Winter Attractions, Activities & Festivals in Edmonton
Wondering what is there to do this winter in Edmonton?
In one word – P L E N T Y, whether you are a winter buff or not.
There are more than one hundred activities available to you across the snow and ice blanketed Edmonton winter landscape. Explore Alberta capital region through your favourite winter activity : one snowshoe trail or one toboggan hill at a time.
The article is arranged under three sections
1. Outdoor Attractions & Outdoor Winter Activities and events at the locations (if any).
2. Winter festivals
3. Music, Theatre and Other Cultural Events
4. Indoor Attractions in Edmonton
If you are visiting Edmonton: Distance from Edmonton City Hall is given for ease of trip planning (visualizing). Do not let the fact that it is freezing outside, keep you from enjoying Edmonton downtown attractions or from taking in an award winning play at one of Edmonton’s theatres. Pedway (indoor/underground walkway) will keep you safe from the elements.
If you are new to Canada, you might like to read – Canada’s Wind Chill Index and Winter Weather Preparedness
I. Outdoor Attractions & Winter Activities in Edmonton
1. Ice Castles
Marvel at the acre-sized winter wonderland is crafted by hand, using only icicles and water, that resembles frozen waterfalls, glaciers or ice caves brought to Edmonton by Ice Castles. Walk through the Disney-esque ice castle enjoying enjoy the stunning displays. Details
Hours: – Opening late December or early January
Cost: Child (4-11):$10.95 to $20
General Admission (12+):$13.95 to $25
Getting there: By car, Public Transit
Distance from Edmonton City Hall: ~ @Hawrelak Park, 9330 Groat Road
Located 14 km SW
2. Elk Island National Park
Winter Activities: Wildlife (Bison, Elk) viewing is at its best in winter as animals come out in the open to forage for food (Bison Loop Road) in this unspoiled prairie winter wilderness. The national park offers plenty of other winter activities like cross country skiing, snow shoeing, along the many multi use trails.
Winter Hours: Park & office open year round. Camps & visitor centre are closed in winter.
Cost: Adult(17 – 64): $ 7.80; Senior(65+) $ 6.80; Youth (6 – 16)$ 3.90; Family/Group(up to 7 in a single car):$ 15.70
Getting there: By car
Distance from Edmonton City Hall: ~ Located 48 km E (40 mintues drive)
3. Cooking Lake Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area
Winter Hours: Open Daily, 24 hours, Daylight hours recommended.
Getting there: By car
Distance from Edmonton City Hall: ~ 48 km (40 minutes drive) – Spread over a very large area with many entrances. Distance mentioned to Waskahegan Staging Area – 52301 Range Road 210, Beaver County.
4. Strathcona Wilderness Centre
Activities: Enjoy a glorious winter day with family skiing, snow shoeing (Trail map) or join for any of the special events like World Snow Day, Moonlight Ski, The Great Pastry Caper at the Strathacona Wilderness Centre.
Winter Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM.
Cost: Trail pass fees apply. Rentals available on site.
Getting there: By Car; 52535 Range Road 212, Ardrossan,T8G 2E9.
Distance from Edmonton City Hall: ~ 42 km E
SKIING, SNOWBOARDING & SNOWTUBING
5. Snow Valley Ski Club
Activities: Skiing, Snowboarding, Snow school. Website.
Winter Hours: Regular: Monday to Friday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM ; Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Cost: All day lift tickets 2018 – 19: Adult (18+) :$39.00; Youth(13-17):$37.00; Junior(4-12):$32.00; Senior(55+) :$18.00; Family: $119
Getting there: 119 St off whitemud Fwy, Edmonton; Best to drive, accessible by public transit (short walk).
Distance from Edmonton City Hall: ~ 12 km NE.
6. Sunridge Ski Area
Activities: Snowboarding, Snow tubing, Snow school, Skiing. Website
Winter Hours: Regular Season: Monday – Friday: 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM; Saturday, Sunday: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (snow tubing hours vary, see website)
Cost: All day lift tickets 2018- 19: Adult (18+) : $42.00, Youth(13-17):$39.00, Junior(6-12):$34.00, Senior(55+) :$18.00; Family: $109.00;
Getting there: Located in Strathcona County in Strathcona Science Provincial Park – Best to drive; accessible through public transit.
Distance from Edmonton City Hall ~ 14 km E
7. Rabbit Hill Snow Resort
Activities: Skiing, Snowboarding, Snow School Website
Winter Hours: Regular Season: Monday to Friday – 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Saturday & Sunday – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Adult (18+): $43.00; Youth(13-17): $40.00; Junior(6-12):$35.00; Senior(60 – 69):$15.00; Tyke(4-5): $15.00;
Getting there: D-25512, Township Rd 510A, Leduc County T9G0H9; By Car.
Distance from Edmonton City Hall: ~ 40 km SW
8. Edmonton Ski Club
Activities: Snowboarding, Skiing, Snow School Website.
