South Central pertains to the urban and central area south of the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton. The area is artsy, trendy and edgy. In South Central Edmonton you will find some interesting architecture and great festivals. South Central Edmonton includes the communities of Strathcona, Garneau, Queen Alexandra Windsor Heights, Mill Creek (east Strathcona), Bonnie Doon, Belgravia, Strathearn, Ritchie, and much more.
Much of what South Central today was once encompassed by Strathcona (originally called South Edmonton), which was founded in 1899 after significant growth due to the Calgary and Edmonton Railway Company's decision to place a terminus station south of the North Saskatchewan River. The first train arrived in South Edmonton in 1891.
Strathcona was named for Lord Strathcona. The community grew very quickly between 1900-1910 and was a typical prairie town, which is reflected in some of the architecture in Old Strathcona today.
In 1908, the University of Alberta was founded under Premier Rutherford in the Garneau District. The Garneau was named after Laurent Garneau, a Métis who fought alongside Louis Riel in the 1869 Red River Rebellion, and who later settled in South Edmonton.
Eventually, in 1912, the whole of Strathcona officially became part of Edmonton when the City of Strathcona voted in favour of amalgamation.
In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the University grew significantly and the area held up well in hard times. By the 1950s, the University continued to expand and began introducing the new "brutalist" architechtural style.
In the 1970s, there was a plan to build a freeway in what is now Old Strathcona. The community protested to preserve the neighbourhood's character. Some buildings were demolished in preparation for construction, but the freeway was never built. By the 1980s plans were made to revitalize the area and by the 1990s Whyte Avenue and Old Strathcona had become the city's premiere bar and urban retail district.
The late 1990s and early 2000s saw some increase in crime. Police were sent in to patrol the area and crime has decreased significantly since then.
Today South Central has a great nightlife scene -- Saturday nights are filled with bar goers and club lovers from around the city. The area is also considered a fun place to shop and dine. The area is highly educated due to the presence of the University of Alberta.
By public transit
Like most parts of the town, South Central has good public transit. The area is served by two LRT stations, University and Health Sciences/Jubilee, both of which are located on the University of Alberta campus. The frequency of LRT service is 5 minutes during the day and 10-15 minutes at night. Three buses serve popular Whyte Avenue: #4, #6 and #106. It's easy to connect to buses from both LRT stations.
South Central has good connections via 4 arteries-109th Street, (Whyte) 82nd Avenue, Calgary Trail, and Gateway Boulevard. Aside from that it is very navigablle even on Residential streets as it mostly follows a grid. If you are in gridlock, you can easily just go over a block and still make it because it is built with grid road.
- Hawrelak Park, West of Groat Road, north of 87 avenue NW.
- Rutherford House, 11153 Saskatchewan Drive NW.
- Strathcona Historic District (bordered by 88 Avenue in the north, 76 Avenue in the south, 111 Street in the west, and 102 Street in the east) is full of trendy shopping and a vibrant nightlife cluster. The industrial chic place is centered on Whyte Avenue which is a major shopping district, but do not forget the amazing nightlife found in this corridor. This area is full of a lot of architecturally pleasing houses too. There is also a lot of historic commerical buildings that were once churches, different stores, different offices, and industrial. If this is what you are looking for, then Old Strathcona is your pick!
- Old Strathcona Mural Tour, Whyte Avenue NW between 99 and 109 St NW. This tour provides a look at fourty electric boxes painted in mural. A free brochure is available for where to go, call 780.437.4182. Remember, don't do this tour at night.
Pyramid habitats of the Muttart Conservatory
- Muttart Conservatory, 9626 - 96A Street, ☎ 780 496-8755 (fax: 780 496-8747), . Closed for renovation until April of 2009.
- Gallagher Park is a beautiful park near the Muttart. It is nice for a picnic and nice cleancut grass and offers fantabulous views of downtown.
- Edmonton Queen, Rafter's Landing 9734 - 98 Avenue (Spring/Summer only), ☎ (780) 424-2628, . Thu-Sa Boards: 11am, 2:00pm, 5:30 pm; Su 3pm and 5:30pm course of 2 hours. The Queen is a very unique attraction in the city and is near central. The Queen is a riverboat which takes a cruise through the river over the course of around a hour. They give magnificent views and skyline views. This should not be missed. You can take cruises with a dinner if you choose. Call to book. Reservations are strongly recommended for all types of cruises and are required at least 48 hours in advance for our Dinner Cruises. Reservations cannot be cancelled or refunded.
