Everyone remembers getting their first tattoo (unless it was during a drunken night out, which we don’t *necessarily* recommend). The thrill of hearing the buzz from the tattoo machine for the first time and seeing the finished product beautifully adorned on your skin is a monumental experience. And often, once you get one tat, you’re hooked for life. Whether you’re looking for an intricate sleeve, dainty quote or dot work design, there are tons of cool tattoo parlours in Canada where you can get your ink. Unlike those cute little temporary tattoos we adorn our bods with during festival season, these designs are forever. After all, your body is your canvas, right?
Best Tattoo Parlours in Vancouver
Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective
Find it: 62 Powell St., liquidambertattoo.com
The rundown: Home to a team of almost all female artists, this unique Gastown collective is a space for local talent to showcase their artwork, whether that be tattoo designs, paintings or other forms of visual art. It’s a gallery-meets-tattoo-shop of sorts, which is perf for creatives looking to feel artistically inspired as they get tatted.
Cost: $100 to $145 minimum, $120 to $200 per hour
Gastown Tattoo Parlour
Find it: 105 W Cordova St., gastowntattoo.com
The rundown: With a diverse roster of 15 artists offering services from professional tattooing to laser tattoo removal and cosmetic tats, this buzz-worthy spot is home to some of the best talent in the city. The space has lime green walls with touches of exposed brick, pre-drawn designs framed on the wall and quirky animal figurines throughout (see: the moose head and stuffed arctic fox) for a personality-packed parlour.
Cost: $100 minimum, $180 per hour
Sticks & Stones Tattoo
Find it: 485 Main St., sticksandstonestattoo.com
The rundown: This self-proclaimed queer- and POC-owned tattoo parlour is proud to provide a safe space for marginalized artists and clients to get inked. Their skilled team of artists specialize in breathtakingly detailed black and grey fine line designs (peep their Instagram for some inspo).
Cost: $150 to $160 per hour
Walk-ins: Yes, but only on occasion as they are a custom tattoo shop so def call or email first
Find it: 876 Commercial Dr., electroladylux.com
The rundown: As Vancity’s original all-female owned and operated tattoo shop, this warm and inviting spot is the ideal destination if you want to support local ladies in the biz. Owner Teresa Johnson has over 20 years of experience and loves a creative challenge when it comes to her designs, so no piece is too big a task.
Cost: $200 per hour
Find it: 1014 Granville St., 1926 W 4th Ave. #104, adrenalinestudios.com
The rundown: With locations in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, this popular tattoo and piercing studio offers a wide range of designs, including blackwork, geometric, realism and more. Their ultra-cool shops are stocked with body jewelry, apparel and artwork from up-and-coming talent, too.
Cost: $100 minimum, $160 to $180 per hour
Best Tattoo Parlours in Calgary
Find it: 2555 32 St NE #323, humankanvas.com
The rundown: With three locations across Alberta and an accomplished roster of 20 local artists, this parlour is all about treating the human body as a blank canvas (hence the creative name). As they say on their website, “don’t get a tattoo–collect a piece of art.”
Cost: Starting at $120 to $150 per hour
Walk-ins: Yes, every Saturday and Sunday
Gypsy Rose Tattoo & Piercing
Find it: 3132 26 St NE #102, gypsyrosetattoo.com
The rundown: This super friendly tattoo and piercing parlour offers a chic backdrop for your next ink sesh. From the patterned wallpaper to the accent hot pink wall and sleek leather seating, you’ll feel right at home. After all, if getting a tattoo can be a fun *and* chic experience, all the better, amiright?
Cost: $100 minimum, $120 to $175 per hour
Find it: 218 17 Ave. SE, bushidotattoo.com
The rundown: Shop owner and tattoo artist Douglas Fink is famous in the city for his traditional Japanese designs. The studio space is almost as colourful as the designs themselves with its yellow and red statement walls, Asian-inspired lanterns and a skull mural outside, which will totally brighten up your Insta feed for your tattoo selfie.
