Last updated: April 19th, 2020
Named after Queen Victoria in 1882, Regina, which is Latin for “Queen”, is now Saskatchewan’s capital city. Although it’s not the biggest city (that would be Saskatoon), it’s the cultural and commercial centre for Southern Saskatchewan and is located right on the Trans-Canada Highway, making it the perfect stop on a Canada road trip.
Whether you’re passing through on a road trip or flying direct, we highly recommend spending some time in Queen City. Regina often gets overlooked on many traveller’s itineraries but is home to wonderful museums, historic districts, strong indigenous culture, a vibrant food scene, and of course, the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Fun Things To Do in Regina
We had a blast exploring the “heart of the prairies” and below are the top things to do on your next visit to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Wascana Lake and Wascana Centre
We couldn’t write a “Best things to do in Regina” article without mentioning the Wascana Centre at the top. This is basically the heart of Regina with so much beautiful scenery and top Regina attractions. In fact, before the city was called Regina, its name was Wascana, which means “Buffalo Bones” in Cree. The city was basically a treeless flat plain with few topographic features other than a small spring run-off called Wascana Creek. Early planners damned the creek to create a decorative lake to the south of the central business district while also providing a stable water source for the city. That lake has now become Wascana Lake. But that’s just some light history of the area. Today, Wascana Centre is home to some of the best Regina activities, scenery, and is also home to the provincial government.
First off, there’s Wascana Lake, the focal point of Wascana Centre. This beautiful area is a wonderful place to go for a walk, jog, or bike ride, featuring water fountains, bridges, trails, and tree cover. However, it’s also home to some of the best things to do and see in Regina, including the Provincial Legislative Building, the University of Regina, the First Nations University of Canada, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the Regina Conservatory, the Saskatchewan Science Centre, the Mackenzie Art Gallery, and the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts. You can practically spend a couple of days just exploring all the sights around Wascana Centre. We’ll talk more about these attractions below.
There are a lot of activities in Regina, but if you’re looking for activities on the lake, they have that too! You can rent canoes, kayaks, or paddleboards from May to September by contacting Wascana Canoe Kayak Rentals at 306-757-2628 or you can even go on a ferry boat tour. For more info, visit the Wascana Centre website.
Provincial Legislative Building
This beautiful building was built between 1908 and 1912 and is easily one of the most striking buildings in the city. Both the legislative building and its grounds are designated a National Historic Site of Canada back as well as a Provincial Heritage Property. Both the grounds and the building are worth visiting, and they also give free daily tours inside the building, which is another activity we highly recommend. They last just 30-minutes and will give you insight into the government of Saskatchewan as well as a sneak peek of the incredible interior.
Tours of the Legislative Building are available seven days a week with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, and Good Friday.
- Summer Hours (Victoria Day to Labour Day, May to September): Every 30 minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m with the last tour starting at 4:30 p.m.
- Winter Hours (September to May): Every hour from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Last tour starts at 4:00 p.m.
Royal Saskatchewan Museum
Just walking distance from the Saskatchewan Legislative Building is the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, a natural history museum that was originally established way back in 1906. The museum was formed to secure and preserve natural history specimens and objects of historical and ethnological interest and received royal patronage from Queen Elizabeth II in 1993.
It’s not a large museum but you’ll need a couple of hours to fully explore and appreciate the various galleries and exhibits, which focus heavily on Saskatchewan, including its flora, fauna, prehistoric history, and the First Nations that have been in Saskatchewan for thousands of years. As wildlife lovers, it was really cool to learn about the animals that live in the province and to also see exactly what they look like in galleries that make it seem as if you’re outside in the wilderness. The First Nations gallery is also impressive, with plenty of artifacts and stories to bring it all to life. Plus, the museum is also home to Scotty, the largest tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever found!
Saskatchewan Science Centre
If you love science and interactive museums, the Saskatchewan Science Centre is one you don’t want to miss. While it’s definitely geared towards kids, it’s fun for all ages. From learning about Saskatchewan’s agriculture sector to testing out your hockey skills, there are all sorts of ways to learn and have fun. We especially loved the Gryo Gym, which allows you to use your core and spin around, which is something they used to do for astronaut training. In addition, the Science Centre is home to the only IMAX theatre in the province and one of Regina’s top restaurants.
