Eeek! Sorry, this is a few days later than I was expecting … I ended up having a bit of a crazy weekend. BUT it’s here now. The first of  ‘Places You Should Go’ and we’re going to start off with Edmonton. It’s a city I know very well and am quite excited for the changes and growth the city is going through right now.

I once read a review of a hotel in Edmonton and the person wrote that the hotel itself was great but don’t ever go to Edmonton unless you absolutely have to. She obviously didn’t take the time to really get to know or see the city. Yes it sucks in the winter when it’s -35 and gets dark at 4 in the afternoon but it could be worse.

No matter what time of year you visit, there is always something to do. Edmonton is known the world over for its festivals including the Street Performers Festival, The Fringe, Heritage Days and the Folk Music Festival. That’s just to name a few. On any given weekend through out the summer and fall there is at least one major event going on and there is something for everyone. There are also several winter festivals that try and get Edmontonians to embrace our winter culture.  To check out some more of Edmonton’s festivals click here.

There are plenty of places to explore as well. Through the heart of the city is the River Valley with the North Saskatchewan River snaking its way through. There are hundreds of kilometres of trails to hike & bike through. Or you can launch your boat and float your way down the river. It really is stunning no matter what time of year and Edmontonians are very luck to have such a beautiful place. For more information on the River Valley they have their own site  Edmonton River Valley 

There are also countless parks and recreation facilities to get out and enjoy. If you still want to be out and about but not necessarily ‘doing’ something – Old Strathcona is a favourite amongst locals and tourists. You can walk down Whyte Avenue and take in the countless shops, cafés, restaurants and bars. It’s a busy place year ’round but especially so when the weather is nice. Another area to check out that’s easily walk-able is the the 124 Street district downtown. It is also lined with boutique shops and fun little restaurants. Another popular place to ‘hang’ is the Legislature Grounds. Alberta’s legislature building is a stunning place inside and out. The grounds are fun to walk around and maybe take a picnic. You’ll also find people dipping their feet in the fountains on hot days. In the winter, the main fountain turns into an outdoor skating rink and the surrounding trees are filling with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights. It’s a beautiful site!

If you prefer to do your shopping inside – Edmonton is home to several fantastic malls, least of which is the famous West Edmonton Mall. There are always new stores coming in and is a fun place to explore at least once. There is also the indoor water park and the amusement park inside. Another fun attraction to check out is Fort Edmonton Park. There are fun activities for the entire family, I always enjoy visiting. You can even stay on site at the Hotel Selkirk.

Edmonton is also home to several professional sporting teams including the Edmonton Oilers (NHL), Edmonton Eskimos (CFL), Edmonton Rush (NLL) and FC Edmonton (NASL) and also hosts the Canadian Finals Rodeo every November. The Edmonton Oilers  and Rush currently play at Rexall Place but work is being down on a new downtown arena, just one of the many projects that is promising to revitalize the downtown core. When Rexall isn’t being used for one of the many sporting events, it’s a concert hub. Edmonton is quickly becoming one of the major concert destinations in North America. Recent shows include Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, Tayor Swift & Keith Urban. There is very rarely a show that doesn’t sell out. Actually that’s why I got so busy this weekend! One of my favourite singers had a show and Rexall and it was fantastic!

If you feel like getting away for a few days there are plenty of camp grounds and lakes only a few hours drive from the city limits. Or you can head to Jasper & Banff and visiting the beautiful Rocky Mountain parks.

I think that covers the basics, believe me I could go on… there is the museum and art gallery and the Telus World of Science …  If you’re looking for a short getaway this summer, I encourage you to check out Edmonton. Or if it’s someplace you’ve maybe considered in the past, I hope this gives you a little extra push.