Ultimate Guide Of 55 Free Things To Do In Red Deer

  • Time to read: 12 min.

Discover the excitement and charm of Red Deer, Alberta, without spending a dime. From picturesque parks and trails to cultural experiences and seasonal festivals, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Explore 55 free things to do in Red Deer, ensuring your visit is filled with fun, adventure, and memorable experiences, all without breaking the bank.

55 Free Things To Do In Red Deer

Get ready to uncover hidden gems, engage with the community, and enjoy the natural beauty of Red Deer’s landscapes as we dive into the ultimate list of cost-free activities in this welcoming Canadian city.

Head to Bower Ponds: Bower Ponds is a serene area in Red Deer that offers a variety of recreational activities. Visitors can enjoy scenic walks around the ponds, paddle boating, and ice skating in the winter. The area also features a playground for children and a pavilion that can be rented for events.  Bower Ponds is a great place to relax, bring a boxed lunch or picnic, and enjoy the natural beauty of Red Deer.  

Kerry Wood Nature Centre: The Kerry Wood Nature Centre is located in Waskasoo Park and provides an interactive learning experience about the local environment and wildlife. It has an outdoor instrument playground and areas for bird watching, making it ideal for families and nature enthusiasts. The nature centre also offers various programs that educate visitors on the importance of conservation.  

Explore City Hall ParkCity Hall Park is a beautifully landscaped green space in downtown Red Deer’s heart. It’s a popular spot for lunch breaks, leisurely strolls, and enjoying the seasonal flower gardens. The park often hosts community events and has a picturesque fountain, making it a photogenic spot in the city.  

Red Deer Public Library: The Red Deer Public Library offers a range of free community classes and events for all ages. These include storytimes for children, book clubs, educational workshops, and technology classes. These programs promote literacy, lifelong learning, and community engagement. 

Three Mile Bend Recreation Area: This multi-use outdoor recreation area is along the Red Deer River.  Three Mile Bend is a favourite spot for walking, picnicking, and off-leash dog walking. Water enthusiasts also use it for canoeing and kayaking; in the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular.  

Waskasoo ParkWaskasoo Park is a comprehensive park system with over 60 km of multi-use trails, diverse ecosystems, and numerous recreational facilities. It’s an excellent place for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and wildlife observation. The park connects many of Red Deer’s natural and cultural attractions. 

Fort NormandeauFort Normandeau marks the spot where Red Deer’s first European settlers crossed the river. It’s a historical site that offers a glimpse into the lives of the early settlers and Indigenous peoples. The reconstructed fort and interpretive centre provide educational programs and re-enactments.  

Outdoor Fitness Parks: The city has ten outdoor fitness parks where residents and visitors can engage in various workouts. These parks have exercise stations for different fitness levels to encourage a healthy lifestyle. 

Ball Diamonds: With 85 ball diamonds, Red Deer is well equipped to accommodate baseball and softball enthusiasts. These facilities are available for casual play and organized sports, fostering community engagement and physical activity.  

Free Stuff Red Deer & Area: This Facebook group is a community resource where members can give away or find free items. It is also a platform for sharing information about free events and activities in the Red Deer area. To join the group, visit the Free Stuff Red Deer & Area Facebook Group.

Discovery CanyonDiscovery Canyon is a unique seasonal water park featuring a natural river fed water pool. It offers tubing, a splash park, and sandy play areas. This family friendly destination is perfect for cooling off in the summer months.  

Trails: Red Deer’s extensive trail system spans over 110 km and offers picturesque routes for walking, biking, and running. The trails connect various parts of the city and provide an excellent way to explore the natural landscapes of Red Deer. For trail maps, visit Red Deer Trails.

Red Deer Public Market: The Red Deer Public Market is known for being one of the largest and longest running open air markets in Central Alberta. It operates seasonally on Saturdays and features various vendors selling fresh produce, handmade crafts, baked goods, clothing, and more. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and find unique items. For operating hours and vendor information, visit Red Deer Public Market.

Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre: The Golden Circle is a hub for seniors in Red Deer, providing a variety of events, activities, and resources for socializing and staying active. The center offers dance classes, card games, and educational workshops.  

Public Art Tour: Red Deer has a vibrant public art scene that can be explored through a self guided tour. The city’s public art collection includes murals, sculptures, and installations that reflect the community’s history and culture. Visitors can enjoy the artwork at their own pace while discovering various parts of the city. For a map and guide to public art, visit Public Art in Red Deer.

Public Basketball Courts: Basketball enthusiasts can find several general courts in Red Deer to play pick-up games or practice their skills. These courts are open to the public and provide an excellent physical activity and socializing space. 

