When you think about close-to-home day trips, vacations or experiences from Edmonton, you’re not going to get any closer than the City of Leduc, Alberta, which is located just 30 minutes south of the city, not far from the Edmonton International Airport. I joke that Leduc is basically like a south south Edmonton neighbourhood because it’s so close to get to. It’s like a very big, very vibrant neighbourhood bursting with things to do, places to eat, and arts and outdoor experiences to be had!
This summer, I invite you to drive on down to Leduc, Alberta (sometimes affectionately referred to as “LA” by locals, L for Leduc, A for Alberta), to explore and support the city’s many local shops.
I was invited to come down by the City of Leduc (this is a sponsored tourism post in partnership with the City) and had such a great day spending hours and hours in and around their Main Street (downtown) with my friend Sharman. We did all the “hard work” to help you plan where you should eat, shop, and play when you visit! In this *pretty* comprehensive travel guide I cover places to eat, shop, experience arts, and the outdoors in Leduc, Alberta!
Travel Guide: Lots to do in Lovely Leduc, Alberta – Where to Eat, Shop and Play
Where to Eat and Drink in Leduc, Alberta
For food and drink in Leduc, you’ve got some really great and diverse options!
Start your day at the Leduc Coffee Shop, located at 4728 50th Ave. (Main Street), where you should most definitely grab one of their famous cinnamon buns, ham and swiss cheese crossiantwich and drink of your choice—there’s many to choose from including drip coffee, chai tea lattes and London Fogs, lemonades or frozen hot chocolate, or some specialty drinks like raspberry mocha or aztec cinnamon cappuccinos. The Leduc Coffee Shop sells an assortment of sandwiches, salads, soups and a long list of sweets! The sweets are baked in-house from scratch daily, and nearly everything else is housemade too (except their breads). Interestingly, the coffee shop is also half of a gift shop, which I’ll talk more about in the next section (Where to Shop in Leduc, Alberta!)
Walk on over to Rural Routes Brewing, Leduc’s first and only craft brewery, which opened in November 2018 by husband and wife duo Chelsea and Braden Folk. Chelsea’s dad is a grain farmer in Leduc (their beers actually grew from his grain!) so that idea of coming back to “rural roots” and being in a rural community inspired the brewery’s name. Offering about a dozen beers ranging from IPAs to Ales and even Mexican Cervezas, you’ll fall in love with the beer as well as its bright and colourful can artwork, which is done by talented Edmonton designer Mike Lundy.
Rural Routes is normally open for dine-in and as Chelsea and Braden have a food and hospitality background, so unlike a lot of breweries, Rural Routes also focuses on really good food too. With the pandemic, they aren’t expecting to reopen for dine-in until later in September 2020, though they are doing takeaway of some popular menu items now. If you do try their food, you’ll find they very much try to support and source from local suppliers including Leduc’s Local Meats and Prestigio Bakery, and Edmonton’s The Silk Road Spice Merchant and Meuwly’s (to name just a few).
On Main Street, you’ll also want to pop into Korked U-Vin, one of Alberta’s very few “ferment-on-premise” U-Bottle stores. While this concept has been around in B.C. since the 80s, it was only legalized in Alberta back in 2018. The concept is a lot of fun! You pick the wine you want to make (they sell four, six, or eight-week kits), and you / the lovely staff at Korked U-Vin help you put your yeast in, wait the set amount of weeks, then come back to bottle, label, and take home! On our visit, the backroom was filled with giant water cooler size jugs of fermenting wine. We were told “U Brew” “U Vin” ends up being cheaper than buying wine per bottle. The wine also tastes better and is also better for you! Super fun.
For lunch, we drove to The Sushi Factory by Yozakura, Leduc’s only Japanese restaurant located at 5204 50 St., where you must order their Sashimi Tower (chopped raw tuna, salmon, or red tuna, with avocado salad, spicy sauce and tobiko). Although I’d hoped the tower would be taller, everything else about this dish is delicious. Fresh, flavourful fish, excellent sauce and beautiful presentation. You’ll find about 30 specialty rolls here, along with standard raw and cooked rolls and nigiri. There’s really a great selection! Sharman is celiac, and it was comforting how knowledgeable they were about which dishes were gluten-free and which weren’t (plus—gluten-free soya sauce!) If you like bento boxes, they do all-day bentos and also offer a variety of lunch boxes too. You’ll even find Japanese specialty items that are even hard to come by in Edmonton, like takoyaki (deep fried octopus balls), and okonomiyaki (a Japanese seafood pancake). I can’t wait to come back and try more dishes!
