The Getaway
15 Reasons to Visit the West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall (WEM) is North America's second-largest shopping and entertainment complex after Mall of America. It blends shopping, entertainment, and dining options with mind-boggling aplomb, and to truly appreciate what's on offer, you'd need a couple of days at least. Having said that, popping in for just one of the many attractions at this must-visit destination would be a day well spent. The mall opened in the 80s and attracts tens of millions of local and international visitors annually—you'd do well to see what the fuss is all about.

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01 Dive into the World Waterpark

West Edmonton Mall water park attraction on May 21, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta. The West Edmonton Mall was once the largest mall in the world. Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com

This attraction was the biggest indoor water park on the continent for a long time, but in 2020, DreamWorks Water Park took the number one spot. Still, World Waterpark is home to the world's largest indoor wave pool, thrilling waterslides, and a tropical atmosphere, making it a year-round destination for family fun. Look out for promos on passes and go to the water park earlier for shorter wait times in line. Relax in hot tubs, chill in an add-on cabana, and forget about the deep freeze outside in winter. Recent additions include the zip line and surf area.

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02 Thrills at Galaxyland

Galaxyland theme park, inside West Edmonton mall. EdmontonMartin / Shutterstock.com

North America's largest indoor amusement park is weather-proof and features over 27 rides and attractions. It was recently bought by the toy giant Hasbro, so you'll notice branded fun with Play-Doh, G.I. Joe, Mr. Potato Head, and games like Operation. Hop on the Galaxy Orbiter, a spinning rollercoaster, or drop it like it's hot on the renowned Space Shot. If you want to take it easy, the Swing of the Century is a classic intermediate ride. Little ones will love the Monopoly train, carousel, and play area.

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03 Ice skating at the Ice Palace

Ice hockey arena in the West Edmonton Mall. Its the largest shopping mall in North America and the tenth largest in the world. Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com

How does recreational skating on an NHL-sized ice rink sound? That's what you'll get at Ice Palace, West Edmonton Mall's frozen stage for figure skating and hockey beneath a glittering glass dome where you can beat the heat in the middle of summer. Beginners can rent the orange Seal skate trainers. Or simply sit back, relax, and spectate as local school teams play and talented individuals spin, jump, and perform other impressive moves. The ice rink also hosts events like martial arts showcases and concerts, so look out for those.

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04 Mini-Golf adventures

Professor WEM's Adventure golf, inside West Edmonton mall. EdmontonMartin / Shutterstock.com

Mini golf has two flavors at West Edmonton Mall: the glow-in-the-dark Dragon's Tale and the whimsical Professor WEM's Adventure Golf. The latter is an 18-hole course that's challenging while being suitable for all ages. It'll take around an hour and a half to complete. You might have to wait a bit during peak times, but it's manageable. Dragon's Tale also has 18 holes of putt-putt, but the vibe is a little different, with cool lights and a simpler course you can finish in about an hour.

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05 Exotic marine life encounters

Aquariums form the third element in the entertainment trifecta alongside amusement parks and water parks. West Edmonton Mall has you covered in this regard, although Sea Life Caverns isn't the largest aquarium you'll ever go to. It houses over 100 species of marine life, including turtles and sharks. You can watch the entertaining Sea Lions' Rock show, interact with penguins, and learn about various animals during fascinating presentations. This one's a fav with the kiddos, but you could just as easily go alone and have a good time admiring pythons, sea anemones, and starfish.

06 High-Speed fun at DRIVE

Experience the adrenaline rush of racing in speedy, state-of-the-art electric Sodi race karts on North America's first indoor multi-level track. Drivers must be 14 or older to get behind the wheel. The karts are fast and responsive, the staff are friendly, and you'll have a blast doing laps and hearing your tires squeal. After your short stint on the track, you'll receive detailed stats, which enhances the experience.

07 Strike at Ed's Bowling

Are you keen on dropping by a modern bowling alley offering traditional tenpin, billiards, and an array of arcade games for all ages? You have to check out Ed's. This spot in West Edmonton Mall also offers an Alien Outbreak escape room and a chance to out-sing your pals during a karaoke session. Ed also serves, for example, poutine, Doritos nachos, mozzarella sticks, burgers, and other comfort foods in case you get hungry during all that pool playing and ball hauling. Book ahead to avoid disappointment. The bowling is charged per hour, not per game.

08 Navigate the Crystal Labyrinth

Crystal Labyrinth Mirror Maze had us at obstacles and illusions. Challenge yourself in this immersive, quick experience included in passes and see if you can find your way out. The decor and statues are awesome, the mirrors are clean, and young children will love hiding in plain sight.

09 Shop 'til you drop

 Inside the West Edmonton Mall which was once the largest mall in the world. Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com

With over 800 stores, WEM is a shopper's paradise, featuring a mix of high-end brands and unique local boutiques. You can approach a behemoth like this one spontaneously or opt to go in with a game plan. Find your preferred stores in the store directory and try to figure out where they are before you ever step into the mall. This will allow you to make the most of your time and ensure you leave with the goodies you had in mind. Themed streets like Chinatown transport you to the Far East and make specialty products available in one helpful place.

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10 Dine on Bourbon Street

BRBN St. is a vibrant dining street inspired by New Orleans. It offers a diverse range of cuisines and eateries for every palate. You'll find some of the city's best restaurants tucked into this corner of the mall, ready to satisfy your cravings or create new ones. Pizza, steak, noodles, waffles, ice cream, and bubble tea—you're covered from mains to dessert at this food court with a stellar ambiance. Dig in!

11 Relax at Fantasyland Hotel

Fantasyland hotel, ballroom and conference center at West Edmonton Mall. EdmontonMartin / Shutterstock.com

Stay in uniquely themed rooms at the Fantasyland Hotel, located within the mall, for the ultimate convenience and experience. This 4-star hotel is known for its decor that transports guests to far-flung destinations or eras gone by. Spend the night in Polynesia, lay your head down during Victorian times, or jump in a hot tub after a long day of retail therapy. The West Edmonton Mall fantasy begins and ends here.

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12 Experience the latest blockbusters

Scotiabank Theatre, at West Edmonton mall. A movie venue part of a multiplex cinema chain. EdmontonMartin / Shutterstock.com

Scotiabank Theatre offers a premium movie-going experience with IMAX, 4DX, and 3D screens within the mall. Catch the latest release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, dramatic acoustics and all, or settle in for the rom-com revival or an indie release getting Oscar buzz. Whatever your movie-going tastes, you're bound to find this silver screen worthy of some love.

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13 Test your skills at the arcade

The Rec Room features over 80 arcade games, virtual reality experiences, and live entertainment for endless fun on a quirky date night or family outing. Banish boredom with a round of pop-a-shot, make faces in the photo booth, or sit down for a bite and watch live sport. The prizes are good, but you can get better food elsewhere in the mall.

14 Discover indoor wildlife

Birds of Paradise offers a serene paddle boating experience on the mall's Deep Sea Adventure Lake, perfect to wow the munchkins. Peddle a swan for ten minutes and take selfies like you're Captain Jack Sparrow. You'll get a mini workout and some nice pictures to add to your WEM memory bank.

15 Engage in cultural events

WEM hosts a variety of cultural events, festivals, and live performances throughout the year, reflecting Edmonton's diverse community. From a Lunar New Year Extravaganza and judo championships to celebrity appearances and flower pot decorating workshops, there's lots to look forward to throughout the year, no matter what you're passionate about.

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