Free Things to Do in Edmonton - Summer Edition
Exploring Edmonton doesn't need to break the bank! In fact, experiencing the city on a budget can open your eyes to incredible overlooked adventures all over town. Peruse this list, then take summer up a notch with these fun, fabulous and free activities.
No matter how you choose to explore, be sure to practice safe physical distancing and frequent hand washing!
River Valley Trails are Waiting
Adventure is waiting right here, in your own backyard. The North Saskatchewan River Valley has over 150 km of trails begging to be explored. These trails are perfect for jogging, cycling, or even a casual stroll. Spend an afternoon wandering through North America's largest stretch of urban parkland, or cycle through the trees and trails on a mountain bike.
Discover the Legislature Grounds
Experience a taste of Alberta's history as you explore the Alberta Legislature grounds. Set atop the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, the Alberta Legislature Building is a marvel of beautiful Beaux-Arts architecture and the perfect backdrop for a stroll. Pack a lunch, or stop in at one of Edmonton's legendary downtown restaurants and pick up a meal to-go — with plenty of benches and landscaped areas and benches, the Legislature Grounds are the perfect place for a picturesque picnic!
Speaking of Picnics...
A picnic in a beautiful local park is a great way to connect with nature while enjoying some tasty treats Al Fresco. Scour the fridge and make yourself a basket, grab a blanket, pack a Frisbee then head off to Sir Wilfred Laurier Park, Emily Murphy Park, or Hawrelak Park. If you're up for spending a few hard-earned pennies, stop in and pick up some grub at local watering holes like Woodshed Burgers, Tres Carnales, Farrow, or Iconoclast Koffiehuis.
Paint the town red... and every other colour too
Add a little colour to your world when you discover Edmonton's iconic street art. Rust Magic represents spray-paint culture at its finest by showcasing high-quality pieces and educating the public on this often misunderstood art form. Check out their virtual mural map and plan your drive (or a physically distanced walk) around the city where you'll discover incredible large-scale works by international and local artists. Visit their Instagram page for some visual inspiration, and be sure to pack a camera so you can capture the moment yourself!
Music for the Soul
Lovers of beautiful music, rejoice! You can now welcome an entire orchestra into your home, for an intimate concert just for you and your family. Check out The Winspear Centre and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra's digital series, Live at the Winspear: From Stage to Screen. Tune into the ESO's Facebook page for moving music that will lift your spirit. You can also watch past performances on the Winspear Centre Website. Performances are free, but donations are always welcome!
Cree Language Classes
Offered in partnership with the Edmonton Public Library and the Canadian Native Friendship Centre, you can now take in immersive Cree Language Classes from the comfort of your home. These classes are suitable for beginners and those with previous language knowledge. This is a free registered, online class where you will also connect with community members and make new friends through a shared passion for language revitalization. Whether you want to reconnect to your ancestral language or learn a language from the territory, this is the class for you!
Take a Self-Guided Tour
The Commonwealth Walkway App is a free guide to exploring Edmonton's river valley while reading and listening to one of five storylines (Indigenous, History, Family, River & Winter). All you need is a smartphone and a thirst for adventure! Gain a new perspective on Edmonton's history and take a free audio tour while using the Edmonton Queer History App. Stretch your legs, and expand your knowledge of Edmonton's ongoing story without spending a dime!
Story Time with Metis Crossing
Story Time with Kookum is a new digital series that helps to keep Metis children and families connected to their culture, especially during this time of physical distancing. In the first episode, Metis Knowledge Holder and teacher Lilyrose Meyers tells us a story about her favourite animal, the owl. Check out their latest episode, here.
Refresh your Instagram Gallery
This is the perfect time to gain a new skill, so why not dust off your camera and work on becoming the best darn photographer you can be! Edmonton has plenty of picturesque locations just waiting to be captured. Let our two-part article series be your guide: Edmonton's Best Photo Spots and Edmonton's Best Photo Spots 2.0. You'll see the city from a whole new perspective while taking your Instagram page to the next level.
Old Strathcona Farmers' Market
The Old Strathcona Farmers Market is a great place to spend a Saturday morning (or more realistically an afternoon), even if you don't plan on making a purchase. Fresh produce, handmade jewelry, clothing, art and unique home goods are all worth the visit, and you can also take in free entertainment like live musicians. The market has new guidelines in place to ensure the safety of its visitors and merchants. Be sure to follow these procedures and practice frequent hand washing!
Local Theatre Live in Your Living Room
Pop the popcorn and give Netflix a break for the evening! Bust out your laptop and enjoy the incredible talent of Edmonton's singers, actors, dancers and performers from the comfort of your own couch. Check out The Citadel Theatre's Stuck in the House Series that live-streams daily on Facebook. World-renowned local improv troupe, Die-Nasty, is producing a series of improvised radio shows for your entertainment. Catch a new hilarious episode every Monday and laugh along in your living room. Like what you see? Subscribe to their YouTube Channel!
Many other artists and arts organizations have live-streamed content ranging from podcasts to living-room concerts and more in the works, so be sure to check social media for the latest and greatest!