20 Free Things to Do in Edmonton

Edmonton is perfect for people who want to spend a day in the city without spending a dime. 

The city is home to many incredible locations that offer free things to do, including trips to museums, art galleries, star gazing or walking on one of Edmonton’s River Valley Trails.

There is no shortage if you are looking for free things to do in Edmonton. Check out the list and enjoy Edmonton without breaking the bank.

20 Free Things to Do in Edmonton

The Edmonton Legislature Building at night. A visit to the legislature is one of the best free things to do in Edmonton.

1. Get in Shape with the November Project

If you want free things to do in Edmonton to help keep you in shape this year (even in the dead of winter), I recommend checking out the November Project.

The workouts are free to join – all you have to do is show up! You will make friends and discover new areas for working out around Edmonton.

The community meets three times a week, but you can go whenever you want! Their locations change every Monday, so check out their blog for updates.

Wednesdays in the fall and winter are spent at the Royal Glenora Stairs. Wednesday workouts are located at the Commonwealth Stadium in the summer and spring.

On Fridays, head to the bottom of Walterdale Hill for an incredible and free workout!

Find out more here: November Project

​​2. Have a Photoshoot at Edmonton’s Best Photo Spots

If Edmonton has one thing – it is loads of beautiful spots perfect for taking the best photos. Whether you want the best Instagrammable walls, local street art, or one of Edmonton’s iconic photographic locations.

If you want the best Instagrammable walls, head down to Whyte Avenue and take a selfie next to Crush Beers, not Dreams Wall, at the Commercial Hotel.

Take some nighttime shots at the Neon Sign Museum in downtown Edmonton on the side of the Mercer Warehouse. Another incredible spot to take photos in Edmonton is behind the Muttart Conservatory! 

I recommend taking photos from Gallagher Hill, which is right next to the pyramids. They look good during the day and for those incredible night shots!

Head down to Edmonton’s version of Europe – Manchester Square. The colourful buildings make for the perfect backdrop for photoshoots and selfies. Why not pretend you are in some random European country while keeping the charm of Edmonton?

Do you want to take more photos around Edmonton? Check out the best photo spots in Edmonton for some more incredible locations and ideas of free things to do in Edmonton.

3. Visit one of Edmonton’s Free Festivals

Edmonton is known for its festivals. Every year, people worldwide visit Edmonton to perform at or attend one of the city’s many festivals.

Edmonton has many free festivals with something for everyone and every season.

From watching the buskers perform at the Edmonton Fringe Festival to checking out the Ice Sculptures at the Silver Skate Festival – there is so much to do for free in Edmonton!

My top festival recommendations include Deep Freeze, the Edmonton Street Performers Festival, Heritage Fest, Kaleido, Cariwest, and All is Bright.

Be sure to check out the list of festivals in Edmonton to find the best festival for you!

4. Make Something at Makerspace

Head down to the Edmonton Public Library and get creative! Makerspace hubs are perfect for people who want to create art but need access to 3D printers or sewing machines.

You will have access to high-end equipment, including a recording studio, laser cutting, computer software, soldering, and more.

All you need is a library card! You must book a space and sign a waiver before visiting Makerspace, so be sure to register at their website before your first visit.

Find out more here: Makerspace in Edmonton

5. Play Free Games at Edmonton’s Gamerspace

If you want some fun and free things to do in Edmonton, check out Gamerspace. Not only will you have access to gaming PCs and consoles (Xbox, PS5 and Nintendo Switch), but they also have two retro arcade games!

You can go anytime you want or attend one of their events, which includes gaming tournaments, streaming professional tournaments or Twitch players and attending presentations from local gamers.

Check out Gamerspace at the Edmonton Public Library and enjoy playing new games with friends.

Find out more here: Gamerspace

6. Stroll Through West Edmonton Mall

Head down to West Edmonton Mall to spend a day doing free things in Edmonton. There are a lot of free things to do at the mall, including window shopping, taking selfies at Europa, watching the California Sea Lions Show, or people-watching while sitting with the hamburger man sculpture (Didn’t we all eat lunch with him through our childhoods?)