Historical Walking Tour: Red Deer’s historical walking tour is a fascinating opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s rich history. This self-guided tour takes you through downtown, where you’ll have a chance to explore significant landmarks and learn about their stories. As you stroll through the streets, you’ll be captivated by the stunning architecture of the historic buildings surrounding you. You will discover fascinating facts and stories about the people who have shaped the city’s past, including pioneers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a fun and educational way to spend an afternoon, Red Deer’s historical walking tour is an experience you will want to experience. For a walking tour map, visit Historical Walking Tours.

Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (MAG): The MAG offers exhibitions that showcase local history, art, and culture. Visitors can learn about the region’s heritage and enjoy contemporary art displays. The museum has free admission days, making it accessible for everyone to appreciate the educational and artistic experiences it provides.  

Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary: As an ecological reserve and the oldest federal migratory bird sanctuary in Alberta, Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary is an ideal spot for birdwatching and nature observation. The refuge features trails and viewing platforms to spot multiple bird species in their natural habitat.  

Blue Grass Sod Farms Central Spray and Play: This water park is a family friendly destination in Red Deer, offering a fun way for kids to cool off during the summer. The Spray Park features various water features and is adjacent to a playground, making it a perfect spot for a full day of family enjoyment.  

Geocaching: Participate by navigating to a specific set of GPS coordinates and finding the geocache container hidden at that location. Red Deer offers numerous geocaching opportunities in its parks and natural areas. To get started, visit Geocaching.

Outdoor Concerts and Movie Nights: Seasonal outdoor concerts and movie nights are popular free events that entertain the whole family. These events typically occur in parks or public spaces and offer a chance to enjoy the arts in a relaxed, communal setting.  

View the interactive Alberta Sports Hall of Fame: The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame celebrates the achievements of the province’s athletes and sports history. It features interactive exhibits and memorabilia that highlight the importance of sports in Alberta’s culture. The Hall of Fame occasionally offers free admission events, allowing visitors to explore the exhibits at no cost. 

Try Disc Golf: Disc golf is a fun and accessible sport that can be enjoyed at various courses in Red Deer. The classes are typically free and offer a challenging game combining golf and frisbee elements. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and participate in friendly competition.

Community Center WorkshopsLocal community centers in Red Deer offer a range of free workshops and seminars on topics such as health, wellness, arts and crafts, and personal development. These events are designed to provide valuable skills and knowledge to participants while fostering community connections.

Barrett ParkBarrett Park is a picturesque park ideal for picnics and leisurely outings. It features green spaces, a pond, and walking paths. The park provides a tranquil setting for family gatherings, outdoor meals, and relaxation amidst nature.

McKenzie Trails Recreation AreaMcKenzie Trails Recreation Area is a natural retreat within Red Deer. It offers a network of trails perfect for hiking, biking, and nature walks. The area provides picturesque views of the Red Deer River and is a popular spot for picnicking and wildlife viewing. 

Cronquist House: The historic Cronquist House is a beautifully preserved Victorian style farmhouse that serves as a cultural landmark in Red Deer. It offers a glimpse into the early 20th-century lifestyle and is available for tours and events. The house is also a popular venue for tea and social gatherings. 

Photography in ParksRed Deer’s parks and natural areas offer abundant opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty of Alberta’s landscapes and wildlife. From the vibrant colours of fall foliage to the serene snowscapes of winter, photographers can find inspiration in the city’s diverse settings. 

Park Fitness Classes: Red Deer offers free fitness classes seasonally in various parks around the city. These classes can include yoga, Zumba, boot camps, and more. They are a great way to stay active, meet new people, and enjoy the outdoors. 

Cultural Festivals and Street Fairs: Red Deer hosts a variety of cultural festivals and street fairs throughout the year, celebrating the city’s diverse community and arts scene. These events feature live music, dance performances, local cuisine, and artisan vendors, providing a rich cultural experience for attendees.

Farmers’ Market: The local farmers’ market in Red Deer is a place to buy fresh, locally sourced produce, taste free samples and hear live music. Visitors can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and support local farmers and artisans.

Walking or Running Clubs: Joining a free walking or running club in Red Deer is a great way to stay active, meet new people, and enjoy the city’s outdoor spaces. These clubs often cater to various fitness levels and can motivate and support your fitness goals. 

Red Deer Airport (YQF): Aviation enthusiasts and families can watch planes take off and land at the Red Deer Airport. It’s an entertaining and educational experience for those curious about aviation. The airport also hosts events and has a viewing area for the public.

Kid’s Can Catch Event: The Red Deer Fish & Game Association hosts the Kid’s Can Catch event, designed to introduce children to fishing and responsible fishing practices. The event is seasonal and allows families to enjoy the outdoors together. 

Setters Place at Great Chief ParkSetters Place provides outdoor exercise equipment suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The park is designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle through accessible and fun workouts. It’s a great place to enjoy a workout while enjoying the natural surroundings. 

Sledding and Tobogganing: Red Deer offers several hills perfect for snowboarding, sledding and tobogganing in winter. These family-friendly activities are a great way to enjoy the snowy weather and are available in various parks across the city.  

