If you’re looking for a thriving, vibrant, and super cute, historic downtown to visit in Alberta, look no farther than historic Downtown Camrose, located just an hour south east of Edmonton in east central Alberta.
Camrose’s downtown has been the centre of activity for the region for more than 100 years and is literally lined with locally owned boutique shop after boutique shop, resulting in hours (seriously, hours!) of shopping fun.
You need to explore, eat and shop in Downtown Camrose like I did!
Use my ideas to plan your day trip to this charming downtown (warning: you will leave with a lighter wallet, and a lot of shopping bags!)
5 Things To Do in Downtown Camrose, Alberta
Experience an olive oil tasting
Head into family-owned Vinesation Olive Oils and Vinegars, where owner Bridget will walk you through an olive oil tasting! You’ll learn the difference between grocery store bought olive oil and real extra virgin olive oil (the flavour contrast is wild!) and get to browse a selection of over 40 different flavours of olive oils and balsamic vinegars (plus salts, spices, olives, chocolates, popcorn, teas, and gift bags). I highly recommend the picual extra virgin olive oil, which contains hints of tomato. Delicious! You can also buy pre-made, themed gift packs to create certain recipes.
Browse books and board games
You need to check out Fox & Fable, a local and Indigenous-owned book and board game cafe in downtown Camrose, where you’ll find a curated and very meaningful book selection including 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous, and Anti-Racism categories. Fox & Fable also has lots of great board games to purchase, and a wall of board games featuring over 200 games you can choose from to sit down and play on site, with patio or indoor seating, a range of drinks (including espresso-based drinks and local craft beers) plus a light food menu (including a kids menu too!)
Shop the Camrose Outdoor Farmers Market
Plan to visit Camrose on a Thursday if possible, that’s when the Camrose Outdoor Farmers Market takes place from June to September. A portion of the historic downtown along 50 Street between 49 and 50 Avenue is blocked off for the market which runs 4-7 p.m. (times will change depending on the year so make sure you check before you go, depending on when you read this post!)
You’ll find local vendors selling beer, beef, poultry, bison, lamb, pork, cheese, eggs, fruits, veggies, herbs, honey, tea, preserves, and baked goods. You’ll also find a handful of food trucks and hot food vendors at this cute little market, which also faces the main street boutique shops so it’s an awesome way to hit up both market vendors and boutique businesses. There was also live music being played at the Lions Centennial Park right at the market. It was fun to take a seat and eat while taking in the performance!
Snap a photo at the pocket park Instagrammable Wall
I was delighted to come upon an amazing mural at the Lions Centennial Park in downtown Camrose, painted by artists Alex KWONG and Toner. This pocket park (in an alleyway really, between two buildings along the main road), with its bright and colourful mural, is such a lovely addition to the street. You definitely need to stop for photos here!
Take a stroll along Mirror Lake (near downtown!)
Camrose is home to Mirror Lake (not far from its historic downtown) which was created in 1905 as a water reservoir for the Canadian Pacific Railway. The lake was also famously home to trumpeter swans for a long time though they’ve since moved to a sanctuary.
The lake is quite large, with different pedestrian bridges, and a fountain area! You can also recreate on the water (non motorized, so bring an inflatable craft!) as well as walk the 38 km of paved/shale trails that surround the water. (Check out Camrose’s trail systems).
Steps away from the lake you’ll find OleO’s Ice Cream Castle, a local favourite for ice cream you can then enjoy while walking around the lake and parks area.
In the summer, catch the Mirror Lake Express Train Ride, a popular little train (92 feet long that can carry 24 passengers), handcrafted by a resident of Camrose, that takes residents and tourists alike on a leisurely ride along the picturesque shores of Mirror Lake!
… And the list goes on!
That’s really just a small sample of the amazing activities you can do in the City of Camrose.
This place has an awesome small town rural feel but is full of city amenities and attractions. And it seriously has SO many locally-owned, boutique shops, well worth many, many of your hours visiting.
If you need more ideas to explore Camrose,
- Check out my blog travel guide: Copy my Itinerary: Where to Eat and What to Do on a Day Trip to Camrose, Alberta
- Check out Go East of Edmonton’s ideas on Things to Do in Camrose
- Check out Go East of Edmonton’s Camrose Attractions List
- Check out Tourism Camrose’s ideas for Things to Do in Camrose
Thanks to Go East of Edmonton and Tourism Camrose for inviting me to come experience what this awesome little city has to offer. I had so much fun and can’t wait to come back!
Disclaimer: Go East of Edmonton and Tourism Camrose hired me to experience the area and share about it. This does not impact opinions stated in this post. I love visiting small town / small cities in Alberta, supporting local businesses, and sharing ways to explore the province with you!