Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is so underrated!
This lovely little city in the prairies—located just a quick five-hour drive or one-ish hour flight straight east of Edmonton—is full of some ridiculously good restaurants. Plus beautiful public art, lots of bridges, river valley walking trails, Indigenous arts and culture, cool neighbourhoods, boutique shops, and many more attractions that make it well worth a visit.
This fall I partnered with Discover Saskatoon to go ‘Saskatooning’ (the city’s cute verb for exploring Saskatoon!), on a food-focused trip (though obviously I had to squeeze in some arts and culture as well) to suggest some must-stops for when you plan your visit.
Because you are going to plan your visit, right?! Especially for Albertans, this is such a close destination. In fact, Saskatoon is a closer drive than heading to other areas in Alberta!
Meet me to eat and explore in Saskatoon!! (that’s what you should tell your friends/fam lol).
My friend Nicole drove up to Saskatoon from Medicine Hat (Southern Alberta) to meet me for the weekend this Oct 2023 and it was a quicker drive for us to meet in Saskatoon than for either of us to come up or down to Edmonton or Medicine Hat. That’s just one example of the short distance!
Read on for my Travel Guide to Saskatoon, based on my Oct 2023 trip, and let me know in the comments what other places I / readers should be trying when we return to this awesome city!
Note: while this post is sponsored by Discover Saskatoon, it does not impact opinions stated. I love exploring cities (big and small!), eating all the food, and sharing travel recommendations with readers.
I also have a few older Saskatoon blog posts from a 2018 visit you can check out for more ideas!
Travel Guide: Where to Eat, Shop & Explore in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Listed in alphabetical order under each category
Where to Eat in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Bar Stella is a really cute Italian restaurant with retro diner vibes in Saskatoon.
They are one of the city’s newest restaurants, having opened in June 2023, and they describe themselves as “Unfussy Italian!” I describe them as absolutely delicious.
Bar Stella’s menu is meant to be shared family style (as Italians do!)
- Bruschetta (on house focaccia with burrata and evoo)
- Meatballs (beef, pork, veal, red sauce and reggiano)
- Rigatoni (with rose sauce, reggiano)
- Non-alcoholic cocktails (The Market with blueberry orange syrup, soda, ginger ale and lime and Zecca of Venice with mint basil syrup, soda, tonic, lemon)
Honestly wanted to share more but we had a pretty big breakfast (it was an eating trip! lol more food than our tummies could handle). I just love really good Italian food and Bar Stella is that.
They also have a thing about focaccia—you can find it in their Bruschetta (which normally comes on crispier cut baguettes), their burrata cheese plate, and their sandwich options. We loved our Meatballs and Rigatoni, and while the Bruschetta *looked* amazing (like a Bruschetta on big fat toast with the focaccia), I think the focaccia choice is just a bit softer, thicker bread than we are used to on a bruschetta lol. Honestly I wish we could’ve tried all of their pastas though, that rigatoni we had was *chefs kiss.*
I also love Bar Stella’s checkerboard floor, the garage door “patio” window, and the adjacent access to sister cafe (Junior). It’s a great space!!
Apparently (though I didn’t realize until later) on this Saskatoon trip I got to try a lot of the newer restaurants that have been getting a lot of local attention, including F&B Restaurant (“Food & Beverage”) which was opened by Canada’s original Top Chef winner Dale MacKay.
Here at F&B, Chef MacKay (who was born and raised in Saskatoon!) is creating “homegrown and globally inspired comfort food paired with properly hand-crafted cocktails.” Gotta love star chefs who stick around their hometowns to create something special.
Chef MacKay was actually behind two other popular local restaurants Ayden Kitchen and Sticks and Stones (which I really enjoyed during my 2018 visit to the city) but recently closed those with the intention of bringing something new to Saskatoon—F&B! The popular chicken wings from Ayden Kitchen have been brought over to F&B so locals can still get their fix and tourists like us could also enjoy this popular lemongrass, lime leaf and cilantro wings dish.
F&B opened in July 2023 in downtown Saskatoon. When we went on a Friday night in Oct 2023, the place was packed! It’s a long and narrow space, with sectioned off dining areas and the bar in the back. Like all of the servers we had in Saskatoon, our F&B server was super friendly and had great recommendations (she suggested I go for the South Saskatchewan pickerel special versus a main on the menu because ‘if there’s a special, I’m doing that!’ so, I did that!)
