There are so many summer activities in my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It really is an incredible place to be in the summer. While known as a winter wonderland, many who don’t know our city might be surprised to hear how vibrant, progressive, green, and fun it is all summer long.
The summer of 2020 might be different that usual and some of your favourite summer activities might not be available or at least in the way you are used to but that does not mean there won’t be anything to do. If you’re staying closer to home this summer or are planning to come visit our fine city I thought I would share some of my favourite summer activities for you to consider.
After trying them maybe they’ll become your favourites too!
Brent’s 5 Favourite Edmonton Summer Activities
1. Being Active
Of course this had to be first. If you know me then you know I love to be active and outdoors when it’s nice and hot. I do love Edmonton’s river valley trail system and all it has to offer but there is so much more to consider.
Canoeing the North Saskatchewan River
How about putting a canoe into the river near Devon and paddling right through the city to Gold Bar park? What a great way to see the city from the water on a nice summer day.
Pembina River Tubing
I used to go to Penticton in my younger years and pretty much every trip included a float down the canal between Okanagan and Skaha Lakes. Well just an hour west of Edmonton you can float down the Pembina River. Love it!
Snow Valley Aerial Park
Then there is the Snow Valley Aerial Park. Went there with my family and had a blast climbing, balancing, hanging out high up there, and rappelling down to finish the fun. It’s as challenging or easy as you want it to be.
2. Going To Outdoor Markets
From fresh locally grown produce to sweets and treats hand crafted by local entrepreneurs to so many other incredible items, the outdoor markets are a regular stop on our summer adventures.
They’re all over the city too. Some of the ones I love include…
- South Common Farmers Market
- Terwillegar Rec Centre (in the south west)
- 124 Street Grand Market (downtown)
Of course there are so many more. What are your favourites? Who are the vendors you love to support?
3. Experiencing Nature
There are all kinds of places and activities within a short distance of Edmonton that would be a great addition to your summer activities hit list. For me that includes a couple of favourites.
Elk Island National Park
Every time I drive east I look forward to seeing the bison roaming in the park near the highway. But heading into the park opens up a whole new natural world. What a great place for a day hike, a picnic or over night camp.
It’s also a dark skies preserve. This summer we plan on heading out on a clear evening with the telescope to check out the night sky.
The Northern Lights
On the right nights and in the right spot (usually away from the city lights) the northern skies put on quite a show.
We signed up for real time email updates from the University of Alberta on the best times to be able to see the northern lights. You can do so too and plan a spontaneous trip out of the city (maybe to Elk Island) to watch the magic.
It’s a bucket list item for people from all over the world and we get it right here in Edmonton!
U of A Botanic Garden
If you love flowers, plants, and trees, and seeing them all come together in a beautiful setting then this is a must. We went to the botanic gardens near Devon last year for my first time and I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity and lushness of it all.
Edmonton Corn Maze
Ever get lost in a corn maze? I have. Loved spending time wandering around this massive maze of a corn field.
4. Hanging on Outdoor Patios
Summer season = patio season in my books. Whether that is BBQ dinner on my patio in my back yard or finding a restaurant with a great patio it’s a summer must for me.
There are all kinds of options across the city but here are a few I love.
- Vi’s for Pies – lush plants and water feature hidden away from the city around it
- The Parlour Italian Kitchen and Bar – nicely hidden from the parking lot right next to it
- Crum Coffee Bar – for enjoying a latte in the sunshine!
What’s your favourite outdoor patio in Edmonton?
5. Experience Edmonton’s History and Culture
High Level Bridge Streetcar
Ride a vintage street car across the top of the high level bridge getting a bit of a history lesson from the conductor. A very cool experience.
Ukrainian Cultural Village
East of Edmonton, near Elk Island National Park there is an entire village dedicated to the Ukrainian culture and the history of the settlement of the area north east of Edmonton. As part of my family heritage is Ukrainian it’s pretty cool to see how my grandparents came to this area, settled, and lived all those years ago.
Once again there are so many more cultural and historical summer activities that could be added to your adventure list. Find the ones that resonate with you!
Honorable Mention Edmonton Summer Activities
I could go on and on about Edmonton summer activities but could not go without mentioning two more of my favourites.
Edmonton IS Festival City
Dozens and dozens of festivals all year long make our city a special place to experience. Showing our cultural, culinary, artistic, musical and sporting diversity each of our festivals is always amazing in its own right. Several are also world famous!
Check out what is happening here.
Sporting Events Galore
Something I really enjoy is watching an Eskimos football game in mid summer. If you’re an avid sports enthusiast then how about spectating for these local teams.
- The Eskimos
- The Prospects
- FC Edmonton
On the world stage…
- The World Triathlon Championships
This just gives you a taste of some Edmonton summer activities you can consider. There are so many more so check out the Explore Edmonton website for more ideas.
This summer in 2020 we might be significantly limited with some of the typical activities we love to do. I hope we are not limited for too much longer but in the mean time pick your spots, enjoy all the city has to offer, and be safe!
Whether Edmonton is home or you are visiting our fine city… enjoy the Edmonton summer activities that resonate most with you.
I’m sure you’ll love them!