Moose Jaw Saskatchewan has become one of my favourite short weekend getaways.Before I visited the small prairie city last year, I paid little attention to it. However I’ve since made two more trips specifically to spend more time enjoying its obscure and whimsical aspects.
This time ’round, my hubs Chris and I were doing our best not to do too much. I am the kind of person who likes to fill my days while Chris prefers taking it easy. So this 48 hours in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan has a blend of relaxing and doing. This post is meant to inspire you to try something different the next time you’re in town.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON – DAY 1
Take an afternoon nap at Temple Gardens
It’s been a two hour drive, so spread out and melt into the king size bed after the trip. Once rested, change into your pool gear and head for a soak and tan in the top-floor mineral spa.
Temple Gardens is a three star hotel that’s connected to the Moose Jaw Casino. If the $200 per night price tag is too much, stay elsewhere and pay admission to swim.
Pro Tip: Adult night takes place every Friday and Saturday from 9 to midnight.
Do some day drinking over at Rosie’s on River Street
Tchotchkes abound in this hole-in-the-wall pub. With an array of items like 8-tracks, cards, plaster heads, and more stuck to the walls, you’ll discover something new on display every time you visit. Choose a nostalgic song from the jukebox while you sip their sangria for a berry thirst-quenching taste.
Crescent Park is located across the street from Temple Gardens, so you can roll on over when the mood strikes.
At approximately twenty-eight acres, the city park has a lot to offer year-round. With tons of trees, a stream, manicured gardens, lawn bowling, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis courts, and a playground – there’s a lot to do and see.
Pro tip: Remember to bring your mosquito repellent.
FRIDAY EVENING – DAY 1
Hit up the cocktail lounge that’s for mature adults only
Once you’ve seen all there is to see at Crescent Park, head over to Manitoba Street. Serving the 24+ crowd, Cask 82 is located in the renovated basement of a sports bar.
Try the selection of craft beer and two of their appetizers: Vegas Fries and Italian Ribs. The former is an elevated buffalo blue cheese concoction and the latter is dry ribs smothered in a creamy Italian dressing. We were lucky to enjoy some live music while getting our late-night munchies fix.
Every Saturday morning throughout the summer, you’ll find local producers selling their goods on Langdon Crescent which is kitty-corner to Crescent Park. We picked up fresh roasted coffee and cherry-almond scones from Chrysalis, Apple Pie Moonshine from Smooth 42 Craft Distillery and a bottle of rhubarb syrup.
Funny story: The Casino’s roving street team asked us to draw a Queen of Diamonds for a chance to win $100 cash. As luck would have it, my husband Chris drew the right card. We’re not gamblers, but Moose Jaw is known for its first-class gaming and entertainment.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON – DAY 2
Stop for a late lunch at Yvette Moore Gallery and Cafe
This stop makes it onto my list for nearly every weekend trip to Moose Jaw. Their fresh sandwiches, soups, and salads are reason enough to add them to regular rotation. Plus, tons of local art and crafts in their gallery on your way in and out.
Experience your choice of unique entertainment attractions and city culture
Moose Jaw Saskatchewan is known for its historic ties to Chicago. I’ve discussed several cultural events and tourist centres tied to this theme in past posts. This time around, we spent time at the Hometown Fair on the exhibition grounds.
If you want something different to do, plan to check out the Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre.
SATURDAY EVENING – DAY 2
Pretend you’re in the old country at Bobby’s Place
You definitely shouldn’t judge this spot by its exterior. Step inside this “old world” tavern and you’ll find stained glass windows, dart boards, church pew benches, and red brick walls which makes this spot a unique place to visit on the prairies. I ordered Yorkshire pudding for dinner and got a ginormous portion with mashed potatoes and roast beef.
Hear about local murders and hauntings on the Trolley Ghost Tour
We stopped for a selfie by Mac The Moose beforeboarding the sold out nighttime trolley (book your tickets in advance). Surprisingly, the small city has plenty of passionate killings and mysterious disappearances in its history books. Some stories were graphic and vivid, so it may be best to leave the little ones at home. The guide couldn’t point out every location because people are still living in the haunted homes.
SUNDAY MORNING – DAY 3
Brunch at any one of the local cafes in town
But only after you’ve went for one last dip in the mineral spa.
