Central Edmonton refers to the most urban, dense, and oldest area of Edmonton. The area is best known as the location of the Downtown Core. The river valley is a unique feature of the town, and defines the geography of the east of downtown. It's a steep decent and wide - creating parkland, necessitating bridges, and even access roads.
The following neighbourhoods are a part of Central Edmonton:
- Downtown (bound by 105 Avenue in the north, 97th Street in the east, 109th Street in the west, and 97th Avenue in the south) is the (arguably) best-known neighbourhood of Central. Downtown consists of four sub-neighbourhoods:Central Business District, MacKay Avenue, Warehouse District, and the Art's District. Downtown has a wide variety of retail, nightlife, and theatre. It is also home to the Government Core and many high-rise residential buildings. All in all, downtown's got it goin' on.
- Rossdale is a tiny residential neighbourhood on the River Valley Plain. It has gone through tons of reinvention over the decades. At first it was a tiny residential area with beautiful homes in the 1900s, then in the 1950s it got entirely rebuilt. In the 1980s it got a "suburban implantation" where suburban ideas were introduced. During this time the TELUS Field and Rossdale Plant opened. Now, today, it is a neighbourhood that is trying to go back to an urban setting with urbanism studies in place.
- Oliver (bound by 109th Street in the east, Groat Road in the west, the river to the south, and 107 Avenue to the north) is the densest residential community in Alberta. Oliver has a broad range of things from nightclubs to gift shops, cookie cutter whatever restaurants to bachelor pads. This area is the next Old Strathcona, with all kinds of up and coming things. The place still keeps its old charm with old houses and French revival buildings. It hosts 124 Street shopping area along with some fine cuisine. A short while ago, Oliver Square and Long Street and Area were developed on the north side of Oliver. This is a somewhat out-of-place suburban shopping area implemented in an urban zone, which features some nice stores and basic ones. The area has nice little parks and has 1 LRT station.
- Boyle is just east of downtown and it was actually once called the downtown of the city. It is because before the current downtown was owned by the Hudson's Bay and no land could be developed really, when said land was sold to the city, it developed massively and had become downtown. This left Boyle empty, and today you can take a stroll in "old downtown" and notice the buildings haven't changed much. Pretty historical.
- McCauley is the lively multi-cultural neighbourhood that is probably better known as Chinatown/Little Italy.
- Little Italy is (95 Street between 105 and 110 Ave) a beautiful Italian neighbourhood radiating the core of Edmonton. Coming here expect an influx of Italian immigrants/people and shops for all Italian foods of quality. Definitely great.
- Chinatown is on 97th Street between 105 and 111 Ave NW. and is a vibrant Chinese Community. Coming here (especially in the summer) expect to feel in a small Chinese city with beautiful Chinese fruits, small outdoor markets, fantastic food stores and absolutely fantastic restaurants. See Chinatown in the stay safe section.
- Riverdale refers to a small residential community south of Boyle.
- Westmount is a neighbourhood split in two. This is in two ways, the first of which is because the eastern part dates back to the 1920s whereas the west side is from the 1960s. Two totally different architectural styles and design patterns. The other, is that it's in two districts. The older side is in Central, whereas the newer side is in the West. Groat Road is the dividing line. The area is known for its charm and walkability, as well as Westmount Centre (west of Groat Road).
For Central Edmonton, transit is divine. One can choose from:
- The Edmonton LRT has 18 stations from Century Park in the south to Clareview in the north via the Capital Line with a branch north from Churchill to NAIT via the Metro Line. The trains rip through central Edmonton, making it easy to get to various neighbourhoods in a snap.
Central Edmonton is the most walkable area of the city. The neighbourhoods are more pedestrian-friendly than those in the outlying suburbs and are easy to navigate due to the proximity of amenities and mass transit options. There are a few LRT stations in the downtown core, but it will usually be just as quick to walk.
- The High Level Bridge Streetcar offers a limited, seasonal service, and also a direct route, from the area of the Alberta Legislature to Old Strathcona. It offers a magnificent view of the North Saskatchewan River from the High Level Bridge, and is a tourist attraction more than a utilitarian transport.
Edmonton operates the pedway system to navigate the downtown core during the winter months, similar to Plus 15 in Calgary or the PATH system in Toronto. There is limited signage, but you can find a map online and at a few strategic points along the routes. Even during the summer months, using the pedway system ensures that you'll access the retail and facilities of the city. There isn't much retail that faces the city streets directly, and you'll always be met with the double door entryways.
The city has a funicular system to access the river valley. Although somewhat slower than just taking the steps by the side of it, you can take two elevators (one a funicular style) from next to the Fairmont hotel downtown to adjacent to the low-level bridge. it's free, a bit of a novelty, and likely you'll be the only one on board as the locals tire of waiting for the lift at take the stairs (while making a joke about $24 million "well-spent" by the city).
Central Edmonton has the most stuff to do, by far in Edmonton's area. From a thriving arts' district to architectural gems-it has it all!
- 1 Alberta Legislature Building, 10800 97 Ave NW, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Summer 10AM-5PM; winter M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa Su noon-5PM. Beautiful to visit any time of the year at any time of the day. In December the grounds are lit with thousands of lights and there is a skating pond one can use. In the summer you can wade in the pools and play in the fountains north of the building. There are free hourly public tours of the interior that last about an hour. There are security staff walking around and it is quite safe even later in the evening. free.
- 2 Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA), 2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq (East of City Hall), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu W F-Su 11AM-5PM, Th 11AM-8PM, closed Mon. Housed in a bold postmodern building, the Art Gallery of Alberta explores all forms of art. Exhibitions change regularly and there is a particular emphasis on Canadian, Albertan and Indigenous artists. Though you can't touch most of the art works, there is always an exhibit room dedicated to hands-on activities, and family fun events happen regularly. Inside is a good restaurant and a quality gift shop. Free admission Th from 5PM-8PM. $12.50 Adult, $8.50 senior.
