When I say there are so many nooks and crannies to explore in Alberta, and even if you explored it for a living (like I do lol), you’d still never experience all that the province has to offer, I really mean it. For instance, located just 1.5 hours drive south of Edmonton is the awesome little City of Lacombe in Central Alberta. If you’ve ever driven to or from Calgary, you will have passed Lacombe. But maybe you never stopped to check it out. You really need to stop and check it out!
This summer (2023) I partnered with Lacombe Regional Tourism to experience the area and share suggestions for what you should do when you visit Lacombe! Copy my itinerary!!
Note: my tourism partnership does not affect the opinions stated in this guide. I love exploring Alberta and Lacombe / Central Alberta was no exception!
Whether you’re a local who wants a tourist perspective on where you live (Lacombe), or you’re from around Alberta (particularly, Edmonton or Calgary), and are looking for ideas for a quick, fun day trip or easy overnight getaway—use my travel guide to plan your visit to Lacombe!
Copy my Itinerary: Where to Eat + Shop in Lacombe (Central Alberta)
Where is Lacombe, Alberta
Lacombe is a small city located in Central Alberta, near Red Deer, in the traditional territories of the Nêhiyaw (Cree) people of Treaty 6 and Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. Lacombe is about a 1.5 hour drive south from Edmonton and just under 2 hours drive north from Calgary.
As I mentioned above, if you’ve ever driven between Edmonton and Calgary, you’ve definitely passed Lacombe but you probably did a pit stop in Red Deer instead.
The Lacombe region is a perfect location for an easy and awesome day trip (or plan to stay to play!) Find a charming, historic downtown full of lovely local shops and restaurants, and within the region there’s lots of natural areas to boat, hike, bike, and more.
Where to Shop in Lacombe, Alberta
Lacombe is quite the destination for shopping, with a ton of locally-owned clothing boutiques and gift shops to visit. The shopping is 100% worth the the drive out!!
I picked up a ton of great clothes during my Lacombe trip, like my new favourite bag from Gift Smack, summer dress from Elite Bridal & Fashion Boutique, and dresses + jackets from Collective Mayhem, to name a few finds.
I also bought Mike a nice new Lacombe sweater from Hometown Market, and my friend Nicole and I got matching colourful handmade bird houses from Cabin-ish Custom Wood Works in Bentley just 20 minutes west of Lacombe. (I outline my Bentley exploration in its own section later in the blog). We really had a ton of fun just browsing the stores, many of which are located in beautiful brick / historic buildings!
Below are shops we explored in Lacombe—in alphabetical order!
5024 General Store
The 5024 General Store is a super cute skateboard shop, clothing store, and coffee bar!
The husband-wife owners of the unique black and white art deco storefront with original 1912 tin ceiling tiles have created a really nice, inclusive community space (dogs welcome and happy in-store when we stopped by!)
We liked that they kept only one size of everything out on the floor so it wouldn’t take up extra space (good use of space!) but if you need a different size they can get it in the back for you. They also have a screen/projector on the wall and a little stage area for community events.
Collective Mayhem was my favourite shop in Lacombe based on how many things I bought lol (two beautiful dresses and two awesome jackets). It is also in a really cool space, a little labyrinthy, spanning multiple rooms and hallways (apparently it used to be a doctor’s office), with different rooms featuring different themed items.
Dutchess Flower Company
I love a good plant shop and Dutchess is a good plant (and flower) shop! So green. So lush. Really such a beautiful space with lots of flowers, plants, home decor and gifts for the plant moms and dads in your life. This is a European style flower shop and like many stores in Lacombe, the business is located in a historic building—incorporating original brick walls and painted logos from when the building was a mechanic shop in the 1920s.
Elite Bridal & Fashion Boutique
Elite Bridal & Fashion Boutique is massive! There’s three shopping levels (main floor general fashion boutique, upstairs bridal and downstairs grad/gowns) and the interior is a lot deeper than we expected walking in from the street. It’s a popular spot for brides and teens (why is it not socially acceptable to wear wedding dresses and grad gowns in more situations beyond a wedding and grad? The dresses are seriously so beautiful!)
I was gifted a floral summer dress here that I immediately wore for my next-day Lacombe adventures (you’ll see it throughout this blog lol). And there is a huge selection in general spanning lots of different styles and I’d say ages.
Gift Smack Gift Company
Gift Smack is a cute shop that specializes in, you guessed it—gifts! They have a bunch of curated gift boxes with varying themes, corporate and real estate gifts, plus some standalone items that make great gifts (including gifts for YOU!) This is where I bought my new favourite cross-body bag (you’ll also see it in a lot of photos throughout this post lol). You can design your own gift boxes too and they ship across Canada—all from their little shop in Lacombe.
The Hometown Market is *the* place to go for your Lacombe Region-branded swag!
They have tons of Lacombe shirts, sweaters, mugs, stickers, plus items representing smaller areas in the region like Gull Lake, Bentley, Red Deer, and Sylvan Lake.
I bought a great sweater for Mike here, depicting a popular Lacombe mural you can physically find across the street in the alleyway / side of Moe’s Pizza!
