Want to keep your costs to a minimum but still have a social life without breaking the bank? Check out some of these options for frugal fun around town:
Alberta Legislature Tours
Tours of the Legislature Building are offered to all ages. Topics covered can 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.
Art Gallery of Alberta
Edmonton has world-class art begging to be seen, but what if you don’t have the money to cover admission? The AGA offers free admission from 6-9 p.m. the last Thursday of every month. You may need to wait in line for a few minutes, but it’ll be worth it. And remember, exhibits change up 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 Street Car
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 at the Alberta Legislature Building and ends at the Jasper Ave terminal (109 St & 110 St). The streetcar operates daily from the May Long Weekend until Labour Day.
ESO Rush Tickets
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, people aged 25 and younger, and seniors aged 65 and up. Valid ID required at time of purchase.
Freewill Shakespeare Festival
Love outdoor theatre and Shakespeare? Check out the Freewill Shakespeare Festival that runs every year in June and July. On Tuesday nights and Saturday Matinees, you pay what you want!
Leisure Access Program
Did you know that if you’re an Edmonton resident who fell into the low-income category on your last tax return, you could be 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 3 of the cities registered courses. Always wanted to take pottery, learn to cook, or take dance lessons? Now is the time!
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.
Cineplex Movies 12
Looking for a cheap night at the movies? Movies 12 is Edmonton’s cheap movie theatre with tickets from $3.99.
Cineplex Family Favourites
Check out Cineplex on Saturday mornings at 11am for Cineplex Family Favourites. Watch a family favourite film each week for only $2.99. A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting Free The Children. It's a fun and affordable way to enjoy the weekend with your family!
City of Edmonton Free Day
One of the best things about Edmonton are the annual FREE ADMISSIONS DAYS. 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!
Movies in the Square
Every Tuesday evening in August the city puts out a massive 3-storey high inflatable screen in Churchill Square and shows movies for free! Bring your own chair and come early. Check out their website for showtimes.
Over The Air TV
Want to enjoy all the latest shows without paying cable prices? Buy a good digital antenna and you’re well on your way to enjoying free over-the-air TV. Edmonton currently receives seven channels depending on location. Just make sure your TV is compatible!
Edmonton is unofficially known as the Festival City and plays host to 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 that you will enjoy!
Many festivals have free events that you can attend. Here are some to look out for:
- Symphony Under The Sky
- Kaleido Family Arts Festival
- International Street Performers Festival
- Comic & Entertainment Expo
- Comedy Festival
- Valley Zoo Festival of Light
- New Year's Eve and Canada Day in Churchill Square
- Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival
- Silver Skate Festival
- Sand on Whyte
- Art Walk
- Taste of Edmonton
- Cariwest Caribbean Arts Festival
- Heritage Festival
- Fringe Festival
- Dragon Boat Festival
Check out a full list of Edmonton's Festivals here.
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 in the sky overhead.
Candy Cane Lane
Take a walk down Candy Cane Lane and prepare to be awed by the numerous Christmas lights along with other unique decorations. Location: 148th St (between 92nd & 100th Ave).
Christmas in the Square Light Up
Start off the Christmas season by celebrating in Churchill Square! Enjoy a variety of activities, food vendors, live entertainment, fireworks and of course the countdown to the lighting of the massive Christmas tree!
Want something to do on a hot summer day? Visit Churchill Square and make a refreshing splash in the giant fountain. Take some time to dry off by playing a giant game of chess or perhaps show off your ping pong skills. Churchill Square is also host to a variety of festivals throughout the year!
Cross Country Skiing
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 that are available.
If you're ever looking for a nice place to walk, this garden is a great place to start! It's on a 240-acre piece of land and is full of beautiful flowers and scenery. It's just 15 minutes outside of Edmonton! And there’s student pricing!
Edmonton Ski Club
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.
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 of course the bison who live there.
Outdoor Skating Rinks
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! Also 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 allows you to find out which parks you’re nearest to. Look into floating down the river with a group of friends or even go paddle boarding! Check out the parks scattered throughout Edmonton. Explore Edmonton has created a blog on all of Edmonton’s Best Picnic Spots, check it out for some 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, some of them in your very own neighbourhood. 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 above are the Telus World of Science Observatory, the U of A Observatory (free star gazing Thursday's) or Elk Island. You never know what you might see, fingers crossed you'll see the aurora borealis!
Tobogganing & Sledding
If you want to have some 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 will begin!