- Mill Creek Architecture Walk, between 102 Street in the west, Whyte Ave in the south, 85 St. in the east and the river in the north. Check out any part in this area. This is a beautiful and cute, one-of-a-kind neighborhood lined with nice old-style houses and buildings, some refurbished and is home to a lot of infill, which means a lot of modern homes are being built. They come in funky styles and clash interestingly with the older structures. Great for someone interested in design because there's some really beautiful houses. Nice quiet walk.
- University of Alberta, Bound by 116 St/117 St (changes between those two at 87 Ave), E by 110 St until 87th until 112 St NW, S by 82 Ave, N by Sask Dr. NW. This area has a lot of architecture styles. It has some old gems near Sask Dr. A lot of it is brutalist buildings that once had horrible street access but have been retrofitted. There has also been recent development with some mediocre modern tecture.
- Whyte Ave, (between 109 and 100 St NW). Outside of the area between 103 and 105 Street, upon first glance, there probably isn't anything that "pops". But, there are tons of architecture that's appealing, although it depends on your style. There is a bunch of historical buildings between 102 and 105 Str. NW that would please most. Aside from that there is some 1960s/early modern structures that are typical of that time frame. They are simple and use little detailing and elegant lines.
Because Old Strathcona being within this district, there is endless choices for movies, sports, festivals, and events.
- University of Alberta Golden Bears
- Kinsmen Pitch'n'Putt, 10661-91st Avenue, 780-432-1626, . - behind the Kinsmen Sport Centre, on the south bank of the river valley (Public: par 54, 1222 yards) This is a true pitch-and-putt, with the holes averaging about 65 yards, and none over 100 yards. You can enjoy a pleasant two-hour walk with two or three clubs in your bag. Greens fees are low, club rentals are available, and the course is friendly for families looking for a spot to golf with the kids.
- The Mill Creek Trails, Mill Creek Ravine[s]. Wind through well put trails in Mill Creek ravine[s] along the Mill Creek. Covered with beautiful trees and geography, you wouldn't think you were only 5 blocks from the bustling Whyte Ave. Definitely be careful in winter. Great for walking, running, biking, etc.
- Commercial Hotel - Blues on Whyte, 10329 Whyte Ave.
- Edmonton Ski Club, 9613 96 Avenue NW, ☎ 780-465-0852, . This facility is in the River Valley south of downtown, near the Muttart Conservatory and only a few minutes from the city center. $19-$25 for full day, seniors $9.
- Garneau Theatre, 8712 109 Street NW, ☎ 780-433-2212. An indie theatre that has nice staff in a uniform 1950s theatre. Upon entering, you are welcomed to a few steps which brings you to the ticket place, where you say which movie you want to see. Then you are in the next part, concession, which has normal movie theatre stuff, and the butter is real. Then there is the 1 theatre, which is very large, and has a huge balcony seating area. It is very nice and vintage.
- Princess Theatre, 10337 82 Avenue NW, ☎ 780-433-0728, . The Princess Theatre is a cool cinema in the centre of vibrant Whyte Ave. Nestled in a beautiful old building, the interior features nice vintage décor and the main theatre has a popular balcony. The concession prices are very reasonable. Note that there is the regular theatre, the Princess, as well as a sub-theatre ("basement") known as the Princess II. If you're looking for the Princess II, you go in a separate entrance, which is immediately east of the main theatre door. Staff are friendly and will help you get to the right theatre.
- Varscona Theatre, 10329 83 Avenue NW, ☎ 780-433-3399, . The Varscona is a nice little theatre with favourites such as Die Nasty, a weekly soap or Oh Susana a monthly favourite!
- The Yardbird Suite, 11 Tommy Banks Way (corner of 102 Street & 86 Avenue), ☎ 780-432-0428, . Edmonton non-profit jazz club with acts every weekend. The Tuesday jam is $2, and has some good talent. Closed during the summer.
- Jubilee Auditorium. This place is 113,000 m³ (a.k.a really big, yeah) of performing arts land taken to new levels. The place was built in 1955 near the University of Alberta and is still today one of the biggest performing art's centres in Alberta.
- Whyte Avenue Artwalk, (July), . For three days, studios go to the streets and make a clash of construction and creation. See artwork from many artists and possibly buy some at a sale. You can also create your own artwork at the Gazebo in MacIntrye Park.
