Think of Alberta and you picture the alpine drama of Banff and Jasper—national parks teeming with big blue lakes and epic mountain ranges. And, sure, the western Canadian province has its share of visual fireworks, but its quieter pleasures are just as rewarding. A meditative walk through Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, for example. Or a peaceful midweek IPA at Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery. If great beer and natural beauty don’t do it for you, there’s always Alberta’s undying love of hockey, as seen in the rabid fan bases of its two NHL teams, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
When to go
By the time Calgary’s Lilac Festival street fair rolls around in late May/early June, you’ll be enjoying highs in the 60s°F.
Expect average highs in the upper 60s°F to upper 70s°F while taking in events like the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival in mid-July.
The autumn cool-down brings lows in the 30s°F and highs in the 60s°F, as well as diversions like the astronomy-themed Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October.
If you’re heading to Calgary’s Enmax Zoolights displays around the holidays, bundle up—Alberta winters can be brutal, with lows well below 0°F to highs in the 20s°F and 30s°F.
If you’re traveling across the province, try the national Via Rail train service. Edmonton and Calgary both have bus and light-rail lines.
- Bear, moose, elk and other large mammals inhabit many of Alberta’s parks. To help prevent an unwanted face-to-face with one of these animals, make a lot of noise while hiking in remote areas.
- Calgary is a great food town, with many “eat streets,” including Stephen Street in downtown and Kensington Road.
- Home to the Edmonton Oilers, Rogers Place opened in 2016. It’s a gleaming temple to hockey and a fun night out in Alberta’s capital.