At the core of the city is Edmonton's Downtown, consisting of the city's Commercial Core, the Arts District, Rice Howard Way, Jasper-West, McKay Avenue, the Warehouse District, and the Government Grandin area, and the new Ice District. The Arts District is the cultural heart of the city, including most of Edmonton's primary cultural building including the Citadel Theatre, City Hall and The Art Gallery of Alberta. The Government Grandin area is home to many city and provincial government buildings including the Alberta Legislature, while the Warehouse District contains older brick warehouse leftover from when this area was the city's prime industrial core: many of these heritage buildings are being restored, renovated and converted into trendy loft and condominium spaces. The new Ice District is a $2.5 billion multi-use sports and entertainment district. Roger Place, home to the Edmonton Oilers is the main attraction, opening on Sept 8, 2016. The new arena can seat 18,500 people for a hockey games.
Surrounding Edmonton's Downtown are older urban neighbourhoods including Oliver, Westmount, Glenora, Boyle Street, McCauly, Bonnie Doon, Cloverdale, Parkdale and Riverdale. Each of these communities has its own unique personality, from Oliver's high-density high-rise apartments and condominiums to the Scottish mansions of Glenora and the older, character homes in Westmount and Riverdale.
Across the river from Downtown Edmonton is Strathcona, considered by many to be the trendiest and most vibrant area of the city. Home to the popular and bustling Whyte Avenue which offers some of the city's best nightlife, Strathcona is a major cultural hotspot, hosting festivals throughout the year and set apart by its many locally owned and operated restaurant, cafes, businesses and boutiques. Nearby is the French-Canadian inspired neighbourhood of Garneau and the main campus of the University of Alberta.
Beyond this urban core can be found the more mature suburban areas of Edmonton, including Rundle Heights, Sherbrooke, Allendale and Empire Park among dozens of others. These higher density suburbs offer a variety of housing choices including single family homes, townhouse complexes and walk-up apartment and condominiums.
Radiating out from these communities are the newer suburbs, areas like Millwoods, Clareview, Callingwood, Terwillegar and Castle Downs. Edmonton continues to expand its borders, offering newer communities beyond the Anthony Henday ring road including Summerside, Windermere, The Hamptons, Ellerslie and Rutherford. Many of these outermost suburban communities include small recreational lakes.
Edmonton Parks & River Valley
Built on the river, Edmonton is divided by the North Saskatchewan River Valley, the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America and the highest per capital parkland area of any Canadian city. 22 times larger than New York City's Central Park, the North Saskatchewan River Valley runs from the south west corner of Edmonton and winds its way through the city, slicing through Edmonton's bustling downtown on its way to the north east quadrant.
This unique urban "Ribbon of Green" parkland is interconnected with multi-use bike and walking trails, and is home to many popular Edmonton attractions including Fort Edmonton Park and the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Several popular private and public golf courses dot the River Valley, including the Mayfair Golf and Country Club, Riverside Golf Club and the Rundle Park Golf Course.
The 25 kilometre (16 mile) River Valley system includes 11 lakes, 14 ravines and 22 major parks, yet this massive river valley system only makes up half of Edmonton's total 27,000 acres of parkland. The rest is scattered throughout city neighbourhoods in both small and large portions, including dozens of community parks and an extensive ravine system in the south west area of the city.
Edmontonians make use of this extensive parkland all year round, enjoying both summer and winter activities. In the winter public greenspaces and golf courses become popular places for cross-country skiers while many of the lakes open for public skating once they freeze over. Edmonton has two downhill ski hills within the city limits and an additional two within the greater Edmonton area.
Edmonton's Downtown core and Whyte Avenue areas are where most of the events and key cultural buildings are located. The city's Arts District includes City Hall, Sir Winston Churchill Square, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Citadel Theatre and the Winspear Centre. Across the river, the Whyte Ave, Glenora and University areas include many theatres and live music venues. Old Strathcona is home to a mix of live venues and local theatre companies including The TransAlta Arts Barns, The Waterdale Playhouse, Catalyst Theatre, and the Varscona Theatre.
Known as "Festival City, Edmonton is host to an impressive roster of year-round world-class festivals including the largest Fringe Festival in North America, a week-long festival featuring over 1,400 performances in 40+ indoor and outdoor venues. Other major festivals include the Street Performers' Festival and Taste of Edmonton in Sir Winston Churchill Square, Capital EX at Northlands, and the popular Folk Music Festival in Gallagher Park.
The most popular nightlife spot in Edmonton is Whyte Avenue, with most restaurants, cafes and clubs located between 99th and 109th street in a trendy atmosphere mixing a vibrant streetscape, unique locally owned specialty shops, and the highest concentration of heritage buildings in the city.
Since the 1990s, Edmonton's Downtown has undergone a vast change and now provides a diverse array of trendy restaurants, pubs and shops. With this resurgence of interest and activity in downtown Edmonton, more and more independent boutiques, live venues and chef-driven restaurants are opening.