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While you may not think of visiting Edmonton in the winter, it’s a great city with a lot going on any time of year. Edmonton has all the activities that make winter fun and some great places to explore indoors while you warm up.
Trust me on this, I lived in Edmonton for more than 15 years – and my parents and sister still live there! Therefore, Dan and I visit Edmonton all the time. And besides just visiting with family, we’ve gotten out and about and discovered plenty of fun things to do in Edmonton in winter.
Edmonton is known as Canada’s “Sunshine City” with more hours of sun than any other major Canadian city, which is also true in the snowy winter months. This is an excellent advantage for winters here because even though it may be chilly, the sun can really help warm things up and make it enjoyable to be outdoors.
If you’re planning a vacation, a stay-cation, or just looking for something fun to do, there are plenty of Edmonton winter activities, both indoors and out, to make this season memorable. In this blog, I’ll use all of my expertise from when I lived in Edmonton to help you enjoy Alberta’s capital city…yes, even in the winter!
Edmonton Winter Weather
Winter weather can be expected in Edmonton throughout December, January, and February, although there will be cooler days in November and March too. The temperature can vary a lot from day-to-day and even during the same day. The temperature will range anywhere from +5°C to -35°C (41°F to -31°F) throughout the winter, so it’s best to check the forecast before you head out – Environment Canada is a great resource for this.
With that said, If you dress correctly for the weather, there’s no need to stay cooped up inside, except on those few realllllly chilly days!
Expect to see those first snowflakes arrive in October and the last snow of the season to fall sometime in April or early May. Edmonton has about 18 centimeters (seven inches) of snow on the ground by mid-winter. There will also be a couple of big blizzards throughout the winter and wonderful warm-ups where the snow will melt and make us think spring has arrived!
Related Read: Are you visiting Edmonton from Calgary? Check out or blog about the best stops on the drive from Calgary to Edmonton!
30 Things to do in Edmonton in Winter
1. Go shopping
Let’s start off this list of the best things to do in Edmonton in winter with the most obvious – shopping! Thanks to the world-famous West Edmonton Mall (WEM), shopping is easily one of the top winter activities in Edmonton.
West Edmonton Mall is seriously huge with over 800 different stores to explore. You’ll find everything from your large international outlets like Lululemon, Zara, H&M, as well as smaller boutique stores and everything in between.
There are plenty of high-end stores too that outside of WEM, you won’t find elsewhere in Canada. One of those is SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker. This high-end shoe store started by the Sex and the City actress features colorful high-heels handmade in Italy and retail for about $400-$700 per pair. This is the only Canadian store and you’ll have to go to places like New York or Dubai to find another SJP location!
The mall is also home to the only standalone Gucci location in Alberta. The store has bags, shoes, accessories, jewelry, watches, fragrances, and eyewear.
But besides shopping, the West Edmonton Mall is a destination all on its own with attractions, entertainment, and exciting activities for the whole family. I mean, how many malls can boast they have an indoor skating rink, roller coasters, and waterpark (more info on all of those activities further on below.)
2. Watch an NHL hockey game
The Edmonton Oilers are the pride of the city and only one of two NHL teams in Alberta (if you’re a Calgary Flames fan then we can’t be friends – just jokes!) In all seriousness though, having lived in Edmonton for the better part of my life, I am a diehard Oilers fan. If you’re lucky enough to be in town when a game is on, then you just have to get tickets!
Be sure to show up early to pick up your Edmonton Oilers gear and browse all the sports memorabilia on display throughout the building.
There is only one problem – getting tickets to a game can be hard. The best place to get tickets safely is here on Viator. You can choose from a variety of seats depending on your budget. Buying secondhand tickets on Marketplace can be risky, and Viator is a trusted booking system.
Seeing an NHL game live is truly one of the best things to do in Canada and I myself have been to a few.
Related Read: Watching an NHL hockey game is also one of the best things to do in Calgary in the winter.
3. Visit the West Edmonton Mall Waterpark
I told you that we weren’t done just yet with West Edmonton Mall – there’s lots to do here! Get ready to ride the waves at the World Waterpark located inside the mall. This waterpark has 20 different waterslides and other features, including the world’s largest indoor wave pool.