Cost: $170 to $190 per hour
Eternal Image Tattoo
Find it: 1209 10 Ave. SE, eternalimage.ca
The rundown: Full-time custom design tattoo artists Scott Veldhoen and Dylan Birkholm make up Eternal Image Tattoo, both specializing in eye-popping colourful designs as well as intricate black and grey pieces. The shop itself gives us maj old-school vibes with its black and white tiled floor, black leather seats and tattoo-inspired artwork lining the walls.
Cost: $100 minimum, $160 per hour
Best Tattoo Parlours in Edmonton
Bombshell Tattoo Galerie
Find it: 9925 82 Ave. NW, bombshelltattoo.ca
The rundown: Owner, head artist and internationally-acclaimed tattoo talent Liz Venom is known for her realistic nature designs (which you can peep on her inspiring Instagram). The interior of the shop is filled with eye-catching prints, quirky extras (like a moose head with a baseball cap hanging from one antler) and a rustic grunge vibe.
Cost: Varies depending on the artist and the piece
Find it: 10121 124 St., atomiczombie.com
The rundown: This popular tattoo and piercing shop is home to twelve insanely gifted tattoo artists who each bring their own unique vision to the table. From jaw-dropping watercolour designs to statement “new-school” styles (think bright colours and animated caricatures), you’re bound to click creatively with one of the artists depending on your personal style.
Cost: $120 minimum, $175 per hour
Shades of Grey Tattoo
Find it: 10444 82 Ave. NW, shadesofgreytattoo.com
The rundown: As a self-proclaimed “art fusion experience,” this one-of-a-kind tattoo studio is home to a quirky collection of toys, comic books and art. The gallery-like environment offers a creative backdrop for your tattoo session with both veteran and up-and-coming artists dishing out ink.
Cost: $105 minimum, $160 per hour
Eye of the Lotus
Find it: 10653 116 St. NW, eyeofthelotus.com
The rundown: Not only d0 the artists at this homey custom tattoo and piercing parlour create breathtaking designs for their clients, they’re all about giving back to the community, too. Over the years, they’ve spoken to high schools and youth groups about the importance of safe, hygienic tattoos and piercings (which is v. important and should be talked about more, tbh).
Cost: $165 to $175 per hour
Best Tattoo Parlours in Saskatoon
Rites of Passage Tattoo
Find it: 634 10th St. E, roptattoo.com
The rundown: As the name would suggest, getting your first tattoo is truly a right of passage (trust, you’ll be hooked after your first). This family-owned and operated tattoo shop has six full-time artists (including two badass ladies) and one guest artist every month, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a talent that will match your vision.
Cost: $95 minimum, $150 to $175 per hour
Walk-ins: Yes, every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
Tantrix Body Art
Find it: 107 3 Ave. N, tantrixbodyart.com
The rundown: If you’re looking for a complex black and grey design, colourful piece or realistic portrait, this award-winning custom tattoo and piercing shop will be your new go-to.
Cost: $80 to $100 minimum, $150 to $160 per hour
Walk-ins: Yes, but only on occasion so check their Facebook page for announcements
ON2U Body Piercing & Tattoos
Find it: 101A 20th St. W, on2u.ca
The rundown: This bright tattoo and piercing shop is adorned with red walls and an industrial-inspired interior. Owner Veronica Tricker can give you a badass tat or chic septum piercing, plus she offers laser tattoo removal for those old designs you’ve fallen out of love with.
Cost: $100 minimum, $80 to $150 per hour
Best Tattoo Parlours in Winnipeg
Metamorphosis Body Art
Find it: 290 McDermot Ave. #101, metamorphosisbodyart.com
The rundown: Located in the Exchange District, this lady-friendly, inclusive tattoo parlour is owned and operated by mother-daughter duo Dianne Matt and Nadine Mitchell. They call themselves a “one stop shop” for all things body modification, from tattoos to piercings and a full-service retail shop stocked with gorg body jewelry.
