YEGDT: Explore the Treasures of Downtown Edmonton




It's no secret: in the last half-a-decade our city has come alive in a big way. With an influx of restaurants, coffee shops, local designers and artists splashing the streets, Edmonton is buzzing! City plans are coming full circle and we have a new museum, the revitalization of the Stanley A. Milner library and much more to look forward to. Not to mention a beach... by accident... when the snow melts... 


I've lived in Edmonton all my life, downtown specifically. Born and raised in Riverdale and now residing off Jasper Ave, I can safely say it has never been more exciting and precious than now to live in this city. There's something going on in every pocket of this place; the heartbeat is loud and clear in our thriving city. Let's take a tour of some special places that feed the melange that is YEGDT.


Little Italy: Zocalo 


Zocalo is a vibrant and welcoming fixture in Edmonton's Little Italy. Bursting with flowers, plants, gifts and amazing coffee, this place is an instant pick-me-up. The cozy garden cafe/greenhouse includes a long communal harvest table perfect for posting up and reading a book or getting some work done.



The atmosphere is lush. Bonus points for the outdoor space that comes alive in the spring and summer months. Zocalo is truly a treasure trove in one of Edmonton's sweetest little neighbourhoods, right downtown. 



If you're in the neighbourhood... 

Enjoy a drop-in dance class at Spazio Perfomativo, home to Mile Zero Dance. Situated right next door to Zocalo, this dance school offers weekly drop-in and registered classes ranging from contact improvisation to hip hop. 


100th Street: Woodwork, Workhall and Co. 


For the last 4 years Woodwork has been a steady favourite in the downtown food and cocktail scene, not to mention one of the first to liven up the quiet streets of YEGDT. Nestled between Canadian designers Workhall and the entrance to the legendary McLeod building, this is the spot to enjoy pre or après Citadel, Winspear, Shaw or Starlite.

Aptly nicknamed "The Work District" by employees and regulars, this local slice of dining and dress is incredibly unique and still somewhat lowkey to enjoy as you please. To avoid disappointment, make a reservation like a pro and if you're looking for beautiful, handmade goods from Canadian designers, leave an extra 45 to peruse Woodwork's neighbour Workhall before your reso.  


It just makes sense that Woodwork and Workhall share a wall.


If this local lovely isn't on your radar, it is now. The creators say it best: 

"We are WORKHALL - a Canadian fashion company committed to transformable and purposeful garments. Our aim is to inspire and shift the mentality of disposable fashion."

It's not uncommon to find a designer sewing away in the window of Workhall, right beside Woodwork and across the street from the Westin. This crew is equal parts humble and talented and their clothing is just as lovely. You will feel like royalty when you walk in - their service and overall vibe is fully genuine.






It's true: Edmonton is changing and evolving quickly. This fact alone magnifies the historically rich side of the downtown core, in contrast. I'm not sure if we call it "overdue", "revitalization" or just "how it goes", but whatever's happening is awakening pride and excitement as our city continues to grow.


Victoria Park Promenade featuring the Annemoe House is a neat little snippet of history amongst towering newness. Overlooking the Edmonton River Valley atop the Victoria Golf Course, this is a hub for runners, readers, photographers and chillers. I once resided in this area, lending to my fascination with heritage properties in Edmonton. There is a thrill and mystery behind old buildings. 


Amongst the growth, change and general surge of Edmonton's downtown core, we sure are lucky to look out over the fog-soaked valley or look back at the preserved brick of families' past. YEGDT is colourful in this way.  


Downtown Edmonton is a hotspot. Tell your friends - it's happening. Whatever you may be seeking, get ready to find it: coffee, cocktails, views and parks. Plus, you're always just steps from the River Valley, if that's more your speed. Might I suggest parking near 95th street and taking a stroll; there's so much to take in and lots you haven't seen, I bet. Get your explorative wheels turning.

Are you a YEG adventurer? We'd love to interview you! Get in touch at