Nicole got their smash burger (love that ‘F&B Sauce!) and we also shared a ‘Pork Cheek & Jowl Roulade with wild chokecherry and dill aioli’ to start.
F&B tries to source everything local here, that’s generally the theme we noticed at many of the popular Saskatoon restaurants we visited—which makes sense. A ton of really great ingredients grow in Saskatoon, in the heart of the prairies!
Hearth (inside Remai Modern)
We had such a beautiful and delicious dinner at Hearth Restaurant located inside Saskatoon’s Remai Modern museum of modern and contemporary art. Seriously, loved everything!
- Spicy Perogie Pasta – potato and dill cappelletti with potato puree, chilli oil, sour cream, scallion, and bacon.
- Mushrooms – four types of wild & cultivated mushrooms with mornay sauce and ciabatta.
- Popcorn Fries – popcorn infused polenta fries, parmesan, honey.
- Trout – Harissa marinated grilled trout, chilled quinoa salad, cucumber, tomato, and herbs.
Hearth makes “unpretentious, delicious, prairie food.” It’s a super lovely restaurant inside a super lovely museum, perfect for a bite before or after you take in the super lovely art (which I write more about in the ‘explore’ section of this guide below!)
Hearth opened in 2018 and quickly made waves, being named one of Saskatoon’s and Canada’s best new restaurants. They moved into the museum in October 2022.
It is a busy, lively space, with big windows, lots of light and big art hanging (and artfully plated food!) And really the mushroom dish is a must-order for mushroom lovers!!! So good.
We loved our big breakfast at Hometown Diner in Saskatoon’s Riversdale district, a busy brunch spot where they serve all day breakfast/brunch/lunch, seven days a week in the city’s most eclectic and must-visit neighbourhoods.
- Salmon Eggs Benny (cured salmon, roasted asparagus, brie cheese, soft poached egg, and hollandaise)
- Ukrainian Brekkie (perogies, sausage, ham, caramelized onions, sauerkraut, sour cream, chili flakes, lemon zest, grana padano cheese and sunny side up egg).
- Very Berry Waffle (mixed berry compote, fresh berries, whipped cream with roasted almonds) for the table!
I also got a Hometown Daiquiri (with white rum, passionfruit, lemon and maple). Our fun server convinced me to make it a double, lol. Why not? We’re on vacation!
Each dish at Hometown Diner is made from scratch with the freshest ingredients from local suppliers. They also make donuts fresh daily here! We were too full for donuts but since the trip I’ve been thinking about the donuts we never tried, feeling lots of regret lol.
Don’t make my mistakes. Order the donuts too.
Location: 737 Broadway Ave. or 339 Avenue A S., Saskatoon, SK
With locations in both Broadway and Riversdale, Junior Cafe (a sister spot to the folks at Bar Stella) offers a great selection of hot and cold drinks, pastries, and breakfast items. We tried their Cinnamon Bun, Mushroom & Ricotta Toast and Egg Sandwich at the Broadway location before a morning of shopping in the district. It’s a cute little place with speedy service, nice drinks and food! The ‘Mushroom Toast’ was new to me (move over Avocado Toast!) and as a mushroom and cheese lover, I loved the mushroom and ricotta topping though I think it had a touch too much truffle honey drizzle (just ask for less honey when you order yours! Unless you love honey lol).
In the Broadway District of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, you’ll want to try Odla, a beautiful restaurant that’s Swedish for “to farm, cultivate, grow.” This is a “farm direct” restaurant which means ingredients fresh from a local farm (Farm One Forty) are harvested at the peak of their production and used in dishes served at the restaurant. Literally everything is made in house. ￼
It’s a beautiful partnership. There is a focus on seasonal, simple and delicious ingredients that help you reconnect with your food. We loved our brunch here!
Our meal at ODLA included:
- BBQ Hash – potatoes, poached eggs, hollandaise, candied jalapeños, pickles, with pulled pork (or you can get it with mushrooms)
- Breakfast Poutine – poached egg, hollandaise, bacon, smoked cheese curds, pickled onions, with your choice of pork or mushroom gravy
- Chips & Dip – house potato chips, jalapeño & smoked cheddar dip
- Beet Carpaccio – thinly sliced beets with crispy potato, crème fraîche, dill, and pickled carrot.
