If you are going out West this summer to Alberta, there are so many amazing things to do! Alberta might be an underrated place compared to other provinces, but it has it’s secret gems, friendly people, and a wholesome vibe everywhere. It’s a beautiful mix of city and nature, and definitely the perfect summer getaway or vacation!
- West Edmonton Mall
This is the largest shopping mall in North America so it’s definitely a must see if you love shopping and are visiting the Edmonton area. This is a whole weekend extravaganza because there are so many different things to do, not just shopping! There’s the World Waterpark, which is the largest indoor waterpark in North America. You can spend all day in the wavepool, riding the slides, which features their new game simulator slide! You can check out Galaxyland indoor amusement park, which has the highest ride for an indoor park called the Space Shot! There’s also the mindbender roller coaster that you have to ride at least once in your life! If you don’t feel like the Waterpark or Galaxyland, they have glow in the dark bowling, regular mini golf and glow in the dark minigolf. There’s skating at the Ice Palace, a huge indoor skating rink. There’s the movie theatres inside the mall if you want to have a more chill day. There’s a strip of amazing bars, restaurants and even a comedy strip inside to check out! Some new features to food places are the first Canadian location of Bubba Gump’s that was put in the mall just last summer! There’s also a Cacao 70 Eatery/Dip Shop! Book a room at the Fantasyland Hotel inside the mall if you want to stay a couple days to do all of this! West Ed is a place with endless things to do or try, so it’s for sure a must see when visiting Alberta.
- Whyte Avenue
If you love cultural foods, cute cafés, and bar hopping, Whyte Ave is the place for you! This area is one of the hearts of Edmonton, with boutique shops, thrift stores, and many different music stores, Whyte Ave offers a little bit of everything. My cafe recommendations on Whyte ave to check out if you’re a coffee fan are Leva, Block 1912, Cafe Mosaics, Transcend Coffee, and Cat Cafe on Whyte! Leva has a beautiful patio, located off the main road so it’s a bit more quiet, and a great brunch spot. Block 1912 is cozy, quiet and a great place to read a book on a rainy day or enjoy one of their delicious desserts with some friends. Cafe Mosaics is one of Edmonton’s best vegan food places. They do everything, from fresh juices, to baked goods, to full on dinner meals! The menu is versatile, with so much options and everything is delicious. Transcend Coffee is a fun modern place, with latté art and coffee making class classes, and is a student favorite spot for lunch! Cat Cafe on Whyte is a fun experience where you get to enjoy the company of cats with a delicious latté! All the cats are in need of homes, and you are able to adopt them, which is a great thing about this cat café. Some of the great cultural food spots are Yelo’d Ice Cream & Bake Shoppe, which is a Filipino fusion soft serve an baked goods place! There’s also the famous Julio’s Barrio, a traditional µexican hot spot on Whyte Ave! You have to go on Taco Tuesday or Margarita Monday to enjoy the best deals with their delicious Mexican food. There’s tons of different options and an endless amount of places to go there, no matter what mood you are in or what you are looking for! Don’t sleep on the idea of going to Whyte Ave, it’s a must when visiting Edmonton, Alberta!
- Calgary Stampede
This is one of the most highly anticipated events of the summer in Alberta! The Calgary Stampede is not just a rodeo event, it’s turned into an extravaganza of amusement park rides, concerts, tons of different food to try everyday, cultural events, parties, and so on! It’s definitely worth going with your friends for a few days if you want to have this awesome summer experience. This year, Calgary Stampede starts on Friday, July 5th and goes until Sunday, July 14th. The Stampede always officially starts with a parade as well that’s great to watch! You might think this is just like the CNE and not worth going, but trust me when I say it’s a completely different experience. It has something for everyone which means there is really no excuse not to go this year!
- Downtown Calgary
If you don’t feel like going to the Calgary Stampede or are not visiting during that week, check out Downtown Calgary instead! They have tons of amazing places to eat and go to! Regrub is one of my favorite places there if you LOVE burgers and milkshakes! Regrub spelt backwards is burger, which I thought was really neat. They have crazy milkshakes with toppings like donuts, cotton candy, ice cream sandwiches, churros, and so much more! There is the famous Calgary Tower, which might not be much in comparison to the CN tower, but it has a fantastic view of the entire city! Go up just before sunset and catch a stunning night of the city just before night hits. If you’re an avid shopper, there is an amazing shopping outlet mall just outside of Calgary to check out! You will definitely save with the tons of deals they have going on. If you’re a coffee lover there is tons of great spots to hit like Monogram Cafe, Philosafy Cafe and Analog Cafe. Those seem to be the most popular and favorite cafés with those who live in Calgary! Something I found super interesting is that they have a secret bar called Tea House! It’s underneath the Chinese restaurant Tea House in their basement! So definitely check that out if you are into secret bars. Calgary is also great for the art scene if you love galleries and art exhibits this is a place for you. Downtown Calgary has so many things to do, and this list just scratches the surface as to what is offered!
The one thing I hear from people all over is that they have always wanted to see Banff, the beautiful mountain place in Alberta! There is so much to do there for a mountain area and small town! If you’re there to camp and do some hiking, Sulphur Mountain is super popular! It’s about a threehour, moderate hike, but the top is a stunning view! It’s a great day activity, and at the top is some shopping and indoor experience if you want to have a sit down eat or drink at the top of the mountain! The Banff Gondola is also attached to Sulphur Mountain if you want to hike up the way there and ride the Gondola back down! It’s a beautiful view of the area and a must-do while in Banff. The downtown area has tons of little shops and delicious food places! It’s definitely worth checking out. If you want to splurge and have a luxury experience, stay in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise! If hiking a mountain is not for you, do the Glacier Skywalk, which is a super cool experience as long as you are not afraid of heights! You essentially walk on glass above a beautiful view. You have to go to Lake Louise as well, but just be mindful the water is super cold all year round! It’s better to go for a canoe ride rather than swim in it. It’s definitely is a beautiful lake to see, and is an opportunity for great pictures! Lastly, finish your trip at the Upper Hot Springs Pool for a super relaxing day. Banff is definitely a great experience and a relaxing trip to get away from the city and reconnect with nature!
This is just a small list and ideas of what to do in Alberta! There are so many beautiful spots to see and check out depending on where you go. I hope these recommendations helped, or at least made you want to book a trip to Alberta ASAP this summer! Most importantly, make sure you enjoy your summer, relax, and try new things!