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Introducing Edmonton, the Underdog of Alberta, Canada

Introducing Edmonton, the Underdog of Alberta, Canada

13 June, 201678Comments
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, River Valley

There’s a new boy in town and it’s about time you met him. Let me introduce you to Edmonton. You have to work hard to see all he has to offer, but when you do you definitely reap the rewards. Big time.

Where is Edmonton?

You’re probably wondering where Edmonton is – most people gave me a quizzical look when I told them where I was going, so you’re not alone. It’s a city in Canada, in the province of Alberta to be specific.

Still not sure? If you’re looking at a map of Canada it’s basically in the middle, slightly to the west.

We flew from Birmingham to Edmonton via KLM, briefly stopping at Amsterdam. It took about 11 hours (read more about the flight and flying with a baby here).

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants

What’s the weather like in Edmonton?

That’s the second question everyone seemed to ask me before I left. In the week before I jetted off the weather forecast jumped around like a ball in a squash court. Seriously, the temperature predictions ranged from the low teens to late twenties within a day of each other. One day rain, one day sunshine. I gave up looking because I couldn’t keep up and I ended up packing a bit of everything.

Once we were there and got chatting to locals we discovered that they say if it’s raining, wait a few minutes for the next season. It’s so true. We visited Edmonton in May and enjoyed glorious blue skies and blazing sunshine, hot enough to multiply the freckles on my face by at least a few hundred.

We also experienced torrential rain and epic thunderstorms, the kind that make you want to curl up with a duvet by a big window, watching it unfold. Ever the giving kind of soul, Edmonton also gave us a few windy, grey days. It certainly kept us on our toes and gave us reason enough to take a big suitcase. It’s all about the layers in Edmonton!

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, Edmonton weather

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, Edmonton weather

What’s Edmonton Like?

So, what did we think of our visit? We loved it! Edmonton has a city vibe, but it’s not like London or New York. You can actually put your arms round Edmonton in a big hug and enjoy most of it in one 10-day trip. Admittedly it’d be a very busy 10 days, but if you’re not into a fast paced kind of life you could pick and choose a few highlights and still get a good taste of the place.

The city doesn’t feel like a particularly touristy place. There’s plenty to see and do, but we always seemed to be the only ones with our cameras out and we never really experienced a queue. Whenever we were with other people we were always the only English ones. Perhaps we just knew where to go to experience an authentic Edmonton or perhaps it’s still a bit of a secret destination – whatever the reason it was great to have it to ourselves (or at least it felt that way) and it was really welcoming. We felt like honorary locals.

You can spend the morning surrounded by skyscrapers in downtown Edmonton and the afternoon in a national park spotting free roaming bison. Yup, Edmonton has a split personality, but in a good way. You can’t beat an all-rounder, eh?

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog,

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Elk Island

And I guess it’s worth adding that when you land at Edmonton airport you might be shocked to see that there’s, well, not a lot but seriously flat (as in Holland flat), green land. We weren’t expecting it and I panicked that I’d arrived at the wrong place! Trust me, once you drive 20 minutes you’ll soon find the urban side.

The city has big wide avenues like you’ve probably seen elsewhere in North America. Most of the shops are those low, one level units and most of the homes seem to be either cute bungalows or those big impressive houses you see in films. When I said earlier that you have to work hard to see what’s on offer, it’s particularly true when it comes to the shops. We found some great boutiques, but from the street you’d never really notice them. We rarely ever found a consecutive row of goodies. Instead, it’s a bit of a game. You have to really try to peep in the small front window or just take a gamble (or use this guide!).

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants

We walked everywhere, enjoying the wide pathways that meant we could push Nova around really easily. There’s a big sporty feel in Edmonton – probably because of the gorgeous River Valley – so we’d often see local runners or yummy mummies jogging with their Starbucks and buggies. On more than one occasion we received a gasp or at the very least, raised eyebrows, as to how far we’d walked across the city with a stroller. Let’s just say the walk from Old Strathcona (a cool neighbourhood) to downtown goes down one very big hill into the River Valley and of course, what goes down must come back up. We definitely earned our calories!

