Parks & Plazas
Believe it or not, there’s plenty of greenery to explore Downtown. Check out the jogging trails along the river or take your pup to a fenced off-leash area for some exercise. There’s something for everyone in the green spaces of the core.
Alex Decoteau Park, 10230 105 Street
Sandwiched between shiny office towers, luxury hotels and cool condos, you’ll find a surprising number of green spaces in Downtown Edmonton. One of the newest is Alex Decoteau Park. Opened in 2017 and named in honour of the first Aboriginal police officer in Canada, the park was a collaboration 10 years in the making between the City of Edmonton, Downtown residents and nearby businesses. The main attraction is a small fenced off-leash dog park where dogs of all sizes and breeds are welcome. Walk your pup here and you’ll both make friends in no time. There’s plenty to do and see if you don’t have a four-legged friend. This much-loved park has lots of seating scattered amongst the trees, where you can watch area residents tend to their garden plots. The spot is also a favourite hangout for young families thanks to several kid- friendly water features.
Louise McKinney Waterfront Park, 9999 Grierson Hill Road
Located a short walking distance from the Edmonton Convention Centre, Louise McKinney Waterfront Park is a welcome green space on the eastern edge of Downtown. What other park in the capital can boast a Chinese garden, boating dock and riverfront plaza? If you’re up for something sporty, rent a bicycle or Segway from River Valley Adventure Co. (rivervalleyadventure.com) which operates out of the park.
Churchill Square, Sir Winston Churchill Square
Smack dab between Edmonton City Hall, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Citadel Theatre and the Winspear Centre, Churchill Square is the ultimate destination for families attending Downtown festivals and events. In the summer, don your bathing suit and splash around in the City Hall fountain.
Beaver Hills House Park, 10440 Jasper Avenue
If you’ve got kids that need entertaining, Beaver Hill House Park in between 104 street and 105 street will keep them busy. The park’s playground is superb with plenty of original and imaginatively built features made from recycled parts. There’s also an Aboriginal Walk of Honour, hidden pond and a public art piece connecting Beaver Hills to the adjacent Michael Phair Park.
Edmonton River Valley, 10065 100 Street
With more than 160 kilometres of pathways stretching from the city’s north edge to the west, the Edmonton River Valley is Canada’s largest urban park. On any given day, the multi-use trails are teeming with joggers, power walkers and nature-lovers sure to make you forget that you’re minutes away from office towers and rush-hour traffic. You can find trail maps on the City of Edmonton website. In the winter, many of these tracks become cross-country ski trails. The most accessible way to get down to the river valley from Downtown is via the 100 Street Funicular located behind the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald.
ICE District Plaza, 10340 103 Street
One of the latest amenities to the ICE District is the ICE District Plaza, located in front of the JW Marriott in the centre of the entertainment hub. It is scheduled to be complete in late 2020 and for now is a great place for an evening stroll. The ice skating rink is expected to be completed in winter 2020.
Alberta Legislature, 10800 97 Avenue
It’s true that the grass is always greener on the other side. Many a tourist and locals alike know the iconic Alberta Legislature is a gorgeous setting all year round. In the summer and fall, the grounds are at their most enjoyable with perfectly-manicured lawns, splendid water fountains, the beautiful Lois Hole Memorial Garden, an open-amphitheatre and lawn bowling. In the winter, you can ice-skate behind the legislature and see the legislature’s holiday lights.
Kinistinâw Park, 10249 96 Street
One sure sign of a city’s maturity is when people start caring as much about spaces between buildings as they do about what goes up vertically. Located in The Quarters on the eastern edge of Downtown, Kinistinâw Park, which is Plains Cree for “us three,” recognizes that the area has long been an important gathering space for Indigenous peoples. Phase 1 of Kinistinâw Park continues into the summer of 2020. It will be surrounded by greenery, native trees and a striking red canopy which will weave itself through the plaza.
McKay Avenue School Playground, 10425 99 Avenue
Downtown Edmonton’s first community playground, McKay Avenue School Playground, is steps away from the historic McKay Avenue School Archives and Museum building. Its bright green hills and a ribbon of blue symbolize the Edmonton river valley. This playground will entertain kids for hours on end with the bright yellow slide, a saucer swing and a rope web for climbers of all ages.
Railtown Park, 111 Street
Railtown Park is a beautiful little park hidden between condos and shopping centres Downtown. Its multi-use trail is great to stroll down any time of day. Follow the trail down to Constable Ezio Faraone Park, which boasts incredible views of river valley. Midway you can hop on the High Level Bridge streetcar and head south of the river. Don’t forget to check out the free graffiti wall on 109 street under the bridge.