There's much to see and do in the city of Edmonton. Located on the North Saskatchewan River, there are many things to do in Edmonton that appeal to all people, including nature lovers, those that enjoy culture, and numerous amenities to keep people busy. For those looking to buy Edmonton townhomes or luxury homes in the area, it may also be helpful to know that this is an active community with lots of things to do within each city's neighbourhoods. Whether you've lived in Edmonton for years or are visiting for the first time, the city is full of great places to stay, eat, and play. Keep reading to find the best guide for a perfect Edmonton vacation or staycation.
Table of Contents
- Edmonton Resorts
- Hotels and B&Bs in Edmonton
- Food and Dining in Edmonton
- Attractions in Edmonton
- Adventures in Edmonton
- When to Visit Edmonton
- Plan Your Dream Edmonton Vacation
For visitors, consider staying at one of the area's resorts. The city has numerous options, including traditional hotels and bed and breakfasts. It also has luxurious resorts and entertainment complexes with hotel amenities. Here's a look at some of the largest city resorts that may be available to visitors.
River Cree Resort and Casino
River Cree Resort and Casino Amenities
- Fatburger restaurant onsite
- The Kitchen Restaurant, a full-service eatery
- Tap 25 Sports Bar
- Nightly live entertainment
- 249 guest rooms with 11 luxury suites
The River Cree Resort and Casino is a 24-hour establishment that offers guests exceptional dining and nightlife options. It has 40 table games, 1,350 slot machines, 12 tables in a Poker Room, and a vibrant gaming center. In addition, it has space for concerts, trade shows, private events, and lavish events. The River Creek Resort also features a large hotel with 249 guest rooms, including 11 luxury suites. The location in the West Edmonton area is just five minutes from West Edmonton Mall and about a 20-minute drive to the Edmonton International Airport. Also nearby and a part of the casino, which hosts a hockey league in the spring and summer months.
For those who want to plan a getaway that lets them stay, dine, play, and enjoy the live entertainment, the River Cree Resort and Casino is precisely that.
Fantasyland Hotel & Resort
Fantasyland Hotel & Resort Amenities
- L1 Lounge for drinks
- L2 Grill for excellent dinners
- Ice Palace for ice skating
- World Waterpark for an indoor waterpark
- Galaxyland Amusement Park
- Professor Wem's Adventure Golf
Fantasyland Hotel & Resort is a world-recognized getaway located at the West Edmonton Mall. It has excellent hotel rooms, many of which have fun, themed concepts to create unique guest experiences. It is also home to a large conference and banquet facility that attracts people worldwide for shows and events throughout the year.
The hotel has a total of 355 guest rooms. Of those, 120 of them are themed rooms. Themes include Hollywood, Roman, Space, Modern Polynesian, Imperial, Modern Igloo, and Western. With over-the-top décor to match these themes, staying here allows guests to step into a completely different place. The location also offers luxury rooms, executive rooms, and superior rooms, each larger and uniquely designed. The convenient location in West Edmonton Mall keeps some of the best shopping in Edmonton at hand.
Hotels and B&Bs in Edmonton
Edmonton is home to numerous additional hotels and bed and breakfasts to provide visitors with the type of accommodations they like. It's easy to find a hotel that offers luxurious amenities or bed and breakfasts with a charming, like-home feel to them. Here are some examples.
Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
Fairmont Hotel Macdonald Amenities
- Full concierge available
- Pet-friendly location
- Transportation to and from the airport
- Onsite health club and fitness centre
- Massage therapy services onsite
- Several restaurants and a bar
Located on 100th Street, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is a 100-year-old hotel that looks like a castle perched on the riverbank. This timeless hotel is in the Downtown Edmonton area and offers the most picturesque views. This hotel is the city's only historic four-diamond "Chateau on the River." Long noted as the place for royalty and socialites, this hotel has been maintained and updated to provide today's most modern amenities.
It features 198 classically designed guestrooms. These elegant spaces offer high-end amenities and ample space for the most refined guests. In addition, guests can enjoy one of the restaurants onsite, including The Confederation Lounge and Patio, Royal Afternoon Tea, and The Harvest Room. In-room dining is also available. The Fairmont is also noted for its event spaces, often hosting elegant events, including weddings.
Metterra Hotel on Whyte
Metterra Hotel on Whyte Amenities
- Onsite meetings available
- Hosts private dinner parties
- Cocktail receptions
- Nestled into a historic neighbourhood
- Complimentary breakfast provided
The Metterra Hotel on Whyte calls itself an authentic lifestyle hotel that offers a blend of modern luxury and contemporary style. It's close to the University of Alberta and downtown, making it desirable for business travellers. It's also only a few blocks from the river valley and the walkable areas. It features organically-inspired colours, natural wood furnishings, and eclectic styling to make each space a bit more unique than the last. Spa-like furnishings and features greet guests in their rooms.