The Hash and Poutine are hefty dishes, great portions full of flavour (I can’t resist jalapenos in a dish and I liked the sweetness of the candied ones that come with the BBQ hash!). There’s no housemade chips I pass up on any menu and these were exactly what you want in a crispy housemade chip. The Beet Carpaccio was such a light and lovely surprise! Beef (with an f) Carpaccio is what you’ve more likely tried in restaurants (thin slices of rare beef) but I really loved this vegetable twist. The thinly sliced beet alone doesn’t do much but when you get a mouthful with potato, creme fraiche, dill and pickled carrot, wow! It’s like the perfect little bite.
We had an amazing server (I know I sound like a broken record but Saskatoon service is really nice) and we were also super intrigued with ODLA’s “Flight of Dessert” 🍰 menu option (four desserts!) which we almost ordered (we fully intended to at the start of the meal) but we were way too full to try it by the end of our meal, lol. Another not-ordering dessert regret like the Hometown Diner donuts—just ORDER IT!
This is a beautiful restaurant with awesome food and I just love the connection to the farm.
They have a market side where you can shop farm fresh eggs, pickled vegetables, sausages and other local items. I even unintentionally matched the colours of the restaurant!
And while you’re in Broadway, you’ve got to check it all the shops!! (more on that below)
POP Wine Bar
POP Wine Bar was the first food and drink stop on our Saskatoon trip and although it was really hard to choose a favourite place we tried during this trip because so many places and so many dishes were so good—POP Wine Bar really ‘popped’ (lol see what I did there) as a stand-out spot!
Another new-ish restaurant and wine bar, POP opened in March 2022 with a focus on offering natural wines you won’t be able to find anywhere else in Saskatoon.
It’s a “Natural Wine Bar in the Paris of the Prairies” (did you know Saskatoon has that nickname?! coined apparently by Canadian legend himself Gord Downie.)
What is natural wine? Natural wine is wine that is produced using more organic, ‘natural’ ‘unfiltered’ processes. The natural designation comes in the technique of production, it also typically contains less sulphites. You may have your Reds and Whites typically but POP Wine Bar throws Orange and Pink categories into the mix too!
My friend Nicole tried the Pink Delinquinte ‘Pretty Boy’ wine which was described to us as “what pink tastes like” (lol love that!) and I absolutely loved my Each Peach Pear Plum cocktail (try saying that 3x lol) which is made with Taylor Fladgate, plum wine, pear syrup, lemon, peach bitters and egg white. Our server gave us great drink recommendations!
POP Wine Bar also creates absolutely excellent charcuterie boards.
We decided to go with a Chef’s Choice board, which included:
- Haskap mustard
- Truffle manchego cheese
- Blue cheese
- Cornichon pickles
- Imperial cheddar cheese
Just the perfect combinations! We also got an excellent beef tartare which came with crispy chips that we added to our board too. A seriously simple yet memorable meal.
POP Wine Bar is a vibe. It’s really eclectic decor. We liken it to sort of a 1970s non-renovated basement with your parents kind of mismatched decor (think snowshoes and ski poles on one wall, fishing nets on another wall, sort of religious looking angel things on another wall lol), and the music that plays in the room is early 2000s. lol. Pretty weird. But cool? So it makes sense it’s located in Saskatoon’s eclectic neighbourhood—Riversdale.
We really loved our food and drink here and I’m excited to give away a $150 gift card to POP Wine Bar (more details on that below!) so you can experience it too.
Where to Explore in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Meewasin Valley Trails
These trails, which run over 105 km along both sides of the river, wind under bridges and through parks and natural areas. It’s also part of the largest urban conservation area Canada!
We loved the section of the trail that starts behind the Delta Hotels Downtown Saskatoon / near the Remai Modern and stretches towards the Victoria Park Pagoda. That was the walk we did one evening between our meals and it was really nice. There are big rocks along the river that are also painted (it felt like at one point it must have been a school art project?) and there’s lots of public art (more on that in literally moments below) that you’ll encounter on the trail too.
Saskatoon is home to a world famous modern and contemporary art museum, the Remai Modern (pronounced like ‘Do Re Mi’ in the famous song). The museum aims to be a welcoming and inclusive public gathering place, so much so that as of Oct 2022, admission is by donation only for the next 20 years (at least!), thanks to a generous donation by the museum’s namesake, entrepreneur and philanthropist Ellen Remai. Pretty amazing.