This cute shop is owned by Kim, of the same family who run Moe’s Pizza and Cilantro & Chive (located in both Lacombe and Red Deer) They LOVE Central Alberta and this store celebrates and builds that community they love.
I share about even more shops to check out in Bentley, Alberta if you keep scrolling!!
Where to Eat in Lacombe, Alberta
There are some great food and drink gems in the City of Lacombe!
In fact some people have told me they’ve driven from Edmonton to Lacombe *just* to dine or drink at some of the spots I visited.
Below are some restaurants and breweries we tried in Lacombe—in alphabetical order!
Alberta’s 2022 Brewery of the Year is based in Lacombe! Blindman Brewing is a “locally-minded, community-focused” craft brewery that’s been around for nearly a decade (first opened in 2014). Since it’s been around for so long, I consider it one of the more well-known, well-established breweries in the province, with quality you can count on.
They recently reopened / renovated their tap room, have a pretty big patio, and are also serving Mexican cuisine through their La Taqueria taco shop on site. Come for a bite and a pint!
We loved our bites—tacos, nachos, and taco salad—along with our flight (admittedly both myself and my friend Nicole aren’t huge beer drinkers but really enjoyed the sips we tried including their fruiter summer “Fruit!”, coffee stout, Mexican lager, and something NEW and non-alcoholic: Hop Water! Like homemade sparkling seltzer (sparkling water with hops from the brewery).
Fun fact: the brewery is named after the winding Blindman River in south-central Alberta that joins the Red Deer River. It is said that a Cree hunting party became temporarily snowblind while travelling and had to rest on the river banks until their eyes healed, giving the name paskapiw or ‘he is blind.’ Another explanation says the name is a descriptive term, in that the river has numerous meanders and curves so you’re ‘blind’ viewing or traversing it.
Cilantro & Chive
Perhaps the most well-known eatery in Lacombe—Cilantro & Chive is considered a pillar in the community, and a gem in the city’s charming, historic downtown since 2015. In fact, I’ve had people tell me they drive from Edmonton to Lacombe JUST to eat at Cilantro & Chive!
This is a popular spot for “fresh, simple eats” with their take on classic dishes. Cilantro and Chive has an extensive drink menu (including a non-alcoholic mocktail flight option that we LOVED!!), epic Caesars (seriously, they’re kind of wild lol), tons of craft beer, great burger options including a rotating feature burger with proceeds on its sale going to charity, weekly specials (like prime rib Wednesdays), and a delicious beer cheese dip with Blindman Brewing IPA, aged cheddar, candied bacon and big, soft pretzels!
Our mocktail flight flavours were (from left for right in the photo): cherry lemonade mule, lavender lemonade, berry mojito, and fuzzy peach slush! My favourite was their fuzzy peach slush followed by the lavender lemonade. I wish more places did mocktail flights—so fun and refreshing.
As mentioned, the family who own Cilantro & Chive also own Moe’s Pizza as well as Hometown Market. Rieley and Kim are super passionate about Lacombe and have truly set up roots here—much to the benefit of all of us! These are awesome, inclusive businesses well worth the visit.
Milly Oak Cafe & Catering
Milly Oak Cafe & Catering is a family-owned eatery serving all-day breakfast, lunch, brunch, and catering in Lacombe. The cafe offers locally-inspired, fresh seasonal items with coffee and freshly baked pastries, and it fulfills a lifelong desire for owner Derek to open a restaurant.
We were super excited to have Milly Oak’s Dill Pickle Benny!! That was something my friend Nicole and I hadn’t seen as an eggs benedict option before, so dill lovers, this is the breakfast fo you—with shaved ham, spinach, and dill pickles, dill pickle hollandaise and dill pickle chips! This eggs benny is also unique as it comes on a toasted biscuit rather than your typical English muffin. YUM. It was delicious. You can order any of their eggs benny as half or full sizes as well.
We also had the Cubano sandwich (keeping with our dill pickle theme, this comes with a dill pickle and dill aioli) and we upgraded our side to a pasta salad that was fresh and flavourful.
Oishidesu Ramen Shack
I love the angry ramen Instagrammable Wall you see when you enter Oishidesu Ramen Shack in Lacombe. They also have framed anime posters, Japanese lanterns, and other cute decor pieces. Oishidesu means delicious in Japan! This spot specializes in ramen or rice bowls (including build your own bowls!)
Oodles of Chocolates
A sweet mother-daughter team run Oodles of Chocolates, which began in 2015 and has moved around a few times before landing at its current location in one of the historic buildings on the main downtown strip. Buy this locally-made chocolate to take home and grab some ice cream too! They’ve got a tasty assortment of flavours. Along with great tasting chocolate, Oodles of Chocolates often fundraises for charities.
Sweet Capones Italian Bakery & Cannoli Shop is a very popular bakery in Lacombe. Their cannoli is their trademark dessert (light and flaky on the outside and delicately sweet, rich and creamy on the inside), with over 30 seasonal varieties and flavour combos (including Nutella, yum!)
This location of Sweet Capones is located inside the mall and is actually their main bakery as well (they serve Red Deer too).
