Red Deer: Experience Culinary Wonders

Set on the banks of the picturesque Red Deer River, Red Deer is Alberta’s third largest city and is perhaps best known as a stop halfway between the major centres of Calgary and Edmonton. But, treating it as just a stop along the way doesn’t do justice to this little gem of a city.

Red Deer at a Glance

  • Population 104,392
  • Median Family Income $99,110
  • Unemployment Rate 10.2%
  • Residential Vacancy Rate 6%
  • Life Stress 20.2%
  • Sense of Belonging 67%

Source: Government of Alberta

Red Deer has long had thriving arts, culture and food scenes, but never have they been as vibrant as they are today. Coming out of the pandemic, downtown Red Deer saw 50 new businesses open, including a number of new restaurants, cafes and bars. Much of the activity is centred on Ross Street, where an eclectic mix of establishments collectively brand themselves as “the patio district.” It has been a popular destination for locals and visitors alike for more than a decade, and received a jolt of adrenaline in 2022 when it became the first “entertainment district” in the province. New provincial regulations allow municipalities to create an area where alcohol can be consumed on public property. The City of Red Deer jumped on the idea, passed the necessary bylaws and happily closed a large section of Ross Street to traffic. Now, just beyond the edge of the existing private patios is a public area with benches, tables and a stage, making for a vibrant experience. The district also features a wealth of coffee shops and retail outlets.

Adding to the city’s vibrancy, the Downtown Business Association put on 152 events last year, including live music, farmers’ markets and artist fairs, that have made Red Deer a destination and not just a stop along the way.