When our family travels we love to chat with the locals in the area about their recommendations for where to go, things to check out and food to eat. We’ve found some fantastic hole in the wall food joints, hiked to the best views, and avoided some harry situations (like swimming at the shark bite capital of the world beach in Florida) all because of conversations with locals.
Recently I took to social media to ask Estevan locals about what they love in Estevan. The list was long my friends! I also had to disqualify “the people” as an answer because that is of course the first thing that comes to locals’ minds – they love the community of people in this city. Sifting through all of their amazing answers I chose 5 that I could go and experience/re-experience this month.
In my lifetime I’ve lived in a town of 500 people, to small cities to large cities. We’ve made Estevan home for the last 20 years and one thing I’ve always loved to see is how the people in Estevan, invest in Estevan. Our city is full of amenities and opportunities to participate. In this list, I’ll be focussing on just a few things locals love that you can experience this month but you can be assured that come summer, there is a whole other host of experiences to be had here.
So here they are in no particular order…
Kinsmen Outdoor Rink at Hillside Park
The outdoor rink at Hillside Park is a permanent structure that provides a skating rink in the winter months and concrete sports arena in the spring/summer/fall. The rink is in full operation right now and is well maintained by community members and the Kinsmen and Kinettes. We love hitting this rink for a quick skate and love that it has a heated warm up shack with washrooms as well as lights for night. Right beside the main ice is a small ice pad where younger kids can learn to skate, on an area with less people on the ice.
If not everyone in your party wants to skate, Hillside Park also has a large playground area, swings, covered shelter with picnic tables and even a dog park. It’s a great place to meet up with friends and family that has something for everyone!
Michael’s Coffee Shop & Bakery
Though we have many wonderful restaurants in Estevan, locals will tell you if you want to experience the best cinnamon bun in the province (and likely broader) that you need to stop in at Michaels. This coffee shop started out in Carlyle, SK and the excitement when they decided to expand to Estevan was palpable.
Beyond mind blowing cinnamon buns they roast their own coffee, make delicious pizza, and offer loads of hot and cold drinks. We love the artisan vibe of the coffee shop and love perusing the hand crafted mugs and other art pieces for sale in the cafe.
At times when we have more family visiting than our house can handle (and when it’s too cold to use our camper as extra bedrooms) we recommend they stay at the Microtel. This is a popular recommendation of Estevan locals, especially for families who have children because it has what no other hotel in the city has – a waterslide!
The pool area is chic with large faux palms, boho pool furniture and a hot tub to warm up in. Surrounded completely by floor to ceiling windows, the pool area is a sunny and warm place to hang out.
The Microtel also recently renovated their main floor which includes an updated breakfast area, a lounge and an outdoor patio area. They have BBQ’s for guests but the lounge and patio area are also open for locals looking for a place to hang out. The outdoor patio offers comfortable patio furniture, outdoor heaters and a gas fire pit.
This hotel is a great option for visitors to Estevan as well as locals looking for a staycation.
What’s not to love about Affinity Place? This fantastic venue hosts family skates, toddler skates, hockey/figure skating practices, hockey games and concerts. Home to the Estevan Bruins and the Estevan Bears it’s a place that brings locals and visitors together for exciting match ups.
Another well-loved part of Affinity is the walking track. The track that makes it’s way around the upper level of the complex is the perfect place to get in some exercise when the air outside hurts your face. My favourite is mixing running at the top with running stairs.
While you’re there, you’ll want to be sure that you stop at the concession for some of the best rink food. When I used to help run Art Camps at the Leisure Centre, the concession catered our lunches and it was something I looked forward to every day!
Yes, I know. I’ve already talked about the walking paths in another feature but the locals have spoken and we’re not ready to stop talking about the walkings paths yet! In 2021, Estevan added over 13 km of newly paved walking paths to connect the city. Regardless of where you are in the city, you can access these paths.
On my day of local love I made a point to go find a section of the paths that I hadn’t walked yet and found that in the Hillcrest Area behind Jubilee Place. This section of path takes you through another valley and I love getting to stroll in an area that is somewhat unfamiliar to me, that has trees and has some elevation! Plus, this section of the path is near the Humane Society so you could pick up a pup to take walking with you during their open hours.
These paths are great to get outside on in the winter and you have even more options in the spring/summer/fall with bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, etc.
This list is just a small sampling of what the locals love in Estevan. We hope you get to visit and check out some of what Estevan has to offer!