If you’ve used my Travel Guides before, you may know that I not only love travelling within Alberta, but I also truly believe there are so many great things to do and food to eat all across the province—from big to little cities and the teeny towns in between.
I explore Alberta more than the typical person and I’m still regularly blown away by places I still haven’t been, or spots I still haven’t tried, despite having tried honestly, a lot lol.
For instance, I drive through the central Alberta City of Red Deer, Alberta a lot, usually on my way out to different Alberta destinations. Like many, I’m pretty familiar with Red Deer’s Gasoline Alley, and the shops along that strip off the highway, but, also like many, I rarely have explored beyond that very small part Red Deer and frankly, that’s a mistake!
The City of Red Deer is located just an hour and a half drive between both Edmonton and Calgary, making it an extremely convenient spot for a quick day trip from either Alberta city.
This winter I partnered with Tourism Red Deer to explore the central Alberta city and share with you some suggestions for places you can eat + drink not only the next time you might be passing through the city, but also to help you plan your specific Red Deer, Alberta day trip!
Note: my tourism partnership does not affect the opinions stated in this guide. I love exploring Alberta and Red Deer was no exception!
Whether you’re a local who wants a tourist perspective on where you live (Red Deer), or you’re from around Alberta (particularly, Edmonton or Calgary), and are looking for ideas for a quick, fun day trip getaway—use my Day Trip Guide for Where to Eat in Red Deer to plan your visit!
And keep scrollin’ to enter my Red Deer Day Trip Giveaway!
Day Trip Food Guide to Red Deer, Alberta
Experience Bo’s Bar & Stage
Bo’s Bar & Stage | 2310 50 Ave., Red Deer | Facebook | Instagram
I had the pleasure of experiencing Bo’s Bar & Stage during a past trip to Red Deer that when we were putting together the itinerary for this Feb 2023 visit, I knew I wanted to return to Bo’s!
Locals love Bo’s Bar & Stage, which has been home to amazing food, drink and live entertainment since 1996! And has expanded a lot over its many years with its growing business (they keep taking over business space in the strip mall its located in—so maybe next time you’re down there, it’ll have another expansion under its belt!)
Bo’s books local and international musicians and other regular acts on their massive stage, offers 24 beers on tap, handcrafted cocktails (including non-alcoholic selections), and great food.
Mostly what brought me back to Bo’s this time around was their Mac and Cheese! I loved it so much last time I knew I wanted to dig into it again—and it was just as good this time around, with its combination of cheddar and monterey jack, bacon, and bread crumbs. Just a delight, along with their housemade boneless fried chicken (so juicy, so crispy!)
During our visit, we were told Bo’s is also starting to do catering (hello Mac and Cheese for weddings lol) as just one way they’re always reinventing their business, and they also shared that Christmastime at Bo’s is pretty special too—with the massive space transformed into a mix of Santa’s Workshop and a Winter Wonderland, offering family-friendly holiday events too.
In the summer, Bo’s has a lot of patio space too—out front and in the back, and in the back they have a beautiful Instagrammable Wall as well! Lots to love about Bo’s. A definite must-visit!
Dine at Las Palmeras
Las Palmeras | 3630 50 Ave., Red Deer | Facebook | Instagram
Craving Mexican or Salvadoran cuisine in Red Deer? I’ve got just the spot for you: Las Palmeras!
This is another long-standing dining spot in Red Deer—a family-owned and operated restaurant that first opened back in 1992. It’s really great to see some institutions lasting so long—well anywhere, but here in Red Deer too. That’s generally a great sign of quality and consistency. The current family owners Andre and Melissa have been running the restaurant for more than a decade—since 2011.
The menu here explores a bit of different Latin cuisine, from yuca fries (cassava) with crispy pork chicharron to pupusas, flautas, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, and more.
I was with a friend with some dietary restrictions and we were super impressed with how knowledgable about ingredients and accommodating the restaurant was. Andre said he can pretty accommodate most allergies and dietary restrictions because they make so much of the food from scratch. The restaurant has also received recognition for its gluten-free options!
