Family Visit to Edmonton - help please!

Old Aug 12th, 2012, 01:29 AM
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Family Visit to Edmonton - help please!

Hello!
We are a family of 4 including 2 six year olds and will be visiting Edmonton for three nights in mid June next year. I think the plan will be to hire a car at the airport. Is Edmonton easy to get around in a car if you are a tourist? We are from Australia so drive on the other side of the road!
I think this is how we will spend our time:
Thursday:arrive by air around midday. Drive to hotel. Fort Edmonton in afternoon (is half a day enough?)
Friday: West Edmonton Mall
Saturday: Old Strathcona in the morning, not sure of the afternoon.
Sunday: Drive to Jasper
I am stumped as to where we should stay. Should it be somewhere in West Edmonton? What is the best place to stay given what we want to do?
If we stay in West Edmonton is it easy enough to get to the Fort and Old Strathcona?
I am assuming we should use the car rather than try to do it via public transport or taxi?
Any tips/hints/advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much.
Karen
Sydney, Australia
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Old Aug 12th, 2012, 08:10 PM
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The ViaRail "Canadian" leaves Edmonton station at 7:37AM every Sunday. It arrives in Jasper at 1PM. You can rent another car in Jasper easily.
Do you have to return a rental car to where you rented it in Canada?
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Old Aug 12th, 2012, 09:23 PM
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THanks Tom. Are you saying that we shouldn't hire a car in Edmonton at all? And we should get the train to Jasper and hire a car there?
No, you don't have to return a rental car to where you originally rented it in Canada.
Thanks
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Old Aug 13th, 2012, 02:57 PM
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I would recommend that you rent a car. The places you would like to go are quite spread out and it would take you quite a long time to bus it. Fort Edmonton Park is reached by Fox Drive and the Whitemud Freeway, so hopefully you are comfortable with traffic going at highspeeds (80km/hr.) I believe the roads are well marked but don't usually pay attention to that in the city since I know my way around.

If you stay in the westend you will be close to West Edmonton Mall and the highway out to Jasper. The drive to Fort Edmonton Park will be quite quick along the freeway as I mentioned. It will be a little longer to drive to Old Strathcona but not bad. While the west end would probably be better in terms of driving, if it was me I would stay at one of the hotels in Old Strathcona. There is much more happening there and you could walk to restaurants and stores. Other than the mall, the west end is mostly box stores and strip malls.

Fort Edmonton is large and interesting with much to do. You will need at least half a day. The drive from the airport to Old Strathcona will take about 30 to 45 minutes, to the West End about 45 to 60 minutes. If you arrive at noon, pick up your luggage, rent a car and get to your hotel, you might not have enough time to do Fort Edmonton properly. However, 3 hours would probably give you a good feel for it.
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Old Aug 13th, 2012, 08:52 PM
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Thank you!
I do like the idea of staying in Old Strathcona but am concerned about the noise levels as we will be there on the weekend. The Metterra Hotel looks quite good but there are lots of reviews saying that the street noise is terrible on the weekends. There doesn't seem to be any decent hotels in Old Strathcona that aren't on the noisy main roads!
What do you think about staying Downtown? Is the River valley worth taking kids to?
Thanks again!
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Old Aug 14th, 2012, 09:06 AM
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Downtown can be nice in the summer. There aren't cute shops like in Old Strathcona but there is a large indoor shopping centre. There are festivals in Churchill Square beginning the last week in June and there is a Saturday outdoor market on 104 St. between Jasper Avenue and 103 Ave. The river valley is easily accessible and has a nice walk along the river and through trees. You can also rent bikes or go on a segway tour.
Downtown does have street people and you will be approached for change, as in any major city.
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Old Aug 30th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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old strathcona is too noisy on the weekends in my opinion. weekdays wouldn't be as bad or ask if you can get a room facing the river valley rather then the street.
the west end would be convenient for getting around. i personally don't like it...too much traffic and nothing unique.
if you stayed downtown, you could catch one bus that would take you to old strathcona. there are also express buses from downtown to west edmonton mall. just mentioning if you wanted to avoid driving. as for driving the only thing i would recommend is ask your hotel if there are any "traffic circle" on the way to where you are going. i'd avoid those if i was you.
if staying downtown, you could look into the marriot courtyard and ask for a river view room. i have family that stay at http://www.albertaplace.com/ when they visit edmonton. they like it because there is a separate room for the kids, kitchen area so they save some money on food, big suites and a pool that the kids love. it is only probably a 3* but if you don't need fancy, it is conveniet for families.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2012, 01:53 PM
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Definitely hire a car when you arrive in Edmonton - it's not an easy city to get around by public transportation (takes much too long to get from "A" to "B"). Taxis are too expensive in my view.

Old Strathcona is not child-friendly, too many bars etc., so I would recommend staying either downtown, that is, city centre (there are a number of hotels there), or in the west end of the city. You could try searchng this website to see a selection of hotels/motels/inns etc.:

http://www.discoveredmonton.com/Edmonton/Lodging/
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