- Gallery Walk (on Jasper Ave. between 123rd and 124 Streets). the first of its kind in Canada - is a handful of interesting galleries from local and international artists'. It's something neat to have a look at and you could even buy a few pieces. For parking, consider 123 Street just north of Jasper Ave.
- 3 Edmonton Archives, 10440 108 Avenue, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M Tu Th F 8:30AM – 4:30PM; W 8:30AM – 8PM. The archives detail in historic photographs, events, statues, clippings of Edmonton in this unique museum.
- View from the High Level Bridge. The High Level Bridge Streetcar offers a magnificent view of the North Saskatchewan River from the High Level Bridge.
- 4 Chinatown, 97 St NW between 105 and 109A Ave NW. Chinese and Vietnamese establishments extend along 97 St NW north of 105 Ave NW. Just south of 107A Ave NW is a Chinese arch spanning 97St NW.
- 5 Harbin Gate (Gate of Happy Arrival), 102 Ave NW & 97 St NW (1 block east of Churchill Sq). This attractive Chinese Gate marked the entrance to an older, southern section of Chinatown, that extends east to Jasper Avenue. (The gate was dismantled in November 2017 to facilitate construction construction of a light rail line to open in 2020.) This section of Chinatown has a few Chinese institutional buildings with Chinese ornamentation, but hardly any eateries.
- Little Italy.
- 6 TELUS World of Science Edmonton (formerly the Odyssium), 11211 142 St, ☏ . Edmonton's largest science museum with an architectural design that is out of this world, with lots of science exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater. They also have some delicious pizza.
- 7 Coronation Park (right beside Telus Science Centre).
- 8 Royal Alberta Museum, 9810 103a Ave NW (Just north of Churchill Square), ☏ . W-Su 10AM-4PM. Having just moved to a new home in 2018, Alberta's provincial museum makes human and natural history come alive. Exhibits range from palaeontology and geology to Indigenous histories and the modern Oilers dynasty. The Bug gallery and Children's gallery are particular favourites for kids. $17-21/adult, $11-14/senior, $8-10/youth, $40-50/family, free for under 6.
- 9 Edmonton Planetarium (in Coronation Park). This building may be small, and out of business, but it is quite the building. Unique constellation artworks mark the floor to the first planetarium in Canada. You cannot go inside, but from the outside you get a grasp of the space love that was the 1960s.
Some of these listings are in different districts. Their listings are in here because the views are of central and pertain to the article. At the end of the listings that are not in this district there are links to that district.
- Gallagher Park (go to Connors Road, and turn north onto Cloverdale Road and go down the hill a bit and park and then go into the park-near the top of the hill is the best). The magnificent skyline view. It fantastically combines the clean cut park, old houses, and the amazing skyline. It has a very complete view as you can see all parts of the skyline. You will be in awe. Especially with the Muttart Conservatory four pyramids popping out too. The trees around it give a nice frame to the ultimate skyline that centres the Central Business District and accents the residential high rises. Beautiful mix. Edmonton/Southeast.
- Louise McKinney Park. A cool way to view downtown Edmonton. It shows mostly brutalist/Early modern towers and contrasts with the river.
- James MacDonald-Scona. Probably the most awkward area to get into. You'd need to get in from downtown and go from 97 Avenue onto the James MacDonald Bridge. From there you'd need to take southbound on Scona Rd. NW until your first chance at getting off (it's not an overpass or anything) which would bring you to 99 A St. NW. From there, find a place to park your vehicle (unless you're walking) and walk around in this little residential village. You'd need to go west or northwest to the riverbank and then there's prime viewing. You'll see the panorama of skyscrapers at your feet. Definitely beautiful. Edmonton/South Central
- Duggan Bridge (in south central). On Saskatchewan Drive is this brief break from trees into a nice view of Edmonton's skyline. This side shows some density, as well as industrialization through the power plant near downtown but still the beauty of the trees in the parks.
- Forest Heights. A more office tower view of downtown, where you see the least amount of residential and density. Despite that, it gives a really clean shot. Basically go to Forest Heights Park. In Edmonton/Southeast.
- Crestwood. It has no particular place to look. Just watch out for views of the river because then you'll find the breathtaking skyline. Do be careful though, it's right at the edge of the valley there's no railings so its a big drop if you fall. Edmonton/West End.
- 102 A Avenue NW and 96 Street NW. A very interesting angle. It shows grit, modern pleasing buildings, crowdedness, intensity, and multiculturalism. Definitely a neat angle.
- River. Literally meaning a view from the river. The best would be to take Edmonton Queen and from the east, look west. It would be similar to Forest Heights view.
- Jasper and 96th. A classic view of Edmonton. It's centrepiece is the Gibson Block, basically Edmonton's Flatiron, and behind is the modern office towers of the downtown. It's a contrast and great for historians and people who love the design of modern planning.
- High Level Bridge. It is basically the NW view from High Level Bridge. It shows of great density yet has the nice touch of the river valley. Also, the High Level Bridge Streetcar, a seasonal tram service, offers a magnificent view of the North Saskatchewan River from the top deck of the High Level Bridge.
- Robbins Centre. Go to the Robbins Health Centre and look out on the main southface windows. It gives a neat look on downtown and is unspoiled. You shouldn't have a problem going to the building as it is a public institution.