Winter Hours/Rates: TBA
Getting there: Accessible through Public Transit; parking available on site.
Distance from Edmonton City Hall: ~ 4 km SE
9. Cross Country Skiing
Explore winter wilderness of Edmonton countryside & the River Valley through cross country skiing.
1. City of Edmonton around River Valley – link
2. City of St Albert
Kingswood Park on Sturgeon Road, around Liberton Park, Riverlot 56 Natural Area
Also see St Albert Nordic Ski Club website to know more about the trails maintained by the club.
3. Strathcona Wilderness Centre , Beaver Hills Area, Elk Island National Park
4. Ski on a golf course: Stony Plain Public Golf Course is transformed into a winter thrill destination with cross country ski trails.
10. Hiking & Snowshoeing
If you love walking in winter, then treat yourself by walking along the many River valley trails. All River Valley trails are maintained by the city of Edmonton. From Terwillegar Park to Hermitage Park you’ll discover a wide range of family facilities you can really warm up to! Whether you’re tobogganing, skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or winter picnicking, you can find warm resting areas en-route(Winter Chalets).
Ride the new Funicular and experience the snow blanketed River Valley like never before! Ride the funicular from the 100 Street near the Hotel MacDonald to the river valley trail system near the Low Level Bridge. If you want additional exercise, take the urban staircase. There is also a separate track for runners and a bike rail for cyclists who opt to push their bikes up and down the stairs. Funicular is Wheel chair and stroller accessible.
Elk Island national park’s Beaver Pond Trail and Amisk Wuche Trail offer great vistas to crunch snow.
Snow shoeing : Try snowshoeing with your family this winter. Did you know that snowshoeing burns 45% more calories than walking at the same speed? Snowshoe along the uncleared trails, and discover winter wilderness this season. Guide for first timers.
Exploring River Valley through Segway: If you are visiting Edmonton, explore Edmonton’s expansive River Valley through Segway tours.
11. Ice Fishing
12. Northern Lights & Night Sky Observing
Winter is a great time to enjoy the Northern lights as night time is longer. Sip hot chocolate and enjoy the light show by nature in your own backyard (if there is very strong magnetic activity). Head out of the city to the open, away from the city lights for a better view.
On Thursdays, during U of A Term time, visit U of A Observatory for solar observing (noon) & night sky observing.
Whether you skate outdoors experiencing the crisp winter air or gather your family and friends for an ice time indoors, skating is a fun way to enjoy winter. Choose your favourite or try a new location this win
Enjoy outdoor skating at Victoria Park oval at 12130 River Valley Road, Edmonton and at Victoria Park IceWay — the 400-metre skating track situated next to Victoria Park oval.
Or head to Rundle Park, to tryout Rundle Park IceWay that features a shinny pond, a large tableland ice skating surface and a smaller family rink.
Other Skating Rinks
- Check out other outdoor arenas, here. For public skate times in indoor arenas, see Here.
- Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues outdoor skating arenas – Here
- City of St. Albert Outdoor Rinks & Ice Surfaces – Here
- Strathcona County – Here
- Spruce Grove – Here
- Stony Plain – Here
You can also plan for a winter day trip to Elk Island National Park. Pack a thermos and set out with your family by snowshoe or cross country skis to explore one of the many trails in the park. Or lace up your skates and skate around High Island on Astotin Lake for truly unique winter experience. (Weather and ice conditions permitting).
14. Tobogganing & Sledding
a. City of Edmonton – Locations
b. City of St. Albert – Seven Hills (Mission Hill); Lacombe Lake Park.
c. Strathcona County – Locations
Check this map for locations across Edmonton.
15. Wildlife Viewing
Go on a winter wildlife viewing tour at Elk Island National Park or at Cooking Lake – Blackfoot area.
For an educational, entertaining and fun family activity – track the footprints in the snow & try to guess which animal it belongs to.
17. Other Winter Activities – Dog Sledding; Sleigh Rides; Snowmobiling; Skijoring
a. Sleigh Rides & Wagon Rides:
b. Miquelon Lake Provincial Park – enjoy Skijoring, skiing &, snow shoeing.
d. Village of Pigeon Lake is great winter weekend retreat or a day trip location. Enjoy Dog sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling & more at this destination situated just over an hour away from Edmonton.
e. For those in Edmonton, who want to try out skijoring/kicksledding this winter, see here and these meetup groups –
II. Winter Festivals and Events
1. Winter Festivals in Edmonton
2. Live Music & Theatre
- Artists heading to Edmonton during 2018-19 winter season include Arkelis, Paul Brandt ‘The Journey Tour’ with High Valley, Justin Timberlake – The Man Of The Woods Tour (postponed from fall of 2018), and Mother Mother.
- Live theatre events includes Come from Away, A Midsummer Night’s dream by Alberta Ballet, Hansel and Gretel by Edmonton Opera, Ballet BC, The Illusionists – Live From Broadway, Matilda The Musical, Kinky Boots and many more!