Discover Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue in a day

By Theresa Tesolin

Whyte Avenue, the heart of Edmonton’s historic Old Strathcona district, is home to an eclectic mix of indie clothing boutiques, cafes, restaurants and pubs. If you have only 24 hours to check out this hotspot, here’s our list of highlights. [Image credit: iStock.com/wwing]

Discover Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue in a day

Consistently voted as one of the best neighbourhoods in Edmonton, Old Strathcona has more than 600 businesses, historical buildings, pedestrian-friendly walkways and a thriving arts and cultural scene.

Getting To Whyte Ave

Whyte Ave is easily accessible through a number of ETS bus routes and there are parking lots sprinkled throughout the area. If you’re coming from downtown, take the High Level Bridge Streetcar to experience a ride circa 1912.

Rise and Shine

Start your day right with a hearty brunch. For gluten-free fare, head to GF Diner, which serves all-day breakfast on weekends. Under the High Wheel whips up dishes such as chocolate and hazelnut crepes using locally sourced ingredients.

Mid-Day Shopping and Exploring

Shopping is one of the main draws of Whyte Ave, with most retail shops opening around 10 am or 11 am. From clothing and music to antiques and books, here are just a few highlights of what you’ll find:

Antiques

  • Junque Cellar: An assortment of vintage furniture and knickknacks sure to make you feel nostalgic.
  • Old Strathcona Antique Mall: Filled to the brim with more than 150 antique dealers. Visiting here is a bit like falling down the rabbit hole.

Keep your energy levels up by getting a Chai tea at Remedy Café. Grab a quick snack or gelato at Block 1912. If you’re lucky enough to snag a window seat here, this is the perfect place to people watch. Or try DaDeO, a funky Cajun diner with great po’ boy sandwiches and sweet potato fries.

Whyte Ave Entertainment

Catch a flick at the historic Princess Theatre, a theatre built in 1915. If you enjoy live theatre, check out the newly rebuilt Varscona Theatre – home to eight local theatre companies. Buy tickets online and check out their matinee times. Visit the Hexagon Board Game Café, where you can choose from more than 500 board games to play.

Dinner Time!

Foodies have much to savour and rave about at El Cortez Tequila Bar + Kitchen – a graffiti adorned taqueria serving fresh tacos and more than 100 kinds of agave tequila. If you’re truly famished, go to Yianni’s Taverna to share the platters, which will leave you feeling like a stuffed dolmades. Slip on downstairs after dinner to hang out at The Kasbar lounge, a Moroccan oasis with colourful lights and belly dancers on the weekend.

There’s so much diverse fare, such as Ampersand 27 for tapas, MEAT for savoury smokehouse brisket, Maki Maki for sushi and Nong Bu for authentic Korean food, to discover along the avenue.

Out Till the Wee Hours

Whyte Ave’s nightlife is vibrant and attracts many younger patrons from the university area. Check out Blues on Whyte, a legendary live music venue that’s been around for 40 years. The Black Dog Freehouse is a local favourite with a rooftop patio and laid-back ambience. Head over to The Billiard Club for dancing and pool.

Whyte Avenue is filled with charm and character. To know it is to spend a leisurely day from morning to night, strolling along the main street and meandering off the beaten path to discover its hidden gems.

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