For a lot of Calgarians, our experience with Red Deer begins and ends with a stop at The Donut Mill in Gasoline Alley as we refuel and skirt past the city. But Red Deer is worth a detour into town or even a full blown day trip. It is 90 minutes from Calgary and when you get there, you’ll find cool cocktails, a place to walk on water and a great local market with 50 years of history behind it.
147 kilometres from the Calgary Tower | North on Hwy 2
Where to Eat and Drink
If you’re looking for a tasty, casual bite in downtown Red Deer, check out Chubby Jerk & BBQ Kitchen. This Caribbean restaurant offers daily lunch specials featuring dishes like jerk chicken, curry goat, oxtail and beans, fried tilapia, barbecue pork and more. Between the hearty portions, reasonable prices and friendly service, there’s plenty to like about this spot.
5005 50 Ave., Red Deer, 825-221-9798, facebook.com
The Granary Kitchen focuses on bringing locally sourced ingredients into its dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes, the Granary flatbread and Alberta beef tenderloin on your next visit. If you can, try to snag a seat on the patio.
1935 50 Ave., Red Deer, 403-986-4663, granarykitchen.ca
Indian Kitchen Bar & Grill serves a wide variety of delicious Indian dishes that can easily be shared or enjoyed on your own. The menu has vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries, chicken biryani, lamb tikka, palak paneer, rice pudding for dessert and more. Right now, guests can dine-in or order for takeout and delivery.
5018 45 St., Red Deer, 587-272-1551, indian-kitchen-45.com
Warm and cozy with a rustic brick wall behind the bar, Occam’s Razor is a great spot to tuck into some tapas and beautifully made cocktails. Start with a cocktail like the Crome Yellow, then dive into small plates of steak crostini, oven roasted brie, onion rings or fried cauliflower. If you’re looking for something a bit heartier, there’s the popular house burger, a hot chicken sandwich and a red wine beef ragu.
4916 50 St., Red Deer, occamsrazor.ca
View this post on Instagram
If you have a sweet tooth, this Italian bakery and cannoli shop is for you. Pop in for a coffee and to order one of the handmade cannolis that come in flavours like lemon cream, chocolate strawberry, salted caramel and more.
6206 67 St., Red Deer, 403-986-1501, sweetcapones.com
If exploring Red Deer is leaving you feeling parched, visit Trouble Monk Brewery and Taproom for a refreshing pint. On tap you’ll find a golden ale, a Belgian white, American brown ale, Mexican lager and more. Troubled Monk also has its own line of craft sodas you can try, plus cocktails made with its own beer and other Red Deer spirits like Epitaph Gin and Adequate Vodka.
5551 45 St., Red Deer, 403-348-2378, troubledmonk.com
Things to Do
View this post on Instagram
This big park space overlooks the Red Deer River and offers countless opportunities for fun. In the summer, you can rent water balls (so you can walk on water), canoes, kayaks and paddle boats. In the winter, the ponds are great for skating. There is an outdoor amphitheatre for concerts, a playground, a pollinator park, a fishing dock and an indoor board game cafe with a library of board games. Bower Ponds is also the site of the Cronquist House, a 1911 Victorian-style farmhouse that has been converted into an event space and tea house overlooking the ponds.
4707 Fountain Dr., Red Deer, 403-318-6298, bowerponds.ca
Heritage Ranch is a 217-acre ranch with a restaurant, event space and activities that include carriage, sleigh, trail and pony rides. But what you really want to go there for is the Ranch Tracker experience, which is the ranch’s version of the television show Mantracker. In the Ranch Tracker game, you get dropped off with a map and a compass or GPS, and you have one hour to capture four flags before the tracker finds you. When it’s over, you get a steak dinner.
6300 Cronquist Dr., Red Deer, 403-347-4977, heritageranch.ca
Red Deer is right in the heart of farm country, which means its farmers’ market is really good. 2020 marks the Red Deer Market‘s 50th anniversary and you can expect plenty of vendors selling coffee, hummus, apparel, decor, baked goods and more. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday mornings from the May long weekend to Thanksgiving weekend.
4725 43 St., Red Deer, reddeermarket.com
Spend some time checking out the exhibitions and programming at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery. Along with a permanent exhibition about Red Deer’s history, the museum currently features Shore Figures: Sylvan Lake, an exhibit of paintings capturing the crowds who visit Sylvan Lake by artist David More from July 2 to September 5. Later this year, the Anne Frank – A History for Today exhibit returns from September 19, 2020 to January 2, 2021. If you’re planning to visit, make sure to book your time slot online in advance. Admission is free but donations are encouraged.
4525 47A Ave., Red Deer, 403-309-8405, reddeermusuem.com