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The 14 best things to do in Edmonton

From music venues to museums and parks, our list of things to do in Edmonton will help you explore the city at its best

Ella Doyle
Edited by
Ella Doyle
Written by
Nadja Sayej
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No matter how much its arts and culture scene grows, people often still think “oil” when they hear “Edmonton”. And sure, it’s the capital of Alberta, Canada’s oil province, but there’s so much more to this city than meets the eye – and its best bits have nothing at all to do with oil. Over many years, Edmonton has burst to life, with a ton of great museums, hotels and restaurants popping up all over the city.

Its most known landmark remains West Edmonton Mall, the biggest shopping mall in North America, but its arts and culture scene (the Women’s Art Museum and Alberta, to name a few), have put it firmly on the map, both in Alberta and Canada at large. Here, we’ve got its most famous spots, as well as some of its lesser-known gems. Here are the best things to do in Edmonton right now. 

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Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.

Awesome things to do in Edmonton

1. Art Gallery of Alberta

What it is: This is one of West Canada’s best museums, but you’ll know it mostly for its outrageous design by Donald G. Bittorf and B. James Wensley. 

Why go: The museum is home to a rich selection of some incredible works of art, from the 19th century to the present day. But it’s not a trip to the museum without seeing “The Touch Lab”, which lets you interact with the art there, and the star of the show “The Vessel” by Montreal artist David Altmejd. 

2. Muttart Conservatory

What it is: This is Edmonton's biggest horticultural attraction, surrounded by the greenery of the North Saskatchewan river valley. It underwent a $13M renovation back in 2021, and is now better than ever, with 700 different kinds of plants, from palm trees to cacti to be found across four glass pyramid pavilions.

Why go: This is a day trip destination. In the summer, bring along a packed lunch for a nice picnic in the outdoor garden. Visiting in the winter? You might want to time your trip to the Chinese New Year, which the conservatory celebrates annually.

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3. West Edmonton Mall

What it is: It is famous for being the biggest shopping mall in North America, so put on your walking shoes and expect to spend the entire day perusing the hundreds of shops, restaurants and the amusement park with waterslides.

Why go: This is more than a shopping expedition, of course. You can bowl at the bowling alley, play a game of indoor golf and try the poutine hot dog for a slice of western Canadian fare.

4. Women's Art Museum of Canada

What it is: This one-of-a-kind historic museum features everything from self-portraits to dollhouses and conceptual sculptures by Canadian women artists.

Why go: Make it a point to browse through the collection of aboriginal art and culture, as well as the photography gallery, which aims to educate the public on Canada’s history, as seen through the eyes of women.  

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5. Fort Edmonton Park

What it is: This theme park is a must-visit for families. Think of it as a historic journey: one main trolley will guide you through the city’s past, starting from the 1840s all the way through today.

Why go: Expect a fort built in 1846 and a historic movie theatre, actors dressed up in period costumes sharing stories from Canada’s past and a restaurant that serves traditional rhubarb pie. What else do you want?

6. Route 99 Diner

What it is: A retro-style local burger joint that serves as a pretty cool backdrop for that Instagram selfie you’ve been itching to post.

Why go: To eat a mean cheeseburger and wash it down with a sweetly delicious strawberry milkshake. If you happen to stop by for Sunday brunch, also order the pancakes with maple syrup.

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7. Urban Green Cafe

What it is: A scenic cafe that offers a stunning view of the nearby River Dale. 

Why go: Grab a seat on the palatial patio and order a coffee to go with the homemade peanut butter granola bars. You might also want to opt for the famous Pinocchio ice cream before heading out on a long walk through the nearby nature trails.

8. Barking Buffalo Cafe

What it is: This coffee shop hybrid fashion store was founded by a group of designer friends, who are (obviously) the artists behind all the screen-printed T-shirts, pins and wall art sold here.

Why go: You can eat and shop at the same time. How awesome does that sound? The patio, open late, is the ideal destination to cozy up in on a crisp evening while nursing a latte and enjoying a homemade scone.

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9. Rogers Place

What it is: This space age-looking arena hosts all of the city's legendary hockey games, basketball matches and concerts. Yes, Drake and Lady Gaga have been here.

Why go: If your favorite pop star is in town, you’re in luck. Otherwise, catch a game between the local hockey team, the Edmonton Oilers, and their visiting competition.

10. Starlite Room

What it is: This historic brick structure from 1925 in the heart of downtown was originally built as a "citadel" for the Salvation Army. Today, it thrives as an indie rock staple.

Why go: It's an affordable dive bar with exposed brick walls and a stage drenched in colored lights. There are a variety of beers on tap and a membership option that affords entry into a more secluded bar upstairs. This is the epitome of cool.

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