You’ll want to stop at Prestigio Bakery while in the city, located at 5210 50th Ave. Leduc’s only local bakery (there is COBS Bread local franchise as well but other than that, Prestigio is it!), Prestigio makes everything in-house. This European-style bakery is most known for their delicious, perfectly baked Portuguese custard tarts. These tarts are also known as Pasteis de Nata and have an utterly rich and creamy middle and a perfectly crispy and flakey outer layer crust with bruleed tops (lightly torched on top for caramelization). Buttery. Delicious!! They also make breads, donuts, cinnamon buns, scones, muffins, pies, sandwiches, and daily soups.
If you plan your visit to Leduc on a Thursday or Saturday, you’ll be able to hit up the Leduc Farmers Market between 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., located in the Leduc Recreation Centre parking lot. This farmers market has been around for over 40 years, with vendors selling everything from fresh meats and produce to crafts and jewelry. You can check their vendor list here but we’d recommend a fish pick-up at Catch of the Week. Sharman and I both picked up sashimi grade salmon (literally take home and it’s good to eat raw!) from this friendly vendor. He also sells insulated bags to keep your fish cool if you won’t be heading home right away during your visit. But you’ll find all sorts of flash frozen lake fish, salmon, shrimp, specialty, prepared seafood and fresh fish too.
For dinner, we sat out on the patio back on Main Street at arguably the most popular restaurant in Leduc—Habaneros Mexican Grill located at 5015 48A St. Habaneros is a family-owned restaurant offering authentic Mexican cuisine, locally sourced ingredients (Edmonton made corn tortillas and Alberta beef for example), and popular housemade gluten-free salsas (the Guasacaca is my FAVOURITE, a super creamy mix of parsley, cilantro, ajo, and lime!)
Habaneros is actually home to the Best Caesar in Northern Alberta! Their Jalapeno Caesar with local Nisku Rig Hand Jalapeno Basil vodka, fresh jalapeno, and bacon-wrapped jalapeno (on our visit it came with shrimp instead), plus top-secret glass rimmer, was awarded first place in Mott’s Clamatos 2019 Caesar competition!
They’ve got lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options (corn tacos are a gluten free, taco-lovin’ person’s dream). Order the carne asada beef nachos with corn totopos (chips), cheese, corn, black beans, tomatoes, green onions, jalapenos and your choice of their 10 housemade salsas. Try one of their numerous taco selections (I did Tacos de Cachete with seared and braised Alberta beef cheek, cabbage, onion, pico, cilantro and salsa verde). Or grab an enchilada, quesadilla, tostada or sizzling fajita skillet. Habaneros has a huge menu—with something for everyone!
And two other food spots we were in the vicinity of on Main Street but didn’t order from because we were only in Leduc for the day and there is only so much food one person can stuff themselves with (lol), was Basiles 2 for 1, which I’ve heard has excellent pizza, and Renery Mart and Chatter’s Cafe, an authentic Filipino restaurant (and small shop) located at 4904 50th Ave. The Filipino restaurant doesn’t have an online presence but I took a peek at their restaurant/cafe menu and there were a lot of authentic Filipino dishes you can try! Basiles 2 for 1 is also home to an Instagrammable Wall you *must* visit, which I share more about it later in the blog post!
This doesn’t even scratch the surface for food and drink in the City of Leduc, but it should give you a pretty good place to start on your visit(s). We really only spent time on the east side of Main Street, there’s a lot more street (lol it’s actually an Avenue though) where that came from! I’m assuming you’ll be doing multiple visits to try all the food spots as I will be doing because there’s more restaurants I’d love to have had time (and stomach space lol) to try!
Where to Shop in Leduc, Alberta
When I posted about my visit to Leduc on Facebook, someone commented that the city is such a vibrant shopping district. He really put it perfectly! Particularly in Main Street Leduc, along 50th Ave., you’ll find shop after shop after shop after shop after… well, you get the idea.
This is why you’ll probably need more than just a day for your visit to Leduc. In between food AND shopping AND arts AND outdoor experiences, there are going to be many reasons to keep you coming back (and how easy that will be, since it’s just 30 minutes from Edmonton!)
I’m pleased to share that during my visit to Leduc, I picked up the most STUNNING vintage dress from Bee & Key Consignment Boutique located at 4809A 50th Ave. It’s a Sandy Gray dress from the 1960s and my sharp-eyed thrifting professional friend Sharman was actually the one who found it while we were browsing Bee & Key. It is simply PERFECT. What a find. I love buying (at least one) clothes from different small towns or cities I visit because whenever I wear them, I remember the trip when I bought them. This will always be my Leduc dress.
