Winnipeg gets a bad rap from outsiders. It’s too cold, or too small (at 750,000 people…), has too many terrible roads, and some pretty awful public transportation. I know I know, I’m really selling this city right?
In all seriousness, it’s exactly these reasons that makes Winnipeg great. The beyond chilling winters give Winnipeggers a sense of pride and a bond for being able to tough it out. There are so many fun things to do in Winnipeg during the winter. There is always some sort of festival or show going on, and when live music is playing somewhere you probably know someone in the band. I must say that I’ve fallen in love with this city for its charm, character, and unbelievably cool people.
If you are brave enough to come to Winnipeg in the winter I’ve got a few insider tips for you. Well I mean these things are no secret, but from personal experience I’d say they’ll make your time a bit more enjoyable.
1. Festival Du Voyageur
Festival Du Voyageur (pictured above) is an annual festival every February that starts on a Friday and runs until the following Sunday. Usually will start up sometime around February 13th to 18th, whatever that Friday happens to be.
This year was actually my first time going and I am so sad I haven’t gone the past few years! I’ve always thought it was too expensive (at $25/ticket) or too cold. I would recommend that if you are going to go, get the unlimited weekly pass. That way even if you only go twice it’s still worthwhile. Even if it’s freezing outside I would still recommend hitting up this festival, there are tents everywhere playing live music so just pick a tent and stay in it and enjoy the amazing tunes all night.
This is a great activity with friends or family during the day, and then a whole different partying atmosphere at night! Seriously cannot go wrong going at any time of the day, depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for.
2. Big Fun Festival
A super fun annual music festival that takes place near the end of January. I believe this year (2018) it was the 24th to the 28th. A ton of different genres being played at venues across downtown, you seriously cannot go wrong if you love live music and good parties!
3. Forks River Skating
If it’s -40, this might not be the best activity to do. But if the sun is shining, and the wind isn’t too bad I would highly recommend having some fun on the river for an hour or two. Firstly, it’s free, so you can’t get better than that, and secondly if you go with a few friends and go into a lot of the warming huts along the way, you’ll never want to leave!
Grabbing some hot chocolate at the forks market before you head out was absolutely the best idea my friends and I had. It was a solid -20 when we went, but time just flew by and we were surprisingly out for a couple of hours.
We ended up grabbing some happy hour drinks at Earls on Main afterwards, so if you want to make this more of an outing doing something like that is a great idea! There’s also a couple of great places in the Forks Market to go to instead if you prefer something closer.
4. Canad Inns Winter Wonderland
This is the perfect way to spend some time with a loved one or friend on a chilly evening. It’s a drive through light show that is open all of December. Definitely go at night (so you can make the most of the lights), and honestly try to not take too many pictures. Pictures don’t even do it justice; my advice would be to just sit back and really take it all in. I’ve gone the past few years and always love it!
5. Raw Almond
I’ve actually never been but I’ve always wanted to go and just have never found the time. So, if you’re in Winnipeg sometime between January 19th – February 13th (those were the 2018 dates), you have to go eat here! This is a super cute pop-up restaurant on the river where top chefs serve you multi-course meals.
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Winnipeg during the winter I hope this list helps you find the beauty and fun that Winnipeg has to offer! I love my city, even when its -40, why? Because there is always something fun to do!
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