Did you know that Edmonton is known for being one of Canada’s sunniest cities boasting 325 days of bright sunshine each year (and up to 17-hours of daylight per day in June)? They also host over 50 festivals per year and own the world’s highest streetcar bridge crossing (built-in 1912).
Being an Edmontonian is pretty cool.
Below, you will find five of the finest establishments and activities this city has to offer:
1. Watch an Edmonton Oilers Game: Created out of steel and glass and from up above resembling an oil drop, Roger’s Place opened its doors to the NHL and entertainment industry in 2016. Featuring over one million square feet of architecture, this venue holds the title for the largest dressing room in the NHL along with the largest screen which runs blue line to blue line. Watching an Edmonton Oilers home game is one family outing not to be missed!
2. The JW Marriott Hotel ICE District: After an adrenaline-pumping hockey game, use the indoor pathway to head over to the newly opened JW Marriott Hotel ICE District. As of August 1st, the JW is Alberta’s first modern and luxury hotel right in the heart of the ICE District. Their dedicated kid’s activities via the Family by JW Program embraces the whole family experience. Upon arrival, children are presented with a wagon and given a choice from various toys. Kids also get their own key cards made especially for them and become part of the check-in process.
Tents are also set up in the suites, and their welcome amenity activity consists of decorating their own cookie right in the room! The JW Marriott also partners with local writers who feature stories about Edmonton. Kids can even rent out Polaroid cameras which they take out into the city to follow a scavenger hunt getting them used to the area. Prizes are awarded following the hunt. Can I go back to being a kid?
Don’t worry if you happen to be a little older and taller; The JW Marriott does adulting right. For a romantic day, check yourselves into The Spa by JW for a couple’s massage followed by a dip in the infinity pool.
For dinner, the prohibition-style dark wood and dim-lit Braven is a must-dine. Start your palate tasting with the mushroom soup, followed by my favourite dish, the Alberta Bison and beef Bolognese served with freshly made pasta, bison ragu topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano. This Italian gives the dish two thumbs up. After dinner, be sure to grab a night-cap in The Lobby Bar, a beautiful open space concept with modern urban furniture and couches. One would recommend ordering The Duchess: rose-infused Tanqueray gin, sauvignon blanc, lavender syrup, lemon and vanilla bean. Hey, when in Rome, right?
Another excellent cocktail lounge is Alchemy. Located behind a secret bookcase, this speakeasy opened its doors October 3rd and features drinks like my recommendation, the Mexican Raincloud; made with bruxo mezcal, apricot brandy, crème de violette, hot pepper agave syrup, hellfire shrub bitters topped with charred cedar as the finishing touch! My third and final cocktail recommendation would be to pick up some local gin from Strathcona Spirits Distillery (more on them below) and Indulge in curated services like the JW Edmonton Ice Menu, delivering specialized styles of ice cubes to suit every beverage, right to your door.
After you’re done eating and drinking like it’s the 1920’s, head over to Archetype for a good workout. They elevate the fitness experience through cardio and strength, group studios, MyRide XV immersive cycling and a unique meditation pod, where each setting, colour and wavelength is designed to awaken specific senses in your body.
3. Within walking distance from the JW Marriott ICE District, you’ll find the Royal Alberta Museum. The museum first opened to the public on December 7, 1967and in 2018, moved into the new 419,000 square foot facility in downtown Edmonton. It is the largest museum in Western Canada. It features over 2.5 million stories to be told including Western Canadian history, indigenous studies and invertebrate zoology. The new museum includes an expanded bug gallery with visible hatchery and a Children’s Gallery designed for hands-on learning.
4. I must admit, when I first got on a Segway, I thought I was going to roll myself right into the North Saskatchewan River. But with a great instructor from River Valley Adventure Co., I was ready to pop a wheelie in no time (but seriously, don’t try that). Once you get the hang of how to use your body to move the Segway, stop and turn, it is the most fun you’ll have as a family. With stunning Edmonton views overlooking the city and the river, you’ll make your way up to the incredibly serene Japanese Garden. Kids must be at least 60lbs to rent a Segway.
5. Edmonton also holds another title: the smallest distillery in North America. Located in the historic neighbourhood of Old Strathcona, Strathcona Spirits Distillery was built in 1946 and takes up a mere 740 square feet. Using sea buckthorn and juniper berries for the gin botanicals, their best seller is the Badlands Seaberry Gin. One bottle to ask to see (although not available for purchase) is their
double-barreled single cask spirit, one-year-old Edmonton Wheat unaged whiskey, Grain Wetzky. You’ll recognise the bottle by its number, 99.
Looking for more ideas for fun things to do in Edmonton? Look to www.familyfunedmonton.com for all the latest events and activities for families!
The author was a guest of Marriott International and Explore Edmonton who did not review or approve this article prior to publication.