Driving to Medicine Hat, Alberta from the western province of British Columbia takes you from the desert-like region I live, through the mountains surrounding Banff to the flatlands of the prairies. Once I passed through the mountains it seemed like I could see forever!
I had fun exploring Medicine Hat over a few days and there are many more things to do than just the highlights I’m sharing.
The Saamis Teepee
When I drove into the city, the first thing I noticed was the Saamis Teepee—the world’s tallest teepee standing 215 feet high! It was originally built for the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988, then moved to Medicine Hat and now sits overlooking the Seven Persons coulee. You can take a self-guided walking tour to explore the Saamis Archaeological Site where over 83 million artifacts are buried.
Medalta in the Historic Clay District
A surprise for me was visiting Medalta, a museum and contemporary ceramic arts facility located in the Historic Clay District of Medicine Hat. The gallery hosts displays of pottery creations from many decades with a shop where you can purchase modern-day ceramic products. We ventured through the factory and watched the staff creating new pieces of art. I’ll leave that to the experts, anything I create explodes in the kiln! The biggest surprise for me was descending the stairs and stepping into history. We toured the archaeological site and view the brick-making process using the abundant supply of clay in the area.
The Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre
The Esplanade is a community museum and highlights local artists’ beautiful work. Currently there are over 25,000 artifacts which showcase the past and present residents of Medicine Hat. I was drawn to the old-fashioned television and chair which reminded me of the ones my grandparents had when I was growing up.
Where to Drink & Dine (for real)
Medicine Hat offers many dining options and on this visit we chose just a few to dine at and will need to go back and discover even more!
I’m definitely coming back to Madhatter Roastery next time I’m in the city! The smell of fresh-roasted coffee—right in the storefront—and watching the roasting process, was a highlight for me. I think that having that experience made their coffee taste even better!
Hell’s Basement Brewery
This 2-year old brewery is worth a visit and tour, even if you don’t drink beer! I really enjoyed the apple cider and thanks to a very informative tour, gained a lot of knowledge of the brewing industry. It just so happens that while we were there Cheezy Bizness food truck stopped by. We feasted on an amazing grilled cheese sandwiches with an extra special twist, called The Hot Mess. You’ve got to try it!!
This café has a homey casual feel and I felt comfortable from the moment I walked in. The food is fresh, delicious, and they were accommodating for my food allergies. The impression, for me, was one of a comfortable home where people gather to eat and relax and play boardgames…yes, they have a huge selection of games to play and some for sale as well.
Ralph’s is both a restaurant and pub, so make sure you are in the right place. We wanted the dining room for the specialty Alberta beef meals…of course! I feasted on the mouth watering prime rib, slow cooked in a specialty oven and served Yorkshire pudding. It was so delicious and my photo does not do it justice, you’ll have to try it yourself.
Redwood Steakhouse & Bar
Located in the Medicine Hat Lodge, Redwood Steakhouse is a perfect place to dine, especially if you’re staying at the hotel. I’ve heard others talk about Beef Wellington for years so I thought I’d try it—perfection! Executive Chef Tim Schorno outdid himself on the menu, and thank you for including my favourite vegetable…roasted Brussels sprouts.
Where to Stay
On this visit, I stayed at the Medicine Hat Lodge, one of Southern Alberta’s only four-star resort hotels, and had a wonderful experience…even though I lost money in the casino. It just means I have to go back to win my money back! My suite featured a hot steam shower which I took advantage of each evening. It’s location in a nice, central location and easy access to the highway.
Cypress Hills Provincial Park
Just 40 minutes from Medicine Hat is a wonderful recreation area called Cypress Hills Provincial Park. To find this area, head for Elkwater and follow the signs. It was a gorgeous summer day and there were many families playing on the beach, paddle boarding, canoeing, swimming and boating! There are many trails and marsh areas for bird-watching, and of course you must visit Camp Cookhouse and General Store for some amazing food. Becky Ross, a Top Chef Canada Contestant, and her partner Alex Bruveris, who trained at George Brown, create delicious food! I tried the latkes and need to go back for more.
Day Trip to Writing-on-Stone National Park
If you have time for a day trip on your visit to Medicine Hat, I recommend the 2-hour drive to Writing-on-Stone National Park. The day I visited it became the newest UNESCO Heritage Site! Next time I visit I will spend the day at the park and taking a walking tour to see the rock paintings. There is a nice campground as well, right along the river to enjoy swimming and boating for those who choose to stay longer.
On this trip Blue Rodeo was performing at the Canalta Centre, it was the perfect end to my weekend in Medicine Hat!
For more information on Medicine Hat, visit the Medicine Hat Tourism’s website.