Mackenzie Art Gallery
Another attraction within Wascana Centre is the Mackenzie Art Gallery, which has eight galleries and 100,000 square feet of space. It also has workshops, preparation rooms, a 185-seat theatre, a public resource entre, gift shop, and more. Inside you’ll find more than 3,800 artworks including Canadian historical and contemporary works with a special interest in Western Canadian art. Plus, the gallery has been a leader when it comes to presenting Aboriginal art and artists. If you’re into art, this is a place you don’t want to miss!
RCMP Heritage Centre
For those into Canada’s famous police service, there’s literally no better place you can go than Regina. Why? Because Regina is where all RCMP officers get trained! You can even visit the training grounds and watch their incredible sunset ceremony during the summer months. In addition, right across the street is the RCMP Heritage Centre. The museum showcases a number of exhibits featuring various collections of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They’ve done a wonderful job incorporating artifacts, information, and interactive exhibits that will please anyone from kids to adults. Some of our favourite exhibits include a police car simulator and the “solve a crime” room.
Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
Located right next to the Hotel Saskatchewan is the Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. This small museum is a great place for sports lovers who want to learn about the sports and athletes of Saskatchewan. It also has some interactive exhibits and is located in a heritage building.
Regina Floral Conservatory
If you love flowers (who doesn’t?), make your way to the Regina Floral Conservatory. This indoor green space offers visitors the opportunity to experience both a tropical and seasonal environment. Plus, the weather is guaranteed! You’ll find a tranquil paradise of lush greenery, therapeutic scents and the soothing sounds of a waterfall.
Regina Farmer’s Market
Everyone loves a good farmer’s market, so if you happen to be in Regina on a Wednesday or Saturday, don’t miss the Regina Farmer’s Market in City Square Plaza. You’ll find everything from coffee to vegetables, as well as crafts too. They’ve even expanded to an indoor location at certain times and have started doing evening farmer’s markets on Thursdays. Best to check out their website for more info.
If you like Canadian Football (similar to American Football), then you don’t want to miss a Saskatchewan Roughriders home game. Saskatchewan is known for being the most passionate fans in the league and now that we’ve been to a game, we don’t doubt it. It’s fun, energetic, and a thrill to be among the 30,000+ fans, especially on a nice summer night. This is easily one of the best things to do in Saskatchewan if you’re a sports fan. So, grab some green, black, and white face paint, grab a beer, and cheer on the Saskatchewan Roughriders ay Mosaic Stadium.
Best Restaurants in Regina
Like any Canadian city, you’ll find plenty of great places to fill your belly. From high-end restaurants to foreign classics, Regina has it all. There’s no way we can list them all here, but we’ll get you started with some of our favourites.
Avenue Restaurant & Bar (Location: 100-2201 11th Avenue): Ever heard of Top Chef Canada? Well, the first winner ever of that show, Dale MacKay, is the guy behind this incredible restaurant. Guests can expect old-school dishes, such as Beef Wellington, souffles and perogies, made with high-level techniques. Plus, if you like cocktails, they have many unique ones for you to try.
Skye Cafe & Bistro (Location: Saskatchewan Science Centre): In our opinion, this is the top place to go for breakfast or lunch. The owner is incredibly friendly, a world traveller, and hails from Southern India, bringing with him flavours from many regions of the world. We’re talking dishes like Braised Pork Belly, Shrimp Tacos, Chilaquiles with steak and chimichurri, wild mushroom and pine nut ravioli, and much more. It’s also very reasonably priced, with all dished below the $20 mark.
Siem Authentic Thai Restaurant (Location: 1946 Hamilton St.): We love Thai food and always make an effort to eat at a Thai restaurant in every city we visit. This is one of Regina’s most popular. We had our favourite dish, Pad Thai, but also tried some new things, such as Leaf Wrapped Dried Shrimp with Plum Sugar Sauce. So good! The menu is huge, so if you’re a fan of Thai, this place will not disappoint!
We didn’t get a chance to try Chinese food in Regina, but we know many people love it. The highest-rated Chinese restaurant in Regina is Peking House, which offers meat dishes, as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes too.
Coffee Shops in Regina
If you’re making your way through the best of Regina Tourism, you’re probably going to need a little “pick me up” now and then. Regina has no shortage of places to get your caffeine fix so skip the Tim Horton’s and go to some of the coffee joints we recommend below:
Cafe Royale: Quite new to the “bean scene” but located inside the famous Hotel Saskatchewan, this place reminded us of the cafe’s in Amsterdam. Grab a window seat on a rainy day and munch away on a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel while sipping back on Phil & Sebastian coffee.
