Devyn’s recommendation: City Market Downtown
Location: 10299 97 St. NW
Dates: May – October
Cost: Whatever you want to spend.
Why it is an integral part of your Edmonton Summer Experience: Despite billing itself as a “winter city,” Edmonton truly shines during the summer. When the weather is at its best, head down to the City Market on 104th Street and walk among the various vendors, buskers, and dogs. Shop for anything under the sun, from fresh produce grown by local farmers to artisan soaps, jewelry and clothing made by hand and with love, and grab all the free samples your greedy little hands can hold. The Market also makes a great jumping off point for a day downtown, especially for people who live outside of the core. Head further down 104 and take a look at the Neon Sign Museum, a peek at the Edmonton of yore. Patio-hop down Jasper Ave. and see how many locally brewed beers you can drink before the sun goes down. Check out the Art Gallery of Alberta or the goings on at Churchill Square. The City Market is a great opportunity to shop local and organic, enjoy the weather, and explore a part of downtown that is making strides to become more pedestrian-oriented and welcoming.
Sydney’s recommendation: University of Alberta Botanical Garden
Location: 51227 AB-60, Parkland County
Dates: May 1 – October 14
Cost: Non-peak season (May 1 – 31 & Sept. 3 – Oct. 14) student admission $8.50. Peak season (June 1 – Sept. 2) students pay $9.
Why it is an integral part of your Edmonton Summer Experience: While it might be a little out of the way from Edmonton’s downtown core, the University of Alberta’s Botanical Garden is the perfect summer spot for those looking for a small getaway outside of the city. The garden’s beautiful scenery makes for a perfect spot for a picnic on a sunny day, or for a casual stroll through its many paths and garden collections. The site features alpine, Japanese, and Indigenous gardens, as well as the new Aga Khan Garden. The U of A Botanical Garden is also home to a tropical butterfly exhibit along with a café and a shop selling local goods and crafts. It also offers a variety of events throughout the summer, including traditional tea ceremonies in the Japanese garden, several themed date nights, and a performance from the Edmonton Opera, to name a few. If you’re looking to learn a little more about the surrounding nature or the culture behind each garden, walking tours are drop-in and free, however, they are first come first serve. The U of A Botanical Garden has even received a Certificate of Excellence from tripadvisor, making it an ideal summer destination for those just visiting Edmonton. The gardens make for a perfect summer experience if you’ve been longing for a peaceful day with nature.
Megan’s recommendation: Freewill Shakespeare Festival
Location: Heritage Amphitheatre, Hawrelak Park
Dates: June 18 – July 14
Cost: $25 for students, aside from special ticketed events or pay what you will performances.
Why it is an integral part of your Edmonton Summer Experience: The Freewill Shakespeare Festival brings two different plays to life on stage each year, with The Winter’s Tale and Two Gentlemen of Verona slated for this summer. Choose comedy or tragedy, and be prepared for the weather; the shows run on schedule, rain or shine. If you’re looking for a broader experience, there are several fun and interactive ticketed shows, including wine tastings, cask nights, and afternoon teas. There’s even a puppet show to introduce the plot and characters, making it a great introduction for those who may not have seen a production outside of Leo DiCaprio’s turn as Romeo. If you’d like to catch both shows, season tickets are available for a slightly discounted rate.
Marina’s recommendation: Edmonton Heritage Festival
Location: Hawrelak Park
Dates: Aug. 3 – 5
Cost: The festival is free to get into and all entertainment is free. Food tickets are $1 each or 20 for $20.
Why it is an integral part of your Edmonton Summer Experience: For students, this is one of the greatest summer festivals in the city. The festival is the largest outdoor celebration of multiculturalism in the world. Whether you are looking to explore some new flavours and cultures or for a little taste of home, this festival truly has something for everyone. It has free entry so you can experience dancing, art, and entertainment from 100 different countries and heritage organizations from around the city. How much you choose to spend on food is up to you and while I recommend trying as much of the diverse and delicious cuisine as your stomach will allow, it is totally customizable for any budget. The event is outside, so dress for the weather. However, the different booths and entertainment stages are all covered by 71 different pavilions, so rain or shine you can still go dine, enjoy the sights, and learn a little bit about some of the different cultures that make up Edmonton.
Lydia’s recommendation: The Edmonton International Fringe Festival
Location: The heart of Old Strathcona
Dates: Aug. 15 – 25
Cost: Entrance to the festival is free, but indoor show prices range from $10 to $13, with a $3 service charge (so a show will be less than $20 per person).
Why it is an integral part of your Edmonton Summer Experience: The Fringe festival here in Edmonton is the largest theatre festivals in North America with over 1,500 artists providing over 1,600 performances. The festival is a great opportunity for students as it provides access to live theatre for a highly reasonable price. Those who don’t wish to purchase tickets can simple attend the festival and experience the sights and sounds — including street performers and food trucks and tents. You will want to bring some cash to support any street performers that you watch, though, as these highly talented individuals provide lots of entertainment. Even though the festival is a great way to spend a couple hours, I would highly recommend purchasing tickets to a few shows. There are wide range of performances are for anyone and everyone, with genres varying from comedy, improv, and family-friendly productions to drama, romance, and storytelling. Along with the great performances, the festival is a great way to support local artists — and art in Edmonton is one of the major ways to keep the city interesting!
Photography by the griff staff.