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Calgary vs Edmonton Which city is better

Calgary vs Edmonton: Which city is better?

Calgary and Edmonton are both some of the best cities you can live in in Canada. How do they compare to each other?

Below, we break down the differences between the two cities and consider what factors they do better in. Both places have their own strengths and weaknesses, so read on to get the full picture. 

Walkability and Environment

One of the most important factors in daily living is walkability and environment. These determine how easy it is to get your errands done on foot, and how clean and livable the area is. 

You can comfortably drive around both cities if you have a private vehicle. As for public transport, fares vary. 

Both places are convenient for trips and daily activities, though. 


  • Calgary has a walk score of 97, which means it is a Walker’s Paradise. You can easily do your errands on foot since everything you would need is within the area. 
  • Calgary has better air quality, with fewer PM2.5 pollutants circulating in the air. This is good for people who want to go outdoors and those with allergen sensitivities. 
  • Calgary has different fares for adults, youth, and children five years and below. There are also more affordable monthly passes for low-income individuals with costs determined based on income. 


  • Edmonton is also a Walker’s Paradise with a score of 97, though it is generally considered more comfortable to traverse and has a slightly higher Bike Score and Transit Score. 
  • Although Edmonton’s general air quality is within an acceptable range, it has 1.8 times the accepted PM2.5 concentration in the World Health Organization’s guidelines. 
  • In Edmonton, children don’t get free rides if not accompanied by a fare-paying customer, though youth fares count for individuals up to 24 years of age.
Walkability97 (Walker’s Paradise)97 (Walker’s Paradise)
Transport83 (Excellent Transit)87 (Excellent Transit)
Public Transport Fares (Monthly Pass)$112 - Adults

$82 - Youth

Low-Income determined by income bracket

Seniors have yearly pass at $150, with low-income senior passes at $30

$100 - Adults

$73 - Youth

$35 - Seniors

Low-income adults and seniors’ passes determined by income bracket

Air Quality Index1937
Population1.336 million981,280

Our Verdict: 

Tie – Both Calgary and Edmonton have great walkability and environments, with negligible differences between the two. Although Edmonton’s transit is a bit better, the air quality in Calgary is preferable.

Cost of Living

If you’re considering moving to Edmonton or Calgary, the cost of living will likely be a major factor in your decision. This will depend on whether you’re living alone or as a family. 

Clothing prices and eating out are generally within the same range, so utilities, rent or mortgage, transport, and groceries are where the real differences will lie. 


  • Based on Numbeo polls, the average cost of electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage in Calgary is $234 for a spacious apartment. Internet bills also hit a $88.45 average for unlimited data and speeds over 60 Mbps.
  • Calgary’s average rental prices are higher.
  • If you’re looking to buy real estate, prices range from $662,826 to $38.5 million. The median price for a townhouse is $335,000.
  • Groceries cost around $53.5 a week for a single person. Families of four can expect to spend around $232.5.


  • For Edmonton, the average cost of basic utilities is $254.85, while the internet is $78.38 a month.
  • The median price for a townhouse in Edmonton is $230,000. That said, current real estate listings range from $1,800 to $12.5 million. 
  • Edmonton’s average rental prices are lower. 
  • Groceries cost around $64.25 a week for a single person. Families of four can expect to spend around $237.5.
Utilities (Basic and Internet)$322.45$333.23
Real Estate Prices$335,000$230,000
Public Transport (Monthly)$112 - Adults

$82 - Youth

Low-Income determined by income bracket

Seniors have yearly pass at $150, with low-income senior passes at $30

$100 - Adults

$73 - Youth

$35 - Seniors

Low-income adults and seniors’ passes determined by income bracket

Clothing$160 to $250$160 to $250
Groceries$214 a month for one individual

$930 a month for a family of four

$257 a month for one individual

$950 a month for a family of four

Our Verdict: 

It is generally more affordable to live in Edmonton than Calgary. Aside from rental prices and properties for sale being lower in Edmonton, the total monthly cost for clothing, overall utilities, public transport, and groceries is lower here as well.

