Alberta is the westernmost province of the three Prairie provinces in Canada. Communities in Alberta range from small, rural towns to big cities like Calgary and Edmonton. The province is made up of a diverse set of cultures and communities, with many opportunities for individuals and families.
Alberta is also one of the cheapest places to live in Canada. Families typically have a higher income than in other provinces. Alberta has no sales tax, no healthcare premiums, and a bunch of tax rebates and credits to help with your finances.
If you’re considering a move to Alberta, you may be wondering what the best places to live in the province are.
This article covers the top 10 best places to live in Alberta, 10 of the cheapest places, and a few of the worst towns you should avoid visiting.
Below are the top 10 best places to live in Alberta, ranging from small towns to big cities.
Population: 1.3 million
Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and the third-largest city in Canada by population. It is a big city with many amenities and annual events like the Calgary Stampede. There are many opportunities for outdoor activities, like biking, hiking, and walking trails.
Calgary is one of the best places to live in the entire world, as it is very clean and environmentally friendly. Although it is a large city, it has a relatively low cost of living.
The government does not impose a sales tax in Calgary or any other city in Alberta, so residents can save more than in any other province.
St Albert is one of the best small cities to live in Alberta. It has frequently been named the most liveable city in all of Canada.
St Albert is a medium-sized city, perfect for those who don’t want to deal with the hustle and bustle of big city life, but it has all the amenities you need and is close to Edmonton.
It is a family-friendly, close-knit community and is very safe with a low crime rate. In fact, it was named the safest city in all of Alberta. It is home to healthcare facilities with numerous clinics and hospitals, it has a great public education system, and a strong real estate market.
Despite being a smaller town, St Albert has a bustling downtown core with plenty of entertainment and nightlife to enjoy. The city’s vision for the community is to create a friendly and inclusive place where everyone feels equal and has a sense of belonging.
Canmore is a charming small town located just west of Calgary, on the boundary of Banff National Park. It is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in Canada, perfect for those who love outdoor adventures.
Canmore boasts a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains and has many gorgeous lakes. There are three major ski hills, many climbing opportunities, biking and walking trails, and more outdoor activities.
This town has a slow pace of life, full of natural beauty. It feels like you are on vacation all year round.
For those coming to Canmore in search of a job, this town has a resource center to help with your search. There are many jobs in the tourism industry with a low unemployment rate and big real estate investment opportunities.
North of Red Deer, Lacombe is at the point where Central Alberta’s countryside meets the prairies. It is a peaceful small town with many things to see and do, with easy access to the Rocky Mountains to the west and Prairies to the east.
There are various social amenities and facilities, a diverse economy, and an innovative government. Lacombe has a strong agricultural base supplemented by the oil and gas industry.
It is home to Burman University and the Lacombe Research Centre, one of 19 national agricultural research centers in Canada.
Red Deer is Alberta’s third most populated city, known for cattle rearing, grain, and oil production.
It is home to the Red Deer Regional Airport and provides major routes to other cities, making it easy to travel in and around the city. It boasts a low unemployment rate and decreasing crime rate.
This city provides easy access to education and healthcare facilities and quite a few entertainment facilities like museums, theatres, and ski resorts. The entertainment in Red Deer mostly relies on good weather and the outdoors, as many parks and nature trails are around.
Red Deer is a great place for those who want to settle down in Alberta to start a family or a business.
The labour market is booming, with many career opportunities in healthcare, construction, oil, and mining. It is also one of Canada’s most entrepreneurial cities, so it is a great place to move for business opportunities.
Camrose is a small city in central Alberta, located among the fertile farmlands of the prairies. Due to the large number of roses that grow in the parklands, Camrose is sometimes called “The Rose City.”
It is on the smaller side of Albertan cities but is not too far from other major cities like Edmonton. Camrose is essentially a place to relax while being close to the amenities and big city life.
Jobs are limited, but you can find employment in Edmonton if you’re willing to commute. Many residents get around the city by bus or train through the transit system.
Camrose is a beautiful setting for scenery and outdoor sports, with a trail system for walking, jogging, or biking in the summer and skiing in the winter.
There isn’t much to do here, but if you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the scenery, Camrose is a great city with cheap rent in Alberta.
Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta with a population of over one million. It is called the Festival City of Canada due to the large number of festivals it hosts every year – over 50!
Edmonton is a very affordable city and is a great place for those looking to live in a vibrant, multicultural community.
It has the highest average household income in Canada, and residents have more disposable income than most other Canadians. The city also has a lower monthly rent than Calgary, another large city in the province. Edmonton has a strong economy, many job opportunities, and a high quality of life.
