AAA Travel Tips / 8 Fun Things to Do for Free (or Cheap) in Edmonton, Alberta

8 Fun Things to Do for Free (or Cheap) in Edmonton, Alberta

AAA/Katie Broome
By AAA Travel Editor Katie Broome
August 05, 2019
Whether you’re visiting Edmonton for work or play, there are plenty of things to do in the city that are free or just a few bucks. From free admission nights at the Art Gallery of Alberta to free downtown walking tours, here are the best things to do in Edmonton, Canada, on a budget. (Tip: To save even more money, opt to travel around the city on foot or by using the city’s public bus or light-rail transit service.)
The 100 Street Funicular from the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald down to the River Valley in Edmonton, Alberta.
AAA/Katie Broome

100 Street Funicular

10065 100 St. N.W.
(780) 442-5311
If you’re near the Edmonton Convention Centre or the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, make a quick pit stop behind the hotel to ride the 100 Street Funicular, one of Edmonton’s newest attractions. Board the glass-walled elevator to make the 36-second trip down an incline to a lower promenade level, where there is a footbridge that leads to a scenic lookout over the North Saskatchewan River. An additional elevator connects the promenade with an extensive network of trails in the lower River Valley. Riding the funicular is a fun, free and easy way to access some of the best views in Edmonton. It’s especially convenient for those with wheelchairs, strollers or bikes in tow.
The exterior of the Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton, Canada.
AAA/Katie Broome

Alberta Legislature Building

10800 97 Ave. N.W.
(780) 427-7362
Interested in history, architecture and Canadian politics? Take a free guided tour at the Alberta Legislature Building to learn about the province and see inside the Legislative Chamber where laws are debated to this day. After the tour, visit the nearby Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre to see its interactive exhibits and an immersive 4-D movie about Alberta. The grounds at the “Ledge” (as the Legislature Building is known to Albertans) play host to a number of free events throughout the year, including a summer outdoor concert series and holiday performances in December.
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Modern exterior of the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
AAA/Katie Broome

Art Gallery of Alberta

2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq.
(780) 422-6223
Spending some time at the Art Gallery of Alberta is one of the top things to do in Edmonton, and you can save money by visiting the gallery on Thursday nights (5-8 p.m.) when admission is free. (Admission is always free for ages 0-17 and to all on many federal holidays.) The modern building is home to three levels of exhibition space with contemporary and historical art from Canadian and international artists. Exhibits change every few months, so there’s always something new to see.
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Wood stairs zigzagging down a hillside in the Edmonton River Valley in Alberta.
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Edmonton River Valley Trails

Various access points
Spend a few hours hiking around Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley. It’s 100% free and fairly accessible thanks to an extensive network of trails that stretch more than 160 kilometres (99.4 mi.) through the valley. If you’re visiting Edmonton without a car, you can easily access the trail system from Constable Ezio Faraone Park (11004 97 Ave. N.W.) or from the base of the 100 Street Funicular (10065 100 St. N.W.). If you do have a car, drive to the forested trails near Fort Edmonton Park or the Wolf Willow Ravine (pictured).
Bronze statue of hockey player Wayne Gretzky in Edmonton, Alberta.
AAA/Katie Broome

Free Downtown Walking Tours

Departs from 104 Street N.W.
(780) 424-4085
Want to see Edmonton like a local? From late June to mid-August, the Downtown Business Association hosts free 90-minute walking tours by reservation on weekday mornings and Tuesday evenings. The tours will give you an insider’s perspective on the history, architecture and top attractions in downtown Edmonton, including stops at the Neon Sign Museum, the 104 Street Promenade, the up-and-coming ICE District, the Wayne Gretzky statue outside Rogers Place and the 101 Street Funicular. Plus you’ll get insider tips about the best places to eat and hidden gems around the city.
A streetcar crossing the High Level Bridge in Edmonton, Alberta.
AAA/Katie Broome

High Level Bridge Streetcar

8408 Gateway Blvd. N.W.
(780) 437-7721
One of the best Edmonton attractions for travelers on a budget is the High Level Bridge Streetcar, which travels along the old Canadian Pacific Railway from downtown Edmonton to Old Strathcona. For just $7 round trip you’ll get to cross the High Level Bridge in a vintage streetcar, with conductors narrating the 14-minute journey and pointing out spectacular views of the North Saskatchewan River Valley along the way. A few details to note: fare is paid in cash upon boarding, space for strollers is limited and streetcar service is seasonal (Victoria Day to Canadian Thanksgiving).
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Neon Sign Museum collection displayed on a brick building in downtown Edmonton, Alberta.
AAA/Katie Broome

Neon Sign Museum

104 Street N.W. and 104 Avenue N.W.
Looking for a great photo spot? Stop by the Neon Sign Museum in downtown Edmonton to check out a collection of 20 vintage neon signs displayed on the exteriors of two brick buildings. Open daily 24 hours, the outdoor collection is most photogenic at dusk when the neon begins to glow. After you snap some good photos, stroll nearby 104 Street N.W., also known as the 4th Street Promenade, to discover additional Instagram-worthy places including coffee shops, bars and local restaurants.
A hand holding a pretzel in front of the Zwick's Pretzels storefront in Edmonton, Alberta.
AAA/Katie Broome

Zwick's Pretzels

12415 107 Ave. N.W.
(780) 451-8882
Take a break from browsing the shops and art galleries along 124 Street and visit Zwick’s Pretzels for a doughy treat and a craft soda. For less than $3 you can have your pick of hand-rolled pretzels in flavors like garlic butter, cinnamon sugar or sour cream and onion, and there are quite a few dipping sauces you can add on, too. For a more substantial snack, “sandwichzels” (sandwiches served on a pretzel bun) and sausages will run you about $5 to $8. Seating is limited inside the small store, but the pretzels are easy to eat on the go.
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