Not having money while on vacation can be disheartening. A great place like Edmonton where all the fun activities are expensive can be a dull visit with an empty wallet.
Fortunately, there are solutions. Whether it’s depressing student loans or rent and bills that have you down, you do not have to cancel plans with friends or only order bread sticks at dinner.
Below is a list of 25 things to do in Edmonton to enjoy yourself without money.
Free guided tours are offered of this beautiful architectural masterpiece. Inspired by Greek, Roman and Egyptian architecture the building is stunning and camera ready. Don’t forget to marvel at the on-site scenery; picturesque gardens and waterfall pools that will make the perfect screen saver.
2. Farmer’s Market on a Saturday
It doesn’t cost anything to walk around the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market, sampling local fresh fruits, listening to live music and looking at handmade jewelry and other beautiful trinkets. You will only need cash if you want to purchase anything, like a delicious pastry or a gift. An alternative is the City Market on 104th, but since this is not open year round, e sure to visit when you can.
3. River Valley Trails
Walk, jog, run or bike through beautiful scenery. Getting fresh air is always free, and the physical activity will benefit your mind and body. The trails can be enjoyed with friends or alone, either way, the views will make you forget your financial woes.
For the ultimate Pokemon fans, head to the Mall with your friends for some ‘catch-em-all’ fun. With three gyms and 23 Pokestops, you will be sure to enjoy your afternoon and return home with a brag-worthy collection of Pokemon.
Check schedules for the free events offered by the province of Alberta which take place for a few days once a year. Free admission to galleries, museums concerts and historic sites are up for grabs. Events include:
Art Gallery of Alberta – offering free admission October 1st and 2nd
Edmonton Opera – performing a free show at the Kingsway Mall on October 1st
Mile Zero Dance Extravaganza – free performances and a dance party on October 1st and free dance lessons on October 2nd.
6. Edmonton Short Film Festival
For a minimal fee of $18.90 per person, you can experience a red carpet event. Walk the red carpet, get a complimentary photo, eat movie popcorn and hors oeuvres and listen to the live music. You will see 90 minutes of material including trailers, comedies, dramas and web episodes to name but a few. The event is one of a kind and worth the money.
7. Empress Ale House on Sundays
Entertainment for you and your friends in the form of comedy and cheap beers. The perfect end to a week and a final laugh and drink before the week ahead. The jokes and beer will make those financial pains slightly more bearable.
8. Edmonton Pride Parade
Show support for love and equality y watching the parade or even getting involved. A vivid demonstration of variety and colour, costumes and flair, as well as every kind of person celebrating together in the streets.
9. Hexagon Board Game Cafe
A unique place to hang out with friends or perhaps make some new ones, the Hexagon Cafe offers you games to play. Pick your poison and play Clue, Monopoly or Cards Against Humanity all while relaxing in a fun atmosphere. Life does not always have to be serious; every once in a while it is healthy just to play.
10. Sir Winston Churchill Square
Let your mind and body relax with free yoga classes during the summer. Unwind from your financial strains and find your zen. Making this part of your routine may even help to deal with those negative situations in life as you focus on yourself and not your money.
Listed online will be their schedules for free admission nights (usually the last Thursday of each month). Enlighten your artistic side as you peruse over the contemporary and trendy art displayed before you. You never know, something may inspire you.
Let your inner child run free with this large outdoor game of hide-n-seek. There is not a person in the world who did not love this game as a child. Running around both hiding and searching as an adult every Wednesday night will make you feel young again. The thrill of finding the best hiding place is something you never get tired of.
13. Princess Theatre
Not your average movie theatre, the Princess Theatre offers you old time concession stands, nostalgia and a beautiful art house building. With general admission at $11 and student discount tickets at $8, it is the cheapest seats in town for a good show.
14. 124th Street
Surround yourself with culture and aesthetically pleasing surroundings and take a stroll down 124th Street. Take time to notice the selection of art galleries and lose yourself in the worlds of different artists. A small step away from reality never hurt anyone.
15. William Hawrelak Park
Pack up a picnic, or just some snacks that you enjoy and head out to the park. Walk around or play catch or even roll in the grass as you did as a child. With friends or alone with a book, the fresh air and green scenery will refresh you and your outlook.
16. Light Saber Training
Sir Winston Churchill Square brings Star Wars to you. Add a group of friends, some inanimate objects, great (or not so great) sound effects and a fun atmosphere and you are sure to have a great time at this unique gathering.
17. Free Admission Days
Many places around Edmonton offer free tickets on certain days of the year. Check online or call around to find out when these occur. You can visit the John Walter Museum, the Edmonton Valley Zoo, the Muttart Conservatory and more at no cost.
18. Whyte Avenue
Surround yourself with vintage stores and entertaining street performers. There are plenty of shops to window shop, and you may even find a great deal on a cool trinket that you don’t need, but it makes you smile.
19. Cheap Food
Enjoy some cheap food with your friends at any of these local Edmonton restaurants:
- Commodore Restaurant
- Seoul Fried Chicken
- Mongolia Express
- Rockin’ Robyn’s Diner
- Eva Sweet Waffles
- Old Spaghetti Factory
20. Neon Sign Museum
A place you need to visit during twilight hours or at night, this museum displays all a unique collection of old neon signs from demolished buildings. A little trip in history, it is interesting to see what signs used to look like for the local businesses.
Free of charge, you can go star gazing and imagine your life as an astronaut. Or you can make your problems melt away by staring in awe at the wondrous beauty that is space. A relaxing way to help you see the bigger picture.
22. Scoop N’ Roll
Visit this unique and fascinating Edmonton ice cream shop, where sheets of ice cream are rolled up. A food phenomenon like no other and a delicious and one of a kind treat, this spot is a must for any cheap night out.
23. High-Level Bridge Streetcar
Travel in style from Old Strathcona to Downtown Edmonton on the town’s famous streetcar. The trip only costs $5 round trip and is a fun experience. For a different mood entirely and a more peaceful setting, try the ride at sunset.
24. Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival
Surround yourself with culture and dynamic and innovative performances at one of the biggest and oldest Fringe Festivals. Costs will vary, but there is something for every budget so be sure to check out the schedules and don’t miss a show.
25. Canadian National Parks
As of January 2017, all Canadian National Parks are free of charge. Explore the beauty of nature at its finest and escape from the hectic and stressful life of the towns and cities.
Edmonton has plenty to do for every budget, so be sure to check out these low-cost attractions for those times when both you and your wallet need to relax.