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Edmonton on a Budget: Affordable Activities and Experiences

Edmonton is a destination that offers culture and recreation around every corner. With winter temperatures frequently dipping below 40ºC, it’s no wonder that the people of Edmonton have come up with ways to stay warm, connected, and excited to get out of the house year-round.

Unlike other metropolitan cities in Canada, Edmonton is known for its affordability. Since major industry centers are located in the north of Alberta, the cities have long been places for working families to relax and spend their days between energy sector jobs. What that means for visitors is that you get to experience the best of both worlds—big city attractions without big city prices.

Below are a few low-cost ideas for spending your time in the city, whether filling up those last few days of your vacation or just getting to know the city on a budget.

River Valley Walks—Write Your Own Adventure

Edmonton’s sprawling River Valley is a paradise in the heart of the city, just waiting to be explored. Lace up your walking shoes (and leash up your pup!) and embark on a scenic journey through trails, forests, and bridges across the winding North Saskatchewan River. Choose from a variety of trails catering to all difficulty levels, offering fantastic vistas, unique foliage, and a chance to commune with nature. Every season offers something different, from wild asparagus in the Spring to willow picking in the winter.

Rent a bike for a leisurely ride or create your own tour to uncover hidden flower gardens, historical structures, and recreation sites nestled within the valley. We even have beaches where you can launch a paddleboard tour and pack up next to transit stops! No matter how you go about it, we encourage you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Edmonton’s urban oasis and discover a world of possibilities right at your doorstep. Learn more and plan your river valley adventure using the City of Edmonton website.

Samples at the Farmer’s Markets—Free and Flavourful!

Craving fresh, local flavours fresh from nearby farms? Chat with friendly vendors at Edmonton’s bustling Farmer’s Markets—vibrant hubs of culinary delights and creative menus. At locales like the Old Strathcona Farmers Market, you can catch live music and sample unique foods from in and around Edmonton. Expect year-round access to berries, crisp vegetables, artisanal cheeses, and locally raised meats. Indulge in freshly baked bread and pastries, or discover unique handcrafted products like meads, specialty coffees, and hand-made jewelry.

It’s a feast for the senses and a delightful way to experience Edmonton’s diverse culinary scene. The best part is—you don’t need to spend to enjoy the scene! Use the online tool to discover a market near you.

Scooter Down Happy Beer Street—Edmonton’s Brewery Destination

Embark on a unique pub crawl with a twist on Edmonton’s iconic 99th Avenue—a new destination for beer and cider lovers! Hop on your scooter of choice (or walk for even more savings) and take a self-guided tour of Edmonton’s top craft breweries like Bent Stick Brewing. Sip on locally brewed beers, order delicious fare to go, and discover the stories behind Edmonton’s thriving craft beer scene, one sip at a time.

Scootering down Happy Beer Street is the perfect way to explore Whyte Avenue, taste the city’s signature brews, and make new memories. Buckle up and raise a glass to Edmonton’s craft beer revolution! Learn more and start your planning with the Happy Beer Street guide!

Art Gallery of Alberta—A World Stage

Immerse yourself in a world of artistic inspiration at the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA), a dynamic cultural hub showcasing an impressive collection of over 8,000 works of art. Explore galleries featuring historical and contemporary intensives on Canadian artists, international exhibits, and Indigenous art. With no time restraints to distract you, you can become captivated by thought-provoking exhibitions, participate in engaging workshops, or simply wander through the stunning architecture and admire the breathtaking views of the North Saskatchewan River.

The AGA is a must-visit for art lovers and anyone seeking a dose of world-class creations. For the most cost-effective times, plan your trip for the last Thursday of the month, when free access is available from 4 PM to 7 PM.

Royal Alberta Museum—Living History

History comes to life in this downtown museum, where towering skeletons, accurate and hand-built Indigenous teepees, and informative exhibits about all kinds of animals past and present. Expect hands-on displays, passionate staff, and hours of entertainment as you wander a breathing representation of our past.

With free days throughout the year and complimentary entry for children 6 and under, the Royal Alberta Museum is a low-cost way to explore the city and make new memories with your family. Pricing and information on current exhibits are available online.

Outdoor Swimming Pools, Including a Canadian First!

Edmonton knows how to make the most of a short summer! In addition to plenty of fitness centers to choose from, there are five outdoor city-run pools. Each offers a family-friendly atmosphere, modernized amenities, and an opportunity to get some sun in during your stay in town.

For just $9 a visit (that’s less than a couple of coffees!), you can get your fitness fix and treat the family to free drop-in classes, dives into the deep end, or sun on the grassy banks. For a unique twist, check out Borden Park Natural Swimming Pool—a chemical-free experience where natural plant life means the water is always crystal clear and skin-friendly. It’s a Canadian first and a must-see for anyone curious about how Edmonton is shaping up as a leader in green spaces.

A family pass (up to seven people) to any of Edmonton’s public outdoor pools is only $27—that’s less than a single ticket at the tourist traps! You can find the pool nearest to you and explore booking options, daily weather updates, and more using the City of Edmonton website.

Art Walks—Experience Free Local Art

Immerse yourself in a celebration of local art at Edmonton’s renowned Art Walks. These outdoor events, which are free and run throughout the summer months, showcase the talents of hundreds of artists.

  • Whyte Avenue Art Walk (July): Stroll down historic Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona during the Whyte Avenue Art Walk, Edmonton’s most extensive and longest-running art walk. Over 400 artists line the streets, showcasing a diverse range of mediums, from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and photography. Enjoy live music performances, engage with artists and witness their creative process, or discover your next artistic treasure. You don’t have to buy anything to get involved—simply walk the block and experience what local art is all about!