Edmonton Restaurants

And talking of which, we discovered so many cool places to eat in Edmonton. Absolutely top of the list is El Cortez Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar. I LOVE this place! We even tried to go a second time during our visit and I never normally do that, especially within the space of a few days. It was fully booked the second time (sob!) so that tells you how cool it is. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream, mainly because of the cool décor, but also the seriously good food. My enchiladas were spot on.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, El Cortez

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, El Cortez

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, El Cortez

This place carries over 140 different tequilas and mexcals, so if you’re after a party night you can’t really go wrong here. We sampled a few of the cocktails and craft beers (yup, they do those too) and the mojito with marshmallow foam came out tops. Sounds weird, but it works. Can I have one now, please?!

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, El Cortez

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, El Cortez

For a stylish, chic meal head to &27. The restaurant is gorgeous and the food is full of artistic flair. You can pick from a menu of provisions, creating a table full of delicious bites to share. Alternatively, you can just be a selfish so and so by going for one of the larger plates and hogging the lot.  No prizes in guessing what I did. However you choose to dine, make sure you go for dessert. The portions are more than generous and every bite is as good as the last.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, &27, Ampersand 27

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, Ampersand 27, &27

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, Ampersand 27, &27

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, Ampersand 27, &27

And talking of sweets, Duchess Bakery scored highly on our list. It’s a cute little bake shop and café serving a whole host of epic pastries and cakes. The scones are massive, the slices are more like wedges and yet, they’re still somehow elegant and classy, not to mention sinfully delicious. The Paris Brest is well worth a taste. Oh and make sure you pop next door into the actual bake shop. We picked up some fancy waffle mix to take back home!

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, Duchess Bakery

For something more laidback Famoso Pizzeria seems to be popular with the locals. It’s a Canadian chain so perhaps not entirely an Edmontonian experience, but either way the pizzas are perfection. They’re baked for 90 seconds at 900 degrees Farenheit in a traditional, fire-roasting Italian pizza oven.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, Famoso Pizza

Blue Plate Diner is also a good place for a casual bite to eat. It’s in what’s known as the Warehouse district and it’s been open for over a decade. The walls are covered in funky art from local artists and the menu is filled with well-loved dishes. There are loads of good veggie options, which is a rarity so I think I’m probably a bit biased to this place. That said, carnivorous Jay loved it too.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, Blue Plate Diner

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Edmonton Restaurants, Blue Plate Diner

Things to Do in Edmonton

So aside from eating and drinking what should you see and do in Edmonton? Loads! For culturists I’d recommend an hour or so at the Art Gallery of Alberta – the second floor was my fave. The unique building is worth the visit as much as the galleries on the inside.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Art Gallery

Architecture-lovers will also enjoy looking at Alberta Legislature. You can even get a free tour if you want.

Shoppers should head to West Edmonton Mall. It spans the equivalent of 48 city blocks, housing a billion shops (a slight exaggeration – only just), a huge water park and an amusement park. We saw a seal having his teeth brushed at one end and an ice hockey rink at the other end. Crazy times!

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, West Edmonton Mall, Shopping

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, West Edmonton Mall, Shopping, water park

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, West Edmonton Mall, Shopping, water park

If you prefer to shop at markets there’s the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, though bear in mind it mostly sells food and plants, so I think it’s more suited to locals. There’s also 124 Street Grand Market from May to October, which is a little market selling a bit of a mixture of things. I picked up a super cute cloud biscuit. Easily pleased, eh?!

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, West Edmonton Mall, Shopping, Market, Farmers Market

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Market, 124 Grand Street Market, Shopping

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Market, 124 Grand Street Market, Shopping

If like me you’re into cute boutiques head to Habitat etc, Frank + Oak and The Bamboo Ballroom. Oh and if you love stationery make sure you pop into Chapters on Whyte Avenue. They have the absolute best collection of notebooks and journals. I wanted to buy all of them!

