How do you outsmart winter in Alberta? Beat ’em or join ’em. And this list of activities does just that. Half the attractions are for outdoor enthusiasts, the other half are for escaping indoors.
8882-170 St., 780-444-5313
Blue skies, beach chairs, and five acres of fun await you at West Edmonton Mall’s World Waterpark. This fun-filled destination is home to epic waterslides, splash pads, a zipline, hot tubs, a wave pool, concessions, private cabanas, a beach-view bar, and so much more. The perfect place to come in from the cold. Take that, winter!
9626-96A St., 780-944-5555
Step out of the snow into the Muttart Conservatory, located in Edmonton’s beautiful river valley. Bask in the warmth of the Tropical Pyramid, which boasts North America’s largest collection of orchid species. Explore the 4200-square-foot Arid Pyramid, home to hundreds of unique cacti and succulents. And don’t forget the Temperate Pyramid, which stands an impressive 79 feet tall, allowing many of the botanical species to stretch right to the peak. Be sure to check out their restaurant, too—Culina Café.
VIP Movie Theatres
Cineplex Odeon Windermere Cinemas and VIP, 6151 Currents Dr.
Cineplex Cinemas North Edmonton and VIP, 14231-137 Ave.
So you left the comforts of your home or hotel room, and now it’s a little chilly? Reward that tenacity with a bit of luxury! Two of Edmonton’s Cineplex locations offer adults-only VIP experiences, which mean plush reserved seats, a licensed lounge, and seat-side food and drink service. Order a cocktail to go with your popcorn—or indulge with more options from the specialty food menu, including poutine, guacamole, and ice cream sundaes.
Ice on Whyte Festival | January 24–27 & January 31–February 3
Gateway Blvd. & Tommy Banks Way
One of Edmonton’s hottest winter events, the Ice on Whyte Festival, features a giant ice slide, live entertainment, and the International Ice Carving Competition. The competition attracts artists from as far away as Russia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Mexico, and the winners compete in the Canada Cup of Ice Carving—which Edmonton is hosting this year! Participate in an ice-carving lesson in an inflatable igloo, chill out with friends in the Ice Bar with locally crafted beers and spirits, or just wander around and get inspired.
Flying Canoe Volant Festival | January 31–February 2
Mill Creek Ravine, 96 St. & 76 Ave., and La Cité Francophone, 8627-91 St., 780-463-1144
The Flying Canoe Volant Festival is based on the legend of a French nobleman who skipped church to hunt and was cursed to wander the night skies forever in a flying canoe. Wander the illuminated Mill Creek Ravine, marvel at magical light installations, make your own bannock, and engage in riveting storytelling. The fun doesn’t stop there, either. Hop on a horse-drawn carriage towards La Cité Francophone to enjoy live music, Indigenous art, and an outdoor patio. Be sure to pack a parka for this enchanting winter fest!
Silver Skate Festival | February 8–18
9330 Groat Rd., 780-488-1960
This family-oriented festival in Edmonton’s scenic river valley is our city’s longest running winter festival. Rooted in Dutch winter traditions, the Silver Skate Festival showcases snow sculptures, winter sports, music, and performances that transform Hawrelak Park into a winter wonderland. You won’t want to miss the Fire Sculpture event. Throughout the weekends (Feb 8–10 & Feb 15–17) teams of fire artists will build sculptures that get set aflame at 7:45 pm every night. Each day will feature a different team that creates a different interpretation of the story The Land of the Golden Apples, in which fire represents renewal and the release of sadness, fear, and regret that chase love from our hearts.