Use Pokemon GO! to learn the background of the Moose Jaw Murals
The app’s interface has much more information about each mural than the map and guide brochure you’ll find around town.
We stumbled on this gem while looking for a kettle sour craft beer and ended up sampling at least five different flavours of mead.
Taste your way through the array of products. The owner started as a U-Pick near Moose Jaw and evolved into Saskatchewan’s first craft meadery. The sweet nectar is a blend of fermented honey and Canadian fruits.
My favourite flavour: Huckleberry
Moose Jaw Saskatchewan is close enough to escape to for a quick weekend trip, yet far enough to satisfy your travel bug. We wanted a balance of relaxing and doing because Chris wants to do less and I want to do more.In between the ideas listed here, we spent most of our spare time in the mineral spa. There’s always something new happening, so it’s worth more than one visit.
Which spots do you recommend in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan?
In Saskatchewan, winter brings months of snow, cold, and dreary skies. You can pack your bags and deplete your savings account for a trip to Mexico, sit around the house waiting for the weather to warm up, or make the most of it with these winter road trips from Saskatoon!
I’m giving you a couple of options to help you plan a few memorable winter road trips from Saskatoon: Moose Jaw and Waskesiu. They aren’t too far from home, but just far enough that you’ll feel like you actually got away from it all.
Did you know that Do Sask began back in January 2017 with the sole purpose to improve my outlook on living in Saskatchewan? Now that it’s December, I can honestly say that choosing to spend more time thinking positively about my home province has led to some great adventures here. Read about two of my favourite ones in this post about winter road trips from Saskatoon.
But first, what’s the number one thing to do before you take winter road trips from Saskatoon?
Check the weather. It’s going to be your biggest consideration before taking off on a spontaneous winter getaway.
Icy roads can be dangerous to maneuver if you don’t have a whip with 4 by 4 – especially when you drive a coupe like me. So before planning a trip make sure you check the highway road conditions and the weather in your destination. It’s probably worth getting a tune-up and topping up the air in your tires, too.
Winter Road Trip 1: Moose Jaw is for lovers of everything Great Gatsby
Head south for the magnificent 1920s murals, underground tunnels of time, and luxurious mineral waters. Moose Jaw is a nice choice for a weekend road trip. And it’s totally walk-able!
My mom and I surprised my grandma for her 80th birthday with a one-night stay at Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa this September. According to their website, it’s “one of the world’s top 10 spas for mineral springs”. We packed our overnight bags and checked out the city for a day.
Either we planned the trip on the perfect weekend, or Moose Jaw’s tourism industry is on point because it was an action-packed 24 hours. We left at around 9:00 AM from Saskatoon and arrived in Moose Jaw just before our lunch reservation.
Lunch at Yvette Moore Gallery
We had the most delicious meal of our trip at their Gallery Café. Grandma and I both ordered the chicken salad sandwich with no regrets.
The old-school façade of this gallery compliments the artwork with its copper fittings. You could spend hours looking at all the pretty things on display. The local arts and crafts selection is one of a kind. I found a cute teal and gold glass pumpkin and some Barefoot Venus hand cream.
Afternoon at Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village & Museum
(This spot isn’t open in the winter, but it’s worth checking out. You can swap it for a trip to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw which a wrote about here.)
Sukanen Ship’s Threshing Bee weekend was the perfect time to go. The vintage farm equipment was running, there were old-fashioned lemonade stands, and many souped-up hot rods on display. My mom, grandma, and I couldn’t believe what we had found! It was like we were right back in the 1920s. Grandma said the thresher looked like the same one from her childhood on the farm in Quebec.
Dinner at Hopkins Dining Parlour
For grandma’s birthday dinner, we met up with one of my mom’s old friends at Hopkins. The restaurant that used to be a very large house is rumoured to be haunted, but I felt comfortable and ghost-free. I ordered the ribs and chicken. Grandma even got a complimentary slice of cheesecake for her birthday, so everyone was happy.
Relax in the Pool
During the wintertime, Temple Gardens mineral springs is as close to beach resort relaxation as you’ll get in Saskatchewan. It has an indoor/outdoor heated pool all year round that draws water from an ancient underground seabed. Soak in the healing waters outdoors during a snowfall if you want!
Grandma and I woke up early Sunday to try the pool yoga. It was fun to try a new activity before driving back home to Saskatoon.
