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Recommendations for 2 night stay

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Mississauga, Canada
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84 posts
25 reviews
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Recommendations for 2 night stay

Hi, we're taking a road trip from Toronto to Whitehorse and beyond in July and would like to visit Edmonton for 2 days. We are retired teachers and enjoy walking around a city to experience architecture, parks, shopping and dining. I realize this is a bit vague but we're looking for recommendations on which part of the city to stay in to be able to do these things. We'll have a car so will be able to travel around as needed. We'd like to see West Edmonton Mall but don't have to stay out that way. In general, we'd like to discover what Edmonton is like. We've also heard that Edmonton has a good food truck scene and would like to check that out as well. Thanks for any and all suggestions.

Alberta
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103 posts
8 reviews
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1. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

In my opinion, the uniqueness of Edmonton in July is best represented by Whyte Avenue, the river valley, and some of the festivals that happen in Sir Winston Churchill Square (downtown).

Depending on when you are passing through, there is the Street Performers' Festival and the Taste of Edmonton at Sir Winston Churchill Square. Downtown Edmonton itself is nice enough in places and has a few architectural gems, but not altogether unique from other cities. On the other side of the river valley, Whyte Avenue is more of an eclectic shopping/cultural/nighttime party district. As a visitor wanting to experience something unique to Edmonton, I would choose the Whyte Ave vicinity for its variety of shops/restaurants, and go the downtown area from there to hopefully catch one of the festivals. You can either try to find parking downtown or take the LRT from the university.

While I'm thinking of it, one of the best views of the Edmonton skyline to watch the sun set is from Strathern Drive near Connors Road and Cloverdale Hill. Or from Louise McKinney Park on the north side of the river.

West Edmonton Mall is worth a look but I wouldn't spend any extra time in the west end. I recommend parking on the west side of the mall and going in at the Gold's Gym entrance. Some of the more unique attractions are at that side of the mall. The bigger department stores are on the east end, and parking access from the north and east always feels more congested to me.

Hope that helps. As for specific hotels, I stayed at the Metterra on Whyte one time and it was pretty nice.

Mississauga, Canada
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84 posts
25 reviews
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2. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

Thanks dreamingoutdoors! That gives me a good sense of what we can do in a couple of days. We'll be there on July 15-16. Which area of the city is considered the downtown? I wasn't quite sure when looking on google maps. Thank you for the hotel and mall recommendations as well.

Alberta
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103 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

You're welcome! The area I'm calling downtown is north of the river, more-or-less running east-west along Jasper Av. Sir Winston Churchill Square is at 100 St and 102 Av, just north of Jasper Av. Unfortunately, July 15-16 falls exactly between the Street Performers Festival and the Taste of Edmonton this year, as far as I can tell. As such, downtown might be a little quiet. I'm sure you'll have plenty to do regardless, but the food trucks might be resupplying.

There are lots of good restaurants, but the ones we seem to keep returning to are the High Level Diner and The Creperie (love the basement location).

Another idea for an activity if you want to get some exercise would be to rent bikes and go cycling in the river valley. It's a great trail system and quite beautiful in the summer. The river valley is basically between downtown and Whyte Ave. Lots of spots for picnics. There are a couple bike shops in the Whyte Ave vicinity; United Cycle and RedBike come to mind, but I'm not sure if they do rentals or not. Something to look into I guess. From RedBike's location near the High Level Diner, you could pedal out the front door and down into the valley.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Mississauga, Canada
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84 posts
25 reviews
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4. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

Thanks again! I think we will take advantage of your suggestions. Love the idea of hiking the river valley. It figures that we miss the food festival but from what I can see there are many good food options. We hear that you have lots of large mosquitoes out that way! Will they be an issue in the city, especially along the river? Probably a silly question but it's good to be prepared!

Alberta
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103 posts
8 reviews
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5. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

Mosquitoes seem to be bad one year and not so bad the next. They spray for them in the city and because it is moving water, they shouldn't be worse in the valley than any other green space. However, if we get a lot of rain in June... watch out! Best to have some spray:)

Edmonton, Canada
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for Edmonton, Yellowknife
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1,337 posts
35 reviews
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6. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

Mosquitoes can be bad in areas where it's warm, no wind, humid and where there is not alot of sun. So depending on the time of day that you hike in the river valley, you could run into a few.

Whyte ave is a great place to stay, however it is where alot of the pubs and bars are located, so it could get noisy at night.

If you stay at the Mettara on Whyte and want a quiet night, check with the front desk about a room that facing north, or opposite of Whyte ave.

If you have a car and are looking for a unique place to stay, you could stay at Fort Edmonton Park, I hear Hotel Selkirk is very nice. It's situated in the River Valley and it's about a 10 minute drive to WEM, but about 20 minutes to Whyte and Downtown.

http://www.fortedmontonpark.ca/hotel-selkirk/

Edmonton, Canada
Destination Expert
for Edmonton
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7. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

You might like to keep an eye on this site for some food truck specific info:

http://www.whatthetruck.ca/trucks/

and this is a good article, from last year, but still relevant and full of good info:

avenueedmonton.com/articles/food-truck-guide

Mississauga, Canada
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84 posts
25 reviews
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8. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

Thanks Suzanne and mcwhippet for the suggestions. We will definitely explore Whyte Ave and try a hike in the river valley. As for food trucks, we hope to find some! We keep seeing them on You Gotta Eat Here. We have them in Toronto but we also have stupid laws that are highly restrictive as to where the trucks can be located.

Edmonton, Canada
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230 posts
5 reviews
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9. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

Great link by Mcwhippet. There are a few more trucks this year but we too have restrictive bylaws. Check out their websites for their locations. The City is talking about relaxing some of the bylaws so hopefully we'll get more than a few together several times downtown at lunchtime. As for lodging, I'll disagree with the previous posts and suggest you stay downtown and travel over to Whyte Ave (Old Strathcona) during the day. Unless you're in your 20s it can be a very noisy, rowdy crowd at night and there are many more civilized pubs and restaurants downtown. Plus there are many more options and price ranges to be had versus Whyte. Unfortunate timing as you just miss the Street Performers Festival and are days early for K-Days/Taste of Edmonton. Along with Whyte Ave, WEM, Fort Edm, the river valley and downtown you might want to check out the Art Galleries and shops on 124 St. Check out http://edmonton.com/for-visitors.aspx for Visitor information. As for architecture, well, the powers that be in the 60s and 70s tore down many of teh beautiful old buildings and replaced them with glass boxes. There are a few nice buildings downtown now, but not much. Enjoy

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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107 reviews
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10. Re: Recommendations for 2 night stay

"Downtown" is quite a large area - I tend to forget about the area further west along Jasper Avenue, which seems more lively with lots of shops and restaurants and also many residents (condos and apartment buildings), but a lot of the hotels are clustered right in the centre of the city (Jasper Ave/101 St.) and I do not recommend staying in that area as a leisure traveller ... it tends to be a ghost town in the evening after the office workers have all gone home. The last couple of times we have stayed there (on business, therefore the hotel choice was not ours to make), when we were out and about walking around, the constant solicitations for change from street people was a bit off-putting, although we never felt like we were in danger. But it's a little eerie when there is literally no one else in sight.

We have stayed a couple of times at the Varscona (Whyte Avenue) and really enjoyed it. If you want to be a bit removed from Whyte Avenue (or if the Varscona doesn't have any specials on ... last time I stayed in the city, their rates were much higher than the promo rate I'd had the time before), there is a Days Inn within walking distance.