I also recommend stopping at the Ice Palace to watch people skating. It’s fun to watch people who look like they could be professional figure skaters and people who wobble and fall when they skate. Both are entertaining to watch.

You can take cool photos at the Lair Photo Booth, and I visit the Lego store to see which Lego figure you are.

If you want to spend some money, West Edmonton Mall is home to the best desserts in Edmonton! Why not end your day of free activities in Edmonton by spending money on a sweet treat?

7. Walk the Wooden Trails at the Mackenzie Ravine Boardwalk

 If you want free things to do in Edmonton, head down to the Mackenzie Ravine Boardwalk and stroll through the beautiful wooden trails.

The Mackenzie Ravine is genuinely one of Edmonton’s hidden gems. The trails are short but very steep and are perfect for people who want a quick walk through nature.

The walk offers a few staircases you can climb and offers stunning views of the North Saskatchewan River and Edmonton’s skyline.

The trail is perfect in the summer as it offers a path lined with lush greens and trees packed alongside the trail. In the winter, the snow-covered trees make it feel like you are in a winter wonderland.

8. Explore The Royal Alberta Museum for Free

If you have always wanted to visit the Royal Alberta Museum but cannot pay for admission, you can still see the museum on certain days yearly!

Check out the Royal Alberta Museum on Family Day in February, Alberta Culture Days, and free entry for Seniors during Seniors Week in June.

The museum offers several galleries, including the Natural History Hall, Human History Hall, Bug Gallery and the Children’s Gallery. 

So, if you want free things to do in Edmonton, head down to RAM several times and see the entire museum for free.

Find out more information here: Free Admission Days at RAM

9. Take a Free Tour at the Legislature Building

Take a free guided tour of the Alberta Legislature Building and see parts of the Legislature building that aren’t open to the public. 

You will follow a guide throughout the building, learning about Alberta’s political history, learning the history behind why Edmonton and Calgary are rivals, and seeing the Alberta Mace up close and personal.

10. Explore the Grounds of the Legislature

After taking a free guided tour of the Alberta Legislature, walk around and explore the grounds. 

The outdoor space is stunning all year round (I am partial to Spring when the pink trees bloom), making it the perfect backdrop for a photo session.

The grounds have gorgeous water features, stunning sculptures and loads of places to sit and people-watch or chat with friends.

11. Go for a Picnic in one of Edmonton’s Beautiful Parks

Edmonton is perfect for people who love sitting in a lush park and enjoying nature. Why not make it even better by loading a picnic basket with your favourite snacks and treats? Visit one of Edmonton’s best parks for an afternoon picnic with friends or family.

I recommend heading to Sir Wilfred Laurier Park, Emily Murphy Park or Hawrelak Park for the perfect afternoon in Edmonton. You can sit by the water between lush trees or at the picnic tables scattered throughout the parks.

Just beware of the geese! I was enjoying a picnic when a woman and her child ran past me screaming as they tried to escape a charging goose. It was funny to watch as an onlooker, though.

12. Enjoy the Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta

If you are an art lover looking for free things to do in Edmonton, you must head to the Alberta Art Gallery. AGA offers free entry from 4 to 7 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month!

The gallery is stunning inside and out and perfect for people who want to explore the local and international art that is only available at AGA.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is always free for students and minors under 18 – just be sure to bring your valid student ID for free entry.

Find out more here: Free Entry to AGA

13. Wander Around Edmonton’s Farmer’s Markets

Edmonton has some of the best Farmers’ markets, with loads of local vendors offering artisan products, including jewellery, clothing, sweet treats, food, and so much more. 

Spending a day at one of Edmonton’s farmers’ markets is the perfect thing to do in Edmonton. While it is free to walk around, you may want to bring a bit of cash to get yourself a treat.

