50(ish) First Dates… in #YEG | By Blue Knox



1. $$ (F/W) Every Friday at 10:00pm at the Citadel theatre Rapidfire Theatre puts on one of the greatest improvisational theatre shows in the country, not just the city, not just the province, the country. They get guests from across Canada and some of the most phenomenal performers from this city. Often highly inappropriate, but always entertaining, this is one of the best date nights in the city. The last time I went to Rapidfire for a date the man sitting behind me accidentally poured a litre of Coke down my back and purse, but I was so busy laughing about the show, I didn’t even care. That is how amazing the show is.

2. $$ (S) Go to a show and see the performers at the Fringe. I realize the dead of winter is creeping up on us but this date is, arguably, one of the most definitive #YEG experiences you can have. Middle of a hot August day, cramped in any of the hundreds of BYOVs around the city, watching one of the dozens of morning/afternoon/evening/late night/late late night performances by amateurs and seasoned veterans alike, is the epitome of an Edmonton Summer. It may be nearly a year until you can take advantage of this one, but our list wouldn’t be complete without it.

3. $$$ (S) Edmonton Jazz Festival sadly, like our friend the Fringe, the Jazz Festival has passed us by. Have no fear, it will be around next year. So you can take this idea, save it for a few months down the road, and then surprise your date with your brilliant date prowess while taking in some of the finest jazz musicians in the world.

4. 0 (W) Go to Ice on Whyte and take a look at the amazing ice sculptures! One of the best things Edmonton has done in the last few years is really encourage festivals and events that embrace winter. Last year there were magnificent icy works of art, so grab your mittens and boots, and prepare yourself for a great date in the snow!

5. $$ (A) Edmonton has some superb small concert venues like the Starlite Room, and the Pawnshop. One of my favorite things when Vue Weekly comes out on Wednesdays is sit down, and immediately leaf through their pages to find the concert listings. Big names, or small names, Starlight and Pawnshop are always fun venues that, with a beer in hand, and dancing shoes laces up, guarantee a good night! My favorite concert date was the night I saw Young The Giant play! It was so much fun dancing and singing, and even though I’m no longer friends with my date, I had a great night and loved the show!

6. $$ (S) Taste of Edmonton, joining dates #2 and #3, is over, but makes for a great date. No doubt this list would be incomplete without it!

7. $$$ (F/W) With the season not yet over, take in an Eskimos game at Commonwealth! Even in the middle of November it’s fun to bundle up, buy a hot chocolate (or beer), and cheer on our Green and Gold! GO ESKS GO!

8. $$$ (W/Sp) Hockey game. Go to a hockey game. Nothing more needs to be said. If you or your date love hockey or sports, or just want a good date with a great atmosphere, it’s always fun to watch some NHL live. Or, if you don’t feel like paying for a pricy ticket, catch the game at any of the great pubs in town.

9. $$ (F/W/Sp) Take in any of the University of Alberta varsity teams, or Grant MacEwan University’s teams. This city is known for its art but it also has an incredible pool of athletic talent. This is a great date for anyone who loves sports and who feels like showing some post-secondary pride!

10. $$ (A) Go to one of the lectures VUE Weekly posts.

11. $$$$ (F/W/Sp) The Alberta Ballet is the third largest ballet company in North America, and with shows in Edmonton, Calgary, and around the world, the price of a ticket is worth the show.

12. $$$$ (F/W/Sp) The Edmonton Opera is a cultural institution in this city which I have fallen madly in love with over the past two years. If you’ve never been, our opera is a beautiful place to learn what opera is all about. If you’ve already been, well this post was unnecessary because you know what an awesome date night this is. Here’s a tip: If you’re 18-29 years old, pay $25 at the start of the season for a “Explorers” membership and then every show in the season will cost you and one other person (your date) $20 for any seat that is available the night of.

13. $$$$ (F/W) The ESO is another obvious choice, but a great one. Go to the symphony, dress up, maybe grab some drinks nearby at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Hundred, or any of the dozens of nearby lounges, beforehand. For a student, this might be a once-a-year date, but it’s a fun one!

14. $$$$ (A) The Citadel has so many amazing shows every year, every season has something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of classics or you want to see a contemporary piece, the theatre is a wonderful date. You can go for ice cream at intermission and hey, even if you don’t feel like going to see a show, The Citadel is a wonderful building to explore. You can sit under the giant waterfall and talk on the benches surrounded by glass walls and ceilings!