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Shopping

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Shopping

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Shopping, Chapters

The beautiful North Saskatchewan River Valley needs to be seen to be believed. We spent quite a bit of time there and only saw a fragment of the 7,400 hectares. There are a few bridges that cross the river at different sections, so I’d recommend walking, biking and driving to enjoy different views. A ride on the 100-year old High Level Bridge Streetcar is also a great opportunity to go across the top of one of the bridges. It’s run by volunteers and it only costs a few dollars to ride it. We felt like we’d stepped back in time – so sweet.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, River Valley

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, River Valley

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, River Valley

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, River Valley

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, River Valley

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, River Valley

For more of the nature side, head to Elk Island National Park. It took us less than an hour to drive there, we only saw one other car once we’d arrived and within ten minutes’ of our visit we saw bison roaming the grounds.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Elk Island

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Elk Island

If you’re into independent boutiques, hipster vibes and anything cool head to Old Strathcona, specifically Whyte Avenue. Stop for a coffee, take a slow mooch and basically soak it all up.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Old Strathcona

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Old Strathcona

We pretty much stuck to our self-titled Epic 10-Day Itinerary for Edmonton and Jasper so you’ll find all the details via that link.

Where to Stay in Edmonton

Without a shadow of a doubt, stay at Metterra Hotel. It’s a luxury boutique hotel that’s in the best part of Edmonton, Old Strathcona. We’d read reviews saying it’d be a noisy stay because of the neighbourhood, but we never heard anything. The location really is perfect.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Old Strathcona, Metterra, Whyte Avenue, Edmonton Hotels

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Old Strathcona, Metterra, Whyte Avenue, Edmonton Hotels

The rooms are spacious and the hotel has a contemporary design. The breakfast is really good, but it’s the staff that make this place stand out. They were all so friendly and welcoming, but in a genuine way rather than an ‘it’s my job’ kinda way. Top marks, Metterra.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Edmonton things to do, family travel blog, Old Strathcona, Metterra, Whyte Avenue, Edmonton Hotels

Edmonton isn’t like anywhere else that I’ve been, so I can’t really compare it to somewhere else to help you understand what it’s like. Hopefully I’ve convinced you to visit, but if not, you just wait until I tell you about nearby Jasper National Park…

Pin for later…

Edmonton Things to do, Edmonton Alberta, Where is edmonton

Have you been to Edmonton? Is it somewhere you’d like to go?

Read More…

An Epic 10-Day Itinerary for Edmonton & Jasper (Alberta, Canada)

Flying Long-Haul With A Baby via KLM

12 Amazing Tips for Flying With a Baby (Short AND Long-Haul)

Big thanks to KLM and to Travel Alberta for hosting my visit as part of #CharWithKLM

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75 Comments

  1. I’ve heard a few people mention Edmonton now and I can really see why with your write up. Definitely adding this city to the Canada wishlist…. when I eventually take a trip there. Glad you had such a lovely time.

  2. Ahhh I think this is where my sister went on her honeymoon and loved it. El Cortez looks so good and love the knitted trees. Very cute. Definitely adding to my list :)

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed our fair city. As well, pretty well all summer there is at least one festival going on each weekend. No excuse for boredom.

    Just to clarify, Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, and the second largest, behind Calgary, not the second largest capital city of Alberta.

  4. Great travel blog, Taylor. We’re all honoured you enjoyed our city so much. I grew up here from the age of eight to my early twenties, and when I ended up in Toronto after a few other stops around Ontario, I couldn’t wait to get back to my home town. It’s a great place to raise a family, have a rewarding career and develop life long friendships. It really is Canada’s best kept secret — so much so that most Canadians don’t even know how great this city is. One thing I might add, though; Edmonton can be challenging to like/love in the winter months — the cold, the dark, the dirty snow can take some getting used to. It really does shine, though, from May to September. Welcome back anytime!

    1. Ah thanks so much. Glad to hear that you love your home and hope this post doesn’t let your secret out too much ;)

      I’d like to visit in the winter, but I understand it must be hard to live through the entire season. Brr!

