Edmonton or Calgary? which one

Old Jul 13th, 2003, 08:36 AM
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Edmonton or Calgary? which one

I will be visiting Alberta in early September
for 9 days. The first 4 nights are in Banff at the Rimrock Hotel. What I need help on deciding is do I want to spend the other time in Calgary or Edmonton. Which city and its surroundings, within 100 miles, has the most to see and do. I do like some touristy
stuff but also like unusual and different
things to see. Any information about these area would be greatly appreciated. I would like to keep the time to just Edmonton or Calgary and their surrounding areas.
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Old Jul 13th, 2003, 05:38 PM
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I used to live in both.

Edmonton is a great city, surrounded by nothing.

Calgary is a pretty good city, surrounded by great places.

If you get a good enough map,you'll see the Rocky Moutnatins go norrth on an angle, putting Edmonton in the middle of nowhere, and Calgary in the foothills.

Calgary has an excellent museum, Heritage Park , which is a reconstructed old village, some otehr nice parks, a smallish zoo (depends where you come from; for some people, it's a pretty big zoo), nice shops. etc.

Plus it is fairly close to Drumheller, for the dinosaur museum, and is in cowboy country, with beautiful scenery.

Edmonton is a civil service city, nice old buildings, a beautiful river valley, a decent museum and a good art gallery, and a huge shopping center with water slides and submarines.

I'm not sure either city is worth five days, though. Ypu'd spend half a day,each way, on travel if you drive to visit both cities.

I'd be predisposed to spend one more day in the mountains, and four days in Calgary - Drumheller -- the foothills.

BAK

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Old Jul 14th, 2003, 07:59 AM
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i would probably do as recommended above and stay in calgary and do a side trip to drumheller. another great provincial park to waunder around is kananaskis which is between banff & calgary.
edmonton is the place to go if you are into shopping - west edmonton mall. you could drive from banff to jasper along the ice field parkway, spend a night (or two) in jasper and then go to edmonton (3 hr drive). we have a great river valley for walking (but so does calgary).
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Old Jul 14th, 2003, 12:04 PM
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Edmonton. Prettier, people are nicer, just as much to do.

The reality is they are both 1-2 day cities. Maybe see them both.
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Old Jul 14th, 2003, 12:57 PM
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My vote is for Calgary. In my opinion it is, overall, a much prettier city than Edmonton (but for Edmonton's beautiful river valley). Other than touring the Provincial Museum and Legislature, and shopping at West Edmonton Mall (which is impressive, but is still just a huge mall with the same stores that you will find anywhere else), I have never found that much to do in Edmonton. Since you have 5 days to spend, you may want to spend a day and a night in Edmonton, but 5 days is far too much.

Within Calgary, as was noted by BAK, there is the Glenbow Museum, Heritage Park and the Zoo (which is actually fairly large, and has some great new exhibits such as 'Destination Africa' which have recently opened), all of which will take the better part of a day to tour. There is also Canada Olympic Park, home of the 1988 Winter Olympics, and the Calgary Science Centre, both of which have a great deal to see and do if you are so inclined.

Drumheller is a must-see if anyone in your party has an interest in dinosaurs. The Royal Tyrell Museum is a fascinating visit for both children and adults, and with the 1-1.5 hour drive each way, will take up an entire day.

Since you are going to centered in Banff for four days, you may want to take day trips to Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefields. Both are spectacular.

If you truly are in to stuff that is "unusual and different", you may want to take a trip to Torrington, which is (I think) an hour or so north of Calgary. Apparently it is a small farming community that has opened a "Gopher Museum", with stuffed and dressed gophers put into various dioramas. You may also want to look into a side trip to the Town of Rosebud, which has a wildly popular local dinner theatre, and not much else (no offense to the fine people of Rosebud).

If you happen to be in either Calgary or Edmonton during Labour Day week, you won't want to miss the annual Labour Day football game between the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos. The game is always in Calgary on Labour Day afternoon, and they traditionally play the re-match in Edmonton later in the week. Both stadiums are normally sell-outs for both games (approx 45,000 in Calgary and 60,000 in Edmonton), and are the highlights of the sports calendar in both cities.

If I think of anything else, I will post again later.

Terry
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Old Jul 15th, 2003, 09:38 AM
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Thank you for everyones replies, I aprreciate them very much. I think
I will try Calgary this time around.
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Old Jul 15th, 2003, 11:33 AM
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If you think Calgary is prettier, you must be a Calgarian. Brown is usually not people's idea of pretty.
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Old Jul 15th, 2003, 11:35 AM
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Geez Carolred that's a little harsh! I'm looking out my window right now and all I see is green - other than the bright blue sky of course.
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Old Jul 15th, 2003, 01:36 PM
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I would vote for Calgary as well. There are many more intersting places to visit both in and around the city and it's well worth 5 days..

