On Monday, I posted a 24-hour guide to Calgary, Alberta. As I noted in that post, we’ve written a lot about Alberta’s beautiful Banff and Jasper National Parks on this site—like here and here—but not as much about Calgary and Edmonton, two great and close-by North American cities.
Edmonton is the northernmost North American big city (one million people or more), and it’s also the Albertan capital. It’s known to always be celebrating something, hence its reputation as “Canada’s Festival City.” There’s the and , and there’s and much more. It’s traditionally a blue-collar city in touch with the outdoors (like Calgary, it sits in the prairie close to the Rockies), but more recently, a wave of restauranteurs and new energy has brought it international recognition. It’s also home to .
Here’s a quick guide to Edmonton, a city I hope to soon see for myself:
Stroll for breakfast
Start your day with a stroll through downtown Edmonton. Grab a coffee and a small bite at (Jasper Ave) or (right off Jasper Ave), or fill up with more at one of the downtown area’s diners. , west on Jasper, is a good bet.
Sir Winston Churchill Square
The square named for Sir Winston is always bustling with things to do (and free Wi-Fi). There are shops, a giant chess set and free live entertainment from all different types of street performers. If you’re lucky, you might also walk into a festival.
The art of Alberta—and more
Just a short walk from the square is the , which hosts exhibitions by native Albertans and acclaimed international artists alike. It’s the oldest cultural institution in Alberta (1924) and a place to appreciate both the historical and the contemporary. One Friday a month in summer, there’s inside.
See what provincial government looks like
The Beaux-Arts-style Alberta Legislature Building is impressive from the outside, so make a point to walk by it for photos (at 107 Street and 97 Avenue). Better yet, take the (available 362 days a year) and explore it from the inside.
Lunch of the world
The Edmonton food scene is big and getting bigger, which means you won’t be short on options when lunchtime rolls around. So where to start? is ramen as good as it gets outside of Japan. offers inspired Mexican street food and is “one of only 9 establishments in the world certified by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (the Tequila Regulatory Council).” , for a few more Canadian dollars, is an award-winning farm-to-table gem. Pick any and enjoy.
Science, history and botany the Edmonton way
The ($19.95 Canadian or ) takes kids and adults into interactive worlds of science, space and technology. Bring the kids—or go alone—to the Robotics Lab and then an IMAX or planetarium showing. Through September 5, you can also wander through “The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes.”
, meanwhile, offers an interactive, Colonial Williamsburg-style historical experience for $26.20 Canadian () per adult (children are $20 Canadian or ). The park is broken into four worlds, each a different era in Albertan life in fun and surprising detail.
Even if you don’t get inside them, the glass pyramids of the are striking. From the outside, they help define the Edmonton skyline. Inside, the beauty is matched by fabulous colorful botanical gardens (Canada’s largest), which you can explore for $12.50 Canadian ().
Dinner on Whyte Avenue
Walk for dinner flanked by historic buildings and trendy shops and eateries along one of Edmonton’s arteries: Whyte Avenue in . The restaurant scene is booming, and Whyte Avenue is full of alternative energy, so feel free to follow your gut. Or, try , a sleek yet homey BBQ smokehouse that’s turning new guests into regulars at an impressive rate
Take in a show—and/or go for a nightcap
After a filling dinner, plunk yourself into a theater seat to digest—at the for a movie, the for a play or at the ornate for acoustically brilliant opera or music.
If you’d rather stay on your feet, that’s okay, too. Bars at , , , and (soon) will be happy to serve you.
This is a sponsored post.
For more on Edmonton visit . For more on Alberta, visit .
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