How can I enjoy my "staycation" in Edmonton?
July 4, 2011 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Help me discover my own city! Looking for unique things to do in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

I am on vacation next week and my girlfriend is unable to join me. For these and other reasons, I will be staying in town during my week off of work.

I've never taken this much time off without travelling somewhere before, so I don't really know what to do with my time. Most of my friends will be working during the day time, so I'm looking for some things to do that will be fun to do solo.

The less expensive, the better, but it's my vacation, so I'm willing to spend some money if necessary.

One thing to note: I don't own a car so things that are outside the city limits are probably not doable for me unless they require very little time on the highway (I have a Vespa, but it's only 150cc so I'd prefer not to go on the highway with it).

I am totally cool with doing cheesy, touristy things and seeing my city from the perspective of an outsider, so don't hesitate to suggest things that you think would only interest someone who doesn't live here. Just don't suggest the mall. I hate that mall.
posted by asnider to Travel & Transportation around Edmonton, AB (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I love Fort Edmonton, that will eat up a whole day. I love the Edmonton Science Center, even though it's kiddie science... the laser show is awesome. The West Edmonton Mall is a given, though I'd like to have someone with me to go to water slides and on the rides. Stroll around Whyte Avenue for some fun shopping and restaurants, some good comic book stores too.
posted by lizbunny at 2:06 PM on July 4, 2011

Oh and here's a calendar of festivals in Edmonton for ya. There's a cool street performer's festival next week, see if you can volunteer at that.

I love volunteering at those kinds of festivals, lots of fun people, you stay active, it's free, and can have extra perks too. Volunteer at the Fringe Festival later this summer for sure!
posted by lizbunny at 2:12 PM on July 4, 2011

(sorry about the mall suggestion, overeagerness... I love Edmonton.)
posted by lizbunny at 2:14 PM on July 4, 2011

Response by poster: (sorry about the mall suggestion, overeagerness... I love Edmonton.)

No worries. I don't mind doing certain things at the mall. The indoor mini-golf course is especially nice when you're looking for something to do in the winter but you don't want to go outside.

Mostly, I didn't want to get a dozen "go to WEM" replies from people who tend to think that Edmonton is just the mall.
posted by asnider at 2:20 PM on July 4, 2011

There's a Warhol exhibit at the Art Gallery.

Go splurge and eat something yummy at the Red Ox Inn.

I second the suggestion for Fort Edmonton. I haven't been in years. Perhaps I'm due.
posted by mazola at 2:26 PM on July 4, 2011

Have a handheld GPS or a smartphone with GPS? There's lots of good geocaching in Edmonton, particularly all through the river valley and the creeks and ravines on the south side. Just in the center of the city, there's a fair number to find in downtown on the north side, or in the parks and forests around the University area. I've always found geocaching to be a good excuse to get out and walk around to explore a city, and it works just as well for me at home (in Edmonton) as it does when I'm on vacation in other cities.

Beyond that, I can second the suggestions from lizbunny and mazola. If you haven't been to the Art Gallery yet or recently, then that's a good way to spend an afternoon.
posted by Fully Completely at 2:45 PM on July 4, 2011

Best answer: - Long bike ride/run/walk in the River Valley and Mill Creek trail systems following by a swim and lounge at the Mill Creek outdoor pool, weather permitting.

- Check out some of the Arts on the Avenue events along Alberta Avenue.

- Hang out at one of the Farmer's markets: Strathcona, Downtown or Alberta Avenue.

- Park your Vespa alongside some of the Harleys at the Tim Horton's on Whyte Ave and rev your engine, while giving a smug look to the Harley dudes. (Just kidding - but it would be funny!)

- Art Gallery! I'm biased on this, as I'm a member of the gallery but I really enjoyed the Warhol: Manufactured exhibition that's currently running.

- The Duke of Argyll pub (in the Sheraton hotel on Argyll) has a pretty sweet steak/egg/beer brunch special on Sundays.
posted by Kurichina at 3:00 PM on July 4, 2011

- Long bike ride/run/walk in the River Valley and Mill Creek trail systems following by a swim and lounge at the Mill Creek outdoor pool, weather permitting.

Or bike to Hawrelak or Rundle and lounge around/take a paddleboat out.
posted by mazola at 3:07 PM on July 4, 2011

Lots of good suggestions here. I would add the Legislature grounds (if the weather holds) - good people-watching out by the fountains, or take a tour of the building itself if you've never been. From there you can hop on the historic streetcar over the High Level bridge to Old Strathcona.

