Visitors to Edmonton are often surprised by its climate before anything else. They come to Canada expecting it to be cold and snowbound. They are pleasantly surprised by the city's humid continental climate. The winters here are mild compared to many other Canadian cities, with average temperatures down to only -12º Celsius (10º Fahrenheit). In summer, the average temperature rises above 15º Celsius (60º Fahrenheit) and can often reach 26º Celsius (80º Fahrenheit) or more for long stretches of time. This inviting climate makes it easy to enjoy every aspect of the city, whether you want to wander outdoors as you visit its many parks or review its cultural offerings indoors. Summer brings many festivals to Edmonton.
Situated in the heart of downtown Edmonton, Matrix Hotel is located conveniently close to some of the city's best shopping, restaurants and nightlife; within walking distance of the Light Rail Transit system, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and provincial government district, corporate towers and extensive river valley park system. A stay at Matrix Hotel offers easy walking access to many of the wonderful sites and experiences Edmonton has to offer.
Sir Winston Churchill Square
There is no better place to begin your adventure in Edmonton than Churchill Square. This open expanse in the heart of downtown is adjacent to places such as City Hall, the Citadel Theatre and the Art Gallery of Alberta. Given its convenient location and arrangement, there is always something exciting going on in the square. You can either begin your Edmonton adventure here or stick around to enjoy the latest festival or gathering to visit the city.
Art Gallery of Alberta
The AGA plays host to visual arts in Edmonton. Designed by Randall Stout, the Art Gallery of Alberta connects people, art, and ideas. Showcasing original exhibitions of contemporary and historical art from Alberta, Canada and around the world. They also offer a full-range of art education, public programs, and events.
Visiting a city government may not sound like the first thing to do on your list. However, there is more going on here than legislation. The City Hall is beloved for its open feeling. On New Year's Eve every year, the citizens mark the moment with fireworks viewed from here. Tours are available every day of the year and many rooms are open to booking for public events. You can even skate on the frozen pond in winter or splash in the wading pool with little ones in the summer.
The Muttart Conservatory
You might think that you have traveled in time and space when you first see the Muttart Conservatory from a distance. Nestled in the river valley are four glass pyramids. These otherworldly structures are not transplants from ancient Egypt. Instead, they contain some of the world's most beautiful plant life. Preserved and cultivated year-round in these delicate environments, they are available to see even when the air has turned cold and the skies gray in the deepest moments of winter. After touring the four pyramids you can sit down, relax and enjoy a delicious local meal prepared by the modern café Culina. They offer fresh greens grown at the Muttart, artisan soups, salads, sandwiches, and a variety of gourmet beverages. Vegetarians, vegans, and patrons with gluten intolerance will always find something on the menu.
Royal Alberta Museum
There are many exhibits on display all year at this museum. It is perhaps most famous for the Gallery of Aboriginal Culture, offering over 3,000 artifacts from cultures inhabiting the region over the course of more than 10,000 years. Numerous other shows are offered on a limited basis throughout the year.
The Edmonton Public Library has more than 3 million items available for your perusal. It has 17 branches spread about town. The main building in the downtown area is the Stanley A. Milner Library and there are many fun events for the family to enjoy during your visit.
The Shaw Conference Centre
You may just want to visit this location to admire the architecture, however, there is usually a fun event happening at the Shaw Conference Centre that is sure to be a great time.The design of the building is widely admired. It frequently hosts international conventions, concerts, wine tastings and more on its more than 80,000 square feet of floor space.
The Winspear Centre for Music
This is Edmonton's shining star in the musical universe. The Winspear Centre hosts performances by some of the world's finest artists. Join the thousands that visit to hear them play. Ask about upcoming events and tickets at the office.
The Citadel Theatre
The Citadel has been entertaining Edmonton since 1965. Home to a wide variety of shows and plays, this theatre always has something interesting for tourists and residents. Whether it's an informative lecture or an exciting work of the stage, you can find it here at the Citadel.
Edmonton is no stranger to professional athletics. The Edmonton Eskimos are a professional Canadian Football League team and make their home here. If you have never seen a CFL game, you should not miss a chance to watch the Eskimos play at the Commonwealth Stadium.