- Edmonton Fringe International Festival, (August), . Second largest Fringe Fest in the world, Edmonton's includes over 90 non censored shows from around the Earth. There is so much food vendors and artisans out to sell you high quality stuff at this outdoor place. Performances indoor and out are of high plenty.
- Heritage Days, Hawrelak Park (August), . This three day event on the first weekend in August combines cultural dances, delicious international food, and some cool cultural items (Japanese fan, Chinese painting, Russian maps, etc.). Be sure to grab a bunch of tickets so you can buy all the food (they use tickets instead and money goes to the food bank). Try taking transit because it is hard to find some parking.
- Ice on Whyte, 86 Ave and 104 St (January), . Slide down snow and ice slides, wander through the ice maze, and more showcase wonderful Alberta talent using snow and ice.
- Edmonton Folk Fest, Gallagher Park (Every August). Beautiful, world class folk music is played and behind that is the thousands of heads making up the massive crowd with the backdrop of the Edmonton skyline. It's a beautiful festival.
- The EdmontonCanoe TheatreFest, Performed at the Third Space Theatre and U of A’s Timms Centre Second Playing Space (February), . Stories told in neat ways like a solo for a Shakespeare play and talking about marriage and honour killings in the nation and a story by mimes about fresh water. It changes every year and be sure to check it out for neat plays/stories.
- Edmonton Intl Film Festival, (October), . Movie goers rejoice at this festival with short films and documentaries taking the focus. The point is to show unusual places through cinema. Definitely a nice place to go, even with older kids, but you might want to dress up a tiny bit (i.e. sweaters, nice jeans, combed hair), like semi-formal as it is a semi-fancy event.
- Whyte Avenue Streetsale, Whyte Ave between 103 and 105 St (July). Whyte Avenue between 103 and 105 St is closed to vehicles to make way for a truly vibrant sale. The Whyte Ave Streetsale takes over the street with stores bringing their stuff to the sidewalk with live entertainment for you to listen. While you walk in the middle of the road, outside, you'll be shopping all kinds of neat stuff at neat deals. Something you should not turn down, even if you don't like shopping it's nice to just take in, plus the deals are nice.
- Whyte Avenue (main strip), 82 Ave between 103 and 109 St. Whyte Avenue is the heart of Old Strathcona, and is a vibrant mix of all sorts of people from artists to alternative, corporate to suburban mom's. The area is especially busy in the summer with many festivals right around the neighbourhood. Whyte Avenue itself boasts a wide range of different threads, clothing for all sorts of people. The area is also known for it's neat art studios, interesting sorts of bookstores, and quirky gift shops. All of this among street music players and interesting vendors. It's truly Edmonton's vibrant strip.
- Old Strathcona Farmers' Market, 10310 - 83 Ave., ☎ (780) 439-1844, . Sa 8AM-3PM. The weekly Old Strathcona Farmers' Market is a great place to find locally made goods from food to crafts. A list of vendors is available on the market's website.
- 104/103 Streets, Gateway (103) Boulevard and Calgary (104) Trail north of 76 Ave. The area south of Whyte Avenue is home to some different kinds of shops like interesting groceries, computer shops, salons, spas, and clothing shops.
- The Junction, 82 Ave between 103 and 99 St; 99 St between 82 and 87 Ave; south of 82nd, east of 103, east of 99th, north of 75th. The Strathcona Junction is a kind of edgy area of Old Strathcona, and is seperate from the mainstream Whyte Avenue. The area is commonly called East Whyte, reffering to the strip of Whyte Avenue west of 103 Street, away from the main drag. Here you'll find stuff on a smaller scale, often catered to the locals, but still very unique. 99th has a bunch of flower shops and bakeries, whereas Whyte Ave carries many vintage music sorts of stores.
- The Wee Book Inn on Whyte Ave., 10310 Whyte Ave., ☎ (780) 432-7230, . Daily 9AM-12AM. A local bookshop with four locations, including this one on Whyte Ave. This location has new and antique books, as well as vintage records.
- Hub Cigar & Newsstand, 8118 Gateway Blvd NW, ☎ (780) 439-0144, . This shop first opened in Old Strathcona in 1910. It features a large selection of magazines, cigars, tobacco products, and imported treats from England and the United States.
