18 Things Edmonton is Known and Famous For

Situated by the North Saskatchewan River is Canada’s most northerly major city, Edmonton. With a population of just over a million people, Edmonton is commonly referred to as both the “Oil City” and the “Gateway to the North”. It also serves as Alberta’s capital. 

Edmonton is known for its excellent attractions, sunny skies, and abundance of urban green space. It’s also home to North America’s largest shopping mall and some of Canada’s biggest festivals. With the highest wages and lowest taxes, this capital city offers some of the best living standards in the country. 

Edmonton skyline

Interested in learning more about what Edmonton is known and famous for? Keep reading! 

1. West Edmonton Mall 

Famous West Edmonton Mall interior
Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky / Shutterstock.com

Looking to shop till you drop? At 5.3 million square feet, West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping and entertainment center in North America. 

The mall is one of Edmonton’s major tourist attractions. It caters to many international visitors and has themed sections that mimic different travel destinations around the world. With names like Europa Boulevard and Bourbon Street, you can experience a variety of cultures in a single Canadian-friendly setting.

Inside this retail mecca, you’ll also find a hotel, amusement park, aquarium, and a massive waterpark. It also holds a Guinness world record for the largest parking lot in the world – holding up to 20,000 cars at once! 

2. River Valley

Autumn view of the north saskatchewan river valley and downtown in city edmonton, alberta, canada

Did you know that Edmonton’s home to North America’s largest urban green space? The River Valley park system is 22 times the size of Central Park! Because the parkland is so massive, you can access it from various points throughout the city. 

No matter the season, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy within the River Valley. Kayak along the majestic North Saskatchewan River, walk along the gorgeous trails or visit one of the numerous dog parks with your furry friends. 

With over 18,000 acres to explore, you can very easily spend an entire day (or two) enjoying this green oasis! 

3. Long, sunny days

Sunny days

One thing Edmonton is known for is having some of the sunniest days in all of North America. The city experiences an average of 325 sunny days each year – that’s some serious Vitamin D! 

A typical summer day offers 17 hours of daylight, giving you plenty of time to enjoy outdoor activities. Even during the cold Canadian winter, the abundant sunshine makes cooler temperatures bearable. 

4. Elk Island National Park

Roaming herds of wild Plains Bison, Elk Island National Park

If you’re looking to reconnect with nature, nothing beats a trip to Elk Island National Park. Only 30 minutes outside of Edmonton, this park is a wildlife lover’s paradise.  

True to its name, the park is home to a healthy population of elk – although you’re more likely to spot free-roaming bison or white-tailed deer during your visit. Elk Island is also home to a lush Boreal Forest where more majestic creatures live, including black bears, wolves, and moose. 

As Canada’s only entirely fenced national park, it feels a little bit like Jurassic Park – only with furry creatures! 

5. Festival city

A woman performs at Edmonton's Cariwest festival
Editorial credit: Angela Ostafichuk / Shutterstock.com

Are you a festival go-er? If the answer is yes, then Edmonton is the place for you!

No matter what time of year you visit, there’s a good chance that some type of festival is going on. With more than 60 annual events, Edmonton is known as the City of Festivals. 

Most music festivals take place during the summer. Enjoy live indie music at the legendary Folk Festival, watch buskers hit the stage during the International Street Performers Festival, or support local talent at the artisans at the Fringe Theatre Festival. 

Foodies should plan their trip in July and arrive hungry at the Taste of Edmonton – Canada’s largest outdoor food festival.  

6. Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers jersey in an ice block
Editorial credit: meunierd / Shutterstock.com

Every major Canadian city loves their professional hockey team, and Edmonton is no exception. The Edmonton Oilers have been home to some of the most famous players in NHL history including Wayne Gretzky, Taylor Hall, and Connor McDavid. 

The team’s name, the Oilers, comes from Edmonton’s biggest – oil and gas. 

7. Old Strathcona

Old Strathcona
Image credit: Edmontonenthusiast

Old Strathcona is one of Edmonton’s trendiest neighborhoods.

With blocks of retro signs and old buildings, this district feels like one massive art gallery that you can walk through day or night. It offers up a fantastic theater scene, unique boutiques, and some of the city’s best restaurants.

At the heart of Old Strathcona lies Edmonton’s most famous street, Whyte Avenue. Named one of Canada’s five best shopping neighborhoods, this street gives Montreal a run for its money! 

8. High wages

Canadian Dollars

Did you know that Edmontonians have the highest average weekly earnings in all of Canada? Most workers earn 22% above the national average.  

Although wages are high, housing remains extremely affordable in comparison to other major cities. So if you’re looking to relocate or move to Canada for work, consider looking into Edmonton! 

9. The High-Level Bridge Streetcar

Edmonton's high level bridge
Editorial credit: EdmontonMartin / Shutterstock.com

The High-Level Bridge Streetcar is one of Edmonton’s most famous tourist attractions. Visitors can take a ride in the hundred-year-old streetcar and enjoy spectacular views of the city. 

