Alberta may best be known as the province home to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, Canada’s oldest and most visited national park, attracting over four million visitors each year. But not only does that jaw-droppingly beautiful park offer lots to do, but there is also plenty to find throughout the province, enough to keep you busy for months if not years.
As it would be impossible to squeeze it all in during one trip, if you fall in love with this region you might want to consider purchasing one of the St. Albert homes for sale as the city is frequently named among or at the top of the most liveable cities in Canada.
In the meantime, be sure to put some of these fun things to do in Alberta on your itinerary.
Chase the Northern Lights
Viewing the Northern Lights is on the bucket lists of many travelers, but you’ll need to visit Alberta between September and about mid-May. Of course, that’s a great way to avoid the peak crowds of summer and enjoy discounts too.
The province is home to some of the vastest dark sky preserves in the world, including Jasper and Wood Buffalo national parks as there are no artificial lights to interrupt the spectacular view. In the winter in particular, Jasper National Park is ideal as it’s easily accessible and offers jaw-dropping scenery for day time fun in the snow too.
Attend the Calgary Stampede
If you’re planning a summer visit, consider making it around mid-July to attend the famous Calgary Stampede. It runs for 10 days, typically starting on the first Friday of July unless it’s Canada Day or the day after, which in that case it begins on the second Friday. In 2022, it will be held between July 8 and July 17. It showcases Alberta’s cowboy culture, billed as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”
Dating back to 1886, you’ll get a good glimpse at the Wild West through rodeos, chuckwagon races, cowboy and First Nations culture, a parade, rodeo, and more. It has a fair atmosphere, complete with rides and popular foods like poutine and corn dogs along with many unusual options, including the Double Donut Chicken Burger, Rainbow Grilled Cheese, and Pickle Lemonade.
Ride the Banff Gondola
One of the top must-dos is a ride on the Banff Gondola. You’ll be surrounded by magnificent panoramic views of six different mountain ranges, Bow Valley, and the town of Banff. Plus when you reach the top there’s a rooftop patio that hosts live music and BBQ during the summer.
Visitors can also take the Banff Skywalk that leads to Sanon’s Peak Meteorological Station and the Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site, or follow the interpretive hiking trails.
Shop the West Edmonton Mall
Edmonton’s most popular attraction is a mall, but this is no ordinary mall, it’s the largest in North America with more than 800 shops and services, over 100 dining venues, a massive indoor waterpark with slides and wave pools, a full-size skating rink, triple-loop roller coaster, and two hotels.
Explore Heritage Park Historical Village
Canada’s largest living history museum, Heritage Park Historical Village is located in Calgary, featuring a recreation of many historical buildings. There’s a First Nations Encampment, a Pre-Railway settlement, Fur Trading Fort, and turn-of-the-century living historic village along with around 200 exhibits showcasing life during various periods between the mid-18th-century and 1950.
You can even play early 1900s carnival games at the Games of Amusement, check out an authentic steam train, working printing press, and blacksmith shop.