Many people complain about living in Edmonton, and for about seven months of the year, I agree with them. Winter does make it hard to get out, and that can make life in Edmonton seem pretty dull. However, in our whining, we often overlook one crucial detail: Edmonton’s summers are absolutely glorious. When the temperatures rise, our city transforms from an icy tundra into a vibrant metropolis, which leaves one with infinite date night possibilities. That being said, here are four of my personal favourites that can be adapted to suit any budget.
Edmonton’s unrivalled river valley
One of the best things about our city is our river valley. It is the largest urban park in Canada, boasting more than 160 kilometres of maintained trails that connect 20 major parks. My recommendation: spend a few hours biking the trails, enjoying your partner’s company and a bit of nature, then make your way to Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park for a good old fashioned wiener (or Tofurkey dog) roast. Don’t forget the s’mores! You can fit all of the necessary supplies in a backpack, and wood and fire pits are available in day-use campsites around the park. Just make sure there isn’t a fire ban on!
Don’t own a bike? A few places around the city provide rentals for a pretty affordable price. With the bike rental, this date would cost you about $35 a person. Without the rental, it should cost between $10 and $15.
Fantastic farmer’s markets
Another amazing part of Edmonton’s summers is our farmer’s markets. At least one market takes place every day of the week throughout the summer, so this option is also pretty versatile. You could trade out some of your supermarket shopping for locally grown and produced goodies, or simply take a look at some of the talented artisans that call the city home (I definitely advise testing out some tasty treats while you browse). Another bonus is that the markets often feature live, local musicians at no cost to the attendees.
Again, the cost of this date really depends on how much you want to spend. Farmer’s markets around the city are a fun way to get out with your significant other and help support our local industries.
The wonderful world of science
Say it’s a rainy day and you are looking to move your date inside. Well, aside from its usual events and charm, this summer the Telus World of Science will be featuring an exhibit called Terry Fox — Running to the Heart of Canada.
They also show a variety of incredible documentaries and films at their IMAX theatre. I know that it’s summer vacation and all, but maybe there’s a little bit of room for learning if it’s also fun?
The cost of admission is $28 for students with their student ID, or $33.50 for a general admission pass. This does not include tickets to any of the IMAX shows.
You can, however, rent a locker at a very affordable price, so if you wanted to spend the day without more costs, you can always pack a lunch and store it there while you wander through the exhibits.
Find your festival
Now, I hate to sound clichéd, but when in doubt: festivals! Edmonton is known as the city of festivals, and for good reason. The Fringe, Taste of Edmonton, Heritage Days, the Art Walk, the Street Performers Festival — the list goes on and on.
The other beautiful thing about these festivals is that admission to the event is often free or quite affordable — we’re talking $3 kind of affordable — which leaves you room to spend as much or as little as you would like on sampling the wares of exhibitors or attending the shows that do require a ticket fee.
The best piece of advice I can give for summer dates in Edmonton is just to get out and enjoy them — preferably with sangria, when appropriate. Whether your date budget is $20 or $200, there is a plethora of exciting activities to experience in our city over the next few months.