Edmonton

Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, a province of Canada. Its metro area is home to 1.1 million people and is the northernmost city of at least one million people in North America, and the largest Canadian city farther than 200 km (125 miles) from the US border. Edmonton is famous for its beautiful river valley park system, the North Saskatchewan River Valley, which offers over 100 kilometers of recreational trails, wildlife viewing, and city views. The river valley also contains many parks, including Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest historical park. If the great outdoors is not what you seek, the city also offers West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in North America. On top of that, Edmonton has a vibrant theater community, a busy cycle of annual festivals, national sports teams active year-round, and wonderful winter recreational opportunities.

Districts

City of Edmonton (click to enlarge).
Central
This is Edmonton's oldest area. Shiny office towers populate the downtown core, just blocks away from well-treed streets and lovely old homes. This is the heart of the city, with many of the city's attractions. Enjoy world class festivals in Churchill Square, hit one of the sunny patios on Rice Howard Way, then shop for some Italian food in Little Italy, and finish the day off walking through the beautiful homes of Glenora.
South Central
Once the community of Strathcona, this in another well-established area. It's just south of the river, with views of downtown and the river valley. It is home to the University of Alberta, bringing a college community's youthfulness and excitement. The city's hottest strip, Whyte Avenue, offers dining, drinking, live music, live theater, and funky shopping.
West End
The west end combines a considerable residential area, light industrial and commercial areas, and shopping destinations like the famous West Edmonton Mall.
South
Another sprawling region of Edmonton. The area just recently got Light Rail Transit, and the eastern parts around Capilano and Ottewell are 50s styled mature neighborhoods. The area is home to the Fort Edmonton Park as well as Southgate Mall and some beautiful parks in the river valley.
North
This area of the city has many layers. Mature, pre-WWII neighborhoods like Delton and the Highlands, somewhat mature 1950s/1960s neighborhoods like Rosslyn and Calder, 80s suburbs like Clareview, and modern suburbs like Castle Downs.

In addition, Greater Edmonton also features several large communities outside Edmonton's city limits:

Understand

History

The area around Edmonton, which sits in the geographic centre of the province, was home to native populations for thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers. In 1795, Edmonton House was constructed and work on Fort Edmonton began. The original site was near Fort Saskatchewan, but was relocated near the present day Legislature in 1830.

The town developed around the fur trade, and in the early days there was little to distinguish it from other such settlements in the area. The first hotel and hospital were built in the 1870s. The latter part of the century saw an influx of wealthy families, and in 1892 the Town of Edmonton was officially founded.

Early developments were centered around the Quarters area. In 1905, Edmonton was declared the capital of the province of Alberta, and a year later was designated a city. The 1907-1914 period saw the city experience an unprecedented boom, with the population rising from around 6,000 to 78,000. During this period, the University of Alberta was founded

In 1947 oil was discovered just outside of Edmonton in Leduc county, which spurred a second period of growth, leading to urban sprawl and the development of US-style malls. The Royal Alberta Museum opened in 1967.

The utilitarian office buildings and condos that dominate the downtown landscape today were mostly constructed in the 1970s.

Today, Edmonton is the hub for energy development & petrochemicals for Alberta. As well, it has become a centre of excellence in research through the University of Alberta and the high technology industries located in the region like the National Institute for Nanotechnology.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) -7 -3 2 11 18 21 23 22 17 11 0 -5
Nightly lows (°C) -16 -13 -7 0 6 10 12 11 6 0 -8 -14
Precipitation (mm) 23 15 17 26 49 87 92 69 44 18 18 21

See the Edmonton 7 day forecast at Environment Canada
Edmonton skyline on a warm winter day.

If you want to spend time outdoors, the summer months offer the most opportunities for recreation and entertainment. In the summer, Edmonton offers great outdoor festivals, street entertainment, open-air concerts, and many other world-class entertainment opportunities. Winter is equally exciting, with snow sports for the outdoorsy, extensive indoors shopping in the many malls, and live sports, theater, and music throughout the city.