Like most Canadians we are very passionate about hockey. No visit to the capital city is complete without an evening of action with the Edmonton Oilers. Plan ahead and get your tickets in advance. You can even arrange for a limo, shuttle service or take the LRT from Matrix to the game. Don't miss out on watching the Oilers tear up the ice, passionate fans, and the excitement of Rexall Place.
Don't forget to experience the local nightlife during your stay. Jasper Avenue is home to a varied selection of restaurants and bars. Whether you prefer to enjoy a pint of Guinness at an Irish pub, or relax with a glass of wine; the festivities are endless on Jasper Avenue. Many of the establishments are locally owned and unique to Edmonton. Take that special someone for modern Italian cuisine at Corso 32 or sip on a cocktail at The Bower. Whatever your preferences are, downtown Edmonton has something for everyone.
Duchess Bake Shop
There are plenty of places to visit during the day, but be sure to check out the sweet tastings that Duchess Bake Shop offers. This gourmet French bakery is open every day of the week with the exception of Mondays. Step inside and feel transported to Paris with all of the delectable pastries, sandwiches, cakes, and savoury baked goods. Or relax with the morning paper and a latté. After your visit explore this historic Westmount neighbourhood and check out the local shops.
124th Street (The High Street)
The shops and other establishments along 124 Street have slowly evolved into a district of their own. Lined with boutiques, eateries and art galleries, the entire street is one long cultural opportunity for the visitor to Edmonton. From May to October enjoy the Grand Market on Thursday evenings; experience the fine quality of products from local artists, trendy food trucks, live entertainment, shopping, and fresh local foods, all in the ‘grand' outdoors!
The City Market
Located on 104th street, the City Market Downtown is open from 9 AM until 3 PM every Saturday starting in May to October. In October, the market moves indoor to City Hall. The vendors are numerous and varied, including sellers of produce and sweets as well as stores selling books, jewellery and art. Enjoy live music and entertainment while you experience the fine offerings of Edmonton's locals.
West Edmonton Mall
Edmonton became famous for our mall decades ago. Until 2004, the city was home to the largest mall in the entire world. West Edmonton Mall is still the largest in North America. If you have a shopping need during your time in Edmonton, this immense cluster of retail outlets, restaurants and other establishments can provide just about any option. While you are there, you and your kids can take some time off to enjoy the indoor waterpark, ice palace, movie theatre, mini-golf, and other delights.
Other Shopping Opportunities
Located closer to downtown along Jasper Avenue near 101st street, you can visit the Edmonton City Centre Mall. Prefer a fine shopping experience; take a look at the high-end boutiques in Manulife place.
Other Things to Do
There are a lot of things to do in Edmonton that do not fit easily into any of these categories. This city is increasingly frequented by traveling festivals and art shows that you can review as you walk down the streets in the downtown area. Nature is never far away in our lush city. Numerous parks dot the landscape and paths that lead into the countryside find their trailheads here. Our hotel is located only a few blocks away from the beautiful River Valley. The largest stretch of urban parkland in North America. There are 22 major parks and over 150 kilometres of trails on which you can enjoy walks, bike rides, picnics, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and more.
If you get to town and are not sure where to begin your exploration, take a downtown walking tour that will show you some of these highlights and others. They start every day of the week in the early afternoon; take advantage of beautiful weather and the excitement of the bustling cityscape. The tours begin on Jasper Avenue before they reveal the secrets of downtown Edmonton as well as its eclectic collection of public art.
Enter a new world when you walk through the Harbin Gate along 102nd avenue. Experience the delicious offerings of the various Asian cultures with restaurants, super markets, and bakeries. Shop the local stores for imports and other fun findings while you're at it.
The Works Art & Design Festival
Starting in late June and continuing for two weeks, this celebration of art features the work of both the national and international community. While The Works festival is widespread, you can access its major displays beginning in Churchill Square and follow your preferences from there.
The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival
When the Works Art & Design festival is gone, it is almost always quickly replaced by the Street Performers Festival. Beginning in mid-July in the same central square downtown, this fair puts the work and expressions of street performers from around the world on display.
Attractions and Points of Interest