As a recent immigrant to Calgary (from "The East"!) I've been doing a bit of exploring of my own and had the chance to visit Waterton National Park, tucked in the southwestern most corner of AB and borders Montana, USA. It's about a 3 hr drive from Calgary and it simply takes your breath away.. the scenery is quite different from that of the Northern Rockies of Jasper and Banff. It's unique in that it's a combination of praries-meets-the-mountains... It could be done as a day trip from Calgary but 2 days might be reqd. if ur into hiking.

While there, don't miss-
- Akamina PArkway (ends at Cameron Lake- breathtaking)
-Red Rock Canyon PArkway
- Cruise from Waterton NP to Glacier NP (Montana, USA).
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 05:56 PM
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Calgary is a fine place to visit, but in the interests of fairness, let's give EDMONTON a chance!!
There are many fine attractions in and around this city, including its beautiful river valley.
These include:
Fort Edmonton Park (a "village" that shows the development of the city through time and includes among other things, a replica of the original fort, and the very first mosque ever built in North America).
Alberta Legislature (Edmonton is of course the capital city of Alberta, the the grounds are situated right on the river valley, there are guided tours through the building as well I believe).
West Edmonton Mall (not "just" a mall, it has a casino, spa, hotel, ice skating rink, wave pool, plus restaurants and shops, and much more; it is the largest mall in the world!!).
Winspear Concert Hall (superior acoustics, one of the best in the world, plus a gorgeous pipe organ, in September there are sure to be interesting concerts).
Devonian Botanic Gardens (just outside of the city, 15 minutes drive from West Edmonton Mall, many interesting walks through various gardens plus a lovely serene Japanese Garden)
The Odyssium (if you are interested in science and astronomy, there is an Observer's Deck that is manned by volunteer amateur astronomers who are very friendly and knowledgeable, on a fine and clear September evening in Edmonton you could get a great look at Mars, which is at its closest to the earth in our lifetimes!!)
And within easy driving distance of Edmonton:
The Reynolds Museum (in Wetaskiwin, approx 35 miles south of Edmonton - if you are interested in automobiles and farm machinery, this museum has some wonderful reconstructed antiques).
Elk Island National Park (approx 40 miles east of the city) - walking trails that should be beautiful with fall colours in September, plus lots of buffalo, moose, elk etc).
Other in-town places of interest include: The Provincial Museum of Alberta (natural history of the province plus special exhibits), Edmonton Art Gallery, Alberta Aviation Museum, Muttart Conservatory, Valley Zoo (for kids), and John Jantzen Nature Centre.
Plus world class restaurants with wine lists that get written up in the Wine Spectator!
The most scenic way to get to Edmonton from Banff is to drive the incredible Icefields Parkway to Jasper, and then head east. Plan a whole day for that.
But hey - don't take my word for it.
Visit Edmonton and experience the best hospitality in the west!!

A.B.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 08:00 AM
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another way from banff to edmonton that is still scenic but quite a bi shorter would be banff to ice field parkway but head east at the turnoff for rocky mountain house. take that freeway to red dear and head north to edmonton.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 03:12 PM
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Used to live in alberta for 15 years,(calgary)- sorry guys, the whole province is brown, and not just from the cows, LOL...

If you can make both cities, I'd say it would be good, both have a lot to offer, and the parkway as was mentioned in a previous post is spectacular this time of year. You will enjoy jasper also as it's less touristy I find than banff.... unless you like your ichiban

other points, calgary has better clubs, better restaurants and better shopping, Edmonchuck is more blue collar but has better park systems and of course the trappings of typical government towns.
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 07:51 AM
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Okay, I'm going to weigh in on this because Edmonton seems to be getting a bad rap over Calgary. I too used to live in Edmonton while attending school and also for 5 months in Calgary for one semester of school too. It might depend on what you are into but I have to respectfully disagree with posters who say that Calgary has better resturants and clubs...unless better is supposed to read "expensive" or "snobby" as I recently experienced first hand on a recent long weekend in Calgary. I was not impressed at all. Edmonton has fantastic dining, pubs, and is a great spot to check out live music and theatre. In terms of an arts scene, Calgary can't even come close. Edmonton's Whyte Ave was voted as one of the funkiest neighbourhoods in Canada...ahead of Calgary's 17th ave (which is pretty lame, actually). Yes, Calgary is closer to the mountains... but Edmonton's river valley is breathtaking...especially in the fall. Few people know that there is some neat hiking there too. Fort Edmonton, the Ukranian village are really neat. Calgary has the big white collar coprorations but people don't go on holidays to do business. Edmonton with it's heritage buildings, museum and beautiful university campus, has a "vibe" that is distinct... they are way more bohemian in Edmonton...way more laid back. Calgary, (although nice--I really liked living close to the mountains) is just a big ol' american style city. IMHO most tourists go there for a tourist destination because of its close proximity to the mountains. If you have nine days in Alberta you could definately do time in both cities. It is a three hour drive between the two cities... but I've done the drive in 2 and a half

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