Top 8 Things Every Visitor Should Know

Discover Winnipeg: Top 8 Things Every Visitor Should Know 

If you’re gearing up for a trip to Winnipeg, you’re in for a treat. As a proud Winnipeg resident, I can’t help but share my enthusiasm for this vibrant city that sits at the heart of Canada. 

If you’re drawn by our rich cultural tapestry, the friendly locals, or the diverse array of activities, Winnipeg has something special for every visitor.

Before you go on your journey to the Peg, there are a few insider tips that can make your experience even more enjoyable. 

From embracing our unique weather patterns to savoring the local culinary delights, I’ve compiled eight key things to know before you hit the streets of Winnipeg. 

So, buckle up and get ready to dive into the soul of this prairie gem — trust me, it’s a journey you won’t soon forget!

How to Get to Winnipeg, Manitoba

How to Get to Winnipeg, Manitoba

You can book direct flights to Winnipeg-James Armstrong Richardson International Airport for convenient access to Winnipeg. 

To enhance your travel experience, it’s also advisable to pre-arrange transfers in advance, especially if you don’t intend to rent a car. 

Utilizing Google Flights can be helpful in identifying the most cost-effective flight options for your journey. This way, you can seamlessly plan your transportation and focus on enjoying your visit without unnecessary logistical concerns.

Weather in Winnipeg 

Weather in Winnipeg

Winnipeg experiences diverse weather. Winters are cold with snow, averaging -15°C (5°F). 

Summers are warm, around 25°C (77°F). Spring and fall bring milder temperatures.

As per AccuWeather, Winnipeg is renowned as one of the five coldest cities globally. However, a common misconception about Canada is that it remains cold throughout the year. 

If you plan your visit during the summer months of June, July, or August, you’ll be greeted by consistently pleasant weather, with temperatures reaching a gorgeous 77ºF any day of the week.

One distinctive aspect of Winnipeg locals is their unique embrace of winter. Unlike any other place in the world, the community actively participates in winter activities, transforming the season into a celebration. 

From enchanting skating trails to lively winter festivals and the breathtaking artistry of ice sculptures, the city offers a vibrant and captivating winter experience.

Things to Know Before Visiting Winnipeg 

Before heading on a journey to Winnipeg, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with some essential aspects of this vibrant Canadian city.

From weather considerations to cultural nuances and must-visit landmarks, these insights will help you navigate Winnipeg with ease and make your trip truly memorable.

1. Take day trips from Winnipeg.

Take day trips from Winnipeg

Exploring Winnipeg is an exciting venture for first-time visitors, and it’s easy to see why. The city offers a vibrant mix of restaurants, hotels, and diverse landscapes to explore. 

However, if you’re looking to experience the richness of Manitoba without committing to a full road trip, consider immersing yourself in some captivating day trips from Winnipeg.

One enticing option is Riding Mountain National Park, where you can escape into the serene beauty of nature. Alternatively, Nopiming Provincial Park provides a more secluded retreat, offering a peaceful escape from the urban hustle. 

For those drawn to the charm of coastal settings, Gimli is a picturesque destination with its cultural appeal and stunning lakeside views.

If you’re up for a combination of relaxation and adventure, Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park is worth considering. Its diverse landscapes and outdoor activities make for a well-rounded day trip experience. 

Additionally, the scenic wonders of Pinawa present an opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the tranquility that Manitoba has to offer.

By incorporating these day trips into your Winnipeg itinerary, you’ll strike a perfect balance between city life and the natural wonders that Manitoba has in store. 

Each destination holds its own unique charm, contributing to a memorable and enriching travel experience.

2. Don’t skip the beaches. 

Don’t skip the beaches

When planning your visit to Winnipeg, consider exploring Manitoba’s unexpected treasure — its beautiful beaches. 

While a beach vacation might not be the first thing on your mind when thinking about this Canadian province, Manitoba boasts numerous stunning lakes, two of which are conveniently close to Winnipeg: Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg.

These lakes, surrounded by picturesque landscapes, offer a unique opportunity to enjoy sandy shores and refreshing waters. Lake Winnipeg, in particular, is home to several noteworthy beaches, each with its own charm. 

Grand Beach, Matlock Beach, Gimli Beach, South Shore Beach, and Gull Harbour Beach are among the top choices for those seeking a sun-soaked escape.

Meanwhile, Lake Manitoba has its own hidden gems, such as Steep Rock Beach, Sunset Beach, and Saint Ambroise Beach Provincial Park. 

These destinations provide a tranquil retreat and a chance to experience the natural beauty that Manitoba has to offer.

