The Getaway
15 Things to Do in Lethbridge

Lethbridge has a lot to offer for a small town. The Oldman River and the coulees set the stage for diverse outdoor activities, from wetland hikes to rewarding stargazing. In Lethbridge and its surrounding areas, you can take selfies with a renowned bridge, become well-acquainted with local Indigenous history and culture at Fort Whoop Up and Head-Smashed-In, and witness the Mounties do their delicate dance. Sample some of the best family-friendly recreational centers and parks in Alberta, and discover the resilience of this region's people. Best of all, combine free and paid attractions for a getaway that beats the budget.

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01 High Level Bridge views

A close up to the Lethbridge Viaduct, commonly known as the High Level Bridge in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

The Lethbridge Viaduct, AKA High Level Bridge, is notable for being the largest railway trestle bridge in the world. The bridge is 313 feet tall, 106 feet wide, and 1,776 yards long. Construction began in 1907 and lasted two years. Since then, High Level Bridge has helped trains traverse the Oldman River and has become an iconic Lethbridge landmark. Fun fact—it appeared in the fourth episode of the 2023 show The Last of Us. Get a close-up look at this engineering feat, walk the red shale paths, and enjoy a picnic with a unique view. The best place to snap pics is from Helen Schuler Nature Center or on the trails below the bridge.

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02 Indian Battle Park adventures

The Lethbridge Viaduct is located in Indian Battle Park, the site of an 1870 clash between the Cree and Blackfoot peoples. The Battle of the Belly River was Canada's last First Nations battle. Later, the area got into coal mining and was involved with illegal whisky trading. You can learn all about these various facets of Lethbridge's history at the kid-friendly Fort Whoop-Up Interpretive Center. Experience a wagon ride, take part in a potato sack race, make candles, and more. Indian Battle Park offers recreational activities like fishing and tubing and a themed playground.

03 Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden has been a Lethbridge highlight for over 50 years. This peaceful green space is beautifully landscaped and often hosts cultural events. Ring the bell, make an origami bird, and write down a wish to hang on the wishing tree. Relax on a bench, join a yoga session, or see what a tea ceremony is all about. If you're lucky, you'll get cookies and iced tea. During fall, the garden's palette turns autumnal, and in winter, the festival of lights is a neon night-time affair.

04 Wildlife at Elizabeth Hall Wetlands

Elizabeth Hall Wetlands sits in the shadow of the Lethbridge Viaduct. This Preservation Area is painted with birdsong, and wheelchair-friendly trails make it accessible. Walk easy trails like the Graveyard, Popson Park, and Pavan Park loops. Look for the wetland's famous Western-painted turtles sunbathing in the summer and observe porcupines in the trees, waterfowl, beavers, muskrats, and harmless garter snakes. The turtles have a reddish coloring and can be found near the floating dock. Elizabeth Hall Wetlands is ecologically sensitive, so dogs and bikes aren't allowed.

05 Fun at the YMCA

The state-of-the-art Cor Van Raay YMCA at ATB Center plays a significant role in keeping the local community active and healthy. Between the drop-in fitness classes, the gym accommodating multiple sports, and the aquatics center, visitors are spoiled for choice regarding recreational activities. Did we mention that the aquatic center has a surf simulator, lazy river, water slides, a wave pool, a climbing wall, a hot tub, and a steam room? Yip—you could spend a whole day here. Family amenities and services include childcare, tutor programs, and first aid courses.

06 Heritage at Head-Smashed-In

Canadian Prairie at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump world heritage site in Southern Alberta, Canada

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with perhaps the most violent name in the game is a must-visit if you're staying in Lethbridge. Head-Smashed-In is a historically important place where 6,000 years of Plains Buffalo culture played out. A world-class museum and First Nation guides explain how the Blackfoot people used the cliff for communal hunting techniques. Marvel at the architecture, make the most of educational programming, or amble along one of the hiking trails.