First Friday Red Deer: On the first Friday of each month, Red Deer’s art galleries open their doors to the public for special exhibitions, artist talks, and receptions. This event celebrates the local arts community and allows art lovers to engage with artists and their work. 

Free Lectures and Readings: Local bookstores and cafes in Red Deer occasionally host free lectures, readings, and book signings. These events are an excellent opportunity for intellectual engagement and to support local authors and thinkers. Check with venues such as Sunworks and local bookstores for upcoming events.

Volunteering: Volunteering for a local charity or non-profit organization is a rewarding way to give back to the community. Red Deer has many organizations that rely on volunteers for various activities, from helping at food banks to participating in environmental programs. To find volunteer opportunities, visit Volunteer Central.

Horseshoes at Local Parks: Playing horseshoes is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and engage in a new leisure activity with family and friends. Many local parks in Red Deer have horseshoe pits available for public use.  

Language Exchange Meetup: Participating in an accessible language exchange meetup can be a valuable experience for those looking to practice a new language and meet individuals from different cultural backgrounds. These meetups are typically informal gatherings where participants can converse and learn from one another. To find a language exchange, check local community boards or visit Meetup

Community GardensRed Deer’s gardens allow residents to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Participating in a community garden is a way to learn about gardening, enjoy fresh produce, and connect with neighbours.  

Outdoor Ice Skating: In the winter, Red Deer provides several outdoor ice skating rinks for public use. These rinks offer a fun and active way to enjoy the winter season, whether you’re into leisurely skating or playing a game of hockey.  

Pedestrian Bridges over Red Deer River: Walking across the pedestrian bridges over the Red Deer River with stunning water views and surrounding areas. These bridges connect different parts of the city and provide a unique viewpoint on the natural beauty of Red Deer. For more information on the bridges and river walks, visit Red Deer River.

Parenting Workshops or PlaygroupsFree parenting workshops and playgroups offer support and education for parents and caregivers. These events can provide valuable tips on child development, parenting strategies, and children’s opportunities to play and socialize. 

Don Campbell Elementary School Playground: The playground at Don Campbell Elementary School is designed to be inclusive, allowing children of all abilities to play together. It features accessible play structures and surfaces that accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices, ensuring a fun environment for every child. For more information on the school and its playground, visit Don Campbell Elementary.

Skateboarding and inline skating: Red Deer’s outdoor skate parks are popular for skateboarders, BMX riders, and inline skaters. The park has ramps, rails, and bowls, making it the perfect place to hone your skills or socialize with other enthusiasts. For more information about the location and details, you can visit Glendale Skate Park.

Stargazing: Local parks or open spaces away from city lights are prime locations for stargazing. Amateur astronomers and anyone interested in the night sky can enjoy the beauty of stars and even catch sight of a meteor shower or planet.  

Swimming at Local Pools: Red Deer’s public pools often offer free swim times to the community. Swimming is excellent exercise and a fun activity for all ages. 

Cooking and Nutrition Workshops: Free cooking or nutrition workshops are sometimes available in Red Deer, offering information on healthy eating habits, meal preparation, and cooking skills. These workshops are at community centers, libraries, or local health organizations.

Maskepetoon ParkMaskepetoon Park is an ecological gem within the city, offering a natural escape with its diverse flora and fauna. The park has walking trails that allow visitors to explore the area’s natural beauty and observe wildlife in its habitat. 

Community BBQ or Potluck: Seasonal community BBQs and potlucks are excellent opportunities to engage with neighbours and enjoy good food in local parks or community centers. They can also be a great way to experience local hospitality and make new friends.

Michener Hill Cemetery: For a historical outing, visit Michener Hill Cemetery, where you can explore Red Deer’s history and heritage. The cemetery is the resting place of many of the city’s early settlers and notable figures.

Wildlife Spotting: Red Deer’s natural areas are home to various wildlife species. Enthusiasts can enjoy spotting deer, birds, and small mammals in their natural habitat. For the best wildlife spotting locations, visit Waskasoo Environmental Education Society.

Final Thoughts

Red Deer is a treasure trove of free activities that blend outdoor adventure, cultural engagement, and community spirit. Embrace the opportunity to discover Red Deer’s natural beauty, vibrant community, and rich heritage without spending a dime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are any free activities in Red Deer suitable for families with young children? 

Yes, Red Deer offers several free activities perfect for families, including playgrounds like the inclusive Don Campbell Elementary School playground, free storytime sessions at local bookstores and family-friendly events like the Kid’s Can Catch fishing day.

Does Red Deer offer any free fitness or wellness activities?

Red Deer offers various complimentary wellness activities, including seasonal yoga sessions in the park and outdoor exercise equipment at Setters Place at Great Chief Park.

Are there opportunities for learning and personal development in Red Deer at no cost?

Individuals can attend free workshops or seminars at local community centers, participate in language exchange meetups, or join a community crafting group.

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