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Outdoor dining spots you can enjoy in Alberta this winter

By Allison Bench

Getting through the winter is just part of life here in Alberta. And while our province has the best landscapes and ample opportunities for adventure lovers, what’s available for outdoor fun for foodies? Winter can be their cup of tea too.

In fact, Albertans embrace those unique outdoor dining options. Many places around the province are still offering them for the 2022/23 winter season.
Dandy Brewing, 2003 11 St. SE, Calgary

In Calgary, the craft beer scene is bumping, and there’s no shortage of great local spots to check out. But if you want to sip your brew out in some winter sun, Dandy Brewing has you covered. The brewery has an outdoor patio that runs all year, and during the cooler months, they set up some crackling fires that will keep you warm through those winter days and nights. The brewery says the first-come-first-served patio is often packed year-round, and if you snag a spot, be sure to sample some of their New York-style pizzas.

Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey, 1136 Kensington Rd. NW, Calgary

Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey bar also offers diners an opportunity to seek out winter sun but on a fully-enclosed patio. The restaurant’s Whiskey Garden features a beautiful glass ceiling that will make you feel right there in the great outdoors—but you’ll be in a heated environment. It’s an excellent middle ground for those who want to enjoy the outdoors but are firmly in the indoor crowd. Plus, the bar has more than 100 types of whiskey, cocktails, beer on tap, and barbecue meats that’s smoked for 10 to 14 hours. Here’s a hot tip for those cold days: all their meats go on special for half off after 10 p.m.

Ross Street Entertainment District, Ross Street between 49 Avenue and 50 Avenue, Red Deer

In Red Deer, the Ross Street Patio has been a gathering place for a decade—and this past summer, it became the city’s first Entertainment District. So when you head to the patio, you can purchase alcoholic beverages from nearby restaurants and consume it if you’re seated in the marked areas. The patio features furniture that seats up to 75 people, and fire tables are set up in the winter and lit up during winter performances. The Entertainment District first opened up from a partnership between the City of Red Deer and the area’s Downtown Business Association. The district is open year-round, Tuesday through Saturday, from noon until 11 p.m.

360° Dome dining, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, 405 Spray Avenue, Banff

If you’re heading to the mountains this winter, why not take in the mountains from your very own dome at the Banff Springs Hotel? The hotel’s 360° Dome sits in the Rockies with stunning views of Banff National Park and can be booked for private experiences. Those experiences offer something for any day, including breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, a chef’s tasting dinner, or late-night drinks. But make sure to plan this one ahead of time because all the experiences must be booked in advance. And a reminder that as an AMA member, you receive a 20% discount on room prices at the Banff Springs Hotel, plus a $50 dining credit.

University of Alberta Botanical Gardens, 51227 AB 60, Parkland County

The Northern Light Dining Experience is returning to the University of Alberta Botanical Gardens south of Edmonton this winter. The dome dining at the gardens coincides with the popular Luminaria, which takes place Wednesdays through Sundays, Nov. 23 to Dec 31. The unique dining event includes a three-course fondue served in a private dome. Plus, you have access to the dome for the entire evening—so you can take a stroll around Luminaria after dinner or even between courses. The dome dining was trendy in 2021, so make sure to book your spot as soon as possible.

Tiramisu Bistro, 10750 124 Street, Edmonton

Tiramisu Bistro launched streetside igloos for diners in 2021, but their popularity has kept the private eating spaces bumping even through the summer months. The restaurant serves up its regular menu streetside, provides additional blankets during the meal, and they allow your furry family members to join you in the domes. During the winter, the domes are heated and fit up to six adults comfortably. You can contact Tiramisu Bistro to reserve your spot ahead of time.

Of course, these are just a few suggestions for you to check out—many other Alberta restaurants are coming up with innovative ways to enjoy the winter seasons. Contact your favourite place to see their options for the colder months.