As a major collecting museum in Saskatchewan, the Remai Modern holds in trust more than 8,000 artworks!! There’s lots to love about this museum.
Here’s just a few exhibits we experienced at the Remai Modern:
- Nick Cave’s Spinner Forest – installed in 2022 – a huge installation made up of thousands of wind spinners that cascade from the ceiling to the staircase on Level 1 & 2 of the building (you can’t miss it!) From afar it’s meant to be meditative and mesmerizing, full of colour and movement. As you get closer, you’ll see shapes within the spinners like peace signs and guns—which are meant to be a commentary on gun violence in the U.S., particularly in the artist’s home city of Chicago.
- Pae White’s Lucky Charms – installed in 2014 – featuring 165 neon lights, transformers and eledtrical wire. Find this on the Level 2/3 Staircase and soak up the light-therapy! This is actually designed to offset Seasonal Affective Disorder, simulating the effects of daylight in the interior stairwell.
- Picasso Linocut Collection – did you know Remai Modern houses the most comprehensive collection of linocuts by Pablo Picasso? It shows prints, working states and experimental proofs that provide insight into the famous artist’s process. They were all produced in a 17-year period between 1951 and 1968.
- Meryl McMaster: bloodline – a stunning survey exhibition of large-scale photographic works that reflect Meryl McMaster’s mixed Plains Cree/Metis, Dutch and British ancestry.
- Kapwani Kiwanga: Remediation – This exhibit by Canadian-French artist Kapwani Kiwanga has a lot of different parts that uses installations, sculpture, performances and video/sound to explore relationships between historical narratives, systems of power, humanity and environment.
- Laura Prouvost: Oma-je – which include pieces like ‘This Means’ depicting a a maternal figure juggling a bit too much in life (“Her eight caressing tentacles are busy doing many things at once”), and ‘Ohmmm age Oma je ohomma mama’ , described as a ‘theatre of object relating to memory, imagination and inheritance’ and includes floating objects (including a variety of meaningful trash), along with a curtain experience meant to mimic birth through the womb (a little claustrophobic to get through lol).
- Arthur Price: Girl with Cat – This piece is located inside the Remai Modern gift shop and has a really cute backstory. The work, by Edmonton-born artist Arthur Price, was first displayed in Saskatoon in 1965 at the Mendel Art Gallery. When a 9-year-old girl named Caroline learned they were going to return the sculpture to the artist a few years later, she and her brother wrote a letter and enclosed their savings $1.19 asking the gallery to purchase piece so it could stay in Saskatoon. Students, orgs & residents then launched a fundraiser to raise $6,000 to buy and keep the piece in the city. “Girl with Cat is a testament to how an artwork can hold a special spot in the hearts of visitors and an entire community.” 🐱💛
Saskatoon is so full of public art, it would be hard not to run into one as you explore the city.
From all the public art pieces along the Meewasin Trail, to the many Instagrammable Walls (murals), to world-famous modern and contemporary art museums like the Remai Modern, Wanuskewin the only Indigenous-led and curated gallery in Saskatoon and more, there is no shortage of arts and culture to experience in the prairie city.
We came across so many murals and public art pieces just walking in the different neighbourhoods! I’ve included a few photos of those pieces below.
I’ve mentioned a few Indigenous arts and culture experiences in Saskatoon, and wanted to specifically call out Wanuskewin, the only Indigenous-led and curated art gallery and gift shop in Saskatoon AND National Heritage Site in Saskatoon that celebrates more than 6,000 years of Metis and Plans First Nations history on the land through its programs, exhibits, arts, and cuisine, along with 6 km of hiking trails.
Wanuskewin itself is a Heritage Park that sits above the Opimihaw Creek and the South Saskatchewan River near Saskatoon. It’s “a window into a part of Canada’s history that remains largely undiscovered, and a link to our past unlike any other National Historic Site in Canada” ‘Wanuskewin’ is Plains Cree for ‘seeking peace of mind.’ A sacred site and gathering place, also home to Canada’s longest-running archaeological dig.
There is also the Wanuskewin Gift Shop in Broadway district, which is home to collections of thoughtfully curated items from local and rural artisans of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. There are absolutely beautiful works here, and they have a gallery space in the back with a rotating feature artist. When we visited, the artist was Dakota Ray Hebert, who describes herself as an Actor, Writer, Joker and Wagon Burner. Her art was lovely but her write-ups for them, possibly even better (she really is a writer + joker lol). At the gift shop I picked up a new pair of earrings from Indi City, one of my favourite Indigenous / Alberta-based earring makers.
