Edmonton Cracker-Cats


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Spare Time: What to do between games in Edmonton...

Photo of from top of Calgary Tower looking down
Fountains and clock tower at City Hall

Getting Around Edmonton: Understanding the street numbers

One of the first things to understand about the City of Edmonton is the street system. Where most cities have their "first streets" in the heart of downtown, Edmonton has its city center at 100. Avenues run east/west and streets go north/south.

Photo of from top of Calgary Tower looking down
Domes in The Bay
(Edmonton City Centre mall)

Well, almost. The major east/west street in Edmonton is Jasper Ave. (equivalent to 101 Ave. NW). It intersects 100th St. near the river bluff which isn't really the "center" of downtown. City Hall and the Edmonton Center Mall (also downtown) are just blocks away.


Though there's not much to choose from around the ballpark Edmonton has a lot to offer in restaurants. There are many choices downtown but you may find a more interesting selection along Jasper Ave. One choice for excellent, affordable cuisine is Normands (11639 A Jasper Ave, 780.483.2600) or its sister restaurant The Copper Pot (1-1, 9707 110 Street, 780.452.7800) which is actually near the Legislature Building and north end of street car run (see below).

West Edmonton Mall (WEM)

Photo of Ice Palace at WEM
Ice Palace at West Edmonton Mall (it's in Canada, there had to be a hockey rink)
Photo of rollercoaster at WEM
The Mindbender
World's largest indoor rollercoaster

Though it may be "obvious" you probably "must see" the West Edmonton Mall or (WEM). It is the largest indoor shopping mall in the world (the Mall of America in the Twin Cities is second). It has 800 shops and (too?) much, much more. Under "one roof" you have:

Photo of rollercoaster at WEM
World Waterpark (with slides and wave pool)

Taking it all in

If all that's not enough there's the Bourbon Street section full of a New Orleans themed area chock full of a large variety of restaurants for nearly any type of appetite that are part of the 100 eateries on the premises. And it has two hotels the Fantasyland Hotel (In the SW corner of the WEM, 17700 87th Ave, 780.444.3000) and the less expensive, but very nearby WEM Inn (17504 90 Ave., 780.444.9378).

With everything that the WEM has to offer it does make a logical single stop for everything but the ballgame --especially if travelling with your family and particularly with restless kids.

Simply walking the length and breadth of the WEM is significant exercise. Since opening in 1981 it the site has grown to 121 acres (49 hectares) or 5.3M square feet (493,000 sq. metres) and still growing. Besides the various shops, spectacles and food options there is a lot of interesting art to see.

The scale (or "excess") of the place has to been seen to be fully understood. Even if you have no intent to spend a dime, you probably should see the place just to see how far the "consumer experience" can grow.

Photo of tram
One of the High Level Train trams

Options OTHER than the WEM

Of course there is much, much more to "Canada's Festival City" than the WEM. It is the provicial capital and home to the Alberta Legislature Building (10800 97th Ave. NW, Free tours: 780.427.7362) and its distinctive gold dome. There is the attractive plaza around the city hall with it's glass pyramid, clock tower and fountain.

High Level Streetcar

An option that is a simple fun ride, provides a bit of history and a chance to orient visitors to Edmonton is the High Level Streetcar (780.437.7721). Though not as "glossy" or even indoors like the rides at the WEM, it is an example of a full sized train set run by a group that takes personal pride in their "hobby." This should not be confused with the Edmonton Light Rail which runs underground through downtown Edmonton (and also crosses the river).

Photo of high level bridge
High Level Bridge

The ride is on own of the Edmonton Radial Rail Society's internation light rail or tram cars. There is one from Japan (Hankai Denki Kido 247), Germany (ÜSTRA - Hannoversche Verkehrsbetriebe 601), and Australia (Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board 930). The car for any given run varies.

The trip goes across the "high level bridge" built and opened in 1913 running by the legislature building high over the Saskatchewan River to Strathcona on the south bank. The bridge is significant historically as the highest river crossing by streetcar in the world. Originally it had three sets of rails that included one for Canadian Pacific Railways steam trains. The view, from the bridge is particularly nice with a great view of the city, its skyline, the river and Telus Field.

The two main stops on the 3-kilometre run are near the legislature building (Grandin LRT stop; between 109/110 Street and north of 100 Ave) and "Old Strathcona" (103 Street at 85 Ave).


Photo of Stampede Chuckwagon
Alberta Legislature Building

Ample, most near WEM but many choices downtown

Most of the less expensive lodgings are around the WEM. These are several miles west of the downtown. Another smaller complex of motels can be found south of the city near the intersection of Calgary Trail and Whitemud Dr. Unfortunately lodging near the airport is particularly inconvenient since it is several miles south of the city limits.

Baseball fans may want to stay downtown at any of the hotels such as the Sutton Place Hotel (102 Ave at 101 St., 780.428.711) or the Crown Plaza Edmonton (junction of 101 St.. MacDonald Dr. and Bellamy Hill, 780.428.6611) which is one of the closest to Telus Field. Prices can be rather high but online options can keep the cost down.