The last stop on my road trip through the Canadian Rockies before heading back to Calgary was Edmonton. All the locals seemed really surprised that we chose to stop into Edmonton, but I’m not sure why. The city is filled with great places to eat and drink and offers some fun activities. If you ever find yourself there, here’s my recommendations:
Edmonton has a couple of popular areas. If you’re looking to be where everything is either stay by Roger’s Place (the Oilers hockey stadium), or close to Whyte Avenue. Both locations are near a variety of restaurants and bars. We stayed in an Airbnb downtown that we soon figured out had no air conditioning. If you’re visiting in the summer, definitely try to stay somewhere that has AC as it can get pretty warm in Edmonton.
If you like pink, you’ll love Wilfred’s. It’s a cute establishment that recently opened in Edmonton that serves coffee, food and drinks. We had some lattes and tried the avocado toast, which was hands down some of the best avo toast I’ve had.
District Cafe is a coffee shop by day and bar by night. It’s located downtown and is a great place to pick up a coffee and a light snack while exploring the area.
Malt & Mortar is a great place to have a casual drink. It has a rotating beer menu which features some of Alberta’s best brews and their cocktails are pretty good too.
El Cortez is a tequila lover’s dream! The restaurant has an extensive tequila and mezcal list with over 30 selections. We didn’t take any shots but the blood orange margarita was great. While sipping on a drink you can try some of their tacos which are served on flour tortillas made in-house. They also have corn tortillas (not homemade) for those who have a gluten intolerance.
For both mornings we were in Edmonton, we grabbed something light as we’re not big breakfast people. However, based on Yelp reviews and Trip Advisor De Dutch seems to be a popular place to go for breakfast in Edmonton.
You can find Earls throughout Canada and some cities in the US. They have a good happy hour selection with plates and drinks ranging from $3 to $15. The spinach artichoke dip is amazing and if you like margs try the coconut mint, they’re dangerously good.
A good place to grab a drink or have a meal is MKT. They offer daily specials and have a spacious outdoor patio. I recommend trying the mini brat and puled pork sliders, and the Korean barbecue wings.
An Edmonton must! Baijiu serves Asian fusion dishes and unique cocktails. We tried the pork belly boa, pineapple buns and pork and shrimp Lion’s head dumplings, and it was all delicious. Drink wise, try the California Dream (a mezcal and charcoal drink) if you’re looking for something different or the Sakura Smash (fruity spritzer) if you like to play it safe. Stop by early evening for dinner or later in the night for a drink.
The Edmonton High Street Bridge Streetcar runs from Jasper Ave to Whyte Avenue and has a few stops around town. It’s about $3 CAD one way and $6 CAD return. I recommend hopping on at Jasper Ave and taking it to Whyte Avenue where you’ll find a lot of eateries and bars.
Urban Pedal tours are available in Edmonton and Calgary. We did the tour through Old Stratchona for my birthday, and had a lot of fun. The locals on our bike were a lively bunch, and gave us some ideas on what to see and do. If you want to do a tour while in town, I recommend booking in advanced as the tours tend to fill quickly.
If you’re into learning a little while on vacation, check out the Alberta Legislature Building. They offer tours which will tell you a little about the history of Alberta’s legislature and the structure itself while you walk through it. The tour was about an hour long and I found it pretty interesting. Outside the building, you’ll find fountains which you can dip your feet into.
Definitely a younger crowd, but Beercade is a cool place to grab a drink and hang out for a bit. They have a variety of games and offer different daily specials.
Located across the street from Baijui, you’ll find the Edmonton Neon Museum. It’s an installation on the side of a building which features a bunch of old neon signs that used to hang around Edmonton. It’s worth a glance if you’re in the area.
If you’re visiting Edmonton in late June, early July check out Found Festival. It’s a found space arts event which offers plays, musical performances, art installations. Local artist exhibit or perform in various venues around Edmonton (this year was around Whyte Avenue). We saw a play set in a distillery and watched some bands in a makeshift beer garden behind the Old Stratcona Farmers’ Market.
Things we didn’t do but heard good things about
- Fort Edmonton
- West Edmonton Mall
- The Macdonald
Even though we only spent a short while in Edmonton, I had a good time in the city and definitely recommend visiting if you’re ever in the vicinity.
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