Downtown Edmonton’s Best Cultural Attractions

One of the greatest benefits of living in Edmonton's downtown core is the inspiring variety of cultural attractions available, including art galleries, museums, performing arts, and of course our newly renovated library. The Ice District is also a major venue for sports and concert fans.

No matter your interests, you’re sure to find something to fulfill your cultural cravings.

Downtown Edmonton’s Best Cultural Attractions Art Gallery ImageArt Galleries

Although 124 Street off Jasper is noted as being the official arts district of Edmonton, there are galleries dotted throughout the downtown area. Likely the most widely known of these galleries is the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA), located within Winston Churchill Square.

Opening in its new home in 2010, the building itself is a work of art with its winding steel ribbon intended to mimic the form of the North Saskatchewan River and Aurora Borealis. The AGA hosts exhibitions of all types, from local artists all the way to Degas and Andy Warhol. Enjoy a spectacular view and a cocktail from the rooftop patio.

The Alberta Craft Council (ACC), located on 106 Street and 101 Avenue, showcases our homegrown talent. With up to 20 exhibits per year covering a wide collection of subject matter and media, you’ll enjoy learning about various cultures from the perspective of our fellow Edmontonians, Albertans, and Canadians. The ACC also holds regular events, from panel discussions to MeetUps to artist spotlights.

Downtown Edmonton’s Best Cultural Attractions Orchestra ImagePerforming Arts

Whether you’re motivated by the symphony, theatre, or dance, downtown Edmonton offers some of the best talent in the country.

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is widely known for its stirring performances and has been host to incredibly talented conductors over the years. The Symphony’s present conductor, Alexander Prior, appeared on a reality show in the UK about musical prodigies when he was just a teen, and he is still younger than most of our symphony orchestra has seen! 

Perhaps it’s his age, or his quirky, charming personality, but there is no question the symphony is anything but stuffy at the Winspear Centre. If you love the classics, you’ll still enjoy the best performances of Bach. But the Symphony has range, so you’ll also enjoy special evenings of pop culture like Star Wars and Harry Potter.

The Citadel Theatre has been a staple of downtown Edmonton’s stage works for over 55 years. As one of the largest not-for-profit theatres in North America, the Citadel attracts patrons from Edmonton and beyond to its lavish productions of musicals, plays, and other stage performances. Their annual production of A Christmas Carol brings in thousands of patrons each year.

Downtown Edmonton’s Best Cultural Attractions Library ImageStanley A. Milner Library

The Stanley A. Milner Library has been a landmark on the south side of Winston Churchill Square since it was constructed in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s Centennial.

Starting in 2016, the library underwent a colossal redesign to flow with other modernizations in the area and was reopened in September 2020 with its new, bold look. The futuristic design introduces a 10,000 square foot MakerSpace with 3D printers, audio and video production, and a multi-storey indoor atrium. Library cards are still free to all Edmontonians, so it’s definitely worth a visit to enjoy this newly revitalized space of creativity and inspiration.

Ice District

There’s so much to do within the Ice District area of downtown Edmonton. Its primary attraction, Rogers Place, is home to a variety of pro and amateur sporting events, as well as major concerts and performances.

But the sparkle of the Ice District belongs to the entire experience, with the added attractions such as dining, a grand fitness centre, casino, spa, and the downtown community arena where the MacEwan University Griffins Men’s and Women’s hockey teams play. Bring the family for an ice skate on the outdoor rink or enjoy the 50,000 square foot plaza with its markets, festivals, and other gatherings. Day-to-day, there’s always something different happening at the Ice District.

Downtown Edmonton is a vibrant place to live, and there is no shortage of inspiring, creative things to do. Whether you’re into sports, music, or quietly enjoying a good book, you’ll find it all close to home in Edmonton’s core.

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