Downtown Winnipeg is home to diversity, with heritage buildings neighbouring exciting new developments, urban shopping malls and casual dining establishments, all accentuated by a lively entertainment scene. Whether you are interested in hunting for the latest fashions, sampling cuisine at restaurants that feature flavours from around the world, or getting your scare on during a tour of the area’s haunted hot spots, you are sure to find something for every taste in downtown Winnipeg. While here, take in a night of sports or entertainment at the MTS Centre, try your luck at the newly-opened Shark Club, or head to The Forks to purchase one-of-a-kind treasures and listen to street performers who provide an eclectic mix of local and touring talent.
Location: The approximate boundaries are Spence Street to the west, the Red River to the east, the Assiniboine River to the south and Higgins Avenue to the north. The Exchange District and Chinatown are also considered part of downtown. Located 6.1 km from the airport.
How to get there: From the airport, turn onto Wellington Avenue and then right onto King Edward Street (Route 90). Take the first left onto Ellice Avenue and continue. Turn right at Spence Street and turn left at Portage Avenue, to enter downtown.
Bus routes: # 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 99, 137, 160, 161, 162, 163, 170, 180, 181, 183
Top Places to Eat
• Enjoy a sky high view of Winnipeg at newly-opened Prairie 360. Guests can savour locally grown food while looking out over the city’s downtown. This iconic establishment rotates to give each person a panoramic view. 83 Garry Street, 30th floor, 204-505-2680.
• Find elegant and ooh-la-la at the The Velvet Glove, located inside The Fairmont Winnipeg at the city’s most famous intersection—Portage and Main. The Velvet Glove has served presidents, prime ministers, royalty and well-known celebrities. 2 Lombard Place. 204-957-1350.
• Where else in Winnipeg can you find melt in your mouth Chilean empanadas; crispy battered fish and homemade fries; just-like-baba-made perogies and cabbage rolls; and betcha-can’t-eat-just-one mini-donuts all within the same building? The Forks Market, of course. With on-the-go options as well as formal sit-down restaurants, the Market’s diverse blend of choices will please every eater. 1 Forks Market Road, 204-942-6302. www.theforks.com/dining
• As any ten year old will tell you, you can’t go wrong with chicken fingers and fries. Patrons wanting to chow down on these tender morsels go to Mitzi’s Chicken Finger Restaurant. Get there early for lunch, or you’ll be waiting in line. 250 St. Mary Avenue, 204-943-9770.
• Where else in Winnipeg can you find melt in your mouth Chilean empanadas; an all day breakfast; authentic French crêpes stuffed with sweet and savory fillings; ice cream and gelati 12 months of the year; and betcha-can’t-eat-just-one mini-donuts all within the same building? The Forks Market, of course. With on-the-go options as well as formal sit-down restaurants, the Market’s diverse blend of choices will please every eater. 1 Forks Market Road, 204-942-6302.
• Comfort food is on the menu at Oscar’s Deli. You’ll want to try Oscar’s Rubin Platter—a 1/4 lb. corned beef on toasted pumpernickel with sauerkraut and cheese, special dressing, dill pickle, and a choice of coleslaw or potato salad. 175 Hargrave, 204-947-0314.
• If the name doesn’t catch your attention, the Filipino food at Pimp My Rice will. Check out the blinged out food truck on Broadway during the summer and try the Tocino (Two-see-no)―also known as the sweet meat―and the Turon (two-ron) for dessert, a Filipino style plantain fritter, made with jackfruit and finished with icing sugar.
• Try a Newfie poutine, a hollowed-out French loaf of bread loaded with chili and curry, tacos stuffed with pulled pork and cheese, or a traditional smokie on a bun from one of the many food trucks parked downtown. Head to Broadway for the best selection of vendors.
• If 66 HD TVs, a state-of-the-art sound system and a menu inspired by Asian, Italian and Canadian influences aren’t enough to get you going, maybe the world famous Shark Girls at Shark Club, will. Shark Club offers a little bit of Vegas in downtown, with slot machines and blackjack/poker tables, along with a two-level bar that seats 500 people. 233 Hargrave Street, across from the MTS Centre, 204-942-7400.
• A five-course fine dining extravaganza is built around ingredients that change each month at Sydney’s at The Forks. The restaurant is known for its a la carte lunch menu that switches over to an exclusive table d' hote menu for the evening. 215-1 Forks Market Road. 204-942-6075.
Top Places to Shop
• Known for showcasing emerging designers and established brands, Loka Clothing & Accessories is known for bring all the latest trends to Winnipeg shoppers. This one-stop shop is a great place to start a wardrobe overhaul or pick up a few timeless pieces. Richardson Building Concourse, 1 Lombard Place, 204-942-1642.