Edmonton's architecture is developed and diverse for its size. It has an significant amount of modern architecture and the old buildings stick out like a sore thumb - in a good way. One can stroll 101 Street from Jasper to 103A Avenue and see many of Edmonton's skyscrapers. The most iconic, Manulife Place, built in '83 is a stunning modern structure and is Edmonton's tallest. It uses elegant glass and minimalist details. Adjoining Manulife is the Commerce Place, which is another modern gem with neat shapes and nice glass. 104th Street in the downtown is home to some fabulous pre-WWII warehouses that make a nice walk. Whyte Avenue is home to an array of cool pieces of architecture, that give it that small prairie town vibe. The Coronation Park is also a cool spot. It previously had the Edmonton Planetarium which is now closed, but is an interesting Mid-century Modern building for sure. Then there is the Telus World of Science Edmonton, which has another planetarium of the Mid 1900s. The Peter Hemmingway Pool, with excellent curves and beautiful glass, was built before the advent of the modern computer. The Alberta Legislature is one of Edmonton's finest historical structures. Adjacent to it is the Leg Annex, the first curtain wall building in Canada, and important in architectural history. 100th Street in the downtown is pretty cool, with a few interesting historic buildings; further north, Churchill Square, is surrounded by interesting buildings. The Grant MacEwan Downtown Campus also offers some architectural merit; the recent expansion, Robbins Health Centre, uses fine glass. The University of Alberta Campus is also nice. It has a wide variety of architecture and buildings from smokestacks to hotels to hospitals to classrooms to residences. It has some old buildings like the Rutherford House and some new gems like Mazankowski Institute on 83rd Ave.
- 10 Sir Winston Churchill Square (Churchill Square) (Churchill Station). Large city square surrounded by modern buildings including Edmonton's distinctive city hall.
- North Saskatchewan River Valley Parks. Scattered across the Central district's southern side. These places are good places to walk, relax, enjoy, or go to festivals.
- 11 Chinese Garden (within Louise McKinney Park). The garden contains a Chinese pagoda and other decorative structures.
- 12 Louise McKinney Park, 9999 Grierson Hill Rd NW (descend to the valley via Shaw Conference Centre, if open, or approach using 100 street funicular). This park in the valley is probably one of the most interesting because it has good connections to downtown and it has a view of downtown plus it is on the river and is home to some great public art.
- 13 Victoria Promenade, Victoria Park Rd NW (north and west of Grandin Stn). View of the river from the north rim of the valley
- 14 Beaver Hills House Park (near Bay/Enterprise Stn). It's on the corner of 105th Street and Jasper Avenue (neighbouring Sobey's) and is well paved with some neat local art and tree scenery. Nice for a quiet relaxing break after shopping your butt off in downtown or having an outdoor meal!
- Walk along 97th Street (between Jasper Avenue and 110 Avenue) and look at all kinds of different areas of the city, like between Jasper and 106th Avenue you can see the differences between downtown and Boyle. Definitely a neat walk.
- Ride the bus around a central neighbourhood and see its uniqueness at a glance.
- 1 Victoria Golf, 12130 River Road (in the river valley), ☏ (Pro Shop - April–October). Public: 6027 yards, par 71. This is another city-owned public course. It's in the river valley a couple of minutes from downtown, and has a large driving range on site. The setting is very attractive, although the course is less treed than Riverside with a more-open feel, particularly on the back nine. As with Riverside, tee times are booked by phone starting 6PM sharp two or three days ahead of the date of the reservation (call the automated system at 780-496-4900 to book).
- 2 Grand Villa Casino, 10204 104 Avenue. Attached to Rogers Place, has what you'd expect from a casino plus some good restaurants.
- 3 100 Street Funicular (South of Hotel Macdonald), ☏ , toll-free: 311 (from inside Edmonton). 7AM-9PM. This funicular, walkway, and elevator take you from the Hotel Macdonald down to the river valley, with viewpoints in between with great river views. Free.
- 4 Edmonton Oilers, 10220 104 Ave NW (Rogers Place; near MacEwan LRT station), ☏ . Oct-Apr. Hockey reigns supreme in Alberta, and despite "the Oil"'s misfortune (or mismanagement, depending on who you ask) in recent times, the city still can't resist watching the game. The shiny new Rogers Place was opened in 2016--a marvelous facility for fans and players. As most fans will point out, the Oilers have won five Stanley Cups, with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky as the centerpiece of the team for the first four. However since the most recent title was in 1990, the faithful fans are hungry for another cup after years of suffering. Hope in the form of young superstar Connor McDavid has returned. $50 minimum for upper bowl, usually much higher.
- 5 Edmonton Prospects, 10233 - 96 Ave, ☏ . The local Western Major Baseball League Team plays during summer at Re/Max field. $18-25 for adult.
- 6 Edmonton Eskimos, 11000 Stadium Road (Commonwealth Stadium; near Stadium LRT station), ☏ . Jun-Nov. (Ticket Office). The local Canadian Football League (CFL) team plays at Commonwealth Stadium. They have won numerous championships and were once the best in the league.
- 7 FC Edmonton (Clarke Stadium), 11000 Stadium Road NW, ☏ . Professional soccer, in the Canadian Premier League. Still a fairly young franchise, management is fan-friendly and prices are very reasonable. Typically $10-20.
- 8 Citadel Theatre, 9828 101A Ave, ☏ . The place has some of the broadest ranged, most unique plays in Canada. One can choose from Family, Seasonal, or "rice theatre". The Rice gives intimate plays guaranteed to provoke a response. Family plays are great for if you have little ones with you as they are both entertaining for adults, and G rated. Seasonal ones are mainstream and have Christmas, Valentine, Easter, Summer, and Fall themes, among others. Some of them are repeats of previous years, others are different. Each is sure to please a different demographic.
- 9 Winspear Centre (Francis Winspear Centre for Music), 4 Sir Winston Churchill Square NW, ☏ . Is a major performing arts centre that focuses mostly on music. Definitely a nice place to see unique musical acts.
- 10 Roxy Theatre, 10708 124 Street NW. Despite the fact that this offbeat place not very well known, it is still a great local theatre with a community sense and a variety of really unique plays.
- 11 Landmark Cinemas Edmonton City Centre (formerly City Centre Empire Theatres), 10200 102 Avenue NW. A nice quiet movie experience with all the amenities of the big theatres.
