Welcome to Edmonton, Alberta!
Edmonton, Canada, is home to almost over a million people. Locals know what makes this northern Canadian city so special and if you’re willing, the locals will certainly fill you in, as well because Edmonton is for everyone. Whether you’re the type who’s into the outdoors or the type who just wants to explore the urban core, Edmonton has you covered. A worldwide local however knows that to get a good feel for a city, you have to see it all.
Edmonton and Northern Canada are very large with vast open spaces, and Edmonton is home to some of the largest things, not only in Canada but also on the entire continent.
Worldwide Local Tip: Stereotypes about the winter Alberta weather are true. It is very cold, with daily averages between November and March span between -8 and -14 degrees (24 and 13 Fahrenheit). So if you’re visiting during the winter months, always make sure to bring good, warm boots and a very warm coat.
Where to Begin
Once you land at Edmonton Airport, start your journey in one of its most recognizable landmarks, the West Edmonton Mall. Now, most worldwide locals probably wouldn’t be too enthusiastic about visiting a mall, but this isn’t your ordinary mall. The West Edmonton Mall is home to over 800+ stores, and was once the biggest mall in the world and is currently the biggest mall in North America. Not only that, but you can spend an entire day here--as in a lot of Edmonton, time often seems to fly by. There’s a waterpark, theme park, mini golf, and skating rink, all located inside the West Edmonton Mall.
Worldwide Local Tip: On some of Edmonton’s coldest winter days, spending some time in the West Edmonton Mall is a great way to escape the cold weather without trapping you inside your Edmonton hotel. Make sure to bring some walking shoes and spending money because you can easily spend an entire day here and not even see everything.
Get Outdoors in River Valley
Much like the city’s gigantic mall, Edmonton is also host to enormous outdoor spaces. Escape the city for a while and head to one of their great parks that surround the outer areas of the city. The River Valley park is actually a massive area that is made up of 20 different parks all connected together. The area is 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park and has everything from ravines to several different lakes and even golf courses and nature centers.
Worldwide Local Tip: The River Valley parks offer things to do all year round. Go hiking, mountain biking or camping, during the summer, or cross country skiing and snowmobiling, during winter.
Always a Festival
Edmonton is known as “Canada’s Festival City” because there is pretty much something going at all times of the year. The downtown area around Churchill Square is where numerous festivals tend to be centered around including the Edmonton Folk Festival and Edmonton International Fringe Festival, which is second to the one held in Edinburgh. Of course, those are just the tip of the iceberg as there are also festivals for music, dragon boats, Shakespeare and a rodeo.
Worldwide Local Tip: Just because the thermometer dips, that’s doesn’t include the party stops. Despite the fact that most festivals are held during the summer months, there are still a bunch being held in the winter as well. Silver Skate Festival, is Edmonton’s long running winter festival, where you can check out elaborate snow sculptures, horse-drawn sleighs, and a variety of winter sports.
Enjoy Your Visit!
Every worldwide knows that sometimes to experience the best of a city, you have to visit outside of tourist season and explore where the locals hang. Edmontoners love the outdoors and it is in their blood to not be bothered by the cold. Spend some time exploring the great Canadian north and get close to the nature of wonder around the urban playground of downtown Edmonton. Be sure to check out one of its many festivals. There’s always something for a worldwide local to enjoy in Edmonton.