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15 Fabulous Free (Or Really Cheap) Winter Kids Activities in Edmonton

Published Jan 17, 2020 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

Want to explore the city for cheap? Here are some of our top budget-friendly suggestions of places in Edmonton you need to check out, tailored for families!

Known as “Canada's Festival City”, Edmonton is truly a fantastic place to live! However, in the middle of winter we often lose our enthusiasm for the city and are either stuck inside or bundled up.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 15 winter activities that cost less than $5 that everyone will love.

#1. Skate at the Victoria Park IceWay

We highly suggest checking out the Victoria Park IceWay in Edmonton! This 400-metre figure-eight skating trail runs adjacent to the Victoria Park Oval and became an instant hit with local Edmontonians since it arrived last year. Access to the trail is free, since after all, it isn’t that hard to make ice in Edmonton . . .

#2. Silver Skate Festival at Hawrelak Park

Silver Skate Festival is a 10-day, family-oriented festival running February 8-18, 2019 in Edmonton's scenic river valley. Each year, the festival transforms Hawrelak Park into a winter wonderland with fun for the entire family. Here, you'll discover breathtaking snow sculpture, winter sports, and horse-drawn sleighs carrying families through the park. Sit in a Cree Winter Camp and cook bannock over an open fire, take in live music and theatrical performances with your friends and loved ones, and let your kids have fun in the Kids Zone!

#3. Window Shopping at the West Edmonton Mall

If the weather is wicked or you just need an excuse to go shopping, why not take the kids to the West Edmonton Mall? Although your kids won’t be able to necessarily run around, they will be able to walk off some energy in a warm, indoor environment.

A cool tip is that on Saturdays, the Microsoft Store in WEM offer free drop in STEM activities for any little tech lovers in your family!

#4. Rundle, Jackie Parker, and Gallagher Park

Grab your toboggans and crazy carpets and hit the hills with your family after a good snow fall! In recent years, these locations had a special event every Sunday in the winter where they offered a FREE hot drink. We are watching to see if it returns for this year!

#5. Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival

An amazing weekend festival that happens every year in January, Deep Freeze is free fun for the entire family! This year, you can join the fun on January 11 and 12 along Alberta Avenue. The festival is both indoors and outdoors, with a lot of the family activities taking place outside. Make sure everyone is layered up and dressed warm! There is plenty of food on site, tasty treats, games, crafts, and on Saturday the evening is topped with fireworks. Make sure you consider a donation for one of the donation tubes around, which goes towards Arts on the Ave and helps to keep the event running year after year.

#6. City Hall and Community Swing 'n' Skates!

Enjoy some cool winter fun! Go ice skating with free skate rentals, enjoy live music and dance lessons with Sugar Swing Ballroom, and get a bit to eat at the concession. Events are free and for all ages. Dancing Everyone is welcome! Skating and dance lessons take place on select Saturdays and Sundays in January and February from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

#7. Check Out the Edmonton Public Library

With a library in every community, visiting the library is the perfect afternoon indoor activity to do with your kids. Let them pick out a new bedtime story for you to check out. If you check the website of your local branch, they often have free events like story times, crafting, etc. Hint: In the meantime, indulge in some free magazines. Score!

#8. Boardwalk Ice on Whyte Festival

Experience amazing ice carvings, music, art, food, beverages and special activities throughout Old Strathcona during Boardwalk Ice on Whyte, January 3 to February 2, 2020. Admission is $4 for children 2 to 13 years old, free for under 2, and $7 per adult. Alternatively, a Family Pack is $20 for two adults and two children. 

#9. Catch a Cheap Movie at Cineplex Odeon for $2.99 Family Favourites

Did you know that every Saturday at 11 a.m. is a family-favourite movie screening that's only $2.99? It's a fun and affordable way to enjoy time with your family and friends! A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting WE Charity. Here's the upcoming movies.

#10. Visit a Recreation Centre Indoor Playground

Edmonton has a variety of indoor playgrounds to visit that are guaranteed fun, but they can ring in a price tag of $10+ per child. If you want your kids to be able to run off some steam and play but are looking for a cheaper option, did you know a few of our recreation centres have drop-in indoor playgrounds for a fraction of the price? Clareview, Terwillegar, The Meadows, Mill Woods, O'Leary, and Kinsmen all have one! Visit the City of Edmonton website to see their varying hours, pricing, and age appropriateness.

#11. Winterfest in Castle Downs

On Sunday, January 19 take the family to Winterfest and enjoy free community fun! Sleigh rides, refreshments, music, pallet races, and more. All sponsored by the Castle Downs Recreation Society.

#12. Visit the Art Gallery of Alberta for Free

On Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Art Gallery of Alberta offers free admission! Introduce your family to the world of art and culture, and with always-changing exhibits you can visit often and still have a new experience. The Art Gallery also periodically offers fun art activities for kids and families. On those days, you pay for admission, but the activities are free!

#13. Borden Park 

With an ode to Canadiana, this woodland-themed playground looks like something out of a storybook. The outdoor playground is free and offers multiple climbing structures, slides, and animal carvings.

#14. Go Cross-Country Skiing 

Many of Edmonton's parks have groomed trails for cross-country skiers. These trails are taken care of by the City of Edmonton and accommodate different levels of skiers. Click here for a list of ski trails in Edmonton's River Valley.

#15. Grab Hot Chocolate and Drive to a Frozen Waterfall

If you're feeling adventurous one weekend, make the road trip out to Jasper and visit Maligne Canyon. This natural winter wonderland has frozen waterfalls, ice sculptures on the rim, and a winter hiking trail you can follow. You can do this on your own in a group, but take the proper safety precautions before you go. If you are not confident, there are guided tours available.

If you enjoyed these ideas, there is even more where that came from (just not all are necessarily under $5). Head to our event calendar. We're always adding new and interesting events!

Happy exploring everyone!

Carly Paracholski
By Carly Paracholski
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