Located in southern Alberta, the community of Lethbridge, Alberta has a special place in the hearts of the locals. As a traveller, the region will surprise and delight those who take the time to explore here.
With thousands of years of Indigenous history, rich agricultural heritage, natural landscapes, and prairie charm, Lethbridge offers a unique blend of experiences.
What to do in Lethbridge, Alberta
Whether you’re looking for hands-on agricultural experiences, indulging in hearty meals, or simply seeking the serenity of flower-filled fields and gardens, there are a variety of attractions that showcase the best of Lethbridge’s land and culture.
Agricultural Adventures in Lethbridge: Embracing the Land
Lethbridge’s strong connection to the land is evident through its numerous farm tours and U-pick experiences. Travellers have the opportunity to get their hands dirty while exploring local farms and U-picks.
1. Blooming Beauty: The Lilac Row Flower Farm
The Lilac Row Flower Farm is a floral paradise with rows of seasonal flowers. You can meander through the fragrant blooms, taking in the variety of colours and scents and pick your own to take home with you.
The on-farm U-pick allows you to create a personalized bouquet with guidance from the staff. You’ll want to BYO container. A wide-mouth mason jar with a 3-inch opening works perfectly.
This was a personal highlight during my visit as it was surprisingly challenging to arrange the flowers in an artistic way. It was also a great opportunity to take fun photos with all the flowers.
*Tip: If you visit Lethbridge during early to mid-July, you’ll get to experience the beautiful blooms of yellow canola fields. These are incredible to stop and take photos with.
Please be respectful of the landowner’s crops and either ask permission in advance or take photos at the edge of the field.
2. Culinary Delights and U-Pick Adventures at Broxburn Cafe
Broxburn Cafe is a culinary gem that has embodied Lethbridge’s farm-to-table ethos for nearly 30 years. Set in the prairie landscape, this seasonal indoor and outdoor café takes pride in using ingredients grown on-site and from other regional producers. From hearty breakfasts to lunches, each bite tells a story of local freshness and flavour.
I opted for the pasta salad with the seasonal veggies and was impressed with the portion size. Prices here are very affordable considering the high quality of the ingredients.
Visitors can also U-pick strawberries and raspberries for a first-hand agricultural experience. Engaging with local farmers and learning about sustainable farming practices offers a great opportunity to understand the city’s agricultural roots.
3. Exploring the Coulees: Hiking and Biking Adventures
Lethbridge’s unique landscape is defined by its dramatic coulees – steep-sided valleys carved by ancient glaciers and flowing rivers. For outdoor enthusiasts, these coulees are an adventurous playground.
Hiking and biking trails crisscross the terrain, providing opportunities to connect with nature and numerous points to stop and enjoy the view. Whether you’re an avid hiker scaling the heights for panoramic views or a leisurely biker exploring the meandering paths, the coulees offer a range of experiences for all skill levels.
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Lethbridge’s Cultural Experiences
Today, Lethbridge, Alberta honours and respects its heritage through cultural events, educational initiatives, and collaborations with local Indigenous communities. The city works to build a greater understanding and appreciation of Indigenous history and its ongoing contributions to the evolving culture of the region.
4. Self-Guided Interpretive Plant Walk
The Lethbridge area was traditionally inhabited by various First Nations communities for thousands of years. The Blackfoot Confederacy, including the Kainai, Piikani, Pukuni, and Siksika Nations, have strong ancestral ties here. These Indigenous groups relied on the rich resources of the land for sustenance and cultural practices. The coulees, valleys, and rivers were not only sources of food but also held spiritual significance. The arrival of European settlers in the mid-1800s brought significant changes to the Indigenous way of life, impacting traditional practices and land use.
If you’re looking for a specific place to hike in the coulees in Lethbridge and to learn more about Indigenous history, consider exploring nearby Lethbridge College. The Iissksiniip (“coming to know and learn”) Coulee Walk is a self-guided interpretive tour that shares about the plants found in the area and their traditional uses. The tour also shares the creation stories of the Blackfoot Confederacy.
The self-guided walk starts on the west side of the college behind the Cullen residence.
5. Fort Whoop-Up
A visit to Lethbridge isn’t complete without a stop at Fort Whoop-Up.
The fort is a historical destination that provides a glimpse into the region’s past. Originally a fur-trading post-turned (illegal) whisky trading hub, the fort recreates the rugged frontier life of the late 1800s.
A highlight of the experience is the horse carriage ride that meanders through the coulees surrounding the fort. The guides on the tour are excellent and bantered back and forth with each other in a playful and entertaining way. They tell the history and stories of Fort Whoop-Up and share about the lives of traders, Indigenous communities, and early settlers.