Calgary’s reputation for being one of the cleanest and most livable cities in the world largely accounts for the higher prices.

Attractions and Entertainment

Both cities have a wide array of attractions and entertainment hubs worth visiting. They also have different offerings when it comes to nightlife. 

Arguably, Calgary has a more diverse scene for both nightclubs and daytime entertainment. In Downtown Calgary alone, you can find a plethora of hotspots for activity

As for more natural attractions, Both Edmonton and Calgary have stunning parks. 


If you’re looking for independent music, great food, and a chill pub vibe, then Calgary’s Broken City is a great spot with awesome live talent. If you’re looking for disco, drag queens, and dancing, you can’t go wrong with Twisted Element

If you were to visit one park from each city, a good spot to start with in Calgary is Fish Creek Provincial Park. It is the second largest you can find in the country.

As for popular attractions, Calgary Tower and Calgary Zoo are major standouts. The Tower is an iconic structure with an unforgettable view and the zoo hosts over 200 species of animals in a humane way. 


For Edmonton, the best premium nightclub with great drinks is The Luxx, while SoberUp Club also stands out as a lively club with a solid music selection and really personable staff that make every visitor comfortable. 

In Edmonton, the best natural spot to visit would be the River Valley Parks system. It’s the largest urban park in Canada and has twenty major parks and pathways. 

If you want popular attractions, you can check out the Art Gallery of Alberta, which contains over 6,000 art pieces. You can also visit West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America. 

Calgary Spots to See

PlaceGoogle RatingAddressOperating Hours
Broken City4.4613 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0E1Monday - Saturday: 4:00 PM - 2:00 AM

Saturday, Sunday: 8:00 PM - 2:00 AM

Twisted Element3.91006 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0G3Wednesday - Saturday: 7:00 PM - 2:00 AM

Sunday: 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM; 7:00 PM - 12:00 AM

Fish Creek Provincial Park4.7Southern Calgary, AB, CanadaMonday - Sunday: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Calgary Tower4.4101 9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1J9Monday - Sunday: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Calgary Zoo4.6210 St. George’s Drive NE, Calgary, AB T2E 7V6Monday - Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Edmonton Spots to See

PlaceGoogle RatingAddressOperating Hours
The Luxx4.319341 82 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 4E7Tuesday - Sunday: 9:00 PM - 2:30 AM
SoberUp Club4.110524 101 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 2R8Friday - Sunday: 10:00 PM - 2:30 AM
River Valley Parks System4.6Edmonton, AB CanadaMonday - Sunday: 5:00 AM - 11:00 PM

(Based on multiple parks within the system)

Art Gallery of Alberta4.32 Sir Winston Churchill Sq, Edmonton, AB T5J 2C1Wednesday, Friday - Sunday: 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Thursday: 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

West Edmonton Mall4.48882 170 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5T 4J2Monday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Sunday: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Our Verdict: 

Tie – Both Calgary and Edmonton offer amazing sights and experiences, with their own selection of varied nightlife hotspots and activities.

Essential Facilities

Healthcare in Alberta is generally considered very accessible and reliable. Essential medical services are completely free, with just elective procedures accruing costs.

Even for services that aren’t covered by the government, there are a variety of health coverage plans that fit different lifestyles.

Both Calgary and Edmonton rank high among cities with great healthcare services. They even have some of the best hospitals in the country. 

Medically, Calgary comes out on top. That said, Edmonton is by no means worse off, as they still provide competitive and accessible healthcare.

As for education, the opposite is true. Edmonton ranks higher, but Calgary still has great options within the top percentile. 

The global scores for the two universities just differ by a mere 2.3 points. So, while Edmonton ranks higher, both cities have great options for higher education. 


  • Data and scoring by Statista and Newsweek reveals that Calgary has multiple hospitals taking very high spots, including Rockyview General Hospital at rank 6, Foothillls Medical Centre at rank 8, and  Peter Lougheed Centre at rank 22.
  • Calgary also stands out in the variety of solid home health care options provided throughout the city. Their most popular option is Comfort Keepers Calgary, which provides caregiving, transitioning home, nursing, end-of-life, respite, and in-home care, among other specialties.
  • In the ranking of best Global universities, the University of Calgary ranks at the seventh spot. 
  • Calgary’s school system has more than 245 schools across lower levels.