15. 0 – $$ (A) Art Gallery of Alberta the Gallery has some incredible exhibitions, and with such interesting architecture, even walking between the exhibits is fun. If you’re looking to catch some art but don’t want to pay the admission, the last Thursday of every month is Servus Community Access Night and is free after regular hours from 6-9 pm! If you want to make it a bigger occasion, stop at Zinc restaurant in the Gallery for dinner afterwards.

The End

If you thought there was nowhere to go out for a morning/day/night around Edmonton, I hope this list has done a thorough job of proving you wrong. Whether you enjoyed the individual you went out with or you never see them again, this list gives over 50 different places to enjoy yourself while you’re out, even if your date is about as interesting as the wallpaper behind them the entire time they were talking to you. Now I leave you with a challenge: on your next date, try something off of this list you’ve never thought of before! Comment below if you can think of a great date in #YEG that we didn’t mention (don’t forget to include the $ and season)!

All photography for this article, including the cover, were shot by Wanderer photographer, Patrick Nguyen

Special thank you to Wanderer writer Michael Ross for his help with the links and the wonderful map

 Thank you as well to our models, Michelle Derewonko and Dylan Grayson, with make up done by Jenn Vautour

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  • Guest

    Love this! Such great ideas!

  • Salena Kitteringham

    In addition to varsity athletics, there are great, affordable cultural date nights on campus at Studio theatre (Mondays are 2 for 1), music in Con Hall too.

    • Blue Knox

      Great ideas Salena! Thank you!

  • Guest

    I love this thank you!

    You can also add:
    Devonian Botanic Gardens (During the summer every Thursday is date night for cheap)
    Strathcona Streetcar
    Corn Maze
    Fort Edmonton Park (Hot chocolate and horse sleds during winter)

    • Blue Knox

      Awesome addition! Thank you!

  • Southern

    Creole Envie has a monthly chef menu’s for $25!

    • Blue Knox

      Thanks so much!

  • Mars

    Loved the list…reminded me of places I haven’t been in a long time and places I’d like to visit.

  • Mike

    All of these are north of Whitemud. No thanks.

    • Blue Knox

      If you have any other suggestions add them!

    • Ashley V

      You never travel north of the Whitemud?

    • Anitesh Jaswal

      You have a problem with getting up and going around?

    • Marissa Loewen

      If you insist on not contributing a productive comment to this great list, I’ll insist on contributing an equally lame response – Rabbit Hill is South of the Whitemud.

  • IndigoSelvedge

    Go camping! Even Elk Island has some beautiful scenery, and the stars are so clear with good weather.

    • Blue Knox

      Awesome suggestion!! That’s a great idea!

      • Sporthall

        On a first date? That’s optimistic, but go for it!

  • mscott7426

    FWIW, you can go skating year round in edmonton at some city rinks.

    • Blue Knox

      I had no idea! That’s fantastic! Any chance you know what rinks?B

      • mscott7426

        The weekly schedule is posted here: http://coewebapps3.edmonton.ca/communityservices/skating.aspx

        In the summer it’s usually just the larger Arenas.

        Terwillegar Community Rec Centre, Castledowns Arena, Kinsmen Twin Rinks.

        In the winter there is pretty much a free public skating time every day.

        • Blue Knox

          That’s so awesome… what a great idea!! Thank you!

  • Guest

    Why are there only pictures of hetero couples in this article? Lame.

    • Blue Knox

      Hey! Really appreciate your feedback! This wasn’t done to be exclusionary it’s actually the same two in every photograph, the fantastic models Dylan and Danielle! If we do a piece like this again we will definitely think about this! Hope you liked the date suggestions.

  • Ashley V

    Blue Knox, I’d love to chat with you about this list and how you came up with all these ideas! Contact me: ashley.viens@cbc.ca or at 780-468-7406

  • Anitesh Jaswal

    Do places slightly outside of the city count as well? Say if you went on a decent drive for a Sunday?

    • Blue Knox

      Absolutely that counts! Love that idea! This is all about hearing your favorite date ideas in (and around) #YEG!

      • Anitesh Jaswal

        Great! The place is called Eco Cafe, near Ma-Me-O Beach. It’s roughly an hour or so away using QE2 but I took a longer route through Thorsby and came in from the west towards the lake, when you look on Google Maps it’ll make more sense I hope. It was just a great little area and for a weekend day trip was pretty relaxing.

