14 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Saskatoon
Canada's fastest growing city, Saskatoon, is often referred to as the "Paris of the Prairies" for its beautiful brass-colored bridges. And it's catching up to the French capital with its rich historical and cultural offerings. With Saskatonians returning home from big cities, this Saskatchewan city has recently grown in population and popularity without sacrificing its charm. Street signs of the revitalized Riversdale neighborhood have little red hearts next to the names, cafes buzz with tourists and locals, and riverside paths offer scenic vistas of the skyline and quaint neighborhoods.
In this small city with a big-city feel, there are plenty of fun things to do. Admire Picasso's linocuts at the brand new Remai Modern Museum, sleep in a tipi at the Wanuskewin Heritage Park, learn the history of the Canadian West at the Western Development Museum, enjoy big bands at the annual Jazz Festival, or take in the perpetual blue skies in Canada's sunniest province. Find the best places to visit in this vibrant city with our list of the top things to do in Saskatoon.
See also: Where to Stay in Saskatoon
1. Remai Modern Museum
The Remai (pronounced REY-me) Modern Museum, overlooking the South Saskatchewan River, houses the largest collection of Pablo Picasso's linocuts, about 406 pieces in its permanent collection. The building, opened in October 2017, pays homage to Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style, similar to Fallingwater with its glass and wood stacked facade, and a subtle copper-colored grid encompassing it to moderate indoor temperature. The atrium features a long fireplace with the museum named etched in native languages and a large, permanent installation of hanging cubes crafted from venetian blinds by artist Haegue Yang.
In addition to Picasso's linocuts that take up some of the 11 gallery spaces, the museum also hosts the private art collection of Fred Mendel from the now shuttered Mendel Art Gallery. If you wish to tap into your inner Picasso, take advantage of the three-hour linocut workshop. The on-site Shift restaurant provides both indoor and outdoor seating and features culinary delights made with locally sourced ingredients.
Address: 102 Spadina Crescent E, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Official site: https://remaimodern.org/
2. Wanuskewin Heritage Park
A short drive up the river leads to the proposed UNESCO World Heritage site of Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a non-profit cultural and historical center aimed at providing a better understanding of the indigenous people who originally inhabited the region. Wanuskewin is a Cree term for "living together in harmony."
The grounds of the park contain the country's longest-running archaeological dig, where 6,000-year-old relics are discovered daily. Among the major archaeological finds is a 1,500-year-old "medicine wheel" used in the hunting of bison upon which the First Nations people depended.
Sculptures of a small herd of bison stand in front of the park's main building, which houses educational exhibits and galleries showcasing the work of indigenous artists. The center offers guided tours, lessons in hoop dancing, and workshops on tipi construction and traditional art. Visitors can walk the sacred grounds of the Wanuskewin Heritage Park and even sleep in a tipi overnight. In a few years, the park intends to introduce a small herd of bison for the first time in the modern age.
Address: RR 4 Penner Road, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
3. Western Development Museum
Saskatoon has grown into the thriving industrial center it is today because of its rich railway roots. In 1908, a railway line brought European immigrants to the Western prairies and soon changed the essence of the region. The Western Development Museum transports you back in time with a life-size replica of 1910 Boomtown, with buildings including a school, church, laundromat, and feed store, decorated with actual artifacts. Vintage streetcars, ancient tractors, and carriages line the sides of the road that begins at the railway station, with an actual train you can board.
The "Winning the Prairie Gamble" exhibit takes visitors through a progression of an immigrant family over the course of several years, from arrival through the Great Depression and beyond, using replicas of their living quarters and farmland. The museum also houses a section dedicated to the agricultural and scientific innovations that sprouted from Saskatchewan. If the Wild West got you inspired, step into the Boomtown Photo Studio for a black-and-white photograph of you dressed in early 20th-century garb.
Address: 2610 Lorne Ave, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Official site: http://wdm.ca/
4. Ukrainian Museum of Canada
The Ukrainian Museum of Canada, located in central Saskatoon, preserves and honors Ukrainian Canadians and their unique cultural traditions in the form of artwork, textiles, weavings, wood carvings, and beautiful pysanky (Easter eggs).
