As the South Saskatchewan River winds through the city, Saskatoon is buzzing with an infusion of new restaurants, bars, breweries, and attractions. Locals who had once left to attend school or experience big cities like Vancouver and Toronto have moved back, bringing with them a new sense of pride.
It’s really quite beautiful, with some calling Saskatoon the “Paris of the Prairies”. Multiple bridges cross the wide river, while an 80-km trail provides a scenic way to take it all in while walking, jogging, or biking. Those into watersports can grab their paddleboard, kayak, or canoe, and go down the river for a scenic soft adventure. Even in the winter, people can be seen on bikes or kick-sleds – a new activity to the area.
Saskatoon surprised us in many ways. Not only is there so much to do and see, but the uniqueness of the new restaurants, shops, breweries, and pubs is truly awesome. The Hollows, for example, converted a historic Chinese restaurant into a modern-day contemporary restaurant focused on natural and seasonal products. Stepping inside is like stepping into the 1970s. Almost all of it has been kept intact. Then there’s Ayden Kitchen and Bar, which is owned by the winner of Canada’s top chef, serving up an incredible array of food and drink. One of the newest trendy spots for satisfying the sweet-tooth is Darkside Donuts, which names their donuts after local neighborhoods and even provides an online live feed of what’s in stock. This is just a taste, figuratively and literally speaking, of what’s happening in Saskatoon. It’s alive, it’s bold, and the love for the city can be seen in almost every corner.
What To Do In Saskatoon
For those visiting Saskatoon, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best things to do and see, as well as some of the best places to fill your belly. However, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a local and see what they recommend. With all the youth and revitalization happening around the city, you never know what might be new and trendy.
Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Now on its way to UNESCO World Heritage status, Wanuskewin Heritage Park is one of the coolest indigenous sites we’ve ever seen and one of the top Saskatoon attractions. Not only is it a great museum and cultural centre, but it’s also Canada’s longest-running archaeological dig site. This site dates back more than 6,000 years, which is more than double the age of the Egyptian pyramids. There are tons of events in the summer months and in the winter, you can go snowshoeing and enjoy outdoor bannock bakes.
Remai Modern Museum
Remai Modern is a new museum of modern and contemporary art in Saskatoon, offering a unique perspective on art and culture in the 21st century, with an eye on the future. There are many galleries, as well as a ping-pong room, but one of the most exciting is the world’s largest Picasso linocut collection. Even the architecture itself received an Award of Excellence from the Canadian Architect magazine.
Riverside District and River Landing
If you’re looking to take a stroll, there’s no place more scenic than the beautiful river valley. Snaking its way through Saskatoon, the South Saskatchewan river provides a beautiful backdrop and a great place to go paddle-boarding and kayaking. This is one of the most popular outdoor Saskatoon activities and a good place to start is the area around the revitalized Riversdale neighborhood, which just so happens to be a great place to grab some food as well. If you need to rent some gear, head to Drift Sidewalk Cafe.
The Stoked Centre
This might be the most “random” place we visited in Saskatoon. What started out as a garden center has now become an almost all-you-you-need stop. There’s garden supplies, household items, dog grooming, a restaurant, and even an awesome Go-Kart track, arcade, and zip-line. Parents can go shopping while their kids play or the whole family can have some fun. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Saskatoon that are indoors, this is a really cool place to visit.
Beaver Creek Conservation Area
If you’re looking to check out some wildlife, go for an easy hike, or feed some birds, consider going to Beaver Creek Conservation Area. This is a unique habitat for grassland birds and wildflowers. It is located where a prairie creek meets a prairie river. The active wildlife and scenery make it a great place to go for a stroll and there’s also an opportunity to feed cute little chickadees.
Saskatchewan Rush Lacrosse
Nobody rallies behind their sports teams more than they do in Saskatchewan. Witness the energy at Sasktel Centre as up to 15,000 fans cheer on the three-time national lacrosse league champions. Lacrosse is Canada’s national summer sport and is a great way to spend an evening in Saskatchewan’s biggest city.
Optimist Hill (Winter)
Optimist Hill is a brand new community-funded winter park that opened earlier this month. It offers tubing, skiing, a terrain park, free tobogganing, and snowboarding, all within the city.
Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink (Winter)
According to Flare magazine, the Meewasin Skating Rink is one of the most scenic skating rinks in Canada. It’s a great thing to do in the winter and the free skate rentals make this available to anyone.