Edmonton's climate is "northern continental", with a wide range of weather over all four distinct seasons. Edmonton receives 2,300 hours of sunshine per year, making it one of Canada's sunniest cities. Rainfall is low to moderate, and entire weeks can pass without clouds or precipitation through the late spring and summer.

Bright green foliage appears in May, signaling spring. Even as the city shakes off its winter chill, cold snaps and the occasional snowfall can still occur. The region's golf courses are generally open by this time.

Summer days generally bring temperatures up to 21-25°C (70-77°F) in June, July, and August, though temperatures will often rise over 30°C (85°F) for a few days. Thunderstorms sweep in from time to time during the summer months, usually in the evening. Humidity is relatively low, so warm days are more comfortable than they are in humid climates. At the height of summer, Edmonton enjoys more than 17 hours of daylight, with twilight extending past 11PM in June and July.

Fall starts in mid September, bringing bright yellow and orange foliage to Edmonton's treed neighborhoods and river valley parks. This season ushers in cooler temperatures ranging between 10-20°C during the day.

Winters are long, but not as harsh as those further east on the Canadian Prairies. Periods of mild temperatures with daytime highs over 0°C (32°F) can occur. Such mild weather makes outdoor winter sports extremely popular with the locals. Stop by a local outdoor ice rink to catch the fever of children and adults alike taking part in community hockey. Colder days in Edmonton are kept reasonably comfortable by the low humidity index, but it's wise to have some lip balm and hand cream with you, as the skin and lips can get cracked and chapped quickly in this dry environment.

Winter walking and driving are not often affected. Cold snaps with temperatures down to and beyond -30°C (-22F) can occur during the winter, although it's unusual for these frigid spells to last more than 1 or 2 days. Extremely cold temperatures are usually accompanied by the crisp blue skies and bright sunshine of a prairie high-pressure zone. Even regular winter temperatures can feel very cold if there is a noticeable wind: if you are visiting between December and March, be prepared.

Tourist centres

Get in

By plane

Most major airlines service Edmonton. General travel times to Edmonton are 45 minutes from Calgary, 1 1/2 hours from Vancouver, 4 1/2 hours from Montreal, and 4 hours from Toronto. Edmonton's main airport is western Canada's hub to the Northwest Territories.

  • WestJet. Canada's main discount airline services most western cities out of Edmonton, as well as most major Canadian centers.
  • Air Canada. the national carrier uses Edmonton International as a gateway to the Canadian North.

To Europe, Edmonton has daily service to London-Heathrow on Air Canada. To the United States, Edmonton has scheduled departures to Chicago, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Maui, Minneapolis, Orlando, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Seattle, and San Francisco. To Mexico and the Caribbean, seasonal charter flights serve Acapulco, Cancún, Cozumel, Holguin, Huatulco, La Romana, Liberia, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Montego Bay, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, Santa Barbara de Samana, San Jose del Cabo, and Varadero.

There are also many flights to more American cities from Calgary, where one can easily make a connection.

By car

Edmonton is the largest city on the Yellowhead branch (Alberta Highway 16) of the Trans-Canada Highway system. Edmonton is 3 hours north of Calgary on the divided Queen Elizabeth II Highway (formerly Highway 2) and 3.5 hours east of Jasper on Highway 16.

Travelers unfamiliar with Canadian winter driving should be aware that winter storms can arise suddenly, slowing traffic or closing even major roads for (usually) a few hours. Road conditions are regularly announced on radio if poor weather threatens travel, so check before you leave and every couple of hours on any long drive near Edmonton.

The two words to watch out for in a winter weather report are "fair" and "poor". Fair winter driving conditions suggest snow tires, lots of windshield washer fluid, full winter outdoor clothes in case you have to leave the car, and preferably winter driving experience. Poor conditions are the code for "stay home". Fortunately, poor conditions rarely last more than one day on major highways, where road clearing takes place continuously. Travelers familiar with winter driving will find the major highways connected to Edmonton generally safe, but should stick to the biggest highway possible as the smaller ones are not as frequently traveled nor as quickly cleared.