3. Know the pot smoking rules. 

Know the pot smoking rules

Before heading to Winnipeg, it’s essential to be aware of the local rules and regulations regarding cannabis use. Canada is generally 420-friendly, but specific laws can vary between provinces. 

In Winnipeg, individuals aged 19 and above can purchase marijuana from the numerous dispensaries that seem to pop up regularly. However, there’s a limit of 30 grams of non-medical cannabis for public possession.

While enjoying cannabis is accepted, it’s crucial to note that driving under the influence is strictly prohibited. Additionally, public smoking is off-limits in Winnipeg, as per Manitoba law. 

This means no smoking in parks, on sidewalks, or at beaches. The only permissible location for cannabis consumption is within the confines of a private residence, with certain rental suites excluded from this allowance. 

4. Rent a car. 

When planning your visit to Winnipeg, it’s advisable to consider transportation options for exploring Manitoba. Renting a car is often recommended, providing flexibility for day trips or scenic road trips throughout the province. 

A reliable platform like Discover Cars can help you find competitive rental options.

For those who prefer not to drive, Winnipeg does have Uber services available. However, it’s worth noting that a cross-town trip via Uber could cost $40 or more one way, so budgeting for transportation is essential.

In addition to ridesharing, Winnipeg also has a bus system, although it may not be the fastest means of transportation across the city. 

It’s important to be aware that Manitoba lacks a comprehensive bus system overall, and for ventures outside Winnipeg, driving remains the primary mode of transportation. 

5. Be bear ready. 

Be bear ready

Before you go on a trip to Winnipeg, it’s important to be aware of the local wildlife, particularly black bears. Manitoba is home to a population of 25,000 to 30,000 black bears, and encountering them is a real possibility, especially outside urban areas.

When exploring the great outdoors, such as camping in places like Riding Mountain National Park, take precautions to coexist safely with these majestic creatures. 

Always store your food in bear-resistant containers, and be sure to properly dispose of trash to avoid attracting them to your campsite. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to remain vigilant during hikes — ditch the earbuds and make some noise as you trek to alert bears to your presence.

6. Know where to avoid. 

Know where to avoid

If you’re visiting Winnipeg, it’s helpful to be aware of certain areas that locals often recommend avoiding. While the city boasts many welcoming neighborhoods, it’s advisable to exercise caution in specific regions.

Generally, it’s suggested to steer clear of the North End, North Point Douglas, Elmwood, Spence, Central Park, and West Alexander. 

Take note that some parts of Downtown Winnipeg north of Portage may be best approached with caution, though there are exceptions such as Chinatown and the Exchange District.

Being mindful of these recommendations can contribute to a more informed and enjoyable experience during your visit to Winnipeg. 

By staying aware of your surroundings and making informed decisions, you’ll be better equipped to explore the city safely and appreciate its unique offerings.

7. Don’t skip the museums. 

Don’t skip the museums

When planning your visit to Winnipeg, be sure not to miss out on the city’s vibrant cultural scene, especially its world-class museums. 

If you’re seeking a dose of culture during the winter months or a cool retreat in the summer, Winnipeg has something for everyone.

One standout attraction is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, a must-visit destination that offers a thought-provoking exploration of human rights issues. 

For a broader understanding of Manitoba’s rich history and diverse natural wonders, the Manitoba Museum is another compelling stop. Here, you can delve into the province’s past and marvel at its fascinating exhibits.

Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Winnipeg Art Gallery, home to an impressive collection of both contemporary and historical artworks. 

If you’re traveling with family, make sure to include a visit to the Children’s Museum, a delightful and interactive experience for kids of all ages.

For a unique cultural perspective, venture to Gimli to explore the New Iceland Heritage Museum, which provides insight into the area’s Icelandic roots. 

Meanwhile, if you have an interest in paleontology, the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden is a fascinating stop where you can discover the ancient history of the region.

By exploring these museums, you’ll not only add depth to your understanding of Winnipeg and Manitoba but also enjoy a well-rounded and enriching travel experience.

8. Find the polar bears. 

Find the polar bears

Discovering the wildlife in Manitoba is an absolute must, and one of the highlights is encountering the iconic polar bears. 

Consider heading to Churchill, where, from October to November, you can witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. 

If your travels bring you to Winnipeg, the local zoo also offers a delightful opportunity to see polar bears up close.

Beyond polar bears, Manitoba’s charm extends to the summer months, when the region becomes home to playful Beluga Whales. Particularly in early July, Churchill becomes a hub for observing these majestic marine mammals. 

Whether you choose to embark on an epic adventure in Churchill or opt for a more relaxed visit to the Winnipeg Zoo, encountering polar bears and Beluga Whales adds an extra layer of excitement to your Manitoba experience.