One Month in Alberta
Collected by Jeff Bartlett, AFAR Local Expert
Alberta has so much to do, we recommend spending a month there (at least). From desert Badlands, through the Great Plains, to the Canadian Rockies, stunning scenery unravels in all directions. Booming cities with world-famous events like the Calgary Stampede and Edmonton K-Days show off the heart and culture of Alberta's booming cosmopolitan cities, while scenic highways connect cowboy culture to the mountain lifestyle of Banff and Jasper National Parks.
82 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB, Canada
If you think Edmonton is all giant malls and indoor shopping, stroll down Whyte Avenue. This Old Strathcona strip has been crowned one of Canada’s Top 5 shopping neighborhoods, as more than 600 businesses vie for your attention. Independent...
10454 82 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 4Z7, Canada
Whyte Avenue is in Old Strathcona, Edmonton’s du jour neighborhood that is lined with locally owned shops, trendy restaurants and bars, and, on Saturdays, the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market. Metterra Hotel on Whyte brings hip style under one roof....
10723 124 St, Edmonton, AB T5M 0H2, Canada
One of the finest dining atmospheres in Edmonton is Somerville, a chill wine room and bistro with, unsurprisingly, an excellent wine list and a fantastic little menu. It's quite an experience to chat wine with a gifted sommelier, though it can be...
Spruce Grove, AB T7Y 1B3, Canada
Enough twists and turns for the whole family, the Edmonton Corn Maze follows a different pattern each year. But you might want to pack a snack and wait till the kids hit double digits: the maze winds five kilometers long and features 85 decision...
632 Connaught Dr, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada
Slide into your warmest winter boots, strap on a pair of ice cleats, and bundle on an extra layer before descending into the Maligne Canyon for a unique Jasper experience. Curving rock walls create the perfect labyrinth to explore the depths of...
504 Patricia St, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada
Jasper’s newest restaurant, Raven Bistro, brings a touch of spice to the Canadian Rockies. It’s dubbed as Moroccan-fusion cuisine, but the menu has plenty of international flavors. My personal favorite? The Steak-Frite Argentine with housemade...
Valley of the Five Lakes, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada
The Icefield Parkway isn’t just a highway linking Lake Louise and Jasper, Alberta. It’s a 230-km road trip through the Canadian Rockies, past a series of emerald-green alpine lakes fed by nearby glaciers. The entire route connects Jasper and Banff...
Icefields Pkwy, Lake Louise, AB T0L, Canada
Num-Ti-Jah Lodge on Bow Lake just north of Lake Louise in Banff National Forest is a treasure, but then again, the entire Canadian Rockies makes for one unending series of aesthetically arresting moments. The Num-Ti-Jah lodge was built and run by...
111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0, Canada
One of Canada’s most iconic hotels, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is cradled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by towering peaks and fully immersed in the protected pristine wilderness of Banff National Park. In the...
Lake Louise, AB T0L, Canada
Built in 1924 by Swiss guides employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse was meant as refuge for mountaineers attempting to summit the peaks behind Lake Louise, namely Mount Victoria and Mount Lefroy. Today,...
Moraine Lake, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Nestled at the base of the Valley of the 10 Peaks, Moraine Lake boasts turquoise waters that change color throughout the day as sunlight refracts off the minuscule particles of glacier-ground rock suspended within. Though it has a B-list rating...
311 Cave Ave, Banff, AB T0L 0C0, Canada
You can smell the minerals in the water as you unload the family at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, the place where two railway surveyors spotted a cave and series of natural hot springs back in 1883. They were helping to build the...
Tunnel Mountain Rd, Banff, AB T0L, Canada
Camping at Tunnel Mountain Village was my first experience as an adult staying in a Parks Canada campground, and I have to say: Canada, I'm impressed. Even though it's a large campground with 618 sites, it was still a very positive camping...
Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Mountains are awesome, in every sense of the word. There’s no better way to experience the full glory of the Canadian Rockies than by taking an eight-minute ride up Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola. Just a short drive from the center of...
91 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore, AB T1W 1N8, Canada
Instead of staring up at the spectacular Canadian Rockies, imagine soaring just inches above their majestic peaks. Alpine Helicopters sightseeing tours begin from the Canmore Municipal Heli-port just minutes from downtown, and fly over the iconic...
310 Old Canmore Rd, Canmore, AB T1W 0J7, Canada
Business is booming for the Grizzly Paw Brewery, so much so that the company can no longer brew enough beer to keep up with demand at its small brewpub. The solution? A brand-new and much larger brewery situated just five minutes away. This...