From Vancouver, Edmonton is best accessed using Highway 1 (the Trans-Canada) east to Hope, then Highway 5 (the Coquihalla) from Hope to the Highway 16 eastbound junction. The average travel time in reasonable weather is 12 to 14 hours, but can be significantly longer if poor winter weather strikes. This is particularly likely on the major inclines between Hope and Kamloops in British Columbia, where poor road conditions can add a few hours to the total trip. Further along the Yellowhead Highway toward Edmonton, communities near the highway are sparse, so judge the driving conditions (and your fuel status) carefully as you proceed.

The QE II highway from Calgary northward to Edmonton is a very busy thoroughfare in all seasons, and a generally reliable road in winter. It's occasionally closed if winter storms create dangerous road conditions. Fortunately there are many communities near or on the highway where one can shelter if necessary.

Travelers from Saskatoon will find Edmonton about 5 hours away using the Yellowhead Highway, which is divided for the entire route between the two cities. Winter driving awareness is important here, as communities are spaced further apart than on the QE II and you have fewer opportunities to pull over for shelter if road conditions deteriorate.

By bus

Greyhound buses service Edmonton from all major Canadian cities.

Red Arrow Motorcoach runs a premium service between Edmonton and Calgary, Red Deer, and Fort McMurray, featuring spacious seating (only three seats to a row) and workstation seats with electrical connections for business travelers and their computers.

Executive Express runs a daily scheduled service from Calgary to Edmonton departing Calgary in the morning and returning to Calgary in the Afternoon. Seats are $129.00 one way and compartments of four seats for $299.00. The vehicle allows groups of commuters or individuals who require privacy to work or hold meetings while on the road. Wireless internet and other amenities are included. Travel time is just under 3 hours. Morning departures are from the Foothills Hospital, Hotel Alma (University of Calgary), and the Westin Hotel. Edmonton arrivals are at the University of Alberta, the Matrix Hotel on the south side, and the Westin Hotel downtown.

By train

VIA Rail provides passenger train services for Edmonton, and is linked to several major cities along the Canadian National Railroad: west to Vancouver and east to Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montréal, and onwards. The VIA train station is located at 12360 121 Street, a short distance from downtown near the northwest corner of City Centre Airport. The station has free wifi - ask a staff member for the passkey. Taxis are available and meet most trains on arrival; fare downtown should be about $15.00. Public transit does not serve the VIA station, although local bus service connecting to downtown is available for determined public transit users five blocks west of the station on 127 Street.

VIA Rail prices are higher than train prices generally in Europe (or even short distances by Amtrak in the States). Their passenger trains travel east and west through Edmonton three times each way each week. Passengers experience leisurely travel through some of the most amazing scenery in the world. Though somewhat more expensive than bus travel, service on a VIA Rail train even in the lowest class is superior to any bus. You can get up and walk around the carriages, dine conveniently, and you will find plenty of legroom in the comfortable seats. If you can afford the extra cost, it is generally worthwhile to take the train rather than the bus.

Get around

Jasper Avenue is at the heart of downtown Edmonton.

A large part of the city, built before and during the Second World War, is laid out in a grid pattern of straight streets, which makes for easy navigation by car or foot. There are a number of bridges, including the Walterdale Bridge and High Level Bridge, going in and out of the downtown core.

Edmonton's downtown is fairly eclectic, home to numerous Government of Alberta buildings as well as modern office towers, including the CN Tower near City Hall and the impressive, white marble-clad Bank of Montreal on 101 Street. Edmonton contains some of the most architecturally significant buildings in the province, including the crimson-coloured Citadel Theatre and the church-like spires of Grant MacEwan University.

By car

Areas of Edmonton built before 1950 (and even a few post-1950) place roadways on a grid, with streets N/S and avenues E/W. Some older neighbourhoods like Boyle Street have a diagonal grid pattern, with streets NW/SE and avenues SW/NE. During the 1950s and 1960s, roads became less grid-like, but they are still easily navigable (although less easy to follow than the earlier counterparts). Almost all new neighborhood developments such as Windermere in the southside and the Village at Greisbach in the northwest are designed with more curves, cul-de-sacs and named streets. If visiting these newer areas, a current city map is highly recommended.