Due to Northlands Park, Churchill Square and numerous spots downtown, Central Edmonton is the festival centre of the city!
- Capital Ex, Northlands (July). Formerly known as Klondike Days and now renamed, this is Edmonton's main exhibition event, complete with a parade on the first day and fair at Northlands Park. Other exhibition events such as Global Connections, showcasing wares and foods of other countries, and Ed Fest, the 10-day rock festivals with up to 3 bands per night. The place is great for celebrity spotting who might be playing their music that night. It has games, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, waterslides, and other Carnaval Festival stuff.
- Festival of Trees (November). Showcases decoration and trees of different styles that are unique enough to take the idea and use it at home. It is a kick off for winter.
- New Years, takes place on Churchill Sq., just south of City Hall. (December). Every year the turnout gets bigger. Full of fireworks and fun hot chocolate. It takes place on New Year's Eve.
- Cariwest (August). This August parade features many wonderful Caribbean costumes and tunes. Participants eventually end up in Churchill Square, where all can enjoy Caribbean food and item vendors. This tradition comes primarily from the Caribbean nations of Trinidad and Tobago. They close down Jasper Avenue from vehicles, but for an event like this, it's okay, as it is that good.
- Edmonton Gay Pride (July). Celebrate Edmonton's LGBT community with Edmonton Pride, complete with parade and festival at Churchill Square. It includes colourful designs, costumes, dances, and songs.
- Edmonton Streetperformers (August). Canada's best street performers converge on Edmonton to show off their skill. It takes place over a time-period of 10 days and is fun packed with clowns, jugglers, mimes, magician's and more. Great for kids, adults, toddlers, seniors, teens, babies, whatever.
- Edmonton Folk Festival, Gallagher Park (August). This festival showcases samplings from around the world of lush folk music.
- Animethon (August). A collection of different anime designers and unique books all in one location. Some materials found only in Japan otherwise. Very unique and even for you non anime lovers, can be quite neat.
- Work's Art and Design Fest, takes place for thirteen days on Churchill Square. (June). One of the best North American contemporary art fests, this cool fest is home to unique artworks, lectures, and more. It gets you into the heritage behind art.
- Taste of Edmonton, Churchill Square (July). A number of Edmonton eateries show off their wares. This event coincides with Capital Ex (formerly the Klondike Days). Each participating restaurants has a booth where it showcases two dishes that can be 'purchased' with tickets. These dishes are small portions and require a various number of tickets, which are purchased at nearby ticket booths. A popular sport is trying to determine which booths give the best value before you run out of either tickets or room in your tummy. If you really want more, check out the restaurant.
- Edmonton Dragonboat Fest (August). In the river valley between Downtown and Strathcona. Six dragons boats spread out across the river, 22 people in each dragon boat, on the water, all waiting for the sound of the horn, all wanting to be first to cross the finish line some 400 m away.
There is plenty of good shopping in Central Edmonton:
- 124th Street & Environs is a major up and coming shopping area in Oliver. It features neat cafés, boutiques, furniture and gift shops, hair salons, spas, restaurants, and galleries. 124 Street has a few sub areas that are worth mentioning:
- 124th Street (between Jasper and 111 Avenue). This part is divided into:
- Block to Shop [formerly dead link](124 between Jasper and 102 Ave NW). This area is home to a nice concentration of woman's boutiques. Most of these cater to professional women and are quite stylish and lead in brands and price range (some with cheap prices). Some of the stores also carry menswear. There are also a few restaurants.
- Gallery 124 (124 between 102 and 104 Ave). This area isn't just full of galleries of neat art, it also has some nice stores. Cute little furniture destinations and outdoor wear places line this section, as well as a lot of hair salons and a few boutiques.
- 124th North (124 between 104 and 111 ave). This transitional area is growing very fast. In one part, it has high end, good stores that cater to a varied range of people. Then, there is still the stuff from before this place had interest in boutiques, interior designers, cafés, and restaurants. It hosts interior design places that are high end and some nice clothing shops for all kinds of people. It also has a lot of gift stores and small restaurants.
- High Street (102nd Avenue NW between 124 and 127 St NW). This area is host to neat cafés and cute restaurants with top-notch quality. It also has small gift stores, most notably, Notables. There are also a few furniture places and little pastry stops that are worth stopping at.
- 124 and Jasper (Jasper Avenue between 123 and 124 St NW). This area is home to the "Gallery Walk" which is totally different from shopping, unless, of course, you are interested in buying artwork. It also has a few neat little stores.
- 1 Edmonton City Centre (City Centre Mall). M-W 10AM-6PM; Th F 10AM-8PM; Sa 10AM-6PM; Su holidays noon-5PM. In the downtown core at 102nd Avenue and 101 Street. It includes over 120 stores including major brands (i.e. The Gap, URBAN, Claire's, The Bay, Coast Mountain Sports, Sportchek, Laura, Aldo) and was originally two malls (Eaton Centre and Edmonton Centre). Apart from major chains, it has a few cool unique stores like Artwork's that showcase high-end furniture and home décor. It is very busy on a weekday lunch. This place is perfect for the urbanite who wants to shop at the brands, rather than the unique shops elsewhere downtown. It can be hard for someone unfamiliar to get in and out of as some northside entrances use hallways to get into the mall. Consider using the entrances on 102 Avenue, especially the one between L'Azia and the Bay or the Coast Mountain Sports one.
- 104th Street (between Jasper Avenue and 103rd Avenue) is a nice, up-and-coming shopping district in the warehouse district downtown. Expect a pedestrian-friendly environment of wide sidewalks, beautiful trees, nice buildings, and slow cars. 104th Street is a smaller retail area, growing very rapidly. The area is home to a lot of really nice independent stores catering more to the younger crowd. Most notably, 29 Armstrong is an interior design store, and showcases the hottest styles in interior design in a beautiful old building. Another popular one is Ces't Sera Chemistry Clothing, which is a men and women's clothing store with items that are very stylish and somewhat formal, but also some casual wear. Along with all that, there are more furniture stores, stationery stores, groceries, and more.