For the little ones, there’s a fantastic splash park and climbing structure. For the adventurous (or fearless!), the Sky Screamer slide with an electronic trap-door launch sends sliders down 85 feet at speeds reaching 60 km/h (37 mph)!
The entire waterpark is indoors and kept at a balmy 31°C (88°F), so it feels like a tropical getaway – the perfect Edmonton winter activity if you’re looking to escape the cold. You can even keep the vacation atmosphere going and rent a cabana to spend the day.
The park is typically open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, but check the World Waterpark calendar for hours and what slides are open when you want to visit.
It’s also recommended you buy tickets online before you go. Prices range from $54 CAD for adults or anyone over 48,” and $44 CAD for kids under 48″ and little ones two and younger are free. There are discounts for two-day passes or twilight passes good for the last three hours of the day, so make sure to see what options work best for your family. Life jackets and swim diapers are free.
4. Wander Whyte Ave
Take the time to explore Whyte Avenue (also known as 82 Ave) in the Old Strathcona area. It’s one of Edmonton’s trendiest neighborhoods with a rich arts and culture feel and tons of unique stores, bars, and restaurants.
I recommend dropping into The Next Act for lunch. It’s a casual pub with great food, including their amazing burgers with fun names like The Critic and The Drama Queen. It’s also often called one of the best restaurants in Edmonton! For drinks, stop into The Pint and embrace the winter spirit with one of their signature frozen cocktails.
Shopping is also great along Whyte Avenue, and one of my favorite spots is Bamboo Ballroom. It carries stylish women’s clothes, including their cozy bestselling Stockport jacket that is a coat and cardigan all in one – perfect for keeping warm while you’re out on the town.
The Cat Café on Whyte Ave is also a perfect spot to warm up with a hot drink and some snuggles with cute critters. It’s Alberta’s first cat café and features cat-themed drinks and furry friends up for adoption. You can visit for an hour at a time for one price that includes admission to the cat lounge and unlimited drinks. Depending on the day you go, admission averages around $16-$18 CAD for adults and $6-$13 for kids.
5. Ice skating
Ice Skating is one of those magical winter activities that is a must-do while you’re in the city. Edmonton has some beautiful outdoor rinks that will make you feel like you’re part of a movie. Check out the ice plaza at City Hall next to Churchill Square or behind the Alberta Legislature, where the lawn bowling fields are converted into a rink among trees decorated with twinkling lights.
Hawrelak Park has a massive rink inside the park with amazing views of the river valley. Rundle Park is also an excellent spot with a large skating rink, a smaller family rink, and a shinny pond. If speed is more your thing, the Victoria Park Oval and IceWay are perfect. There’s a three-loop trail where Edmonton speed skaters train, but it’s open to everyone.
Most outdoor rinks open in December just before Christmas and welcome skaters from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily.
Related Read: If you’re up for a drive, we love skating on Gap Lake when we drive from Edmonton to Canmore in the winter!
6. Check out the local breweries
A great way to warm yourself from the inside out is taking in the popular craft beer scene at a local brewery. The number of breweries has steadily grown in Edmonton, so you can try a new one (or two or three!) each time you visit.
Campio Brewing Co. is a top pick for me with their crisp lagers, juicy hopped-up ales, and new creations from their brewers all the time. They are well-known for favorites like the Campio Premium Lager and the “Albertosourus” – a tart fruit ale.
Alley Kat Brewing Company is one of the bigger names in craft beer in Alberta, and they are located in Edmonton! Chances are that you’ve seen these cans around liquor stores – they are super popular! You can’t pass up their apricot-sour, called Aprikat, or try one of their seasonal rotations. The taproom is small but that makes for a cozy vibrant atmosphere!
Of course, for the real beer-lovers (like ourselves), then a beer tour is the only way to go! I mean, how are you supposed to try all of the beer that you want without a designated driver and guide. This particular beer tour in Edmonton is super unique because it the only beer tour in the city!
On the tour, you’ll visit three different local breweries and have multiple beer samples included at each stop. The guide is super passionate about beer and you’ll get a behind the scenes look at how some of the breweries make their beer! Plus, custom pick-up and drop offs can be organized making for a really easy day out.
