Wondering where the best places to live in Alberta are?
Alberta boasts the sunniest weather and some of the best nature out of all the Canadian provinces. Here you will find all sorts of scenery, including vast mountainous terrain, over 600 lakes, the lush Boreal forest, and the mesmerizing Badlands desert.
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Because of its diverse landscapes, Alberta is a popular choice among expats looking for an adventurous, outdoorsy, and nature-rich lifestyle. Even if you live in one of the province’s biggest cities, you’ll never be too far from outdoor activities like hiking or skiing.
But with a province as visually stunning as Alberta, how do you decide where to live? We’ve researched for you and narrowed your choice down to the five best places to live in Alberta regarding lifestyle, job opportunities, cost of living, and more.
The mountainous city of Calgary offers expats living and working in Alberta the perfect balance between nature and city living. Being the center of Canada’s oil industry, the cosmopolitan city has developed rapidly, resulting in many skyscrapers and high rises.
However, with a breathtaking mountainous backdrop, it never feels like you’re living in a concrete jungle. Plus, the city has a gorgeous tree-lined river running through it, and there are many green spaces to bring balance to the metropolis.
This makes Calgary equally desirable to city lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. There are tons of all-year-round hiking, camping, and skiing spots nearby, giving you an excellent balance of work and play.
Calgary is one of the best cities to live in Alberta regarding job opportunities. There are many thriving sectors, all of which employ foreigners, including banking, transportation, and logistics.
Other pros of this Alberta city are its excellent infrastructure and low crime rates.
Calgary is not the cheapest place to live in Alberta, but it is still affordable for most. A one-bedroom apartment costs, on average, C$1150 ($875) to C$1400 ($1070) a month.
However, many expats that stay long term here choose to buy property as, like the rest of Alberta, Calgary doesn’t have a sales tax.
Edmonton is Alberta’s capital, boasting a rich cultural heritage and hosting around 50 annual festivals. It is also one of the most prosperous cities in Canada, largely thanks to its significance in the oil and gas industry.
Edmonton is easily one of the best cities in Alberta for expats as there are tons of work and business opportunities.
Aside from many multinational corporations having offices here, there is also a thriving tech industry. In addition, there are plenty of jobs in the education, health, and of course, the oil sectors.
Another reason many expats choose to live in Edmonton is that the rent prices are reasonable. You can find a one-bedroom apartment for C$1000 to C$1250, slightly cheaper than in Calgary.
With so many foreigners here (including 200,000 British expats), you’ll notice how culturally diverse, accepting, and welcoming Edmonton is.
Edmonton may not have the mountain backdrop that Calgary boasts. However, there are still many stunning nature spots nearby, like Jasper National Park, a 4-hour drive away.
Thus, if you choose to base yourself in Edmonton, you’ll surely enjoy comfortable city life with beautiful nature to explore on the weekends.
Red Deer is nowhere near as internationally known as Calgary or Edmonton. However, as the third largest city, it’s still one of the best Alberta cities for expats.
It has a sizable population of over 100,000, all the modern amenities, and plenty of job opportunities.
There may not be an international airport, but Red Deer is conveniently located halfway between the two biggest cities. You can reach Calgary or Edmonton in two hours by driving and about the same via train.
The town also has a small regional airport, so you can easily access other Canadian provinces.
Like all the other best Alberta cities, Red Deer is home to many major oil and mining companies, so there are always jobs in this field. In addition, the healthcare, construction, and farming industries are thriving here.
There is plenty to do and see in Red Deer, such as museums, theaters, parks, nature trails, and ski resorts. However, it is definitely more suited to older expats and families as it may be dull and uninspiring to younger expats and digital nomads.
Still, the cost of living is low in Red Deer, including rental prices. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for less than C$1000, but renting a house will give you the best value for money here.
For example, 3-bedroom family homes cost between C$1200 and C$2000 a month.
If you like to have all amenities you can think of close by but aren’t a fan of big cities, St. Albert may be one of the best places to live in Alberta. Located just outside Edmonton, you can reach the large city in just 30 minutes, yet enjoy living in a quiet, suburban town.
With a population of 70,000, St Albert is a popular choice among expats with families because of its inclusive community feel and high-quality education and health care.
Some foreigners here commute to Edmonton for work, but the town also has sufficient high-paying job opportunities.
St. Albert is surrounded by rolling hills and forests and is blessed with plenty of sunshine all year round.
The summer months are perfect for exploring the nearby natural attractions. Still, this part of the region does get pretty chilly in the winter.
Another reason St. Albert is a family favorite is its low crime rates; it is among the safest cities in Alberta. Real estate prices are slightly lower here than in Edmonton too.
Compared to all the other best places to live in Alberta on this list, Canmore is a tiny town. Thus, with a population of less than 15,000, this part of the province certainly offers a different vibe than elsewhere.
What’s so special about Canmore is its idyllic location and breathtaking scenery.
The charming small town is located next to the magnificent Banff National Park. So, by living here, you’ll wake up to incredible views of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.
There are a couple of downsides to living in Canmore, though. Firstly, it’s one of the most expensive areas to live in Alberta, both in terms of rent and consumer prices.
However, because of the town’s high tourism, there are ample real estate investment opportunities; thus, if you move here, consider buying to rent.
Secondly, there are fewer job opportunities compared to in the larger towns. For this reason, it’s best suited to remote workers who want to be close to some of Canada’s best nature.
You’ll never get bored with the three ski hills, numerous climbing spots, and endless biking and hiking trails in Canmore.
Canmore has a very laid-back vibe, but the constant flow of tourists passing through stops it from becoming a sleepy town. That being said, you won’t find a pumping nightlife or much open past midnight, so if you’re a party animal, you may be disappointed.
However, there are still enough restaurants, pubs, and breweries that cater to all tastes.
Final Thoughts On The Best Places To Live In Alberta
Alberta is undoubtedly one of the top provinces to consider if you’re planning to relocate to Canada. It’s not only beautiful, safe, and relatively inexpensive, but the economy is thriving, resulting in abundant job opportunities.
Deciding between these five best places to live in Alberta will depend on your circumstances and priorities. If you’re looking to climb the career ladder, Calgary and Edmonton are top choices.
However, if you seek a peaceful lifestyle surrounded by nature, Canmore may just steal your heart.
Not sure if Alberta is the right place to live? Read one of the following guides: