Life in Edmonton
With a population exceeding one million, Edmonton is Alberta's capital. It's a place where people take risks, run with ideas, or start something new. The city invented the food bank and North American Fringe theatre movement. It launched major global corporations like Stantec, PCL, The Running Room, Telus, Shaw, and Bioware. Edmonton is also a global leader in recycling and waste management.
Edmonton was named one of the world’s top 10 summer cities by National Geographic in part because of its lengthy roster of festivals, foodie culture, eclectic neighbourhoods, and superb museums. 18,000 acres of biking, skiing, and walking trails run through the city along the North Saskatchewan River, forming the longest interconnected stretch of urban parkland in North America – larger then New York Central Park!
There's plenty else to do here. Edmonton is home to professional sports teams including the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and Eskimos (CFL), and regularly hosts international sporting competitions. Explore hip boutiques along Whyte Avenue, browse through farmers' markets and craft fairs, and of course, discover West Edmonton Mall spanning 48 city blocks with more than 800 stores and attractions.
King's Guide to Edmonton
Arts & Culture
Tours of the Legislature building are a great way to learn the history of the city and province. Topics covered include the levels of government; the roles of the Lieutenant Governor, Premier, Speaker, and Members of the Legislative Assembly; a brief political history of Alberta; the daily routine followed in the Chamber; parliamentary traditions and ceremonies; and the art and architecture of the building itself. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and are offered 362 days a year.
Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA)
Edmonton has world-class art, begging to be seen. What if you don’t have the money to cover admission? The AGA offers free admission from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You may need to wait in line for a few minutes, but it’ll be worth it. Remember, exhibits change every few months, so check online to see what’s new and upcoming.
Love live theatre but can’t afford to go? The Citadel theatre offers some seats on Sunday afternoon on a pay-what-you-can basis. Sunday doesn't work? Choose another evening and show up an hour before show time to get rush tickets at half price!
Edmonton has the largest fleet of heritage streetcars in Western Canada and operates two routes. It runs from the Strathcona terminal (Gateway Blvd at 84 Ave), crosses the North Saskatchewan River, makes a stop in the middle of the High Level Bridge, and ends at the Jasper Ave terminal (109 St and 100 Ave). The streetcar operates daily from the May long weekend until Labour Day.
Last minute ticket buyers can take advantage of great seats at great prices! Rush tickets to all ESO performances are $24 and go on sale at the Winspear Centre Box Office two hours prior to each ESO concert, subject to availability. Rush tickets are available to students of all ages, those 25 and younger, and seniors 65 and older. Valid ID required at time of purchase.
Home to the Edmonton’s Symphony Orchestra, the Winspear is Edmonton’s most loved music hall. Student rush tickets are $20 for any available seat in the house.
Love outdoor theatre and Shakespeare? Check out the Freewill Shakespeare Festival in June and July. On Tuesday nights and Saturday matinees, you pay what you want!
This is a nature-lover’s paradise. Stroll through the temperate, arid, tropical, and feature pyramids. Be sure to bring your camera!
Hosting over 350 cultural events per year, the Varscona plays a vital role in Edmonton’s art scene. Try out the legendary weekly Live Improvised Soap Opera: Die-Nasty. Check the website for all showings.
Cafés & Study Spots
A spacious, comfortable, European-style café in the heart of Whyte Avenue featuring coffee, home-made desserts, gelato, and more! This is the perfect spot to enjoy a quick coffee to go, a conversation, or a long study session.
This local coffee bar is owned and operated by Leah – a woman who welcomes you into her shop like she’s welcoming you into her own home. This hidden gem is sure to send a smile to your face and caffeine through your veins.
Just a short bike-ride away from King’s in the French Quarter, this small café offers French meals and coffee, with a side of trendy francophone ambiance.
Café Haven boasts the title of Best Café in Sherwood Park. It's a great place to share a coffee or spend hours studying. Try the London Fog – it’s a menu favorite.
Ian and Eileen Edwards, pastors at the Moravian Church, have a mission of empowering and creating community for all through their non-profit, direct-trade coffee shop and its many volunteers.
This little coffee shop is one of President Melanie Humphrey’s favourites. It's a great place to browse through books, sip on a coffee, or do some studying.
Look no further for a sandwich that tantalizes your taste buds! Delicious home-made sandwiches and baked goods are bound to satisfy the foodie in you. The turkey, pear, and brie sandwich is one of the best in town.
Remedy makes fresh, authentic chai tea and samosas. This anything-goes place is always bustling with students looking for a unique experience. This is a great place to have coffee or to spend hours studying, whether it’s you and a friend or a whole group.