The tour lasts for about 3.5 hours and costs $120 CAD per person. You can book is easily online here!
Related Read: If you love craft beer, then be sure to check out all of the amazing breweries in Banff and nearby too! If you’re heading to BC, there are lots of amazing craft breweries in Kelowna too.
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
7. Edmonton Zoo
The Edmonton Valley Zoo has more than 350 animals and is open every day of the year, except Christmas. There’s a mixture of outdoor enclosures and indoor spaces, so you can enjoy seeing the animals outside or warm up with the animals who prefer tropical climates indoors.
Have fun wandering around to check out animals like the snow leopards, red pandas, endangered peregrine falcons, prairie dogs, and you can say hello to the reindeer (maybe they know Santa!).
If you’re planning a visit during the holiday season, check out the Zoominescence Festival of Light. It’s on Thursday – Sunday nights from late November to early January and includes light displays, hot chocolate, and skating.
The exhibits are constantly changing, so stay tuned for new arrivals. The newest member of the zoo is a rare type of baby zebra. The baby, Grevy’s Zebra, was born right at the Edmonton Valley Zoo and is part of an endangered species, with only 2,000 of them left in the wild.
Tickets to the zoo can be purchased at the gate or online ahead of time. Prices are $10.95 CAD for adults, $9.95 CAD for teens, and $7.75 CAD for kids.
8. Cross-country skiing
Another great one of Edmonton’s winter activities is cross-country skiing on the beautiful trails in the River Valley. The trails are open to everyone and regularly groomed throughout the winter, so they’re ready to go anytime.
The Edmonton Nordic Ski Club is one of the largest in Canada and has helped develop a huge system of trails throughout Goldbar and Goldstick Parks. The trails have 10 kilometers (six miles) of ski trails that are illuminated and vary in difficulty. It takes a beginner cross-country skier about an hour to go 4-6kms, so plan for this when you start out.
If you don’t have your own skis, check out Totem Outdoor Outfitters for rentals for all kinds of winter activities, including cross-country skiing.
Related Read: Cross country skiing is also one of the best winter activities in Canmore, Alberta too.
9. Elk Island National Park
Only a short 40-minute drive east of Edmonton along the Yellowhead Highway is Elk Island National Park. It’s a great spot to escape the city and explore – especially in winter. It’s easier to spot wildlife with no leaves on the trees, and you can find animal tracks left in the snow. You can make tracks of your own hiking through the park’s many trails and you may even spot some of the bison that call this park home (can you see them in my picture above?!)
Warm-up with a roaring fire in a special covered area with a fireplace or at one of the many fire pits available in the day-use areas. Firewood can be purchased right on site for less than $7 CAD per bundle.
Admission to the park is under $8 CAD for adults and free for anyone under 17. If you already have a Parks Canada Discovery Pass then you can use this to enter Elk Island National Park for free. When you’re driving here, make sure you have a full tank of gas because there’s no gas station in the park.
10. Downhill skiing at Rabbit Hill
Rabbit Hill is a ski and snowboard resort located right on the outer edge of Edmonton on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River. It’s one of the largest resorts of its kind in the area and has over 40 acres of ski and snowboard trails suited for beginners right through to advanced adventure seekers.
If you need to brush up on your skills or you’ve never skied before, they offer group lessons every Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and daily over the Christmas Holidays. The resort also rents all the equipment you need, so if you don’t have any gear, don’t worry!
The Rabbit Hill Snow Resort typically opens in mid-December and stays open until the end of March. A lift ticket for the entire day is about $40 CAD and a great way to spend the day taking in winter fun. I love stopping in here because of its close location to the city, and all this resort has to offer.
11. Explore Galaxyland
There’s nothing quite like an amusement park, and with one right inside the West Edmonton Mall, you don’t need to worry about the winter weather putting a damper on the day.
Galaxyland is the largest indoor amusement park in North America. As such, it’s one of the top things to do in Edmonton in winter. It has more than 27 rides, including four roller coasters, a carousel, a funhouse, and the Space Shot, where riders blast off 120 feet in the air on the tallest indoor tower ride in the country.
