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Meet Medicine Hat…A Great Road Trip from Calgary!

Medicine Hat is only 3 hours from Calgary but many people don’t realize that it is a great place to visit when you want to get out of the city for awhile. This past weekend, I made the drive and found so many great places to visit including beautiful places to visit outdoors, historic places to visit and great foodie spots.

This past weekend, Medicine Hat hosted the 2015 Sunshine Skillet Food Festival. It included an amazing sunset dinner under the Saamis Teepe (see pic above), an amateur cooking competition, a media cooking competition, a chef competition and a great showcase of local food providers.

While the Sunshine Skillet was only for one weekend, it was a great way to get an introduction to some of the very talented chefs and food providers in the Medicine Hat area. On Friday night, I attended a 5 course collaborative dinner in one of the most beautiful venues I can imagine…the Saamis Teepee. Watching the sun set while eating delicious food and drinking wine? Bliss.

Sunset Dinner

First off…here is the delicious menu that we were presented with prepared by chefs from local restaurants. The only change was that the Wild Elk Carpaccio ended up being served as Seared Wild Elk Tartar Style.

Sunset Dinner

From top left: Beef Brisket, Pemican and Corn Ice Cream, Seared Wild Elk Tartare, Beef Cheeks and Microgreens and Cabbage Salad. All were delicious. It was my first time trying pemican. I have to say that it was a bit odd at first but the tastes and textures really work!

The next day it was time for the cooking competitions to start. Watching the amateur cooking competition was a blast. I don’t know how they do it, though, I would be overcome by stress. Remind me never to sign up for one! Overall it was a great event and I look forward to going next year.

Now…on to things in Medicine Hat that you can visit any time (because they aren’t just a great place to visit one weekend a year!).

Things to Do in Medicine Hat

Riverside Veterans Memorial Park

Riverside Memorial Veterans Park is a gorgeous park along the river in downtown Medicine Hat. Gorgeous trees near the river bank make it a great place for a picnic on a warm day. There is also an antique CPRail locomotive and a tank for kids to investigate.

Medalta Stoneware

Medalta Stoneware was a ubiquitous part of many kitchens in Canada for many years. Visit their factory and see how they produced their stoneware and experience the beautifully industrial spaces within. When I visited, they were preparing for a wedding. I can’t imagine a more beautiful space for one.

Medalta Museum

Antique machinery, exposed brick and wonderful light plus cheeky and interesting historical facts about Medalta through the years (they freely admit to sending out salesmen to gather popular pieces from other companies to bring them back for Medalta designers to copy). If you visit during the week, you can see Medalta being made. On Thursdays afternoons there is also a farmer’s market to check out.

The Esplanade – The Esplanade on First Street SE is the new home of Medicine Hat’s museum, art gallery and archives. Performing arts take place in the 750 seat theatre or in the more intimate Studio Theatre. This is on my “to visit” list because I didn’t make it there on this trip.

The Windmill Garden Centre and Butterfly House – Tour their tropical gardens and experience butterflies first hand. This is another place on my “to visit” list as I ran out of time.

Places to Eat/Drink/Snack

The Station Coffee House

Station Coffee Company is a great coffee house with a fun and funky vibe. They take their coffee seriously but they also have flavored syrups for people like me who are okay with venturing off the coffee purist path.

Mad Hatter Coffee Roasters

Mad Hatter Coffee Roastery is locally owned and you will likely see the owner behind the counter when you visit. Try one of the list of specialty coffees using Bailey’s and more as they are fully licensed. YUM!

Gaucho Panini from Zucchini Blossom Cafe

Zucchini Blossom Market and Cafe is a bit restaurant, a bit coffee house and a bit market. It’s the perfect place to visit for a panini lunch alone or with friends. They have a great selection of travel books and magazines for patrons to peruse while they dine. I love that since dining alone can sometimes be a bit boring. Try the Gaucho panini….delicious!

Chorizo and Scallops at Twist

Twist Wine and Tapas Bistro – With a great downtown locations, Twist is a great place to grab dinner or a snack. I tried the chorizo and scallop tapas place and it was amazing. I would love to go back with 3 or 4 friends for a tapas feast.

Cypress Club Medicine Hat

The Cypress Club of Medicine Hat  – I’m being a bit mean with this recommendation. You see, The Cypress Club is a private club open to member’s only except under special circumstances. I had the opportunity to dine there during an event. The gorgeous building is a throwback to a bygone era. If you get a chance to visit…take it!

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw

Skinny’s Smoke House – I didn’t get to experience eating at the Skinny’s Smoke House location but I did enjoy a pulled pork sandwich from them at the Sunshine Skillet food festival. It was superb. The pulled pork had a nice bark on it, the barbecue sauce was great and the German-style slaw is delicious. Put all that on a toasted bun from a local bakery and YUM. Best barbecue I’ve had in Alberta. Hands down.


The Local – Looking to grab a pint or a bite in a fun pub atmosphere? Head to The Local. I can’t wait to go back on a warm day so I can sit on the patio. Also, if you are a wine drinker they have a fun special where you can get a glass of wine for $4. You get to pick red or white but otherwise you get what you get. I tried it and got a $10 glass of sauvignon blanc. Win!

I know, I know…I shoved a LOT of information in this post. I hope you see that Medicine Hat is a great place to visit on a weekend you want to escape Calgary. Go! Eat! Drink! and experience one of Alberta’s fun prairie towns.

For more information and to find out about events, check out the Tourism Medicine Hat website.


Friday 24th of April 2015

As with any city, always plenty to see and do, if you only know where to look! You hit a goodly number of our unique spots. Come back for the Spectrum Sunshine festival in June, the Inspire Cafe and Art Gallery downtown, the new Rite Downtown Garden Centre, our beautiful Golf courses, walk our extensive trail system throughout the natural beauty of the surrounding area, visit the mini gallery at City Hall with its mural depicting how the city got its name, the Historic Houses walking tour, and the list goes on and on. There are always plenty of daylight hours to enjoy it all, as we are the Sunshine Capital of Canada, with over 350 days of sunshine each year! Welcome back, when you return, and Welcome all, who may yet arrive!

Merry Kuchle

Friday 24th of April 2015

Thank you Gina! What great tips on what to see next time. My visit was too short this time but I'm definitely going to come back because I know I only saw a tiny bit.


Friday 24th of April 2015

Make sure to not only check out HeRtwood, but also Inspire Cafe!

Merry Kuchle

Friday 24th of April 2015

Will do, Juno! I've heard great things!

Merry Kuchle

Friday 24th of April 2015

I definitely plan to come back and I'll make sure to visit! I managed to eat at 6 places in 2 days. :)


Friday 24th of April 2015

Too bad you missed out on The Heartwood Cafe! We prepared the cabbage and micro green salad for the dinner. We are Downtown on 3rd St.


Wednesday 22nd of April 2015

I've been to a lot of places in Alberta but never Medicine Hat! I'm missing out!

Merry Kuchle

Friday 24th of April 2015

You are! Road Trip!!!!