The first thing that we learned about Saskatoon is that it’s a “little big city” and there’s a very good chance that you’re going to run into familiar faces after spending a week there (that’s what happened to us!).
It’s hard to find the right words to describe Saskatoon- situated in the middle of Canada- we all have our preconceived notions of what this gem of a city would be like. While most travelers and Canadian tend to visit both the east and west coast of Canada, chances are that Saskatoon hasn’t been on their list- and let me just say- that’s a huge mistake.
Having spent a bit of time in the wonderful city with the local who loves the city so wholeheartedly, we’ve come to appreciate the little pockets of delight that clustered around the city- and depending on what your priorities are, there’s genuinely something for everyone- from the ridiculously diverse foodie scene to a vibrant music scene, access to sparling nature, and the ever-presence of “farmer hot” youth.
One of the most interesting things that we loved about Saskatoon was that it is a city where millennials come back to so they can set up businesses, and raise families- it’s an affordable city, and one that embraces it’s uniqueness and mobilizes community resources to encourage entrepreneurship.
Fun fact: The entire downtown does not have one chain restaurant or retailer. Instead, you’ll find boutique shops and restaurants lining the streets. How cool is that?
Regardless of whether this is your first time in Saskatoon or you’ve been there before, we’re confident that you’re going to find some fun things to do in Saskatoon in the guide below to make your stay a bit more interesting.
WHERE TO STAY IN SASKATOON
There are a ton of places to stay in Saskatoon, but none of them give you the killer views that Delta Hotels Bessborough does. With spacious rooms, wonderful river and garden views, all while sitting steps from downtown Saskatoon, The Bess, is like a true gem.
We also loved the fact that it was steps away from the river, offers yoga on the lawn on Thursdays, and right across the street from the ice cream stand.
THINGS TO DO IN SASKATOON
Mini Tour of Broadway Historic Neighbourhood:
One of the best ways to get your footing in Saskatoon is by taking a tour of the different historic neighbourhoods, and we recommend starting with the Broadway Historic area. This vibrant five-block district can be best described as the birthplace of Saskatoon’s art and culture and the place to find some of the city’s hottest restaurants, shops and places to be entertainment. Basically, start here first.
Nutrien Playland at Kinsmen Park:
Yes, there’s something to be said about adults getting really excited about a ferris wheel, but let’s be real, there’s no age limit for those things. Nothing only is it a throwback to our childhood, but a great way to view Saskatoon’s beautiful skyline.
Address | 945 Spadina Crescent E, Saskatoon, SK S7K 3H6
Garden Architecture and Design:
Be warned in advance- there’s a great chance that you’re going to want to buy everything that you see in the garden centre- regardless of whether you have a garden or not.
Address | 315 Ave A South, Saskatoon, SK S7M 1L7
Here’s a fun fact- the Remai Modern houses the world’s largest Picasso linocut collection, as well as some of his ceramics. Yes, you read that right. Art lovers are going to be delighted with the curated collections of work on display at the modern museum sitting on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. While we loved the works inside, we can’t say enough great things about the intricately designed building itself- it is also a true work of art.
Address | 102 Spadina Crescent E, Saskatoon SK S7K 0L3
Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival:
Summer is the time for music festivals and the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Fest is definitely one that you need to experience. One of the largest festivals of its kind in Western Canada- this 10 day, multi-venue ten-day festival is more than jazz- showcasing some of the best of pop, jazz, blues, and funk music as well. No wonder more than 80,000 people show up during the festival.
Also, the free shows are just as great as the paid ones- and we recommend bringing your own chairs or blankets and showing up for an entire day if possible.
One of the best ways to get a sense of what Saskatoon is all about is by taking a walk by the water and getting to know the people who make up this charming city. Not only are the views beautiful, but you’ll also see people fully taking advantage of the path – it’s one of the most relaxing things to do in Saskatoon.
Wanuskewin Heritage Park:
While Saskatoon can be a food lovers delight, no visit is complete without a trip to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a historic thread that should be explored on any trip to this wonderful town. The Heritage park which is shortlisted for UNESCO world heritage status, sit above Opimihaw Creek and the South Saskatchewan River near Saskatoon.
What we loved about our time to Wanuskewin Heritage Park was that it’s not limited to a certain age group. As it’s a link to Canada’s history that remains largely unexplored and a glimpse to our past unlike any other National Historic Site in Canada. A few hours here will show you varied aspects of habitation, hunting and gathering, and spirituality – allowing for a 360 understanding of one of Canada’s longest-running archaeological dig site, and a glimpse into the area’s 6,000+ year human history.