- Wild Prairie Soap Company, 10746 Whyte Ave., ☎ (780) 439.6640, . Features an in-store soaperie where handmade soaps and personal care products (lotions, balms, scrubs, etc.) are made. You can find unique beauty products such as the Prairie Sunshine soap bar.
- When Pigs Fly, 10470 Whyte Ave., ☎ (780) 433-9127, . Gift shop with pottery (some locally made), cards, and seasonal items.
- Etzio Womens Wear on Whyte, 10338 Whyte Ave, ☎ (780) 433-2568. M-F 10AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-5:30PM, Su noon-5PM. Womens clothing and accessories. This Whyte Avenue boutique features everything from fashion-forward street wear to special occasion wear as well as a trendy collection of jewelry and accessories.
Edmonton's Old Strathcona-University area is home to great dining. It has all kinds of options to satisfy your cravings. The best selection is in Old Strathcona -- you can choose from delicious pasta, tea and coffee, Indian food, Tex Mex, and much more. The area around the University has mostly chains such as Earl's, but there are still some gem dining spots to be found.
Coffee, smoothies, and treats
- BLOCK 1912, 10361 - 82 Ave. (in the heart of Whyte (82nd) Avenue). This coffee shop is a favorite for late night dates, chatting with old friends, and family gatherings. Offers a variety of home-made desserts, gourmet coffees, and healthy lunch and dinner items. There's even a built-in gelateria for those who crave a delicious taste of Italy. If you've got a sweet tooth, you will find some of the best desserts in the city including chocolate cheesecakes. The excellent chai lattés are made from scratch. You'll love the eclectic décor and can't miss the enormous desert painting in the back corner.
- Leva Cafe & Bar, 11053 - 86 Ave., ☎ (780) 479-5382, . A lovely Italian-style cafe in the Garneau district. Serves great coffee, wine, as well as salads, thin-crust pizza, paninis, and amazing desserts including several gelato flavours.
- Cafe Dabar, 10816 - 82 Ave. NW, ☎ (780) 433-3306, . Internet cafe serving fair trade coffee, espresso drinks, and a food selection that includes muffins, bagels, quiche, and more.
- Dream Tea House, 7912 - 104 St. (Old Strathcona Shopping Centre), ☎ (780) 988-7878, . Arguably the best bubble tea in Edmonton. Open late every night.
- Café Mosaics, 10844-82 Ave., ☎ (780) 433-9702. Nice cute artistic café with a warm and inviting experience. This café also has a nice vegetarian meal and all kinds of stuff.
- Arriba Mexico, 10768 82 Avenue NW (just north of Whyte Avenue on 108 St). Tiny Mexican restaurant with inexpensive, fresh, and delicious cuisine. Family run and the owner (Jorge) is very friendly. The kitchen and all tables are in one unpretentious room. $8-13.
- Chianti's has good long menu's with all kinds of variety. Beautiful gourmet food that is arguably Edmonton's best in the Italian department with such friendly service you'd be surprised to find it's prices are pretty cheap as well. A little tid bit - all of their food is made from scratch - no pre making, no store bought, nothing.
- Fiore Cantina ,8715 109 Street NW , is a cozy Italian restaurant opposite Garneau. The staff are nice and the menu is full of all kinds of selection. The vegetarian selection is quite good along with veal and pasta menus. The place is charming and not too busy, but it is still quite cheap and good quality food. The interior is something out of Naples or the sort with a cool bakery at the enterance. Make sure to look carefully as the structure blends well with the surroundings so it may be difficult to find.
- Burger Baron, 9908 70 Avenue NW, ☎ (780) 433-7634. The classic drive in has a shop in South Central and offers delicious burgers, fries, and chicken and reasonable prices. Food is made when you order.
- Commercial Hotel - Blues on Whyte, 10329 82 Ave. Rock-bottom prices on beer, with a crowd to match. The bar serves all the low-brow beers, and has a surprisingly good selection at the opposite end of the spectrum - at the best prices in town. You can get Guinness on tap at a good price (for Edmonton), as well as Strongbow cider and several of the Big Rock brews. Live blues music on stage weekday evenings, with a locally-famous open stage on Saturday afternoons (arrive early if you want your own seat).
- Funky Pickle, 10441 whyte Avenue NW. Some of the best pizza to order in town, with offbeat topping choices. Buy a whole pie or by the slice.
