A prairie exploration

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While The Forks are fantastic, you really should venture away from the tourist destination and take in some of the cultural activities on offer in the city (and just outside.)

Winnipeg is a great place for music lovers. The city is large enough that it attracts big-name touring artists (this summer alone, U2, Supertramp, Rhianna, The Black Keys, Britney Spears, and The Tragically Hip have shows in Winnipeg), but small enough that it has it's own burgeoning indie scene to cultivate local talent. Really, it's the best of both worlds.

Beyond one-off club shows and concerts, there's also an impressive summer festival scene. The most well known, the Winnipeg Folk Festival < > , takes place in early July (this year, July 6 to 10), and features artists like Blue Rodeo, Dan Mangan, k.d. lang and Tegan and Sara.

But the Folk Fest isn't the only game in town: TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, < >  takes place from June 16 to 25 this year, and features artists like Shad, Robert Plant and The Band of Joy and the New Gary Burton Quartet.

Looking beyond music, Winnipeg also plays host to the ever-popular Folklorama < >  festival - the largest and longest-running multicultural festival in the world - every summer (this year, from July 31 to August 13). A celebration of multicultural communities, Folklorama features music, dance, visual arts and storytelling from around the world, with countries representing their culture and heritage at their respective pavilions.

Explore the city

It might sound obvious, but visitors really should take a meander around certain neighbourhoods. The Exchange District < > , a 30-block area located in the heart of downtown, features North America's most extensive collection of turn-of-the-twentieth-century architecture, great dining and shops, and is also the hub of Winnipeg's artistic community, featuring great art galleries and the very cool, modern "Cube" stage in Old Market Square.

Anyone interested in history should really consider taking a guided walking tour with the Exchange District BIZ, which offers two tours: the East and West Exchange tours. They'll fill you in on the rich history of the area, taking you through "Newspaper Row," hotels and banks, the area's notorious "Hell's Alley" and much more.

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