Next up, my partner’s surprise birthdaywinter road trip to Waskesiu.
Winter Road Trip 2: Disconnect from the noise of everyday life at Elk Ridge Resort
The rooms at this golfing resort are comparable in price to an average hotel room because winter is their off season. Plus, with fewer guests the quiet was an added bonus.
My partner Chris is usually pretty easy to please when it comes to gifts. He isn’t big on crowds and commotion. And spending a lot of money on material things doesn’t really do it for him either. So when time was running out to get him a birthday gift this year, Elk Ridge Resort helped me knock it out of the park.
We left Saskatoon at around 9:00 AM Saturday morning and arrived in time for lunch at the hotel. I chose the chicken salad sandwich (again) and Chris had the Elk Burger with fries. Afterwards, we put on our snow pants and tried some of the free winter activities on the resort.
Get outside to make snow fun again!
No one likes to be stuck inside for 6 months a year just because there’s a little white stuff on the ground. You won’t be bored with options like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, curling, tobogganing, and snowmobiling. Elk Ridge also has an indoor pool with a water slide and hot tub, but we kept fairly busy exploring the outdoors.
Chris and I walked for over 5 kilometers in snowshoes, so we were ready for something to eat (and my hips were sore!). I remembered my friend Elle had mentioned how amazing the nachos at Walleye’s Pub were when she went this summer, so I had to get an order for Chris and I to share.
Eat nachos and drink beer at Walleye’s Pub
The server let us know that the nachos with added chicken would be enough for a meal. As you can see in the picture, they are layered with cheese and meat.
Walleye’s definitely didn’t go chintzy like most pubs these days. (They even added free guac!) You can get a pitcher of Coors Banquet and a mound of the good stuff for under $40.
Brunch like a boss
Chicken and waffles, anyone? How Elk Ridge knew to put my favourite meal ever on the menu, I’ll never know.
This version has bacon jam in-between a stack of two waffles. It’s the best brunch I’ve had in ions. Chris wanted to swap me his omelette. I declined, but let him have one of the two waffles instead.
Give the tobogganing hill your top priority
We rounded out our stay with a trip to the tobogganing hill and regretted not spending more of our time there. I had so much fun that I forgot to take a picture!
At the top of the hill, they had inner tubes ready to go and a warm-up shack complete with a nice wood stove. Flying down the hill and trying to avoid the snow ramp was both terrifying and hilarious at the same time.
I can’t express in words how much I want to do it again tomorrow, but I’ll have to wait until we can go back again…
Sign up to the newsletterto get updates when there are new date ideas and events happening in Saskatoon. I wish you the warmest holiday and a safe & happy New Year full of many great experiences in our province and beyond!
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How an Ontarian and a Sasky discovered the land of the living skies for a memorable and affordable Canada 150 summer vacation.
I am a professional copywriter by day, and match-making, craft-making, community-building gal by night. That doesn’t leave much room for anything but work! So after an intense spring glued to either my keyboard or client meetings my husband, Chris, somehow managed to pull me away from my laptop for an entire week.
We researched the National Parks in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary (particularly Quebec and Alberta), but decided to save some cash and get to know the province we now call home, Saskatchewan. I grew up here, but I didn’t do too much travelling as a kid. Chris is a native Bramptonian (Ontario) and he’s had very little experience in the great outdoors.
So while I was holed up at my desk writing, Chris took the lead on planning our Southeastern Saskatchewan Road Trip. I can’t take credit for planning this route. It was so nice not to have to worry about making a plan this time around. Most of these places I had never visited before, so it was truly a new experience for both of us!
*This post is a bit more personal than most. And I’m not the greatest photographer, but I hope you get inspired to explore your own backyard.
Great Southeastern Saskatchewan Summer Road Trip Itinerary
We started our holiday with a visit to my dad’s place in the village of Meota. It was likely one of the last times we’ll get to spend with him there since he’s moving away to Mexico in the fall. My step mom bought some fresh baked goods from the church bake sale that morning, so we were treated to “Raspberry Delight” with our dinner.
The town had invested over five thousand dollars in fireworks to celebrate Canada 150, so we were in for show on the night of July 1. Volunteers set up giant Jenga and Kerplunk lawn games to pass the time before the sky lit up (DIY lawn games!). We ordered ice cream from the shop, drank cheap beer from the can, and danced to Shania Twain and “Despasito”.
