A Complete Guide to 3 Delicious Winter Days in Thunder Bay
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Person holding a giant cookie in front of their face at Kamview Nordic Centre

A Complete Guide to 3 Delicious Winter Days in Thunder Bay

Discover one of Ontario’s coolest food scenes with a trip to Thunder Bay. You’ll play hard (think snowshoeing, fat biking, and more) and reward yourself with great eats and craft beverages. This Northern Ontario city is a must-visit for any foodie.

Psst! You may notice there are a couple stops in the video that aren’t in this itinerary. Consider those an extra little treat from us to you.


Day 1: Embrace Winter + Get Cozy!

Day one kicks off in a big way. We recommend heading straight from the airport to Kamview Nordic Centre to get things going.

Stop 1: Snowshoeing and Giant Cookies at Kamview Nordic Centre

Where: 851 20th Side Rd, Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

Girl reading a map wearing snow shoes on a trail at Kamview Nordic Centre.

First stop: Kamview Nordic Centre where 35km of ski trails and over 20km of snowshoe trails await exploring.

With the ability to purchase a day pass, we recommend grabbing a pair of snowshoes on site (or bringing your own if you drove) and heading out towards the North Lookout. This will take you about an hour and a half round trip and is sure to work up an appetite! The lookout offers up spectacular views of the water below and is a real showstopper.

Overhead shot of a trail map at Kamview, cup of coffee, bowl of chilli, giant cookie and a touque.

Once you’re done, head back to the Kamview Centre where a hearty lunch awaits. Cozy on up with a coffee or hot chocolate and a giant cookie. With a few varieties available, we loved the chocolate chip and oatmeal for its crunchy, chewy, goodness.

Kamview is also known for its hearty chili — and for good reason! A comforting, steaming bowl post-shoe is the perfect way to wind down after some serious exercise.

Park the car: Staying downtown? We recommend parking the car at your hotel and walking to these next few stops! If you’re looking for a spot, we love Superior Shores by Best Western and The Courthouse Hotel.

Stop 2: Barkeep

Where: 5c St Paul St, Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

two cocktails at barkeep, one pink one with a cedar spring being singed by a brulee torch and the other shorter and orange with an orange peel twist garnish

The perfect spot for a pre-dinner cocktail or two, Barkeep boasts a large, u-shaped bar to belly up to. With moody lighting and a menu crafted with absolute care, this spot is a can’t-miss in TBay.

We loved the Crooked Little Heart made with gin, white rum, curaçao, Aperol, cranberry and eggwhite then garnished with a sprig of cedar that is then burnt for a super aromatic sip.

The Rice Tipsy Treat should also be on your list with its clever combo of tequila, umeshu, tamarind, toasted rice, lime and chilli – a delectable little cocktail inspired by a banger of a dinner party the owner recently attended. Unique and well-balanced, this cocktail should be on any aspiring mixologist’s list to try.

Looking for zero proof? No problem. This spot also crafts several fun non-alcoholic cocktails that don’t skimp on making the night feel special like their Pomelo Nojito with pomelo, grapefruit, mint and soda and their Dolores made with cranberry cordial, spice tea syrup, coconut water, lemon and egg white.

If you’re feeling a little munchy, the bar also stocks up on a few snacks like cheese and meat boards, dips, soy sauce almonds, and a little pickle plate.

Stop 3: Dinner at Grotto Trattoria

Where: 28 Cumberland St. N. Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

The lasagna at Grotto Trattoria, rolled up like a croissant on a bed of tomato sauce

Just a few minutes of walking and you’ll find yourself at Grotto Trattoria. This spot is fairly new on the block and is known for its modern takes on old-school Italian dishes.

Think deep-fried burrata (drool) and lasagna that have been rolled up to look like a croissant. The flavours are bold and savoury – just what you hoped for.

Don’t miss out on their classic Caprese salad made with juicy local greenhouse tomatoes (we couldn’t believe how darn summery they tasted) and for dessert, grab the cannoli- a deconstructed take that’s almost too pretty to eat (emphasis on almost).

