Edmonton·Audio

National Geographic says Edmonton is one of world's best summer trips

Stargazing in a canyon in Arizona, attending a concert in the shadow of ancient Greek ruins, hiking through Edmonton’s river valley: At first glance, they might not have much in common. But all three have been chosen as being among the world’s best summer trips by National Geographic magazine.

International events, river valley highlighted as Alberta city's best draws

The International Street Performer's Festival is listed in a National Geographic article as one of Edmonton's tourist highlights. (Scott Lilwall)

Stargazing in a canyon in Arizona, attending a concert in the shadow of ancient Greek ruins, hiking through Edmonton's river valley.

At first glance, they might not have much in common. But all three have been chosen as being among the world's best summer trips by National Geographic magazine.

Edmonton made the short list of 11 of the best summer destinations, as noted in an article on the magazine's website earlier this month.

The writer, Maryellen Kennedy Duckett, noted Edmonton is hosting a variety of international events this summer, highlighting the FIFA Women's World Cup in June, alongside annual favourites such as the Edmonton International Fringe Festival and the Street Performer's Festival.

"Edmonton is welcoming the world this summer," she wrote.

Duckett also urges visitors to visit the city's expansive river valley, noting that bike and Segway tours are available through the River Valley Adventure Co.

The company's owner, Chris Szydlowski, tells CBC News that's he's somewhat surprised to see the city included on the list. He said it is long overdue, however, and that he has seen an increase in tourism in recent years. 

"The fact that it is bringing more light to Edmonton is awesome."

Szydlowski, who does some work with international tourism agencies, said he sees Edmonton getting more attention from people outside of North America and that the city offers a different experience for those who may have visited better-known spots like Vancouver or Toronto. 

He also noted that travellers were familiar with more attractions like the river valley, as opposed to the old standard of the West Edmonton Mall. 

"This is where it is at. The largest urban parkland in North America, so many trails, so much to experience," he said. 

Several other businesses are highlighted by Duckett, including:

  • The Metterra Hotel in Old Strathcona. She praises the building's design and the surrounding attractions on Whyte Avenue.
  • North 53, which she calls a must-go for diners, saying "if an ingredient isn't made in Canada, it doesn't make it onto the menu."

Edmonton is one of three North American destinations on the list. Besides Sedona, Ariz., it includes Philadelphia Penn.

Canadian destinations have previously made the list. In the last two years, British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest, Ontario's cottage country and Cape Breton Island have been featured.

Here's the full list of National Geographic's top summer trips for 2015:

  • Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Sedona
  • Konstanz, Germany
  • Athens, Greece
  • Magna Carta Trails, England
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Jubilee Weekend, Singapore
  • Cup Match, Bermuda
  • Philadelphia
  • Victoria, Australia
  • Jeju Island, South Korea

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story stated that the Women's World Cup was being held in August. The event actually starts in June and continues into July.
    May 18, 2015 4:04 PM MT

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