Edmonton, like most Canadian cities, can be considered safe throughout. Nevertheless, there are some areas where increased caution is advised, particularly after dark:
The "inner city" area to the east of downtown, a square bounded by Jasper Avenue (corresponds to 101 Avenue) on the south, 118 Avenue on the north, 99th Street on the west, and around 85th Street on the east - parts of this area are well-traveled and safe, but other areas are pretty rough, at least by Edmonton's standards.
118 Avenue between about 75th street and 99th Street.
Some will disagree that there's a real safety issue, but in recent years there has been an increase in alcohol-fueled disturbances on weekends near 82nd (Whyte) Avenue between 103 Street and 109 Street (which forms the city's most concentrated party zone). Whyte Avenue's actually a very safe area in all other respects, but be somewhat wary of the closing-time outflow after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. In recent years, police have vastly increased foot patrols in the area, which has calmed things down a bit.
From Edmonton, you can travel relatively quickly to Calgary, Drumheller, the Rocky Mountains and Jasper. Nearby Banff and Jasper are both well-known national parks. They include world-class ski areas, hiking, boating, hostels, and many other outdoor attractions. Jasper is roughly 4 hours from Edmonton by the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16). Banff is only slightly further away.
Elk Island National Park Elk Island National Park is less than an hour's drive east of Edmonton along the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16). This national park is one of the last remaining large areas of natural aspen parkland undisturbed by man, as much of the aspen parkland in Alberta is now largely gone due to agriculture and other human activities. Elk Island National Park is home to a variety of wildlife indigenous to the region such as moose, wood bison, deer, elk, beaver, muskrat and various waterfowl. Over 250 species of birds make their home in Elk Island National Park, making it a good place for birdwatching. The Ukrainian Pioneer Home, located in the vicinity of Lake Astotin in Elk Island National Park, is Canada's oldest Ukrainian museum.
Camping, cross country skiing, hiking and other outdoor activities that can be done in Elk Island National Park. As in most Canadian national parks, a fee is required for entry into Elk Island National Park.
Edmonton is one of the few major cities in North America to have a street system that is mostly numbered rather than named, although it does have named streets: usually major roadways and in the newer residential areas, especially in SW Edmonton. Streets in Edmonton run north-south, while avenues run east-west. The downtown core of the city is centered near 100 St and 100 Ave, with streets increasing in number as one travels west, and avenues increasing as one heads north.
Addresses are generally easy to find in Edmonton, since they are logically arranged so that even-numbered building/house numbers are on the north side of avenues and west side of streets. The first two or thee digits of a building or house number will tell you which street it lies just west of, or which particular avenue it lies north of. For example, 10219-101 Street would be located on the east side of 101 Street, just north of 102 Avenue.
The recent growth of the city has prompted the city to adopt a quadrant street system. There is an official move toward quadrant addresses (e.g., 23 Ave and 50 St NW), especially by Canada Post and emergency services. However, because the vast majority of the city lies in the NW Quadrant with the centrepoint near the southeast corner of the city proper, it's common to omit the "NW" from street addresses in the NW Quadrant.
Major roadways include the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16 - also known as Yellowhead Trail within the city) and Whitemud Drive in the southside and west end. The largest north-south roadway is Calgary Trail/Gateway Boulevard, both of which serve as the southern gateway into Edmonton. Even though these are all major divided roadways with at least 2-3 lanes in each direction, there are no large stretches of true freeways in Edmonton, although there are plans to eventually turn them into such. A major ring road known as Anthony Henday Drive is currently under construction and portions of it in southwest Edmonton are now open to traffic.
Edmonton's downtown core is fairly dense, with many office towers and condominium towers. Inner-city neighbourhoods with low- to medium-density residential areas surround the downtown core for up to a few kilometers in all directions. Beyond the core, the city has developed suburban residential areas with urban sprawl and shopping malls typical of most large North American cities that have experienced high growth during the postwar period.
Alberta Railway Museum, 24215 34 St.
Devonian Botanic Garden.
Fort Edmonton Park.
Muttart Conservatories, 9626 96A St.
TELUS World of Science (formerly the Odyssium), 11211 142 St. Edmonton's largest science museum with an architectural design that is out of this world, with lots of science exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theatre.
Alberta Legislature Building.
Royal Alberta Museum, 12845 102 Ave.
River Valley Parks.
Valley Zoo, 13315 Buena Vista Rd.
West Edmonton Mall, 170 Street and 87 Avenue. Largest shopping centre in North America. There are more than 900 stores/services, as well as the Galaxyland amusement park, the World Waterpark, the Fantasyland hotel, the Europa shopping district, Chinatown, an exotic flamingo wading pool, sea lion shows, a realistic replica of the Santa Maria ship, casino, nightclubs, two movie theatres and an IMAX theatre, a dinner theatre, two mini golf centres, a skating rink, many restaurants, and much, much more!
If it's just shopping you crave, you can head to the premiere temple of consumerism, West Edmonton Mall, the world's largest shopping centre. There, you can find anything your wallet desires, then take a ride on the indoor roller coaster or check out the largest indoor waterpark you've ever seen or....
