Eye in the sky: Edmonton’s best panoramic views

January 6, 2017

by Cynthia Wandler

Edmonton’s river valley offers some of the most scenic panoramic views in the city – but there are plenty of places to see Edmonton in all its glory. Whether you’re after the perfect city-backdrop selfie or just want to get out and enjoy the scenery, these places will have you appreciating Edmonton’s unique beauty. [Image credit: iStock.com/wwing]

Eye in the sky: Edmonton’s best panoramic views

Office and school views

Whether occupied by a business trip, a conference, or attending university, you can still catch glimpses of Edmonton’s scenery by taking the time to look around you. Here are some of the best ways to do that:

  • Seven floors up, the University of Alberta’s RATT (Room at the Top) is a favorite student pub – and a great place to catch daytime or nighttime views of the campus and beyond.
  • Because downtown Edmonton is near the river, many of Edmonton’s office buildings have great views. Try not to be distracted during a work meeting by the sights from some of the tallest buildings in the city.
  • Riding the LRT (Light Rail Transit) is not only an eco-friendly and efficient way to travel to and from work or school, it includes a bird’s eye view of the North Saskatchewan River if you happen to be travelling from one side of the river to the other.
  • You may be there for business or pleasure, but whatever the reason, be sure to take in the river valley from a balcony at the Shaw Conference Centre or the Hotel MacDonald.

Leisurely views

There are many fun ways to take in Edmonton’s sweeping panoramas, including from the sky:

  • With “the largest fleet of heritage streetcars in western Canada” the Edmonton Radial Railway Society operates a streetcar route that travels across Edmonton’s High Level Bridge, giving you a view of the river valley vista along the way.
  • To take in a view of Edmonton’s downtown from the south side of the river, check out the hilltop in Gallagher Park, where Edmonton’s annual Folk Fest is staged.
  • Speaking of hills, there are three for skiing in Edmonton, which have interesting views from the top. On the southwest side of the city is Snow Valley, with Sunridge on the east, and the Edmonton Ski Club downtown.
  • If you’d like a bird’s-eye view of Edmonton’s sights, fly above the city in a hot air balloon or helicopter.
  • For a fun evening out, try La Ronde, the city’s 24th-floor revolving restaurant. It completes a single revolution every 88 minutes, giving you a true panoramic view of Edmonton.

Active views

If you’re seeking an Edmonton workout with a view, get your sweat on biking, hiking, walking or skiing in the river valley.

  • These maps of Edmonton’s river valley trail system will take you up and down the river valley, with sights to take your breath away no matter the season. For an intense workout, and an excuse to catch your breath while you pause to take in the panoramic view, try one of the 50 sets of stairs along the trails, including one that is 242 stairs high.
  • Edmonton landscapes are striking year-round and views from the same location will change depending on the season, like when you’re rocketing down one of these hills on a winter tobogganing run.

Whether it’s the sparkling river in summer, the glow of leaves in fall or the serenity of a crisp winter day, you’ll always be able to find a stunning viewpoint from which to take in city.

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