The City's Best Photo Spots
Over the past 20-some years, I’ve done my fair share of exploring some of Edmonton’s coolest nooks and crannies. While I’ve barely scratched the surface on the best photo locations, here are a few of my favourite places that aren't high-traffic touristy spots, but more so the unsuspecting, everyday gems that sometimes go unnoticed by the average Joe. Now get outside and discover your own beloved photo spots – whether you’re joining me at mine or uncovering your own.
Forest Heights Park
If you paid me a dollar for every time I’ve witnessed a couple canoodling on this bench, I’d have…well probably only $10.00 but that’s still pretty good. The Forest Heights Park lookout point is pretty romantic, I mean just look at that skyline and river valley view! Before leaving, take a stroll down the trail that runs alongside the park. Because of the high elevation, you’ll get great views of the river valley the entire time.
Located on 10104 84 Street
Ramsay Heights Look Out
Once an area of disaster during a 1999 landslide, the Ramsay Heights neighbourhood has since risen above adversity and is now home to one of the best vantage points in the city. The bend in the river forms the shape of a perfect horseshoe, and with the spot’s western exposure, the sunset looks pretty darn good from here. Don’t forget your bug spray!
Located near 4112 Whitemud Road
Visiting the pyramids of Giza was one of the best moments of my life, and since then, seeing a similar architecturally designed structure always tugs at my heartstrings. The Muttart Conservatory is one of Edmonton’s most unique looking attractions housing botanical gardens in four glass pyramids. While I love admiring the Muttart Conservatory from spots like Gallagher Hill or the Shaw Conference Centre, nothing beats getting up close and personal, especially at night. I can’t help but feel like I’m sort of a spy in a James Bond movie.
Located on 9626 96a Street
Home to runners, cyclists, and the odd rollerblader (‘90s sport trends for the win!), Keillor Road hasn’t always been a peaceful oasis. It was once jam packed with cars as the road provided the perfect little shortcut to the University area. When the road began to crumble into the river, cars were banned and it became a paradise for nature nuts. There is no bad season to pay Keillor Road a visit, whether it’s dusted in snow in a winter wonderland, or lined with blossomed trees in the summer months.
Located near the Whitemud Equine Centre, 12505 Keillor Road
Graffiti Streetcar Tunnel
The High Level Bridge Streetcar seriously doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Providing one of the highest river crossings by streetcar in the world, the views from the top deck of the bridge are both spectacular and exhilarating. Don’t drain your camera battery quite yet, though! My favourite spot is the graffiti streetcar tunnel near the Jasper Plaza terminal filled with intricate black and white art. Be sure to cruise over once you’re back on your feet to check it out!
Located just under the 99 Avenue bridge, West of 109 Street
High Level Bridge
The High Level Bridge has had its fair share of repairs, upgrades and facelifts over the years, most recently being outfitted and illuminated with 60,000 LED bulbs thanks to the Light the Bridge campaign. While it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo of the bridge lit up in all its glory, my favourite sight to capture is the tail lights of cars as they zoom by me near the start of the bridge. Don’t look down!
Foot access to the bridge is available via 109 Street on both the north and southside of the North Saskatchewan River
Whether you love it or hate it, Talus Dome, Edmonton’s most expensive and perhaps most provocative piece of public art, always has people talking. Yup, it’s a massive pile of nearly 1000 steel balls forming an abstract talus shape located beside Quesnell Bridge. While you’ve probably driven past the structure hundreds of times, I encourage you to take a closer look at it. Think fun house meets the compound eye of a fly. You can capture some pretty warped and funny reflections that will have you busting a gut laughing.
Access via Fort Edmonton Park road
Skiing, tobogganing, splashing around in the spray park, picnicking, or belting out tunes at our beloved Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Gallagher Park is a wicked spot to hang out no matter the season. While I love all of these activities, my personal favourite is grabbing a late night snack (usually a 20-piece box of chicken nuggets), relaxing on one of the scattered benches and admiring our twinkling skyline.
Located on 9505 96 Avenue
Crawford Block Mural
Take your instagram game up a notch by posting a photo of the Crawford Block Mural. This brand-spankin' new piece of street art was created by world-famous artist Okuda San Miguel, whose works can be seen in the streets and galleries of India, Mali, Mozambique, the United States, Japan, Chile, Brazil, Peru, South Africa, Mexico, and more. To get a closer look at the rad geometric shapes and organic forms, grab a seat on El Cortez's outdoor patio and sip on a tasty cocktail while you enjoy the view.
