Copy my Itinerary: Where to Eat and What to Do on a Day Trip to Camrose, Alberta

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Do you Go East of Edmonton often?

For whatever reason, I don’t get out there enough and you’re probably not either, which is why there’s a campaign centered entirely around encouraging us to get our butts out east of the city!

Go East of Edmonton is a regional tourism group that offers a bunch of great ideas for things to do, food to eat, places to shop, stay, and other activities that highlight Alberta towns and cities all just a short drive east of Edmonton. There are lots of reasons to explore that side of Alberta, year-round!

I got a taste of some east of Edmonton exploration a couple of years ago when I visited the lovely town of Vermilion (see my 2019 blog guide: 8 Spots to Visit in Charming Downtown Vermilion), and I’m happy I got to do some exploration south east of Edmonton this summer (2021) in the City of Camrose!

Camrose is close enough to Edmonton for an easy day trip, which is what I did.

I encourage you to use this travel guide and copy my itinerary for ideas on where to eat, shop, and other activities to do in the area!

Note: My experience was sponsored by Go East of Edmonton & Tourism Camrose.

Copy my Itinerary: Where to Eat and What to Do on a Day Trip to Camrose, Alberta

Explore Camrose - Go East of Edmonton - City of Camrose - Explore Alberta - Travel - Day Trip
Use and share my travel guide for a fun day trip to Camrose, Alberta!

Where is Camrose, Alberta?

Camrose is a small city located just an hour drive (about 100 km) south east of Edmonton.

Interestingly, while just 18,000 people live in the city, they say they have a “shopping population” of over 150,000 people—Camrose is a shopping hub for east central Alberta, and planning your day trip around shopping the city is a great way to explore it!

Explore Camrose - Go East of Edmonton - City of Camrose - Explore Alberta - Travel - Day Trip - Downtown Camrose
Spend a wonderful day in Downtown Camrose!

What should you do in Camrose, Alberta?

Camrose is a small city located just an hour drive (about 100 km) south east of Edmonton.

Interestingly, while just 18,000 people live in the city, they say they have a “shopping population” of over 150,000 people—Camrose is a shopping hub for east central Alberta, and planning your day trip around shopping the city is a great way to explore it!

1. Shop boutiques in historic downtown Camrose

I’m on record as saying I really love visiting thriving, vibrant, and super cute small town/city downtowns. Camrose’s downtown definitely fits that description! This historic downtown has been the centre of activity for the region for more than 100 years and is literally lined with boutique shop after boutique shop. I know my friend Pam and I could have spent several more hours just shopping had we also not had other activities we needed to do, lol!

At the family-owned Vinesation Olive Oils and Vinegars, we met with owner Bridget who walked us through an olive oil tasting where we tasted the difference between grocery store bought olive oil and real olive oil (the flavour contrast is wild!)

Vinesation carries over 40 different flavours of olive oils and balsamic vinegars (plus salts, spices, olives, chocolates, popcorn, teas, and gift bags). We ended up buying some of the fancy olive oils (for me, a picual extra virgin olive oil with hints of tomato as well as a white truffle olive oil), some popcorn (soaked in olive oil lol), and some balsamic vinegar (they have so many types!)

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Olive oil central at Vinesation in Camrose.
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We picked up a bunch of olive oil and balsamic vinegars!
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And the best smelling store in Camrose goes to... Lakehouse Naturals Soap Company!

The best smelling store in downtown Camrose is easily Lakehouse Naturals Soap Company, who make their soaps in-house. They got their name from where they first started making soaps, the family’s house by Red Deer Lake. I loved all their variety of soaps and bath bombs (ended up getting a cute geo-rock crystal themed bath bomb, a romantic rose soap, and a cupcake themed bath bomb), but I also loved that they have soap refilling stations here and sell different sustainable items like sustainable laundry detergent.

We also popped into Camrose’s “friendly neighbourhood comic shop” Quantum Comics & Collectibles, to browse comics, board games, toys and other pop culture collectibles. Always fun to have a local spot to geek out.

At Twig Boutique, find all sorts of clothes, jewelry, plants, and home goods, They are a super cute shop who say they’re “always looking for unique additions for your closet and living space.”

