This northern hub has activities to satisfy everyone from artists to foodies to outdoor adventurers. Thoroughly urban yet surrounded by wilderness, Grande Prairie is an all-season playground that’s particularly vibrant as the weather warms.
OUT AND ABOUT
Play: Strolling the city’s lively downtown uncovers a variety of local restaurants and shops, including specialty boutiques like Card’s Board Game Café. From Azul to Uno, there’s a wall-to-wall selection of games (and puzzles!) for every age and playing preference. 10001 100 Ave.
Eat: Grande Prairians love street eats from local food trucks. Bull Dog’s Gourmet Dogs serves premium frankfurters, while Eat Your Heart Out doles out plates of perogies and cabbage rolls. Follow the Food Trucks of Grande Prairie Facebook group to track the trucks.
Explore: Southwest of Grande Prairie, the Pipestone Creek Bonebed is one of the world’s densest dino graveyards. Sign up for a tour through the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, which houses hundreds of its own amazing fossil specimens. 9301 112 Ave., Wembley
Sip: Innovative Grain Bin Brewing Company crafts a variety of mainstay and seasonal beers—with interesting ingredients like haskap berries, apricots and hazelnuts—plus a “democracy” series where locals decide the next brew. 11707 97 Ave.
AMA member Jackie Clayton knows a thing or two about exploring Grande Prairie: She and her family have been doing it for more than 20 years. Currently serving as the city’s first female mayor, she’s also a business owner, and loves to share the inside scoop on the best eats, adventures and festivals for locals and visitors alike.
Why do you love Grande Prairie?
It has everything you need—big city amenities with a small city feel. And the people here are second to none. Whether you need directions or restaurant recommendations, there are endless stories of people here helping to ensure visitors enjoy their stay.
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What is there to do outdoors?
We have more paved walking trails per capita than any city in Canada. You can get from the north end of the city to the south along the Bear Creek Corridor. It takes you through Muskoseepi Park, where you can fish in the pond, lawn bowl, play disc golf, have a picnic, and watch canoeists and kayakers on the water. We also have three golf courses, which are very popular.
Where do you like to eat?
Jeffrey’s Café: Order the turmeric chai latte and one of the tasty rotating soups. For dinner, I head to Madhatters for the Cajun chicken. Or check out Red Rock Urban BBQ for amazing smoked wings.
What’s happening in the summer?
The start of summer is marked by the Grande Prairie Stompede. Dating back to 1977, our annual rodeo also includes an arts and cultural expo featuring local artisans. Grande Prairie hosts many outdoor concerts. Held every August, the Bear Creek Folk Festival hosts three stages with more than 30 local and international artists. We also have a downtown summer concert series, and in July you can attend the Grande Prairie International Street Performers Festival, which has been held for over 20 years.
Outdoor opportunities abound on the outskirts of town.
• Hike for the day or camp overnight at Kleskun Hills Natural Area, 30 km northeast of Grande Prairie. Part of Alberta’s northernmost badlands, the namesake hills—with their layers of clay, sandstone and coal—rise 100 metres above the surrounding plains. Check out the onsite pioneer village too.
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• With 35 km of trails to explore, Wapiti Nordic Ski Club is a summertime favourite for mountain biking and hiking. Or download insect- and wildflower-identification sheets from wapitinordic.com to embark on a nature scavenger hunt. Created in 1932, Saskatoon Island Provincial Park is one of Alberta’s oldest provincial parks. It’s also a federal migratory bird sanctuary, home to trumpeter swans, northern harriers and many other avian species. Bring your binoculars!