Romance - Spring / Summer
Ah, spring and summer. That special time of year when we put away our parkas, welcome patio season (anything over +5 degrees is warm enough for a good patio!), and start making the moves on that certain individual we’ve had our eyes on during the chilly months. Tree buds are blooming and love is in the air, so there’s no time like the present to ask out that special someone!
First date locations are all-important. If you’re still getting to know that could-be special someone, why not start at The Forks? The city’s number one tourist attraction always has something new going on. Start off at The Common, where you can make long and meaningful glances between conversation across a flight of one of Winnipeg’s best craft beer and wine selections. From there, take it outside and enjoy some sunshine and scenic views, courtesy of Splash Dash Tours. This 30-minute tour down the Assiniboine and Red rivers provides stunning panoramic views of the city.
Back on dry land, take a stroll over the always-picturesque Esplanade Riel and wander into the French district of St. Boniface. Grab a coffee at Café Postal, or pick up some dreamy pastries at La Belle Baguette where you can soak in the Parisian vibe on their boulevard patio. Just a short skip away is Chocolatier Constance Popp, who has a shop full of mouth-watering desserts that will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Take a longer stroll down Provencher and find your way to In Ferno’s Bistro on Des Meurons for a contemporary French vibe on one of the city’s greatest summer patios. If you’d rather stay close to the downtown action, Promenade Café and Wine boasts one of the best views in the neighbourhood, alongside some killer moules frites.
Keep the good vibes alive at Assiniboine Park. Stroll along the many walkways scattered throughout the park, and hop across the pedestrian bridge to pick up some frozen delights to share at Sargent Sundae.
The English Gardens are in full bloom during the summer. Take a few selfies amongst the flower beds before heading to the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, which boasts over 300 awe-inspiring works from the renowned Ukrainian-Canadian sculptor. The sculpture garden features live jazz events throughout the summer, to have some dulcet tones serenading you while you stroll hand-in-hand.
If you’re feeling peckish, grab a seat in the Park Café at the Qualico Family Centre. Better yet, pack a picnic and throw a blanket over some grass at The Lyric Theatre. The park offers a variety of entertainment during the summer, from live ballet and music to movies on a giant outdoor screen. Snuggle in close as the sun goes down, and let the evening sweep you away.
Take a mini-urban adventure together and explore the sights. Start by peddling around the city on a tandem bike, rented from Bee-2-Gether Bike kiosks. Find your way down the Assiniboine river trail and take that bicycle built for two down to South Osborne. Grab some caffeine or gelato at Park Line Coffee.
Take a trip down to BDI — a Winnipeg frozen-treats institution. Park that bike and take a stroll across the pedestrian bridge, maybe sharing a hot fudge sundae. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more unique Chaeban Ice Cream offers Lebanese ice cream flavours.
When you’re looking for a more intimate dinner, head to Osborne Village for some of the city’s best and most romantic restaurants. Segovia has wholly earned its accolades as one of the best places in town, while Sous Sol will have you fawning over all its dishes. Soak in the candlelight (and each other) over a few glasses of wine.
There’s no better venue for some classic romance than one of Winnipeg’s most charming neighbourhoods, the Exchange District. From some of the city’s best and most-established food and entertainment centres to avant-garde and trendy venues, this neighbourhood provides an ideal backdrop for putting on all your best moves.
The hardest part of the evening for you will be choosing from the plethora of dinner options at your fingertips. Share some small plates at Deer + Almond, where local art and mood lighting complement the sensory overload of some seriously gourmet food. Cordova also focuses on small plates, staying with more classic Spanish-inspired dishes and one of the best cheese and charcuterie plates in town. For an unbeatable riverfront view, head over to Cibo Waterfront Café. Did we mention how good the cocktail and wine lists are at all of the above?
If you’re headed for a night on the town, soaking in some performing arts will certainly endear you to your company. In the springtime, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Royal Winnipeg Ballet all keep the arts district humming. On warm summer nights, the Fringe Theatre Festival (July 15 – 26) opens up the entire neighbourhood to theatre of all genres and sensibilities.
There are libation options aplenty just around the corner in the Exchange District. Forth serves up customized cocktails in their basement lounge by night (or better yet, head up to the hidden rooftop patio), while Amsterdam Tea Room pairs delectable small plates with craft cocktails that often have a tea base. For even more high-end craft cocktail delights, Patent 5 Distillery has a mighty fine array, most of which use their very own vodka and gin. The Patent 5 Room is also a beauty, brimming with reclaimed wood from the circa 1908 St. Regis Hotel.
If both of you want to keep the romance alive until dawn (ahem), Mariaggi’s is a themed hotel right in the Exchange where every room is an exotic, worldly location. Mere Hotel offers a riverfront boutique experience, while the Alt Hotel’s interior design is a destination in its own right. Don’t forget about brunch the next morning to keep that fire burning — you can’t get any better than Clementine.
If you want to really impress, book some hamam time at Ten Spa, with packages to accommodate any level of traditional Turkish spa treatments your dual hearts desire. Couples will be enticed with a sensual warm shower, salt rub, olive oil wash, and full body massage with this sumptuous treatment. Afterwards, take in the city skyline at Prairie 360, or drop by the Palm Room to sip on expertly-made cocktails with live jazz accompaniment.
We’d be remiss in talking about spas without mentioning Riverstone Spa at the Inn At the Forks, where you can book a hotel and spa package for a complete couples weekend. Bonus: you can check out one of the hottest restaurants in town, Passero, at the Forks Market during your escape!
Finally, one of Winnipeg’s best locations for pampering has to be Thermëa by Nordik-Spa Nature. All you need to take full advantage of this Scandinavian-style spa is a bathing suit, a robe and some flip flops–this place will do the rest with its hot thermal pools, steamy and dry saunas, and cold pools. Book a duo massage, stay for at least two of the aufguss rituals, and grab a bite to eat at the laid-back Restö where dining in robes is mandatory.