If you are travelling in Western Canada, particularly Alberta, Edmonton is a nice place to visit. Edmonton is Alberta's provincial capital.  Edmonton also happens to be what many consider to be the cultural center of Alberta — although many in Calgary may argue against this due the competitive spirit between the two cities.  If  this is your first visit to Edmonton, you will find it a delight that several festivals occur through out the year. So, if you're a tourist travelling on a budget, Edmonton is a great place. The events allow you to explore and celebrate the part of the culture of Alberta.

Transportation: Bus tickets costing C$8.55 allow you to travel unlimitedly for one day. There are also bus tickets that cost C$3.00 but it only allows you to use it for 90 mins. You can call the ETS Buslink Customer Information (780-4961611) and ask the call center agent to help you plan your transit trip over the phone. Have the address ready from where you are leaving from, the address you are going to, and the time you wish to travel or arrive. Agents are very helpful. You just have to make sure you get the bus stop number so you don't get mixed up.

In previous years, the EDDIE Bus has provided a hop-on, hop-off service to tourists for C$15.00 per day during the summer, taking travellers to the different attractions around Edmonton. However, the service was not offered in 2010. Check Edmonton Transit's EDDIE Bus page  for the most up-to-date information.

First stop: Tourist center at the World Trade Center, downtown (near Westin Hotel). Make sure to get hold of the Edmonton discount coupon book for the entrances to the city`s attractions. Some give as much as 15-50% discount!

Attractions:

1. Telus World of Science:  At least 4 hours: 1 hour to watch the IMAX, 1 hour to watch the live science show, 1 hour to watch at the observatory, and 1 hour to go to all  the exhibits. They have exhibits on topics like crime investigation and the human body, as well as special exhibits on subjects like Leonardo da Vinci, green project, space, etc.

2. Fort Edmonton Park: At least 4 hours. Some of the activities you can do here are: ride the train, visit the commercial street (parlor, pharmacy, hardware, church, hotel, autoshop, etc.). Watch special activities at the hall and at the carnival tent. Ride the merry go round, enjoy carnival games.

3. Great Divide Waterfall: This is the world's first man-made waterfall. Only opens every Canadian holiday from 9-11 pm. They have special fireworks. They say that the waterfall used to be open the entire summer but due to the recession they now only open it on holidays. The waterfall also used to have colored lights reflecting on it, but in 2009, they cut down on the budget. It is still stunning to view.

4. West Edmonton Mall:  The world's biggest mall, it is claimed.  It is like many other malls but  with the World Waterpark, Galaxyland, etc., the mall is a must-see if you come to Edmonton. You can even watch hockey games or go skating inside the mall. This is one of the most visited places by visitors to Edmonton, especially during the winter when the weather can get quite cold and snowy. Some of the famous shops here are: MAC Cosmetics, Esprit, The Bay, Sephora, Aldo, Roots, Abercrombie, etc.

5. Downtown: Make sure to visit the website www.edmonton.ca for special events at the Churchill Square. Almost weekly, especially Fridays-Sundays, they have a lot of activities at the Churchill Square. Street performers, The Works Art Festival, movies at the square—all keep the downtown hopping. Also, visit the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, the most famous hotel in Edmonton.

6. River valley: Enjoy magnificent view of the river valley from 100 Ave and 116 Street. Very refreshing. You can also take a boat ride on the Edmonton Queen, which has a restaurant, another favorite of many who visit Edmonton.

7. Alberta Legislature: The building has spectacular architecture and just stunning especially at dusk. There are guides who will take you on a free tour of the building. Tours run every day, hourly in winter and on the half hour in summer. There are also acres of surrounding parkland and peolpe love to hang out on the grounds in summer and wade in the water. Check their website www.assembly.ab.ca/visitor  for a schedule of events. 

8. Hawrelak Park: The most famous park in edmonton. During summertime, there are boat rides that cost C$7 for each person. You could also bring your own bike, have a picnic with your friends, bring bird food for the ducks, barbecue, jog, etc. During winter, this is a public skating rink. During the Winter Light festival, a great time can be had watching fire dances, viewing ice sculptures, drinking coffee, etc.

Estimating time to see Edmonton and the surrounding area is difficult. It all depends on the visitor's ambition and available time.  Remember, Edmonton is not too far from Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper.   For estimated driving times, refer to any online mapping tool to decide on the roads or route of your choice.   If you are just seeking to get from Edmonton to another location, instead of driving you may decide to use another mode of transportation such as the Red Arrow, Brewster or Greyhound or coach buses.

Enjoy your visit to Edmonton. The people are friendly and helpful.

If you are looking for more information about Edmonton, check out Edmonton Tourism's official website for visitors: www.edmonton.com
Or visit www.EdmontonInfoCenter.com, the website offers informaton about Edmonton hotels, attractions, events plus much more.