Highways

Edmonton's main east-west highway south of the North Saskatchewan River is Whitemud Drive. It goes through the West and South areas of the city.

Currently, Anthony Henday Drive is a highway-in-progress. By 2016, it is planned to be the ring road of Metro Edmonton. Currently north, northwest, west, southwest, southeast legs are complete.

Edmonton's main highway north of the river is known as Yellowhead Trail (Alberta Highway 16). Travelers wishing to discover Edmonton proper (and avoid the trendy, but tourist-clogged Old Strathcona on the southside) are strongly encouraged to take this route. Some of the city's greatest cultural landmarks, including Rexall Place (home of the Oilers) and Commonwealth Stadium are quickly accessible from the Yellowhead.

Other major roads include Groat Road, Mark Messier/St. Albert Trail, the Sherwood Park Freeway, Stony Plain Road and Wayne Gretzky Drive.

By taxi

The most prominent cab companies are:

All Edmonton taxi companies offer 24/7 service. From the last weekend in November to New Year's Eve on weekends, Operation Red Nose offers cab rides for drivers who have been partying and prefer not to drive themselves (+1 780-421-4444).

By public transit

Edmonton's LRT map, click to enlarge.

Edmonton has a safe, efficient and inexpensive public transportation system: the Edmonton Transit System. Hundreds of different bus routes cover the city, traveling nearly anywhere you need to go.

During peak hours, buses run as frequently as every 15 minutes. Outside of peak, the frequency drops to every 30 minutes and on some routes to industrial areas or far-flung suburbs as infrequent as one service per hour. Many major bus routes will operate as early as 5AM to as late as 1AM, but there are a number which stop running at 8PM-9PM or only run only during peak hours (6AM-9AM and 3PM-6PM). Some bus routes simply do not run on Sundays. For more information or to plan your bus trip, you can call Transit Information at +1 780-496-1611 or check out the Trip Planner or Google Maps.

Edmonton's transit system is not unified with those of the nearby communities, so if you wish to visit the suburbs be prepared for more transfers and increased fares.

Edmonton was the first North American city with a population of under 1 million to have developed a light rail system. (Metro Edmonton population is now over 1 million.) It is a part of the Edmonton Transit System (ETS), which also manages the buses. The light rail system has two lines: the Capital Line and the Metro Line. The Capital Line runs from Century Park Station (formerly known as Heritage) via Health Sciences/Jubilee and Churchill Stations to Clareview Station in the northeast section of the city. The Metro Line shares the tracks of the Capital Line from Century Park Station to Churchill Station where it branches off to terminate at NAIT Station (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Nights and Sundays, the Metro Line's southern terminal becomes Health Sciences/Jubilee Station instead of Century Park Station. Both lines go past the University of Alberta main and South Campuses.

The LRT operates between 5:00 am and 1:00 am daily. Trains run on a five-minute frequency during rush hour, ten-minute frequency midday and Saturdays, and on a fifteen-minute frequency in the evening and on Sundays. When the Metro Line is running at full capacity, train frequency will double between Health Sciences/Jubilee station and Churchill station.

Fares are $3.25 with children under 6 riding free. Day passes can be bought for $9.25 regardless of age group. A pack of 10 tickets can be purchased for $24.75 (adults). Tickets can be purchased at the ETS online store, automated fare vending machines located at all LRT stations, or at the ETS Customer Information Centre located on the pedway level of Churchill Station. Note that Mac's convenience stores in Edmonton no longer sell adult bus tickets.

By bicycle

Edmonton has excellent cycling routes which allow for all-year cycling, though winter cycling can be challenging for those unaccustomed to Edmonton weather. These marked routes, combined with a lack of freeways to traverse and relatively low traffic compared to other major cities, low snow or rainfall, and a fairly flat terrain, make Edmonton an easy city to travel by bicycle. The City of Edmonton provides free maps of the bike routes.