I recommend heading to the Old Strathcona Farmers Market, 124 Grand Market, Bountiful Market, or the Downtown Farmers Market. Plus, the farmers markets around Edmonton are open all year long as they are indoors!

14. Check out Edmonton’s Street Art

Head down to Whyte Avenue and go on a self-guided street art walk. Many historic buildings in Old Strathcona are decorated with murals, street art and graffiti. Be sure to check the Old Strathcona Street Art map to make sure you catch them all.

While walking around Whyte Avenue, I highly recommend stopping in at Made by Marcus, as it is one of the best places to get ice cream in Edmonton.

Another great place in Edmonton to enjoy a self-guided art walk is on 124th Street. The iconic and quaint street has loads of galleries for you to check out, making it one of the best things to do in Edmonton for free. Stop at the Bearclaw Gallery, Scott Gallery and the Peter Roberton Gallery.

15. Go Window Shopping in Old Strathcona

Old Strathcona is one of the best places to visit in Edmonton. There are loads of trendy shops that you can wander through without spending any money.

Browse through the books at the Wee Book Inn and then head to Blackbyrd Myoozik and find CDs from some of the bands you used to listen to as a teen.

I recommend stopping at unique shops like Vivid Print or heading to one of the many vintage and antique shops, including the Old Strathcona Antique Mall and the Junque Cellar.

16. Walk the Trails of the River Valley

Edmonton is home to a gorgeous River Valley with loads of trails located in several areas of the city. You can walk, bring your bike, or even do a scavenger hunt in the woods.

The trails are available all year round, making it the perfect thing to do in Edmonton for free. Why not get out in nature and enjoy the city’s expansive and incredible trails? I also recommend grabbing one of the best milkshakes in Edmonton to sip on as you walk.

My favourite trail is the East River Valley Trail, which is incredible and offers beautiful city views.

Check out the trail maps here: Edmonton River Valley Trails

17. Stargaze at the U of A

Head down to the University of Alberta’s Hesje Observatory every Thursday to peek at the observatory’s telescope. 

Drop in anytime between 12 pm and 1 pm for solar observing on and on Thursday evenings for a chance to star gaze. (Check their website for evening hours)

Check out more information on their website: Public Evening Observing

18. Visit the Free Museums at the University of Alberta 

Did you know that the University of Alberta has free museums? 

The University has several museums you can visit for free, including the Human Ecology Gallery, Mineralogy and Petrology Museum, the W. G. Hardy Classics Museum and Paleontology Museum. 

They also have different exhibitions curated and related to the University of Alberta.

19. Explore Edmonton’s Indigenous Landmarks

Edmonton is located on Treaty 6 Territory, home to several Indigenous groups, including Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Sioux, and Saulteaux. 

The city has been working on reconciliation and has put up several Indigenous memorials, spaces and parks for everyone to explore and learn more about Indigenous history in Edmonton.

One of the best parks is the ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞ , which has artistic installments created by local artists. Plus, the park offers stunning views of the Walterdale Bridge.

You should also visit the Rossdale Burial Site, the Turtle Rock Effigy Labyrinth and the Tawatina Bridge. These sites are free to visit and are perfect for people who want to appreciate and learn more about Edmonton’s Indigenous history.

20. Take a Self-Guided Tour in Edmonton

If you want free things to do in Edmonton this weekend, go on a self-guided tour. Edmonton has several different tours you can take, depending on your interests, or you can go on them all!

The most popular tour is The Commonwealth Walkway. Download the app and use the free guide to explore Edmonton’s River Valley. You can take a nice walk while listening to one of the app’s five storylines.

If you want to know more about Edmonton’s Queer history, I recommend checking out the Fruit Loop’s Augmented Reality Pride Tour. This tour takes you to 10 locations with a history of Edmonton’s diverse Queer community. Some sites include the Alley of Light, Crash Hotel, and the Neon Sign Museum.

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