Of course, an amusement park wouldn’t be complete without great food. The smell of mini-doughnuts is irresistible, and of course, favorites like cotton candy and ice cream are a must.
Galaxyland also has those carnival-style games from balloon popping to water gun racing. Try your hand at these and see if you can take home a prize or try out one of the arcade games with more than 100 to choose from.
Admission to Galaxyland is $30 CAD per person for anyone over 43 inches. If you’re only interested in a few rides, there’s the option to buy individual ride points for about $5 CAD each. The park is open from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays and until 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
12. Head out to Jasper
Jasper is a winter paradise in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. It’s close enough for a day trip (about a 3-4 hour drive), although I recommend staying a night or two. Jasper is the most popular winter ski destination for Edmontonians, and it’s easy to see why.
Marmot Basin is THE place to go for skiing and snowboarding – it’s only 20 minutes outside Jasper. It has 91 runs on four mountain faces extending up 3,000 feet. Seven different lifts can accommodate 12,000 skiers an hour. It’s famous for the fantastic snow conditions from mid-November until early May.
If staying a bit closer to the ground is more your style, there are cross-country ski trails galore in Jasper for all ski levels. Check the Jasper National Park website for all the available trails and conditions.
Jasper is also a stunning hiking destination with the chance to see not one, but two icy waterfalls! Athabasca Falls has a trail that’s only one kilometer long and not too steep, so it’s great for families or casual hikers. Sunwapta Falls is longer, with a 3.2-kilometer trail and a bit more elevation. You’ll need snowshoes or crampons for this one, so bring those along or rent a pair in town. Both falls are found just on the outside of Jasper town on the Icefields Parkway.
Related Read: Jasper has all the winter activities in one place surrounded by snow-covered mountains. It’s a destination all by itself, so if you’re here for a few days in winter, check out our ultimate guide for more ideas.
13. Attend Christmas events
If you happen to be in Edmonton during the Christmas season, you’re in luck. The city lights up with thousands of twinkling lights and holidays events that will quickly become a tradition for your family.
Every year, I always have to go to YEG Candy Cane Lane because it feels like a stop at the North Pole! The fantastic light displays are on homes in the Crestwood neighborhood on 148 Street between 99 Avenue to 92 Avenue. The tradition started back in the 1960s with a small group of families and has since become a holiday staple in Edmonton from mid-December until January 1. It’s free to drive through and look at the lights, but if you can, bring non-perishable food items for the Edmonton Food Bank to drop in one of the green bins along the route.
The Rad Torque Raceway also transforms into a winter wonderland known as The Magic of Lights with thousands of glittering lights over the holidays. It’s a great “drive-through” experience to enjoy with your family as you pass by the many light displays. Pick up some hot chocolate on your way over, tune your radio 88.7 FM to hear Christmas music, and enjoy the lights. It’s open every night during the holiday season, and weekends are busy, so if you want less of a wait to get in, try going on a weeknight.
14. Visit the Alberta Legislature
This majestic building is the center of democracy for Alberta and a great stop to warm up and take a free guided tour. The 45-minute tours begin in the Legislature rotunda and give an overview of Alberta’s political history. If the Assembly is sitting that day (meaning the politicians are in the Legislature), you can even watch the proceeding live from the public gallery.
The Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre has featured exhibitions that change throughout the year in the Borealis Gallery. You can watch the special film, “Our People Our Province” in the unique Pehonan Theatre, which has a 360-degree screen. The 11-minute film features music from Alberta artists and tells the story of the province. It’s shown every half hour with the last showing at 2:30 pm.
The Alberta Legislature is also wonderful to visit when it is all decked out for the holidays in the winter. The grounds are full of lights and there are giant Christmas trees both inside and outside. Throughout December, you can also enjoy live music with lunchtime and evening performances of festive music in the building’s rotunda.
If you’re looking for things to do in Edmonton in winter, don’t be afraid of the dark. The city has excellent nightlife all year round. The best spots to go bar hopping are along Jasper Avenue and Whyte Avenue.
For a country feel, try out Cook County Saloon. Two-step or line dance the night away, catch some live music, or ride the mechanical bull if you’re feeling adventurous.