When visiting anywhere, I look up whether the place has a local bubble tea shop! Find Lacombe’s local bubble tea at TEAmoty! There’s a “varie-tea” of drinks to choose from—milk teas, fruit teas, smoothies, and you can also get real delicious $5 dumplings. Yum!
Ugly’s Pub & Grill
We popped into Ugly’s Pub & Grill on recommendation from the Lacombe Pride Society. This business was the first to ever host a drag show in Lacombe! So they are very inclusive and welcoming and we love that. Grab a seat on their cute patio (dog-friendly!), depending on the day you can find live music here, and they’ve got regular theme nights (karaoke anyone!) We tried their Ugly’s Famous Frings (fries and onion rings) appetizer while here.
What else should you do in Lacombe?
Be sure to snap a photo with the famous Lacombe Flatiron Building which is also home to the Lacombe Museum & Archives! Explore local history and book a guided or do a self-guided tour of their historic murals. Snap a photo with the more recent Lacombe mural at Moe’s Pizza (created in 2020). Also visit the Lacombe Memorial Centre Lest We Forget Park and check out the heart monument “Heart of Lacombe” (built in 2022) that lights up for occasions!
When we went it was lit up for Pride. And speaking of Pride, check out Lacombe Pride Society‘s events (and as mentioned, if exploring during summer time, a visit during Pride Weekend in August might be a ton of fun, and nice to show your support!) I so appreciate the work that group is doing to build a safe and inclusive community in this little city.
Here are a few more fun facts and things you could check out in Lacombe:
- There are more than 30 heritage buildings in Lacombe’s downtown, with many placards telling the history of each building and its original stores. Take some time to read the signs!
- The Flatiron Building was built in 1904 and is the oldest of the three flatiron buildings that exist in Alberta! (there’s also one in Edmonton and one in Medicine Hat).
- Lacombe is home to the oldest operating blacksmith shop in Alberta (it is located on its original site and much of the original machinery, including the forge, trip hammers and engine, are still in operating condition).
- Lacombe is home to the world’s largest fishing lure (Guinness World Record certified!) featuring Len Thompson’s most popular pattern the iconic yellow & red five of Diamonds. The fishing lure company has operated in Lacombe since 1958.
- A portion of the TransCanada Trail runs through Lacombe! The trail is Canada’s national trail, the longest network of multi-use recreational trails in the world.
… and more!
Plus: explore the Town of Bentley, Alberta!
As mentioned, the Lacombe Region itself is home to lots of little towns and lakes, including the Town of Bentley, Alberta located just 20 minutes west of Lacombe. If you’re spending time in Lacombe, particularly if you’re there to shop, it’s totally worth a drive out to Bentley to check out their local shops too! Here’s a few spots we checked out:
- Cabin-ish Custom Wood Works – who specialize in rustic, hand-crafted, beautifully built furniture. It smells great in here (like freshly cut wood!) and you’ll find all sorts of things you’ll want to bring home—from chairs to birdhouses (we bought birdhouses!), to flower pots, shelves, and more. Really great quality. You can also get custom orders done here!
- Earthy Accents– a full service design florist offering unique arrangements and floral/plant gifts. I bought a pink and gold gemstone pop socket for my phone here and am obsessed! My friend Nicole got a little plant animals that you can add to give your plants a bit of extra character.
- Merry’s Mercantile – a home decor, furniture, “cabin couture”, and clothing store that includes a lot of new and old / antique-y items.
- The Drop Coffee & Tea – Bentley’s cute little cafe offering a selection of hot drinks, cold drinks, pastries, and our favourite: a variety of croissants baked in muffin tins so they fold all cute and muffin-like. You have to try the cinnamon sugar croissant and I really liked my pepperoni and cheese one!
- The Weekender by Bentley Cycle – The Weekender is located on the top floor of Bentley Cycle (the local bike shop!) selling clothes, jewellery and other gifts. Note: it’s a steep climb up to the loft-y shopping area! Fun to browse and maybe if you’re in the market for a bike, this is a place to stop too.
- Queen Bea Clothing Marketplace – a super cute shop with yellow walls selling unique clothes, accessories and gifts.
There is also apparently an amazing kite store (The Kite Guys) a few people told me to check out *after* my visit, so I will definitely pop in when I return!
Also be sure to snap photos with the Bentley Instagrammable Wall (mural) by artist Lauren Cowles, meant to depict the natural beauty of Bentley!
So that’s just a few places to eat, shop, and things to see + do when you explore the Central Alberta City of Lacombe (and neighbouring Town of Bentley).
You could very easily do Lacombe as a day trip (I suggest multiple day trips!) or as an overnight like we did to really squeeze in lots of activities and eats.
Collective Mayhem in particular may be one of my favourite new local boutiques and you know what, I would drive 1.5 hours to shop there again! lol.
Plan an easy day trip, overnight, or just add a few extra hours to explore the city if you’re going to be passing through anyway!
I had a lot of fun on my Lacombe adventure and I am sure you will too.
Note: my June 2023 visit to Lacombe was sponsored. Experiences were hosted by Lacombe Regional Tourism. This does not impact opinions or views stated in this post—I love exploring Alberta!!
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