Every summer you say it. I’m going to get out more. I’m going to hit up more festivals, go to more sporting events yadda yadda yadda. I get it. You’re terrible at planning. What do you want from me? A checklist for things to do this summer? Seriously, you’re going to make me do that? Okay, fine. Here’s my top ten must-dos in Edmonton this summer, in no particular order.
How could I leave this off the list? One thing Edmontonians know better than anyone is how to squeeze every last second out of patio season. I’ll make a blog entirely about Edmonton patios soon, but in the meantime here are a couple of my top picks. When it comes to the view, it’s pretty tough to beat out the patios at the Fairmont Hotel or Courtyard by Marriott downtown. Perched on the edge of the river valley, enjoy a drink (or a couple!) with a stunning view. People watching more your style? Julio’s Barrio on Whyte might be just the ticket.
Working downtown definitely has its benefits. Many of Edmonton’s food trucks like to station themselves downtown for much of the week. But that’s not the only place you’ll see them prowling around, it’s a food scene that has completely blown up in Edmonton over the last couple years – and it’s awesome! Looking to catch a bunch of trucks at once? What The Truck?! is pretty much a food truck orgy. My top food truck pick – Bully, hands down. They’ll take all your lunch money, and you’ll be the ones thanking them (don’t worry, it’s nothing like Junior High).
This one doesn’t need much of an introduction, but Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is a “can’t-miss” as far as festival season and summers in Edmonton go. North America’s biggest and oldest Fringe Festival will appease your entertainment appetite, whatever that might entail. If you want funny, dramatic, tragic, or just plain outlandish, Fringe has got it. I personally love Fringe mainstay ‘Scratch’, an improv duo of former Edmontonians. When I went to their show last year, they decided to combine Breaking Bad (the TV show), Twister (the movie), and Millwoods. Yeah, it was freaking hilarious.
Win, Place, Show
Want an awesome date idea? Or just a fun night out with friends? Pony up and head down to Northlands Park where some of the fastest entertainment in Edmonton takes place. Step one: get your wager in (as little as a buck!). Step two, scream your lungs out. This is definitely one of the most underrated ideas for a boisterously good time. Step three, come back repeatedly!
The Whole City’s a Stage
How’s your acting these days? Probably not as good as the shows at Edmonton Street Performers Festival. You want contortionists? You got it. Fire juggling? Done. Crazy balloon animals? Sure, we can hook you up. Street Performers Festival is one of the zaniest 10-day stretches in Edmonton’s summer, and the best thing is, no act is ever the exact same!
Corner the Market
I love Farmers’ Markets. They might seem like a ‘summer only’ thing, but Edmonton does a great job of maintaining a couple of year-round markets. My personal favourite is City Market Downtown, which hits 104th Street for the May Long weekend. You’ll find everything from farm-fresh produce and ready to eat meals to one-of-a-kind clothing and handcrafted jewelry. Oh, and it’s pretty established…City Market has called downtown Edmonton home for over a century!
I’ve got to be honest, I’m relatively new to the Edmonton Folk Fest scene. But it’s a pretty awesome spectacle. Thousands of people in Gallagher Park taking in the best summer has to offer. Oh and beer gardens, those help too. It may sell out in two minutes, but there are always tickets available to the best hillside party in Edmonton!
Bird's Eye View
Want the best view in Edmonton? High Level Bridge Streetcar puts you at the apex of the Edmonton’s River Valley. Not only is it a uniquely Edmonton gem, but you can use it to get to some of the city’s biggest summer events like The Fringe and Canada Day celebrations at the Legislature! Plus, look at all those people below you, they look like ants!
Sip ‘n Savour
Food. Lots of food. That’s what you can expect at Taste of Edmonton, the largest food festival in Western Canada. Sample Edmonton’s finest restaurants, take in a concert, or head to the beer gardens. Yeah, I went with the beer gardens again. I like beer alright? Give it a rest.
Bring Your Basket
Sunshine and picnics just go together. Hawrelak Park is a great location, but you also have to try the Devonian Botanic Garden. Find a grassy knoll to set up your blanket (such as the Kurimoto Japanese Garden), and enjoy the tranquility of the gardens. Worried about mosquitos? Don’t sweat it, the dragonflies have got you covered.
Summer is right around the corner, I promise….barbeques, patios, bonfires all of it. Get at it. Explore Edmonton, or at the very least, leave the air conditioning at home for an afternoon.