Best Picnic Spots

May 12, 2021

There is nothing better than packing your basket and heading out to a grassy oasis for an al fresco feast. With over 20 major parks and 7,400 hectares of land in the river valley (that's 22 times the size of New York City's Central Park, by the way) you can roast hot dogs with a picturesque view, toss a ball in the park, or have a romantic dinner and watch the sunset over the river. Not one to pack your own basket? Edmonton's incredible local restaurants have you covered with takeaway options to create the perfect spread.

No matter how you explore, be sure to continue practicing safe physical distancing, frequent hand washing and following the guidelines put in place to keep everyone safe.

William Hawrelak Park

In this sprawling 68-hectare park, you are sure to find an open spot to spread your blanket. Hawrelak Park is one of Edmonton's crown jewels because it is surrounded by trails that you can explore by foot or bike. Make sure you stop in at Culina on the Lake for some hot eats and cool treats.

Constable Ezio Faraone Park

Seeking a front row seat to both the river valley and the High Level Bridge? Then Constable Ezio Faraone Park (110 Street & 97 Avenue) is the place for you. Bask in the river valley view as the sun sets, then stay to see the bridge light up for the evening. Nearby eats at District Café & Bakery or The Common are sure to take your visit to the next level.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park

We like to think of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park as a mini Hawrelak Park, tucked around the corner on the river bank by the Valley Zoo. There are nine picnic sites available for reservation, plenty of tables, horseshoe pits, trails and more! Don't forget to bring a frisbee to toss around after your meal. Depending on what direction your travelling from, Rebel Food & Drink or the Italian Centre Shop (17010 90 Avenue) are great places to pick-up some local grub on your way over.

Keep calm and picnic on.

Government House Park

With picnic benches and barbeques to use at Government House Park, you could leave the blanket out of the equation. Before or after your chow-down, take a stroll on the paved paths east along River Valley Road or west into McKinnon Ravine. It's an absolutely beautiful place to spend an afternoon. Nearby snacks (and delicious desserts) can be found at Vi's for Pies, only a 5 minute drive away.

University of Alberta Botanic Garden

The University of Alberta Botanic Garden, just a few minutes west of the city, is worth the drive for a memorable picnic. Explore 190 acres of gardens and natural areas including the Kurimoto Japanese Garden and butterfly house, as well as the stunning Aga Khan Garden. Their Twilight Picnic Experience will be back for 2021, so you can book a gourmet picnic box to create the dreamiest evening ever.

Emily Murphy Park

Nestled on the south bank of the river, Emily Murphy Park is ideal for families. There are plenty of spots to sit with an excellent view of the play area so you can make sure the kiddos are safe and having a great time. Bring your own canoe for a very Canadian picnic, or simply walk the trails and enjoy watching others paddle. Swing by Sugarbowl on your way down and pick-up one (or two) of their famous cinnamon buns to add to your basket (but make sure you pack some napkins!).

Experience 18 hours of sunlight.

Borden Park

Just east of downtown, Borden Park is the perfect hangout spot on a warm summer afternoon. Relax in the sun on the grass, or take cover in the many shaded areas. The space is full of trails and pathways that will lead you to stunning sculptures and unique art installations. We challenge you to find the mirrored pavilion! You can pick-up literally everything you'll need for the perfect feast at June's Delicatessen, only 3 minutes away by car.

Louise McKinney Riverfront Park

Located in the heart of the river valley, Louise McKinney Park is the perfect place for relaxing. Explore the pagoda and statuary in the Chinese Garden, or take a post-meal riverfront walk! Pick-up a coffee and pastry at Little Brick, nestled in the nearby neighbourhood of Riverdale. You can thank us later!

Alberta Legislature Grounds

Views don't get much better than this! If people-watching is your thing, set up your picnic on the steps by the wading pool. For a quieter setting, walk behind the Legislature and find a spot under the trees in the park. If you're picnicking on a Saturday, head over to the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market first and grab some local goods for your meal!

True North Picnic

Need a little help planning the perfect picnic? Leave it to the experts at True North Picnic! This boutique catering company specializes in creating one-of-a-kind luxury experiences in the city's parks, that are perfect for special occasions. True North will coordinate, style and do all the work - you just need to show up, relax, and enjoy!

Pick a Park or Two