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Shopping Downtown Camrose in my new Camrose outfit !
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What a great local shopping destination!

Just a block off the main road, we also shopped at The Trendy Walrus (named after the Beatles song I Am The Walrus), a boutique that tries to carries brands with purpose—brands that give back to the community in some way (like tentree, which plants 10 trees for every purchase made). It was at The Trendy Walrus that my friend Pam and I loved our new outfits we tried on so much, that we walked out the store with them on! (lol well, paid, then walked out).

Back on the main street we also popped into Copper Arrow Collective, a maker who now has a storefront selling all sorts of accessories, her own handmade items but also home decor, apparel, gifts, signs and other products. It was here that my friend Pam bought a great sign that said, Not Today Satan, lol.

I am serious when I say, there are SO many shops to visit in Camrose, we barely scratched the surface. If the above isn’t enough for you, get home decor and painting inspiration from Encore Furnishings, find a formal piece at Tish’s Fashions and Finery, I also got a great skirt from Rejime Women’s Fashion (wore it to the mountains later that week and have gotten lots of compliments!)

The list truly goes on and on.

One of my favourite things to do in small town/cities is to purchase a piece of clothing that I then always think about when I wear that piece of clothing. I am really happy to have a few Camrose pieces now that will have me thinking back fondly on my visit to this small city!

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Inside Twig Boutique in Downtown Camrose.
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Browsing at Quantum Comics in Downtown Camrose!
2. Check out local vendor and live music at the Camrose Outdoor Market

Plan to visit Camrose on a Thursday if possible, that’s when the Camrose Outdoor Farmers Market takes place from June to September. A portion of the historic downtown along 50 Street between 49 and 50 Avenue is blocked off for the market which runs 4-7 p.m. (times will change depending on the year so make sure you check before you go, depending on when you read this post!)

You’ll find local vendors selling beer, beef, poultry, bison, lamb, pork, cheese, eggs, fruits, veggies, herbs, honey, tea, preserves, and baked goods. You’ll also find a handful of food trucks and hot food vendors at this cute little market, which also faces the main street boutique shops so it’s an awesome way to hit up both market vendors and boutique businesses. For our visit to the market, we tried butter chicken poutine, steamed buns, some plums, and lemonade. There was also live music being played at the Lions Centennial Park right at the market. It was fun to take a seat and eat while taking in the performance!

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Sunflowers at the Camrose Outdoor Farmers Market.
3. Find Instagrammable Walls

Although we didn’t have time for a full on Instagrammable Wall search, I was delighted to come upon an amazing mural at the Lions Centennial Park in downtown Camrose, painted by artist Alex KWONG and Toner. This pocket park (in an alleyway really, between two buildings along the main road), with its bright and colourful mural is such a lovely addition to the street. You definitely need to stop for photos here!

We also saw another mural being worked on (but incomplete during our visit) just at the end of the road at Square 1 Hair Studio. It looked big and at the time of our visit, featured kind of a paint splatter effect. I’m curious to see what the final piece looks like on a return trip!

At that same corner, but across the street at Tish’s, the building is also painted to feature beautiful (and finely dressed) women in a garden scene. What was really interesting about this Instagrammable Wall is that the accessories on the women—necklaces, rings, jewelry, were actual pieces! It was a cool 3D / 2D combination of artwork here that’s worth seeing!

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Delighted to find this amazing mural in Camrose!
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At Lions Centennial Park in Camrose.
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This amazing Instagrammable Wall is by artists Alex KWONG and Toner.
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Love the 3D aspect of this wall at Tish's!
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What art will you find in Camrose?
4. Connect with nature at Camrose Mirror Lake

Camrose is home to Mirror Lake, which was created in 1905 as a water reservoir for the Canadian Pacific Railway. The lake was also famously home to trumpeter swans for a long time though they’ve since moved to a sanctuary.

The lake is quite large, with different pedestrian bridges, and a fountain area! You can also recreate on the water (non motorized, so bring an inflatable craft!) as well as walk the 38 km of paved/shale trails that surround the water. (Check out Camrose’s trail systems).

Steps away from the lake you’ll find OleO’s Ice Cream Castle, a local favourite for ice cream you can then enjoy while walking around the lake and parks area.

