June - August
The city hosts more than 30 annual festivals (hence the nickname Festival City), many of which happen between June and September. Favourites include the Edmonton International Jazz Festival and Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, which both take place in July. The Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival and Edmonton’s Labatt Blues Festival occur throughout August. The only drawback to visiting during these months is that hotel rooms are at a premium and mosquitoes are guaranteed to be out in full force, so bring your cash and your bug spray.
November - March
Winters can be long and brutally cold (think minus 35 degrees Celsius) but, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and outdoor enthusiasts will find Edmonton a winter playground. Multiple cross-country ski trails can be found right in the city, as well as international events like the annual Canadian Birkebeiner Nordic ski race (February) and the Winterlights Festival—a two-month-long series of winter carnivals and snow sports extravaganzas happening from January to March.
September - October and April - May
Alternatively, the shoulder seasons during spring and fall are quiet and less-expensive times to explore Alberta’s capital. These are great months to enjoy the brilliant autumn hues and blooming foliage by taking a walk in Edmonton’s famed River Valley, the largest expanse of urban parkland in North America.