The Blues on Whyte inside historic hotel The Commercial right in the middle of Whyte Avenue is another place that comes alive at night. It features live soul, funk, and blues music along with up-and-coming performers and fun acts like dueling pianos.
A great concert and dancing venue is Union Hall. It’s a small enough venue you can get close to the stage and really feel the music. They have lots of EDM shows here and a dance floor to show off your moves.
16. Test your art skills at Paint Night
These fun events are trendy in Edmonton, where you get the chance to create your own masterpiece while enjoying drinks with friends in a bar atmosphere. There’s no art experience needed, and all the supplies are provided with your ticket.
Typically everyone is trying (keyword being “trying”) to create the same painting. While there are step-by-step instructions from an artist, I always find it funny to see how different everyone’s painting looks by the end. It’s good for a few laughs and you may even end up with some artwork to take home.
Tickets range from $30-$50 CAD depending on the venue. You can see which painting is planned for each event ahead of time and choose based on what you want to paint.
17. Visit markets
The Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market is open year-round and is indoors for nice, warm shopping. It’s located just off of Whyte Avenue and is open every Saturday from 8 am – 3 pm. There’s free parking every market day in their parking lot across Gateway Boulevard.
You’ll find a great mix of locally grown food, baking, and handmade items from a wide variety of vendors. Pick up some authentic Ukrainian food including perogies and cabbage rolls for lunch from Two Babas and a Stove, take home fresh produce or preserves from Riverbend Gardens, or a cotton candy scented candle from Eternal Flame.
But this isn’t the only market that’s open in Edmonton during the winter months. Leading up to the holidays, Christmas markets pop up all over the city in November and December. These are great places to explore and find some one-of-a-kind gifts and holiday décor. You can meet the artists behind the handmade items and discover little treasures and trinkets you won’t find anywhere else.
Snowshoeing is a beautiful way to explore Edmonton in winter. Snowshoeing was a traditional way of transportation for Canada’s Indigenous people, and it’s a practical and fun way to travel over the snow.
Snowshoeing is a fun winter alternative to hiking that can only be done in deep snow. Most of the city trails get packed down too much, so you’ll have to go off the beaten path to more open areas and parks. I recommend checking out Terwillegar Park, Fort Edmonton Park, Rundle Park, Borden Park, or Victoria Park.
While you’re snowshoeing, keep an eye out for birds and wildlife – this is a great way to see some!
If you need a pair of snowshoes, check out River Valley Adventure Co. They offer snowshoe rentals for $9 CAD an hour or $30 CAD for the whole day. If you’re looking for a guide for your experience, River Valley Adventure Co also offers snowshoeing tours through the River Valley for $19 CAD per person with a minimum booking of four people.
19. Attend a comedy show
If the cold Edmonton winter weather has you wanting to stay indoors, then why not head to a comedy show to catch live entertainment and laugh out loud. There are a couple of different comedy show venues around Edmonton.
The Comic Strip is a great little comedy club located on Bourbon Street in West Edmonton Mall. You might see comics who’ve been on The Daily Show, America’s Got Talent, the Just for Laughs Festival, or The Tonight Show. They also feature upcoming stars in comedy, so you’ll be sure to have a few laughs no matter who you see.
It’s an excellent option for supper as well on Friday and Saturday nights. The Comic Strip does dinner and a show on those days for around $60 CAD. The dinner package also includes a free ticket to another show of your choice in the future. If you’re just interested in the comedy, tickets are about $25 CAD per show and there’s a show every night of the week.
20. Go to a dinner theatre
If comedy isn’t your thing, then maybe a dinner theatre is more your style. Luckily, there are two different dinner theatre options in Edmonton.
Jubilations Dinner Theatre is located in West Edmonton Mall. It’s a fantastic spot for an entire evening of entertainment, where you might just become part of the show. The cast is known for their hilarious parodies of popular movies, music, and TV shows. I love the idea of getting a three-course meal served by actors in character. Every show has popular songs and themes, and you might just find yourself singing along!
Tickets for the evening shows start at $76 CAD and can be purchased online. It’s best to park in the West Edmonton Mall parking lot and enter through entrance #31 on the east side of the mall as that’s closest to the theatre.