  5. You know I lived in Edmonton from 1950 to 2012 (with many sojourns to other places) when I retired to Mexico. I have never heard of the El Cortez Restaurant nor have a clue where it is and I have to think you are a 20’s something to get such a bang out of the severely overpriced and junky Whyte Avenue. You were there in the summer and for the most part it can be fairly pleasant for about 3 to 4 months although in my time there I saw it snow every month of the year… the winters (basically the rest of the year) are dreadful. It is also known in Alberta as “Redmonton” because of their love of socialist governments. I am glad your stay was pleasant but I think the story is a bit over-written.

    1. “Edmonton is such a dreadful place that I only chose to live there for 62 years.” The city is a better place without you Francis Dryden. I suspect the world will be better off when you are 6-feet under.

    2. I’ve lived in Edmonton for 35 out of 36 years of my existence, and I absolutely love it. I’ve been to other places (mostly in North America), and there’s nothing quite like Edmonton. It’s a peaceful city, and not fast paced like other Canadian big cities. It was a great city to grow up and spend my youth in. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

      I wouldn’t say there are 3 to 4 months of unpleasant weather. I personally prefer the Winter months, and the nasty weather occurs maybe a week or two at a time. Not for the entire 3-4 months. It’s great for people that love skiing, or playing some outdoor ice hockey.

      IMO, Francis lived in Edmonton for 62 years and never really experienced the city if he/she is making comments like that. Whyte Ave. is not overpriced and junky, and all year round there’s always something to do. It’s a definitely a go-to spot for tourists.

      I think Francs might be a little salty because of Alberta’s economical and political situation. Ignore his/her comments.

      I appreciate the positive comments written regarding our wonderful city, and hope more people come for a visit. Edmonton actually has one of the best Summers in all of Canada. Super long days with warm weather.

      1. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comment. Much appreciated.

        I’ve heard that the winters can be tough, but they do look fun…at least for a visitor! The snowball fight festival and frozen slides sound like a good laugh!

    3. El Cortez opened after 2012. Also, sheesh, you sound so grumpy. It’s too bad you couldn’t take advantage of all that Edmonton has to offer since you were just chillin behind your wall of negativity.

    4. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Sadly I’m no longer in my 20s actually, so don’t think the great visit can be attributed to that. I guess it’s just different tastes – we loved it.

      I was completely honest with what I said. My family loved it for loads of different reasons. I’m sure it would be different in winter – guess I’ll just have to go back!

    5. I’ve lived in Edmonton for about 12 years, and I’ve never heard anyone call it “Redmonton”. Also, the Province of Alberta was ruled by the Conservative “Progressive Conservative Party” for around 44 years, so I have no idea how Edmonton could be considered “socialist”. The entire Province, including Edmonton, voted for the PCs for years and years, except for Strathcona, which tends to go NDP …. Now, for the first time in 44 years, we have a different party Provincially – the NDP, which I suppose could be called “socialist”, though I’m not sure that makes any sense since the whole country of Canada is democratic socialist… Even under the Conservatives the past 10 years, Canada has been a social democracy for many decades…

  6. Hi Char!

    I am glad you enjoyed your time in Edmonton, which I proudly call my hometown! The city, which is famous for its river valley and countless festivals, has come a long way in the last few years alone, and is finally beginning to get some of the attention it so deserves!

    Don’t listen to that Francis person…his/her claims you are “over-writing,” which is exactly what he/she is doing when mentioning the winter and this very uncommon and never-used “redmonton” nickname! Sure, there are some bad spots throughout our winter, but there are so many things to do still, including many festivals based AROUND winter! Plus, our winters have plenty of sunshine!!

    We hope you get to make it back one day soon!! Thank you for your awesome article!

    Emil,
    I Heart Edmonton

    1. Like your response very much. More truth in that than , poor old Francis
      Love my city. Born here and love it!

    2. It definitely deserves the spotlight!

      To be honest, the winter appeals to me. I get that it’s mega cold, but the festivals and activities look SO cool (excuse the pun!)! Really pleased that you like my post and thanks for the welcome back. Might take you up on that offer :D

  7. Wonderful article about the city I live in and love! By the way, Famoso is in fact a local independent pizza place, started by Edmontonians, so you did have a taste of local while you were there!
    Next time you visit, and I’m sure there’ll be a next time, don’t miss the 124 street shops, the 104 street farmers’ market, and the great array of independent coffee roasters we have to offer. You’ve just scratched the surface of our amazing city!

