Photos: Tourism Medicine Hat

A small but bustling city known for its agriculture and cultural heritage, Medicine Hat is rich in local history and unique attractions, from the 20-story high Saamis Tepee, Medalta in the Historic Clay District, the historic downtown with over 200 shops (five independent coffee shops included), to the state-of-the-art Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre. With its clear blue skies and 330 days of sunshine per year, the city is a hub for fresh produce and local delicacies, infused with international flavours that reflect the city’s cultural tapestry.

dinner event at saamis tepee

Medicine Hat’s history dates back thousands of years, with evidence of indigenous peoples inhabiting the area long before European settlers arrived. The name “Medicine Hat” comes from the Indigenous word “Saamis,” which translates to “the eagle’s tail.” The area holds cultural and historical significance for the Blackfoot Confederacy and other Indigenous communities. The Saamis Tepee, located alongside the Trans-Canada Highway, holds the title as the tallest teepee in the world at 215 feet. Overlooking the scenic Seven Persons coulees, the Saamis Tepee houses ten hand-painted storyboards that represent a variety of influence and history of First Nations heritage.

The region around Medicine Hat, is known for its agriculture and farming activities. Nearby Redcliff is known as “The Greenhouse Capital of the Prairies”, giving locals and visitors easy access to quality, fresh produce year-round.  A quick drive offers a myriad of farm-fresh goodness, from Westland Fresh Produce to Huber’s Farm Market to Biotech Greenhouse. The newly rebranded Big Marble Farms (formerly RedHat Growers) is the only year-round operator, supplying fresh ingredients to much of Canada through Sobey’s and Safeway across the country. Don’t want to leave Medicine Hat?  Ruben’s Veggies has self serve huts in multiple locations across the city, with fresh produce, eggs, and even goat milk soaps! It’s not all greenhouses though, as the region is also home to numerous crop farms, cattle ranches, and other agricultural businesses. 

medicine hat patio

With the incredible bounty of fresh produce readily available, local restaurants curate menus that celebrate the region’s seasonal produce and the influences of the diverse community. Medicine Hat has seen the rise of food trucks, specialty shops, cafes, and breweries, each adding a unique dimension to the vibrant food landscape and establishing the city as a must-visit for gastronomes.

Located near the Saamis Tepee is the Clubhouse at Paradise Valley. With open windows and views of greenery, it feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. From after golf drinks to mindfully crafted entrees, it’s a perfect stop no matter the day. Inspired by the natural setting of the valley, the restaurant has the feel and nostalgic appearance of a mountain lodge.  It’s sister restaurant, Rosewood Bistro, cooks up a wide range of cultural-inspired cuisine, from chicken penne asiago to german-style thin crust pizza. Located on one of Medicine Hat’s oldest streets, North Railway, this retro bistro uses the freshest ingredients from as close as next door at Douglas Meats. You may recognize owner and Chef Sourav Saha, who competed on Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters!

Just a few blocks away is Medicine Hat’s premier oil & vinegar tasting room at The Hat’s Olive Tap where you will find over 75 quality oils and balsamics inside this exquisite, Tuscany-themed taphouse. The eatery is allergy-friendly, with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, making it easy for everyone to fill up on a delicious meal. Of course, you can’t leave without a tasting – the highly knowledgeable team will transport your senses around the world.

Across Historic Finlay Bridge towards the quaint neighbourhood of Riverside, Zucchini Blossom Market & Café prepares bright-coloured meals made with fresh and locally-grown ingredients — over half the menu is made with produce from greenhouses in and around Medicine Hat. It is Medicine Hat’s longest-standing coffee shop, celebrating 20 years in 2024. 

zucchini blossom cafe

Home to three craft breweries and a craft distillery, your new favourite beverage is waiting for you here. Grit City Distillery, the city’s first and only distillery, pride themselves on being creative and going that extra mile for the small details. From Chai Latte cream liquor to Absinthe to Prickly Pear Schnapps, Grit City has got you covered for all your spirit needs.

Originally opening in 1912, Medicine Hat Brewing Company was serving up old fashioned lagers, ales and stouts to thirsty residents before the Temperance Movement picked up and the brewery was forced to close. Over a century later, and the name was dusted off and again serves pristine and tasteful beer with an impressive food menu. Hell’s Basement Brewery (whose name was inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s famous quote about Medicine Hat) is a hot spot for live music, tasty beer, and great conversation. Though smaller in size, Travois Ale Works is a microbrewery with everything beer – beer slushies, beer cocktails, cans, bottles, and good ol’ beer on tap. From traditional European ales to revolutionary American brews, grab a flight to taste your way through their current offerings before they disappear! Want to experience all the beer? Take the Medicine Hat Breweries Tour, which will include tours, flights, snacks, and transportation to all three breweries.

The downtown area of Medicine Hat offers a range of dining options, from casual eateries to fine dining establishments. Known for its charming ambiance, historic building, and vibrant atmosphere, the downtown area is perfect for a quick bite, a leisurely meal, or a special occasion. Explore the area through Tourism Medicine Hat’s self-guided tours, from a deep dive into the Hat’s history with the historic tour, to decorated downtown murals, to indy coffee shops and patios, there is no shortage of experiences awaiting you in the downtown core.

medicine hat trolley

The Historic Clay District is a unique and culturally significant area that celebrates the city’s industrial heritage and rich history in pottery and ceramics. Located in the downtown core, it is a designated National Historic Site of Canada. The district offers visitors a chance to explore the city’s clay industry legacy and experience its artistic and creative side. Most notably is Medalta Potteries, a renowned pottery company that operated from 1916 to 1954, producing a wide range of ceramic products, including crocks, jugs, and decorative items. Today, the Medalta Potteries has been transformed into a museum and art gallery, where visitors can learn about the history of ceramics in the region and witness pottery demonstrations. It also plays host to many events, as well as an Artist-in-Residence Program that attracts ceramic artists from around the world. The Historic Clay District is a cultural hub, preserving the city’s industrial past while nurturing a thriving artistic community. It’s a must-visit destination for those interested in pottery, ceramics, and the creative arts, offering a glimpse into the city’s heritage and its ongoing commitment to preserving and celebrating its artistic legacy.

For another taste of the Hat’s art scene, head to Inspire Café in the historic Hargrave-Sissons Block. Nestled among a gallery of original artwork from local artists, the café serves up inspired comfort food like sandwiches, soups, and desserts. Licensed for beer and wine, evenings spent at the café showcase local and Canadian musicians and singer-songwriter evenings once per month. It is a sophisticated space that is a mix of modern art, historic storytelling, fulfilling food, and a taste into Medicine Hat’s coffee culture.

With one of the longest golf, mountain bike, and river float seasons in Canada, Medicine Hat summers are full of celebrations, festivals, and unforgettable memories. The city is a dynamic blend of history, creativity, diversity, and community spirit. Visitors and residents alike can experience the city’s unique charm through its cultural events, local attractions, and interactions with the welcoming community.