Cost: $175 and $200 per hour
Walk-ins: Yes, but only when there is a new artist or guest artist at the shop so make sure to call or email first
Find it: 71 St Anne’s Rd., kapalatattoo.com
The rundown: If you’re wondering where all of the coolest tattoo enthusiasts go to get their newest piece in the ‘Peg, this is the place. Kapala Tattoo is a bustling tattoo parlour with a loyal clientele and buzzy reputation. The shop also hosts Winnipeg’s tattoo convention this summer (August 24 to 26, 2018) at the Red River Exhibition Park if you want to check out what the rest of the country and the world has to offer in the tat department.
Cost: $175 per hour
Living Canvas Tattoo
Find it: 1328 St James St., livingcanvastattoo.ca
The rundown: Business (and life) partners Jeff and Abby started this tattoo studio over 10 years ago, and it has since expanded to a roster of seven full-time artists who see tattooing not just as a form of body modification, but an art form.
Cost: $130 to $150 per hour
Walk-ins: Yes, every Saturday
13th Hour Tattoo
Find it: 304 Notre Dame Ave., 13thhourtattoo.com
The rundown: Co-owner, head artist and self-taught tattooer Fernando Zepeda and his experienced team of artists at this custom tattoo and piercing shop offer a friendly, laidback atmosphere for your first or fifteenth tattoo. Take inspiration from the talent’s portfolios, bring in your own design or let them draw you up their very own creation.
Cost: Starting at $125 per hour
Best Tattoo Parlours in Toronto
Pearl Harbour Gift Shop
Find it: 24 Kensington Ave., pearlharbourgiftshop.com
The rundown: With walk-ins everyday on a first-come-first-serve basis, this custom tattoo parlour is perf for those looking for a traditional experience (think neon lights, walls of designs and an all-around badass atmosphere, which we are living for).
Cost: $100 minimum, $180 per hour
The Okey Doke Tattoo Shop
Find it: 1229 Dundas St. W, theokeydoke.com
The rundown: This inviting tattoo shop offers a chill atmosphere for those who might be a bit nervous about getting their first tat. The relatively minimalist space is brought to life with all of the colourful artwork and pre-drawn designs there to help if you can’t decide what to get.
Cost: $100 minimum, $150 per hour
Ink & Water
Find it: 1303 Bloor St. W, theinkandwatertattoo.ca
The rundown: Everything about this modern custom tattoo parlour screams “take a pic for the ‘gram.” From their hot pink “Don’t Tell Mom” and “Grandma Approves” neon signs to the ample amounts of fresh foliage and geometric ceilings, you might just forget you’re in a tattoo parlour until you look down at your brand new design on your skin.
Cost: $120 to $200 per hour
Black Line Studio
Find it: 573 King St. W, 41 Clock Tower Rd., blacklinestudio.com
The rundown: With an open-concept layout, plenty of sleek wood and modern seating, this chic tattoo, body piercing and laser removal boutique does not look like your typical grungy parlour. It’s also home to an art gallery, skincare shop and body jewelry counter, so you might just have to stay a while to soak it all in.
Cost: $100 minimum, $150 to $180 per hour
Find it: 252 Eglinton Ave. E, 378 Yonge St., 2nd Floor, chronicinktattoo.com
The rundown: With humble beginnings at the Pacific Mall in Markham, this authentic Asian-owned tattoo parlour has since expanded to two spacious studios in T.O. and is celebrating 10 years in the biz this year. Specializing in custom tattoos, the artists will happily draw you up your very own creation in watercolour, custom lettering, realism and beyond.
Cost: $150 to $250 per hour
Best Tattoo Parlours in Ottawa
Find it: 139 Preston St., freeworldtattoo.com
The rundown: Home to the city’s “most raddest tattoos,” this creative tattoo parlour in Little Italy prides itself on original designs in a range of different styles, from watercolour to realism, as well as custom designs.
Cost: $90 minimum, $120 to $150 per hour
The Ink Spot
Find it: 429 Bank St., theinkspot.ca
The rundown: This downtown tattoo and piercing studio is home to a talented team of award-winning artists and piercers with unlimited creative potential. If you’d rather create something from scratch, the artists can put you in the driver’s seat of your own dream tat.