    1. Thanks so much. Really appreciate your comment! Glad to hear it is local after all.

      Oh we sampled lots of the coffee places too. Considering writing a separate post as the selection was so good! Thanks for the recommendations :)

  8. Thanks for a great write up on the city I live in (and LOVE!)

    It was lovely to see it through your eyes and made me soo proud!
    But please…shhhh….don’t tell too many people about it ;)

    Oh, and yes Famoso is a Canadian chain, but it was born and bred in Edmonton. started by a few local guys.

  9. I am glad you liked our city. And for the record, Famoso is a Canadian chain, but it started in Edmonton. The original location (Jasper Ave.) is still open.

  10. Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful review of our city! In my early 20s I thought I wanted to leave as soon as possible but eventually grew a love for the city, its people and its spirit. It’s so nice to see tourists take the time to dig for Edmonton’s hidden gems and go beyond the typical recommendations to discover what the city is about. Glad you had a great trip and our city would be honoured to welcome you again if you ever venture back this way!! <3

    1. What a lovely comment! Thanks so much :)

      I think it’s pretty normal to not love the place you grow up in – it’s easy to take home for granted, but it’s great when the day comes when you realise how lucky you are and start to see it in a different light.

      Thanks for the big welcome! <3

  11. Famosos is actually from Edmonton. The first location on Jasper Avenue was the only one for years (and the best one) before they expanded in the city and the rest of Canada.

    Thanks for the trip to my home! Great write up.

  12. Thanks for the great review and write-up of our city! We have flown under the tourist radar so many times that it makes me happy to see people visit and enjoy it. I love this city for its strong community, thriving arts scene, and (yes, incredible) river valley system. Summer is a great time to visit, but some of us even enjoy the winter. Tobogganing and skating and other outdoor adventures are doable if you dress for the weather – and we even have some great winter festivals if you come back in the darker months.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a lovely comment. I think if I visit again it’d have to be in the winter. I know it’s incredibly cold, but it sounds like so much fun. I’d love to go tobogganing! We don’t get much snow here

  13. This is my home town, and FYI… The ice rink is the halfway point between the two ends of West Edmonton Mall. If you only got that far, you only got through half of the mall. Lol. :)
    Lovely write up!

  14. Redmonton? I’ve lived in Edmonton all of my life…The Big Onion, Edmonchuk, etc…but never Redmonton. That right there is some fanciful fiction.

    This was such a lovely article and made me smile broadly. *Most* of us are very proud of our home; we live in the smallest big city in Canada. The Duchess was voted one of the best bakeries in the world and is fantastic. I’m hardly a 20-something, and El Cortez is a very cool place, especially during our world renowned Fringe Festival in August. Winter in Edmonton can be daunting in spots, but there are so many winter activities if one simply embraces the season! And Edmonton shines in the winter; the river valley is epically beautiful.

    Thank you for visiting! Come back soon. :)

    1. Redmonton was a real nickname, mostly back in the ’80s and early ’90s, when we were known for electing Liberals while most of the rest of the province voted PC/Conservative.

      I don’t think it was ever common outside of political junkies and I certainly haven’t heard it used in at least 10 years. But, to be fair to Francis, it was a real nickname.

    2. Haha, Edmonchuk – that’s a funny one!

      So happy to hear that I did your city justice with my post :D I’m not in my twenties either, so El Cortez is definitely for more than one age group.

      Great shout outs. I’ve heard so many good things about the Fringe Festival and the winter activities. I’d love to give them a try! We don’t get much snow here in England, so I guess it’s a bit of a novelty for me.

      Thanks so much. I’d love to! :D

  15. I’m a native Edmontonian but now living on your side of the tracks in Italy. I love reading perspectives like yours and in fact, I appreciate only now so many of the things that you mention. It’s a city that feels like a small town :) Anyways, hope you’ll stop by my blog at http://www.questadolcevita.com.