- City Market on 104th. 104th St. between Jasper Avenue and halfway along 102nd Avenue. 10AM to 3PM on Saturdays between May and October. The oldest farmers' market in the city. The street gets closed off to vehicles from Jasper Ave. to 103rd Ave. Expect a variety of things to buy from cotton candy to shoelaces! 104th Street is closed to vehicles when the market is on.
- Chinatown is the largest Asian concentration in Edmonton. Expect authentic food stores and all kinds of other stores similar to Chinese cities and towns.
- Commerce Place offers yet more designer shopping such as Sam Abouhassan, Plaza Escada, and Diamori in a modern mall setting, and also features a branch of Sunterra, an upscale Albertan supermarket.
- West Jasper is the area of Jasper Avenue west of 109th Street, east of 123 Street. Full of small stores, but more scarce than in other areas. It is nice for a safe quiet walk or if you know a specific store. The most popular store is Who Cares? which is a woman's clothing with trendy styles catered to women over 30. It can be a quite busy area, due more to the nightlife than the shopping though.
- Alberta Craft Council Gallery & Shop, 10186 - 106 St., ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-5PM. This shop features high-quality arts and crafts made by mostly Albertan artisans. The shop has a large selection of handmade ceramics and jewellery. The shop is a great place to purchase unique locally made gifts and art. There is also a small gallery space in the building that features rotating exhibitions by the Alberta Craft Council.
- Audreys Books Ltd. (Audreys), 10702 Jasper Avenue (nw corner of 107 St. & Jasper Ave.), ☏ . M-F 9AM-9PM, Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM, Su 2-5PM. Edmonton's oldest independent full-service bookstore, offering an eclectic mix of books, a wonderful selection of greeting cards, calendars, children's toys and many carefully selected gift items. Audreys also offers Edmonton's premier special order service.
- 29 Armstrong.
- Aligator Pie.
The Central area has the broadest cuisine selection in Edmonton. Chinatown has authentic Chinese restaurants and grocers, as well as Vietnamese and other Asian vendors. A few blocks north in Little Italy are Italian restaurants, groceries, and the best bakery. The downtown core offers many options from classic Continental cuisine to Portuguese to Tex Mex to Italian to burger joints. Jasper West has a couple of nice Italian and North American restaurants. Expect the downtown core to be quiet on a weekday evening, and many eateries to be closed after business hours.
- 1 Italian Bakery, 10646 97 Street, ☏ . M-Sa 7:30AM-6PM. A much-loved ethnic grocery with gourmet Italian food for purchase. Dozens of varieties of preserved meats and European cheeses make up the deli counter, all at excellent prices. Elsewhere, there are canned meats and vegetables from Europe, many varieties of dry pasta and fresh European breads. The Italian sandwich, a fresh submarine available in regular and spicy hot, is a favourite take-out food.
- 2 Lucky 97 Supermarket, 10725 97 Street, ☏ . 9AM-9PM daily. This is the super-store of Asian groceries downtown. It has an extensive meat selection, including animals you may not know as well as novel pieces from familiar beasts. The vegetable and fruit selection includes many Asian varieties. Canned and other prepared foods round out the Asian specialties, and there are plenty of familiar Canadian brands on the shelves to suit Western tastes. Prices are very competitive, though items like some fruit and vegetables may be closer to their "best-by" dates than you would find at a Safeway. Prepared take-out meals have their own counter, so you can quickly put together a dinner on the run.
Coffee, smoothies, and snacks
- 3 Three Bananas Cafe, 9918 102 Avenue NW (Churchill Square), ☏ . Whether it is iced or hot coffee, 3 Banana's has some yummy flavours. Aside from that they have well blended smoothies and offer regular drinks. For food, they have the best mini-pizzas around and some very good paninis. They also have muffins, cookies, and goodies. Nice for a lunch or snack.
- 4 Caffe Sorrentino's, 10665 109 Street NW, ☏ . M-F 7AM-6PM; Sa Su 9AM-5PM. A nice Italian twist to the cozy Canadian café.
- GOOD Earth Café/Bakery.
- Chicken for Lunch, 10060 Jasper Avenue NW (downtown, lower level Scotia Place food court). Very good, cheap chicken stir-fry served with a smile by Amy, who will remember your name and your order the next time. Get there by 11:30AM to avoid lunch-hour line-up. There are other food kiosks nearby if you can't wait.
- Free Press Bistro, 10014 104 Street NW (just south of Jasper Avenue). M-Th 11AM – 10PM; F 11AM – 11PM; Sa Su 10AM – 9PM. The Free Press serves hot, grilled panini with fresh unprocessed ingredients, a modern twist on traditional panini. There are great pastas, salads and grilled items too, though the sandwiches steal the show.
- Garage Burger Bar, 10242 106 Street NW. Although aficionados argue about the best burger in town, this little restaurant has been appearing as one of the top two or three in city-wide reviews for years. It has a full liquor license and a good variety of inexpensive, high-quality burger meals. The prices are low and the staff friendly.
- Golden Bird, 10544 97 Street NW, ☏ . This spot is one of the city's best Vietnamese restaurants, with a menu somewhat distinct from the rest. It's family-run, and service is usually friendly and attentive. Everything is good, but be sure to try the crispy spring rolls, which are much thicker and tastier than the standard "freezer-pak" items usually served. $6-12 per dish.
- Numchok Wilai, 10623 124 St., ☏ . Thai food usually costs a premium in Edmonton, but this attractive room shows it can be brought to the table well within budget. Favourite Thai meat curries are available, as well as an extensive number of flavorful vegetarian dishes.