• Whether you’re staying at a downtown hotel or just visiting the area for the day, cityplace offers a relaxed environment to shop and dine. Skywalk connections from the mall get you from the corner of Portage and Main right through to St. Mary Avenue office buildings, the MTS Centre and the Convention Centre. 333 St. Mary Avenue at Hargrave Street, 204-989-1800.
• Winnipeg Square, is a unique underground shopping experience with more than 40 shops and restaurants. 360 Main Street (with entrances also off Portage Avenue, Main Street, Fort Street and Graham Street, 204-949-7140.
• Located in the heart of downtown, there are more than 100 shops and services at Portage Place, including a theatre and cinema. Retailers from Le Château to Staples are mixed in with local shops like H’attitude and Argento World of Silver. 393 Portage Avenue, 925-4630.
• Proper-fitting shoes and foot health for men, women and children are the focus at Canadian Footwear. Hard-to-find sizes, widths and orthotics are also stocked. 128 Adelaide Street, 204-944-7463.
• Two levels of food kiosks, specialty food and wine stores, clothing, souvenirs, jewellery and gifts at The Forks Market offer something for everyone. 1 Forks Market Road, 204-942-6302. www.theforks.com/shopping
• Hugo Boss, Replay and Tino Cosma are just some of the high-end labels at men’s clothing shop Hanford Drewitt. On-site tailoring ensures the perfect fit. 354 Broadway, 204-957-1640.
• Johnston Terminal is one of two retail buildings at The Forks. Here, you’ll find treasures from China at Mandarin House, artwork by Manitoba artisans at Pulse Gallery, a large selection of children’s toys at Kite and Kaboodle, and so much more. Johnston Terminal at The Forks, 204-956-5593.
• Outdoor adventurers look to Mountain Equipment Co-op to outfit biking, hiking, camping, traveling and paddling adventures. Three deserted buildings were converted in to the shop you see today, using environmentally friendly practices. 303 Portage Avenue, 204-943-4202.
• Find your favourite professional sports team’s gear at Uptown Sports & Collectibles. This shop carries hats, jerseys, mugs, cards, pennants, toques, and shirts that thrill any sports enthusiast. Portage Place Skywalk, 203-393 Portage Avenue, 204-885-3377.
Top Things to See and Do
• Be inspired at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which opens September 20, 2014. Visit the Tower of Hope, which rises 100 metres (the equivalent of a 23-storey building), immerse yourself in a vast collection dynamic and interactive displays, and learn about Canada’s human rights journey. 85 Israel Asper Way, 204-289-2000/877-877-6037.
• Groove to the beat or calm yourself to a Zen-like state with free Zumba and free yoga June to August. Grab a bottle of water and head to Memorial Park. 450 Broadway.
• If ghost stories and spooky spots send a pleasing chill up your spine, Haunted Tours of Winnipeg may be just the right amount of “boo” for you. With a number of different options and scare levels, these unique paranormal tours are sure to chill (and thrill) you to the bone. 204-989-9630.
• The Children’s Museum sparks creative learning with hands-on areas for families to explore. Whimsical galleries include a jungle gym named “Lasagna Lookout” and Pop M’art, which re-uses materials for arts and crafts. 45 Forks Market Road. 204-924-4000.
• The land around the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers has been a meeting place for more than 6,000 years. Today, The Forks National Historic Site hosts interpretive displays, a riverside walkway, award winning sculptures and a riverside amphitheatre for performances. Located east of Main around Broadway. Events hotline: 204-983-6757.
• Scotiabank Busk Stops, located at The Forks, are a free way for visitors to enjoy lively music, puppeteers, magicians, performers and face painters. Each year the performers compete at a public competition in May to earn the privilege of holding a coveted Busk Pass so that they can showcase their talents at distinctively marked busk stops throughout the site.
• Take a guided or self-guided tour inside The Manitoba Legislative Building, one of the finest public buildings in North America. The “Ledge” is home to Manitoba’s provincial government and The Golden Boy—one of Manitoba’s best known icons—proudly tops the building. 450 Broadway, 204-945-5813.
• The Millennium Library is a state-of-the-art educational facility with free Internet access and tours available. 251 Donald Street, 204-986-6450.
• Located in the heart of downtown, the MTS Centre is an all-in-one music venue, stadium and sports centre, and is now home to the Winnipeg Jets. It is one of the busiest arenas in the world. 300 Portage Avenue, 204-987-7825.
• Plays with a focus on Manitoban and Canadian artists take centre stage at Prairie Theatre Exchange. It is Canada’s only professional theatre company located in a shopping mall. 393 Portage Avenue, third floor, Portage Place, 204-942-5483.
• Established in 1912, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is Canada’s first civic art gallery and home to the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. The diverse selection of exhibitions offered at the WAG has made it one of Canada’s leading art museums. 300 Memorial Boulevard, 204-786-6641.