Awesome Edmonton: Thrills, Beauty & Delicious Food

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edmonton city adventure
Japanese Garden at the Devonian Botanic Gardens in Edmonton.

An Adventure in Edmonton

This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Edmonton following my Air Canada trip from hell. The Capital of Alberta, Edmonton is the northernmost city in North America with a metropolitan population over 1 million people. The city is home to the West Edmonton Mall which for many years was the largest in the world, but now only stands as the largest in North America. It is also known for the many festivals held each year. I had the opportunity to visit one of them.

edmonton city adventure
Mindbender roller coaster at the West Edmonton Mall.
edmonton city adventure
Galaxyland at the West Edmonton Mall.

The main purpose of my visit was the go to the West Edmonton Mall. As I mentioned, this mall, which was built in four phases, is the largest in North America. With one of the largest indoor amusement parks in the world, an ice skating rink, waterpark, mini golf and even a full scale replica of the Santa Maria, there is a lot to see and do.

As you may know, I really like to ride roller coasters, so I was happy to finally get a chance to ride the Mindbender roller coaster. Built 30 years ago, it is an amazing ride and one I thoroughly enjoyed. Of course the parks other coasters, train and miscellaneous rides were a lot of fun as well. They pack a lot into a small space. Well done.

edmonton city adventure
Waterpark at the West Edmonton Mall.
edmonton city adventure
The lagoon which used to hold the submarine ride at the West Edmonton Mall. The full scale replica of the Santa Maria can be seen in the distance.

Even if you aren’t going to ride coasters, the West Edmonton Mall is worth seeing. I was amazed to see the scale of the indoor waterpark and the replica of Santa Maria was cool as well. For me, another cool thing to see was the remnants of the mall’s submarine ride which seemed to be a Disneyland rip off. The subs are gone now, but the track and lagoon still remain.

Following a nice day at the mall, my friend and I headed to Downtown Edmonton where we were staying at the Westin. I booked the hotel on the AARP rate and it ended up costing about $100 USD including taxes for the night. The Westin has a fairly nice location, just down the street from the Fairmont and across the street from Churchill Square where many of the city’s festivals are held.

edmonton city adventure
Taste of Edmonton food festival.
edmonton city adventure
Westin Downtown Edmonton.
edmonton city adventure
Down by the river in Downtown Edmonton.

Luckily our trip coincided with the Taste of Edmonton food festival. Around 100 vendors were there each serving two to three dishes showcasing their restaurants. My friend and I each tried three dishes and each were delicious. I didn’t get any great pictures because I was too eager to eat. It was so good! With food in stomach, we had a couple of local beers at a bar and called it a night.

Our trip up to Edmonton was short and our flight home was at 2:30pm on Sunday, so we only had a limited amount of time in the morning. I had considered visiting the Fort Edmonton Park historical park which seems interesting, but looks to require more time than we had. Ultimately I passed on that and on some of the other “things to do” in Edmonton, before I decided to look for some Botanical Gardens.

edmonton city adventure
Devonian Botanic Gardens Edmonton. Rose Garden.
edmonton city adventure
Devonian Botanic Gardens.

While I didn’t find them on anyone’s must do list, the Devonian Botanic Gardens located to the West of the city had great reviews and looked to be the perfect stop on our way to the airport. For a $10 USD admission, we were treated to an amazing variation of plants and gardens. From a Japanese Garden to a Rose Garden and even a hedge maze, they had everything. Oh, and did I mention the weather was amazing compared to Vegas! My friend and I enjoyed every minute of this place.

Conclusion

While this trip was motivated by the desire to ride a roller coaster, I am glad that I was able to spend a little time in Edmonton and it is easily a city I would go back to. The people are nice, the weather beautiful and the culture interesting.  You really can’t ask for more than that.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Recently, I was reading an article about the death of the indoor mall. At least in California, this is totally true. Indoor malls lost their cachet in the last decade or two.

    There was a commenter on the article I can’t forget: “Not sure what this article is about. In Canada we are still going strong!”

  2. I love Edmonton. It is just my favorite city in Canada to just relax and I can blend in. It is a sleepy town full of nice people. There is some good walking trails, lots of friendly Tim Horton’s to grab a coffee and donut, or lunch, is somewhat of a college town (especially if you go to Whyte Ave on a weekend!) 3 of my friends are professors at the University.

    The water park at the West Ed mall is open year round and quite fun, even if you aren’t 12 years old. I had a blast. there is a hotel attached to the mall as well which is full of fantasy suites.

    The Legislature is also downtown and you can tour the Legislature. On Canada Day, they throw an all day festival/party there and it seems like everyone is there. Everyone. The Legislature has some really nice architecture and there is a friendliness there as a tourist/visitor to the Legislature that I have not seen at many government buildings of significance. It is like taking a step back into the past before we all became suspicious of someone looking different or being different. Canada is still a young country and is growing.

    I hadn’t been to Edmonton in several years so going back was nice. A lot and not much changed. I wish I had more time to spend there for long weekends but life gets busy so when I go there you really can decompress. There is a Buffalo Park about 20 minutes outside of Edmonton and you can hike through it and encounter MASSIVE buffalo there. Be careful, they are still wild animals!

    I agree that the winters are miserable. Very cold. Nice if you like freezing for marathon lengths of time.

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