        • Blue Knox

          Anitesh, That’s a really awesome suggestion! Love the idea of a day trip!

  • Kimberly Van Nieuvenhuyse

    Hi! The last Thursday of the month is Servus Community Access Night at the AGA, not the second last. It’s from 6-9 pm.

    • Blue Knox

      Hey Kimberly, Thanks for that correction! I’ll make note of it and change it in the article!

  • Trevor


    While the jazz festival comes but once a year, there is in fact a terrific venue for outstanding jazz concerts featuring regional, national, and international artists nearly year-round: the Yardbird Suite. In its present location since 1984, the Yardbird first arrived on the Edmonton music scene in 1957.

    The Yardbird Suite was recently selected as one of 50 things that define Edmonton!

    On the web: http://www.yardbirdsuite.com

    • Blue Knox

      Thank you for this amazing suggestion Trevor! I think I’m going to put this at the top of my personal list of places to try on my next date!

    • deirdre

      An inspired suggestion, Trevor. Wanted to add that on Tuesday evenings the Yardbird Suite hosts an awesome series of jazz “jam” sessions – hosted each week by professional musicians who perform a one-hour set, then other musicians sign-up and are invited to sit-in and perform. Definitely cool as calibre of musicianship is high and professionals, amateurs and students improvise. Cost is only $5.00 for an evening of surprising, memorable, jazz entertainment. Also, as Yardbird Suite is an entirely volunteer-run establishment, interesting volunteer opportunities abound. Much fun to be had!

      • Blue Knox

        Deirdre, thanks for your addition to this suggestion! That’s phenomenal!

  • Kim

    Great list, thanks!

    Here are a couple more additions you may want to consider: in the fall, going to Griesbach and taking pictures around the multicoloured trees (now is perfect timing!) or going to the U of A’s arts building to see the vines change colours and lose their leaves. These are my favourite outdoor spots in #yeg and could be paired with a hot coco walk.

    Secondly, there is that huge tobogganing hill by just south of 98 avenue and 93rd street where the folk fest is held (ooh, another addition there!). Great winter activity.

    I agree that I would love to see diverse pictures of people for your next round but this was a great pair of people to start with.

    Thanks and fun interview on cbc!

    • Blue Knox

      Thanks for those great additions to our list Kim! The photo tour w hot coco is perfect for our beautiful #YEG fall, and our list definitely needed the tobogganing suggestion!

      Glad you liked the interview and with how popular this list got, we would definitely consider doing another round, we really appreciate your feedback!

  • Graham

    This is an excellent list! I’m always happy to to see someone promoting the arts, especially Edmonton Opera, as great places for a date. This is some good work!

  • Olivia

    That’s amazing ! I’m new to the city and have been wondering where to go and what’s in the city. This list is what I need to explore and discover 🙂 Thanks so much for the list ! and some places that people suggested are helpful too ! happy to stumble upon your page !

  • Philippe

    A few other: Go to the Russian Tea Room and get your Tarot cards/tea leaves read… The Muttart Conservatory is also a great place for dates in the midst of our frigid winters… Go paint a ceramic dragon at Crankpots on Whyte ave…

    • Blue Knox

      These are phenomenal additions Philippe! Thank you!

  • Phenom101

    Thanks for this. Heard you on CBC yesterday. My husband’s 50th is coming up, and this is giving me some ideas of how to celebrate this milestone. 🙂

    • Blue Knox

      I’m so glad you heard me on CBC and were able to get some ideas for the occasion! I hope your celebrations are fantastic!

  • Lia

    I had to chuckle at how the map makes you feel like the city is basically a wasteland north of the Yellowhead and south of the Whitemud. (Actually, this is the criteria we used when we were shopping for a house…) C’mon people who live in these areas, there has to be something for date nights in these areas too!

  • Jasmine

    Hey there, Ice on Whyte actually does cost money, but it’s a very small amount. Good for readers to know though!

  • Renee

    Well that was weird stumbling on this article and realizing I know both of the people in this picture… lol

  • Meghana Valupersuperduperdas

    For anyone who wants to unleash their inner artist, Crankpots on Whyte is an excellent choice! From mugs to garden gnomes, there’s a wide selection of ceramic items to paint, and you go home with a souvenir or a gift 😉 $-$$$$. All seasons.