The Best Of YEG

Edmonton, the City of Champions, YEG, Festival City—whatever you choose to call it, this city is home to a vibrant community, exceptional arts and culture, a stunning river valley, an innovative culinary scene and world-class entertainment.

EOCC launched YEG Tours on Friday, September 28, offering participants an opportunity to discover everything the city has to offer. Don’t worry if you missed the first one! We’ll be running tours throughout the year, so keep an eye out for the next event. There’s always something new to try, no matter how well you know Edmonton, so we’ve gathered some suggestions to get you started.

Dining

Edmonton has experienced a culinary evolution that has elevated the city’s dining options from the ordinary and expected to eclectic and daring. An entire post could be devoted to the city’s restaurant options alone—even then, it would be a lengthy read, and new spots continue to open at a steady pace.

Of course, there’s staples like Sabor, Chef Daniel Costa’s trio of eateries (Corso 32, Uccellino and Bar Bricco), RGE RD, Padmanadi, The Next Act, Tzin Wine & Tapas, Noorish, Three Boars and Lux—this is by no means an exhaustive list—that have become mainstays in most Edmontonians’ dining repertoire. But there’s plenty of newer options to try, like Bar Clementine, Baijiu, The Holy Roller, The Moth Café, Pip, Wishbone and Atlas Steak + Fish.

Nightlife

What would a section about Edmonton’s nightlife be without mention of the Ice District, which includes Rogers Place—home of the Edmonton Oilers and unforgettable concerts, including recent shows by Sam Smith, Keith Urban and The Smashing Pumpkins—Grand Villa Casino and numerous components currently under construction.

Across the road from Rogers Place is Mercer Tavern, a lively watering hole with plenty of beverage and dining options for lunch, dinner and late night. A few blocks south will take you to Jasper Avenue, arguably downtown’s central nightlife street. Jasper Avenue is home to many of the restaurants listed above as well as The Station—another great place for live music—Central Social Hall, The Bower, Red Star Pub, On the Rocks, Urban Tavern and The Common (just off Jasper), to name a few.

South of the river is historic Old Strathcona and the famous Whyte Avenue, where you’ll find the Black Dog Freehouse, O’Byrne’s Irish Pub, El Cortez, Have Mercy, Blues on Whyte, The Buckingham and Brick & Whiskey Public House.

Arts & Culture

Edmonton has certainly earned the moniker Festival City. YEG hosts festivals year-round, and popular options include the Fringe Festival—Edmonton hosts the second-largest Fringe in the world, behind Edinburgh—A Taste of Edmonton, K-Days, Interstellar Rodeo, Free Will Shakespeare Festival, the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, Servus Heritage Festival, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Cari West, Ice on Whyte Festival, Silver Skate Festival and The Works Art & Design Festival.

Beyond Edmonton’s plethora of festivals is the central Arts District. There you’ll find the architectural beauty of the Art Gallery of Alberta (be sure to check out the gallery’s late-Refinery parties), Royal Alberta Museum, Winspear Centre (home to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) and the Citadel Theatre, where you’ll find a diverse program of plays and regular improv performances from Rapid Fire Theatre.

But Edmonton’s arts scene doesn’t stop there. Old Strathcona is filled with its own blend of performing and visual arts. Explore the Whyte Avenue Art Walk or take in a show at the Varscona Theatre and Walterdale Theatre.

This only scratches the surface of what makes Edmonton special, and the best way to uncover its hidden—and not-so-hidden—gems is to take the time to explore. Whether you’re new to Edmonton or have lived here for years, play tourist every now and then. You never know what you’ll find.