5 stops in Edmonton, Alberta you absolutely have to make

Western Canada has some incredible cities, including Calgary, Alberta which is an incredible place. But Edmonton, another major center in Alberta, ranks right up there with them. And it couldn’t be more different from its neighbor to the south.

Edmonton is seen by some as more of a blue-collar town than Calgary. That being said, you’ll still find great food, art, culture, and more while you’re there. On top of that, it’s hard to ignore the unique things that make it a special place to spend time.

Wander through Muttart Conservatory

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

EDMONTON, CANADA – JULY 8: In this handout image provided by the International Triathlon Union, the elite men’s field speed through Hawrelak Park during the bike portion of the 2012 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup on July 8th, 2012 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Arnold Lim/ITU via Getty Images)

Smack dab in the middle of the North Saskatchewan River Valley is the Muttart Conservatory. Across the river from downtown Edmonton, this spot is certainly easy to find thanks to its distinctive pyramid-shaped buildings.

The architecture itself is more than worth stopping by for. But the name of the game is stunning plant life, and each of the four pyramids has its own distinct biome. If you do go, take your time and really enjoy this relaxing space.

Step back in time at Fort Edmonton Park

History is important in this part of the world, and nowhere is this more evident than Fort Edmonton Park. It is reputedly the largest living history museum in the country, keeping in mind that is by area, of course.

The park features an array of buildings depicting the history of the region. Some are rebuilt replicas while others are originals. It’s only open from July to September but the park is worth stopping by. When it’s fully staffed by costumed interpreters, it’s a lot of fun.

Check out the Art Gallery of Alberta

At Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton, you’ll find the Art Gallery of Alberta. It started its life as the Edmonton Museum of Arts, then became the Edmonton Art Gallery, and finally took the name Art Gallery of Alberta in 2008.

Much like the Muttart Gardens, the unique architecture of the AGA makes it worth stopping by. Inside the museum, you will find an incredible collection of historical and modern Canadian artists and photographers, with a strong focus on Western Canada.

Swing by the Royal Alberta Museum

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

EDMONTON, CANADA – JUNE 24: The Saskatchewan River is viewed from a downtown bluff on June 24, 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Edmonton, along with its neighbor to the south, Calgary, have experienced an economic energy surge as a result of shale oil discoveries in the region. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

While the AGA is one of the premier art museums in the province, the Royal Alberta Museum is one of the premier human and natural history museums around. Also in downtown Edmonton, it is an incredible place to spend a day exploring.

The museum has various galleries and collections. The Human History Hall, Natural History Hall, and the Bug Gallery are all amazing. Additionally, the Feature Gallery is always worth checking out as it houses limited-time exhibits.

Don’t miss the Edmonton Valley Zoo

The Edmonton Valley Zoo has a huge problem on its hands, specifically the Calgary Zoo. It is one of the finest zoos in the country, if not North America. As such, trying to offer a superior experience is nearly impossible. But the Edmonton Valley Zoo isn’t trying to do that.

While the Edmonton Valley Zoo is a much smaller zoo, it still offers a wonderful experience. It is well laid out, easy to navigate, and a lot of fun. And it has a great array of animals in its collections, including Red Pandas, Habour Seals, Amur Tigers, and Snow Leopards.