We enjoyed everything we tried here—from the tostadas, to the cassava and pork, my friend’s fajitas with vegetables, rice and beans, and my pulled beef brisket tacos (on special that week). They have great salsas, pico de gallo, and guac here and we LOVED the Las Palmeras housemade hot sauce which you can also buy to take home. It’s a habanero pineapple combo that has a nice follow-up kick.
Tell Andre I said hey and I’m still enjoying my take home hot sauce if you try Las Palmeras!
Pick up treats from Sweet Capones
Sweet Capones | 6206 67 St., Red Deer | Facebook | Instagram
One of the best little bakery/cafes in Red Deer is Sweet Capones, which also has a location in Lacombe, Alberta. This little sweet shop is famous for its cannolis, considered their “trademark dessert”—light and flaky on the outside, sweet on the inside, and featuring more than 30 flavour combinations. When you stop at Sweet Capones you have to get a cannoli.
The original owners sold the bakery to a new family who just took over this Feb 2023—so in addition to old favourites, the menu is also expanding to include some of the new family’s specialties like cakes and cupcakes!
You can also find an assortment of espressos, drip coffee, specialty drinks, iced drinks and savoury breakfast / lunch options in this very spacious cafe. Tables are lined with old newspaper clippings showcasing original owner family history / Red Deer area history too, which is neat.
Visit Troubled Monk Brewery
Troubled Monk | 5551 45 St., Red Deer | Facebook | Instagram
Alberta has a lot of craft breweries. The province experienced a brewery boom when it removed its mandatory minimum brewing capacity rules back in 2013, going from just a dozen breweries at that time to nearly 200 breweries today (in just a decade!!)
Troubled Monk Brewery in Red Deer is a brewery I would consider something of a pioneer, a veteran, one of the original breweries that came out of that boom and initial relaxing of those brewing rules. They opened in 2015 and have become a fixture in the community since. Their brews have won local and global awards, and they’re always innovating. They now run a distillery through the brewery as well, offering vodka, gin, and whiskey, and they recently ventured into the hard (alcoholic) teas section. In fact they want to be *the* top selling hard tea. And (and and and—so many things! lol) Troubled Monk also makes great non-alcoholic sodas.
Truly a case for something for everyone at Troubled Monk!
Their taproom includes a small food/snack menu sourced from local producers, including delicious beer cheese from The Cheese Factory in Edmonton, pepperoni from Viva Deli in Red Deer, and addictive popcorn (various flavours) from Pot Black Kettle Corn out of Lacombe. They also serve housemade nuts and bolts. Typically I like a brewery that also has a restaurant food menu, but I appreciate that Troubled Monk wants to focus on the high quality of their drinks, and honestly the local snacks they do offer are really good.
You can also request a tour (just let them know in advance of your visit).
And Troubled Monk also has a huge patio in the summer!
Also related but unrelated: one of my good friends Scott Messenger actually wrote a book about the craft beer boom in Alberta back in May 2020: Tapping the West – How Alberta’s Craft Beer Industry Bubbled Out of an Economy Gone Flat.
If you’re interested in Alberta craft beer, this is a great read.
Although we didn’t visit Red Hart Brewing during this Feb 2023 trip, that is another great Red Deer brewery that I have explored in past visits to the area, and would recommend too!
Red Hart also allow dogs inside the brewery which is a bonus lol.
Try a bubble tea from Let’s Tea Talk
Let’s Tea Talk | 7121 50 Ave., Red Deer | Facebook | Instagram
I’ve been so pleased to see a surge in independently-owned bubble tea shops over the last few years and even more delighted to see that extend to smaller cities and towns.
Red Deer has a few different bubble tea options now including Let’s Tea Talk, a small, Filipino family-owned bubble tea shop.
Here you’ll find a range of bubble tea options from milk teas to fruit teas, slushies, yakults, seasonal specials and Filipino flavour specialties as drinks, including an Ubelicious (like a Ube purple yam cheesecake as a bubble tea drink) and Halo Halo (a popular Filipino cold dessert that usually includes shave ice, milk and fruit jellies). Both dessert drinks are excellent just really messy to eat/drink lol—you’ve been warned lol. We also tried one of their brown sugar bubble teas and their purple butterfly pea milk tea that was great too.