- Yiannis Taverna, 10444 82nd (Whyte) Ave. Fun place, especially in the summer when the large garage doors in the front open onto the bustling streets of the funky Old Strathcona neighborhood. Loud and busy.
- Route 99 Diner, 8820 99 Street NW, ☎ (780) 432-0968. Vintage 50s/60s memorabilia fills this cute neighbourhood hit in the Mill Creek neighbourhood. Offers greasy burgers, delicious milkshakes, fries, chicken fingers, and all that fancy casual stuff.
- Earl's: Campus Style, 8629 112 Street NW, ☎ (780) 481-5352. A typical Earl's restaurant designed to cater the college people across the road in the University of Alberta. It has a slightly different menu compared to others and it's interiors are definitely unique!
- Keg, 8020 105 Street NW, . This trendy steakhouse of mild prices and typical good food adds sweet spices and juicy meat to almost every meal.
- Accent European Lounge, 8223 104 Street (not the trendy downtown leg). Located a half-block north of Whyte (82nd) Avenue, this bistro/bar has a warm, wood-paneled main room with a welcoming bar for those awaiting company or a table. There's also a cheerful west-facing (sunny!) four-table patio in the summer. The menu features wiener schnitzel, steak a la tartare, other European dishes, and hearty salads at good prices. An excellent European beer selection and a busy street scene make this the perfect Fringe Festival patio break.
- Furusato, 10012 82 Ave. The decor of this attractive, family-run spot emulates a Japanese village restaurant: the walls are wooden panels, and the room is roofed with thatch, while wooden floors and tasteful Japanese wall decorations round out the decor. Sample the special Volcano Rolls (a spicy, oven-hot sushi roll), or the Ika Kara-Age (breaded fried squid with a tangy ginger sauce). All dishes are delivered quickly by friendly and competent staff. The restaurant doesn't take reservations, so try to avoid the frequent line-ups by visiting outside of the main dinner hours (5:30PM-7:30PM). Visitors from Vancouver claim it's better than most Lower Mainland Japanese restaurants, high praise from people who have a broad choice of Japanese restaurants at home.
- Continental Treat, 10560 Whyte (82) Avenue North West. Not far from Accent European Lounge, this restaurant faces onto busy Whyte Avenue. Its dark wood floor and tables give it a comfortable and slightly upscale air. The menu is eastern European, with top-notch escargot, mussels, dill pickle soup, and French onion soup, among other treats.
- Korean Village, 7729 85 Street (Look carefully), ☎ (780) 466-5666. Hidden in a strip mall a few blocks off Whyte (82) Avenue, this restaurant's interior is a rustic Korean lodge. Rugged wooden floors and posts house benches, tables, and tatami-style rooms. The restaurant's major attraction is an all-you-can-eat, self-serve Korean BBQ for $25. A food bar on one wall carries four or more varieties of raw meat and seafood, marinating in appropriate sauces, as well as side vegetable dishes. Load up a plate with goodies, return to your table, and grill to taste on the natural gas hotplate in the center of the table. Tip: ask them to change the grill if yours gets black and horrible. This restaurant is run by a small Korean family that takes great pride in their food and service. This is a must-eat attraction if you are visiting Edmonton. Do not miss it!
- Packrat Louie, 10335 83 Avenue NW (Whyte Avenue commercial area). This pleasant room features exposed brick in the walls and real cloth on the tables, a little tonier than most Italian restaurants in town. The original menu had a Swiss-Italian emphasis, and even now the dishes are far from conventional pastas you'll find elsewhere. The food is well-prepared and reasonably priced, and you're right in the heart of Whyte Avenue's entertainment zone when you finish your meal - you'll find yourself just a block or two from live theater, repertory cinema, and most of the area's main bars and clubs.
- High Level Diner, 10912 88 Ave. (Near the High Level Bridge). This is a long-time Edmonton favorite, known for its cozy atmosphere and a broad selection of food. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner equally well. For breakfast, try the self-branded hot cereal, a bowl brimming with a half-dozen or more types of hot, flavorful grains. The cereal mixture is also available dry for taking home - it's a great gift to out-of-town Edmontonians pining for a taste of home. The main menu's bias is towards simple but hearty Mediterranean cuisine, but it includes robust dishes from other cultures as well. The Diner serves a number of flavorful vegetarian dishes, and the menu also includes sufficient meat meals to amply satisfy the family carnivore. In summer there is a small patio area which gives a nice view of the surrounding area, good for people watching. The best long island iced tea in the city (made from scratch). On Sunday mornings, arrive early or be prepared for a line at the door.