Finding addresses

Edmonton streets are mostly numbered, although there are some named streets: usually major roadways and roads in the newer residential areas. Streets in Edmonton run north-south, while avenues run east-west. The downtown core of the city is centered near 101 St and Jasper Ave (which corresponds to 101 Ave), with streets increasing in number to the west, and avenues increasing to the north.

Addresses follow a regular system throughout Edmonton, with even-numbered address numbers are on the north side of avenues and west side of streets. The first two or three digits of a building or house number identify the street it lies just west of, or the avenue it lies north of. For example, 10219-101 Street would be located on the east side of 101 Street, just north of 102 Avenue.

The vast majority of the city lies in the NW quadrant with the center-point near the southeast corner of the city proper. It is common to omit the "NW" from street addresses in the NW quadrant. The grid's official "zeros" are called Meridian Street (at 0 Street) and Quadrant Avenue (at 0 Avenue), but they are not yet important streets for travel. Meridian & Quadrant do not even intersect at this time.

See

The historic Knox church in Old Strathcona

A young city, Edmonton's historic structures are still relatively new. The City of Edmonton's Municipal Historic Resources are buildings or structures that have been designated by bylaw as buildings or structures legally protected from demolition and from inappropriate changes and alterations. For further reading about Edmonton's architecture from 1940-1969, Capital Modern is a book available from the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Here are some of the most popular attractions:

North Saskatchewan River Valley

One of Edmonton’s greatest attractions, the North Saskatchewan River Valley park system provides a natural corridor for all-season recreation and relaxation. The river valley is the longest expanse of urban parkland in North America at 7,400 hectares – 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park – with golf courses, 22 major parks and over 160 kilometres of maintained multi-use trails for walking, cross-country skiing, cycling, and more. Several attractions are located along the river valley including Fort Edmonton Park, the Valley Zoo, and the Muttart Conservatory.

One of the most popular river valley parks is Hawrelak Park, located just west of Groat Road near the University of Alberta. It encircles a large pond, summer home to a variety of ducks and geese. It's the site of several Edmonton festivals, including Shakespeare in the Park and Symphony Under the Sky. In winter it is a popular venue for outdoor ice skating and cross-country skiing.

Do

Edmonton's summer brings many festivals, and with Canada's most impressive mountain parks 3.5-hr drive away, Edmonton is fun year-round. You can expect to find some kind of festival any weekend during the summer months and they are usually located in the central region either around Whyte Ave or downtown at the Legislature grounds or in front of City Hall.

Theatre and music

Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, on the University of Alberta campus

Edmonton has a vibrant performing arts community with notable accomplishments in live theatre and live music. The central area contains the Winspear or Francis Winspear Centre for Music, a new concert hall with stellar acoustics, and the Citadel Theatre, which has hosted major live theatre performances for over forty years.

South Central area is home to the theatre district with a number of venues, and the Jubilee Auditorium, a large concert hall. The west end has two dinner theatres, Jubilation's and Mayfield.

Recreation

Edmonton's river valley and Mill Creek area have an extensive network of trails, good for walking, biking, and cross-country skiing. At many points in the extensive ravines and forested areas in the river valley, you can't even tell you're in a city. Maps of walking and cross-country skiing trails are available at City Hall, Edmonton Tourism's Visitor Information Centres, and many bicycle and ski shops.

The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters' Society (EBC), a non-profit bicycle co-op, operates a staffed drop-in DIY workshop where rental bicycles are available. During the summer months, River Valley Adventure rents bicycles and operates Segway tours. Fun group rides occur during the summer, mostly organized by the Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club (EBTC) and EBC. Most commercial bike shops organize training rides for those road cyclists who are interested in higher intensity workouts. Larger commercial bike shops include United Cycle, Western Cycle, and Revolution Cycle. Smaller ones include Velocity Cycle, Redbike, Hardcore Mountain Bikes, PedalHead Bikes, and Transition BMX.

Edmonton has small downhill ski hills in or near the city, including Edmonton Ski, Sunridge Ski Area, and Snow Valley. Natural and artificial snow cover their slopes from early winter to early spring, offering city skiers an easy way to learn, amuse families, and tone up for the big Rocky Mountain ski opportunities in Jasper and Banff.

