Regina is weird. An island of obscurity in a wide-open Canadian Prairie. Historically, the Queen City has always been a fuel-up point for road-weary cross-country travellers bridging the long haul between Calgary and Winnipeg. This is changing, and this city will find ways to charm you if you keep an open mind. Regina is a place you will want to spend time in.
I’m here to yell it from the rooftops. To proudly proclaim that REGINA IS WEIRD. Weird in a good, silly, and fun way. Didn’t you hear? Weird is in. Weird is cool. Weird is HIP. This article is for people who embrace obscurity, and I’ve prepared some tips for you to enjoy my home city.
Ok, so most of my food suggestions aren’t weird at all, they're just delicious and affordable. Regina has SO MANY amazing multicultural food options for a city of its size. Delicious Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, and so many more affordable culinary options abound.
One of my personal favourites is the Dosa India Curry House (2143 Albert St). Get your crew together and tuck in for amazing dosas, sizzling tandoori appetizers, cold and creamy mango lassi, and if you love spice, you’ll definitely want to try their spicy lamb vindaloo. It might look unassuming from the outside, but you’ll be glad you took my advice. This is my favourite restaurant in Regina.
After stuffing your face, you’ll probably be in the mood for some world-class live entertainment. Regina has been a hotbed for international musicians, improvisers, comedians, and theatre productions. Weird, right? With the likes of Andy Shauf (music), Tatiana Maslany (improv/acting), and Megan Nash (music) all spending their time cutting their teeth in Regina, who knows which next rising star will be performing on any given evening. There is more than meets the eye to Regina’s performing arts scene.
If you’re into improv, be sure to check out Hitchhikers Improv (http://hitchhikersimprov.ca/) for their shows every Friday evening. For Comedy, you’ll want to be on the lookout for “Pass The Hat” events at The Exchange (https://theexchangelive.ca/). The Globe Theatre (http://globetheatrelive.com/) posts their show schedules and ticket information for their “theatre in the round” productions on their website. O’hanlon’s (1947 Scarth St) has live music every Friday and usually, there are shows at other amazing venues like The Cure (2323 11th Ave), The Exchange (2431 8th Ave), and some weird but amazing punk/heavier shows at venues like The Mercury Cafe (2936 13th Ave) or The German Club (1727 St John St).
Wipe the sleep out of your eyes and head over to Mr Breakfast (1247 Albert St)! This small greasy spoon has been a Regina staple for many years. Be bold! Try their bologna, it’s the best in town. Get a big plate of greasy goodness and fuel up for the long day ahead!
It’s a short trip to the Centennial Market (6th Ave. &, Hamilton St), which is always busy on Saturdays. If the diner coffee from Mr Breakfast isn’t your style and you’d like to grab a proper coffee before strolling the market, Cafe DRIP (1275 Broad St) and Our Spot (1433 Hamilton St) are nearby and delicious.
Walk around the various antique stalls and local vendors at Centennial Market and enjoy window shopping and people watching. This recent addition to Regina’s cultural fabric brings one new thing that I absolutely love: ANTIQUE STALLS. If you’re looking for autographed Alan Jackson portraits or obscure vintage light fixtures, then you’ve come to the right place!
Antiquing is hard work and you deserve an amazing craft beer that Regina is famous for! Regina was recently ranked as the 23rd best beer city in the world by Uproxx (https://uproxx.com/life/best-beer-cities-in-the-world/), and the warehouse district is home to a large number of those award-winning breweries.
Rebellion Brewing (1901 Dewdney Ave) has fully embraced Regina’s “weird but awesome” mantra, and you’ll want to start your crawl there. Try their amazing sour beers or one of their delicious IPA’s. After Rebellion, head across the street to Bushwakker. The food at Bushwakker (2206 Dewdney Ave) is LEGENDARY and is only rivalled by the quality of its beer. Enjoy a Saskatchewan Platter or try and take down what I like to call “Nacho Mountain” with a few friends. Any delicious meal will need to be washed down with a Dungarvin Red Ale (my personal favourite) or Cheryl’s Blonde Ale. Bushwakker is the pioneer of Regina’s beer scene, and it’s still as relevant and delicious as ever.
Once you’ve had enough food and drink, this is where the night truly gets weird. Head to the South end and grab a booth at Sparky’s (3926 Gordon Rd, AKA the Sparkledome) for karaoke. This is my favourite karaoke bar in the city, and it’s impossible not to have fun while crushing a few schooners of Bohemian beer and watching (or providing) a few riveting karaoke performances. I’m a big fan of watching people sing a bunch of nu-metal (Lots of Disturbed and Godsmack), and the pizza is great and cheap!
NOTE: Sparky’s has an obscure rule where they won’t serve you pizza in the karaoke room after a certain time, so you might have to order your pizza to go or eat it in the parking lot. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t eaten a Sparky’s pizza in their parking lot one or ten times, but that’s part of what makes Sparky’s memorable and weird.
Sleep in. Seriously. Any post-Sparkledome morning is going to be slow-moving. Once you have your sea legs - err, Prairie legs - about you, head over to one of the most interesting areas in Regina and grab a delicious vegetarian breakfast at Hunter Gatherer Neighbourhood Diner (1221 15th Ave). Spend time checking out all the vintage portraits on the walls and dig into some tasty food!
After you’ve had your breakfast, it’s time for some disc golf! Disc golf is one of my most favourite activities in the world, and it’s been rapidly growing in popularity in Regina. I find it to be a tranquil, therapeutic, and social activity that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon! The Douglas Park Disc golf course located near Leibel Field is my home course and winds its way through one of the most interesting and beautiful corners of Wascana Park. The last four holes offer memorable views of Wascana Lake.
If you need to gear up with some discs, Sunshine and Ski (4403 Albert St) is a great local store that is a sponsor of the course. Head on over and have them outfit you with some discs if need be!
NOTE: You will want to either download the “Udisc” app or go to the Regina Disc Golf Association’s website to download a PDF map for the Douglas Park course. Unfortunately, the course isn’t very well marked, so you’ll need to refer to some sort of map your first few times out.
Head on back to the same intersection as Hunter Gatherer and zip across the street to Malty National / 33 & 1/3 coffee roasters (1130 15th Ave). If you can grab a bench outside on a beautiful day, you’ll have a really great time people watching and drinking some delicious beer and coffee. Insider tip: There’s also FREE arcade games and a crokinole board available for use inside. Have fun :)
This is what any given weekend might look like for me in Regina. It really is a wonderful place with a lot going on, and a lot of it is very weird, in a good way. Thank you so much for visiting my city and spread the word! Regina is weird and fun and good!!