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In and around Edmonton in 3 days

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
16 posts
In and around Edmonton in 3 days

I have a conference in Edmonton and then plan to have a brief holiday (around 3, max 4 days). We are a family with 2 kids (5 and 8). Will reach Edmonton on Oct 20.

i) Is it at all possible to have sight seeing within and outside of Edmonton via public transport? A good driver in Australia but have never driven on the right side of the road.

ii) What places should we visit. For example, of the places mentioned here (globalnews.ca/news/…) I think my family would like University of Alberta Botanic Garden, Jurassic Forest dinosaur park, Elk Island National Park, Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre.

iii) Any day trip ideas? Like worth going to Calgary? My return flight is from Edmonton, so I will need to return to Edmonton.

15 replies to this topic
Oshawa, Canada
Level Contributor
7,042 posts
34 reviews
1. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days

I doubt there is public transportation to either Elk Island Park, or the Jurassic Park. Both are located outside the city. Jurassic Park is also a seasonal attraction, and will likely be closed, since its after our Thanksgiving Day which is October 9, this year and is the unoffial end of the season. (It might have been labour day).

Look at the Muttart Conservatory, as well. When my kids were small it was an annual school trip.

West Edmonton Mall of course, for the amusement park.

Maybe you can take the kids to a hockey game?

Penticton, Canada
Level Contributor
20,233 posts
28 reviews
2. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days


not only driving on the other side but there is always the possibility of snow.

One option with 4 days.

Take the bus to Calgary and transfer to get to Banff. Spend 3 nights in Banff and the bus back to Edmonton.

If that is of interest there is a Canadian Rockies forum for more info. using the web version of TA instead of the app will get you lots of info on the top right side of the CR forum page


Edited: 17 September 2017, 00:21
Oshawa, Canada
Level Contributor
7,042 posts
34 reviews
3. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days

That's a lot of riding in a bus time for a 5 year old and an 8 year old.

There is lots in the Edmonton area to do, but you might need to try renting a car and driving.

You'll find that people are very partial to their regions. A person from Calgary will never say anything good about Edmonton.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
8,236 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days

I beg to differ with regards to Edmonton & Calgary -- and no one has been critical about either city on this post.

That said, I do think you'd struggle to find a lot to do in Edmonton in mid to late October, especially without driving. Elk Island PP and Leduc Discovery Centre are car only - no public transport. Same for the dinosaur park, and it will be closed anyway. Think the discovery centre is likely seasonal as well.

With young kids, I'd consider renting a car. There is public transport within Edmonton, but it's not great in comparison to other big cities and you have the chance of some pretty cold & damp weather by the end of October. Waiting for a bus in the cold rain isn't a lot of fun. Many Aussies and Brits and Kiwis come to Alberta & drive without any issues.

With 3-4 days, I'd rent a car and get out to Jasper NP. Hard to know what the weather would be like, but it could well be nice enough for some fun walks. Or cold enough to see some fresh snow.

Otherwise in Edmonton, you can certainly go to the mall, though the shopping will be the same as you'd find anywhere else. Telus Science Centre is great for kids. See if there are any kid friendly plays or musicals in town. See if there's a rec skating session at a rink that rents skates.

I agree that going to Banff is another option - much easier if you aren't going to rent a car. It's about three hours by bus to Calgary, then 1.5 hrs via shuttle to Banff. Honestly, if you take Red Arrow/Airport Shuttle, it's probably far more relaxed than dealing with buses all over Edmonton.

Level Contributor
84 posts
5 reviews
5. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days

I agree with previous posters; either rent a car to get around Edmonton, or get out to the mountains. But I recommend Jasper instead of Banff. Sun Dog operates a shuttle from either Edmonton airport or West Edmonton Mall to Jasper; it's a 4 hour trip, no changing of buses. Jasper is less touristy than Banff and is spectacular at any time of the year. The latter part of October is kind of an awkward time in Edmonton, as many attractions are closed for the season (I was going to recommend Fort Edmonton Park but I'm fairly certain they are closed by then). I assume your family will be in Edmonton while you attend the conference, so your spouse could take the kids to Telus World of Science (great suggestion) and the Mall (I cringe to write this as I usually steer visitors away but it is fun for kids).

