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The Home of the Edmonton Oilers: How to Explore Downtown

Photo by WinterE229 / CC0 1.0 Downtown Edmonton skyline

If you’re a passionate fan of the Edmonton Oilers, you will likely spend much of your time in the downtown core when visiting the city. It is, after all, the home of the NHL team’s hockey stadium, which plays host to numerous matches throughout the season.

However, there is much more than exciting hockey matches happening in the popular district. If you want to make the most of your visit, find out how to explore downtown Edmonton.

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Roger’s Place

There’s no better destination in the city to catch a sporting event than Roger’s Place, which replaced the Northlands Coliseum as the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Oil Kings’ home on September 8, 2016. The arena, which cost a whopping $604.5 million to complete, can seat 18,500 spectators as a hockey venue, and it can welcome 20,734 visitors as a concert venue. 

Ice District

When you’re not catching a hockey match at Roger’s Place, you should explore the Ice District. Commonly referred to as the Edmonton Area District by locals, it is a $2.5 billion mixed-use sports and entertainment district you can find downtown.

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One of the most popular attractions within the district is, undoubtedly, the winter garden, which has been coined, Ford Hall. In addition to serving as a gathering place during ice hockey matches, it regularly plays host to various stand-alone events during the year.

However, if you want to step inside a venue that rivals the buzz and excitement of an Oilers’ match, be sure to glam yourself up for a night at Grand Villa Casino Edmonton, which offers various slot machines, roulette and blackjack tables, to name only a few. The modern venue replaced the Baccarat Casino, as it was transformed into a brand-new 11,600-square meter casino next to Roger’s Place in September 2016. So, it is the perfect activity to enjoy after an action-packed hockey match.

While there are tables for every budget, high rollers would be wise to enter the luxurious private gaming salons at the casino, which offers high-limit games of blackjack and baccarat. Plus, you will be able to grab a quick snack or enjoy an exquisite gourmet meal at either the Match Eatery and Public House or Atlas Steak & Fish restaurant.

Jasper Avenue

There’s always something happening on Jasper Avenue, which doesn’t have a street number, but it is located where 101 avenue should be. It is not only home to some of the oldest heritage buildings in the city, and the tallest office towers, but it regularly plays host to the well-loved Edmonton Downtown Farmer’s Market, which takes place on Sundays outside the GWG building. Due to the sheer quality of products created, made or grown by the talented locals, the market consistently attracts thousands of visitors each weekend.

Government Centre

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Those looking for a slightly more tranquil day out should visit the Government Center, as beautiful parks, relaxing fountains and exquisite gardens can be found surrounding the Alberta Legislature Building. It is, therefore, an ideal location for those who want to embrace nature or enjoy a picnic with their other half or family. 

Video by Hand Luggage Only – 10 Things to See and Do in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Art District and Churchill Square

Creative types tend to flock to the Art District and Churchill Square, which is located in the eastern area of the downtown core. After all, it is home to many award-winning venues, such as the Citadel Theatre and the Francis Winspear Center for Music, with the latter being the home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

You will also find Edmonton City Hall on Sir Winston Churchill Square, which is the beating heart of the Art District. The busy square regularly hosts many large events and festivals to bring locals together, such as the annual Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival.

Culture vultures should also make a play for the recently built Art Gallery of Alberta, which is a celebration of visual arts in Western Canada. 

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In addition to being inspired by stunning works of art, both locals and tourists can enjoy free Wi-Fi when spending time in the square, and they’re free to stroll through the gardens and grab a bite to eat from one of the many street food vendors. Plus, the Edmonton Arts Council also provides various free activities for everyone, such as giant-format checkers or chess, as well as basketball and table tennis, which are each available from Monday to Friday between 11 am to 1 pm.

Cariwest Caribbean Arts Festival

If you’re visiting Edmonton before the start of the NHL season, you should time your visit for the Cariwest Caribbean Arts Festival, which annually takes place at Capital Plaza between August 9 to 11. The three-day event is a celebration of Caribbean culture, which offers elaborate costumes and Caribbean cuisine, such as roti, patties and jerk chicken, which can be complemented by authentic rum at the Rum Gardens within Caribbean Village. 

You also will not want to miss the Great Parade, which will take place on a Saturday, as it features a Mas Band that will perform throughout the heart of downtown Edmonton. 

Royal Alberta Museum

History will come to life at the Royal Alberta Museum, which is the largest museum in Western Canada at more than 82,000 square feet. Visitors can explore more than 2.4 million objects, which range from pre-historic dinosaurs to artifacts from Alberta’s life and landscapes. It is worth a visit during a trip to the city.

Photo by Darren Kirby / CC-BY-SA-2.0Gibson Block

The Gibson Block

Downtown Edmonton is not only full to the brim with superb hockey matches, fun festivals, and unmissable attractions, but it also offers stunning architecture that adds to the beauty of the district.

For example, you are bound to fall in love with the historic buildings along the Gibson Block, which offers one of the few flatiron buildings still standing in Canada.

So, if you are visiting the city to cheer on the Edmonton Oilers, you should add the above spots and attractions onto your travel itinerary. You won’t regret it.