by Danielle Ditzian of Like Riding a Bicycle
I’m going to be honest with you; Edmonton is the city from whence I came, and it is by far – how to put this delicately? – well, not my favourite place on earth. An Edmonton vacation wouldn’t be my first choice. That being said, if you get stuck in this god forsaken, freezing cold concrete jungle, you’re going to need some fun things to do. So here is my ultimate destination guide to an Edmonton vacation, so that you can at least endure the journey ahead.
West Edmonton Mall
Okay, it’s totally overrated, I make no lies, but every tourist seems to want to visit this place where dreams go to die. Fine, fine, it’s not that bad, you’ll just find it completely overcrowded. Still, other than the ridiculous number of stores (some with 2 or 3 locations in the mall!), there are some cool things to see that must be included in any destination guide! Fancy a party on a pirate ship? How about mini golf? Or maybe you’d like to go ice skating in July. Perhaps a dip at the waterpark or a ride on the rollercoaster (don’t worry! It only broke and killed people once!) is more up your alley. In any case, this ridiculously sized mall was the biggest mall in the world while I was growing up. But don’t worry! You like your biggest things? West Ed still claims the title of largest parking lot in the world. So there, you should probably check it out on your Edmonton vacation.
Whyte is a great place to hang out, whether you’re looking for quirky clothing or a great place to grab a beer. Truly, I still love this street despite my general hatred for the town. Around Christmas the trees lining the streets are decorated in lights, bringing in the cheer. Stores have all kinds of clothing – from punk to hippie to just plain random. There are thrift shops and pricey ones, and every type of restaurant you can imagine. You want Mexican? Head on down to Julio’s Barrio. Donairs? Head… uh, anywhere. Seriously. As for drinks, the streets are lined with bars, my favourite being the very skuzzy, very divey bar called the Strat. Don’t remember that I sent you there. It’s a sketchy, weird ass place, but hey – cheap beers and definite characters. If you want somewhere a little classier for your Edmonton vacation, check out Beercade – which is exactly what it sounds like, and is amazing.
Summer or winter (the only two seasons in Edmonton), the festivals just keep on coming. From Heritage Days, which sees tents filled with food and history on every country you can think of, to the Festival of Lights (which is, you know, a festival of lights), they’ve got it all. I’ve never visited the ice scultpures built every year on Whyte Ave on account of -20C is just not cool (or, well, it is…), but dream of it every year I’m here – so basically my adolescent years cause I got the hell out ages ago. Am I making this place appealing or what?
The End of the World
By far, my favourite place in Edmonton, and a great place to finish this ultimate destination guide to an Edmonton vacation (cause Edmonton really does suck, don’t come) is the End of the World. You may need a local to help you find this place, but nestled deep inside the River Valley is a place where was once a sidewalk. Now what on earth a sidewalk was doing there is really anyone’s guess, but whatever, there was a sidewalk. Now it trails into nothingness, and you can hang out on the remnants of it overlooking the beautiful river. This is the most serene place I know in Edmonton, and I love it to death. If you’re determined enough, you’ll find it, I promise.
Where did you go on your Edmonton vacation? Write your top places in the comments!
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