If you’re looking for some home decor and interior inspiration, you’ll need to step into the It’s a Crock Country Store located at 4711 50th Ave. This home decor store has all sorts of lovely pieces for your home and just *feels* cozy. What’s also really cool about It’s a Crock Country Store is they offer free decorating services! Just bring them a photo of your space, our preferred look and feel via magazine cuttings or Pinterest boards and you’ll get a design consult with one of their decorators and ideas for picking existing pieces carried by the store for your home decor / reno!
As mentioned in the food section, the Leduc Coffee Shop is extra interesting because it’s also home to a wonderful toy and gift shop—Magpies Collection, carrying handmade, local, and unique products from Canadian makers and designers. Magpies Collection is owned by the same family who run the coffee shop (in fact the “dad” who served us was also the one who rang our gift purchase through the till, just popping back and forth between the two areas of the building). From prints to door mats (I was delighted and surprised with the number of FRIENDS themed gifts they had, actually lol), and even locally-made soaps! I picked up an Alberta Wild Rose Soap by Edmonton soap maker Bath Candy, and she had also done a series for the Leduc Coffee Shop featuring coffee shop grounds! So fun.
New to Leduc as of July 2020 is Jar’d Mercantile, located at 4911 50th Ave. This is a store with a really neat new (old) concept. Like mercantile stores of yesteryears, Jar’d Mercantile sources local, quality products with a focus on sustainability and low waste. Owner Katherine Dogterom recalls how scary it was to go to a dump and see just how many things get thrown out—things that don’t need to be. Things that can be reused. “We need a little more sustainability in our world,” she told us during our visit. So many things like soaps, shampoos, lotions, cleaning products, even teas and coffees, can be refilled using the same bottles so that’s sort of what the “Jar’d” name speaks to. You’re welcome (encouraged!) to bring your own jars and bottles so you can fill up in bulk. Eventually Jar’d Mercantile will also sell bulk foods.
Finally (but not *finally*—there’s a lot of stores we didn’t get to visit so this is just the last one I’ll mention from my experience but please know there are many, many other shops you could check out in Main Street and beyond in Leduc!!), we headed over to Dis & Dat, a cute little thrift shop located inside a historic 1912 house at 5006 49 Ave. Dis & Dat has, well, a little bit of “dis” and a little bit of “dat” (lol so cute).
Dis & Dat describes it self as “The thrifty little store” and well, that’s a perfect description. It’s pretty small. Although the house is a two-storey (from back in 1912? Those original owners must have been well-off!!), the second floor is only used for storage so your browse of Dis & Dat may be pretty quick, though the owner Noel is *so* friendly and happy to chat, you can also let him know if there are particular items you’re looking for, whether he’s got them in stock, or if he can keep an eye out for them on his searches. Kitchen knick knacks, glassware, home decor, jewelry, Dis & Dat really stocks anything. It’s a cute little creaky (the floors creak lol) stop to make!
Where to Experience Arts in Leduc, Alberta
Leduc, we learned, is big on its arts! Let’s start with some of the Instagrammable Walls you’ll need to check out during your visit to Main Street. The first: stunning angel wings located in the parking lot at 4708 50th Ave., created by the Leduc Art Club. One can never have too many wing wall photos, and honestly wings are something I am always keeping a lookout for in particular on my search for Instagrammable Walls of cities. Try to head here in the morning before any cars park so you can get a full view of both wing spans (though I think my friend Sharman did a good and artsy job with the focus on just one side of the wing in this photo of me).
Leduc is also home to the ONLY pizza-themed Instagrammable angel wings wall I’ve ever encountered. It’s certainly the only pizza wings you’ll find in Alberta!! And it is located at Basiles 2 for 1 Pizza (make sense lol) at 4707 49 Ave., created by Alberta artist Michelle Schwengler. This would be a perfect backdrop while you actually hold a pizza so I’m hoping to bring Mike back so we can try the ‘za and snap some more photos. I immediately thought of Mike (my pizza-obsessed husband) when we found this amazing wall.
In the alley behind the Black Gold Gallery & Frame Inc., located at 4724 50th Ave., there are two little Instagrammable Walls we found were quite nice—a colourful butterfly and floral scene and a red heart! You could also pop inside the gallery itself of course, for even more arts.
Also on Main Street, and if you’re interested in arts, you must visit Under The Sun Stained Glass & Glass Art Studio, located at 4915 50th Ave. This would be a great place for just shopping as well but I felt it fit more in this arts section. Under the Sun opened in September 2019 by owner and artist Chandell Popik, who has worked in glass art for 40 years. Opening her own art studio was always her dream. She tells us this is the first of its kind glass art studio in Canada, used as an art shop but also as an education space. Chandell offers accredited and non-accredited stained glass, glass blowing and other glass art education. There are some stunning, colourful works in this studio, and so fun to see artists using the space to create. I asked Chandell how she got into glass art and she said her grandmother had a stained glass room on their farm, so she’s been in the “glassy world” since she was 8 years old, spending time with her grandmother on the farm. It’s always so interesting to learn how people got into the things they got into.
