The beautiful prairie city of Saskatoon, on the shores of the Old Saskatchewan River, is filled with scenic landscapes and a rich history. But beyond its peaceful exterior lies an eclectic community, innovative food scene, and endless outdoor adventures. Here’s our pick of top things to do during 48 hours in Saskatoon.
Explore by riverboat
Rain or shine, a ride on the Prairie Lily riverboat is a great way to take in the city vistas and discover the local history at the same time. Discover the beauty of the Meewasin Valley and get to know this living river’s fascinating past. Book a brunch or dinner cruise for something extra special.
Cosy up a local cafe
Drift Sidewalk Cafe takes its relaxed atmosphere to the next level. Kick back in a hammock, sip on a hot drink and, if you’re feeling peckish, build your own crepe. The hanging plants and chilled out and creative clientele all add to the good vibes.
Bike the Meewasin Trail
Walk or rent a bike and follow the Meewasin Trail that runs around the entire river valley, winding under bridges and through beautifully landscaped paths. Explore the natural habitat of the riverbank, learn about the historic culture at the interpretive sites along the way. Insider’s tip: The Statue Garden at the University of Saskatchewan, located along the trail, is well worth a look.
Right by the river, you’ll spot a red double-decker bus with queues at the window. Curious? Bus Stop Refreshments serves up Homestead’s favourite locally-made ice cream. We recommend the fruity yoghurt and pina colada milkshakes. Vegans will love the dairy-free banana-based yoghurt too.
Relax and rejuvenate at a historic luxury hotel
Nowhere does luxury quite like The Bessborough hotel, with its striking Bavarian castle architecture and its royal history (the hotel was named after Sir Vere Ponsonby, the 9th Earl of Bessborough and former Governor General of Canada). Make a beeline for its in-house spa, Damara Day Spa, where massages, body scrubs and hand and foot treatments are the order of the day.
Taste the city through its distilleries
For a city named after a berry, it’s little wonder the local distilleries are using fruit-flavours to their advantage. Head to the Lucky Bastard Distillers to sample divine fruit liqueurs, such as the top-selling Saskatoon Liqueur, the Crème de Cassis and the unique Haskap Liqueur, which tastes like a blend of black currants and raspberries. If it’s award-winning gins you’re after, Black Fox Distillery took home the top prize at the World Gin Awards in 2017 for their Black Fox Gin, and were also named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers back in 2001.
Encounter the weird and wonderful
Saskatoon is a city brimming with character and nowhere more than at Glitchy’s Believe It Or Don’t, located in the back room of Glitch Gifts and Novelties on 33rd Street. In this free museum you’ll discover all things weird and wonderful, from shrunken heads and a mummified mermaid to a cast of a Bigfoot footprint and a haunted doll. This museum of oddities is not to be missed.
Paddle the South Saskatchewan River
Grab a paddleboard or rent a kayak and meander along the South Saskatchewan River for a new, peaceful perspective of the city. You could easily spend an idyllic day here, pausing for a picnic lunch on the beach under the Broadway Bridge.
Relax on the beach
Soak up the sun on the sandy beaches of Cranberry Flats, just outside the city. Make the most of the walking trails, immerse yourself in the prairie landscape, or watch the sun set over the peaceful Old Saskatchewan River.
Experience Indigenous culture
Just 15 minutes from downtown Saskatoon, Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a Northern Plains Indigenous Interpretive Site, offering a unique cultural experience for all ages, hiking trails for all levels of ability, and a fabulous restaurant filled with local favourites like Rabbit Pot Pie and soup and bannock.
Saskatoon locals are serious about their food and many local restaurateurs source all their ingredients from local farmers. Check out Hearth, Odd Couple and Ayden Kitchen and Bar for authentic farm-to-table fare. Likewise, Christie Peters and Kyle Michael, owners of The Hollows and Primal, maintain multiple garden plots, which produce fresh ingredients for both restaurants.
This place is overflowing with character and a great place to people watch. If live music is more your thing, head to Broadway Theatre, an edgy, community-owned venue and a great place to get to know some of the salt-of-the-earth Saskatoon locals. For classic plays and musicals, Persephone is Saskatoon’s regional theatre company, situated in the heart of downtown.
Bust a move and sing your heart out
After a day exploring this dynamic city, you’ll want to kick back and let it all out. Head straight to Amigos Cantina, one of the city’s best karaoke venues. Even if you’re not one to take centre stage, the party atmosphere and friendly crowd will have you busting moves on the dance floor ‘til late.