Edmonton is surrounded by forests, rivers, mountains, and lakes, with many winter activities like skiing, outdoor skating, and tobogganing.
The city is home to some of Canada’s top technology companies and the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America.
Grande Prairie is the 7th-largest city in Alberta and is considered the tenth most affordable place to live in Canada.
The city is known for its scenic beauty with many mountains and lakes around. Grande Prairie boasts beautiful landscapes that attract tourists while also providing entertainment to residents.
The city is home to Muskoseepi Park, which comprises 1100 acres of parkland and has many amenities like a dog park, amphitheatre, skate park, and a biking track.
Grande Prairie is one of the best places in Alberta to live and start a family, as it has all the amenities and comforts to do so. It has the best healthcare in Canada and is home to large regional hospitals with state-of-the-art technology.
Sylvan Lake is located in central Alberta, west of Red Deer. This town is on the west corner of Sylvan Lake, hence its name. It is a vibrant community on the lakeside that conserves and respects the environment and has diverse economic opportunities.
The standard of living is very high in this town. Residents are proud of their community and enjoy many lakeside activities like winter polar bear dips, ice fishing, skating on the lake in the winter, and various year-round festivals.
There isn’t much of a restaurant or shopping scene in this small town, but Red Deer is only a 20-minute drive away.
Lloydminster is a unique city that straddles the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is often called Canada’s Border City.
Both provinces incorporate it as a single city with one municipal administration. It is a diverse community with ongoing rapid growth.
You get a rural climate with many urban facilities and amenities in this city. There is plenty of shopping and high-paid jobs in the city. Lloydminster is recognized as an economic provider and producer, with agricultural and oil sectors at the forefront.
The Alberta housing market is one of the most affordable compared to all other provinces in Canada.
If we’re looking at cities like Toronto or Vancouver, renting and buying a house in Alberta is significantly cheaper. The following are the 10 most affordable cities in Alberta.
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $701
Average cost of buying a house: $327,525
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $929
Average cost of buying a house: $374,041
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $850
Average cost of buying a house: $580,877
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $919
Average cost of buying a house: $357,117
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $986
Average cost of buying a house: $360,617
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $925
Average cost of buying a house: $342,842
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $900
Average cost of buying a house: $415,772
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $850
Average cost of buying a house: $354,561
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $995
Average cost of buying a house: $354,561
Average rent (one-bedroom apartment): $911
Average cost of buying a house: $352,942
Below are three of the worst Alberta towns and cities to live in.
Brooks –this city has a high crime rate, and many people have a drug problem. It is mostly an agricultural and environmental city without many stores (especially those open after 6 pm). It’s just a place for people to pass through rather than stay and enjoy the amenities and scenery. This city also has the least number of doctors per capita in Canada, with less than one doctor per 1,000 people.
Hinton – this small town is called a tourist trap by most people, as there is nothing to do there. Some also say that the pulp mill makes it unappealing.
Westaskawin – this city is known for its high crime rate, which is 469% higher than the national average. In 2018, it was called the most dangerous city in Alberta.
Where is the cheapest rent in Alberta?
The cheapest place to rent in Alberta is Lloydminster, with an average one-bedroom apartment costing $701.
What is the warmest place to live in Alberta?
The warmest place to live in Alberta is Medicine Hat. The temperature is above 20°C for about 120 days each year. It is also nicknamed the sunniest city in Canada due to its hot summers and low rainfall.
Where are the safest places to live in Alberta?
The city of Beaumont was named Alberta’s safest city in 2021. Okotoks, Cochrane, High River, and Airdrie are also quite safe with low crime rates.
What are the best places to live in Alberta for seniors?
Calgary, Lloydminster, Canmore, Edmonton, and Strathcona County are all considered great places to live in Alberta for seniors. These cities have clean, friendly neighbourhoods, are peaceful, and are retirement-friendly. Here are the best retirement cities.
Is it cheaper to live in Alberta or BC?
Generally, Alberta’s cost of living is less than BC. In Alberta, you can make 22% less in monthly income and have the same standard of living as you would in British Colombia. In BC, entertainment, rent, dining out, and more are generally more expensive.
Many Canadians are leaving big cities in search of a rural, more community-based, and cheaper lifestyle.
Most of the cities and towns listed above are quite small, like Sylvan Lake, Camrose, and Lacombe, but they are some of the best places to live in Alberta due to the beautiful scenery, number of outdoor activities, and overall quality of life.
If you’re thinking about moving to Alberta, consider living in one of the province’s top 10 best towns and cities.