If I’m looking for cute, one-of-a-kind items, but secret shopping weapon is often leaving town. Not only will you snag unique items Calgary chains don’t carry, but these outings remind me how lucky I am to live in such a gorgeous destination. Here are some sweet towns and quaint country boutiques around Alberta well worth the drive.
Cattlemunns Ranching Gift Shop
About a 15-minutes north of Hanna, Cattlemunns Ranching Gift Shop is a gem of a shop worth sniffing out. They’ve pretty much cornered the market on quaint country Christmas items, and you’ll have to do several laps of the store (and quonset!) to do it justice. I snagged some Nordic looking linens and a few antique wooden containers from China.
Note: Open Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., or by appointment. Schedule a girl’s night out here and you’ll want to make it an annual event. Drop by on Saturdays and tuck into freshly baked cinnamon buns.
If I had a nickel for every shopaholic who recommended Merry’s Mercantile to me, I’d be able to pay off my shopping bill! Located at 5014 50 Avenue, Bentley, AB, this mercantile successfully mixes the old with the new, underneath a hip roof barn. The edit here is spot on! After your shop, head to Rimbey for a bite at the Empress Theatre Coffee Shop.
Another gem in central Alberta is Gracie D’s, where you’ll find multiple buildings to sift through in Mirror, AB. And the antique store in Airdrie – Where on Earth Did You Get That, has some great finds, too.
Shopping in Black Diamond
This tiny town is a trove of eclectic shops, galleries and surprisingly good drugstores. Hit up Bohemia for fair trade, local and just plain cool products. (I walked out with a three dresses, each under $50!). Next, nip in to Blue Rock Gallery located next door. Even if you’re not an art collector, you can snag pottery and a locally made adult colouring book by artist Crystal Salamon.
Don’t think you’re finished! A three-minute drive away is the Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley. Take a tour, try a tasting or snag some of their Christmas spirits.
Shopping in High River
If you’re besotted with the french country farmhouse look, you’ll love stepping into Pixie Hollow. The edit here is spot on, the merchandizing is gorgeous and the selection of books, stationary, clothing and quilts is second to none. They also have a fab selection of children’s books, in addition to quality learning toys and games. Stuff those stockings with tasty treats from Sheena’s Sweets and Such.
There aren’t many opportunities in life to dine on a train anymore, so roll into Whistle Stop Cafe for a bite. I’m also partial to The Hitchin Post, a seasonal burger shack that’s worth the calories.
Antiques and more in Nanton
Start your shopping excursion at Because I Said So, a fair trade cafe, where you can browse while sipping speciality coffees. Their selection of indy music and greeting cards is tops, but I’ve got my eye on the buffalo hide bags made in Sundre.
Mosey onto Mosaic, flush with funky jewelry, wood carvings and stained glass (hello Tiffany-style lamps!). While you’re there, you can even get a tattoo! Auditorium Hotel Cafe serves up home cooking in a rustic atmosphere, and there’s even a coffee and wine bar in town. The vibe at Fieldstones is fresh, modern and oh-so European.
With a belief beauty can change your life, the finds inside Heavenly Outhouse are unique, non-toxic and well priced. From bedding to baby, bath and body, expect to snap up gorgeous items you might end up keeping for yourself.
Superb soup is found at Coffee Traders, you can go vegan at Thai Onzon and Guy’s Bakery is always fun. St Christopher coffee drink at The Gentry Expresso Bar is approaching cult status and their paninis are pretty rad, too.
Drumheller is the perfect family getaway from Calgary. There’s plenty of things to do in Drumheller and shopping is one of them!
Divide and conquer with one parent pleasing the troops at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the other hitting the shops. Jungling Works offers a unique mix of home décor and art (especially textiles), Faux Den carries antiques, mining memorabilia and toys, while Dry Canyon Collectibles offers First Nations art, collectibles and gift items.
Got a T-Rex obsessed tyke on your list? The Fossil Shop has fantastic selection of fossils and minerals. As you’d expect, the gift shop at Royal Tyrrell Museum is groaning with dino related toys, books and educational items for purchase.
For a lovely lunch check out Bernie & the Boys Bistro, featured on the Food Network’s You’ve Gotta Eat Here.
So what did I miss? What are your favourite shops close to Calgary?
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Fantastic job Jody!! I love shopping, another great store in Black Diamond is Bali Bling. I want to go check these places out! Thank you again
Well, that’s another reason to get back to Black Diamond, now isn’t it? Thanks so much for the rec!
Just moved to Alberta from Ontario. Does anyone know if there are bus trips available for these shopping excursions?
Hi Patricia. Let me ask around. I don’t know of any, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Rosebud is a really sweet small community about an hour outside of Calgary. They have a famous theatre group and I’ve heard of bus trips for that.
What a clever post- all places I had not considered. Sounds like a great girlfriend outing.
You’re right. Any of these destinations would make a fabulous girl friend outing. Really appreciate you taking the time to comment!
Priddis View and Brew – great food and eclectic goods. Also the shops and cafes in Bragg Creek – drive out via the Cowboy Trail Highway 22 for a scenic roadtrip.
