What to do in Red Deer?
First you need to find Red Deer.
Red Deer is located about halfway between Edmonton and Calgary and sits as the third-largest city in Alberta. Red Deer is rightly situated amid the rolling hills of the aspen parklands zone and holds beautiful memories of history and culture. And for its collection of antiques and attractions, it was tagged as the Cultural Capital of Canada in 2003.
This beautiful city is not just a home to the Red Deerian but has also become a place that offers loads of fun activities to visitors, a place with arrays of exotic restaurants, and also hosts historical and cultural attractions. For anyone who would like to have beautiful memories with friends and family, a trip to Red Deer is worth the stress.
Whether you want a perfect place for a picnic, a date, a vacation, a tour, family fun or you just want to feed your curiosity with the splendor of nature, Red Deer offers great locations where you can catch that height of fun that would last you a lifetime. Here is a collection of things you can do in the Red Deer City of Alberta.
What to do in Red Deer
The history that surrounds Fort Normandeau makes it worth more than just a fort, it plays a pivotal role in the cultural, natural and human history of Red Deer city.
Before 1893 the recreated fort was known as the safest passage to cross the river which separated northern and southern Alberta. Actually, the name Red Deer was a misunderstanding between the indigenous people of Alberta and the European visitor. The dwellers called the river “Elk River” but these visitors seem not to be familiar with elk and instead they named the river after a species-Red Deer. So today we have the ‘Red Deer River’ instead of the ‘Elk River.
To make the crossing situation a little more comfortable for passersby, a stopping house was built in 1884 and was fortified afterwards and became where we call ”Fort Normandeau” now.
Today, this recreated fort has grown from being a stopping house into a park and a place that holds the cultural and human history of the city. For visitors who found canoeing interesting, the park houses a boat that makes mobility along the river possible.
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame
Looking for fun things to do in Red Deer in the winter? One of the almost free things to do in Red Deer is to visit the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. Conveniently located off Highway 2 by 32nd street, the hall of fame has a ton of sports information and games for everyone. Tickets are reasonable. Expect to spend 2-3 hours. It is great for kids young and old and is one of the best things to do in Red Deer for a sports enthusiast.
Red Deer Farmers Market
You can do something spontaneous in the Red Deer market by forgetting the big city shopping malls and for once get yourself in the groove with the local vendors.
The first public market at Red Deer started in 1906, where the City Hall Park is located now and for more than 50 years the Saturday morning market still runs. One significant character of the market is that it opens annually on the May long weekend and runs right until Thanksgiving.
The Red Deer Farmer’s Market is the perfect outdoor market to shop from local vendors. You can buy fresh farm veggies, homemade sweets, tasty treats, varieties of fruits, locally made beef jerky, local handicraft, art, clothing, toys and much more from this farm market.
Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery
One of the most fun things to do in Red Deer indoors is the museum. There is nothing as huge as knowing where a thing or place originated from. History has a way of painting pictures in an individual’s mind and making things real as though you were there. The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery holds a collection of documents that gives you the accurate history of the city.
The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery; also called MAG, is where you get to see and make some incredible art, and learn about the history and culture of Red Deer city. MAG is more or less an educational centre which runs a few programs for people of all ages. Come with friends and bring the kids for a pleasant art and cultural experience at MAG.
The icing on the cake is the gallery exhibitions that run throughout the year, showing the archaeological artefacts, agricultural equipment, textiles and art by local artisans. This open display of permanent collections is meant to acclimate visitors to the indigenous city of Red Deer.
Canyon Ski Resort
On the banks of the Red Deer River, about nine kilometres east of the city of Red Deer is Alberta’s largest non-mountain Canyon Ski Resort. In 2019 it hosts the alpine events of the Canada Winter Games and since the 1960s It has been used for training the Canadian National Ski Team. If you would like to have a fabulous winter, why not come skiing at one of Canada’s ski resorts.
The resort is situated in the hills and was one of the first Canadian ski hills to make snow with artificial equipment. The snow-making system covers about 95% of the region, while it gives you a jump on the season, the condition of the entire winter months is great as well.
The resort has 80 acres of skiable terrain, 6 lifts and 23 runs, and also offers Snow Tube Park, a Terrain Park, cozy lounge and many more. And again, it provides snow school lessons to beginner skier and boarder
Sunnybrook Farm Museum
Right in the heart of Red Deer city is a living community of farm animals where you get to experience and learn the early historical rural life of Central Alberta. Sunnybrook Farm Museum is a perfect farm like grandma and grandpa’s that promise to take you back in time.
A self-guided tour to Sunnybrook farm museum offers you the opportunity to see farm animals and farm machinery, chat with men at work, feed the chickens with your hands, enjoy a wagon ride, and visit the log house. They offer educational programs, day camps, rental and catering services, and host different outdoor and indoor events.
Explore the oldest farm in Red Deer and watch how pioneer farm families run their farm from working in the field to baking bread in the summer kitchen. Do well to check their special schedule as this changes periodically.