The hotel has several meeting spaces and an outdoor patio room for those planning a corporate event, business meeting, or wedding. Unfortunately, there is no onsite restaurant at the hotel, but there are local restaurants nearby that guests can enjoy.
Mediterranean Edmonton B&B
Mediterranean Edmonton B&B Amenities
- Spa tub
- Exercise room
- Outdoor patio area
- Fireplace in the living room
- Breakfast provided
The Mediterranean Edmonton B&B aims to be a home away from home. Its rooms are welcoming, brightly coloured, and updated to offer modern furnishings. This is a small B&B with just three rooms to offer. The Hideaway is the largest room with a full ensuite bath. The Nest is a deluxe double room perfect for those who wish to snuggle. The Garden Room is more extensive and opens up onto the deck.
Guests are encouraged to share breakfast and chat before heading out for the day's activities. The B&B is just minutes from the University of Albert, The Royal Alberta Museum, and Fort Edmonton Park. For those who wish to spend time exploring the city but doing so in a home-like setting, this location may be one of the best choices in local accommodations.
Food and Dining in Edmonton
Finding a place to enjoy local cuisine is easy to do with dozens of restaurants located throughout the area. The city is the largest beef producer, which means there's ample access to all types of beef-inspired dishes. However, Edmonton is a modern community with vegan options, international cuisine, and even favourite chains. Take a look at some of the local restaurants worth visiting while on vacation in Edmonton.
Popular Dishes at SABOR
- Chilean Seabass
- Lobster Risotto
- Vegetarian Mushroom and Truffle Risotto
- Rack of Lamb
- Three-Course Seafood Family Dinner
- Grilled Octopus
SABOR Restaurant offers a wide range of menu options that highlight fresh ingredients and old-world flavours. Opened by Christian Mena and Adelino Oliveira, this restaurant set out to be a new level of dining not found elsewhere in Edmonton. The restaurant features Iberian coastal cuisine that integrates sustainable seafood into its menu. As a result, the food is effortlessly vibrant, delicious, and different from anything in the area.
Restaurant visitors may also find the location offers live music on some nights. This Latin music experience creates a fun environment. The menu is large, with new takes on old favourites and modern dishes. Guests can choose the protein they want and then pair it with the kinds of pasta, soups, and sides available.
Cafe Amore Bistro
Popular Dishes at Cafe Amore Bistro
- Pasta Trilogy
- King Pescatore
- Homemade Gnocchi
- Lobster Ravioli
- Smoked Salmon Mousse Crostini
- Papa Giuseppe's Meatballs
A rich dining experience, Café Amore Bistro is more than the typical Italian restaurant. This family-owned and managed location incorporates traditional family recipes alongside modern updates. The menu uses fresh ingredients as well as some imported items. There are numerous options, including panini, risotto, fresh seafood, and antipasti. The location also offers dinner packs which include dessert and one of several dishes to feed a family of 2 or 4.
Café Amore Bistro hosts live music on most Friday nights. There's also room for private functions of up to 40 people here. For those who are looking for a quick bite and drink, there's a bar seating area as well. It's also possible to take home some of the tastes from their market and store featuring locally sourced and in-house made products as well as imported items.
Popular Dishes at RGE RD
- Butcher's cut heritage pork
- Scotch Egg
- Pilatus Farms Bison
- Seared Sablefish
- Chickpea Panisse
- Sunchoke & Mushroom Salad
RGE RD has a simple mission statement – to help people eat off the beaten path. That means that the meals here are based on meals people had in the fields, mountains, and oceans, encompassing flavours that span from one coast to another. The ingredients come from local farms and small producers to help encourage sustainable practices. The menu changes often based on what's in season and available. It's an adventure with each meal. Much of the menu focuses on wood-fired cooking and whole animal butchery.
RGE RD also has a full butchery onsite. So guests can pick up their favourites knowing that these pieces of meat were just prepared for them. The location also offers charcuterie boards using locally sourced products. There's also a full pick-up service with multi-course meals.
Attractions in Edmonton
The scenic location near the river and Edmonton's history create numerous exciting attractions in the city. From skiing to museums, visitors to Edmonton are sure to find a wide range of activities to explore in the city and the surrounding areas. Here are some must-see attractions in Edmonton.
Royal Alberta Museum
The Royal Alberta Museum is home to numerous artifacts and displays showcasing the region's history. It paints the story of Indigenous Peoples in Alberta through the history with the Crown. Visitors work through several exhibitions during their trip through the museum. That includes the Manitou Asiniy Gallery. This is a high-touch area where visitors are encouraged to explore the displays firsthand.
There are temporary and travelling exhibits at the Royal Alberta Museum quite often. Some permanent exhibitions include the National History Hall, Bug Gallery, and the Human History Hall. It easily takes a full day to work through each of these locations. Anyone looking for things to do with kids in Edmonton will appreciate the Children's Gallery here.