Cost: $80 minimum
Walk-ins: Yes, but only on occasion so make sure to book in advance to guarantee a spot
New Moon Tattoo
Find it: 2979 Carling Ave., 2127 St.Joseph Blvd., newmoontattoo.com
The rundown: This tattoo veteran has been creating custom works of art for ink enthusiasts in the nation’s capital since 1982. With a can’t-beat old-school style, this shop is proof that you shouldn’t mess with tradition.
Cost: $75 minimum, $125 to $150 per hour
Living Colour Tattoo
Find it: 412 Dalhousie St., living-colour.com
The rundown: Located in the heart of the bustling ByWard Market, this custom tattoo and piercing parlour (plus art gallery) is celebrating 25 years in the biz. Owner and all-around experienced tattoo boss Kathy McGuire is famous for her animal portraiture and realism designs, which is ideal if you want to get a tat of your pet or loved one.
Cost: $100 minimum, $150 per hour for larger pieces
Blue Blood Custom Tattoos
Find it: 1255 Coldrey Ave., bluebloodcustomtattoos.com
The rundown: This friendly custom tattoo parlour is home to five insanely talented artists who are here to make your vision come to life on your skin. Each artist has a unique style and a dedication to improving their craft, so you’ll feel right at home during this creative collaboration.
Cost: $100 minimum, $150 per hour
Best Tattoo Parlours in Montreal
Find it: 3933 St Denis St., 4525 St Denis St., mtltattoo.com
The rundown: With over 20 years of experience in Montreal’s tattoo business, this innovative tattoo parlour has been making waves in the industry since the beginning. Hosting trade shows and festivals and using the latest techniques, highest quality inks and on-trend designs, there’s a reason this spot is one of the best in the city.
Cost: $80 minimum, $130 per hour
Find it: 391 Saint-Catherine St. W, angerink.com
The rundown: This (dare we say) edgy-meets-elegant tattoo parlour calls themselves “badass with class” (yaaas!) because of the sparkling geometric lighting, muted black walls and punchy red accents around the space. Who knew getting a tattoo could be so freakin’ chic.
Cost: $150 per hour
Find it: 155 Pins Ave. E, tattooboxmontreal.com
The rundown: Nicknamed the “day spa for tattoos” (because you are going to be pampered, duh), the talented team at this upbeat tattoo parlour wants you to actually enjoy your first—or fiftieth—tattoo experience sans tears. They’ll be there every step of the way, from consultation to creation.
Cost: $80 minimum, $120 to $150 per hour
Tattoo Lounge MTL
Find it: 3672 St Laurent Blvd., tattooloungemtl.com
The rundown: The acclaimed artists at this custom tattoo and piercing parlour understand the importance of the creative process because after all, “tattoos represent more than an image, it represents you.”
Cost: $80 minimum, $120 per hour
Find it: 5335 St Laurent Blvd., studiotattoomania.com
The rundown: This colourful, open-concept tattoo parlour really packs a punch with grey and white tiled floors, plenty of stunning artwork and designs lining the walls and racks of covetable apparel on sale. They also host two international tattoo conventions: the Art Tattoo Québec in June and the Art Tattoo Montreal in September if you want to scope out local and international talent for your next tat.
Cost: $100 minimum, $125+ per hour
Best Tattoo Parlours in Moncton
Okie Pokie Tattoo
Find it: 77 Weldon St., okiepokietattoo.com
The rundown: This team of tattoo talent (owner Nigel Burton and Thomas Maxwell) specializes in free-hand designs with saturated colour or more muted black and grey hues for whatever suits your style. Through one-on-one creative consultations, the artists will bring to your vision to fruition.
Cost: $80 minimum, but price depends on size, equipment, artist and style
KBS Tattoos & Piercings
Find it: 19 Meadowdale Dr., @kbsmoncton
The rundown: The skilled artists at this quaint, comfy tattoo and piercing studio can draw a wicked free-hand, traditional design or cover-up (if you regret getting your ex’s name tatted on your back). Plus, you’ll walk out of your appointment stocked with aftercare tips to preserve your new design.