AB-5, Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0, Canada
Many who visit Glacier National Park do not make the trip across the Canadian border to the northern section of the park. Opened in 1927, the Prince of Wales Hotel is a landmark overlooking the beauty of Upper Waterton Lake and its surrounding...
Fort MacLeod, AB T0L 0Z0, Canada
From a distance, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump looks like any other Canadian Rockies foothill area, but closer inspection reveals a UNESCO World Heritage site that holds 6,000 years of First Nations (native peoples') history beneath its grassy...
110 Century Dr W, East Coulee, AB T0J 1B0, Canada
This guided climb took me eight stories high and along a 210-foot underground conveyor, inside Canada's last-standing wooden coal mine. What goes up, must come down, and the only way is via a series of rickety stairs cut into the mountainside, and...
555 Jewell St, Rosedale, AB T0J 2V0, Canada
The Rosedeer Hotel is one of the first buildings you see in Wayne, sitting squat on a narrow piece of land between the railroad tracks and the hills behind. It looks like a movie set, and has been. Running Brave, Shanghai Noon, and In Cold Blood...
197 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 4M4, Canada
You’ll have to check the calendar for the next pop-up event from this collective of over a hundred local artists and musicians. From upcycled, eye-popping necklaces by Tinged to the masculine characteristics of designer Rebecca King's elegant...
1122 16 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0T6, Canada
Located just off trendy 17 Ave SW, Hotel Elan combines stunning comfort and modern luxury in a boutique hotel. The suites are massive, with a bedroom, living room, and full kitchen, so you’ll feel right at home throughout your stay. Just don’t...
210 St. George's Drive NE, Calgary, AB T2E 7V6, Canada
While few Calgarians were seriously injured during the flooding, the Calgary Zoo was relatively hard hit. It lost four peacocks (most of the flock of twelve evaded collection by staff sent to evacuate them) and a pot-bellied pig (it died from the...
1410 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0Y1, Canada
You might be tempted to call this tiny space with a huge vibe a hole in the wall, but that doesn’t do it justice. Milk Tiger is quite simply the coolest lounge in town, with the bartender blasting the music and discussing philosophy while creating...
698 Eau Claire Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P, Canada
A two minute walk from the bustle of downtown Calgary, Prince’s Island Park—which is surrounded by the Bow River—is home to festivals all summer long. The Calgary Folk Music Festival and 52,000 of its closest friends rock and/or folk out on the...
750 5 St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 5B4, Canada
It’s a new take on an old favorite—a drive-in movie without the car. Instead of a car, you bring a blanket and settle in to watch a classic film on the side of one of the oldest buildings in Calgary, just east of downtown. And if not a movie, you’...
700 Centre St S, Calgary, AB T2G 5P6, Canada
Located right downtown on Centre Street, The Hyatt Regency provides more than a luxurious place to sleep in Calgary. It’s more of a swank home base for exploring the entire city. The Olympic Plaza and Calgary Tower are both within a few minutes'...
1410 Olympic Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2W1, Canada
Calgary is famous for the Calgary Stampede, ten days of cowboys, rodeo events, chuckwagon races, a midway (complete with deep fried Mars bars and corn dogs) and great music. No one’s kidding when they call it The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
119 12 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0G8, Canada
While it isn’t uncommon for a hotel, a restaurant and a bar to live under the same roof, it's rather unprecedented that all three are both award winning and local favourites. Contemporary décor and chic styling define Hotel Arts, a designer...
132 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1C1, Canada
Warner Stables might be on the fringes of the booming resort town of Banff, Alberta; however, even a 1hr trail ride leads far enough from the hustle and bustle main street to feel like the Wild West. Horseback journeys have a long history in Banff...
Highway 93, Jasper, AB T1L 1J3, Canada
Jasper National Park’s newest attraction, the Glacier Skywalk, opened earlier this year as part of several features at the Glacier Discovery Center. After parking at the center, take a quick bus ride to the Skywalk. A free audio tour introduces...
Alberta 5, Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0, Canada
Banff and Jasper are top of mind when it comes to Alberta's Great Outdoors. Travelers flock to Moraine Lake by the busload for postcard-perfect snaps and zip through the province's northern parks on the trail of grizzlies, elk, and moose. Waterton...
Crandell Lake Trail, Waterton, AB T0K 2M0, Canada
Bear's Hump is one of Waterton National Park's best hikes. It's extremely short, measuring only 2.8 km, but it involves plenty of climbing as the trail winds uphill from the Visitor Information Office towards the rocky bluffs that hang high above...
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