The dessert drinks are some consistent top sellers at Let’s Tea Talk and the sweet owner Judith told us people specifically come to Let’s Tea Talk to satisfy some of their Filipino dessert cravings because they are one of the few locations in the area that offer it.
Check out Social 13 Lounge & Bar
Social 13 Lounge & Bar | 3731 50 Ave. | Facebook | Instagram
Something that I can’t stress enough about our little food crawl of Red Deer is just how incredible the service was at every single place we stopped. Seriously, our servers were SO good.
I bring that up now when referencing Social 13 Lounge & Bar because Jodie, our server there, in particular had just the most amazing energy. It was such a joy to talk to her.
Social 13 is a really nice, spacious night club-like space, with a big bar, big booths, pool tables, a pinball machine, and really nice artwork adorning all the walls.
Fun fact: the art is painted by Jessica, a very talented Red Deer artist who also happens to be Social 13’s manager, and you can purchase pieces too!
We ordered their house breaded wings (you can choose from 20+ different flavours), their ‘fan favourite’ beef dip, burger with house ground striploin chuck (add fried egg of course), and had the soup of the day. Think elevated bar food! And there’s 13 specialty cocktails, beer and wine!
Visit Cilantro & Chive
Cilantro & Chive | 1927 50 Ave., Red Deer | Facebook | Instagram
Although we didn’t stop into Cilantro & Chive on this most recent trip, you can’t talk about Red Deer food without a nod to this awesome restaurant (which also has a location in Lacombe).
Cilantro & Chive is all about local—supporting local suppliers, carrying Alberta craft brews, making as much as possible from scratch including its handcrafted cocktails and unique twists on fav foods—and they give back to the local community.
Their Burger of the Month program highlights local celebrities and raises money for charities. They are well-known for their unusual Caesars (including offering a Caesar flight board!)
In Red Deer they do Mac n Cheese + Mule flight Mondays, poutine + beer Tuesdays, Prime Rib Wednesdays and Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding Thursdays.
Basically, there’s lots of reasons to love + stop into Cilantro & Chive when in Red Deer!
Explore the Gasoline Alley Farmers’ Market
Gasoline Alley Farmers’ Market | 558 Laura Ave., Red Deer | Facebook | Instagram
If you do stop in Red Deer’s Gasoline Alley and want to experience something neat—plan to stop into the Gasoline Alley Farmers’ Market!
This is a year-round, indoor multi-day market with over 50 local vendors and a ‘Market Kitchen’ with lots of in-house dining options. The market is open Friday through Sunday and the kitchen is open Thursday through Sunday.
Nearly all market vendors are Albertans who make, bake, grow and sew the products they sell.
There are literally so many great vendors to browse and bring home items from and the space is quite nice. The market only recently opened in 2020, making it one of the newest additions to Gasoline Alley and a gem of a spot to check out when in Red Deer County.
Settle in at Staybridge Suites
Staybridge Suites | 6329 Orr Dr., Red Deer | Facebook | Instagram
If you’re planning to turn your Red Deer day trip into an overnight stay because there’s so many spots you want to check out and not enough time in just one day, might I suggest you stay at Staybridge Suites?
This is one of Red Deer’s newest hotels and is considered a long-term hotel—designed to give a unique hotel experience with all the amenities of home including all suites coming with full kitchens including a stove, microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher. The suites are designed with large workspaces too. It’s definitely a comfortable room that, knowing there are a lot of workers that travel through / stay in Red Deer for work, would make it a really comfortable home away from home.
Even if you’re not staying for work, they have apartment-style suites that work great for families and groups with separate sleeping and living rooms.
What’s especially great about Staybridge Suites is their ‘Social’ evenings which run Monday through Wednesdays from 5:30-7 p.m., where guests get access to unlimited free appetizers, beer, and wine! It’s such a great perk!!
