The Forks with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in the background
The Forks with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights within the background

Mike Peters/Tourism Winnipeg

Yes, Winnipeg is chilly—but it surely’s additionally cool.

That’s how I like to explain the Canadian metropolis of practically 750,000 folks to anybody contemplating a go to. Making the eight-hour drive north of the Twin Cities with border crossings each in Minnesota and alongside the sting of North Dakota, you’ll want a passport to go to however can simply hit the highlights in an prolonged weekend. Or take your time and discover the attractive, rugged areas surrounding the town. After just a few years of closed borders resulting from COVID-19, Winnipeg is once more welcoming Individuals to go to.

Throughout a latest four-day go to in early July and former journeys over the previous few years to go to our daughter, who’s finding out astrophysics on the College of Manitoba, we’ve discovered most Winnipeggers are pleasant if not a bit impatient (I get that), and the neighborhoods run from upscale to seedy (I get that, too).

Town is likely one of the coldest on this planet—however that’s some extent of delight. Singer Neil Younger technically was born in Toronto—however grew up in Winninpeg, so he’s a local son. The range of the inhabitants and dedication to Indigenous folks (Metis and First Nation) is noteworthy. I’ve found Winnipeg presents excellent outside recreation choices, worldwide arts and cultural occasions, and worldwide delicacies. Utilizing these three classes as guides, listed here are a number of itineraries for exploring the realm.

Fort Whyte Alive
Fort Whyte Alive

Joey Visser

Open air

Surrounded by prairie, Winnipeg is (arguably) the geographic heart of North America. This surprises many individuals who don’t take into consideration how far north Canada extends from the US and Mexico. Its latitude, at 49.8 levels north, is nearly the identical parallel as Paris, however Winnipeg’s flat prairie inside location means the wind makes it colder. However like many Minnesotans, Canadians embrace the nice open air year-round. Winnipeg is full of parks and promenades alongside the Pink River, which flows primarily north to south by way of the guts of the town, in addition to alongside the east-west Assiniboine River. Within the winter, there are ice skating paths alongside each rivers in addition to quite a few cross-country snowboarding and mountaineering trails and groomed snowmobiling routes exterior the town limits. However Winnipeg actually shines in summer time and fall, particularly as a result of that longitude means the solar doesn’t set till practically 10:30 p.m. in early July.

One place to discover Winnipeg’s pure assets is the Fort Whyte Alive recreation heart. The 660-acre reclaimed inexperienced area consists of strolling trails, fishing docks, forests, and a newly renovated nature training heart that highlights the animals native to the realm with dioramas and shows. It’s well-liked with college teams, along with most people.

Assiniboine Park
Assiniboine Park


For boating, swimming, and water actions, we took a daytrip about an hour’s drive north of Winnipeg to Gimli, on the west aspect of Lake Winnipeg. The lakeside city celebrates its Viking heritage and the Icelandic settlers who based the city in 1875 with a 15-foot Viking statue. I additionally found Gimli is house to the Crown Royal whiskey distillery, identified for these purple felt luggage the bottles are available that my mother and father and my pals’ mother and father thought had been the peak of sophistication. We walked the packed mile-long seashore throughout our go to, which was over Canada’s Independence Day weekend, and had one of many well-known fish and chips lunches at a restaurant alongside the boardwalk. The Gimli harbor was filled with rentable sailboats and fishing outfitters for daytrips. 

Again in Winnipeg the following afternoon, my household golfed a spherical at a par-3 public course, one in every of many throughout the metropolis limits. I counted 10 programs on a metropolis map.

For lodging, we pulled our teardrop camper this go to and stayed a number of nights at Birds Hill Provincial Park campground. This place is big, with practically 500 camp websites that vary from primary to plugged in, with electrical and water hookups. It took us practically 20 minutes from coming into the park to reach at our web site with the winding roads and miles of nature. There’s a big seashore with picnic tables and a number of other playgrounds that we walked to from our campsite, in addition to miles of trails for mountaineering, biking, horseback using, and cross-country snowboarding. The park was practically full due to the Canadian vacation however nonetheless price us lower than $50 for 3 nights. Most websites had been booked the next weekend, too, for the annual Winnipeg People Pageant, that includes a number of outside phases and a number of other marquee bands.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Kristhine Guerrero/Tourism Winnipeg

Tradition and Leisure

Past the well-known people pageant and the Winnipeg Worldwide Jazz Pageant, each of which draw hundreds to the realm every summer time, there are a selection of museums, sporting occasions, and humanities occasions to discover. Considered one of my favourite museums is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This putting constructing, clad in chrome steel and resembling a ship with a big sail, sits alongside the Pink River and is the delight of Winnipeg. It opened in 2014, and reveals discover social justice points from racism and slavery to immigration and local weather change. One element I observed on just a few separate visits is that the tribute to 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been darkened out, apparently due to her alleged abuses in opposition to Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya inhabitants. This museum doesn’t sugarcoat the previous however acknowledges its political views. Don’t miss a go to to the Tower of Hope, a glass spire on the prime of the museum, for magnificent views of the town.  