- Julio's Barrio:Mexican, 10450 82nd (Whyte) Ave. Julio's serves good Mexican food and lots of it. The menu is extensive, the servings are generous, and the food is the best Mexican fare in town. The great location's interior is colorful, although the tables and chairs - authentic equipale furniture made from roswood and palm slat frames with stretched pig skin - are somewhat eccentric. Fresh home-made salsas, in every temperature from mild to "salsa of mass destruction", accompany free bowls of corn chips before dinner. The bar stocks several Mexican beers as well as the usual domestic brands, and has notable automation in place to speed the creation of margueritas. With friendly but professional service, Julio's is one of Whyte Avenue's busiest eateries, and justifiably so.
- Max Light Cuisine, 7809 109 Street (Four blocks south of Whyte Ave), ☎ (780) 432-6241. Cozy restaurant that offers mainly vegetarian cuisine, including vegan options, tofu dishes, as well as some meat dishes.
- Culina, 9914 89 Avenue NW, ☎ (780) 437-5588.
- Whyte Avenue Boston Pizza.
- The King and I, 8208 107 St NW, ☎ 780.433.2222. A stand-by for good Thai food, it's always been a bit pricey, and often the portions are somewhat small. Lunch dining is more economical: you can enjoy a substantial mid-day meal for around ten dollars. Those looking for an authentic experience might consider a different Thai restaurant, as this one is known to cater to "cautious" diners. It's a great introduction to Thai food, however, and beginners won't be disappointed by the flavors. It still serves, by far, the best coconut rice in the city.
- Von's, 10309 81 Avenue Northwest. Good lobster, steak and other stuff. Expensive, but right on the money if you are looking for good quality stuff.
- Unheardof, 9602–82 Ave., . One of Edmonton's finest food establishments, although be aware that this quality comes at a price. The menu is a prix-fixe style, with one or two choices for each course. The meal costs about $60 per person (as of 2006), but if you are looking for excellent eating, and the price does not faze you, look no no further.
- Red Ox Inn, 9420 91 Street NW, . Super-friendly staff with mouth watering meals of every variety.
The Whyte Avenue area is the city's most concentrated "party zone" and no doubt has a wide range!
- Hudson's Whyte, 10307 Whyte Avenue NW (Right in busy Whyte Ave.), ☎ (780) 433-4526, . The original of the Hudson's Taphouses. It offers soothing music among fine alcohol.
- Filthy McNastys, 2Flr-10511A 82 Avenue NW, ☎ (780) 432-5224.
- Black Dog, 10524 Whyte Ave. Frequently rated Edmonton's best neighborhood pub in city polls, this friendly drinking spot caters to the young and body-modified (pierced and tattoed) crowd as well as any place on Whyte Avenue. It serves a wide selection of imported and micro-brewed beer at middle-of-the-road prices, features live music on Saturday afternoons, and has one of the city's favorite pub "patios" on their roof - a terrific place to waste a summer afternoon.
- O’Byrne's, 10616 Whyte Ave. An excellent authentic Irish pub, rather roomy inside with two levels and an outdoor patio open in summer. O'Byrne's is one of 'the' places to be on St. Patrick's Day in Edmonton and throughout the summer months. Although you will want to get there early for that day as there is usually a line out the door from 4pm onwards. O'Byrne's hosts excellent Celtic music on Tuesdays and plays host to a rather eclectic group of performers throughout the week.
- The One on Whyte, 10544 Whyte Ave. Located in the space occupied by the old Roxy club on the second floor of what used to be Old Strathcona¹s favourite bowling alley, the One on Whyte sports an attitude that tones down the nightclub aspect a bit and emphasizes an expanded food menu and more live music. Yes, there are still plenty of opportunities to shake it until closing time, just like the old Roxy, but it seems that the owners are shooting for an entirely new image.
- Purple Onion, 8032 104 Street (two blocks south of Whyte Avenue). No one knows exactly where the hordes of people that press the flesh at the "P.O." every weekend come from. But come they do, as they have for close to 15 years now. And for anyone who wasn't already cheerful and dazed courtesy of Happy Hour, the DJ helps out with current dance hits and classic rock. Various drink and shooter specials are available, seemingly all the time. And unlike most of the licensed establishments in the area, you probably stand a better chance of getting your beverage faster from one of the numerous waitresses than you will from going to the bar.