For something a little bit fancier, head to the Mayfield Dinner Theatre. Located on the west end of the city attached to DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, this venue is larger than Jubilations and the production is much better. In fact, Mayfield Dinner Theatre is rated as Canada’s top dinner theatre!
The dinner is a high-end buffet complete with more desserts than you’ll ever be able to eat (yes, that’s a challenge.)
Tickets to the Mayfield Dinner Theatre start at $98 CAD per person. Shows occur Tuesday to Sunday at 5:30 pm with the occasional morning show at 10 am available too.
Hot Tip: For a special night out, stay at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel. This way, after the show you can simply walk back to your room in this beautiful hotel. No need to worry about organizing transport and you can drink as much as you want during the show!
21. Visit a local winery
The Barr Estate Winery is a hidden gem not many people know about only 20 minutes outside of Edmonton. This winery creates outstanding fruit wines from plants like raspberries, sour cherries, and rhubarb grown right on their farm. It’s a family business that started from just a few raspberry bushes and has evolved into an established winery with a great selection.
While you’re there, pick up a bottle of The Other Red – Raspberry Wine. The wine is made from hand-picked raspberries that are picked when they are fully ripe. It’s a full flavor, medium-bodied wine with a refreshing taste and is best served cold with a pairing like roast pork, white chocolate, or mango – yum!!
Barr Estate Winery also offers tours by appointment. You’ll get to see how their wine is made while enjoying a little taste of what they have to offer. Tours are $15 CAD per person and are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm.
22. Visit the Neon Sign Museum
The Neon Sign Museum is a unique activity in Edmonton’s downtown that is great for those winter nights when it gets dark early. The Neon Sign Museum features a collection of 20 neon signs from the city’s past. All the signs are installed on the south side of the Mercer Warehouse building and the east side of the TELUS building on 104 Street – there are so many of them you can’t miss it!
Look for famous signs like Hayden’s Furniture’s iconic rocking chair, a landmark in the city from the 1960s until 2013, or the Canadian National Railway’s Freight Telegrams sign with the bright, red maple leaf.
The Neon Sign Museum is outdoors, so it’s open all the time and is completely free. Just show up and go for a little stroll.
Note: The Neon Sign Museum is located right across the street from Roger’s Place, so if you’re planning on seeing a hockey game while you’re in Edmonton, stop by the sign museum before or after the game!
23. Eat at delicious local restaurants
There are so many excellent local restaurants to choose from in Edmonton; it’s worth trying a new one every night while you’re here! The hardest part will be picking where to go.
If you’re looking for a memorable night out, I recommend dinner with a view at the beautiful rotating restaurant La Ronde. It has incredible views of the city and River Valley from the 24th floor of the Chateau Lacombe Hotel.
The restaurant slowly turns, completing a full circle every 88 minutes. The most popular dish is the AAA Prime Rib of Alberta Beef – and their desserts are pretty amazing too.
Another local restaurant that I love is Vaticano Cucina for Italian food, where you can’t go wrong with ordering any type of pizza or pasta. They have a wood-burning oven where all the pizzas are perfectly cooked and named after saints. Try the St. Vincent, which has veggies, pesto, fresh ricotta, and San Marzano sauce. Or any handmade pasta like the bucatini carbonara. The interior is also eye-catching with the ceilings full of colorful frescos, similar to what you might see at the Sistine Chapel.
I also love Mexican food from Mexico Lindo in Sherwood Park (only a few minutes from Edmonton.) They serve popular dishes like fajitas, Molcajetes, and tacos in a stylish and casual atmosphere. The entire menu is inspired by Mexican flavors and will transport you there … even if just for the meal. It’s a great way to escape the cold and pretend you’re somewhere warm!
For vegetarians and vegans you can’t go wrong with The Moth Cafe in downtown Edmonton. Everything on the menu caters to vegetarians and everything is delicious. Take me word for it, even as a meat-eater, I enjoy visiting.
Of course, these are only a couple of the many amazing restaurants in Edmonton. When you visit Edmonton this winter, do a little exploring of your own and I’m sure you’ll have an excellent meal.
