Where to stay in Edmonton?
Wrap up warm and prepared to be wowed with a visit to Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta. While Edmonton is often seen as a stopover on the way to Jasper National Park, it has plenty to offer as a destination in its own right. The city's heart is south of the North Saskatchewan River where a large university campus adds a spark to the nightlife. This is also a district of small theatres, museums and some fine dining. Visit in August and dip into some shows at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, a close rival to the Edinburgh Fringe. On the city's doorstep is the North Saskatchewan River Valley which is home to Fort Edmonton Park, the largest historical park in Canada. The area is full of recreational trails where you can get up close to the ocal wildlife.
The Edmonton area has been settled for many millennia but the town was born when the first European settlers arrived in the late 18th century. The town grew around the fur trade until it was large and prosperous enough to be named Alberta's capital in 1905. In 1947, oil was discovered nearby and a boom period followed. Visitors started arriving when the Royal Alberta Museum opened and recreational parks were developed in the 1960s and 1970s.
A hotel for you in Edmonton
While many Edmonton hotels are housed in the contemporary high-rise buildings that make up the city's impressive skyline, you can still find some old-time hotels with plenty of character. If you are travelling on a budget look for accommodation south of downtown Edmonton and in the suburbs while good-value chains can be found in the heart of the city and close to the airport in Leduc County. If you are looking for indulgence, then downtown is also home to luxury and quirky boutique hotels. For real luxury, however, treat yourself to a stay at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, one of the oldest in the city. Built in 1912, it resembles a French chateau and offers excellent views of the river valley.
Whether you are admiring the view from your hotel room or out and about exploring the city, Edmonton has many photogenic spots. One is the viewpoint reached by walking the trail to the top of Forest Heights Park. An exhilarating viewpoint with a difference is from the High Level Bridge Streetcar. Its route features one of the world's highest streetcar river crossings. Before you leave, pop into the streetcar tunnel near the Jasper Plaza terminal and admire the intricate black and white graffiti art.
For a photo opportunity back on ground level, visit one of the city's most talked-about pieces of public art. Located near Quesnell Bridge, the Talus Dome is a pile of nearly 1,000 steel balls arranged in an abstract shape. The weird and wonderful reflections it creates are sure to have you laughing.
The magical sights of Edmonton
Edmonton's newest major art gallery, the Art Gallery of Alberta, opened in 2010 and proved another architectural talking point. Inside are eight galleries holding over 6,000 pieces of art with a strong Canadian bias. Before going in though, stop to admire the amazing building with its glass and metal space-age helmet appearance.
At Fort Edmonton Park, a reconstruction of a Hudson Bay Company's log fort takes you back through the city's history. It gives you a glimpse of life in an early 19th-century trading post complete with authentic period smells. Also on the site, which can be toured by streetcar or horse and carriage, are early 20th-century farms and homes. If you are staying in Edmonton with your family, visit the Valley Zoo with its collection of exotic, native and endangered animals. There are rides, paddleboards, a miniature train and a petting zoo for the children to enjoy.
For much of the year, temperatures in Edmonton are firmly below freezing but if skiing and snowboarding are your passions then you'll find at least half a dozen ski resorts within easy reach. If you prefer to visit when the weather is milder and the sun is shining then travel to Edmonton from June to the end of August. This is also the time when life becomes al fresco and several major festivals take place including the Edmonton Fringe. As this is the peak tourist season, CheapTickets.sg can help you compare and find our best prices on Edmonton flights and hotels.