Yes! All those little hamlets around the Cowboy Trail are worth the drive, too!
I love boutique stores. Looks like an area where I could spend days!
I bet you could!
Hi Jodie just down the Main Street there is Bar 13 handmade soaps and lotions awesome store they make the soap right here . Then up Government road are a few more shops . Vales greenhouse has a little year round gift store come back and check it out !stop at my Sign Shop and say hi can check us out on Face Book
Thanks for the tips, Betty. Just want to clarify which town are you speaking of.
Great suggestions! Thanks for the shout-out for my book, Jody! I’ve shared your article out to Twitter and Facebook. <3
If you are ever in the Stettler area we would welcome you to check out The Crystal Ranch. We are open year round in a rural setting and have a reputation for an amazingly warm and welcoming shop.
shopping High River….Could you mention our gallery in High River.
Pike Pottery and Metal Studios…Lots of unique handmade gifts for everyone….
Connie and Bob
Thanks for this Jodi – fab idea to combine a shopping addiction with your passion for travel. I do actually have a T-Rex obsessed tyke on my list … thanks for the tip on the Fossil Shop!
I’m not a great shopper but I’d go just for the pleasure of wandering around those quaint towns and old buildings. And for the cinnamon buns of course!
Yes, that’s what makes it so special. All these little towns have such character.
Next time you’re in Drumheller, make sure to see The General Store! Lovely rustic decor, old fashioned candy, fresh coffee and cinnamon buns, in an Eaton Catalogue home! Also, Gallery Row in Downtown Drumheller contains 3 fantastic art galleries/shops with some very unique items.
Great suggestions. I’ll make a point to visit both Gallery Row and The General Store next time I’m in Drum. Thanks so much for commenting.
I enjoyed all the shops but there is a neat Gift Shop in Innisfail called The Gift Loft, a very neat, gift shop where you can find awesome gifts for all ages and affordable.
The shops you shared are neat, I have shopped in some of them. I also would like you to include The Gift Loft, Innisfail, it’s a unique gift shop filled with gifts for all ages and their prices are awesome.
Great suggestion. I’ve never shopped in Innisfail, but will add this to my shopping bucket list.
This is such a great list Jody! I’ll definitely stop at the Heavenly Outhouse next time I go through Cochrane. The shops in Black Diamond sound worth a detour. We drove through there last Christmas and grabbed coffee at The Stop – some serious indie artisan vibes in such a little town.
This post makes me want to go shopping and I’m not big on shopping so good job!
Hello Judy! You got a really nice list there. You should make your way a little further north east the next time. There are little treasures hidden almost everywhere. One of them is ‘a little bit of everything’ YOUR TREASURE CHEST on Mundare’s Main street.
I was tasked with concentrating on shops within a few hours drive of Calgary. AnchorsandProteas.com took the area around Edmonton. Be sure to check out her site as it focuses on sweet shops in Northern Alberta.
Closer to Edmonton, but for sure the Village of Pigeon Lake, and near by “Backstreet Antiques”. The Village itself has great locally owned stores and The Emporium would be the main one for Country Christmas ideas but there are unique restaurants and clothing boutiques too.
I’ve heard so many people mention Pigeon Lake to me! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.
Fantastic tips Jody! I love those mountain pillows 🙂 I’ll definitely have to bookmark this and come back to it next year as I’m planning to move to Calgary next summer!
So many great choices Jody. You can tell I don’t get out much when I haven’t heard of 90% of these places. My vote is to check out The Heavenly Outhouse for the name alone.
Two of my favorite recent finds – Water Valley
And De Winton – Huge store with endless choices at the Saskatoon Farm
Great suggestions, Thank you!
I live in High Prairie, AB
We have some great unique shops, A Few Of Your Favorite Things, Kitchen Chaos, Attic Affects, and Flowers and Things.
Great stores, you live close or travelling through, check them out.
Great suggestions. Thanks, Carol! I’ll be sure to hit these up if I’m ever in the vicinity.
Our Christmas store at Spruce It Up Garden Centre at the south end of Calgary on Macloed Trail come check out “The Spirit of Christmas”
A worthy stop on your way out of town!
Thanks for the list! We will definitely have to check some of them out next time we head north! If you every make it to Lethbridge and area, check out Green Haven Garden Centre, Urban Prairie, Nicholai, The Jasmine Tea Room, Mocha Cabana, Bread Milk and Honey, and – yes, I’ve saved the best for last – Home Hardware. HH has the best selection of gift and local wares in the area!
Great suggestions. I’ll for sure be in Lethbridge in the new year and look forward to checking these shops out.
In Rosebud, near Drumheller, you can also take in the dinner theater there as well as shop in the three gift shops. Currently playing is the Miracle on 34th Street until December 23. 2016. Lovely B&B’s to stay overnight and they often have theater packages. Rose Hip Gifts on Main Street has two shops and there is the Rosebud Gift Shop in the Mercantile right across the street.
Great suggestion on Rosebud! Thanks so much, Bonnie.