Rent, car insurance, groceries, a new tiny outfit for your dog... you've got enough to spend your money on. And hey, you work hard for your paycheck. We get it. Lucky for you, the best things in life really are free. Check out this list of awesome things to do in Edmonton that won't break the bank this summer.
Colour your world
The Art Gallery of Alberta offers free All Access Evenings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5pm to 8pm. The AGA is a Mecca for visual art and architecture lovers. In fact, the exterior of the building is a work of art in itself– the swriling zinc is representative of the Aurora Borealis, a natural light display that can often be seen in Edmonton.
Festivals, festivals, festivals
Edmonton has a festival for every time of year, and many of them are... wait for it... free! This summer, don't miss Cariwest Festival, Africanival, and The Edmonton Carnaval. You can also check out some 30 musical groups including Neon Dreams, Nuela Charles, Said The Whale, Sloan, and more performing for free during Taste of Edmonton. Entrance to the Edmonton Heritage Festival is also free, with a recommended donation to the Food Bank (food/drink tickets at an additional cost). For more events throughout the year, many of which won't cost you a dime, check out our event calendar.
Fit, fancy... and free
November Project can help you get into shape with early morning sweat sessions led by professional athletes. These outdoor workouts happen year-round, no matter the weather. That's right, even in -30C. Anyone can join, just show up in your stretchy pants and get moving. November Project encourages people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and fitness levels to get out of bed and join the tribe.
Stargaze at the U of A
Get starstruck at The University of Alberta Observatory. It’s located on the roof of the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS), the science faculty’s shiny new building. Open on Thursday evenings for regular observing hours, you can take in the beauty of the cosmos for free... that's quite a bargain for the vast expanse of celestial wonder that is outer space. Neil Degrasse Tyson would be proud.
Step back in time, without spending a dime
Experience a taste of Alberta's history on a free guided tour at the Alberta Legislature. Ask about the Famous Five who fought for womens’ right to vote. Learn about the fascinating stories behind the portraits and magnificent art. Glance at the bejeweled gold and silver ceremonial Mace. And don’t forget to listen for the phenomenon known as the “magic spot”.
Thursdays To Be Discovered
If you Follow the rotunda from the Legislature just northeast, you'll stumble into the brand new Visitor Centre on the main floor of the Federal Building. Open year-round to the public, the Visitor Centre features the Pehonan Theatre, the Agora Interpretive Centre, the Borealis Gallery, and Alberta Branded, a gift shop housing locally made products. Learn about the history of the province and feel as though you experienced it yourself with the new, state-of-the-art 4-D theatre. And be sure to stop by every Thursday evening at 6:00pm for Thursdays TBD, To Be Discovered, where visitors can look forward to free, exciting and unique events such as film screenings, concerts and guest speakers!
Farmers markets galore
The Old Strathcona Farmers Market, City Market Downtown, and the 124 Grand Market are great places to spend a morning or afternoon, even if you don't plan on making a purchase. Produce, hand-made jewelry, clothing, art and unique home goods are all worth perusing, and you can also see free entertainment like street performers and live musicians.
Speaking of the river valley...
Edmonton's river valley has over 150 km of trails just waiting to be explored. These trails are perfect for jogging, cycling, or even a casual stroll. Grab a buddy and meander through North America's largest stretch of urban parkland, or cycle through the trees and trails on a Mountain bike. While you're at it, on August 11 & 12, pop by the EPCOR RiverFest - a free two day festival that celebrates the different ways that you can connect with Edmonton's river valley. You can enjoy interactive nature and science activities, introductions to land sports like cycling, and a variety of exhibitors all geared towards getting you acquainted with all that Edmonton's backyard gem has to offer. There will be on-the-water activities such as canoeing - however those water based events require a purchased ticket.
Window shop and people watch in Old Strathcona
The bohemian spirit of Whyte Avenue awaits, and you don't have to spend any hard earned dough to enjoy the vibe. Sift through Blackbyrd Myoozik’s collection of vinyls and CDs then pop into unique shops like Vivid Print, Junque Cellar or Poppy Barley. Finish off with a dive into the collection of vintage finds at the Old Strathcona Antique Mall.
Make a splash
Edmonton's summers are HOT! Beat the heat and have a swimmingly good time at one of the city's 5 outdoor swimming pools! Make waves with friends or simply spread out a towel and soak up the suns rays. Borden Natural Swimming Pool is Edmonton's newest watering hole, complete with a sand area, volleyball nets, patio chairs and picnic tables - however the seating areas are known to fill up quick, so bring an extra towel to layout on the concrete that surrounds the water. All of Edmonton's outdoor swimming complexes offer free access for the entire 2018 season.