Founded in 1936 as a tribute to the 170,000 families that immigrated to Saskatchewan, this small museum with three galleries documents their arduous journey and the trials and tribulations they endured to succeed in a harsh new land. Ukrainians brought with them agricultural skills that helped develop Saskatchewan into the bread basket that it is today, cultivating 40 percent of arable land in the country.
Next to the historical exhibits is a gallery showcasing artwork by the local Ukrainian community. Take home a souvenir at the gift shop, which sells cookbooks, Easter eggs, embroidered linen, art, and music. If the visit left you craving Eastern European cuisine, stop by Baba's Homestyle Perogies, the only drive-through pierogi place in the world.
Address: 910 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
5. University of Saskatchewan
Located in the heart of Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan is the largest educational institute in the province, and the first with a college dedicated to Agricultural Sciences.
The Peter MacKinnon Building, designated a National Historic site, sits as the centerpiece, with its Collegiate Gothic-style architecture similar to buildings at Cambridge, Oxford, and American universities. The walkable campus has a sculpture garden, theater, and observatory. The observatory is open on Saturday nights for visitors to view the stars and planets through the telescope, free of charge. The observatory also features a small museum highlighting our solar system, the history of astronomy, and the intrigue of black holes.
Address: 105 Administration Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Official site: https://www.usask.ca/
6. Diefenbaker Canada Centre
The Diefenbaker Canada Centre (DCC), on the stately University of Saskatchewan campus, is a combined archive and museum devoted to the life and career of Canada's 13th Prime Minister, John G. Diefenbaker. The collection includes replicas of the Cabinet Chamber and Prime Minister's office in Ottawa during his tenure from 1957-1963. The archives contain the PM's personal and professional papers, photographs, and audio-visual material.
The center has traveling exhibitions related to his career interests, as well as educational programs on Canadian history, politics, science, and its role in the international community. Diefenbaker and his wife Olive are buried nearby.
Address: 101 Diefenbaker Pl, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
7. Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
Attracting more than 80,000 music fans a year, the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is the largest musical festival in Western Canada, officially kicking off summer in Saskatoon at the end of June. With the main stage set in the beautiful gardens of the iconic Delta Bessborough Hotel, and a free stage nearby at the Kiwanis Park overlooking the river, the festival brings in big-name bands during a 10-day outdoor extravaganza.
Whether you like jazz, blues, bluegrass, funk, pop, or world music, take your pick from various shows featuring both Canadian and international artists. Bring your friends, blankets, or folding chairs, and have a rocking time.
Address: 601 Spadina Crescent E, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Official site: https://www.saskjazz.com/
8. Saskatoon Farmers Market
Take a refreshing walk along the waterfront from downtown to the Riversdale neighborhood, which hosts the farmers market on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This year-round, indoor and outdoor market is the oldest and largest in the province and is the best place to experience all the nourishing food produced in the region.
Vendors sell fresh vegetables, fruit, spreads, specialty foods, and Pickerel fish caught in the rivers in Northern Saskatchewan. Local artisans showcase their work in temporary and permanent stalls. Don't miss a chance to taste the local favorite fruit known for its rich antioxidants - the Sea Buckthorn berry - at a stall selling everything from gelato to jams made from this super fruit.
Address: 414 Avenue B South Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Official site: https://www.saskatoonfarmersmarket.com/
9. Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo
The Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo started out as a small tree nursery a century ago. It grew to become a National Historic Site in 1990, boasting crafted gardens, restored heritage buildings, and Saskatchewan's only accredited zoo. This popular attraction has more than 90 species of birds and animals in settlements resembling their natural habitats, including capuchin monkeys, grey wolves, Chinese red pandas, and Madagascar ruffed lemurs.
In the winter, witness grizzlies, Mistaya and Koda, playing at the Kinsmen Bear exhibit. Families can enjoy the beautifully landscaped park and McDonald's Playground, a nature-themed recreation area for kids of all ages.
