Greetings, friends from America! It’s Manitoba here. We wanted to have a talk. With the dollar low and the season well underway, we thought it’s just about time for you to make a trip up to visit us. Why? We know winter, and we can offer a true Canadian experience complete with ice skating, cozy cabins, outdoor festivals and winter sport. Here are 8 reasons why you should start planning your trip to Manitoba this winter!

8 Reasons why Americans should visit Manitoba, Canada this winter

Experience our icy delights

We’ve got the ice, ice baby. We have no shortage of ice or snow which means winter activities are endless! The Red River Mutual Trail promotes ice skating as the go-to mode of transportation for winter, and hey, we aren’t complaining. There are unique warming huts positioned along the trail for rest and photo ops, including a new addition this year by world renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor. If you prefer something that is a little more thrilling, head to northern Manitoba for snowmobiling and other wild winter pursuits.

Make a reservation at our unique winter stays

If you’ve never stayed in a yurt, ski-in cabin or a winter resort, now is your chance! Manitoba’s most unique stays will take you to every corner of the province depending on what you are looking for. Looking for northern lights? Extend your stay by adding Churchill into your itinerary and stay at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre. Prefer a spot with all the amenities? Rivers Edge Resort or Falcon Trails Resort may be your best bet. Staying in these unique stays for part of your trip means enjoying all that winter has to offer: snowshoeing, cross country skiing, beautiful scenery and chilling out by the fire.

Party like a local at our cultural events

Festivals celebrating the season and our heritage can be found all over the province during the winter months. If you’re planning on staying in Winnipeg for the majority of your trip, put Festival du Voyageur on your itinerary, taking place February 17 to 26, 2017! Experience the joie de vivre at this high energy festival celebrating our voyageur, francophone and Métis culture. There are daily activities including live concerts and amazing culinary experiences. Join into taffy rolling, beard growing fun and get a taste of what Manitoba culture is all about.

Dine at our highly rated restaurants

Manitoba has a killer food scene that has been garnering attention from all over the world. Winter brings unique eating events such as RAW: Almond (January 19 – February 13, 2017), RAW: Churchill (March 3 to 11, 2017) and Sentruhl, the pop-up restaurant inspired by Canadian culture. Come for Valentine’s Day and bring your date to one of our adorable sweet spots or have a sit down dinner at our cool winter eats. Either way, you’re going to be fed well on a trip to Manitoba!

Watch the northern lights show

The Northern Lights are a spectacle of their own, drawing in visitors from all over the world. The best times to see an aurora is in the heart of winter, when skies are dark and weather is cold. Head outside the city to one of our provincial parks to increase your chances of seeing the lights, or book a trip to Churchill on a Northern Lights tour. Be sure to keep an eye on the aurora forecaster and have your camera at the ready!

Become immersed in our amazing arts scene

Winter is one of the best times of the year to visit if you enjoy theatre and art. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s season is underway with the much anticipated Nutcracker on from December 22 to December 30, 2016. If you’d like to spend an evening enjoying exceptional theatre, grab ticket to Prairie Theatre Exchange, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre or the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. If you’re looking for a new piece of art, wander through our unique galleries and exhibits. There are so many reasons to give an ovation to Manitoba’s arts scene.

Try your hand at hardwater fishing

Manitoba’s lakes are fairly notorious in the fishing world, and for good reason. Home of the Master Angler fishing program, anglers from all over the world gather to reel in a big one through the ice. Winter is the best time to catch walleye, sauger and northern pike. Manitoba is a hardwater heaven! Be sure to prepare all necessary licenses and familiarize yourself with fishing regulations prior to your trip.

Challenge yourself with winter sport

If you’re looking to take a unique challenge on your next trip, Manitoba is the place to go. First up is the Actif Epica on February 18, 2017, testing out the strength of human ingenuity. This race is not for the faint of heart – experience in racing is a qualifier for entry. The Hypothermic Half Marathon takes place on February 19, 2017, and don’t worry – it’s not as scary as it sounds, especially with the beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing. Last is the Polar Bear Run at the Assiniboine Park on February 26, 2017. There are 10k, 5k and 1.5k options that will take you running, skating and walking through the charming Assiniboine Park.