Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

7 Things to do (without heading downtown)

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Horse around

It's winter in Winnipeg and it's not going away any time soon. There's slush everywhere in the city and, if you're like me, you're getting seriously tired of mucky pants and going through fourteen gallons of windshield wiper fluid per day.

For a change of pace, try going for a horseback ride. Miracle Ranch, just off Highway 59, offers trail rides and sleigh rides for a few friends or large groups. Ride for an hour, two, or four, or go for a moonlight ride with someone special.

Shop hop

Save up and budget $100, then get some friends together and start shop hopping. Allow yourselves one hour in any Winnipeg mall, then pack up and head to the next one (personally, I always hit Kildonan Place first, then St. Vital, then Polo Park). The only rule? By the time you're finished at your last stop, you must have spent your entire budget. The person with the most money left over (or, if you're all shopaholics, the person who's gone most over budget) buys drinks and/or appetizers for the whole group.

(Chop)stick around

Some of the best restaurants in the city are outside of the downtown area. My favourite sushi restaurant, Sushi Daruma, is at 1128 Henderson Highway, about a fifteen minute drive from the downtown core.

It's great sushi at great prices, and it has just updated its menu, so there's lots to choose from. It's also Japanese-owned and operated, so everything offered is completely authentic. Hint: try the gyoza. They'll blow your mind.

Say cheese

If there's one thing Winnipeg knows how to do, it's dessert. I've been to a lot of dessert places and they're all pretty fantastic, but as far as cheesecake goes, St. Vital's Double D's CheeseCake (200 Meadowood Dr.) kills it, hands down.

It's a small, intimate shop with cheesecake varieties that will change your life, and a bunch of great beverages to boot. The best part: all their cheesecake is light and airy, so you won't feel 10 pounds heavier after indulging.

Get pinned down

Who doesn't love a good game of bowling? It makes for a perfect night: hanging out with friends, eating, chatting, and laughing with (or, more often, at) each other.

My favourite spot is Chateau Lanes, at 1145 Nairn Avenue. It's a tenpin lane that offers glow bowling video dance parties on Fridays and Saturdays and, really, if that doesn't sound like fun, you need to reevaluate your priorities.

Say "AH!"

Adrenaline Adventures, just off the Perimeter Highway west of the city, offers a whole host of fun winter activities for friends or families. Go snow tubing, ice skating or, if you're looking for a bit more of a rush, cable snow boarding or snow boarding down a hill with obstacles set up.

There's a restaurant and clubhouse to warm up in, and prices range from $2.99 to $24.99 for activities. The best part is, they have towropes to haul you up the hills so all you have to do is enjoy the rides.

Be a winter kid

This city is full of local parks and playgrounds. With the weather finally warming up just a tad, take advantage of the sticky snow and be a kid again. Gather some friends or family, get bundled up, and make a snow man. Have a snowball fight. Make snow angels. Then head home, make some hot chocolate, dry off, and revel in the fact that you had a great day without having to scrape off your car or pay for parking.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 17, 2013 ??65534

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