While you’re walking along Main Street, you may notice some giant, interactive musical instrument art lining the street! There are just under a dozen of these drum sets, beat boxes, sound tubes, and stand-up xylophones, making Leduc the only community in Canada that has these type of musical instruments in their downtown—usually they’re installed in parks and playgrounds. We were told that Leduc is very invested in the arts and this permanent addition (they are very weatherproof) by the Downtown Business Association, speaks to that. Sharman and I had a lot of fun playing around with the giant instruments (hand sanitize before and after use—particularly during pandemic times!) and I think they are so fun and unique to the city. Leduc’s exciting arts scene is always changing and evolving, and this September 2020, the Leduc Arts Foundry will be opening in their new space inside the Leduc Recreation Centre. I can’t wait to visit this new creative space they’ll use to display and sell different works of art!
Where to Explore the Outdoors in Leduc, Alberta
If you want to reconnect with nature in Leduc, you’ve got a few different parks and outdoor spaces to choose from. The most popular outdoor area, and only true lake in Leduc, is Telford Lake. Telford Lake (and the adjacent William F. Lede Park) is a popular spot for boating, kayaking (only non-motorized water activity really), and bird watching. Dragon boat competitions are held on the water and there’s always a group of pelicans hanging out (when it’s not winter). The Telford Lake Boardwalk is part of Leduc’s Multiway Trail System, which features about 70 km of multi-use pathways interconnected and usable year-round, all across the city. The Telford Lake Trail alone is about 8 km (looped), home to wetlands, meadows, grasslands, and wildlife corridors, and more. A really nice day outdoors could include walking or biking this trail (or all of Leduc’s Multiway Trail System!) or you could bring your canoe or kayak and head out on the water.
Telford Lake is on the east side of Leduc, but if you’re on the west end, you could stop by Fred Johns Park, featuring 35 acres of scenic land, playgrounds, ball diamonds, picnic areas, year-round fishing via the Leduc Reservoir (so not actually a lake, but does look and feel like one), and something I’d never heard of or tried before until our visit—disc golf! Leduc is home to a competitive level Disc Golf Course. It’s basically golf, but with frisbees!
Not far from Telford Lake, you can check out the popular Leduc Stone Barn Garden & Cultural Village. This is a popular spot for weddings (I’ve actually been to a wedding at the Stone Barn), and is home to the original farmhouse, a milking shed, fully landscaped gardens and the historic Stone Barn (frame), representing the original dairy barn that stood on the same site. It’s *very* Instagrammable and a very lush, green space to visit during the summertime.
Finally, on the south side of Leduc in the Meadview community, you’ll find a Dinosaur Playground! This unique, dinosaur-themed playground, was inspired by the discovery of a Hadrosaur fossil in the Meadowview community of Leduc back in 2013. Hadrosaurs lived about 68 million years ago and were as big as a yellow school bus. The actual fossil is currently at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, but its discovery inspired this dino-themed playground which includes towering dinosaur tree slides, dino skeleton structures and bouncing dinosaur eggs. It would be a fun visit for the family for sure.
SO… there is my Ultimate Travel Guide for Lots of Things To Do In Leduc, Alberta!!
As with all my travel guides, of course I haven’t been able to see and do every possible thing in this lovely city south of Edmonton, but I think my friend Sharman and I covered a lot of ground (particularly in the Main Street area), and I know there’s something in here that anyone looking for a close-to-home day trip will be interested in trying themselves!
If you live in Leduc, maybe it’s time for you to pop out and be a tourist in your own city too. I know particularly during the pandemic, local businesses now more than ever could use your support. That’s really one of the reasons I partnered with the City of Leduc—to highlight some of the great local shops and restaurants you could consider visiting right now. I know I’ll be back many more times to try many more things! If you have a favourite spot to visit in Leduc that I haven’t mentioned, let me know! If I’ve mentioned a spot you love, let me know that too!
Thank you to the City of Leduc for inviting me to come experience your wonderful city. I loved how close it was to Edmonton to begin with, and now I love just how many great shops, arts, food and other businesses and experiences Leduc has to offer.
Disclaimer: This blog post is part of a sponsored tourism partnership with the City of Leduc. This does not impact opinions stated in this post. I’m always eager to explore Alberta and support local businesses and Leduc was a perfect place to do that. I had a wonderful time exploring and I can’t wait to come back very soon.