In the summer, you may see a cricket game or two being played in one of the fields, and locals barbecuing and celebrating special occasions. This volunteer-run park also provides educational programs for kids and adults, and seasonal events such as the annual Enchanted Forest Holiday Light Tour. Keep in mind that the park only charges admission April 1 through October 31, but it's free the rest of the year.
Address: 1903 Forestry Farm Park Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Official site: http://saskatoonzoosociety.ca/
10. Taste of Saskatchewan Festival
Saskatoon prides itself in having more restaurants per capita than anywhere in Canada. A walk through downtown reveals dozens of top-notch restaurants serving diverse, locally sourced cuisine. The winner of Top Chef Canada, Dale MacKay, opened three establishments in recent years. In mid-July, the Taste of Saskatchewan Festival brings together 30 of Saskatoon's finest restaurateurs to share their favorite dishes. The six-day festival takes place in Kiwanis Park and features the province's top musical performers to keep you entertained as you make your way through the stalls.
Location: On the west bank of the South Saskatchewan River
Official site: http://www.tasteofsaskatchewan.ca/
11. Meewasin Valley Trail
On both sides of the South Saskatchewan River, the Meewasin Valley Trail winds a scenic course under bridges and through city parks, past major tourist attractions and historic sites. The trail is popular among walkers and bikers year-round.
Around 20 kilometers of the Meewasin Trail is designated as part of The Great Trail, the world's largest network of trails. Summer offers fun with canoe rentals, picnics, fishing, and birdwatching. Winter brings opportunities to cross-country ski and skate at the Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink in Kiwanis Memorial Park, with free skate rentals.
12. Prairie Lily Riverboat Cruise
Take your loved one on a romantic cruise down the river on a Prairie Lily riverboat to admire the charming city. Enjoy views of the natural beauty of the Meewasin Valley; the gorgeous Delta Bessborough Hotel, dubbed as the "Castle on the River" for its distinctive fairy-tale turrets; and the brand-new glass-front Remai Modern Museum. On the other side, you'll pass sprawling homes with manicured lawns and a section of the river bank covered with painted rocks.
Prairie Lily offers hour-long guided sightseeing cruises Tuesday to Sunday at 2pm, 4pm, and 6:30pm (includes dinner) from Mother's Day Weekend to Canadian Thanksgiving. The boat is also available for corporate and special events.
Official site: https://www.theprairielily.com
13. Beaver Creek Conservation Area
If you are seeking a day hike near Saskatoon, look no further than the Beaver Creek Conservation Area, located 13 kilometers south of the city. Part of the Meewasin Valley park system, Beaver Creek is a protected nature reserve ideal for exploring the great outdoors. There are several easy hiking trails meandering through short grass prairie, offering sightings of deer, foxes, and other small mammals.
In the warmer months, you'll hear the songbirds chirping in trees and plenty of shorebirds and waterfowl exploring the creek valley. Some of the trails are turned into cross-country ski routes in the winter. The longest is the Orange Trail, a four-kilometer loop through grassland prairie fields along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River.
14. Persephone Theatre
Founded in 1974 by sisters Janet and Susan Wright, Persephone Theatre is a non-profit regional theatre company producing quality live entertainment. From classics to comedy, Persephone puts on six main-stage and three backstage productions each season, running from fall to spring.
Recently, the theater launched a pilot program to make performances accessible to everyone, including those with hearing and visual impairments. The company also performs Relaxed Performances for those with autism, epilepsy or Tourette's in which the doors remain open, house lights stay on, and the audience can move about freely to ensure that everyone enjoys the show.
Address: 100 Spadina Crescent E, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Official site: https://persephonetheatre.org/
Where to Stay in Saskatoon for Sightseeing
We recommend these great hotels in Saskatoon near downtown shops and attractions:
- The James Hotel: luxury boutique hotel, riverside setting, stylish decor, high-thread count bedding, marble bathrooms.
- Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel: mid-range pricing, river views, central location, indoor heated pool and whirlpool, skating rink nearby.
- Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Saskatoon Airport: affordable rates, 10 minutes to downtown, free hot breakfast, indoor pool and hot tub.
- Comfort Suites Saskatoon: budget-friendly rates, coffeemakers, pool and water slide, hot tub.
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