33 1/3 Coffee Roasters: From what we can see, this is the highest-rated coffee house in the city. Fresh, seasonal, and ethically sourced specialty coffee. Plus, they share the space with a local brewery and a vintage shop. So, have a coffee, drink a beer, and go shopping at the same time.
The Naked Bean and Espresso Bar Cafe: If you’re looking to sip your cup of java to the backdrop of an eclectic mix of décor and art, this is the place.
Brewed Awakening Coffee Lounge: With six locations spread out around Regina, it’s hard to miss this place. They’re known for their organic coffee, but also offer food such as breakfast wraps.
Café Français: Centrally located, its elegant décor and beautifully painted mural of the Legislative Building makes you instantly sophisticated. All you need now is that little espresso shot and a macaron.
Breweries in Regina
For those of age, another great thing to do in cities is visiting the local breweries. Canada is booming with breweries and Regina is no different. There are many to check out and indulge your beer tastebuds in and some of our favourites are:
Rebellion Brewing: Without a doubt, this is the most famous brewery in the city and one of the first. They have a wide variety of beers on tap and even make a beer from lentils. Why lentils? Because Saskatchewan is the world’s largest producer of lentils! Whether you’re into dark beer, light beer, hoppy beer, or something else, they likely have something to quench your thirst. Also, free popcorn!
Pile-O-Bones: This is the newest brewery in town and they’re walking distance from Mosaic Stadium, which is home to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. They serve their own brews but also brews from all over Saskatchewan, making this a great place to try a variety of locals beers. Plus, they have a Mexican restaurant inside the brewery, which means good food and good beer all under one roof! Win!
Best Hotels in Regina
For those looking for a place to rest their head, Regina has something for everyone. From cheap hotels in Regina to beautiful railway hotels, there’s something for all budgets. Below are some of our favourites to get you started.
The Hotel Saskatchewan (Location: 2125 Victoria Ave): This Marriott Autograph Collection hotel is the most beautiful hotel in the city and also has the best location, right in front of Victoria Park. This stunning heritage hotel is one of Canada’s famous railway hotels, built back in 1927. Although it has preserved its elegant grandeur through the years, it also blends timeless comforts with a modern flair, offering well-appointed rooms and suites, a fitness centre, cafe, restaurant, and spa.
Best Western Regina (Multiple locations): We love Best Western hotels. Whether it’s their flagship hotels or one of their premium brands, we find they offer great value for big rooms and modern amenities. There are two Best Western branded hotels in Regina, which also offer a pool and/or a fitness centre, as well as free parking, breakfast, and WiFi.
From weekly events to concerts and travelling Broadway-style shows, there’s always something happening in Regina. Some of the most popular include:
Anything RoughRiders: The Saskatchewan Roughriders are incredibly popular throughout the province and this is where they play. If there’s a game on when you arrive, this is a great place to feel the energy.
First Nations University of Canada POW WOW: One of the largest and longest-running celebrations in Saskatchewan for family and cultural traditions. If you love First Nations culture, don’t miss this.
Regina Folk Festival: Located right in downtown Victoria Park each August, this is a wonderful music event featuring folk music talent from all over the world.
For more info on upcoming events, visit Tourism Regina.
How to Get to Regina, Sask
Regina does not have an international airport and therefore, if flying from outside of Canada, you will need to make a connection. However, if you’re on a Canada road trip, Regina is right on the Trans-Canada highway, making it very hard to miss.
From Calgary to Regina is about a 7-hour drive. It’s basically in the middle of both Calgary and Winnipeg, as it’s only 6-hours from Winnipeg as well. If you’re coming from Saskatoon, it’s only 2-3 hours and you can stop off for a break and float in Canada’s version of the dead sea at Little Manitou Lake.
What To Do in Regina
If you’re visiting Regina, we hope we’ve given you some great ideas on how to best explore Queen city. However, don’t miss out on all the other wonderful things to do in Saskatchewan, which can be found at TourismSaskatchewan.com.
Want more? Check out these other Saskatchewan articles below:
- Best Things To Do in Saskatchewan
- Things To Do in Saskatoon
- Waskesiu in the Winter
- Great Sandhills Saskatchewan
- Exploring Grasslands National Park
- Exploring Saskatchewan’s Big Muddy Valley
We also recommend reading:
- Best Things To Do in Alberta
- Best Things To Do in Manitoba
- Best Things To Do in Winnipeg
- Best Things To Do in Calgary
- Best Things To Do in Banff
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