Located on 10319 83 Avenue
Kinnaird Park is rad because it’s one of few spots north of the river where you can still snag a photo of the Edmonton skyline. Behind the lookout point is a huge grassy area which serves as a perfect spot to sunbathe in the summer, set up a picnic, or toss the ol’ frisbee around. Plus, hardly anyone is ever there, so it feels like you have the place to yourself! The park has a great trail system and I recommend trekking East towards the Highlands hiking trail before popping back up and checking out the mansions on Ada Boulevard.
Located near 7696 Jasper Ave
UFO? Research station? Museum? Nah, just the most beautiful and extravagant bathroom I’ve ever seen! Borden Park is super cool because they have tons of public art pieces, and this cylindrical pavilion fits right in. The reflective triangular panels almost camouflage the building in the daytime, but if you come after the sun goes down, it can’t be missed as it glows from within. Don’t forget to pack your swim trunks if you’re here in the summer, and cool down after a day of exploration at the brand new natural swimming pool.
Located on 7507 Borden Park Road
Speaking of public art, Borden Park’s ‘Vaulted Willow’ is an absolute stunner. Commissioned by The Edmonton Arts Council in 2014 and created by MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY, the project’s aim is to “resolve and delineate structure, skin, and ornamentation into a single unified system." I’m no architect or art school graduate, but I like everything about it: the shape, texture, and colours. Does the structure remind anyone else of Sully from Monsters Inc? Oh just me? Ok cool.
Wolf Willow Stairs
I’m a big fan of running stairs, but I’m even a bigger fan of running stairs when there’s a killer view involved, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Wolf Willow Stairs. You can access the stairs from Westridge Park or from the Fort Edmonton Park footbridge. If you choose the latter, be prepared to sweat it out as you’ll need to hike up 200 stairs to get to this vantage point. As Drake once said, started from the bottom now we’re here. And dang, it’s worth it. Keep your eyes peeled for local hotshots such as Global News Weather Specialist, Mike Sobel and Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Edmonton Oilers, Craig MacTavish who can often be found crushing these stairs.
Accessible via the stairs from Westridge Park (170 Willow Way) or from the Fort Edmonton Park footbridge
Northern Lights (Just Look Up!)
Did you know that Edmonton is North America’s northernmost city with a population over one million? This means a couple things to me: long bright days in the summer, and long dark nights in the winter. No complaints about winter from my end though. Because of our northern positioning, we are lucky to experience one of the most magnificent shows on earth: the Northern Lights. While you’re able to see them right in the city, it’s best to head to a field where there is minimal light pollution. Hot tip: check out AuroraWatch and sign up to receive e-mail alerts when aurora may be visible!
Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve is located North of Highway 16 in Elk Island National Park
In my opinion, Glenora is one of Edmonton’s most lavish neighbourhoods. I mean, just look at that fountain! Am I in Paris? If you’re in the area, be sure to check out Alexander Circle where you’ll find this grand fountain surrounded by historic homes. Take some time to relax on one of the surrounding benches. I personally love to people watch and daydream about the day that I will be able to save up enough to buy one of these houses. A girl can dream!
Accessible via 103 Avenue and 133 Street
Belgravia Dog Park
Based on the name of this location, you’re probably excited to see a photo littered with cute dogs. Sorry to disappoint. While I am Edmonton’s #1 dog fan, the lookout spot here is what really knocks me off my feet because it provides unreal views of the Equine Centre (you can hear the horses neighing!), the North Saskatchewan River, Fox Drive, Talus Dome, and the Edmonton Valley Zoo. If you time your visit right, you’ll be able to catch a spectacular sunset with the west facing view.
Accessible via 119 Street and Saskatchewan Drive
Former Royal Alberta Museum Grounds
I know there’s crazy hype around the new Royal Alberta Museum that just opened up (as there should be), but don’t forget about the old site! The building alone was loved dearly by many, including myself, and the surrounding grounds are just as wonderful. While the Government House commands the attention of most people, I prefer the Jeongja! This traditional Korean pavilion, built as a place where people and nature can unite, was gifted to Alberta from the Gangwon Province in Korea in commemoration of Alberta’s centennial and the 30th anniversary of the Alberta-Gangwon twinning relationship to foster agricultural cooperation. Fun fact: the Jeongja is built entirely of wood and stone without nails or screws!
Located on 12705 102 Avenue