  • Strathearn Art Walk (September): Nestled along the scenic river valley, the Strathearn Art Walk transforms Strathearn Drive into a busy and collaborative open-air art market. Explore a curated selection of artwork by emerging and established artists, all while enjoying live music and a welcoming community atmosphere. With stunning city skyline views and a focus on local talent, the Strathearn Art Walk is a perfect way to experience Edmonton’s artistic spirit on a budget. There are even free activities for kids, making it a family experience you won’t want to miss.

At these free, family-friendly events, you can explore a variety of artistic expressions without breaking the bank, discover unique pieces, and support Edmonton’s exciting art scene with your patronage.

Relaxing After Your Day on the Town

No matter where you plan on spending your trip in Edmonton, you’ll need a comfortable place to rest your head. That’s why we work with the best hotels in Edmonton to ensure you’re never far from an affordable, friendly stay to cap off your adventure. After all, you’ll be tired from all the culture you’re taking in and maybe even have some spending cash left for late-night hotel snacks.

If you’re planning a trip to Edmonton or are looking for a low-cost staycation, don’t forget to book your hotel stay through Edmonton’s Best Hotels to take advantage of our 1, 2, 3 Reward Deal and get up to $225 back in rewards. And now that you know all the cheap spots in town, that money could stretch you a whole second vacation!

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Terms and Conditions

The “1,2, 3 Pick Your Rewards”, Terms and Conditions and Blackout Dates 

Rewards Program campaign dates

Reward package available to book from January 5, 2022 for stays to December 31, 2024 for rewards except for possible blackout dates. At present there are no blackout dates scheduled.

Rewards are subject to while supplies last.  Substitutions of equivalent kind, value may be made as necessary.  Rewards are non-transferable, no cash value, no cash back.

  • Rewards are non-transferable, non-exchangeable, have no cash value, no cash back.
  • Rewards cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.
  • Reward deal is net non-commissionable.

Blackout dates

At present there are no blackout dates scheduled. 

In the event blackout dates are scheduled, any guest who makes a booking for a hotel stay during the blackout period prior to the blackout period being named will receive the rewards they are booked for. 

Rewards Program offerings

Book one night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of three $50 rewards excluding blackout dates:

  • $50 Gas Card or
  • $50 Prepaid Mastercard, or
  • $50 Ultimate Dining Card

Book two night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of five reward packages excluding blackout dates:

  • $150 prepaid MasterCard, or
  • $75 Gas card and $75 MasterCard, or
  • $75 Gas card and $75 Ultimate Dining Card, or

Book three night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of four reward packages excluding blackout dates:

  • Three Night Reward 1: $225 Prepaid Mastercard
  • Three Night Reward 3: $75 Ultimate Dining Card + $75 Prepaid Mastercard + $75 Gas Card

One choice of reward per stay. 

Guest must be 18 years of age or older at time of redemption. 

Prepaid Mastercard’s can be used for online purchases only. In Canada, prepaid Mastercard’s cannot be used at any retail outlet (including your hotel) with point-of-sale systems.

Rewards distribution

Rewards will be emailed directly to guests within 48 hours of Edmonton’s Best Hotels confirming their check-in.  Rewards are not provided by the hotel’s front desk.   All rewards are sent electronically. 

Reservations

Guest must reserve a minimum of 24 hours prior to arrival.

Rewards are NOT available for reservations made less than 24 hours in advance of arrival.

Reservations made directly with hotels and not through Edmonton’s Best Hotels are not eligible for rewards. No exceptions. Rewards are only provided to guests who book through Edmonton’s Best Hotels online booking platform.  Booking reservation confirmations will have Edmonton’s Best Hotels branding on them. Rewards not provided for hotel reservations during specified blackout dates.

Reservations cannot be extended by hotels for additional rewards.

Guests may add a night to an existing one-night deal reservation and receive additional rewards if the request is made a minimum of 24 hours in advance of arrival.

Booking terms and conditions

Rewards provided for more than one night, must be for consecutive nights under one registration under one name at one property. In addition, no more than up to three consecutive nights will be honoured. If a guest checks in for three days and then checks out and re-checks in for the next day, this is considered a consecutive night booking even if the second booking is made at different hotel.  

There must be a minimum of three days between bookings.

Multiple reservations for the same person for the same night(s) is considered a double booking and only one of those bookings will be eligible for rewards. For example, if a guest books two nights on x and y date and then makes another two-night booking for the same dates at the same hotel or another hotel, EBH considers this a double booking and will honour rewards for only one of those bookings. 

Is there a limit on the number of bookings I make on different dates?  Edmonton Best Hotels welcomes repeat business.  Some of our guests visit Edmonton every month.  Please note as stated earlier there must be a minimum of three days between bookings. Please also note stated blackout dates.

Cancelling and date changes to reservations

If a guest wants to cancel or change the dates of their booking.

What if I want to cancel my booking?  Edmonton Best Hotels must cancel your booking (not the hotel).  If you want to cancel, contact info@edmh.ca and let us know.  We will cancel your booking and send you a cancellation number for your records.  Please do not cancel directly with the hotel.

What if I want to change the dates of my booking?  You must contact Edmonton Best Hotels at info@edmh.ca and let us know you want to make a date change.  Your original booking must be cancelled first.  You will receive a cancellation number for your records.  Then, you must rebook for your new dates.  The hotel nor Edmonton’s Best Hotels cannot make date changes to the original booking.  Please note this does not guarantee you will receive the same hotel rate when you rebook for different dates.

Any questions, please contact Edmonton Best Hotels at info@edmh.ca 

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