Everyone on Urbanspoon raves about the freshly baked doughnuts of this underrated place. Weather permitting, you can take the 50th St bicycle bridge to get there. Is it worth checking out? You bet!
This little community arts coffeehouse has an emphasis on community. It's part of a successful grassroots revitalization and restoration movement active on Alberta Avenue.
Home to simplicity, consistency, and quality, you can't go wrong with a visit to Woodrack. Come for the coffee and baked goods, stay for the electric decor and cozy atmosphere.
Transcend boasts about having the best coffee in town. If you find yourself valuing the art of coffee making over the necessity to caffeinate, you’re on the right track. Any of the meticulously created drinks are sure to please your well-trained palate.
Did you know that almost most King's students are eligible for a leisure access pass?! This pass gives you FREE access to Edmonton’s swimming pools and arenas, as well as Fort Edmonton Park, the Valley Zoo, the Muttart Conservatory, and the Sir John Walter Museum. Want more? You got it! You can get 75% off of three of the city's registered courses. Always wanted to take pottery, learn to cook, or take dance lessons? Now is the time!
Student Price Card (SPC)
SPC is Canada’s most popular loyalty card that provides students with discounts and deals at thousands of the best stores and restaurants across Canada.
The Bookseller boasts a large collection of used books. Let loose your inner nerd by perusing the shelves of well-loved, affordable treasures.
Here you can enjoy ten-pin bowling, five-pin bowling, virtual golf, mini golf, billiards, and even laser bowling. Come early to get a lane or reserve one!
Tuesdays are cheap nights at the theatre. See the latest flicks for only $1.75! Only $3.50 on all other nights.
Take in all the action of a junior level hockey game at Rogers Place. The Oil Kings promise all the excitement of an NHL game at a fraction of the cost.
This is a great place to go study. The quiet atmosphere and the shelves of books are bound to get your brain focused and your thoughts flowing!
Satisfy the explorer and scientist in you by checking out a variety of exhibits, both featured and permanent.
Check out Cineplex on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. for Cineplex Family Favourites. Watch a family favourite film each week for only $2.99. A portion of the proceeds go toward supporting Free The Children. It's a fun and affordable way to enjoy the weekend!
One of the best things about Edmonton is the annual Free Admission Day. On this glorious day, the City of Edmonton throws open the doors to nearly every facility in town for the general public’s enjoyment. You can enjoy Edmonton’s swimming pools and arenas, as well as Fort Edmonton Park, the Valley Zoo, the Muttart Conservatory, and the Sir John Walter museum, among many others!
Besides boasting of an extremely large book collection, Edmonton Public Libraries feature low-cost and free learning opportunities, maker spaces, community galleries, digital content, and more. All you need to do is sign up for a free L-Pass with your King's student ID.
Edmonton is unofficially known as Festival City and hosts over 61 different festivals across all seasons. These festivals cover a wide range of interests, including music, film, theatre, sports, and world cultures. Chances are there is an Edmonton festival you will enjoy!
Many festivals have free events you can attend. Here are some to look out for:
- Art Walk
- Comedy Festival
- Comic & Entertainment Expo
- Cariwest Caribbean Arts Festival
- Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival
- Fringe Festival
- Heritage Festival
- International Street Performers Festival
- Kaleido Family Arts Festival
- New Year's Eve and Canada Day in Churchill Square
- Sand on Whyte
- Silver Skate Festival
- Symphony Under The Sky
- Taste of Edmonton
- Valley Zoo Festival of Light
Check out a full list of Edmonton's Festivals here.
Fitness & Active Living
South of the river on 50 St, both parks have a bicycle bridge to cross the river and are a jumping-off point for trail use year-round.
Wave pools and water slides, indoor soccer, skating, and more – Edmonton has beautiful, brand new recreation amenities for you to enjoy. As a student at King's you're probably eligible for free admission to these amenities. Learn more about the Edmonton Leisure Access Pass.
The closest Edmonton Rec Centre to King's campus, Hardisty offers a friendly atmosphere and unique programs: the fitness centre, circuit training, lane swims, and aquafit are popular with many active people.
With Frisbee golf, tennis, baseball, walking/biking, picnic spots, cross-country skiing, and skating rinks, it’s Edmonton’s best-kept secret.
Edmonton’s favourite rock-climbing gym. Whether you’re new or a weathered climber, this place is guaranteed to give you a thrill.