In the summer, catch the Mirror Lake Express Train Ride, a popular little train (92 feet long that can carry 24 passengers), handcrafted by a resident of Camrose, that takes residents and tourists alike on a leisurely ride along the picturesque shores of Mirror Lake!

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A popular summer attraction is the Mirror Lake Express train! (Photo supplied)
5. Explore the Camrose Railway Museum & Park

When I say Camrose is a shopping hub for the area, I mean it really has been a hub for a really long time. A visit to the Camrose Railway Museum & Park illustrates just how long it’s been a hub. This 1911 Canadian Northern Railway depot once had multiple trains going in and out of town daily. It was still operational until 1988.

Today the depot has been converted into a museum with historical photos, antiques and other displays of local railway heritage—including an old operator desk with dial phone and mic (that still works!) as well as a morse code machine. There’s lovely gardens all around the park, including a miniature model train set and “town” you can check out, old bunkhouses and watchman sheds, and model trains. The space is also often used for events. Museum director Glenys is super sweet and full of great information if you spot her during your visit, tell her Linda said hello! (I’m actually super bummed out I had filmed her saying hello but accidentally deleted the footage so you can’t see how cute she is digitally, you’ll have to go see her in person!)

Explore Camrose Go East of Edmonton City of Camrose Explore Alberta Travel Day Trip Camrose Railway Museum and Park Garden
Beautiful gardens at the Camrose Railway Museum!
Explore Camrose Go East of Edmonton City of Camrose Explore Alberta Travel Day Trip Camrose Railway Museum and Park Garden
Lots of train photo ops at the Camrose Railway Museum! ;)
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A train passed by during our visit to the Camrose Railway Museum!

Where should you eat in Camrose, Alberta?

1. Fiona’s Cafe & Gifts

We popped into Fiona’s Cafe & Gifts as our first Camrose stop of the day and what a great start it was! Fiona’s carries over 70 kinds of tea and has been a downtown Camrose staple for 22 years. Owner Pat was a wealth of knowledge on what teas to get for what we might be feeling and what combinations worked well together. You could tell she was passionate about her products, I loved how her face lit up as she made tea recommendations for us!

Pam ended up getting a Canadian Breakfast smooth black tea with oat milk and amaratto syrup, and I got a peach sparkling ice tea, as well as the daily soup (hot hamburger, yum!) and bacon quiche. There isn’t a ton of food options here (they specialize in the drinks!) but you can count on a daily soup and quiche for sure. The quiche also comes with a great house salad.

This is a comfortable, cozy spot featuring photos from local artists on the walls, with old blankets strewn over old chairs and couches—a really warm place. You can get bulk coffee and tea here too.

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Grab some drinks and a light breakfast from Fiona's!
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Daily soup and quiche at Fiona's Coffee & Gifts.
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So many teas at Fiona's!
2. Fox & Fable

I was absolutely obsessed with Fox & Fable, a local and Indigenous-owned book and board game cafe in downtown Camrose. Inside you’ll see 2SLGBTQ+ and Treaty 6 flags, and book categories including 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous, and Anti-Racism. It’s a very curated and meaningful book selection, which I really appreciated.

They’ve got lots of great board games to purchase, and a wall of board games featuring over 200 games you can choose from to sit down and play on site. They have a patio or indoor seating, offer drinks and a light food menu, with local craft beers and espresso-based drinks. I had their soup of the day and chicken pesto panini, while my friend Pam went with a simple but super crispy chicken finger and potato wedges dish. They also do Bratwurst Fridays and have a kids menu too. An all around awesome place.

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An awesome patio lunch at Fox & Fable.
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Try the chicken pesto panini from Fox & Fable!
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Great books and board games inside Fox & Fable.
3. OleO’s Ice Cream Castle

If you’re around Mirror Lake in Camrose during the summertime, you also need to stop at OleO’s Ice Cream Castle. This is a cash only ice cream shack (shaped like a cute little castle), located just steps away from the water, that offers three different sizes (really mini, one scoop or two scoops) ice cream. Next to it in the same parking lot is also Classy Hot Dogs so you can have a main meal + dessert all in one lot next to the park!