Our daughter introduced us to the Winnipeg Art Gallery to indicate us her favourite discovery: Qaumajuq. This extension to the WAG incorporates the biggest public assortment of up to date Inuit artwork on this planet and includes a round, multi-layered glass show of fascinating modern-day and historic carvings of animals, folks, and fantastical beings. It’s free to stroll across the set up within the WAG’s foyer and lose observe of time with the interactive show that lets guests kind in show labels for a full rationalization of the artwork in that part, from the title, artist, and 12 months of the piece to the fabric and origin.

Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg Artwork Gallery

Lindsay Reid/Tourism Winnipeg

For just a few hours of exploration, we additionally paid a go to to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada subsequent to the worldwide airport, in a hangar full of airplane replicas and interactive shows. We’re regulars to the Experimental Plane Affiliation’s AirVenture conference in Oshkosh, Wis., and no strangers to aviation museums. This one could be very effectively curated. I notably appreciated the viewing space for the airport’s tarmac, the place I watched just a few flights land and depart. For extra museums within the space, we’ve additionally walked by way of the Winnipeg Railway Museum within the practice station, did a intelligent if a bit contrived Airtight Code tour of the Manitoba Legislative Constructing, and have firsthand data from our daughter {that a} go to to the Royal Canadian Mint, the place the nation’s cash are made, is worth it.

Different cultural and athletic choices to think about throughout a go to embody tickets to a efficiency by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, which is the oldest ballet firm in Canada in addition to North America’s longest constantly working ballet firm; a sport by the Winnipeg Jets, one in every of seven Canadian groups within the Nationwide Hockey League and a Minnesota rival within the Wild’s division; and a Winnipeg Blue Bombers competitors at IG Area, on the College of Manitoba campus. Throughout a short-lived experiment by the Nationwide Soccer League, groups performed some video games in Canada, so we’ve additionally attended a Inexperienced Bay Packers sport on the stadium. 

For lodging on this class, I recommend renting an Airbnb within the funky Trade District, as we did, and strolling to most of the close by museums, outlets, eating places, and occasions. There are a variety of worldwide lodge chains downtown the place you possibly can redeem these loyalty factors as effectively.

Fort Garry
Fort Garry

Tourism Winnipeg

Eating and Purchasing

Canada is pleasant to immigrants of many countries, and that’s particularly apparent within the quantity and number of eating places in Winnipeg. There are reportedly greater than 1,100 eating places within the metropolis! East Asian, Indian, Mediterranean, French, and fusion eating places dot the primary streets. It’s virtually overwhelming to depend the side-by-side-by-side takeout joints and tiny storefronts. And it’s unimaginable to strive all of them, however you can begin at the Forks Market for some samples. As half of a bigger leisure district that features purchasing, a youngsters’s museum, a skatepark, and an on-site boutique lodge, the Forks riverside space attracts over 4 million guests annually. The market constructing is a meals corridor that includes completely different distributors, very similar to Malcolm Yards in Minneapolis or Keg and Case in St. Paul. From burgers to sushi to shawarmas, we every ordered what we needed from the counter-service stands and ate collectively at one of many communal tables. After, we loved some drinks alongside the shore the place the 2 rivers converge and walked across the Oodena Celebration Circle, an outside amphitheater and observatory. 

A number of different eating places of word embody the always-packed Stella’s for breakfast and lunch, the Keg Steakhouse and Bar for upscale meat and potatoes, and, after all, Tim Hortons for espresso. We nonetheless haven’t determined but our best choice for poutine, and some of our favorites from previous visits—like a French bistro we liked—didn’t survive COVID-19 shutdowns, so we got down to discover new winners. We had been delighted to encounter Saperavi within the rising Corydon neighborhood, serving genuine delicacies from the nation of Georgia. The khachapuri tacky bread reminded us of our household go to to Tbilisi final summer time.

Together with the wonderful array of cuisines, Winnipeg has quite a few distilleries and breweries to check. With the authorized ingesting age at 18 in Canada, our 20-year-old son was capable of pattern with us. We had some fruit-flavored beers and cocktails one afternoon at Lake of the Woods brewery and a few upscale cocktails and wine a distinct day on the new Thomas Hinds Tobacconist and Sampling Room, each proper downtown close to the conference heart.

For the proper place to remain and play on this itinerary, I extremely advocate the Fort Garry Lodge. One of many nation’s grand railroad lodges, it opened in 1913 on the peak of rail journey. Winnipeg grew so massive within the early 1900s due to its location—within the coronary heart of the nation and on the heart of rail transportation—and the Fort Garry is likely one of the remaining lodges. The ten-floor lodge is elegant, luxurious, and grand, but inexpensive at underneath $200 per night time. The middle stairwell is dizzying, the entrance foyer majestic, and the rooms are an eclectic combine of recent facilities and historic touches, like up to date showerheads in outdated porcelain bathtubs. We’ve stayed there 3 times, two pre-COVID-19, and, fortunately, the lodge survived the pandemic and even opened a brand new patio the very windy night time we stayed this summer time. It was throughout a previous go to that my husband had one in every of his prime steak dinners, within the lodge’s restaurant, however we’ve additionally walked to different close by eating places and the Forks from the Fort Garry’s prime location.

General, I discover that with its number of actions, its pleasant inhabitants, and a robust U.S. greenback making Canada fairly inexpensive, Winnipeg is a profitable place to discover.


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