24. Attend a show at the Jubilee auditorium
While you’re in the city, consider taking in a show at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. This beautiful theatre is home to the Alberta Ballet, Edmonton Opera, and frequently hosts shows by Broadway Across Canada.
It’s one of the busiest performing arts venues in the country and has a great stage, sound, and lighting. There’s main floor seating as well as two upper balconies to accommodate a crowd of 2,500 people.
During the winter, catch the Alberta Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. It’s a long-standing tradition featuring large sets, ornate costumes, and stunning choreography. The show has a cast of 120 dancers, including students from local dance schools and a live orchestra.
Check out the Jubilee Auditorium’s website for current show offerings and tickets.
25. Go to a concert!
Edmonton is a huge concert destination for artists because of the new Rogers Place.
Construction started in the area in 2014 and it officially opened two years later.
Now, this downtown arena is not only the home for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, but it also transforms into a concert venue with seating for 20,000. Past concerts here have included Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Elton John, Ariana Grande, Drake, Tim McGraw, and Ed Sheeran.
If you’re looking to attend a concert here, I recommend booking your hotel early. Edmonton is a popular concert destination, and people travel from across the prairies for shows here. There are many hotel options right around Rogers Place that are easy walking distance and put you right downtown for other great entertainment.
26. Test your skills at The Rec Room
The Rec Room is 54,000 square feet of games, food, and entertainment indoors in Edmonton. It’s the ultimate place to gather with your friends or family and grab something to eat while taking part in a bit of friendly competition.
My favorite part is the over 80 games including the classics like Pac-Man, Mario Kart, and Angry Birds. There’s also ping pong and pool tables, shuffleboard, and an augmented climbing wall where you get to play games while climbing 12 feet up in the air.
The two restaurants inside The Rec Room are dedicated to Canadian cuisine. You’ll find mouth-watering poutine at The Shed with amazing house-cut fries. At THREE10, named after Canada’s three territories and 10 provinces, you’ll find a wide variety of dishes with a Canadian twist.
The Rec Room has huge TVs to catch the big game – Go Oilers! There’s also a dance floor and a stage for live performances. The Rec Room opens at noon and stays open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Note: The above information is about The Rec Room in West Edmonton Mall. There is also a Rec Room location in South Edmonton. This venue is equally as exciting and well worth checking out if you happen to be in the area.
27. Go bowling
Another great winter activity in Edmonton that’s sure to get you in the competitive spirit is bowling. There are tons of different bowling alleys around Edmonton. One of the larger venues is Gateway Entertainment Centre. Here, you’ll find 30 bowling lanes as well as other activities like billards, laser tag, and an arcade. They also offer glow blowing on Tuesday, Fridays, and Saturdays at 6 pm.
Another bowling venue in Edmonton is Ed’s Bowling located in West Edmonton Mall. Not only can you expect the traditional bowling experience, but there’s also kingpin bowling, billiards, and escape rooms.
No matter where you go to go, it’s recommended that you book in advance. Trust me on this, bowling is one of the most popular activities in the winter in Edmonton – my Edmontonian friends and family are always taking me to the bowling alley when I visit!
Booking is per lane, per hour and the cost varies depending on the day and style of bowling you chose. Be prepared to pay around $45 CAD for tenpin bowling during the week ($10 cheaper for the Kingpin bowling with smaller bowling balls). Prices go up to $75 CAD per hour for tenpin bowling on Friday and Saturday nights and $50 per hour for Kingpin bowling. Shoe rentals are about an extra $5 CAD.
28. Visit local distilleries
This industry exploded after small-batch distilling became legal in the province back in 2013. Now, several notable distilleries offer a variety of products and even tours to show you how it’s done. The distilleries here pride themselves on using local ingredients including grains, fruits, and herbs.
I really enjoyed visiting Lone Pine Distilling. They have unique cocktails including the Lone Pine Classic G&T with two ounces of a gin of your choice, or the “Prairie Hand”, named after the rosy color of a prairie sunset and features Fentimans Pink Grapefruit tonic, grapefruit juice, grenadine float, and a cherry garnish. Lone Pine Distilling also offers tours of their space which is 8,000 square feet, making it among the largest craft distilleries in the province. Tours are $10 CAD per person but are free if you purchase anything.