Explore Camrose - Go East of Edmonton - City of Camrose - Explore Alberta - Travel - Day Trip - Mirror Lake Oleos Ice Cream Castle
Bubble gum OleO's Ice Cream at Mirror Lake in Camrose.
4. Camrose Outdoor Farmers Market

As mentioned above, if you visit. Camrose on a Thursday from June to September, you’ll get to experience the Camrose Outdoor Farmers Market where you can shop beer, beef, poultry, bison, lamb, pork, cheese, eggs, fruits, veggies, herbs, honey, tea, preserves, baked goods and more from a range of local vendors, plus food trucks! We picked up steamed buns, butter chicken poutine, plums and lemonade as food for our market visit. 

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Find food trucks and local hot food vendors at the market!
Explore Camrose - Go East of Edmonton - City of Camrose - Explore Alberta - Travel - Day Trip - Downtown Camrose Shopping Outdoor Farmers Market
A delicious lemonade from enRoute Espresso & Tea!
5. Hart House Wine & Tapa

Although I didn’t visit this restaurant on this particular day trip, I had actually popped into Camrose to dine at Hart House Wine & Tapa just a few weeks earlier on a Central Alberta Food Tour. Camrose is home to several businesses in houses (so cute!) including this great restaurant in a over 100-year-old home located in Camrose’s historic Sparling neighbourhood just off the main downtown.

The upstairs is actually rented out to tenants (imagine living above a wine and tapas joint—the dream). They have a cute backyard patio (literally a backyard, LOL) and a great selection of drinks and tapas (small plates designed to share). If it’s on the menu you go, order their cheesy, spicy, creamy, mashed potato bombs with Irvings Farm bacon. Mm, so delicious!

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Hart House Wine & Tapa is in a historic home in Camrose!
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The best cheesy potato bombs at Hart House!
6. The Sweeterie

Another business-in-a-home in Camrose is The Sweeterie, a sweet treats bakery specializing in cookies to cakes, donuts to double fudge brownies, and everything in between. Find seasonal treats, candy, macarons, tarts, and more at this locally owned sweeterie. They were very kind as I was juggling a few items and ended up dropping my lemon tart before I got to eat it (cue sad music), and they replaced it immediately without even asking (they witnessed the sad drop lol). The Sweeterie is all about sprinkling a little joy in your day with sweet treats, and it was our final Camrose stop before we headed home, which felt like a fitting, joyful end to a joyful day trip in this awesome little city!

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Grab sweets from the aptly named The Sweeterie in Camrose!

… And the list goes on!

Of course we weren’t able to visit every shop, restaurant or activity available in Camrose in just a day (that means we’ll have to go back!)

After I posted about being in Camrose, I had a few people recommend FIKA Coffeehouse to me (another business-in-a-home, Camrose is full of these!), and I immediately noticed that downtown Camrose had two Vietnamese restaurants in its historic downtown, Yummy Pho and Family Pho Ever, also a Kim’s Vietnamese Lunch Bar not far from downtown.

Where else would you recommend for eats in Camrose?

Let me (and readers) know in the comments below!

Explore Camrose - Go East of Edmonton - City of Camrose - Explore Alberta - Travel - Day Trip
Use and share my travel guide for a fun day trip to Camrose, Alberta!

So that was my whirlwind day trip to Camrose, Alberta, located just an hour south east of Edmonton. It’s an awesome little town with a rural feel but full of city amenities and attractions. If you haven’t been before, I encourage you to check it out! If you haven’t been in awhile, let’s revisit! If you live in the area, what else would you recommend visitors see and do!?

Thanks to Go East of Edmonton and Tourism Camrose for inviting me to come experience what this awesome little city has to offer. I had so much fun and can’t wait to come back! I’m also excited to proudly wear all my new from-Camrose outfits, and think back fondly of my day trip here!

Linda

Disclaimer: Go East of Edmonton and Tourism Camrose hired me to experience the area and share about it. This does not impact opinions stated in this post. I love visiting small town / small cities in Alberta, supporting local businesses, and sharing ways to explore the province with you!

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1 Comment

  • We are a restaurant/ bakery in camrose called Twists and More! We’d love to have you visit us!
    Home made breads and buns, cinnamon treats, cookies, cupcakes and cakes made by our pastry chef on staff!
    Home made fresh soups and sandwiches daily!

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