Golf

There are over 70 golf courses located in the Edmonton region. Albertans are keen golfers, based on the province's sunny summers, large number of developed courses, and relatively low prices. Within city limits, the City of Edmonton operates three public courses, including Canada's oldest municipal golf course: Victoria (central), Riverside (South) both of which are located close to downtown, and the par-three Rundle Park on the east end of the city (Edmonton/North).

Spectator sports

Edmonton is home to a number of professional and amateur sport teams. The Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League are the most recognized team and have won five Stanley Cups. They play at the 16,839 seat Rexall Place which was built in 1974 to house the team. The 2015–16 season is the Oilers' last at Rexall Place; they will move into the new Rogers Place at the north edge of downtown after that season. Tickets are available, but games are routinely sold out, and tickets must usually be bought from a broker at higher prices. Minor league hockey is also part of the Edmonton sports scene: the major junior Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League play in Rexall Place and will also move to Rogers Place when it opens, while several junior 'A' and senior 'AAA' teams play in metro Edmonton. Tickets to these games are available at the door.

Edmonton is also home to the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. The Eskimos have won 13 Grey Cups and play at the 60,000 seat Commonwealth Stadium. Good seats can be bought in advance, but few games are sold out and tickets can be purchased at the door. For basketball, the recently formed Edmonton Energy of the International Basketball League play at Grant MacEwan Gymnasium against smaller American cities and other Canadian cities. For soccer, FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League play at Clarke Park. The Edmonton Rush of the National Lacrosse League also played at Rexall Place before moving to Saskatoon after the 2015 season. There is no professional baseball in Edmonton at this time.

The University of Alberta Golden Bears (men's teams) and Pandas (women's teams) participate in a number of sports including hockey, basketball, volleyball, soccer, football (men only), rugby, and track and field at venues on both the main and south campuses. Smaller universities and colleges in Edmonton also have teams and athletes that compete in a variety of sports.

Major events and festivals

Edmonton, hailed as "Canada's Festival City", is home to over 30 annual festivals and special events throughout the year.

Attracting over 500,000 visitors each year, the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is the largest in North America, second largest in the world, offering some 1,000 performances, primarily in venues in Old Strathcona. The Works Art & Design Festival features new works of painting, drawing, sculpture, and much more. The Whyte Ave Artwalk lets viewers stroll the avenue looking at local art. There is also the Canoe Fest which tells stories about morals and history. For music, Symphony Under the Sky is a nice way to listen to some fine music in the great outdoors. One of the world’s leading Folk festivals, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is a four-day outdoor music extravaganza that attracts more than 80,000 music lovers. Situated in Gallagher Park in Edmonton's scenic river valley, the festival offers an eclectic mix of music for all tastes. The more popular festivals often sell out, particularly the Folk Festival and many Fringe performances, sometimes well in advance, so visitors should make arrangements for tickets as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

For culture, Edmonton rolls out the red carpet. Heritage Days puts the spotlight on the food, dance, and local goods from over 60 cultural backgrounds. Edmonton Cariwest is a Caribbean festival that takes over downtown with colourful dances. Gay Pride is a large festival that closes Jasper Ave for people to be proud of gay rights.

In food, Edmonton has some festivals to keep you salivating. One of the most popular is A Taste of Edmonton. Purchase tickets and sample culinary delights from 40 of Edmonton’s leading restaurants at Sir Winston Churchill Square.

Casinos

The Edmonton area has seven large casinos: Casino Yellowhead, Casino Edmonton, Bacarrat Casino, Palace Casino, St Albert Casino, Celebration's Casino, and Marriott Enoch Resort & Casino.

Buy

Trendy Whyte Avenue on a winter day.

Some of the best shopping opportunities are...

Eat

See the district articles for specific listings of different restaurants and fast food joints.

There are three major dining centres:

Edmonton is the birthplace of two major Canadian restaurant chains: Boston Pizza (Italian), and Earl's (Canadiana). These two have major locations across Canada. The city is also home to a lot of good quality fast food chains like Burger Baron and Fatburger.