In the summer, the streetcar ride is one of the best ways to get downtown, while taking in a dose of Edmonton history at great heights! 

10. Neon Museum 

The Neon Sign Museum in Edmonton started displaying neon signs outdoors
Editorial credit: Kaytoo / Shutterstock.com

If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram shot while visiting Edmonton, head downtown to the outdoor Neon Sign Museum.  

All of the signs have recently been restored to showcase Edmonton’s history on a unique block downtown. There are informational signs throughout the stretch that explain each light on display.

Since this nostalgic museum is entirely outdoors, it’s open to explore 24/7!  

11. No sales tax 

Tax free sticker on window

We’ve learned that Edmonton has a city-sized shopping center and the highest paid wages – what could be better than that?

Well, there’s also no provincial sales tax! In fact, some Canadians make special shopping trips to Edmonton when looking to purchase high ticket items.  

Life is short, buy the shoes – and maybe the bag too. 

12. Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

Woman in Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
Image credit: Wilson Hui

For a dose of Edmonton history and some delicious food, be sure to visit the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. Known locally as “The Village”, this open-air museum tells the story of Ukrainian settlement in Alberta in the early 1900s. 

Go back in time as you explore more than 30 restored structures, with costumed guides that will show you what life was like for Alberta’s Ukrainian pioneers.

From cooking demonstrations to watching a blacksmith make nails, the village provides an authentic Ukrainian experience for visitors of all ages! 

13. Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox
Editorial credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

It seems like every Canadian city has produced some incredible talent that puts it on the worldwide map. For Edmonton, that talent is famous actor, Michael J. Fox. 

Before he became famous for his role on Family Ties, the actor was one of five siblings born and raised in Edmonton. You may also recognize him for his roles in Back to the Future, Teen Wolf, and Spin City.

Throughout his career, he has gone on to win four Emmys and four Golden Globe awards. 

14. Muttart Conservatory

Muttart Conservatory

One of Edmonton’s most famous landmarks is the outstanding Muttart Conservatory. Made up of four pyramid-shaped glass buildings, the unique building design is sure to catch anyone’s eye. 

The conservatory is home to some of the rarest species of plants from around the world. The picturesque venue hosts many events throughout the year to showcase its botanical collections, and to educate the public on the science of plants. 

Needless to say, if you’re a plant-lover, the Muttart Conservatory is a must-see while visiting Edmonton! 

15. Galaxyland

Galaxyland
Image credit: GoToVan

We may have already touched on West Edmonton Mall, but as the world’s largest indoor amusement park, Galaxyland deserves its own mention in our list. 

The famous amusement park has over 25 rides, games, and themed play areas for children of all ages. It’s also home to The Mindbender – a massive triple loop rollercoaster! 

In 2021, Galaxyland re-opened as a Hasbro playground that rebranded many of the rides and themed games. If you’re looking for some 90’s nostalgia and a place to let your kids run wild, it’s definitely worth the trip! 

16. William Hawrelak Park

Autumn view of the william hawrelak park

William Hawrelak Park is one of Edmonton’s most popular parks for both visitors and locals. Located within the River Valley, the 168-acre park has tons of hiking trails, picnic areas, and a golf course, making it a very busy recreational space. 

The 168-acre park hosts some of Edmonton’s major festivals like the Freewill Shakespeare Festival and the Edmonton Heritage Festival. 

17. TELUS World of Science

Edmonton Telus World Of Science Odyssium in Alberta, Canada

You don’t have to be a mad scientist to enjoy the TELUS World of Science museum – but if you visit, you just might become one!

This state-of-the-art science center is home to hundreds of hands-on exhibits, an IMAX theater, a science stage, and a planetarium. The museum aims to promote life-long learning towards science and technology for all ages. 

One of its current exhibits is by James Cameron, where you can learn all about the underwater world and how filmmaking comes to life at the bottom of the ocean. 

18. Culinary scene

The Parlour
Image credit: Mack Male

Last but not least, Edmonton is known for its incredible culinary scene. The city offers an excellent mix of classic food fare like Ukrainian, while also embracing new flavors and creations. 

Alberta is famous for its beef, local cheeses, fresh veggies, and field berries. A lot of Edmonton restaurants take a farm-to-table approach, using locally-grown ingredients to satisfy any palette. For a trendy brunch spot, check out Blue Plate Diner or MEAT. For ethnic creations, stop by Baijiu or Pho Boy. 

The capital city also has a pretty impressive brewery scene, with local makers like Blind Enthusiasm Brewing and Situation Brewing serving up tasty craft beers. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for beautiful trails, inspiring museums, or some amazing shopping, Edmonton is a great place to visit or maybe even call home one day. 

Did anything on this list surprise you about Edmonton? Let us know in the comments!

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