Day 2: Adventure and Cozy Eats

Stop 1: St. Paul Roastery + Swell Bakery

Where: 11 +15a St. Paul St. Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

Paul holding a coffee and leaning against a table at St. Paul Roastery with a coffee

Start your day with the city’s best cup of coffee at St. Paul Roastery where they roast their own beans in house. Sip and savour a cappuccino or cortado and then head next door to get in line for Swell Bakery which opens at nine.

Emily at Swell bakery rolling out dough in front of a large window that looks out onto St. Paul Street.

Trust us when we say you need to get here early because Swell will absolutely sell out. Fresh croissants, Danishes with egg and ham, and pain au chocolat await. We recommend getting a box of at least four treats (hey, you’re on vacay!) and then taking that back over to St. Paul’s to enjoy.

Box of four baked goods from Swell Bakery: Red Velbet Croissant, cheese and pepper pain, pain au chocolat and an egg and bacon danish

Stop 2: Fat Biking

Where: Shuniah Mines inTrowbridge Forest Trail, Thunder Bay, ON.

Paul fat biking on the trow bridge trail system

Did you know Thunder Bay is widely considered Canada’s Fat Biking Capital? With 70km of free trails in and around the city, it’s a great place to get out on a bike mid-winter.

We recommend renting a bike downtown at Rollin’ Thunder and bringing it out to Trowbridge Forest Trail if you have space in your vehicle or a rack on the back.

This wooded forest looks extra pretty in the winter when the trees are covered in fluffy white snow and the trails are well-groomed. You won’t even know you’re in a city at all.

Stop 3: Sauna Time!

Where: Kanga’s Sauna, 379 Oliver Rd. Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

Kangas Sauna interior

After that, you deserve a little relaxation and there’s no better way to embrace sauna culture than Kangas Sauna. This ode to Finnish tradition gives options for saunas for one up to saunas for large groups. Now you just need to relax. Originally founded by the Kangas, a Finnish family, you’ll feel the history that lives in these walls.

Feeling hungry after? Check out the diner to grab their borscht or classic Finn pancakes, or grab some to go from the fridge in the lobby.

Stop 4: Goods + Co.

Where: 251 Red River Rd. Suite #3, Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

Shot inside one of the many booths at Goods and Co.

Goods + Co. is a community hub that no visitor to Thunder Bay should miss. Filled with booths of fresh produce, pottery, baked goods and more, it’s a fantastic spot to get a true taste of place of Thunder Bay.

On top of that, pop over to the Woodside Bar for a cocktail or the Bop Shop for Korean Bipimbap for a cozy comfort meal.

Overhead shot of the meal from Bop Shop inside Goods and Co.

Also exciting? Three Seeds Corp. is in the process of building a vertical farm in the basement of Goods + Co. that will feature everything from vertical veggies like beans and peas to tomatoes and a whole whack of herbs.

Want to get a sense of what this will be like? Order the Thyme to Dream cocktail from Woodside Bar to try their fresh herbs!

Stop 5: Norteños

Where: 235 Red River Rd. Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

Bartender at Nortenos holding out two margaritas - one pink and one yellow

When dinner rolls around, we suggest kicking back at Norteños – a Mexican restaurant known for their house-made tortillas and margs.

We suggest ordering some chips and avocado crema to start and following it up with their birria tacos dipped in beef juice for maximum flavour.

Their selection of margaritas ranges everywhere from classic to watermelon-infused and more, pleasing even those who think they might not like the cocktail.

Keep an eye on Norteños social media accounts as well for evenings of live music to really kick off your evening the right way.

Day 3: Culture, Skating and Great Eats

Your final day in Thunder Bay offers up relaxing ways to get moving, great eats and the perfect ending.