  16. Yaaano…this post is sponsored by KLM and Travel Alberta. She certainly didn’t take pictures of the other 98% of the city that are dingy, barren, or box stores.

  17. I’m sorry if this was already mentioned, but there were to many comments. The Famoso restaurant on Jasper Avenue was the first and original one. So in a way Famoso is definitely Edmontonian experience, despite the fact they’re everywhere now!

  18. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit to Edmonton! Another amazing market to check out is the St Albert Farmer’s Market, though it wouldn’t have opened yet for the season when you were here (opening weekend is usually the first or second Saturday in June, depending when the International Children’s Festival runs, as they use the same space). It’s western Canada’s largest outdoor farmers market and has a great mix of local artisans and produce (and just about everything else you could imagine!). It’s my favourite market in the metro area (and I live on the other side of Edmonton!).

  19. Thank you so much for your kind words about the city I know, love, and call home. I also highly recommend spending some time on “the High Street” and along 124th Street for some great boutique shopping and dining! (That is where you’ll find Duchess.)

    When you were mentioning your favourite shops, did you mean The Bamboo Ballroom? It’s a favourite of many here.

    Thank you so much for coming to Edmonton!

    1. You’re welcome. Yes, we shopped those spots too – good shout.

      Ooh yes I did. Thanks, I’ve amended. They stocked a really cool brand called Camp Brand Goods. I fell in love with a sweater, but didn’t realise how popular it was. By the time I visited again a few days later they’d sold out. Apparently the brand is really popular in Canada. When I go back I’ll definitely snap some up!

      Thanks for having me :)

  20. Thanks for writing about Edmonton. I live here & love this city more and more every year. I’ve seen this city grow and become more metropolitan as time goes by.
    The downtown market on 104St was named the best market by a writing for National Geographic (I believe). It runs every Saturday from May to October. There is also a new Night Market which I haven’t yet been to. Other Edmontonians mentioned the plethora of summer festivals in this city. Those are enough to keep you very busy!
    There are amazing restaurants all over the city. Rostizado, Tres Carnales, Sabor, The Marc, Rge Rd, Solstice, Urbano Pizza, Hardware Grill, Little Brick, Three Boars, Farrow, The Local Omnivore, Mikado, Belgravia Hub and so many more!
    Thanks for visiting & writing about the city.

    1. It’s so great to hear that you love Edmonton so much. Yeah, I’ve heard about that accolade too. Kinda gutted I didn’t get to check it out – maybe an excuse to go back?!

      Yeah, a few of those were on my list but we ran out of time. I’m a vegetarian so not one for me, but I’ve heard loads of people rave about MEAT too. Thanks for the recommendations, which I have no doubt will be useful for others visiting the area (and hopefully me for a future visit!). Thanks also for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

  21. Wonderful open hearted review of Edmonton! Thank you for sharing with so many. You described a few places I have not yet seen and now will go seek them out. :-)
    I have only lived in Edmonton for 22 years having relocated from New York City. It was a post secondary, educational move, but I stayed on and I have fallen in love with many aspects of Edmonton. One of the greatest is the North Saskatchewn River valley, which you so aptly described. It is a breath of fresh air all year round and easily accessible from all parts of the city. Whether walking, hiking, biking, jogging, cross country skiing, skating, picnicking (i.e. Hawrlak Park) attending outdoor festivals and performances, and on and on. It is one of the best used and loved parks within a cityscape, in North America. Personally, I think it surpasses a few other river cities I have lived in: New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Spokane.
    As many have noted the dark months can be a challenge but I am always delighted by the strength of people’s spirits who find beauty and activity even in mid January! Edmonton IS wonderful city.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. Glad to have inspired you to visit a few new spots. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

      So happy to hear that you love the River Valley too. We went to Hawrlak Park and saw all the little picnic areas and thought it’d be lovely in the summer. You’ll have to have one for me ;)

      You’ve painted a beautiful picture of winter, albeit a very cold one! I think it’d be great to experience it, though I can fully appreciate that it’s hard if you’re living it day in, day out.