You might also want to check out the art galleries on and around 124th Street.
posted by Urban Hermit at 3:13 PM on July 4, 2011

You know, I have never gone on a tour of the Legislature here... But in that vein there is also government house (which I've never been in), and also you could go to the Royal Alberta Museum and see what's going down (I haven't been since I was a kid).

The only caution I have for the science centre is that the main exhibits don't change very often. I would suggest only going (if you aren't a child) if there is a travelling exhibit there you want to see.

When I was an underemployed roustabout I would go read books on the south lawn of the Legislature grounds. It is always very nice down there if you just want to catch some rays and people watch.
posted by selenized at 4:19 PM on July 4, 2011

Also: You should go out to Barrhead and visit friends. It would be an epic Vespa adventure!
posted by selenized at 4:24 PM on July 4, 2011


Go to the WEM (I know, I know, just hear me out!) and hit up the gun range, if you've never been. Rent a pistol, buy a bunch of ammo, and shoot. My partner and I went there for the first time ever about a month ago. Cheesy touristy tomfoolery at its best, if you ask me. My partner's never so much as touched a firearm before, and had a great time. Ask for the zombie targets.
posted by Sternmeyer at 4:30 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

John Janzen Nature Centre. Freshly renovated!
posted by gingerest at 5:20 PM on July 4, 2011

Response by poster: Ask for the zombie targets.

This is so fucking awesome! I've never shot anything other than a .22 before, but I have no aversion to changing that if I get to shoot zombies (real or otherwise).
posted by asnider at 5:50 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Alas, the current feature exhibit at the Space and Science Centre Telus World of Science is Sesame Street Presents: The Body. Something tells me that it would be less than appropriate for me to visit without a child. I might get some weird looks.
posted by asnider at 6:02 PM on July 4, 2011

definitely get out to Churchill Square to check out the street performers' festival. it is always awesome and amazing.
posted by spindle at 9:04 PM on July 4, 2011

Ask for the zombie targets.

But also don't be fooled by them. I have a zombie target with lots of gunshot holes around the target on the heart. But I know if real zombies attack, I'll need to aim for the brain. I just aimed for the heart as instructed on the target so as not to let the zombie scouts know I'm onto them.....
posted by Kurichina at 7:42 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

You could pay homage to the Edmonton area's significant Ukrainian heritage population, by having dinner at Taste of Ukraine. Too bad you can't arrange a car for a day (cheaply hire one?) to check out the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, 50 km east of town.
posted by paulsc at 8:10 AM on July 5, 2011

I think the zombie target shooting idea is just brilliant.
posted by selenized at 10:31 AM on July 5, 2011

Response by poster: Too bad you can't arrange a car for a day (cheaply hire one?)...

I'm starting to think that it might be worthwhile to rent a car for a day or two. For the most part, I can get around with the Vespa and/or transit, but renting a car would certainly expand my options.
posted by asnider at 11:20 AM on July 5, 2011

A couple years ago I took a friend visiting from England to the shooting range, it was the highlight of their trip.
By coincidence, someone was accidentally killed there the very next day but I think they have improved the safety since then
posted by canoehead at 12:09 PM on July 5, 2011

If you do rent a car, a carless friend of mine gets good deals with Budget for weekends.

And within easy driving distance of Edmonton (under 2 hours): Eden Skydiving Centre (off of Yellowhead Hwy near Hwy 43), Elk Island National Park and Cooking Lake Provincial Park (east of Sherwood Park), Wabamun Lake and Alberta Beach (Yellowhead and Hwy 43).
posted by Kurichina at 1:18 PM on July 5, 2011

Response by poster: Eden Skydiving Centre

You have no idea how much I'd love to go skydiving. Alas, my doctor has specifically forbade it (I have back issues).
posted by asnider at 1:51 PM on July 5, 2011

Response by poster: So, to resolve this, here is a run down of what I did, following your suggestions:
  1. Went geocaching.
  2. Went to WEM for beers and some shopping.
  3. Went to the shooting range with selenized. My target is here.
  4. Checked out the Street Performers' Festival.
Some of your other suggestions were "ignored" because I'd already done them recently (such as visiting the Warhol exhibit at the AGA) or just because I wasn't able to find the time, money, etc. And, of course, I did a bunch of things that weren't suggested here.

Thanks for all of the suggestions! You helped to make my staycation a good one.
posted by asnider at 9:06 PM on July 17, 2011

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