Staybridge Suites is family-owned, and is part of a family of seven hotels in three Alberta cities (Red Deer, Hinton, Edson). It is a great hotel!
Plus: check out Instagrammable Walls of Red Deer!
In 2021, Red Deer launched its Meet the Street Mural Festival and has been adding some really amazing art to the city since that you’ve got to check out!
I mean, not to say that there wasn’t great art in the city before, but a mural festival is more in line with my love of Instagrammable Walls so it certainly caught my interest and I knew the new murals was something I wanted to check out during my Feb 2023 visit.
I’ve put together a Guide to Instagrammable Walls of Red Deer based on these new murals, and you can also check out the City’s Mural Map to find more information about art, artists, and locations. Depending on when you plan your next visit(s) to Red Deer, you could totally stop in while the festival is happening! It’s always fun to meet the artists and watch them in action too.
So that’s just a few great food spots, where to stay, and some art to check out in the Central Alberta City of Red Deer! Honestly, we barely scratched the surface on the food offerings—particularly all the food options you can find in Downtown Red Deer too (guess I’ll have to come back to explore more soon!! ;))
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 little Red Deer adventure and I am sure you will too.
And enter my Tourism Red Deer Giveaway!
To encourage you to explore Red Deer, I’m giving away a Tourism Red Deer Prize Pack.
The Prize Pack includes:
- A $25 gift card to Las Palmeras
- A $25 gift card to Troubled Monk
- A $100 gift card to Bo’s Bar and Stage
To enter for a chance to win this Tourism Red Deer Prize:
- Mandatory entry: Leave a comment below on this blog post telling me what you’d most like to check out on your next visit to Red Deer. Note: This is a mandatory entry. You have to leave a blog post comment to qualify for the prize!
- Bonus entries: You can also get additional entries on social media!
- Bonus entry on Instagram (check my Instagram for details)
- Bonus entry on Facebook (check my Facebook for details)
- Note: I will double check that the blog comment entry has been completed before selecting the winner.
Please note: comments are moderated, so if you don’t see your comment appear right away—that’s okay! I will select a winner from all entries received by March 6, 2023. The winner will be contacted via the email included with your blog post comment/entry.
Please be wary of potential scammers. I will never ask for your credit card information or ask you to fill out any forms with personal information. I will email connect you with Tourism Red Deer to coordinate your gift cards!
Note: my Feb 2023 visit to Red Deer was sponsored. Experiences were hosted by Tourism Red Deer and their members This does not impact opinions or views stated in this post—I love exploring Alberta, including experiences in Central Alberta!
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As someone whose always lived in Red Deer, I forgot about some of the good places we have here. Definitely going to have to go back to Las Palmaras!
Great choices! Las Palmeras is such a hidden gem in Rd!
Cilantro and chive is always a must stop for us! Would love to try Las Palmaeras, it looks so good.
I would def love to try Bo’s!!!
I was just there last weekend but didn’t make it to any of these places. I’d love to check out Troubled Monk and I know my husband would also enjoy it!
I love going to Red Hart but have yet to go to Bo’s. so that’s where I’d like to visit next time
I’m excited to try Cilantro and Chive. We don’t normally go beyond Gasoline Alley but your list has inspired me.
We always just get gas on our way to calgary ..we will definitely stop at Bo’s and the farmers market !
I too have only stopped along Gasoline Alley. Definitely open to exploring local businesses throughout Red Deer.
Les Palmeras is what I would like to check out most but you highlighted so many great places! Look forward to exploring Red deer more
I definitely want to check out Bo’s Bar and Stage……that Mac & Cheese and the fried chicken look killer!!! For that matter, all the menu items you photographed look incredibly good
Great article Linda!! Love all the suggestions!
After seeing the photos of dishes at Bo’s Bar and Stage, I definitely want to visit there!
What a great feature on Red Deer! I’ve lived here for 20 years now and you’re right, you’ve only scratched the surface on what Red Deer has to offer. Your blog inspired me to head on over to the Gasoline Alley Farmers Market. It’s definitely a favourite!
