Festivals & Must Sees

Nearly anytime of the year you visit you’re sure to find a great festival going on in Winnipeg, from Festival du Voyageur in the winter, to Pride of the Prairies – central Canada’s largest pride festival – in early summer.

Winnipeg has one of Canada’s most robust and lively arts scenes, with institutions including Canada’s Royal Winnipeg BalletThe Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Prairie Theatre Exchange. As well, venues around the city – including The Park Theatre and The Gas Station Arts Centre – often house cultural events ranging from comedy, to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, to contemporary dance. 

Our top ten must-see attractions offer a little bit of everything, from outdoor adventure, to hidden gem tours, to one of the most luxurious spa experiences you’ll ever find.

Along with these top ten, below you’ll find LGBT-centric events that you’ll relish when you are in the city:

Pride of the Prairies, Winnipeg’s annual pride festival, takes place in late May to early June. This multi-event, multi-day festival is one of the largest pride events in Canada held between Vancouver and Toronto. 

For three decades Reel Pride film festival has been showcasing, celebrating and fostering dialogue through the presentation and discussion of queer media arts. This year, to celebrate its 30-year anniversary, the festival will feature several events, screenings and a dance party at the Gas Station Theatre. The actual festival takes place from October 13-18. For more info check out #30YearsOfReelPride.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is an architectural marvel where an immersive journey through human rights issues is waiting to be explored. Since its opening in 2014, the CMHR has been celebrated by members of the community for not shying away from depicting the stories of LGBTTQ peoples in various times and nations. Throughout its massive galleries detailed histories run the gamut from celebration to heartbreak; you’ll see the triumph of marriage equality in Canada, read about the plight of queer refugees who have found asylum in Canada, while you’ll also witness the persecution the queer community has faced under both dictatorships and democracies. This powerful museum is unlike any place else in the world and is a must on your visit to Winnipeg.  

Great times when the sun goes down are always on the agenda at one of Winnipeg’s LGBT clubs, both of which are located in the heart of downtown. The dance floor is always hopping at Fame, which tends to attract a younger crowd with go-go dancers, DJs spinning the latest beats, and an ambient lounge. 

Close to many of the city’s hotels, Club 200 has been Winnipeg’s “see-and-be-seen” hangout for well over two decades. It features pool tables, karaoke nights, a full-service restaurant and a packed dance area where clubbers can bust a move.

LGBT proud dining establishments also abound.  

The Oakwood Café is South Osborne neighbourhood favourite where all the classic diner fare is made from scratch – often resulting in lines during lunch and dinner. 

At the Capital Grill and Bar in Charleswood owners Wayne and Greg have brought their proven concept from Vancouver, and have become the restaurant of note in the area with incredibly well executed upscale comfort food like pan roasted halibut with lemon-ricotta gnocchi, a killer fish and chips, Dungeness crab cakes, and a bison ribeye to die for. 

Also of note is Sherbrook Street’s (which is an excellent street for dining) The Tallest Poppy. This place does it all from an exceptional brunch where the chicken and waffles receive rave reviews to late night handmade cocktails. They also host the Queer People of Colour (QPOC) ladies’ night on the first Saturday of every month. 

Winnipeg also a plethora of nationally acclaimed restaurants including Segovia iOsborne VillageDeer+Almond in the ExchangeEnoteca and Pizzeria Gusto in River Heights, and Vera on South Osborne

That being said, every neighbourhood in the city has its gems, from established hole in the wall institutions, to new rooms that are just waiting to crack Canada’s annual best restaurant lists. You can read all about them in our comprehensive Culinary Guide

Must-see neighbourhoods include Osborne Village and the Exchange District. Osborne Village was named Canada’s greatest neighbourhood in 2012 and features a vast array of restaurants, bars, live music venues and a fine selection of boho and chic clothing shops while the historic Exchange District is studded with stunning heritage buildings that house terrific galleries, top-notch artisanal coffee shops, and fun, funky clothing, shoe and design stores.  

No matter what you are looking for, chances are you’ll find it in our diverse, entertaining city where no matter the season, day, or hour, there is always an area, venue or event waiting to be explored.

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