Here Are your Top 10 Things to Do in Edmonton for the Perfect Winter Vacation
Over the past month, we’ve been exploring all the fun things you can do each winter across several Canadian cities. For our final city in this journey, we’re heading to Alberta’s capital, Edmonton.
You know it for its massive mall and passionate hockey folk, but here’s some winter activities you might not be aware of. Here’s the top 10 winter activities in Edmonton you need to try next time you visit.
1. Tour Edmonton’s River Valley …On a Segway?
Yep, if you thought Segways could only be ridden in the summer, think again! For one of the most unique ways to explore Edmonton’s parks along the North Saskatchewan river, head to River Valley Adventure Co. It’s there you can rent your very own Segway and explore the winter valley.
And don’t worry if you’ve never ridden one of these strange vehicles before—On top of more advanced trails, they also offer beginner trails in which you’ll be accompanied by one of their certified trainers.
But if you prefer something more physical, they have you covered too!
2. Rent a Pair of Snowshoes and Take a Trail Through History
River Valley Adventure Co. also has snowshoes rentals! To make the most of your snowshoe hike, download the Commonwealth Walkway App’s interactive winter storyline. From the science behind how ice forms on the river, to the heritage of the area itself, you’ll be captivated by the stories you can hike alongside.
And for another opportunity to snowshoe through history, check out Tales from the Trapline. In this 4-hour experience, you’ll learn all about how the Métis people conquered winter, from learning traditional artform, to building your own survival shelter, and of course snowshoeing through the pristine Alberta landscape.
3. Check Out One of Edmonton’s Winter Festivals
For more history, you have to see Flying Canoë Volant. This vibrant and bilingual winter festival celebrates Edmonton’s French Canadian, Métis and First Nation history. But this isn’t your average walk through history. From axe throwing, to downhill canoe racing (…yes, you read that right), you will not leave this festival disappointed.
4. Take the Kids Tobogganing (…or Find Your Inner Child!)
For another fun activity for the whole family, why not go tobogganing? The city of Edmonton maintains many fine hills to race down for both young and old alike!
We recommend the hill in Whitman Park North. Not only will you get the speed you need, but you’ll also have access to a nearby washroom. That way there’s no need to regret that last hot chocolate before you hit the slopes.
5. Enlighten Yourself at Glow Edmonton
If you’re visiting Edmonton in the winter, you have to visit one of the city’s many Christmas Light events. Take Christmas Glow at the Edmonton Exhibition Centre, where over 50,000 lights dangle overhead as you peruse local vendors for that perfect Christmas gift (…or that delicious Christmas treat).
But for our favourite, check out Enchanted Forest at Fort Saskatchewan. This free event turns the historic fort into a… well, an enchanting experience! Celebrating the city’s diversity and vibrance through the magic of christmas trees, you’ll be sure to get that perfect Instagram moment!
6. Catch the Northern Lights
If lights on the ground aren’t enough, there’s plenty of lights in the sky as well! At Elk Island National Park, extra care has been taken to avoid all forms of light pollution from obscuring the magnificent night’s sky. Plan your trip for the new moon, and see the stars above in clarity like never before.
For an extra treat, book your trip to catch the northern lights. Use this amazing tool by the University of Alberta to keep track of auroras as they streak across the night’s sky. Just make sure to bundle up, and pack those mittens!
7. Chill Out with a Wild Bison
And if you’re heading to Elk Island, keep your eyes peeled for wild bison. These majestic animals wander the plains as a group to forage for food, so if you see one, you’ll probably see its friends and family too!
Just be extra careful if one meets you on the road. Bisons are known to move through life at their own pace, and see no issue in blocking your car’s way. This is their land after all! For animal safety tips, check out this informative guide by Parks Canada.
8. Get Face to Face with a Siberian Tiger
And for more animals, find your way to the Edmonton Valley Zoo—home to over 350 animals from around the world. This zoo is open year round giving you an excellent opportunity to see arctic animals in the snowy environment they know best.
You’ll meet arctic wolves, snow leopards, several species of owl, seals, monkeys and even a huge Siberian Tiger! Learn about their habitat, conservation, and more from the Zoo’s staff of experts.
And as an added winter bonus, experience Zoominescence, another beautiful Christmas light show running every weekend at the zoo this winter.
Keep in mind, in order to ensure everyone’s safety, tickets to the zoo are currently only available to buy online.
9. Take the Polar Bear Plunge
After seeing all those animals swimming in cold winter waters, why not take a swim yourself? Up at Lake Summerside you can brave the cold by taking the Polar Bear Plunge! This once in a lifetime experience is all to raise money for the Special Olympics, so if the waters freeze your skin, at least the purpose will warm your heart.
Of course, if this plunge is not your cup of iced tea, feel free to show your support through a donation, then sit back and watch all the brave people (…or foolish people) take that freezing plunge.
10. Race in a Winter Adventure Marathon
Still cold from those icy waters? To warm yourself up again, how about going for a run? This year, in lieu of a marathon style race, the organizers of Winter Revenge have created an adventure racing route so you can get the heart pumping while socially distancing.
In other words, this year is your only chance to try one of their 4 adventure trails—each one designed for your specific skill level, whether you’re a beginner trail-trekker or an expert adventurer.
This city has much to offer both families, and thrill-seekers (…as well as thrill-seeker families!). But no matter who you are or what brings you to the city, one thing we can all agree on is that your accommodation should not be overlooked.
With the Right Suite, Your Nights in the City Can Be Just As Great As Your Days!
Our fully furnished suites ensure your long days adventuring in the city come to a relaxing end in our signature bedding. Wake up each morning to make breakfast in your fully equipped kitchen, or call our expert concierge to find out where the locals eat. We have you covered.
Learn more about our executive Edmonton suites and book your next winter dream vacation before the snow melts away!