Summer comes just once a year—and it lasts about two weeks here in Edmonton. We’re already planning our summer fun so we can make the most of the good weather, and we thought we’d recommend some of our favourite outdoor activities. Try them and let us know which one was your favourite, or share your favourites with us!
This list is entirely unofficial. Nobody nominated us to rate anything in Edmonton, so these opinions are purely based on personal preferences and don’t actually matter at all.
1. Whyte Avenue
Whyte Ave is one of our favourite places to walk around and enjoy what Edmonton has to offer, both day and night. We might be a little biased—Habit HQ is pretty close by, so we head over there for lunch whenever we can. Some of our favourite restaurants and entertainment options are on Whyte and in the Old Strathcona area.
All summer long, Whyte Ave is home to festivals and events like the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, Sand on Whyte, NextFest, and more. There’s plenty of shopping, too, for all your fashion or gift-giving needs. And if you’re a dog lover like us, don’t worry: your furry friends are welcome, too. There are lots of dog-friendly stores and patios, plus water dishes located along the street.
Still need ideas for things to do on Whyte Ave? Our pals at the Old Strathcona Business Association can help!
2. Mountain Biking
Not everyone loves cardio, but mountain biking has a fun technical aspect that takes the monotony out of the process. Whether you want to go hard in the woods or just take a leisurely cruise down a trail, it’s incredibly rewarding and you’ll be proud of yourself when you’re done.
Edmonton has some of the best urban trail riding in the world. On a summer day, there’s no better way to take in the views that our scenic river valley has to offer. If you’re looking for exciting single-track and technical riding, there’s a massive trail network all throughout the city’s wooded areas.
If you aren’t familiar with the area (fun fact: it’s protected by our friends at the NSWA), check out Trail Forks for trail information. You can also check in with your local bike shop and join one of their evening group rides.
3. Nature Walks
If you’re looking for a more low-key nature experience, you might like walking in the Kennedale Ravine. Located up in north Edmonton, the ravine runs from 50 Street all the way to the river valley. It’s a peaceful little slice of wilderness right here in the city. There’s also an off-leash area between 50 Street and 40 Street where you can let your four-legged friend run free.
The best place to access the ravine is at 40 Street, just south of 131 Avenue. There’s no parking lot nearby, though, so it’s probably best to leave your vehicle on one of the many residential streets nearby. If you have a whole day to spare, why not bring a picnic lunch to enjoy once you reach Hermitage Park? It’s about a 45-minute walk from the ravine entrance to the park, depending on your pace, so bring some comfy shoes.
If you’re fine with going a little further afield, take a drive out to Elk Island. There are tons of paved and unpaved trails, picnic areas, and places to kayak, and it’s only 45 minutes out of the city. It’s also 100% dog friendly, which we all love.
Geocaching takes you on a real-life treasure hunt. People all around the world hide containers (or “geocaches”) for others to find. Because these locations are marked by coordinates, you can use your phone, tablet, or other GPS-enabled device to track them down. You can even set up your own cache for people to find.
There are loads of geocaches hidden around Edmonton. While they’re mainly set up by the City of Edmonton, plenty of people who use the app create their own caches, too. No matter where you live, work, or spend your time, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find geocaches nearby. It’s a great way to explore and connect with your community—and to balance screen time with outside time.
5. Snow Valley Aerial Park
If you’re not afraid of heights (or dangling from five-ish stories high in mid-air), put the Snow Valley Aerial Park on your outdoor to-do list this summer. The course has quite the variety of obstacles. We recommend immediately navigating to the very top of the tower to prove that you’re totally not afraid of heights, even when strapped to a belay system that can’t fail.
Once you reach the top, you can enjoy scenic views, sweaty palms, and shaky legs from the comfort of a suspending picnic table, or you can scale over a ski bridge, bicycle, or a tire swing. The obstacles are also graded like runs on a ski hill: green, blue, and black. If you really aren’t big on heights, there are lower levels with less challenging obstacles.
Take note that you’ll need to tie your hair back, leave your phone in the car (sorry, no epic selfies), and wear longer shorts, capris, or exercise gear. You’ll be enjoying a nice mix of fear sweat, physical activity sweat, and outside-on-a-hot-day sweat. And you’ll also be enjoying the first aerial park of its kind in Canada and the third in North America! Go Edmonton!