Just Outside of Edmonton
The University of Alberta created this garden in 1959. You can take a walk in their 240 acres of gardens, explore their indoor greenhouses, and enjoy a cup of tea at their Patio Café.
Visit one of Canada’s bison conservatories! Go for a walk, a picnic, or for a camping trip at Elk Island. Enjoy the trees, meadows, lakes and wetlands, and the bison who live there.
Every year the Lacombe Corn Maze creates a new design in their 50 acres of corn. It takes about an hour and a half to complete the whole maze.
This outdoor museum is much like Fort Edmonton Park, with authentic buildings and costumed actors. Take part in one or more of their activities while you feel like you've stepped back into an early pioneer's life.
Do you love watching the sky for aurora borealis? Check out the University of Alberta’s Aurora Watch so you’ll always know when to look out for the Northern Lights.
Edmonton is full of cross-country ski trails! Head out to places like Kinsmen Park or look up the full list on the City of Edmonton's webpage. Haven't been cross-country skiing before? Sign up for one of the many lessons.
Edmonton's expansive river valley offers some convenient skiing options if you don't feel like driving to the mountains. The Edmonton Ski Club has five different hills suited for different levels of skiers, along with a variety of lessons and programs! Check out their website for more information on lift passes and ski rentals.
Edmonton has plenty of options for skating whether you want to use an indoor rink or an outdoor rink, including the ever-popular Alberta Legislature, City Hall, and Hawrelak Park rinks! Edmonton's Victoria Park has a speed skating rink and a Freezeway – a 400m scenic path that takes you through the trees. Many community leagues also manage their own outdoor skating rinks.
There’s 48 km of trail along the North Saskatchewan River, the largest urban expanse of parkland in North America. There’s nothing more refreshing than a hike down by the river. The closest access to King’s is Capilano/Goldbar Park. Check out Edmonton’s interactive parks map that shows which parks you’re nearest to. Float down the river with a group of friends or even go paddle boarding! Check out the parks scattered throughout Edmonton. Explore Edmonton has a blog on all of Edmonton’s Best Picnic Spots. Check it out for great locations!
There are many parks in Edmonton that are perfect for snowshoeing! Some parks have packed down paths, but you can even snowshoe in spots where there are no trails.
The best way to stay cool during the summer months is to head to one of the City’s free, drop-in water play features. There are lots of places to splash away the day. Check out favourites in Churchill Square and at the Legislature.
What better way to spend a winter night than looking at the stars? Some of the best locations to see the stars are the Telus World of Science Observatory, the U of A Observatory (free star gazing Thursdays) or Elk Island National Park. You never know what you might see. Fingers crossed you'll see the aurora borealis!
If you want to have fun in the snow, Edmonton has a number of different locations to go sledding!
What better way to have fun in the winter than having a massive city-wide snowball fight? There is no set date for this event. All you need to do is text the organizer your number and follow them on Twitter, and they'll let you know more when the time comes. You never know when the excitement might begin!
Restaurants - Walking Distance
Restaurants - Across Edmonton
This inviting neighbourhood style café is sure to have you feeling like you’re home in no time. The menu rotates with the seasons, and the specials change daily. Arrive early to get a seat!
Chianti serves excellent home-made Italian food at a reasonable price. Portions are bound to satisfy even the strongest appetite. Tuesdays are pasta night!
Do you like Cajun food and sandwiches? It’s hip, it’s inexpensive, and the food is great. Dadeo is famous throughout Edmonton for its award-winning yam fries.
Love Chinese dim sum? Dynasty Century Palace is located in the heart of Chinatown and offers both dim sum and authentic Chinese food!
A very fine all-you-can-eat Indian buffet, just a few minutes south of King’s. Every dish will tantalize your taste buds and send the foodie in you reeling in delight.
This is the place to have an authentic Ethiopian eating experience! All dishes are served on a large platter with sourdough crepes.
Mikado boasts some of Edmonton’s best sushi and sashimi. Ingredients are flown in weekly from Japan, Nova Scotia, and the west coast of Canada to make your eating experience as fresh as possible.
The Sugar Bowl is always bursting with university students eager to experience delicious food in an inviting atmosphere. This fun, inexpensive diner is sure to have you coming back for more.
Three Boars serves globally inspired dishes using local products. The taste is exceptional. Make sure you try the poutine!
Enjoy authentic tacos, tortillas, and quesadillas – arguably the best in town. Tacos and tortillas come in sets of four, perfect for sharing. Show up early to avoid lineups!
Viphalay serves authentic Thai and Laos food. Family-owned and operated, this restaurant oozes cultural esteem. It is an Edmonton must-see.