- Thanh Thanh, 10718 101 St NW, ☏ . This has long been Edmonton's favourite Vietnamese restaurant. Decor has evolved upward to today's comfortable, contemporary interior. Food is served quickly by brisk staff, and ranges widely through noodle and rice bowls to a la carte meat, seafood and vegetable dishes. Crowd favourites include the spring roll appetizer and the spicy beef satay soup - good for combating winter's chill. $8-15 per dish.
- Tres Carnales, 10119 100A Street, ☏ . This restaurant is like a transplanted Mexican taqueria supplying fast, fresh Mexican food at the core of downtown. The interior is small and not luxurious, but you won't need to stay long: the food is served quickly and can be eaten just as quickly. While not overly spicy, the menu is more authentic than most of Edmonton's Mexican restaurants, with unusual cuts of meat and rarely-seen sauces in addition to conventional treats.
- Bistro Praha, 10117 101 St NW (Just a few doors north of Jasper Avenue), ☏ . M-W 11AM-midnight, Th F 11AM - 1AM, Sa noon - 1AM, Su 4PM-midnight. The Bistro is one of the longest-established restaurants in Edmonton. Its menu and ambiance have remained as they were when it opened in the mid-1970s, despite a building fire and move a few years ago. Downtowners fill this compact room enjoying crisp wiener schnitzel, roast goose, terrific steak tartare, and other eastern-European treats. The liquor markup is reasonable, beer selection features hard-to-find European brews, service is cool but professional, and the food is consistently excellent. $10-15 (lunch), $15-25 (dinner).
- Blue Plate Diner, 10145 104 Street NW (north of Jasper Ave on trendy 104th St.), ☏ . Blue Plate is a nice casual/formal eating establishment in a nice heritage building. The food here mostly comprises of burgers, chicken, steak, and a small section of TexMex. The place is very cozy and the place is full of interesting modern art.
- Bua Thai, 10049 113 Street. Located across the street from St. Joseph's Basilica, Bua Thai serves up high-quality Thai food at competitive prices. Particularly good is their Beef with Basil, but nothing disappoints.
- earl's: Tin Palace, 11830 Jasper Avenue NW (From 109th St., go west on Jasper and watch for their parking lot on the north), ☏ . Coming here expect the same great food you'd find in a normal Earl's, but in a more elegant setting. The beef burger is one of the best in town, but the rest of the menu is equally trustworthy. A separate bar area keeps the sports fans and after-work socializers away from the diners.
- Famoso Neopolitan Pizza, 11750 Jasper Avenue NW (Just on Jasper Avenue set back from a tiny parking lot.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Open until nine everyday except Sunday.. Famoso is a successful local chain restaurant specializing in wood-fired ovens turning out thin-crust pizza. The interior is casual and contemporary, and the restaurants are family-friendly.
- The Hat, 10251 Jasper Avenue NW. The place just opened very recently and occupies the once Silk Hat location on Jasper Ave. They mostly cater to the adult crowd with many drinks available. The place serves delicious burgers and fries, hence it being a burger bar.
- Haweli Fine East Indian, 10220 103 Street. A spacious room and central location attracts many downtowners for lunch. The weekday lunch buffet is an excellent deal in both price and quantity. Try the butter chicken and the naan bread.
- It's All Greek To Me, 10127 100A Street NW (From 100 St. go into Rice Howard Way), ☏ . Its All Greek offers some very authentic, yummy Greek cuisine. The pita bread is very fresh and moist-but not too moist. The food is very good and original.
- 5 Kafana, 10803 95 St, ☏ . Closed Mondays. A bar in the front hides the homey dining room, serving up Balkan style BBQ meat and specialties. Fresh and flavourful. Delivery available. $10-18 mains.
- Koutouki, 10719 – 124 NW. Family-operated restaurant with pricey but good Greek food and a pleasant atmosphere. Excellent mezethes selections, served in large portions, make the best dinner choice. Belly dancer Friday and Saturday evenings - five dollars is an acceptable tip if she stops at your table.
- 6 Lingnan, 10582 104 Street, ☏ . For more than sixty years, the Lingnan has been serving a loyal clientele near downtown. The lengthy menu centres on classic Chinese and Canadian dishes, very well-made and in generous portions. The interior is bit dated and dark to contemporary eyes, but it suits the familial staff and the restaurant's sense of tradition.
- Mikado, 10350 109 St NW. The original, lamentably closed, was the first Japanese restaurant in Alberta. The downtown location is a little noisy in the open centre area, but a tatami room can be requested if you want privacy and quiet. The food style is a mix of traditional Japanese and offerings of nouveau Japanese cuisine (Dragon Eyes, Mango Tango Roll, Sushi Pizza). Reservations are wise on key nights, or be prepared to wait. Note: there is a second Mikado in South Edmonton Commons.
- Pazzo Pazzo, 10016 103 Avenue NW, ☏ . Large portions of good pasta come served by excellent staff.
- 7 Riverside Bistro (Courtyard Marriott Hotel), Thornton Ct NW (near Jasper Ave & 99 St NW). This hotel restaurant has a dining room and patio with a magnificent view of the river valley. The food is good and the serving staff are very attentive. The menu on the website has some differences from the printed menu shown at the table. Moderately priced.
- Sicilian Pasta Kitchen, 11239 Jasper Avenue NW, ☏ . Fronting onto Jasper Avenue, this contemporary room houses one of the city's most respected Italian kitchens. A step up from Sorrentino's in food (and price), this establishment serves a full range of entree salads, pasta, and meat dishes. Servings are hearty and service quick and professional. It's busy and loud at lunch, but quieter in the evening.
- Shogun, 10125 121 Street. Shogun is a comfortable restaurant, low-ceilinged and pleasantly lined with dark panelling. The sushi and teppan-style cooking are as good as anywhere in the city, but Shogun is generally less busy than the restaurants right downtown and can almost always accommodate you without reservations. The dishes are not innovative, but the quality is fine and prices are mid-range - overall, a good deal.