Edmonton, Canada
Destination Expert
for Edmonton
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3,848 posts
20 reviews
6. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days

I would skip the suggestions in the Global News link. I think it's a kind of a dull list for a first time visitor, it's cumbersome, and almost certainly needs to involve driving which may be uncomfortable for you.

I think it would be a shame to be in our area and miss a chance to see the mountains for the first time. I also think three to four days of holidaying built on public transportation in Edmonton would be draining and not a lot of fun (a day or two of it would be fine.) I also think driving in Edmonton may be stressful too (if you are apprehensive about it at all). As said, a lot of people do it successfully. For me, to drive on the other side of the road would bring me to tears. Only you can be the judge of that.

So, my recommendation is a bit of time in the city, combined with a trip to Jasper. Whether you drive or take public transport would be entirely your call. Jasper is a simple easy trip away, and gives you a nice glimpse of the wide open spaces of the prairie on the way, and a taste of the majesty of the mountains, and a fun townsite as well.

In the city, I agree with the suggestions already given (based on your interests on the other list) - the Muttart Conservatory, Telus World of Science, and possibly some activities at West Edmonton Mall. Definitely make some time for a walk in the river valley, and you must go to a hockey game! The Oil Kings (Western Hockey League (WHL)) are playing on October 20th and 22nd. The Oilers (the National Hockey League (NHL)) play on October 26th. The Oil Kings put on a great show for families and would be my recommendation (much less expensive too).

For Jasper, I would recommend two nights. Another option to the SunDog Tours bus is a trip by Via Rail, which can be really nice. There's Greyhound service too, but that's less appealing than the other two options. If you are interested in the rail service, let us know, and we can help further. The schedule can be a bit screwy to figure out on your own. Also, it can run notoriously late, so you need to plan carefully in conjunction with your other timings.

I just have a few questions that might help with further advice. Where is your conference? And how long is it for? Do you have accommodations lined up yet? If so, where?

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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21,979 posts
130 reviews
7. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days

+1 to visiting Jasper.

At that time of year, VIA Rail runs from Edmonton to Jasper on Tuesday and Saturday (dep. 7:37 arr. 13:00), and back from Jasper on Wednesday and Saturday (dep. 17:30 arr. 23:00) IF it is on time. It's more likely to be on time on the eastbound journey than the westbound, since the train originating in Vancouver has less time to be delayed than the westbound one, originating in Winnipeg.

Greyhound is not really a good option - it leaves Edmonton as 12:15 am, arriving in Jasper at 5 am.

Sundog's shuttle is probably the best option - https:/… ... leaving Edmonton in the afternoon and arriving in Jasper around 8 pm, and leaving Jasper early (7 am) and arriving in Edmtonton around noon.

There are local tour companies in Jasper that can take you on day trips, and there are interesting things to do and see in and around the townsite, or nearby, by taxi.

While driving in the city might be nerve-wracking for you, the highway should be better ... traffic is light, and it's divided highway almost all the way to Jasper. Having a car in Jasper National Park would allow you to see and do the most, and traffic is light, especially at that time of year when it is off-season for tourism.

Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
993 posts
10 reviews
8. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days

if you stay in edmonton, the water park at west edmonton mall is fun if your kids are into that.

google the space sciences centre to see if that interests them

nice weather, a walk down at the river valley is lovely...hawrelake park is nice too but i'm not too sure how easy it is to get there on public transport

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
16 posts
9. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days

Hello all, many thanks for all the tips. I am now shortlisting the options.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
16 posts
10. Re: In and around Edmonton in 3 days

I was hoping someone can help me decide about my Airbnb accommodation in Edmonton:

1) Option 1: From here 2 minutes to the bus stop on 99 street which goes downtown or about 5 minutes walk to 82nd Whyte Ave from there. They are kind enough to offer airport pickup. The place looks spacious and clean, but not dazzling new like option 2. I was wondering, if this bit of walk to catch the public transportation ok if it snows?

2) Option 2: Costs $250 more for our period of stay. Located in the Quarters Downtown. Close to transportation and downtown attractions. Probably easier to travel from here to attractions in/around edmonton? And probably we can find some attractions in walking distance? My conference location would be in walking distance (but also probably not far away from option 1). Is it worth paying $250 extra?

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