Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Winnipeg, Canada

Manitoba's capital city has an abundance of cuisines and cultural activities.
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Lindsay Reid

Presented by Destination Canada

The seventh-largest city in Canada, Winnipeg is Manitoba’s capital, and known as the “Gateway to the West” because it's the first major city to emerge as you enter the Canadian Prairies. Filled with cultural activities, it blends its distinct prairie heritage and history with modern arts and dining. In fact, this city is home to the largest collection of Inuit art in Canada and some of the best French cuisine west of Montreal. The downtown core and city skyline also sets themselves apart by preserving numerous heritage buildings in Winnipeg's Exchange District. These historic buildings currently house a range of locally-owned businesses, including trendy coffee shops and high-end local fashion ateliers.

Whether you're embracing the colder winter weather or strolling through the city in the summer, here are some of the best places to grab dinner and drinks, drop your bags, and explore during your next trip to Winnipeg.

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Getting to Winnipeg

Downtown Winnipeg is about a 15-minute drive from the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG), flying to more than twenty cities within Canada and various seasonal U.S. flights. Winnipeg Transit also offers bus service to and from the airport. The bus routes 15 Sargent/Mountain and the 20 Academy/Watt run there every twenty minutes most days (the weekend and holiday schedule is subject to change).

Winnipeg Art Gallery Qaumajuq Exterior

Lindsay Reid

Visible Vault in the Inuit art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Lindsay Reid

What to do

Tucked into the intersection of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, The Forks has been an important meeting place in Winnipeg for thousands of years. This National Historic Site of Canada has a rich history that dates back over 6,000 years when Aboriginal groups first used the convenient adjoining river “fork” as a trading outpost. Today, the community space functions as a daily indoor and outdoor farmer’s market and artisanal shopping center, and also is home to many of the city’s festivals and celebrations. Come winter, it becomes a busy community hotspot and transforms into what looks like a real-life snow globe: The 5.3-mile Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail freezes over to become the world’s second-longest skating rink. Throughout the community space, there are also multiple toboggan sites and snowboarding parks free for visitors to use.

The cultural museums and galleries throughout Winnipeg celebrate the art from Canada's Indigenous communities and the European communities that settled in Manitoba, most notably the Manitoba Museum. Art lovers and history buffs should carve enough time to explore the sprawling Winnipeg Art Gallery. The 120,000-square-foot visual art museum is home to the Qaumajuq—the largest collection of Inuit art in the world—and over 24,000 works of Indigenous and Canadian art in the permanent collection alone.

Learn about the various cultures that make up Winnipeg at the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre or Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum, which tells the story of French-Manitoban and Métis (descendants of European and Indigenous heritage) communities in the province's oldest standing building. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ spiraled peak has become a landmark in Winnipeg’s skyline, examining the history of human rights issues and what the future could look like.

Deer + Almond dining room

Deer + Almond

Deer + Almond Mahal's Mezcal (Fandango, Campari, Red Vermouth, Orange Bitters)

Deer + Almond

Where to eat

Winnipeg has gone through a culinary renaissance in the last decade, with modern and unique fine dining and casual cocktail bars opening regularly. Restaurants like Sous Sol embody Winnipeg’s whimsical dining scene with a hidden entrance and candle-lit dining space that serves bar bites and upscale cuisine on ornate plates and platters.

Deer + Almond is another example of the funky but decadent dining scene that Winnipeg does so well. Award-winning chef and television personality Mandel Hitzer serves local and international-inspired fare, including the crowd-favorite chorizo and manchego cheese croquettes and the ever-cheeky “tony hawk” bone-in ribeye.

The family-owned Resto Gare Bistro and Train Bar is a classic French restaurant housed in a former station and a reconstructed train car that transports guests back in time in a century-old luxury dining cabin. Considered the best French cuisine in the city, the locally-sourced menu changes seasonally to incorporate produce grown in Manitoba.

Manitoba is also home to the largest Filipino-Canadian community in the entire country, welcoming more Filipino immigrants than anywhere else in the world—so it only makes sense to indulge in Filipino cuisine while you’re in town. Head to Kalan Restaurant on the corner of Arlington Street and Manitoba Avenue for the tocino breakfast served with best garlic fried rice and Filipino bacon. In the mood for a sweet treat? Juvian's Restaurant, at the corner of Notre Dame Avenue and Erin Street, has one of the most decadent halo-halo desserts in the city, made with coconut milk, ube, soft yams, taro ice cream, and other sweet and savory ingredients.

Fairmont Winnipeg Exterior

Fairmont Winnipeg

Where to stay

The century-old Fort Garry Hotel is one of the most impressive and recognizable works of architecture on the Winnipeg skyline. Avid travelers will likely recognize the exterior instantly as it was designed to resemble The Plaza Hotel in New York City and features classic examples of twentieth-century châteauesque architecture, including prominent cornices and a steep sloping copper roof. The 246-room property was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1981 and continues to offer the most premier accommodations in the city thanks to its old-world appeal and high-end amenities and hospitality.

The Fairmont Winnipeg offers a more streamlined and business-friendly option with practical amenities like 24-hour fitness facilities, private meeting spaces available to book, and an underground concourse that links some of the major convention centers in the city. This 340-room property offers sweeping city views, Egyptian cotton sheets, and an indoor saltwater pool and sauna for recharging after a long day of exploring the city. The hotel is at the historic Portage Avenue and Main Street intersection, known as the "crossroads of Canada" for being close to the center point in Canada and once the heart of banking in Western Canada.