- Sorrentino's Downtown, 10162 - 100 Street, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M - F 11:30AM - 10PM; Sa 5 - 10PM; Su closed. Italian cuisine in a stylish, modern downtown setting. This is the flagship Sorrentino's location in Edmonton and attracts city politicos and businessmen in equal quantity for lunch. The food is casual Italian, with an extensive selection of meat and fish dishes backstopping the expected salads and pastas.
- Sorrentino's Little Italy, 10844 95 Street, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M - Th 11:30AM - 10PM, F 11:30AM - 9:30PM, Sa 5 - 9:30PM, Su closed. Each Sorrentino's location has its own character and menu, and you may find the food here a little more old-country and little less expensive than the downtown location. The high-ceiling room is simple and warm, and service is friendly but professional.
- Tony's Pizza Palace, 9605 111 Avenue NW (turn south off 111 Avenue at 96 street - search for parking), ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM to 2:30PM, 4:30 to 10PM; F 11:30AM to 2:30 PM, 4:30PM to just south of Jasper Avenue; Sa 2:30PM to midnight; Su 4:30 to 10:30PM. Tony's is a family-friendly spot that makes authentic Florentine-style pizzas in wood-fired ovens. The crusts are large, thin, and crisp, the toppings fresh and flavorful but lightly applied, and there's no blanket of hot mozzarella on top. They're a refreshing change from the fatty, floppy North American style. And if you don't want pizza, there are lots of pastas and meat dishes too. Try the Italian Pretzel appetizer - big enough for 3 or 4 diners.
- Urban Diner, 12427 102 Avenue NW (Immediately west of 124th Street), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Closed Monday; Tu-F 11AM-9PM; Sa 9AM-9PM; Su 9AM-3PM. Urban Diner is a cute, little Canadiana food diner on High Street. It offers specialty soups, macaroni, sandwiches and more in a cozy atmosphere.
- [dead link] Character's, 10257 105 Street NW (head south of 104th Avenue on 105th St.), ☏ . M-F 11:30AM-2PM, Tu-Su 5:30-10PM. In a renovated warehouse just north of downtown. The menu is innovative Continental cuisine, with a well-recognized and inventive chef. The space is warm and contemporary, with public dining and several private rooms suited to business meetings or private parties.
- Creperie, 10220 103 Street NW (One and a half blocks north of Jasper on 102 Street). Sa Su 5-9PM; Monday closed; Tu-Th 11:30AM-9PM; F 11:30AM-10PM. One floor beneath street level, this restaurant provides French-style fine dining in an intimate, quiet setting. The menu features crepes with fillings like seafood Americane, jambalaya, beef Stroganoff, and salmon. Other dishes include filet mignon, cedar baked salmon, and several vegetarian options. Prices are reasonable for a cozy, romantic dinner.
- Harvest Room, 10065 - 100th Street (Inside the Hotel Macdonald). This is one of Edmonton's finest restaurants, with beautiful river-valley views from the window tables. Cuisine tends toward Canadian-Continental fusion, with an emphasis on local ingredients. The wine list is extensive, and the service exquisitely professional.
- La Ronde, 10111 Bellamy Hill NW (Top floor of the Chateau Lacombe), ☏ . Edmonton's secret revolving restaurant atop the Lacombe Chateau. Dress up to fit in with the Continental cuisine and polished service.
- Lux Steakhouse, 10150 101 St NW, ☏ . M-F 5-10PM; Sa 5-11PM. Lux Steakhouse is a fine restaurant of high class inside Commerce Place. Staff are friendly and the beef dishes are among the city's best.
- Normands, 11639A Jasper Ave., ☏ . A long-term resident of this comfortable location, Normands is affordable fine dining close to downtown. The menu style is Canadian / Continental, with an emphasis on local ingredients and on a variety of exotic meats: bison, wild boar, elk, even kangaroo and ostrich. The wine list is intelligent and frequently updated, servers are professional, and the owner is frequently present to hear your comments on the meal.
- Violino Gastronomia, 10133 125 Street, ☏ . (formerly La Spiga) Upscale Italian in a historic Edmonton residence. Outstanding food and service. Ideal for celebratory dinners or business lunches as well as just to enjoy good food. Private function space available. Reservations recommended.
- deVine Wines & Spirits, 10111 104th Street. This place is in the cutest little location on 104th and offers all kinds of wine.
Bars, clubs, and pubs
- Vinyl Lounge, 10736 Jasper Avenue NW, ☏ . Mike Thomas spins the records from the 1980s and 90s all night and gets busy very early due to the lack of these places in the city. Along with the fine music, the alcohol is served in a warm comfortable environment.
- Brewster's, 11620 104 Avenue NW, ☏ . The flagship location of a local brew-pub and restaurant chain, this one has the on-premises brewery. The brewmaster is cautious but consistent in providing eight to ten high-quality beers, some permanently available and some seasonal. A lively bar area provides food, beer, and sports TV over most of the floor, but there are quieter tables at the north end better suited to conversation if desired. The menu is standard Canadian pub fare: burgers, salads with meat, small pizzas, and so on, well prepared and attractively served. The young waitresses provide friendly service of variable efficiency depending on the bar's busy-ness.
- Ceili's Irish Pub, 10338 109th Street NW. Another pub in the Irish style, Ceili's is the closest one to downtown. There is ample nearby parking for this compact, dark-panelled bar, unlike the Druid a few blocks away, and it's a popular spot for an Irish-inflected bar meal as well as for the usual tap beers and drink specials. Some evenings feature live music, and you may want to look for (or avoid) the unusual "jam-aoke" - would-be singers from the audience in front of a live band.
