September is already more than halfway over, and those long, hot summer days we all enjoyed so much have disappeared for yet another year. I'm definitely feeling pretty nostalgic for the freedom that summer brings already, but there's also a surge of excitement that comes along with the seasonal transition over to fall and heading back to school for the year.
The dreaded snow may have come a bit earlier than anticipated this year, but there's no denying that fall is still one of the most beautiful seasons you'll see in Alberta. The air is crisp and cool, the pumpkin spice lattes are back, and the colourful leaves make the most perfect IG photo backdrop - what more could you possibly want?!
Like most seasons, fall has a ton of stereotypes that come with it. Most people spend their free time consuming as many pumpkin flavoured products as possible, getting in a few last hikes before winter hits, and getting excited about one of the best holidays of the year - Halloween!
While all those things are definitely fun, sometimes the best thing to do is step outside of your comfort zone and try something new and exciting this fall! Alberta has plenty to offer that's more than just hikes and haunts. We've also got incredible hot springs, museums, malls, markets, and everything in between. Get ready to have the best fall ever, and see just how many of these super fun activities can you cross off your fall bucket list:
Warm up in the Banff Upper Hot Springs
It's getting chilly out there, so why not make your trip to the mountains a bit more enjoyable with a stop at the Banff Upper Hot Springs? It's a great way to stay warm while still enjoying those gorgeous mountain views. It's also a great spot for you to kick back and relax your muscles after a day of walking or exploring the city of Banff. Be sure to bring along a toque, so your ears don't freeze!
Explore the Hoodoos of Drumheller
Drumheller is easily one of the most underrated spots in Alberta. While most people would sooner hit up the mountains in Banff or Jasper, we think that Drumheller has a lot to offer as well. Head to the Royal Tyrell Museum to learn a thing or two about the dinosaurs that used to roam around the area, or take a hike through the beautiful, scenic hoodoos!
Visit the Ghost Town of Bankhead
If exploring a Ghost Town isn't your perfect idea of fall fun, who even are you? Bankhead is located in Banff National Park, making it super convenient for you to check out on your next trip up to the mountains. The town was established in 1903 to provide coal to CPR locomotives, but by 1930 the town had sealed its fate as a Ghost Town.
Explore the Columbia Icefield
If you're not afraid of the cold, the Columbia Icefield is a great place to explore this fall. Located in between Northern Banff and Southern Jasper, the Icefields feed eight major glaciers and are a seriously astounding site to take in. Explore the Icefields as part of a guided tour, or take a solo expedition. Whatever you do though, be sure to dress warm and bring along your camera!
Spend a day at the National Music Centre
If you love music as much as I do, a trip to the National Music Centre in Calgary should definitely be on your fall bucket list. Not only is this building itself aesthetically gorgeous, but there are also so many interesting things to do and see inside. Learn about the history of music, try your hand at playing a new instrument, and check out the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio!
Do some shopping at West Edmonton Mall
Now that the seasons are changing over, you have no reason not to treat yourself to a brand new fall wardrobe! Head to West Edmonton Mall and pick yourself up some new scarves, sweaters, and toques to keep warm when the snow starts falling. If you're looking for some added adventure during your trip, make sure you head to World Waterpark or Galaxyland!
Take a tour of the Canmore Caves
Want to live your best Indiana Jones life? Make sure you make a pit stop in Canmore this fall to take a tour of the caves. This is definitely a one of a kind opportunity, so if you're brave enough to try it, you don't wanna pass it up! If you're worried about getting chilly, the caves stay pretty warm, even when it's snowing outside.
Hit the slopes at the Lake Louise Ski Resort
Everyone knows that fall in Alberta is basically winter, especially with all the snow we get! The Lake Louise Ski Resort is one of the most beautiful resorts you'll find in Alberta - just look at those mountain views! No matter if you're a skiing fanatic, or just getting started out, there's no time like the present to plan your trip and hit the slopes.
Explore the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden
The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is easily one of the most beautiful gardens you'll find in Alberta. People travel from far and wide to spend their time walking through these tranquil gardens. There is often live entertainment for patrons to enjoy, and the staff has been described as friendly and knowledgeable. Bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy, and make sure to take a photo to commemorate your visit.
Hang out at the Glenbow Museum
There's almost always something cool to check out at the Glenbow, so if you find yourself in Calgary this fall, be sure to pop in and check it out! Whether you get a guided tour of one of the many exhibitions, or you explore the museum solo, you're bound to have a good time! If money is an issue, we've got a solution! The first Thursday of every month offers free admission, so you can save your money towards other adventures.
Get to know the animals at the Edmonton Valley Zoo
Study for midterms, or spend a day at the Edmonton Valley Zoo? I know what I would choose! The zoo is open 364 days a year, so there's no shortage of opportunities for you to get up close and personal with your favourite animals. From elephants and tigers to reptiles and goats, the Edmonton Valley Zoo really does have it all.
Take a ride on the Jasper SkyTram
Hiking definitely isn't for everyone. If you're not one for climbing mountains, save yourself the huffing and puffing and take a ride on the Jasper SkyTram. You still get to take in all those picture perfect mountain views, minus the hike to the top, and the sore legs that will stick around for days after. Be ready to give your IG followers some serious FOMO when they see the amazing photos you take.
Relax at the Muttart Conservatory
Missing the summer sun already? Us too. While we can't do much to bring it back, we can suggest a visit to the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton to remedy your quickly approaching winter blues. The Muttart is a great place to practice your photography skills, or simply just hang out with a notebook and pen. They occasionally host events that are worth checking out as well!
Stargaze at the Jasper Planetarium
Looking for the most perfect fall date idea? This may just be it! A trip to the Jasper Planetarium will give you some of the best nighttime views you'll find anywhere in the province. See how many constellations you can identify, or get up close and personal with the moon. One thing's for sure - this is an experience that you won't soon forget!
Check out the new Royal Alberta Museum
The brand new Royal Alberta Museum is set to open on October 3rd in Edmonton, and it will be the largest museum in Western Canada. Needless to say, we're super excited! From what we've seen so far, the museum is shaping up the be super gorgeous and the exhibits it's hosting sound even better. Once the museum is opened this fall, odds are good you'll find yourself visiting frequently.
Do some shopping at the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market
The Old Strathcona Farmer's Market is the ultimate fall destination. Here you can pick up sweet fall treats, homemade goods, and all kinds of other trinkets and toys! The Farmer's Market is usually full of kind, friendly people who are more than willing to answer your questions and make sure you're 100% satisfied with their products. It's a great spot to network, make new friends, and support local businesses!