Cost: $75 minimum, $125 per hour for larger pieces
Best Tattoo Parlours in Halifax
Find it: 6191 Young St., @hfxtattoo
The rundown: Striking the perfect balance between gothic and vintage, this beautiful tattoo parlour has unique touches like a vintage floral couch, stuffed leopard statue and gorg tattoo-inspired artwork. The interior is almost as jaw-dropping as the professional artists’ one-of-a-kind designs.
Cost: $150+ per hour
Find it: 6070 Quinpool, utilitytattoo.com
The rundown: Everything about this shop demands your attention, from the red exterior to the spacious interior with walls of drool-worthy designs. The trio of tattoo artists are known for their traditional and customized tats, so if you want a bold and beautiful showstopper, this place is for you.
Cost: $80 to $100 minimum, $120+ per hour
Walk-ins: Yes, but only when they have time (which isn’t often), so it’s best to book in advance
Sin on Skin Tattoo Studio
Find it: 5239 Blowers St., sinonskin.ca
The rundown: Located in the heart of downtown Halifax, this veteran tattoo parlour is a go-to for locals looking to get inked because of their cleanliness, the intimate atmosphere and the staff’s artistic excellence. Most of the artists offer vegan and gluten-free ink which is perf for those who have allergies or want a more sustainable tat.
Cost: $80 minimum, $160 for the first hour ($100 extra for each additional hour)
Adept Tattoos & Body Piercing Studio
Find it: 6267 Quinpool Rd., 157 Bedford Hwy, adepttattoos.com
The rundown: This inclusive, award-winning tattoo parlour specializes in custom designs, hand-drawn by the talented team. The owner, Amber Thorpe, also does mastectomy tattoos for cancer survivors (such as nipple tattoos) to help women feel more comfortable with their bodies post-op. Plus, they run the Maritime Tattoo Festival in May when local and international artists come to Halifax to show off their talent.
Cost: $100 minimum, $150 per hour
Best Tattoo Parlours in Charlottetown
Ironside Tattoo & Piercing
Find it: 245 University Ave., @ironsidepei
The rundown: If you’re on the Island looking to get tatted, this ultra-cool tattoo and piercing studio is a no-brainer. The walls are lined with designs if you’re looking for some last-minute inspo, or artists Jared Sark and Sharky Jones can create an original piece that will make you think, “why didn’t I do this sooner?”
Cost: $80 minimum, $120 to $150 per hour
Walk-ins: Yes, every Friday and Saturday
Best Tattoo Parlours in St. John’s
Lady Lo’s Custom Tattoos
Find it: 267 Duckworth St. (they are moving to a new location soon, so be sure check their Facebook for the new address!), @ladylocustomtattoos
The rundown: This all-female custom tattoo shop started with owner Laura Casey who is a tattooing jack of all trades. Her meticulous craft and creative vision makes her one of the best in the biz (she can do anything from a dainty flower to a realistic portrait of your loved one).
Cost: $50 to $85 minimum, $50 to $140 per hour
Trouble Bound Studio
Find it: 132 Water St., troubleboundtattoos.com
The rundown: As the first custom tattoo shop in the city, Trouble Bound Studio is home to full-time artists Mike Ledrew and Dave Munro who are the masters of OTT, colourful pieces that are meant to be shown off. The studio constantly has guest tattoo artists on rotation, too, so keep an eye out for cross-Canada talent.
Cost: $150 per hour
Find it: 57 Cashin Ave., dragonflytattoos.ca
The rundown: This tattoo and piercing shop is a one-man show run by owner and tattoo extraordinaire Jason Locke. Hailing from Toronto, he has 17 years of experience working with the best tattoo artists in the country and his quaint shop in a can’t-miss powder blue building is a comfortable spot to get inked.
Cost: $100 to $120 per hour