Things to do in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada?
July 3, 2010 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Looking for suggestions on things to do in Edmonton, Canada, especially outdoors!

I'm in Edmonton for a few days. Though I'll be pretty busy, I'd like to see a bit of nature in the area. Problem: I don't have a car and am reliant on public transportation. I'm located downtown and have easy access to the metro. It seems like there's some sort of park next to the river - any other suggestions for places to walk around? Also, good places to eat downtown or cultural suggestions? Thanks!
posted by scrambles to Travel & Transportation around Edmonton, AB (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are trails on both banks of the river for almost its entire length through the city.
The nearest nature to downtown would be the stretch along the south bank from the high level bridge westward to Hawrelak park & beyond. You could easily walk there from downtown.
You may be able to rent bikes at some of the bike shops near the University.
The Works Festival & Jazz Festival are on now.
Some event links:
city of Edmonton events
See magazine
Vue magazine
Let me if you have specific questions
posted by canoehead at 8:56 AM on July 3, 2010

The river parks and river ravine trails are good and accessible. The John Janzen Nature conservatory is closed for the season for renovations, fyi. My SO thinks that there may be a bus out to Elk Island national park which is not far away.

Also, the street car can be taken across the High Level bridge (this is an adventure unto itself and will give you a great view of the river valley) and will go to old Strathcona which is a great are of town (better than boring downtown IMHO).

One fun thing, that to my knowledge is an Alberta exclusive, is that the fountains at the legislature are specifically open for splashing in and soaking in. Do not mistake this for a kiddie only activity! One of the large fountains is a huge 3 ft deep pool. Great for a stinking hot day downtown (and free)!

I'll post back if I think of something else.
posted by kch at 9:06 AM on July 3, 2010

Best answer: There are very nice walks along the river as suggested by canoehead-- there's tons of maps and info at the edmonton river valley site.
Easy access from downtown, you can walk for miles if you like-- I'd suggest going across the footbridge next to the 109th st bridge to the Highlevel Diner for a nice short walk.

Fort Edmonton
is worth a visit-- A bunch of historical buildings, reconstructions, a steam train, etc.. very big and nature-y and located in a lovely section of the river valley, a very nice day out if you have enough time.
posted by Erasmouse at 9:08 AM on July 3, 2010

Doh! Sorry, screwed up the link.. anyways there's printable maps of the river valley trails here.
posted by Erasmouse at 9:12 AM on July 3, 2010

Best answer: You will need to eat food.

Are you downtown on a weekday? Eat lunch at Chicken For Lunch. When you look at it, you are going to think, "why is she sending me to a stupid food court booth?" Silence! When Amy says "spicy?" just nod. You'll get ginger chicken, hot and dry (crack) chicken, and the other chicken of the day, which if you are lucky, is Thai curry. Cash only. Get there by eleven, or don't go until 1, unless you don't mind a twenty minute line.

I love Sofra. It is Turkish food, and it is delicious. You will want to eat their fresh-to-order pita -- I recommend trying the three dip combo. Open at 5.

The Blue Plate Diner has art and local beer and wonderful homestyle things to eat. Very vegetarian friendly, and they also do regional foods like bison and the pemmican burger. On Saturday, there's a farmer's market right outside.

If you're on an expense account, check out the Hardware Grill for a more upscale regional dining experience (think elk and salmon and duck). They do a tasting menu in the evening as well.

I do not think there is a bus to Elk Island. If you like to look at bison, it is worth a car rental to head out there, plus there are hiking trails, lakes, and the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village nearby. That would be a full day adventure, so you would need to be fully committed to that sort of jaunt. The river valley parks will keep you busy enough, and there are beavers and pheasants in there if you really wanted some wild creatures.
posted by Sallyfur at 10:16 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for the great ideas so far! If you have any other ideas especially on places to eat downtown, please send them!
posted by scrambles at 9:47 PM on July 3, 2010

I haven't eaten downtown in a long time but hear Zenari's in Manulife place is still popular
posted by canoehead at 10:17 AM on July 4, 2010

Seconding a vote toward Chicken for Lunch. Do not miss it.
posted by Doug Stewart at 1:15 PM on July 7, 2010

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