- The Druid, 11606 Jasper Ave. This Irish pub comes with a rustic Irish pub-style interior and a wide selection of different beers on tap. The Druid hosts live music on certain days of the week and dance music with DJs on weekends. It can be crowded with party-goers on Fridays and Saturdays, so it's a good idea to come early.
- New City Suburbs, 10081 Jasper Ave. If you're looking for respite from the top 40, hip-hop or classic rock fare of most clubs in Edmonton, the music here tends toward the "darker" side, featuring plenty of industrial, goth, metal, electronica, punk, some more recognizable alternative rock, new wave and classic 80s offerings (we're talking Depeche Mode, The Smiths and The Cure as opposed to retro dance party fare here). This club caters mostly to the pierced, tattooed and black-clad crowd. The interior features an enormous dance floor with a raised stage, and a dancing cage. Drink prices are commensurate with prices in clubs around the city. There is a sit-down lounge with a separate DJ called Likwid Lounge upstairs for taking a breather from the dancing.
- Suede Lounge, 11806 Jasper Avenue NW, ☏ . Suede is a neat upscale lounge in the heart of Oliver. The place expects you to dress up and it's really nice for socializing with some alcohol.
- T'zin Wine & Tapas, 10115 - 104 Street. This cozy little place is located off Jasper Ave. and offers absolutely amazing wine with small-portion food dishes. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly. Very much a hidden gem, tucked tight in a very small space. Be sure to look for it (it has a small patio).
- Vintage Lounge, 10124 124 Street. A small but hip lounge and bar which hosts DJ music on weekend nights.
- Wine Cellar, 12421 102nd Ave.
- Alberta Place, 10049 103 Street NW. Easy downtown access with some suites having great views. Rates around (per night) $112.
- 1 Coast Edmonton Plaza, 10155 105 Street NW (North on 105th St. from Jasper Avenue), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . The Coast offers fine suites with all excellent views and a neat restaurant that is friendly. Prices average at $166.
- 2 Comfort Inn Downtown Edmonton, 10425 100th Ave (Go south of Jasper Avenue on 104th St and turn right at 100th Ave), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Near Bay Enterprise Square LRT Station and Red Arrow bus terminal. 15 minutes walk from either Alberta Legislature or Churchill Square. Complimentary buffet breakfast included.
- Delta Edmonton Centre, 10222 102 St NW, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. This hotel is very nice and connected to City Centre Mall and is great for wanting to be downtown on a budget. Most suites have some very nice views and the staff is friendly!
- GO Backpackers Hostel, 10209-100th Avenue, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Taken over the closed Riverview Inn and offers rooms with 4 and 6 dorm beds as well as private rooms with double or queen beds. Full common facilities. Pub, the Jekyll and Hyde in the lower level. $25+.
Edmonton's fanciest and most expensive hotels fill up quickly due to a current lack of 4 and 5-star hotels. Consider booking up to six weeks in advance to get the best choice.
- Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, 10065 100 Street NW, ☏ . Known as Edmonton's most elegant grand old hotel, construction for this Chateau-like building began in 1911 and was completed in 1915. Located in the heart of downtown, the breathtaking view of the river valley, fine dining from the Harvest Room, and beautiful suites, makes it the inn-of-choice for the rich and famous. It is also an ideal venue for meetings and banquets. It has been named the best corporate hotel by National Post in Canada. The prices are generally high.
- Matrix Hotel, 10640 100th Avenue, ☏ . Right near the glamorous Alberta Legislature is Edmonton's only boutique hotel, Matrix Hotel. The Matrix is what was the Inn on 7th after a massive makeover in 2006-07. Today it is ultra modern with the best interiors for a hotel. This hotel is often called the W Hotel of Edmonton, Alberta. The pricepoint is in the high range.
- Westin Edmonton, 10135 100th Street. Definitely world class with nice hotel rooms and great services. Many restaurants and lounges are nearby (with Rice Howard Way right there), not to mention Churchill Square which is full of festivals.
- Union Bank Inn, 10053 Jasper Avenue NW, ☏ . This lovely boutique hotel inhabits a small recently converted bank building in the centre of Edmonton's downtown. The interior is modern and business-friendly (Internet connections in nearly every room), while keeping an updated "heritage" theme in its comfortable rooms. Its restaurant, the Madison Grill, is one of the city's finer dining establishments, and if it doesn't suffice, you are only a couple of blocks away from any of the major downtown restaurants.
- Sutton Place Hotel, 10235 101 Street NW (From Jasper go north on 101St., if you've hit 103a Avenue, you've gone too far.). Very clean suites with good views and practically every room has internet connections.
- Chateau Lacombe, 10111 Bellamy Hill NW. The staff can be friendly and you can get good suites without notice (usually). They also accept pets. It is near good transit and road connections to get you Downtown, Old Strathcona, West Edmonton Mall, a friend, whatever! Mid-to-high pricings.
- Marriott Courtyard, 1 Thornton Court NW, ☏ . Very easy to find with some amazing views from any direction. $245 is the median for price.
- Holiday Inn Express Downtown Edmonton, 10010 104 St Northwest. A beautiful 1960s architecture defines the outside, whilst the inside is completely up to date with the latest luxuries. Good connections to 104th Street shopping area, Heritage Trail, the Legislature, other hotels, Jasper Avenue, and the LRT. 140.
Where to avoid
- Chinatown (the area surrounding 97th Street between 105 and 107 Ave) is on the margin of Edmonton's "inner city" and may be somewhat intimidating to walk through after dark. The 107 Avenue area from 95 Street to 109 Street is less rough but still best avoided by casual pedestrians after dark.
At times, mostly downtown, especially during winter, on the weekdays after 6PM or in quiet areas, you may have people ask you for money. They are rarely aggressive. If you are under 19, you will rarely be asked. There are two approaches:
- Ignore them - just pretend you didn't hear them and keep walking. Do not look at them.
- Say no - do it politely with a "No, sorry" as they will usually just say "Alright. Thanks. Have a good day."