Where to Shop in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
As you’ve read through my food recommendations, you may haven noticed that you keep seeing the same neighbourhood names pop up. It makes sense that some of the best restaurants in the city are also located in some of the city’s best districts, including Broadway. This five block district is recognized as the birthplace of arts and culture in the City of Saskatoon, home to some of the trendiest restaurants, coolest specialty shops, and best entertainment venues.
While we were eating in Broadway, we were also shopping!
A few shops we visited that you could pop into include:
- Alt Haus Interior Design – super cool shop with fun decor, furniture, artwork, home goods, and accessories.
- The Better Good – A sustainably-focused shop selling organic and fair trade, up-cycled, recycled and renewable products with as many local producers as possible.
- Saskatchewan Craft Council – home to an art gallery and fine craft boutique shop with more handmade works from more than 100 juried craftspeople from Saskatchewan.
- Wanuskewin Gift Shop – I keep mentioning this Indigenous-focused art gallery and shop because you definitely need to go!!
And there are soooo many local restaurants in this neighbourhood even if you don’t pop into the ones we went to, you will certainly stumble into a good one along Broadway. Can’t go wrong!
Where Broadway I think feels new and charming, Riversdale feels more vintage and eclectic. Both are must-visits for the different vibes, stores and restaurants they offer. Riversdale is located steps from downtown, really not far from the South Saskatchewan River, and is full of history.
For more than 100 years, the 20th St. West area of Riversdale served as a commercial corridor in the city given its close proximity to CN railway lines. It’s really changed over the years—they started revitalization efforts back in 2009. It feels like a grittier, artsier (love the art posters that line the block) part of the city, chock full of unique shops and restaurants.
A few shops we visited that you could pop into include:
- Peryton Books – a cute used book store filled with plants and pops of green among the tall, brown bookcases. We picked up some children’s books in the back.
- Nefelibata Arts & Crafts – an eco-alternative arts and crafts supply store.
- Soul Paper – A paper, stationary and gift shop located inside a historic 1908 building. (I got cute sunflower earrings here from a local Vietnamese maker Tran’s Origami)
- Hardpressed Print Studio – an awesome Saskatchewan / Saskatoon-focused clothing and lifestyle brand where nearly all apparel is designed and printed on-site.
Obviously these two neighbourhoods are not the only places to shop in Saskatoon but they were the main areas we spent time in during our visit!
Where we stayed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Delta Hotels Saskatoon Downtown
Location: 405 20th St. E | Website
We loved our stay at the Delta Hotels Saskatoon Downtown. This is a really nice, centrally-located hotel that basically sits on the banks of the river. So there’s great river valley views, a pool with waterslides, plus a huge fitness centre (if you work out during your vacations lol). Although we stayed downtown and walked through downtown to get to Riversdale (and encounter some art and river valley trails), we didn’t get as much time to explore downtown proper so I do hope to do that on a return visit!!
Win a $150 Gift Card to POP Wine Bar!
I’ve got a $150 gift card to POP Wine Bar to give away to one of the readers of this blog guide!
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling me what of the things I’ve highlighted in this travel guide you would be most interested in experiencing when you visit Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. That’s it!
I’ll randomly select a winner from entries received by Nov 3, 2023. Please note: comments are moderated so if your comment doesn’t appear right away, that’s normal. I will email the winner based on the email you use to leave a comment.
So that’s my little travel guide to the little City of Saskatoon!
I just love that this city has everything you’d want in a big city—including seriously great restaurants—yet still retains its small town charm (the vibes!)
There’s lots to do, see and most importantly EAT in Saskatoon and hopefully you’ll pop into some of the spots I highlighted in this guide.
- Check out Discover Saskatoon’s Directory for Where to Eat
- Check out Discover Saskatoon’s Directory for Things to Do
- Copy Discover Saskatoon’s Suggested Itineraries
Thanks to Discover Saskatoon for partnering with me on this travel guide.
I can’t wait to get back to the city for more eats and exploration and I hope you enjoy your visit!
Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Discover Saskatoon. This does not impact opinions or views stated in this post. I love exploring + eating + recommending things to do. And I really love Saskatoon!
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