6. The Lethbridge Viaduct High Level Bridge
If you take part in the Fort Whoop-Up carriage ride, you’ll pass under the Lethbridge Viaduct (also known as the High Level Bridge.) Built in the early 1900’s by the Canadian Pacific Railway, this bridge is the largest of its type in the world. The bridge is 3 metres taller than the Statue of Liberty at 95.7 metres and is 1.6 kilometres long. It’s an iconic site in Lethbridge and it’s a must-see.
The horse carriage was a great way to ride under it, but you can see it from many different viewpoints in the city. (We had an excellent view from the back of our hotel at the Sandman)
7. Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden:
The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is a serene oasis in the middle of Lethbridge. This meticulously designed garden is a testament to the harmonious relationship between nature and culture. You can stroll along the tranquil pathways, enjoy the manicured landscapes and take part in tea ceremonies. The garden’s seasonal events and festivals celebrate both Japanese and local traditions, making it a bridge between cultures and a representation of Lethbridge’s diversity.
8. Driftscape App Self-Guided Tours
Tourism Lethbridge has specially curated several walking tours and three self-drive tours throughout Southern Alberta on the Driftscape App. Tours highlight the best of the region when it comes to art, history, culture, and food. A few options include Canada’s Food Tours and Downtown Lethbridge Art Walk, Agri-Food, and Historical Walking tours. It’s a great way to learn more about the city and region. Plus, you can download the tour for offline use.
We did the Art Walk on the way to dinner one evening. It was a nice add-on to a night out and took us down the nearby alleyways to discover outdoor murals we would have otherwise missed.
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Where to Eat in Lethbridge
1. Bread, Milk and Honey
Bread, Milk and Honey is a cozy café specializing in comfort food from freshly baked bread to tasty wraps, sandwiches, and salads. The airy, welcoming vibe and the thoughtfully curated menu make this a great stop to set up inside with your laptop or grab something quick to go. The grilled turkey cranberry wrap was excellent.
2. Italian Indulgence: The Italian Table
Ask a local where to eat and this will be one of their first suggestions. For lovers of Italian cuisine, The Italian Table is a culinary sanctuary that transports you to the heart of Italy. This restaurant’s dedication to traditional Italian flavours and techniques is evident in every bite. We opted to dine family-style and shared a variety of plates so we could sample how incredible this menu really is. Don’t skip dessert as the Olive Oil Cake is a fan favourite.
3. Craft Brews: The Telegraph Taphouse
No exploration of Lethbridge’s culinary scene would be complete without a visit to The Telegraph Taphouse. This vibrant gastro pub is a celebration of craft beer and community. With a wide selection of local and international brews on tap as well as craft ciders, it’s ideal for beer enthusiasts.
The pub-style atmosphere is perfect for unwinding with friends. But the outdoor patio is a highlight in the summer months. Set on the edge of Festival Square, it’s the ideal spot to have a drink while enjoying live music at the public plaza.
4. Water Tower Grill
The story behind the Water Tower Grill in Lethbridge is a neat one and the views from the elevated dining room are even better. What was once a water tower that held 500,000 gallons of water for the city became a restaurant after residents didn’t want to see the defunct structure demolished. After four years of renovations that cost nearly 2 million dollars in the early aughties, you can now climb the 165 steps inside the tower into a dining room 192 feet above the ground.
You can take an interactive digital tour of it here.
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Where to Stay in Lethbridge
For a comfortable and convenient stay, the Coast Lethbridge Hotel and Conference Centre offers modern accommodations and a host of amenities. Whether you’re travelling for business or leisure, the hotel’s spacious rooms, indoor pool, and on-site dining options guarantee a relaxing and enjoyable stay.
Close to the downtown core of Lethbridge, the Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge is a contemporary hotel with great service. Guests can unwind in stylish rooms overlooking the indoor pool or ask for a sunset view of the coulees. Make sure to enjoy a delicious meal at The Italian Table inside the hotel, it’s one of the top restaurants in the city.
The Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton is a testament to Lethbridge’s warm prairie hospitality. The hotel offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere. With stylish rooms, complimentary breakfast, and a fitness center including pool and hot tub, this hotel provides a great place for travellers exploring the city.
Why You Should Visit Lethbridge, Alberta
Whether it’s strolling through blooming fields, indulging in farm-to-table feasts, or embarking on outdoor adventures, Lethbridge, Alberta offers a unique blend of experiences. This city’s commitment to preserving its heritage while embracing its prairie culture creates a place that’s fun and interesting to explore.