During regular operation, walk-up tickets are available, though the museum encourages visitors to buy a ticket in advance. In addition, there are various learning experiences and educational programs available. There's also a gift shop and a small eatery at the museum.
Explore the eclectic, historic, and culturally significant events at the Citadel Theatre. This theatre is one of the largest in the country. Its productions range widely from moving stories to fun, laughable shows. It hosts both Canadian and international professional productions with a constantly changing schedule. Citadel Theatre is also the home of the Foote Theatre School, which puts on its performances and experiences for guests.
One of the ways to explore the Citadel Theatre is by taking one of the theatre classes or amps available throughout the year. There are options for both adults and children, including musical theatre, acting, and playwriting experiences. It also sponsors a pre-professional training program for young companies. Educators can get support and guidance from the theatre to take back into their schools or encourage students to come to the theatre.
Edmonton Folk Music Festival
Another cultural experience for visitors and locals is the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. This event takes place in Gallagher Park in Downtown Edmonton. It happens over four days, typically the second weekend in August each year. It brings together world-class musical performances by a wide range of groups. Every year is a bit different, though some groups come back year after year to participate.
This outdoor music event has gone on since 1980. It draws in people from around the globe both to perform and participate. Volunteers help to make the entire experience possible.
During the festival, there are six active stages set up. Each one hosts concerts, workshops, or other exciting shows. Numerous food vendors offer a range of cuisine options along the outside area, while crafters and artisans set up booths in large tents to sell their handmade goods. There's also a large beer garden that has been known to sell more beer than any other event in the western portion of Canada does. It's always a good time here.
Adventures in Edmonton
There's plenty more to explore in Edmonton. It's easy to find an area park for a walk or bike trail. There are dog parks throughout the city, too. For those looking for specific locations to visit, check out the following locations.
William Hawrelak Park, once known as Mayfair Park, is a large, 68-hectare park located right in the river valley. There's a 5-hectare lake in the heart of the park. A large park pavilion is often the go-to location for events and get-togethers. Some picnic tables are present, especially near the playground areas. A few fountains dot the landscape along the walking paths, creating visual interest. For those who are looking to get outdoors, there's plenty to do here.
Depending on the time of the year, a skate rental shop is available to allow visitors to head out onto the lake (only when conditions are right) for ice skating. The biking and walking trails are open throughout the year as long as conditions allow. Most are paved, which makes for a smooth experience.
Hawrelak Park is home to the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues' Community League Plaza. It's located on the southeast side of the lake and features a creek view area, artwork, a gas fireplace, and access to the lake.
Edmonton Valley Zoo
It's always a fun experience to visit the Edmonton Valley Zoo. There are over 350 animals that call this area home. It is known for its educational and fun opportunities throughout the year to learn about conservations, animals, and the environment itself.
The zoo features a Miniature Train for travelling from one area to the next. There are also displays and educational events such as the "Get Closer: Animal Talks" presentations. Visitors can move through the zoo, exploring one exhibit after the other. Fun rides and playground areas exist throughout the zoo, including a food area and a gift shop.
Once called "The End of the World," Keillor Point is a scenic lookout in the Belgravia neighbourhood. It sits on top of the riverbank on Saskatchewan Drive and has become an impressive, must-see stop for those visiting the city. It was developed to create a safe way for people to capture views of the river valley. Guests can walk down a path and peer over the cliffs to see the stunning views that stretch out in front of them.
Keillor Point was developed after the closure of Keillor Road itself. This road once had numerous, large pillars that helped form a retaining wall along the bank of the river, some of which have fallen away. Nevertheless, the location remained popular for people who wanted to capture a glimpse of the area, even with restrictions. The city developed this walkway on top of the current concrete pillars to allow people to access the views more safely.
When to Visit Edmonton
Residents and visitors can experience Edmonton's four seasons throughout the year. Edmonton summers are warm, rainy, and busy with tourism, typically lasting from June through September, with average temperatures in the mid 20 degrees Celsius. Those who want to participate in the area's festivals, explore the city's parks, or participate in water recreation should visit during this time.
The fall months begin to cool down, reaching lows of -7 degrees Celsius. Winters are even colder, with temperatures falling below -10 degrees Celsius. Even with low temperatures, it's possible to enjoy skiing during Edmonton's cold winter.
The best time to view the Northern Lights is just before midnight between September and April.
Plan Your Dream Edmonton Vacation
Edmonton is an exciting city with a rich history and ample culture. It's the location to find stunning old-world architecture alongside modern clubs and a growing foodie scene. At the same time, Edmonton is filled with things to do and experience unique to the area. There is something for most people here, from the hotel selected (don't forget those themed rooms) to the outdoor exploration.
If you're looking for the perfect Edmonton home, contact EdmontonRealEstate.ca in partnership with Justin Havre at (780) 800-9644 to get in touch with a local Edmonton real estate agent and discover your new dream home today.