We have been spending the summer in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We love this city for families because there are so many free things to do!
Edmonton is known as the Festival Capital of Alberta. There is a different festival every week for the entire summer. Most of the festivals are free or have components that are free.
When we got here, we tracked down an old friend who can get us a bus pass for a discount. For $50 we get a monthly bus pass instead of the $91 that it would cost at full cost. Having the bus pass lets us get all around Edmonton at no cost other than buying the bus pass. It costs $3.25 per person per 1.5 hours on the bus. So the bus pass is a great deal for us. The Edmonton Transit System also offers a day pass that is $(.50 and is valid for one adult and up to 4 kids up to age 12. Sometimes you can find discounted bus passes on the local buy and sell groups on facebook or on Kijiji.ca
We spent a few days at the Street Performers Festival in Churchill Square. There is a nice kids area with open ended toys for the kids to play with. A story reading area and lots of volunteers to help the kids if they need help with anything. As well there is usually a kids act going on in the kids area. The day we were there, a balloon artist was in the kids in area and made the kids swords totally free. All the street performers that are at the festival make their living on donations. We try to donate what we can but it isn’t required to enjoy the event. While we are down at Churchill square, we like to cross the road and spend some time at the City Hall wading pool on hot days. There are change rooms and bathrooms. Food and drink is available from the food court in the City Centre Mall. The Dollarama is closed for renovations until the fall but it will be open next summer. It is a great spot to get water, snacks and water toys for the wading pool!
Art on Whyte and Sand on Whyte are two small events that are held together on Whyte Ave. Art on Whyte has all kinds of local artists selling their art and making their art on the sidewalks around Whyte Ave. It is a nice event to walk around and enjoy what you see. Talk to the artists and have a nice day out. Sand on Whyte has some pretty amazing sand sculptures on display. In the same area there is a small sand box for the kids to try their hand at sand sculpting. As well about 3 blocks from all this is a great playground and splash park. It was the perfect place to cool off after a hot day in the sun!
We’ve been enjoying spending hot days at the Legislature Wading Pools. They are easy to access from almost anywhere in the city. Take a bus downtown and catch the train to Grandin Station. Another option is take the bus to the nearest train station and take the train to Grandin Station. Follow the signs for Gov’t Centre. The pedways will lead you through to the wading pools. If you walk past the doors going out to the wading pools, towards the washrooms, you will find a really cool old plane hanging from the ceiling and some pretty interesting displays about Canadian Government. There is also a large Lego model of the legislative building that the kids like to check out. Once you get outside there are 4 different pools that you can explore. There isn’t much for food in the area. Usually an ice cream vendor and a hot dog vendor. We like to bring a picnic lunch and bring our own snacks. There is a water bottle filling station and a water fountain in the area. There are bathrooms as well.
Edmonton Public Library has some great libraries with great kids areas. The main branch is being renovated at the moment. It should be done by 2020. In the mean time, the Clareview Library, Meadows, and Millwoods Branches have nice kids areas. Computers and iPads for the kids to play games on, toys and games.
A few days ago, we took the bus downtown and caught the Sherwood Park 401 bus from in front of Telus Tower and caught the double decker bus. With our bus pass we only had to pay $1 extra. The kids loved it! We sat upstairs and saw so much.
The John Walter Museum offers free tours on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Edmonton Art Gallery has free days two evenings a week.
There are often free pancake breakfasts around the start of K-Days in July.
I find so many great free things to do in Edmonton, just by Googling Free Things to do in Edmonton this week.
There are lots of things to do in Edmonton for families. It’s worth it to stay in the city for a week in the summer and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.