  • Edmonton is ranked in the list of best hospitals in Canada as qwll, with their top hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital, ranking at 26.

Following it are the University of Alberta Hospital at rank 28, Grey Nuns Community Hospital – Covenant Health at rank 36, and Misericordia Community Hospital – Convenant Health at rank 37.

Calgary Healthcare Spaces

PlaceGoogle RatingAddressOperating Hours
Rockyview General Hospital3.47007 14 St SW, Calgary, AB T2V 1P9Open 24 hours
Foothills Medical Centre3.11403 29 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N 2T9
Peter Lougheed Centre2.63500 26 Ave NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 6J4
Comfort Keepers Calgary5.04760 72 Ave SE Unit 100, Calgary, AB T2C 3Z2

Edmonton Healthcare Spaces

PlaceGoogle RatingAddressOperating Hours
Royal Alexandra Hospital3.010240 Kingsway NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 3V9Open 24 hours
University of Alberta Hospital3.38440 112 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7
Grey Nuns Community Centre - Covenant Health2.91100 Youville Dr W Northwest, Edmonton, AB T6L 5X8
Misericordia Community Hospital - Covenant Health2.716940 87 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5R 4H5

Educational Spaces

PlaceGoogle RatingAddressCampus Hours
University of Alberta4.4116 St & 85 Ave, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3Monday - Friday: 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Saturday, Sunday: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

(Hours for Van Vliet Complex General Building)

University of Calgary4.22500 University Dr NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4Monday - Thursday: 6:45 AM - 8:00 PM

Friday: 6:45 AM - 6:00 PM

Saturday: 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Our Verdict: 

Calgary is better for healthcare and education than Edmonton. Both cities do offer amazing healthcare and rank highly in global education, but Calgary fares a bit better in terms of healthcare and has more schooling options. 

Although Edmonton does have a slightly higher rank in higher education, Calgary also has a similar score and global performance.


Calgary is a significantly safer place to live in compared to Edmonton. Despite crime trends increasing in Calgary and decreasing in Edmonton, the former still has a lower crime index overall.

Both cities see numbers that are within the moderate ranges, though there is a stark difference in perception. Calgary residents feel the level of crime is low while Edmonton residents feel the level of crime there is moderate.

In either place, the best solution is to invest in some insurance for your business, belongings, and even health. Thankfully, there are plenty of trustworthy options that you can vet. 


  • Calgary has a lower percentage of violent crime compared to the national average, although it has seen an increase in 2022.
  • Annual violent crimes committed: 11,704


  • Edmonton has more total crime than the national average, although it sees a lower rate of violent crime than the national average.
  • Annual violent crimes committed: 12,701
Crime Index (Numbeo)36.7845.05

Our Verdict:

Calgary is a significantly safer city than Edmonton, with fewer violent crimes being committed in it. Polled residents in Calgary also generally have a higher feeling of safety in their own city compared to Edmonton residents.

Conclusion: Which is a better place to live in, Calgary or Edmonton?

For a lot of families and professionals, Calgary is arguably a better place to live than Edmonton due to its high safety, education, and healthcare. 

However, Edmonton is still one of the best places to live in Canada and even has a better cost of living than Calgary, with more affordable rent and real estate

Edmonton stands out for its educational system as well. Expenses tend to be more affordable here, and their rankings for higher education are higher on a global scale. 

This makes Edmonton a promising spot for grad students and young professionals. 

But as we said, Calgary is the best option for families, entrepreneurs, and established professionals along with students for several reasons. 

First, it is consistently considered one of the cleanest cities in the country. 

Second, although rent and expenses cost more, it is significantly safer, more diverse, and also ranks as one of the most livable cities in the entire world. 

If you value cleanliness, walkability, and opportunity, Calgary is arguably worth the investment. 

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