Italian food is very high quality in Edmonton. Chianti's, Sicilian Kitchen, Sorrentino's, Fiore Cantina, and Tony's Pizza offer hearty and filling pasta. The best are Whyte Ave, Downtown, or in Little Italy.

Edmonton has some excellent ethnic restaurants. "Langano Skies" is a fabulous Ethiopian restaurant on Whyte Ave, "Syphay" offers spicy Thai cuisine on Calgary Trail and 62 Ave and "Padmanadi's" is a delicious Indonesian vegan restaurant in downtown.

Edmonton has its fair share of cheap Chinese food, most of which is concentrated in Chinatown. WokBox is another Edmonton-based chain, offering fair priced Chinese food in a fast food environment.

For a healthy alternative, check out HealthFare, which got its start in Edmonton in 2008. A new location opened downtown on Jasper Avenue in 2009. They display the calorie count of their items, and the restaurants employ green initiatives including: chairs are made of recycled plastic and aluminum; tables are made of reclaimed wood from local sources; eco-friendly take-out materials are made from renewable resources; and more.

Try locally grown and produced food: EatLocalFirst.com includes a list of all members with information on what they sell and produce and where to find them.

Drink

Alcohol

The three local microbreweries are Alley Kat, Ambers's Brewing, and Yellowhead Brewery.

There are many pubs, clubs, lounges, and bars clustered on Jasper Avenue (downtown) and Whyte Avenue (Old Strathcona). Some of the most popular in Old Strathcona include Hudson's', Lucky 13, Filthy McNasty's, The Rack, Funky Buddha, and O'Byrne's.

For those looking for a more indie experience should journey to Black Dog Pub and Empress Ale House who provide visitors with a less mainstream outing.

Downtown you will find a range of places to serve your drinking desires. Contemporary resto-lounges, such as Suede, The Hat, Sherlock Holmes, Red Star Pub, and The Pint.

A variety of dance clubs can be located in the downtown area and these include: Vinyl Retro Dance Lounge (Retro Classics/Top 40), Oil City Roadhouse (Country), Treasury Vodka Bar (Top 40/Electronic), and Warehouse (Top 40)

Edmonton also has a prominent LGBT community and offers several establishments that cater to this particular group; Buddy's Nightclub, Flash, and Junction. In addition, on the last thursday of every month Empress Ale House hosts a special 'Beers for Queers' night.

Further afield Edmonton also offers nighttime spots in less centralized locations. The Ranch Roadhouse is a country music nightclub located in South Edmonton at 6107 104 Street and has long been a favorite of country music enthusiasts. West Edmonton Mall located in West Edmonton provides visitors with a number of bars including Empire Ballroom a large vegas-style club, Whisky Jack's Urban Saloon yet another country music club, and Hudsons the west end location of the Edmonton pub chain.

Coffee

Downtown

Jasper Ave and 104th Street offers two quality offerings for cafes, Transcend Coffee and Credo Cafe. Transcend Coffee is a local coffee roaster and offers quality espresso and brewed Clover coffee options made to order. Transcend Jasper also has a live music venue and some beer and wine offerings. Credo carries Intelligentsia coffee from L.A. and Chicago and prepares it well. With either cafe you cannot go wrong.

Three Bananas Cafe is another perfect stop; it's on the way to the Churchill LRT station at Churchill Square (102 Avenue between 99 and 100 Street) they also carry Intelligentsia.

ROAST Coffeehouse + Wine Bar is the latest addition to downtown independent cafes. Offering Verve Coffee from Santa Cruise California in a stylish space on 104th ST and 104th Ave in the Mercer Warehouse.

Elm Cafe just outside of the downtown core at 117th ST just North of Jasper Ave is worth the distance. Delicious unique breakfast/lunch sandwiches rotated daily and other offerings. Not to mention excellent espresso and brewed coffee. Elm cafe carries 49th Parallel Coffee from Vancouver.

Many Starbucks, Second Cups and other coffee chains are spread across the downtown core.

University Area

Java Jive is a local institution, having been around for more than thirty years and locally owned. There are three shops on the University of Alberta campus, and a warehouse on 77th Ave and 99th St.

