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5 Biggest Cities in Alberta


1) Calgary

Calgary at a population of about 1.4 million people right now this is definitely the most populated city here in Alberta. In a city this size you're going to have everything that you need on a day-to-day life basis and all the entertainment, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping that you could want as well. Although, if you're thinking of moving from somewhere like Toronto and nightlife is a big deal to you, then you might be a bit disappointed with the nightlife in Calgary. The city is actually widely considered the cleanest large city in the world and it’s very well kept and clean compared to other large cities. In addition to that, it’s also the closest on our list to the Rocky Mountains which means there are plenty of homes with beautiful mountain views and only about a 45 minute drive away on the west side. So, whether you like hiking, fishing, skiing, or snowboarding, or any other outdoor recreation, you can do it in the mountains.

2) Edmonton

The second most populated city in Alberta is Edmonton, with a population right now about 1.1 million people, so still a really good size city, but about 300,000 smaller than Calgary. Similar to Calgary, you’ll find all varieties of activities and amenities, but not the best nightlife scene. One thing Edmonton prides itself on is its cultural diversity, with many festivals throughout the year geared towards different cultures including the Edmonton Heritage Festival, which is labeled the world's largest celebration of multiculturalism. There’s also countless other festivals and events throughout the year centered around music, food, literature, and other arts and this is the reason why Edmonton has acquired the name Canada's Festival City, with over 50 festivals each year. The home prices in Edmonton and the surrounding areas are cheaper than Calgary as well.

3) Red Deer

Now for Red Deer, with a population of 100,000 people, which is a huge jump down from Edmonton in Calgary. In the province, we basically have 2 big cities and then a bunch of small cities and towns making up the rest. Red is located right in the middle between Edmonton and Calgary with the QE2 Highway connecting either end about an hour and half each way. Here there are still great amenities and resources, without too much busyness as you are further away. You'll find that home prices here are very favorable compared to some of the other cities on this list, so if you work remotely and you're looking to get the most bang for your buck on housing, then Red Deer definitely could be a great option. The downside to Red Deer unfortunately is its reputation around crime. It’s been repeatedly listed on the top five most dangerous cities in Canada and this is probably the primary reason some people end up deciding on other cities and why Red Deer has only seen modest population growth compared to all the other cities on this list.

4) Lethbridge

Lethbridge’s population is close in range to Red Deer with only about 1,000 less, but likely in the next year or two will surpass that as it’s been growing 1,500 to 2,000 people per year versus Red Deer's growth of just around 500. Often referred to as a college town due to the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College, this means Lethbridge has a huge population of young adults with the largest segment of the population being in the 20 to 24 age range. This also means there's a super active arts scene with plenty of local orchestras and theater groups. Lethbridge is approximately 2 hours from Calgary and 5 hours from Edmonton. Now, one of the positives to being further away is that housing becomes much less expensive here, which is one of the leading reasons people end up choosing Lethbridge. Similarly to Red Deer though, the crime rate here is also quite high.

5) Airdrie

Airdrie comes in as the fifth largest city in Alberta with a population currently of about 80,000 people and very quickly growing. From 2016 to 2022, Airdrie was the fastest growing city in Alberta with a population growth over that time of just over 25% and at an average of 2,500 to 3,000 people per year. The city is only 10 minutes away from Calgary, so you have the benefit of being in a smaller city, while also being very close to a larger City for all those extras. Even though home prices are higher here than Red Deer and Lethbridge, they are cheaper than being right in Calgary.


Check out my YouTube video below where I go over everything in this blog post and subscribe to my channel if you want to see more Airdrie related content!

- Brad Walker


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