Falling in love with Saskatoon or Saskatchewan? Get yourself over to Hard Pressed and grab a locally-designed and pressed t-shirt, sweater, or other garments to show your love for the province.
If you’re looking for great places to eat in Saskatoon, you’re in luck. Saskatoon is home to an amazing food scene. We can’t list them all but here are some of the best restaurants in Saskatoon, all of which we have tried ourselves.
Drift Sidewalk Cafe (breakfast)
Drift exemplifies the laid back nature of the Riversdale district – fusing together a California/Portland vibe with the collaborative spirit of the neighborhood. Drift Sidewalk Cafe and the Vista Lounge above is the perfect hot spot for grabbing your morning coffee and a breakfast crepe. It’s really one of the coolest buildings we’ve seen. There are hammocks to chill in. There’s a store for buying and renting outdoor gear. There’s an outdoor patio and there’s even a cool little outdoor patio if you feel like eating in a hot air balloon. You’ll see what we mean when you visit.
Park Cafe (breakfast)
Park Cafe is a quirky throwback diner located in the heart of the trendy Riversdale neighborhood. This place is full of history and specializes in locally-sourced comfort food. They even smoke their own salmon and bacon in-house. This place is often packed so arrive early.
Located in the newly opened Remai Modern, Shift is one of the newest names in the Saskatoon restaurant scene. Working with the seasons and the farmers to craft Canadian favourites like chicken pot pie and tourtière to prairie staples like perogies, this is a great place for brunch.
Baba’s Perogies (lunch)
With around 12-15% of Saskatoon’s population being of Ukrainian descent, Baba’s perogies, home to the only perogies drive-thru in the world, is a popular stop in the city. Perogies are made by hand, in-house, with up anywhere from 6,000 – 15,000 being made each day. Get the opportunity to see the perogie-assembly-line and taste an authentic Ukrainian meal.
The Hollows (lunch)
Food at the locally-owned The Hollows is made with the best ingredients in our area; cultivated plants are grown from heirloom seeds, wild-harvested leaves, and mushrooms, flowers, sap and roots, local fish that are sustainability raised, pastured meat, poultry and eggs from small regional farmers. The chefs at The Hollows do everything the hard way – the way it has been done for thousands of years. They forage, butcher, brine, cure, and smoke as well as embrace modern cooking techniques.
Opening their doors last spring, Hearth brings to the table fresh and foraged food that is local to the Saskatoon area. After operating as a catering business for a number of years, the owners aim to bring unpretentious, thoughtful, ingredient-forward prairie cooking to a tucked away neighborhood spot.
Odd Couple (Supper)
This trendy father-son owned restaurant serves high-quality classic Chinese/Vietnamese dishes and delicious cocktails. We especially loved the Ginger Beef, the Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Maple Thai Basil Pork Ribs, and the Thai Basil Gin Sour cocktail.
Ayden Kitchen and Bar (Supper)
Canada’s original top chef winner Dale Mackay creates homegrown and globally inspired comfort food paired with properly hand-crafted cocktails at their award-winning restaurant in downtown Saskatoon. As a cocktail lover, I was impressed with the drink menu. With sophisticated drink concoctions that would make even a connoisseur squeal in delight, this is a great place for a night out on the town.
Darkside Donuts (Sweets)
Saskatchewan’s newest sweet tooth is Darkside Donuts, which makes delicious donuts named after various Saskatoon neighborhoods. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this is the place to go.
Fable Ice Cream (Sweets)
Freshly made ice cream with organic milk and cane sugar, all created mostly from local farmers, makers, and producers.
Salted Caramel, Milk Chocolate, Sweet Cream, Venn Coffee, Earl Grey Tea, Cereal Milk, Cookies & Cream, and more!
Saskatoon is full of hotels, ranging from budget to luxury. Some of the ones we’ve stayed at are the Park Town Hotel, which has a wonderful weekend breakfast buffet, and the brand new Alt Hotel, which is right across the street from the Remai Modern museum. Both hotels are next to the river and provide excellent views of the city, depending on the room you’re in.
Things To Do in Saskatoon
Saskatoon is the biggest city in Saskatchewan and has really become one of our favourites in the country. It has this cool vibe that’s hard to explain. With so much young energy and entrepreneurship feeding into this small Northern city gem, there are so many cool things going on. From deliciously trendy restaurants to modern museums and outdoor adventure, Saskatoon is a great urban area to explore.
If you’re exploring more of the province, click here for more things to do in Saskatchewan.
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