Transcend Coffee Garneau is located in the Garneau Theater building on 109th St and 87th Ave. Trendy decor, excellent coffee, close to the beautiful river-valley, University and Whyte Ave. This cafe is open seven days a week. Espresso, brewed Clover coffee and pastries are offered.

Leva Cafe is a cafe that serves a more traditional Italian espresso and is located by the University. This cafe also has great pizza and gelato. If you have an home espresso machine that needs repair, Cafe Tech in the back will be able to help you.

South Side

Transcend in Argyll is a very classy coffee shop that not only makes coffee, will sell you the beans (if you want to take home).

North Side

Mandolin Books and Coffee Company on 112 Avenue is another fantastic find.

Sherwood Park

Cafe Haven in Sherwood Park offers Stumptown Coffee from Portland. They also do a near famous brunch.

Sleep

Budget

Most of the budget hotels in the city are concentrated in and around the south (e.g. Derrick Hotel) end of the city or in the deep east central area. There is also a lot in the nearby suburbs, see Edmonton's area.

There are also hostels located downtown, by Jekyll & Hyde's Pub, and just off of Whyte Avenue.

Mid-range

Closer to the core, Holiday Inn Express Downtown and the Comfort Inn & Suites are good options. These two offer great views along with easy access to the benefits of downtown. In the north end, the Prospector's Gaming Room and North Inn and Suites are some great examples of some modern and simple good priced hotels at that part of the city. In the West End, with the closeness of West Edmonton Mall, there are a ton of hotels to choose from, most of which are on 100 Ave.

South of the river, in Old Strathcona-University the Campus Suites is a great option for nice service and its proximity to the University. Days Inn Edmonton South is a recent addition to Old Strathcona, just a few blocks off Whyte Avenue. Also on Gateway Boulevard there is a lot of hotels like Greenwood Inn & Suites, Ramada South, Ramada Edmonton, Mayfield Inn, Travelodge South, Econo Lodge, Sawridge Inn Edmonton South and Cedar Park Inn are the highest quality. In the east, there is a lovely Four Points hotel with easy access to the city.

Splurge

Edmonton has a good variety of high end hotels in different locations in the city. Some of the most popular locations are:

Connect

Stay safe

Visiting Edmonton is no more risky than visiting any other large city. There are some areas where increased caution is advised, particularly after dark:

Panhandling has increased in recent years, particularly downtown and in the Old Strathcona area. Just decline politely and it shouldn't be an issue. Try to avoid parking lots that aren't gated shut, as there is a clear entrance for panhandlers to get in and be more aggressive.

Emergency - If you have an emergency, call 911.

Northern driving

Navigation in Edmonton is made easier by city's street grid and relative lack of traffic compared to most other major North American cities. Visitors should note that additional hazards are presented by winter driving in the city, especially during and after the first few snowfalls of the winter. Ice can be a problem, especially on bridges. Ice on roadways can be almost invisible, which is where the commonly used – and dreaded – term "black ice" comes from. Stay tuned to local radio stations, several of which have regular road reports, and be prepared to find alternate routes should weather conditions or accidents shut down some routes.

Cope

Maps

Newspapers

Hospitals and major health centres

If you are on the north end, central, or in east central, the Royal Alexandra Hospital is the best. For the west, Misericordia is probably the best due to proximity. In the south side of the river, you may choose from Grey Nun's or University. Some people in central might go to University as well.

Police stations

Edmonton is patrolled by the Edmonton Police Service. In addition to the Police Headquarters/Downtown Division located east of City Hall, the EPS is separated into five operational Divisions (the name in brackets denotes the neighbourhood in which the Division station is located):

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An aerial view of Edmonton skyscrapers
Routes through Edmonton

Vancouver Edson  W  E  Saskatoon Winnipeg
Grande Prairie St. Albert  N  S  Leduc Calgary
Jasper Spruce Grove  W  E  Elk Island National Park Saskatoon
ENDS at  NW/N  SE/E  Wainwright North Battleford
END  SW  NE  Fort Saskatchewan Lamont


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