Illustration by Jeannie Phan
Whether it's during the frosty winter or at the height of summer, here's how to take advantage of the many cultural, natural and culinary gifts Winnipeg has to offer.
Stargazing: Fairmont Winnipeg
Rumour has it this lush hotel, situated on the famously windy corner of Portage and Main, has hosted everyone from the Queen to Justin Bieber. Insider tip: Ask for a front-facing corner room on one of the upper floors for a great view of the city.
History lesson: Beechmount Bed & Breakfast
Located in a 19th-century house, Beechmount is heavy on the charm. Host Christine Common knows almost everything about the neighbourhood—she has lived in the house for 37 years and turned it into a B&B a decade ago, when her kids left home.
International flavour: Clementine
The hot new brunch spot, Clementine has a globe-trotting menu with star dishes like Turkish poached eggs with hummus and zhoug (a spicy herbed chili sauce). The location is a little exotic, too, in an eclectically designed basement in the historic Exchange District. The café doesn't take reservations, but it's worth the wait.
Break time: Bar Italia
Grab an espresso and a table on the terrace at this hip hangout in Little Italy, where Winnipeggers love to meet up in summer. (Or walk 10 minutes down the street for a dulce de leche gelato at Eva's Gelato. You won't regret it.)
Spring: Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature
In a wooded area about 20 minutes south of downtown, this Nordic-style spa offers the ultimate day of relaxation. Repeat a circuit of sauna, steam room, warm and cool pools and ice showers, then lounge by outdoor fireplaces or in quiet but luxe rooms.
Summer: The Forks
A revamp of the historic First Nations meeting place, The Forks sits at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red rivers. Kid-friendly options abound, and the food court offers multicultural choices, including Sri Lankan and Argentine. End your day with a promenade along the Riverwalk, a path that follows the Assiniboine from Esplanade Riel to the foot of the Manitoba legislature.
Fall: Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art
Featuring many of the artists who make up Winnipeg's lauded art scene, the Plug In Institute sits next to the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the upcoming Inuit Art Centre; together, they form an architectural art hub.
Winter: Journey to Churchill
Home to polar bears, seals, musk oxen, Arctic foxes, wolves and other northern species, this is the coolest attraction at Assiniboine Park's zoo.
WHAT'S CLOSE BY
If you have time to range farther afield, here are three other cool spots to see in Manitoba.
1 hour away: Oak Hammock Marsh
This attraction spans 36 square kilometres. Go on a guided tour in a voyageur canoe, hike its network of trails or help conduct nature surveys.
2 hours away: Spirit Sands
Visit this unexpected and often otherworldly desert landscape in southern Manitoba, complete with cacti. Who knew?