  22. Like many of the commenters, I have also lived in Edmonton my whole life! I only just started to explore more and really try and see all the different parts of our city. I’m so glad you enjoyed your time here! :)

  23. Oh this is just lovely! Like many others in the comments section, I’m a born-and-raised Edmontonian and proud of it. Edmonton tends to get a lot of abuse from people who think it’s boring, but this city really is a hidden gem. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit – come back again soon! :)

  24. My wife is German and has moved with me across Canada during the time I was in the Military. We moved to Alberta together into a small town called Innisfail, by Red Deer, a jewel of a small city in Alberta. Then we moved to Calgary, bought a darling house in the SouthEast and truly loved living in Calgary. Then we had to move to Edmonton, but we could not decide on which neighbourhood to move into, so we decided to move to a bedroom community, Fort Saskatchewan. Between the two cities, (Ft. Sask. and Edm.) we have the world by the short hairs. Everything we could ever want, from shopping to specialized medical care, fantastic trail systems in both cities (for my mobility scooter jaunts) and tons of parkland to go for day-trips and picnics.

    We would like to move back to the Thousand Islands in Ontario, but find the stability of life here in Alberta a winning combination, and the reason why we stay.

    Oh, and the other thing Alberta has over any other place I have lived (in Canada and overseas!) is the sunshine during the winter. Vast, blue skies, -20°C, crisp, clean air, see forever vista’s. Watching a Fox hunt mice under the snow, seeing a Moose wandering around downtown by my ATM machine, coyotes singing in the evening serenading my wife and I as we sit in our large back yard next to our stream and pond as we gaze up at the stars. Oh, BTW, we are next to a BlackOut Star-gazing area just to the East of us).

    I am glad you enjoyed your time in Edmonton – I was actually raised there as a child and have nothing but fond memories of my time in this great city.

    1. Wow, what a lovely comment. It sounds like you have had and still have a very beautiful life. I’ve heard a lot of negative comments about the tough winters, but the way you describe it is how I imagine it and it sounds incredible -cold, but incredible!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to leave such a well written, appreciative comment.

  25. What a beautiful Valentine to Edmonton! I agree that it is a fantastic place, but you have done more for our city with your wonderful words and pictures than you could imagine. Come back soon!

  26. now you’ve done it! Edmonton’s best kept secret has now been communicated all over the world and now people will be rushing in to visit. I moved here in 1976 for what I expected would be a few years. I love this great town. The winters are not as bad as you might think. The sun shines just as bright at minus 40 degrees as plus 30! And Snow creates lots of fun activities. Thanks for showing Edmonton in such a positive light.
    Welcome back anytime.

  27. Wow….you get us!! Thanks for a great write up! You saw us for what we are. I am a life-long resident that loves to have visitors come to the region. And you nailed it – its all about the layers – of clothing and people and experiences. For some reason we attract and keep poets, painters, musicians and thinkers and they live alongside the mechanics, pipe-fitters and for some reason their minds tend to all be wide-open. Some of our morning commutes resemble an episode of Ice Road Truckers…but its just another fun flavour of Edmonton-world. Our access to the Greens and Blues of nature is high and rewarding. Edmonton is real Canada…not clinging-near-to-the-US border Canada!
    Thanks coming – I can’t wait for your other adventures.

  28. I’ve always considered Edmonton to be that place where I have to go visit Grandma, but, I’m very much looking forward to visiting all your descriptions. I’ve really come to love the summer storms, the diversity, and sense of an environmentally friendly community!

  29. I’ve been here in Edmonton for … longer then I care to put a number to. lol. In the humdrum of the day to day, I always forget what a great city this can be. Reading about your experience here reminds me of what I overlook, and gives me a great list of things to do. If you ever have the chance to come back I really recommend stopping by Fort Edmonton Park for an interactive historical trip. Great for the kids, and the adults, it has everything from historical houses, antique cars, a First Nations village, an old trading fort, an original Merry-Go-Round, train rides, and street cars. Even a Hotel you can stay at. Staff dress the part and are very knowledgeable of our history.

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