What to do in Red Deer in summer? If you are open to tons of fun, Bower Ponds is a recreational centre that lies along the Red Deer River. Bower ponds is one of the most popular recreational parks that offers a large playground and a variety of activities to individuals of all ages, from board games to water sports. Amazing sights to behold at the ponds are Pollinator park, Cronquist House, a fishing dock, an amphitheatre, trails and a pavilion.
Do you have a planned picnic, a date or hang out with friends and family? Then you can go kayaking, fishing, canoeing, cycling or ice skating at Bower Ponds. And if gaming is your definition of fun, you can take a walk to the board game cafe where you have over 225 games lined up for you. Have a great time with games like Scrabble, Trouble, Battleship, Chess, and lots more.
In the winter, bring your families and friends to skate on the frozen water and do not deprive your kids of walking on the water in a water ball in the summer. Bower Ponds is always a place to revisit.
Central Alberta Children’s Festival, Centrefest, Alberta Culture Day, Western Day
Red Deer hosts lots of festivals throughout the year, Central Alberta Children’s Festival, Centrefest, Alberta Culture Day, Westerner Days, and many others.
Central Alberta Children’s Festival galvanized most central Alberta children to stay active, learn and play and yet have fun all together. The festival makes Children express art in a less expensive way
Central Alberta Festival (Centrefest) is the largest street performance festival where people get the privilege to showcase their talent in singing, juggling, acting, comedy, magic, and lots more. It’s always a colourful event where everyone has their face painted.
Culture Days is usually an annual 3-days celebration across all cities in Canada. In Alberta, culture is celebrated to bring all families and friends together and each actively expresses art in a celebrative way.
Westerner Days is mostly seen as the biggest annual festival in Red Deer. The event includes a concert, parade, fairground, pony steeplechase, fireworks, chuckwagon race, and many more. And since Red Deer is home to Agri- trade, the festival also includes agricultural exposition.
Whether you want to run, walk or even ride on a bike, the Waskasoo park’s well-maintained and paved trail allows you to have such fabulous moments. Speaking of the greenest cities in the whole of Alberta, that would be Red Deer. Waskasoo Park stretches itself through the heart of the city of Red Deer and has about 110km of trails. The park is home to about 28 species of mammals and above 130 species of birds.
Most locals love going for a walk or a run and while doing this, they explore the playgrounds, outdoor gym, skating board, mountain bike park, skate park, and other fascinating attractions that are along the trails. You can enjoy all of these too!
Kerry Wood Nature Centre
For every lover of nature, a visit to Kerry Wood Nature Centre has always been a top priority in their to-do list once they enter Red Deer city. This is virtually the only nature interpretation and environmental education facility that runs throughout the entire year in Central Alberta. This beautiful world of nature lies within Waskasoo Park just about entering the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary.
It doesn’t matter the time of the year you come visiting, beholding this sight of nature has always been stunning scenery for most visitors. Among other things, its five kilometres trail system running through 118 hectares protected bird sanctuary has always been a pulling factor. And while you take a stroll along the trail, view the migratory birds as they move in their number beautifully and orderly yet without a guide.
In addition, there is a discovery centre, a bookstore and a permanent exhibition gallery showcasing the area’s natural history. And you stand the chance to make some beautiful music with other visitors in the music garden that features some outdoor instruments, plus a nature playground is located close to the nature centre.
Adventures like a river raft float down the Red Deer River and a guided snowshoe tour are the variety of on-site staff-led nature-related programs you might be interested in.
Visiting the prominent Canadian Brewhouse is a great way to complete a visit to the beautiful city of Red Deer. As one of the best things to do in Red Deer at night, the atmosphere is warm and inviting and the Canadian decor at the entrance welcomes and lunch you into an environment that makes you feel right at home.
Tourists and locals always loved to stop here to have drinks and get entertained. Their menu provides you with appetizers, shots and an array of entrees. It’s such a great place to give yourself a treat after a long day. So, bring your friends, chill out and have a memorable day in the Canadian Brewhouse.
Red Deer Blue Grass Sod Farm Spray Park
If you are looking for cheap things to do in Red Deer, Blue Grass Sod Farm Central Spray & Play is located at the northwest corner of Rotary Recreation Park (47A Avenue and 48 Street). It includes 7,500 square feet of free, accessible and creative fun.
Discovery Canyon Tubing Park
Looking for things to do in Red Deer for a date or for a fun family day? Discovery Canyon is a seasonal water park located along the Red Deer River, 3.5 km north of the 30 Avenue and 67 Street roundabout in the River Bend Golf and Recreation Area. Discovery Canyon features a natural river-fed water pool, playground area, concession and washrooms.
Either in winter or summer, having somewhere to go and play, learn and catch some fun becomes a thing of importance after you might have stretched yourself beyond the limit at work. And not only that, the kids need to have some fun too.
The family altogether needs to snap out of any form of hibernation mode and revitalize for the life ahead. Great mental health makes a beautiful life!