Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, sprawls under a roof of endless blue skies and wide-open spaces. If Calgary has bragging rights for the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, Edmonton can boast of the “Greatest Indoor Show on Earth.” Ironically, Edmonton’s biggest draw is a renowned shopping mall which masquerades as a theme park. West Edmonton Mall encloses some 800 shops which span an area of 48 city blocks.
They also can boast of the most professional sporting championships in Alberta and when it comes to Festivals and performing arts events, Edmonton blankets most Canadian cities. It has spawned championship hockey and football teams as well as world class music and performing arts venues and events.
Edmonton is also recognized for championship food and party places with hundreds of restaurants starring cuisine from all tables of the globe. You are as likely to find fresh-from-the-field produce as you are creamy goat cheeses and homemade Belgian chocolate, wild game and beef jerky. Such exotic fare is served in equally eclectic spots, from tony tapas bars and sleek Italian ristorantes to bistros and classic steak-houses where chefs still sear AAA Alberta steaks in full view of the diners.
You’ll find dining spots galore in Old Strathcona and in the downtown core. Regional specialties can be sampled anytime, anywhere in Alberta – but loyal foodies still love the sizzle of Grade A prime although wild salmon and fresh lobster, flown in fresh by the planeful when in season.
Hit Edmonton’s bohemian, boutique-laced Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona and be sure to check out the amazing farmer’s market each Saturday, year-round. Then make a beeline to West Edmonton Mall where you’ll find 800 nationally known retailers and intimate specialty shops all under one roof.
Other must-see, must-do things in Edmonton extend well past the proverbial arm. Whittled down to a handful is Capital Ex, the Fringe, Folk and Jazz Festivals, the International Street Performers Festival, River City Shakespeare, the Bluegrass and Country Festivals and, live performances at the Citadel, Francis Winspear Centre and other smaller more intimate theaters. The Telus World of Science-Edmonton has something to fascinate any person of any age.
For those seeking outdoor fascination and thrills, Edmonton is the gateway to Jasper National Park to the west and the Alaska Highway to the north. The beauty of its setting is not the least of Edmonton’s attractions; in spring when the sun sets long after the dinner hour, a fairytale frozen scene in winter along the mighty Northern Saskatchewan River, northern lights (nature’s unbeatable laser extravaganza) and bountiful fall with market gardens and ethnic food festivals.