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No matter what season you happen to be in town, there is always something great to see in Edmonton. The city is surrounded by nature, full of culture and passionate about their sports teams – so there’s something here for everyone!
If you drive 35 minutes east of Edmonton, chances are high that you will come across a bison or two. Elk Island National Park is the perfect place to hike, canoe, camp or do some epic stargazing. The park is a designated dark sky preserve - this means that the stars shine extra bright here, and it’s the perfect place to experience the aurora borealis, or northern lights. You can also join the Bison Backstage Tour to get a VIP tour of the park’s bison handling facility and learn all about their conservation efforts.
Jasper National Park is one of the most legendary parks in the Canadian Rockies – and for good reason! Only 3 ½ hours from Edmonton, this park is full of stunning scenery, endless outdoor adventures and many delicious restaurants to try. Go on a cruise on Maligne Lake, relax and take in the view at Miette Hot Springs or take a stroll through Cavell Meadows. And when you get hungry, make sure to try the "Malevolent Meatloaf” at Evil Dave’s - a popular and local take on your mom’s meatloaf, made with bison and wild boar!
On your way to Jasper, a must-see stop on the way is the Columbia Icefield. The particular glacier you will see is called the Athabasca Glacier, and it is one of the six principal “toes” of the Columbia Icefield. If you want to get up close and personal, try a Group Ice Walk or take a ride on a giant Ice Explorer vehicle. You can also take in a stunning 360-degree view of the spectacular Sunwapta Valley and Athabasca Glacier on the Skywalk, a one-kilometre walkway with a glass platform right at the edge.
Edmonton is home to over 50 festivals annually, and one of the biggest is the annual Folk Music Festival. Held in Gallagher Park, the festival is an amazing four days of music, food and beautiful city views. Some of the 2019 lineup highlights included Hozier, Blue Rodeo, Ani DiFranco, Dan Mangan and Bahamas. Kids under 11 get in free, so it’s a great activity for the whole family! There’s also a great selection of food vendors and a lively beer garden, so you’ll have no trouble filling the full four days with fun!
In 2018, Edmonton opened its first Indigenous art park inside Queen Elizabeth park. The park is named înîw (EE-nu), which in Cree means “I am of the Earth”. The art park is situated on ancestral lands of the Indigenous peoples whose descendants entered into Treaty with the British Crown resulting in the territory opening for settlement. înîw sits on the historic river lot 11 which was originally owned by Joseph MacDonald, a Métis man.
The park was established in partnership with the City of Edmonton, Confederacy of Treaty No. 6 First Nations, Métis Nation of Alberta, the Edmonton Arts Council and Indigenous artist. Throughout the park you can find six art installations created by Indigenous artists, including Pehonan by Tiffany Shaw-Collinge and Isoktew by Amy Malbeuf.
No matter what time of year you’re in Edmonton, there is always an opportunity to cheer on a local sports team. Between June and November, you can catch an exciting CFL game at Commonwealth Stadium and root for the home team, the Edmonton Eskimos. The CFL actually plays by different rules than the football league down south – and some people say it actually makes the game more fast-paced and interesting!
If sports on ice are more your thing, you can catch the Edmonton Oilers during the NHL season, between October and June. With 5 Stanley Cup Championships under their belt, Oilers fans are some of the most passionate in the league!
Football and hockey aren’t your only options though – check out a soccer game and watch the Edmonton FC play, root for the home team at an Edmonton Prospects baseball game, or check out some heart-pounding horse race action at the Century Mile Racetrack.
Written by Andrea Zakaib