Another popular one is Rig Hand Distillery, with its unique oil rig-shaped bottles. Rig Hand uses all local ingredients with three-quarters of their grain coming from within a mile of the distillery. In fact, the owner found his grain supplier when he stopped to help a farmer whose tractor had broken down on the side of the road. Try the Double Double Coffee Cream Liqueur, with a rum base and three types of coffee, or the Saskatoon Vodka, made with local Saskatoon berries to give a tart flavor.
29. Head to Nordegg/Abraham Lake
Take a day trip to the Nordegg area about three hours from Edmonton to see some spectacular winter sights.
The famous ice bubbles are visible under the frozen water of Abraham Lake. The lake is a reservoir used to generate power and bubbles get caught and frozen under the surface. The lake freezes in December, but the best time to view the bubbles is from mid-January to early February. These stunning bubbles create a magical landscape, and with the mountains in the background, this is THE photo you’ll be showing off.
Because water levels can change throughout the winter, make sure you only go where the ice is thick and stay close to shore.
While in the area, you can experience the beauty of not one, but two frozen waterfalls! Crescent Falls has two waterfalls on the Bighorn River. It’s about 5.6 kilometers round-trip hike to see them. Once there, you can see the falls from the lookout at the top or make your way down the hill to the plateau between the falls for the spectacular view.
Hot Tip: Abraham Lake is located only a short drive from the famous Icefields Parkway. Continue to drive south from here to make your way to both Lake Louise and Banff – it’s a beautiful drive from Edmonton to Banff or Edmonton to Lake Louise!
30. Check out the River Valley
Edmonton is lucky to have the amazing River Valley area that is 22 times larger than New York’s Central Park. The River Valley area stretches along the North Saskatchewan River and has more than 20 major parks and 150 kilometers of trails.
One of the spots I love to walk in the area is over the Walterdale Bridge. This bridge was recently re-built after more than 100 years. The bridge has two tall arches that span across the river. It’s a beautiful place for photos and to admire the city skyline in any season.
Many of the trails are cleared throughout the winter, so you can walk or even try this Segway tour to travel further and save your feet. Not only are Segway’s quicker to get around than walking, but they are a lot more fun too!
This tour is suitable for anybody – even if you’ve never been on a Segway before! Your expert guide will teach you everything you need to know before setting off to explore Edmonton’s River Valley. Along the way, you’ll learn a ton about Edmonton too! The tour is also super affordable at only $60 CAD! You can book your spot online here!
Where to Stay in Edmonton in Winter
There are tons of different hotels to choose from spread across Edmonton. My best advice is to choose one in a location that’s closest to all of the activities you want to do.
Many hotels are located on the west side of the city near West Edmonton Mall. This is a great area to stay if you want to explore all that the mall has to offer. Stay in one of Fantasyland Hotel’s gorgeous theme rooms for something really special. You can choose between family-friendly rooms like the Princess one above, or for couples, opt for the more Romantic Roman Room or Hollywood Room.
If you’re on a budget, opt for the West Edmonton Mall Inn that’s located just across the street. The rooms here are comfortable and the location couldn’t be better for enjoying the mall with ease. Plus, they have pet-friendly rooms for anybody traveling with fur babies.
Staying downtown is perfect for anybody who wants a central stay with easy access to most of the activities and attractions in this blog. To be right near Rogers Place and Jasper Ave, stay at the luxurious JW Marriott. This is one of the nicest hotels in Edmonton and it’s simply stunning. They also have an indoor pool and hot tub.
For another, more budget-friendly option in the same area, check out the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel. It is a well-rated hotel that has everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay. At only around $100 CAD a night, you can’t go wrong!
Renting a Car in Alberta
If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.
Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!
We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.
They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!
Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)
Before you go…
There are so many things to do in Edmonton, even when the temperature dips well below freezing. While there are some great indoor spots, Edmonton and the surrounding area are beautiful places to embrace the season and the activities you can only do in the winter.
Hopefully, you can check off a few Edmonton winter activities on this list and make some great frosty memories along the way.
Be sure to check out some of our other Alberta blogs including a few of our popular winter travel guides: