920 commerce hay day. You'll see horse-drawn carriages, historic cars, and 75 structures, including many originals, at Canada's largest living history museum.


Ready to explore museums, go shopping, and ice skate? See you in EdmontonExternal Link Title!