I’ve never seen the village busier than it was that night. We felt like proud Canadians at the start of our vacation.
The Crooked Bush
It’s cool to see and hard to understand up close.
There’s nothing else to do after you walk through the short path.
Take a virtual tour through the eerie aspen trees near Hafford, Saskatchewan.
Did you know that Saskatchewan is home to a natural phenomenon? The Crooked Bush is unexplained, but I think the twists and turns of the aspen trees have something to do with the Earth’s moving magnetic field. This spot is best enjoyed as a pit stop as part of a larger trip, so pack a picnic and hit up one of the lakes nearby (e.g. Jackfish Lake, Blaine Lake, Meeting Lake, Redberry Lake, etc.)
Also, don’t miss St. Mary’s Anglican Church on a gravel road nearby… it’s an abandoned sanctuary and graveyard that looks like everyone picked up and left it. Bibles, stained glass, and a trunk of… who knows what. Saskatchewan definitely has its fair share of creepy locales to visit on a summer road trip.
Horse-hair dancefloor and live music at Danceland
Floating at Manitou Springs Resort
A 1950s vibe including drive-in theatre
Everything is for sale
No change rooms at the beach
The mineral-rich water is a weird shade of brown. Like ocean water, it will burn every part of you… Every. Part.
We went to Danceland to experience one of Canada’s only remaining horse-hair dance floors for Toonie Tuesday.
Every Tuesday throughout the summer spend a toonie to listen to live music and perhaps take a whirl around the dance floor. This nostalgic dance hall will make you feel like you’re back in the 1950s for the night. They have a concession and bar if you need to wet your whistle at some point during the dance.
Note: Danceland would make a perfect wedding venue for a rustic, or vintage bride.
What else is there to do at Manitou Beach? While we were there we enjoyed floating in the healing waters of Lake Manitou, got pampered at Manitou Springs Resort, enjoyed a few beers on the patio, and had a wonderful buffet breakfast.
The village is also home to one of only 4 drive-in theatres left in the province and they have showings every Thursday through Sunday.
Most of the town is FOR SALE which may be due to a bad string of flooding that has happened in recent years.
It’s worth a day trip. If you really need to relax stay for two.
At the Fort Qu’Appelle museum, volunteer and long-time resident, Hummer, gave us a walking tour through all of the artifacts that history left behind. We loved his wit as he explained the history of the Sanatorium where TB patients were treated, the artists who called Qu’Appelle Valley home, and the wealthy families that used to fly private jets around the region. You won’t find this kind of appeal in a larger museum, so get down for a visit and hear the oral history from Hummer.
We asked Hummer for some tips on things to do in the area and he didn’t disappoint:
✔Dinner and drinks on the patio at Katepwa Hotel, overlooking the lake and valley.
Sun, sand, and a nice swimming beach – Katepwa Beach was an unexpected highlight of the trip! I finally put my giant inflatable flamingo to use. Chris got ice cream and I got a lemon-lime screamer after a hot day in the sun.
✔Devouring a fresh (and frugal) breakfast of ham and eggs on a bun from the Valley Bake & Coffee Shop. They have ginormous cinnamon buns that looked delicious, too.
At Echo Valley Provincial Park, we took the longest hike we could through the trees and plains. At one point, we heard a large rattling and thought it could be a snake, but after closer inspection we found it was just a pair of dragonflies going at it.
After the trek, Chris and I picked close to 20 ticks out of our shoes. Thank goodness we didn’t find them anywhere else. (That’s not exactly a highlight, but it should be noted.)
BONUS: The incredible Lebret Catholic church looks like it was dropped in the middle of nowhere at the end of main street in the small village. Nearby, there are several antique shops for window shopping. Plus, the view is amazing if you head toward Fort San.
Who doesn’t have fun at a waterslide park?
The eats are cheap n’ greasy
Dated bathrooms, pools, and pumps
Hungry, hungry horseflies
Our next destination was the Kenosee Superslides – the anticipated highlight of our Saskatchewan summer road trip. However once we arrived they took a bit of getting used to. The women’s bathroom was my first impression of the place. It was a bit off-putting when the doors on the stalls wouldn’t latch and floor was ultra-slippery. These are issues that could be improved with regular maintenance and a little TLC.