- Union Hall, 9920 62 Ave. Aimed at the classic-rock loving thirty-something set, the Union Hall advertises itself as a place "where the only labels you'll find are on the bottles."
- Hudsons on Campus.
- Wooly Bully's, 8230 Gateway Boulevard NW, ☎ (780) 435-2886.
- Meterra Hotel on Whyte, 10454 - 82nd Ave. NW, . Very nice boutique hotel in the heart of Whyte Ave. $139 and up (high season).
- Varscona Hotel on Whyte, 8208 - 106 St. NW (Just go a tiny bit north of Whyte on 106th Street), ☎ (780) 434-6111, . Not to be confused with the theatre, this trendy boutique hotel is in lovely Old Strathcona and is great if you will be spending lots of time in the area or even downtown. $135 and up (high season).
- Strathcona Hotel Edmonton Limited, 10302 - 82 Ave. NW (103rd St. and Whyte), ☎ (780) 439-1992. A boutique-like hotel in a beautiful and historic old building. Good views of Whyte Ave. and environs. Well kept -- you would be surprised that the building is from 1896.
- Campus Tower Suite Hotel, 11145 - 87 Ave. NW, ☎ (780) 439-6060, . Good hotel with neat views of parts of Edmonton and is great if you need to stay in n' around the University area. Popular with young professionals and people who know people at the U. $116 and up (high season).
- University of Alberta Conference Centre Guest Rooms (year round), Lister Conference Centre, University of Alberta, ☎ (780) 492-6056 ([email protected], fax: (780) 492-7032), . Hotel-style accommodation. Includes complimentary continental breakfast, overnight parking, local calls, and high-speed internet (bring your own ethernet cable). You don't need to be attending a conference at the Lister Centre to stay here. $119 and up.
- Days Inn Edmonton South, 10333 University Ave., ☎ (780) 430-0011, . Located seven blocks south of Whyte Ave. Complimentary parking and high-speed internet access available. $103 and up (high season).
- HI-Edmonton, 10647 - 81 Ave., ☎ (780) 988-6836 or +1 877 467-8336 (toll-free), . Beds start at $29 ($25 with HI membership) per night.
- University of Alberta Summer Guest Accommodation (May-August), ☎ (780) 492-6056 ([email protected], fax: (780) 492-7032), . Some accommodation is dormitory style with shared washrooms. Other accommodation (Schaffer Hall) is in single rooms with private washrooms. The more expensive summer accommodation includes a hot breakfast. All U of A summer accommodation includes linen and towels. $49-65 per night.
- 3rd on Whyte Internet Cafe, 201-10351 - 82 Ave., 780-437-8917, . Daily 10AM-10PM. This cozy internet cafe is located on the second floor above the bustle of famous Whyte Avenue. Customers are treated to good tunes, good coffee/tea, and the best public computers on the strip. Full colour printing, scanning, Microsoft Office 2007, games, and CD/DVD burning are available for each computer.
- Cafe Dabar, 10816 - 82 Ave., 780-433-3306, . M-Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 11AM-PM, Holidays as posted.
Old Strathcona has some incidences of crime, but they are easily avoided. The area is very safe overall.
If you decide to park in the area, make sure the doors are locked and all valuables are out of sight, as you would in central areas of any large city and break-ins will not occur. If you are worried, there are several businesses and hotels that offer private parking (however it can be costly).
At night, specifically on the weekends, Whyte Avenue gets very busy with people looking to party, hopping from bar to bar. Stabbings and assaults have happened, especially in the early morning hours after last call (2.00AM). However, as long as you aren't looking for a fight, or insulting anyone, it is very safe. The police maintain a strong presence on weekends to prevent anything like this from happening.
Old Strathcona sees a moderate level of panhandling and the city is trying to crack down on the problem. The problem usually only occurs when less people are out and about (winter, night, weekday mornings) or around meal times. Usually, those asking for money are not aggressive, but occasionally some individuals will enter some of the smaller restaurants and approach patrons at tables to ask for money. Some businesses are promoting the idea of saying no to panhandling and instead donating to shelters and programs for the disadvantaged, and are even putting signs saying this in their shop windows.
There are two approaches to deal with these people:
1. Ignore them - Don't make eye contact and just keep walking.
2. Say no - Doing it politely with a "No, sorry" will usually suffice.