Don't forget the Strathcona Farmer's Market, open Saturdays 8am-3pm, year round. You can find it a block north of Whyte Avenue and 104 St.
Downtown city centre offers a quieter, upscale shopping experience, usually catered to the business crowd. City Centre Mall east and west (east and west being split by 101 St but joined by a new large skybridge that has a few shops and a Tim Horton's in it) offer the standard food courts, popular clothing chains (e.g. Gap, Club Monaco, Aldo, etc.), and the Hudson Bay Company department store. Connected to the City Centre west building is the swankier Manulife Place with the posh Holt Renfrew department store, Henry Singer, Alligator Pie (designer labels for children), and gourmet chocolatier Bernard Callebaut. A pedway from Manulife leads to Commerce Place, which offers yet more designer shopping such as Sam Abouhassan, Plaza Escada, and Diamori, not to mention many delicious dining options from quick, healthy lunches at Sunterra market to high-end dining at Lux Steakhouse.
Black Dog 10524-82 Ave. Frequently rated Edmonton's best neighborhood pub by SEE Magazine polls, this friendly drinking spot caters to the young and body-modified (pierced and tattoed) crowd as well as any place on Whyte Avenue. It serves a wide selection of imported and micro-brewed beer at middle-of-the-road prices, features live music on Saturday afternoons, and has one of the city's favorite pub "patios" on their roof - a terrific place to waste a summer afternoon.
OByrnes 10616-82 Ave. An excellent Irish pub, rather roomy in size with two levels, and an outdoor patio in summer. Generally O'Byrnes is regarded as 'the' place to be on St. Patricks day in Edmonton, although you will want to get there plenty early for that day as there is usually a long line form 4pm onwards. O'Byrnes also plays excellent Celtic music on Tuesdays.
The Druid 11606 Jasper Ave. This Irish pub comes with a rustic Irish pub-style interior and a wide selection of different beers on tap. The Druid hosts live music on Tuesdays and Thursdays and dance music with DJs on weekends. It can be crowded with partygoers on Fridays and Saturdays, so it's a good idea to come early should you decide to go there on these days.
Purple Onion 8032 104 St. No one knows exactly where the hordes of people that press the flesh at the "P.O." every weekend come from. But come they do, as they have for close to 15 years now. And for anyone who wasn't already that way courtesy of Happy Hour, the DJ helps out with current dance hits and classic rock. Various drink and shooter specials are available, seemingly all the time. And unlike most of the licensed establishments in the area, you probably stand a better chance of getting your beverage faster from one of the numerous waitresses than you will from going to the bar.
The Roost 10345 104 St. It helps to have an open mind if you happen to walk through the doors of this two-storey alternative-lifestyles hangout. Often lauded as the best gay club west of Toronto, to the uninitiated, it's an eye-opening experience. Depending on your musical inclination, you can check out the main floor, where DJs allow patrons to sweat to the oldies or open the stage for its regular drag shows and karaoke nights. Upstairs, revelers let it all hang out on the checkered dance floor, grooving to the rhythms of everything from Madonna to Dusk to Dawn.
The One on Whyte 10544 82 Ave. Located in the space occupied by the old Roxy club on the second floor of what used to be Old StrathconaΉs favourite bowling alley, the One on Whyte sports an attitude that tones down the nightclub aspect a bit and emphasizes an expanded food menu and more live music. Yes, there are still plenty of opportunities to shake it until closing time, just like the old Roxy, but there is no shaking the feel that the owners are shooting for an entirely new image.
Union Hall 9920 62 Ave. Most nightclubs have a feel of snobbery to them. Depending on the clientele to which they cater, there is a feeling that the patron needs to be "in" to feel comfortable in the club environment. But the owners of the Standard, the successful Calgary Trail operation, decided that a spot was needed that would cater to those who wanted to simply go and have a good time without worrying about trends or fashions. Aimed at the classic-rock loving thirtysomething set, the Union Hall boasts that it is a spot about having an attitude-free good time. The Union Hall advertises itself as a place "where the only labels you'll find are on the bottles."
Cristalls Wine Market 5854-111 St.
Grapes and Grains 9500-170 St.
Wine Cellar 12421-102 Ave.
Driving in Edmonton is generally made easier by Edmonton's gridded street system (mostly in areas built before World War II) and relative lack of traffic compared to most other major North American cities. But exercise caution during the winter, especially during and after the first few snowfalls of the winter and during bad winter weather. Ice can be a problem, as it can be almost invisible, which is where the commonly used - and dreaded - term "black ice" comes from. Although ice will lose some of its slipperiness below -10°C, it is still wise to be careful.
Edmonton is home to the University of Alberta, which has consistently ranked in the top ten universities in Canada. Annual attendance exceeds 30,000 students, and the campus sprawls over a number of blocks on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan river, a few minutes drive from downtown.
There are a number of major colleges as well:
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)
Grant MacEwan College
Concordia University College
King's University College
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
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