Stop 1: Rooster’s Bistro

Where: 32 St. Paul St. Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

Close up of the walleye eggs benny at Roosters Bistro, coffee cup in the background

Breakfast is up at Rooster’s Bistro! Their “Benny Board” leaves little to be desired with options like classic eggs benny, The El Tres benny with chorizo, black beans, lime and more and our personal fav- the walleye eggs benny.

Walleye is a quintessential staple in Thunder Bay, pulled out fresh from Lake Superior. In this dish, it’s popped on top of a couple of English muffins and doused in hollandaise for a truly delicious twist on the classic benny.

Feeling something sweet instead? Order up a stack of Finnish pancakes topped with locally-tapped maple syrup – yum!

Stop 2: Ahnisnabae Art Gallery

Where: 18 Court St. S. Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

Wall of paintings by Roy Thomas
Paintings by the late Roy Thomas

Wander downtown to the Ahnisnabae Art Gallery – a true celebration of Ahnisnabae culture and art. Started by the late Roy Thomas, a talented Ahnisnabae  artist, the legacy is carried on today by his wife Louise.

Wander through the gallery to find everything from paintings and intricate beadwork to greeting cards, jewelry, pottery and more. It’s a fantastic spot to support Indigenous artists and bring home a small treasure from Thunder Bay.

Feeling hungry? We highly recommend popping in just a couple doors down to Sweet North Bakery for a sticky bun and a coffee.

Stop 3: Grab a drink at Lakehead Beer

Where: 206 Park Ave., Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

Shot of a pint at the bar at Lakehead Beer

Thirsty souls will feel right at home at Lakehead Beer – a community hub serving up pints of tasty craft beer. We love their three flagship brews – a pilsner, an IPA, and a light lager. What more could you need? Focused on fine craftsmanship with every pour, you’ll taste the care right in the beer.

Also in house, check out Tomlin Subdivision for drool-inducing Detroit-style pizza, potato bravas you’ll dream about long after your trip is done, and fresh subs too!

Stop 4: Skating + Dinner at Bight

Where: 2201 Sleeping Giant Parkway, Unit 100, Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

exterior shot of Bight all lit up at night

Lace up those skates and head down to the harbour front rink at Prince Arthur’s Landing to skate. The best time in our opinion is when the sky is dark and it’s all lit up.

Skate in circles as you look out at beautiful Lake Superior and then warm up fireside at the centre of the rink.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head right into Bight, located at the rink for a…well, for a bite.

closeup of the pork tenderloin at Bight

The menu here changes frequently but it certainly doesn’t miss. When we went, they were serving up a succulent pork tenderloin with caramelized apples, bright and zesty salads, and elote corn ribs worth writing home about.

Our favourite though? Their take on a crème brulee – a matcha version! Forget what you know about this overdone dessert. This one is fruity and full of bright flavours to please the palate. Topped with pickled blackberries and a sesame cracker, you do not want to share this one.

Heading Out

Before heading out, don’t miss out on this last stop.

Stock Up at Nomad

Where: Thunder Bay International Airport, Princess St., Thunder Bay, ON. (View Map)

close up of some of the products featured at Nomad including Tea Horse

Flying carry-on only and wishing you could bring home some delicious beer, hot sauce, coffee and more? Fear not! Nomad, located right in the Thunder Bay Airport is the spot to stock up on all your favs.

We recommend grabbing some craft beers from the likes of Sleeping Giant Brewery and Lakehead Beer, coffee from St. Paul Roastery, heartbeat hot sauce, biscotti made right in the city, chocolate and much more. You can also shop a small selection of local art, clothing, and other fun souvenirs. Plus, don’t forget to grab a bite. Breakfast pizza, anyone?

If you drove, don’t worry! We didn’t forget about you. Nomad also has a downtown location to grab all your goodness.

Bon Voyage!

We hope you enjoy your time in beautiful Thunder Bay! Want to know more? Check out some of the delicious things we ate that we can’t stop thinking about.

7 Things We Ate in Thunder Bay That We Can’t Stop Thinking About