Getty Images

Things to do in Alberta: May 2023

By Allison Bench

Spring season is settling into Alberta, and there are some great outdoor activities to help get us all out there enjoying the weather—plus some indoor ones, just in case our province’s weather does a classic flip-flop.

Alberta Bike Swap

Looking to get a new set of wheels for the summer biking season? A great way to find that perfect used bicycle is at an Alberta Bike Swap event. Thousands of Albertans gather together each spring for the bike swap events, where the non-profit organization will put your bike up for sale for you, or you can come to shop around for a new set. Any bikes that aren’t sold go back to their owners—but you can also donate bikes for the group to distribute to community groups that need them. For those selling, there is a $15 racking fee to participate, but you can save $5 if you show your AMA card. This year, the Alberta Bike Swap takes place in Calgary on May 6, and Edmonton’s is set for May 13.

Attend a cultural film fest

Learn more about Alberta’s local Jewish community at the 27th annual Edmonton Jewish Film Festival (EJFF), which takes place from May 7 to May 18. The event includes film screenings, Q & A’s with filmmakers, and opportunities to join the conversation around the stories and history of Jewish Canadians. Some films of note in this year’s lineup include Farewell Mister Haffmann, a WW2-era psychological thriller, as well as Only in Theaters, the story of a fictional family-owned art house cinema in Hollywood. The free festival screens at Edmonton’s Stanley Milner Library and includes a lineup of virtual screenings of shorts and features.

Big blockbusters

If you’re more into blockbuster-type movies, May has got you covered. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 flies into theatres on May 5. The film will wrap up the quirky superhero team’s stories, at least according to director James Gunn, who returned to the Marvel team to lead the movie despite being the new co-CEO of DC Studios. Get ready to bop in your seats as well because the Guardians movies always come with their in-universe declared “Awesome Mix” soundtracks.

And speaking of incredible songs, Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid is set to hit the big screens on May 26. Starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and Javier Bardem as King Triton, the film will also include new songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken (the composer of the original 1989 film).

Remember you can save while you launch into space or dive under the sea—your AMA membership scores you savings for passes for both Landmark and Cineplex theatres. Snag them in advance from your local AMA centre.

Street market season

Spring is settling in here in Alberta during this month, which means outdoor markets are returning to your calendar. While some markets wait until the later summer months to kick off their outdoor events, the Downtown Red Deer Market kicks off its season on May 24. The market takes over Little Gaetz Avenue every Wednesday evening during the warm months and offers locally produced food, meat, and other handmade products. While admittedly, the Red Deer market is one of the first in the province to hit the streets, check the website of your favourite local markets to plan for their kickoff.

Enjoy some Alberta animals

As the weather gets warmer and the urge for outdoor activities rises with that temperature, checking out some of the animal offerings around the province is a great way to get out there. Lacombe’s Ellis Bird Farm, home of the world’s largest bluebird nesting box collection, invites guests to check out its massive resident flocks of purple martins, bluebirds, tree swallows and more. Ellis Bird Farm opens for the season on May 22.

And for something perfect for a date night, check out Locked Zoo: Secret Safari at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo. The 18+ event on May 27 invites you to visit the zoo and participate in an escape game that includes puzzles that tie in learnings around animal conservation. Plus, there will be alcoholic beverages on hand for purchase. And don’t worry—the event isn’t timed, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the animals as you go.  

Beer tastings galore

For beer lovers, hit up Calgary’s International Beerfest on May 5 and 6. With beers, spirits, ciders, meads and more—including non-alcoholic choices—there’s something for everyone. Plus, on top of the beverage choices, there will be local restaurants on hand with their top dishes ready to be sampled. One of the biggest beer festivals in the world, you can also snag 30% off tickets as an AMA member by using the promo code AMA30.