Grande Prairie is the largest city in Alberta north of Edmonton but the main tourist draw is anything but urban. This city and surrounding region is a big game hunter's paradise – home to an abundance of moose, elk, deer and bears. Area lakes, rivers and streams also provide many a great fishing spot where trout, jack and walleye flourish.
But if hunting or angling isn't your thing, there are still plenty of other attractions and activities available to you in Grande Prairie. Downtown on 100th Avenue, you'll find a variety of shops and boutiques selling everything from vintage clothing to collectible furniture and antiques. You'll also find quaint coffee houses and a good selection of restaurants.
Want to spend a day exploring local culture? Visit the Prairie Art Gallery – the only major art gallery in northern Alberta. Here you can explore the main gallery as well as 10 other historic buildings located on-site. Nearby, the Grande Prairie Museum, Heritage Discovery Centre and 2nd Street Theatre provide other enriching cultural experiences.
There is also the Grande Prairie Stompede, a May event that takes over the city, complete with chuckwagon races, a midway and plenty of exciting rodeo events.
For a more low-key afternoon activity, head to the Red Willow Gardens. Located 65 km west of Grande Prairie in the town of Elmworth, the gardens offer a unique take on a farmers market. Here, you can stroll through gardens, picking veggies as you go. Top off your afternoon with a refreshing cup of tea at the gardens' tea house that sits atop the riverbank.
Cool is a good word to describe the weather in Grande Prairie. Winters here are typically cold and summers generally bring mild daytime temperatures, cooling off substantially in the evenings. With average January temperatures around -15 C and average July temperatures around 15 C, it’s not difficult to figure out that this city is in the great Canadian North.
But due to Grande Prairie's geographic location near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, weather patterns in any season can quickly shift. Some winters see lots of snowfall with few mild periods. Other winters see little snow with many periods of warmer weather. Visitors should keep an eye on the forecast and pack appropriately.