A hip urban city enveloped by scenic panoramas and Canadian wilderness, Edmonton is ideal for a short city break in Canada
Edmonton is a vibrant city with a distinctly artsy vibe in the middle of Alberta’s wilderness. This makes it well and truly special. The city boasts of a unique mix of indie distilleries, hip bakeries, shopping opportunities, cosy brunch spots, and contemporary art galleries and museums. This makes it ideal for a city break in Canada. It is also well connected to Europe and Asia as KLM offers a direct flight from Amsterdam to Edmonton (remember our crazy blind-folded-surprise flight in March 2019- :-D).
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We are taking the phrase “Let’s go anywhere” to the next level today 🙈😊 We’ve been blindfolded and given noise-cancelling headphones because @klm is literally flying us to an adventurous destination but we have NO idea which country or even which continent we are flying to! We haven’t EVER done this before, so both of us are excited, curious, and to be honest, a little nervous too ☺️😊 ✨ ✨ You can follow on insta stories and look out for our live upon reaching, so we can figure out which country we are in together with you guys. It’s a cold place but that’s all literally we know 🙈😊Let the adventure begin – so excited! ✈️✈️ ✨ ✨ #klm #klmonyourmap #ad #ilovemyjob #adventure
Getting around in Edmonton
You could rent bikes or use public transport to explore Edmonton. If you are there for 2 days, then that’s what we would suggest. However if you are there for longer than 2 days, then we would suggest renting a car to explore Edmonton because the city is quite spread out and there are several gorgeous drives in Alberta.
Where to stay on your city break in Edmonton
There is no dearth of accommodation to suit all budgets in Edmonton. Fairmont Hotel McDonald is a great luxury hotel but if you are planning to rent a car, do beware that parking is quite hard here. Mid-range options such as Matrix Hotel in downtown Edmonton are also available. But we’d suggest looking for a comfortable and spacious AirBnB with free parking. This is the most affordable and most practical option for your city break in Edmonton.
What to do on your city break in Edmonton
- Take a fat bike tour and explore downtown Edmonton. Admire its architecture, understand the history of the city, and ride across its iconic bridges as you take a fat bike tour in Edmonton.
- Muttart Conservatory is ideal if it’s cold outside. It boasts of a series of artificial landscapes, ranging from tropical rainforests to arid deserts. It reminded us of Gardens By The Bay in Singapore
- If you enjoy museums, then we suggest spending at least a couple of hours at the Alberta Royal Museum or for something more contemporary, the Art Gallery of Alberta
- If you enjoy shopping, then you cannot leave Edmonton without a pilgrimage to the largest shopping mall in North America. West Edmonton Mall boasts of hundreds of retailers and an old school amusement park.
- Take a walk around the artsy district of Old Strathcona – there are several cafés, street art, and independent boutiques in the area, especially on Whyte Avenue. Strathcona Distillery is one of the tiniest and hippest distilleries we’ve been to. We loved the spirits and the art work at Strathcona Distillery– do drop by for a tour and tasting.
- If you enjoy craft beers, then drop by Situation Brewing. Take a tour of the microbrewery, sample some craft beer, and grab a pizza for lunch.
- We recommend taking a day trip to Elk Island National Park when you are in Edmonton. You can go hiking, spot bison, roast marshmallows over campfires, and even hunt for the northern lights if you’re there during winter months. Make sure you stick around for sunset!
- If you enjoy theatre and the arts, then time your visit to coincide with the Edmonton Fringe Festival. The city comes alive at the time and the fun doesn’t stop!
Where to eat on your city break in Edmonton
If there’s one thing Edmonton does well, it’s food. The city is brimming with eateries that offer scrumptious fare and we definitely recommend sampling a handful. Here are some of our favourites:
- Little Brick – this cosy brunch spot is in a residential area. It’s a big hit with locals, so we suggest going on a weekday to avoid the crowds. Try their Eggs Benedict or lavender crème brûleé with a cuppa
- Baijiu – this pan-asian restaurant and cocktail bar is ideal for an evening out. Make sure you book a table because the trendy eatery gets packed, even on weekdays. Try their cocktails, Korean fried Brussel sprouts (SO good!), or the pork bao.
- Duchess Bake Shop – this iconic French bakery serves indulgent hand-crafted treats with a cuppa. The laid-back ambience and pastel colour scheme makes for an ideal pick-me-up while sightseeing
- Café Linnea – Hands down my favourite brunch spot in Edmonton, this pinterest-y restaurant serves impeccable coffee and hot chocolates. The menu changes according to the time of day. We suggest dropping by for breakfast and trying their legendary baked eggs or crépes
- Donut Party – if you have a sweet tooth, stop by this colourful bakery right next to Cafe Linnea for some gourmet donuts
- Ritchie Market – If you’re keen on devouring a meal made with the finest local ingredients, book yourself a special dinner at Biera in Ritchie Market. You could preface your meal with speciality coffee from Transcend in the premises.
Extending your trip
If you have 4-7 additional days to spare, we would highly recommend a road trip in Alberta that would take you to Banff and Jasper National Parks. These are some of the most scenic areas in the world, especially in summer. A road-trip in the Canadian rockies is the stuff of DREAMS. Summer is when the bears wake up and elks come out to play. Roads, alleys, even highways are laden with flowers. Lakes turn turquoise. And soaring cliffs and cascading waterfalls all melt into each other to make perfect frames at every corner. If you decide to do that, we have all the details you need to plan a road trip in Alberta here.
That’s it – everything you need to plan a short city break in Edmonton. We hope you will give this unique and vibrant Canadian city a chance the next time you’re in that part of the world.