Hi Linda! We would love to try troubled monk brewery! My husband loves craft beer!
And would love to try cilantro and chive’s red deer location! We have been to the one in lacombe a few times and it’s amazing!
I lived in Lacombe for 10 years and spent a lot of time in Red Deer. I’ve eaten at Cilantro & Chive and viewed the IG walls in the downtown area. Now I have a list of new places to eat and a great hotel to check out. Thanks for sharing some great local spots to visit.
My husband and I work on Red Deer and love supporting the businesses there! The fried chicken at Bo’s is SO GOOD and now I want some 😂 For those planning a visit, we absolutely love Occam’s Razor for date night!
I’d love to visit the gasoline alley farmers market.
It’s a mandatory stop for us on every trip north!! So many amazing options!!
Red Hart is our favourite local brewery, because it’s so close to us, but Sawback is also a great brewery to check out. We also love the farmer’s market, I’m addicted to the croquettes from the Wooden Shoe. Next time you’re in town, you should also check out Pupuseria Cristy. They have awesome bierra tacos on Tues and Thursdays and pupusas every day!
I live near Red Deer and am always looking for day trip ideas. Definitely going to check out the bubble tea place and a few of the murals! Thanks for the inspiration!
Cilantro and Chive have been on my list for a few years now because of the insane Caesars they make, but we haven’t made it out there yet. After this blog I’ll be adding Sweet Capones to the list for sure…who doesn’t love a good cafe?
I’d probably check out Troubled Monk Brewery as well. They make a killer Saskatoon liqueur that’s only available for a limited time. All of these photos make me hungry though, Yum!
My parents live in Spruce View so we’re up that way often but don’t always go to Red Deer. Thanks for the tips as were not so familiar with it! Troubled Monk looks like a MUST for us!
Yum! Mac n cheese looks so good! We’re looking for shorter vacations this summer with baby on the way so red deer is now on the list!
I would love to visit Troubled monk Brewery. I love visiting Red Deer it has wonderful shopping.
Love all of these! We go to Red Deer area often, and never know where the best local spots are!
Mac & cheese and fried chicken are two of my fav foods… I’m sold on Bo’s!
Loved reading this as a RD local. You nailed it with Bo’s having great fried chicken and mac n cheese! PS, their patio is dog friendly in the summer.
Las Palmeras is an INSTITUTION. It ain’t RD without it!
Love Red Deer, it really is a gem. Great place to live and work.
I would love to try Sweet Capones! Im a sucker for sweets
Thank you for all these tips! We usually only stop at Gasoline Alley but will make a point and explore Red Deer for a day this summer! I absolutely must stop at Bo’s Bar and try the Mac n Cheese and Fried Chicken, looks sooo delicious and will for sure check out Troubled Monk and have a flight 🍻
Thanks for the tips! So many hidden gems. I’ll definitely have to plan a day trip with my husband. Or maybe a ray trip with baby girl! She’s becoming a Foodie too! :)
Troubled Monk has my favorite adult iced tea and I love their stout. Definitely want to visit there. And doughnut mill is a must everytime!
Thank tipi for all the great information!
I’m excited to try some of these places.
As someone who recently moved to Red Deer I’m so exited to have some places to check out !
Gaaa! I want everyone to see this blog post! You’ve included such great places that help Red Deer shine! I’ve lived here for 10 years and have yet to go to Las Palmeras! AND you’re the second “non-RD” person in as many months to recommend it. I gotta go!
Thanks for spotlighting RD. And when you get to RedHart again – tell them Cherilyn sent you – your next beer is on me! (My hubs manages the taproom there😜)
Bo’s Mac & cheese looks incredible! 🤤🤤🤤
So fun!! I want to see all of the cool walls you found AND Cilantro and Chive!!
Let’s talk tea looks tasty and pretty!
Cilantro and chive is always a must stop. Sweet Capone sounds great!
So many to check out but next will be Las Palmeras 😊
You need to hit up Taco Loft next time!
