Awesome up my trip, Winnipeg edition.
August 29, 2012 4:20 PM   Subscribe

What is awesome to do in Winnipeg or Grand Forks? Food, science, art, outdoors all welcome. Weirder is gooderer. Guy Maddin tours? Ukrainian men's baths? Nerd stuff? Veg friendly food especially welcome. Mefite guided tour suggestions will be entertained.
posted by gregglind to Travel & Transportation around Winnipeg, MB (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You could venture to the North End of Winnipeg for delicious perogies. Winnipeg is known as the Perogy City. Sadly, Alycia's, my go-to perogy spot has closed. Apparently, it was John Candy's favorite restaurant, and they had photographic proof!

They're both a bit outside of Winnipeg, but you might find Lower Fort Garry or the Oak Hammock Marsh interesting if you're into that sort of thing.

The Royal Canadian Mint is better than the US Mint in Philadelphia, and it doesn't have ridiculous rules about what you can bring inside.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 6:00 PM on August 29, 2012

Best answer: Winnipeg is lovely this time of year--the Forks. You can take a riverboat tour. Hudson's Bay Company Archives. The provincial capital stuff. Go see St. Boniface (the cathedral is pretty amazing).

But really, I'm an expert on Grand Forks as I live there. See this previous comment of mine for some info (but I wrote it in winter and it's 96F today, so uh, different things are mentioned).

Veggie friendly? Yep, we've got a few places (I'm mostly vegetarian, so I keep up with stuff). Try Little Bangkok or Drunken Noodle, or Blue Moose if you're flexible and want a place with a nice view. On the actual Grand Forks side of the river, try Fuji's or Parrot's Cay (not so veggie-friendly, but a fun grown-up drunk bar). Do not, at all costs, eat at Paradiso.

If you're Canadian, you'll want to shop (I'm not sure why, but Canadians do love Grand Forks shopping). If you're not, maybe you like railroads? There's some fun rail-related things. Umm, what else.

Downtown Grand Forks is a nice place to take a quick walk, and there's the story of the '97 Flood and its aftermath, plus there's a lovely path beside the river. The 'lovely path' is actually a multi-mile greenway that's fairly well trafficked and well worth it if you like the outdoors. If you make the trip during the first full week of September (Sept 3-8), this year the Potato Bowl is being held early and there's a few events connected to that.

UND just (as in, tonight) opened a gallery downtown, at the Empire. It's definitely worth a quick stop if you like art (this opening exhibit claims Warhol, Dali, and Lichenstein so it's not exactly small town!). Also fun if you like art is the North Dakota Museum of Art, which is on campus. As a bonus, the NDMOA has the best veggie cafe options! I just had a goat cheese and artichoke baguette and a side salad of wild greens; whole thing was $5+tax.

Most of the science things are on campus at UND. I'd have to really think about what else there is for science. I mean, UND does cool things--for example, the NDMOA is hosting a free art and science symposium on Sept 11 that's bringing science speakers and art speakers together. If you really want science, I can probably think of some more things, but MeMail cuz I'd have to dig.

If you make it to Grand Forks, MeMail me and we'll hang out. If you organize a get-together of Mefites in Winnipeg, send out an IRL alert and I'll try to make it.
posted by librarylis at 6:11 PM on August 29, 2012

Best answer: Since you mentioned Guy Maddin, you could check for local film events listed in Cineflyer or playing at the Cinematheque.
posted by RobotHero at 6:16 PM on August 29, 2012

Best answer: If I ever go to Winnepeg I want to make a day trip to Margaret Laurence's house in Neepawa.
posted by brujita at 6:20 PM on August 29, 2012

Best answer: Winnipeg: I highly recommend the Boon Burger Cafe on Sherbrook, it is vegan, and it would have lines out the door if it were in my city. Stella's has some vegetarian fare, is a bit less interesting, but it has good food. The Manitoba Museum is a vast natural history museum, some of the best dioramas I have ever seen, some quite hauntingly beautiful.

The Exchange District/Old Market Square has some amazing Chicago-style architecture, lots of little shops and restaurants. A long-time artist district with lots of studios and some galleries. The Legislative Buildings are also worth a look, has a masonic vibe.

To my knowledge there aren't any Maddin tours, and that goes to the heart of what makes Winnipeg strange, everything lies below the surface, in snowy dreams and half-forgotten memory. You can feel it, but you can't necessarily see it.
posted by nanook at 7:09 PM on August 29, 2012

Oh....and partly Winnipeg has so much half-forgotten memories because many of the coolest places in Winnipeg have been torn down, it has that sad feeling of neglect and abuse. Even to this day the city fathers are happily letting developers raze some of the most prominent downtown historic buildings. Heart breaking. Sorry, not doing such a great job of selling the city.
posted by nanook at 7:22 PM on August 29, 2012

Best answer: librarylis already has some great recommendations for Grand Forks. For the veggie folks, I would also add the Amazing Grains Food Coop has good options for lunch or a light dinner prepared in their kitchen.

If you do happen to be here during the Potato Days that was mentioned above, check out the Sons of Norway Potato Pancake breakfast, and take a look at all the pictures and memorabilia on the walls.

Nerd-wise, there is a gaming store called Grand Cities Games that has comics, games, and collectables as well as space for D&D stuff. As for science, if you are interested in weather at all I can hook you guys up with a tour of a National Weather Service office. :-) Me-mail if you are interested.

Up in Winnipeg, seconding the Manitoba Museum and the Exchange District.
posted by weathergal at 9:14 PM on August 29, 2012

Response by poster: AskMe for the win!

Things that were great:

1) Drunken Noodle in Grand Forks (pan-asian noodle dishes, plus some italian / american ones. Think Noodles & Co, but better flavor).

2) The cool Grand Forks flood wall and memorial, especially on the East Grand Forks side.

3) Pembina Town Museum (pay the $2 to go up in the elevator!)

(winnipeg, which I will have to explore more next time)

4) Assiniboine Park Zoo was lovely and inexpensive ($5!), and had red pandas, a good butterfly house, a free tram, capybaras, and peacocks that just walked around loose.

5) The Exchange district was a little underwhelming at 8pm on Saturday, but we at good empenadas, and the river was nice to walk along.


6) Whatever cool stuff there is in Fargo / Moorhead, we failed to find it.
posted by gregglind at 7:14 AM on September 4, 2012

The Exchange district was a little underwhelming at 8pm on Saturday

Oh yeah, most of downtown shuts down at 7:00 unless you're going to the bar or a movie. I didn't think to warn you.
posted by RobotHero at 7:25 PM on September 6, 2012

Glad you enjoyed it!

Also, I just now thought of something cool in Fargo (I am sure there are other things, but this is the only one I know of): the Fargo Air Museum. Not only do they have cool old planes, they also have cool old rockets. Definitely worth the trip if you come back this way.

Finally (for future reference and other visitors), you can visit the third tallest structure in the world by driving off-highway between Fargo and Grand Forks.
posted by librarylis at 7:46 AM on September 10, 2012

Oh man, I wish I'd known you were going to Fargo, too. There's actually a lot of good stuff there, including a Drunken Noodle.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 8:18 PM on September 16, 2012

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