We started and ended our Superslides visit in the lazy river. The jets have a limited pushing power, so you’re moving at a snail’s pace. Although it’s a nice little break from the waterslides. Speaking of the slides there are seven in total, but only three are really fun to ride. We found that out through testing all of them (except the kids’ slides). Chris bounced so hard out of one that he knocked his head on the side. He’s fine, but we learned not to go down that one again. Stick to the middle three and you’ll have a great time. The rest are kind of scary and should be used at your own risk!
Adrenaline junkies or a kid with lots of energy will find the Kenosee Superslides worth the trip. If you prefer an easier time, then it’s probably best to stick to the lake.
Pro Tip: At the top of the hill while you’re waiting to slide horseflies will circle you and bite. Use your float tube to whack them away. Don’t have a tube? Move around and swing your arms.
BONUS: The food is incredibly cheap – they definitely don’t rob you on eats.
Ramada Hotel is on point
We spent the night with my grandma Mary-Lynn and distant relatives at the All-You-Can-Eat KFC that Premier Brad Wall prevented from closing. Since I hadn’t seen her in years she invited aunts and cousins that I had no idea existed.
It was interesting to learn about the history of my last name “Rederburg” and hear about the family quirks. That night we were shown the grave of my grandfather Cliff who passed away from a stroke in 2013. The next morning we stopped by to visit Mary-Lynn’s home. She is 91 years old, but keeps up her garden better than we do.
We also made a detour to see the gravesites of my great-great-great grandfather Swen and great-great-great grandmother Mary in Midale. (Our last name Rederburg was made up after a German general in the Swedish army in order to solve a problem with mail delivery when Swen Olson came over to the States in the 1800s. But that’s a story for another time.)
The Ramada Hotel in Weyburn was the best room we had on our entire trip, but one we spent the least amount of time at. It has super high ceilings and a luxurious feel.
BONUS: On the way to Moose Jaw from Weyburn, you’ll pass the town of Rouleau A.K.A. Dog River where they filmed “Corner Gas”. The gas station and diner was designed for the show and has since been removed, but you can tour around the rest of the town to see all of the filming locations.
Grain elevators and flat land are a quintessential part of a Saskatchewan summer road trip, but this was one of the few places we found one on our route.
Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa
Tunnels of Moose Jaw
Great Gatsby vibe
Not nearly as floaty as Manitou
We should have stayed for two nights
Between 1920s gangster folklore, relaxation at the spa, and an energetic street fair Moose Jaw was my favourite stop of the trip!
When we arrived in town we noticed that Main Street was closed for a street fair. So we checked into the Spa and made a bee-line to check out what was happening. For a city with a fairly small population, Moose Jaw is overflowing with energy. At the fair there was live music, free bounce castles for kids, and plenty of shops with unique gift items. At the end of the street we enjoyed sangrias on the patio at Original Joe’s before heading to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw’s “Chicago Connection”.
The Chicago Connection tells the story of Al Capone in the times of prohibition, when he allegedly made Moose Jaw one of his hideouts. During the tour both Chris and I were chosen to play roles. I was a gal named “Gidget” in charge of the hush money and Chris was one of two muscle on the road to bootlegging. I’m not sure if there’s any truth to the story itself, but it’s entertaining to think that a gangster would make Moose Jaw a main pipeline for hooch. The tunnels are definitely suspicious.
Speaking of hooch – the Moose Jaw liquor store is located inside a beautiful restored train station. It has to be one of the nicest liquor stores I’ve visited in Saskatchewan.
We had supper at Rosie’s on River Street, where they make a delicious Reuben. It’s a nice hole in the wall with lots of personality and plenty of local options on tap.
Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa is where we stayed for the night. It’s in better shape than Manitou, but you won’t float as easily due to less sodium in the water. (Chris said that he felt better after floating in Manitou.)
The spa has a steam room and extremely hot outdoor pool that connects directly to the indoor pool, so you can swim out to soak in summer or winter months. We spent a lot of time in the pool and wanted desperately to stay another night, but we knew the end was near.
Usually at the end of a trip I can’t wait to go home. This time I felt like I wanted to see more of this province before going back to reality. Chris did a great job planning this Saskatchewan summer road trip.
It isn’t the last of our summer road trips yet. Next month, we’re heading to Cypress Hills for a short weekend camping trip.
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