Oooh.. love Cilantro and Chive! Discovered it and always hit it up as we frequently travel to yyc from yeg (and back lol). Learned today from your blog about the Farmers Market, so that’ll def be on the list to check out the next time we’re in Red Deer!
Awesome I want to try Troubled Monk!
I love the Red Deer love! I went to Las Palmeras so many times when I was growing up and Bo’s was THE destination for wings and macaroni bites when I turned 18. Can’t wait to see a part 2 🥰
I’d like to Try Social 13- only place on list I haven’t been.
Gasoline Alley Farmers Market! Who knew?
Will have to add Sweet Capones & Let’s Talk Tea on our next road trip thru Red Deer
Who knew there were so many places to try out in Red Deer? You’ve opened my eyes to venture beyond the strip that we all drive through on our way to somewhere else.
Having said that, my dad (who has lived in Vancouver for more than 45 years) has find memories of a side trip there decades ago so I shouldn’t be surprised that there would be something special about the community!
Bo’s sounds fantastic and that Mac and Cheese looks delicious 🤤! This post is amazing as I’ve often thought about checking out other places beyond Gasoline Alley myself and now I know I will!! You’ve inspired me to try all sorts of new and interesting restaurants, bars, bakeries, breweries and bubble tea spots, which I still struggle with as I never know what to order, but the picture menu’s definitely help😆
I have great memories of cassava fries but it has been a very long time. Excited to check out the farmers’ market!
We would love to try Las Palmeras!
Sounds like Las Palmeras is calling my name! Wow, that looks good. Also Bo’s actually shocked me on how good the food looked. I cannot wait to try these places.
I’d love to get back to Las Palmeras and Sweet Capones. So much good local food in Red Deer.
Hello! Thanks for posting this blog, we usually bypass Red Deer and stop in Bowden on our way to our Canmore place. I always like to try new food and would most likely try Las Palmeras.
I live in Red Deer and have driven by this restaurant many times and would love to try out Las Palmeras.
What a fabulous time consuming review. Pictures are so awesome. Mmmm beef tacos at Las Palmeras and mac and cheese look like a must have . Thanks so much for this fabulous collaboration.
Love this exploration into one of the first places I truly felt was home!
I love Red Deer and would love to check out Troubled Monk Brewing!
I pass through so often, it’s nice to have some suggestions other than gasoline alley! I would love to try and find that farmer’s market :)
Great list! Will have to take a drive and find all the instagrammable walls! The bird one is beautiful.
I would love to try all these wonderful spots on my Saskatchewan-Alberta trips! Las Palmeras looks wonderful!
Will have to check out Cilantro and Chive next time we are in Red Deer! Had a great time at the Lacombe location.
I live in Calgary but I gave family in Red deer. I would love to try out all these places you featured especially Bo’s Bar ! I also had Troubled Monk Ice Tea at sn outdoor concert in Red deer last summer so I’d like to go there too ! Thanks ! Great pics btw.
Not gonna lie… you got me with “Mac and Cheese” at Bo’s❤️❤️❤️. You have opened up a whole new food experience for my girls and I to venture to. Thank you Linda-Hoang.com❤️❤️❤️❤️
Always looking for a great spot with some live entertainment so I think I would most like to checknout Bo’s. Sounds like a great thing to do with some good friends.
Being someone how has lived in Red Deer my whole life (45 plus years) it always amazes me that people think gasoline alley Is all there is to Red Deer. We have one of the largest restaurants bases for our population.
With Red Deer having 5 hi-way exists to get into town, it is easy to pop in and out and not waste time.
Las Palmares is a staple they have been here since I was a teenager. But there many more great locations. If you take the 67street hi-way exit, you can make a quick stop at saw back brewery for great craft beer. Then drive a couple more blocks and hit up Memphis Blues BBQ for fantastic southern bbq.
Love me some cannoli! So good. Hope the new owners keep the same recipe.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Las Palmeras. I definitely need to go check it out again soon!!
😋 everywhere on here is bomb !
I’d love to try Las Palmeras and the yucca fries. I also didn’t know that the gasoline alley farmers market had an eatery!