Bus Stop Refreshments:
One of the best things we did on our trip here was to grab an ice cream cone right outside our hotel (don’t worry they serve other things besides ice cream- hot dogs are also on the menu).
Address | 421 21st St E, Saskatoon, SK S7K 0C5
River Landing with Ting Insta walls in Riversdale:
Who knew that Saskatoon would have a vibrant city and community-funded street art scene? We sure didn’t but were pleasantly surprised to see the impact that art can make in different areas of the downtown core.
WHERE TO SHOP IN SASKATOON
Last Shoes: In the market for custom leather goods? Well, look no further than this charming boutique where you’ll find everything from shoes to wallets and jackets and everything in between. A quick look inside and you’ll know why people fall in love with the shop and its extremely charming owner.
Address | 18 Avenue C S, Saskatoon, SK S7M 1N4
Anthology Home Collection: Ever wonder what would happen if your secret interior design Pinterest board came to life? Well, it would look like Anthology. This charming dream of a store has everything to design that home that you’ve wanted to for years!
Address | 126 20th St W, Saskatoon, SK S7M 0W6
Hardpressed: Head here to grab all things Saskatoon- including some of the most comfortable hoodies that you can get your hands on.
Address | 224 20th St W, Saskatoon, SK S7M 0W9
WHERE TO EAT IN SASKATOON
One of the biggest surprises of our trip to Saskatoon was getting to see how great the food scene was there. There’s something wonderful about the innovative culinary scene that makes it one of the best in Canada.
If you’re looking for a laid back and relaxed spot to grab a crepe and coffee and get some work done then look no further than Drift. The two-floor building (made up of Drift Sidewalk Walk and Vista Lounge) create an inviting kitschy LA vibe where you can hang out, grab a board game, and entertain yourself.
Address | 339 Ave A South, Saskatoon, SK S7M 1L7
The ethos of the Hollows is that food needs to start with the best ingredients and made with care- and you can taste that in every bite. The husband and wife duo behind the Hollows take pride in being a zero-waste kitchen and create delicious delicacies that will have you coming back for more- cultivated plants grown from heirloom seeds, wild-harvested leaves and mushrooms, flowers, sap and roots, local fish — sustainably raised, pastured meat, poultry and eggs from small farmers. We loved the brunch (chicken and waffles all the way!) and would highly recommend it.
Address | 334 Avenue C S, Saskatoon, SK S7M 1N4
One of the newer players on Saskatoon’s culinary list- and already making a name for itself. Hearth combines fresh ingredients (some of which are foraged) into delightful bites, and leave you coming back for me. We LOVED their use of cheese and mushroom apps- a must-have!
Address | 2404 Melrose Ave, Saskatoon, SK S7J 0V5
We fell for Odla’s charm the instant that we stepped inside- the clean modern design, and a kitchen that boasts farm to table culinary treats makes it one of the must-visit spots in the heart of the Broadway arts district of Saskatoon.
Address | 801 Broadway Ave, Saskatoon, SK S7N 1B5
Looking for the perfect place to take a date? We HIGHLY recommend Ayden- the decor, the food, the cocktails- the ambiance all make for the perfect place to impress your date. And yes, this is another one of Dale MacKay’s ventures. Note: While the cocktails on the menu were delicious, we also really recommend getting the mixologist to make a bramble.
Address | 265 3 Ave S, Saskatoon, SK S7K 1M3
Sticks and Stones
We’re huge fans of sushi, and great cocktails and Sticks and Stones did not disappoint! This Korean and Japanese restaurant is one of the newer ventures from Dale MacKay (Top Chef Canada’s season one winner) and located in the middle of downtown. We loved the moody vibe and friendly clientele.
Address | 226 2 Ave S, Saskatoon, SK S7K 1K9
We can’t say enough great things about popular father-son fusion Asian restaurant. They boast one of the more creative blends of classic Chinese/Vietnamese dishes, and it’s so easy to see why it’s packed all the time. We LOVED their take on pad thai and would recommend it exactly 100% of the time.
Address | 28 20th St W, Saskatoon, SK S7M 0W9
If you’re like us and want to get a better sense of the local brewery scene, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that Saskatoon has you covered. We highly recommend checking out the following spots:
9 Mile Legacy Brewing
Address | 229 20th St W, Saskatoon, SK S7M 0W8
Address | 255 2 Ave S, Saskatoon, SK S7K 1K8
And there you have it, folks- all the best things to do in Saskatoon. Your trip is well on its way with this guide to where to stay, shop, and eat in Saskatoon. We loved the city so much, and we’re more than confident that you will as well because there’s something for everyone here.