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07 Legacy Park's family fun

The 73-acre Legacy Park's distinct sections cater to different moods and needs. The southwestern section is ideal for quiet, meditative moments by the pond, ornamental garden, and belvedere lookout and amphitheater. The opposite end of the park is full of gleeful sounds as skaters show off their skills, kids enjoy the spray park, and sports courts bring out players' competitive sides. An adult obstacle course, Canada's first challenge course, comes with a timing system and scoreboard. In winter, you can go sledding or ice skating. Legacy Park is a hit with all ages.

08 Art at SAAG

The Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG) in downtown Lethbridge features boundary-challenging contemporary art and holds various exhibitions. This small gallery's passionate staff are happy to interact with visitors and provide insight into the various pieces and mediums on display. Plus, the curated items in the gift shop make for excellent souvenirs and gifts. On Sundays, the gallery offers free entry. Spend an hour here and engage with thought-provoking artworks.

09 Musical Ride experience

The North West Mounted Police (NWMP) Musical Ride has been part of Mountie's culture since 1873. Between patrols, the law enforcers would perform tricks on horseback and compete. The first formal performance took place in 1876 at Fort Macleod. Come and witness a modern rendition of this over 150-year-old tradition, complete with cavalry drills and intricate choreography. Members of the public can book a session to groom one of the dozen horses during the summer season.

10 Dining with a view

The Water Tower Grill is smack dab in the middle of town and offers stunning views of the city. Its enviable location makes it a popular anniversary date venue. Sample the butter chicken and steak sandwich, and finish the meal with a yummy creme brulee while a piano player adds to the romantic ambiance.

11 Stargazing opportunities

The southern Alberta skies are known for their stargazing potential. If you love gazing up at jewel-encrusted heavens, make your way down to the Oldman River Observatory, run by the Lethbridge Astronomical Society. The observatory has two telescopes for a closer look at celestial bodies and a camera capable of fantastic night sky images. Join free, family-friendly, and educational public observation events, or see what the scheduling looks like at The Big Sky Observatory in Vulcan County.

12 Rocky Mountain Turf Club excitement

Watching the live horse races at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club is free, and weekend race days are a family affair, with a petting zoo, candy toss, and a mini market. In addition to thoroughbred racing during four months of the year, the venue hosts special events like a Doggy Derby fundraiser, where local fur babies strut their stuff, and warrior relays, where riders try to best each other while jumping from one horse to another.

13 Conservation at Birds of Prey Centre

The Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation does a lot of work in raptor conservation and rehabilitation. Learn more about these fascinating creatures at Alberta's largest bird sanctuary. This spring and summer attraction puts on flight shows where you can watch in awe as hawks respond to signals. Even kids will enjoy the demos and interactive experiences and you can easily spend two hours here holding an owl, bathing an eagle, feeding the ducks, and asking the experts questions. All proceeds go toward conservation efforts.

14 Exploring Frank Slide

The Frank Slide was a massive rockslide that buried part of the mining town of Frank in the province of Alberta Canada, at 4:10 a.m. on April 29, 1903

The Crowsnest Pass is the site of Canada's deadliest rockslide, which killed approximately 90 people in 1903 after the limestone top of Turtle Mountain broke away and fell on top of the eastern part of the town. A boom sounded as far away as Cochrane and only 12 bodies were ever recovered. The mountain continues to be monitored to this day. At Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, you can find out why this natural disaster occurred and the likelihood of another tragedy. Scenic hiking trails complement the indoor storytelling.

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15 Downtown Lethbridge charm

The Lethbridge Main Street Project restores and maintains the charmingly old-school look and feel of downtown Lethbridge. Heritage buildings include but are not limited to the Sir Alexander Galt Museum, the Chinese Free Masons building, and the Post Office. Treat yourself to a meal at Bourbon and Butter, shop for knickknacks at Silla or Purple Hippo Boutique, and keep the retail therapy going after the sun sets at Park Place Mall.

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