Compiled by the Road Trip Manitoba team
Last Updated January 18, 2024
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba’s fifth-largest city, is sometimes called “The Island on the Prairies” because of its location on a crescent-shaped lake (called, naturally, Crescent Lake). There are tons of things to do in Portage la Prairie to keep you busy on a few days’ holiday or a weekend away, and it makes for a great mini-vacation in Manitoba.
If you’re heading to Portage la Prairie from Winnipeg, thankfully, the journey is easy and quick. While the most convenient way to travel is by your own vehicle, there are certainly other options for getting to Portage la Prairie.
Whether you’re on a day trip or planning on staying for a while, we’ve outlined everything you’ll need to know about getting from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie below.
Manitoba is made up of Treaty 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 Territory, as well as communities that are signatories to Treaty 6 and Treaty 10. Manitoba is home to the original lands of the Anishinaabe, Anish-Ininiwak, Dakota, Dene, Ininiwak, and Nehethowuk peoples, as well as the homeland of the Métis peoples.
About the Route
The route from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba is extremely straightforward. Portage la Prairie is approximately 85 kilometres west of downtown Winnipeg and should take around an hour’s drive. This is, of course, in optimal driving conditions; you’ll want to take it slower if there’s a lot of rain, snow, or ice on the roads.
The train line running from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie is approximately a one-and-a-half-hour train journey, depending on when you travel and which train you catch.
Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie by Car
Because the journey to Portage la Prairie is so short, your best bet is to travel by car. Obviously, having your own vehicle is extremely helpful in this situation, but it’s also possible to rent a car in Winnipeg and drive to Portage la Prairie that way.
From Winnipeg, you’ll need to get on the Trans-Canada Highway going west (MB1-W); this is by far the fastest and most convenient route to Portage la Prairie. In downtown Winnipeg, the Trans-Canada Highway is called Portage Avenue. Driving west on the Trans-Canada Highway, you will see very clear road signs directing you toward Portage la Prairie. After approximately 85 kilometres or about an hour of driving, you’ll see very obvious signs for the exits for the city of Portage la Prairie. In other words, you can’t miss it!
If you want to rent a car in Winnipeg, there are a few companies that offer car hires. Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, and U-Drive Car Rental are all found in Winnipeg. They all have a few locations around the city for convenience (including at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport).
Driving in winter in Manitoba can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to driving in snow or on icy roads. Make sure the car you’re driving has the proper tires for the conditions (snow tires or all-weather tires). And always check the weather conditions before you head out on your trip. In summer, be aware that road construction may slow your journey down, especially if the highway is reduced to one lane.
It’s an obvious statement but a necessary one: you’ll need a driver’s license to drive in Canada. If you don’t have a Canadian driver’s license, you’ll need to check if an International Driver’s Permit is needed. American driver’s licenses are usually accepted in Canada, but you should always double-check if any other documentation is needed to drive in Manitoba if your license is from outside Canada.
If you have any concerns about driving in Manitoba, you can always check Manitoba’s road laws and driving regulations.
Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie by Bus
There is a bus between Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie. Mahihkan Bus lines offer a daily service which costs approximately $15 one way and takes about 1.25 hours for the journey.
Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie by Train
Did you know you can take the train from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie? For a convenient and unique way to travel within Manitoba, head to Via Rail to find train routes, buy train tickets, and plan your entire train journey. It is recommended that you book your train tickets in advance with Via Rail to ensure you get the dates you’d prefer for your train journey to Portage la Prairie.
In Winnipeg, the train will depart from the Via Rail station at Union Station. The station is found conveniently in Winnipeg’s city centre on Main Street. The train journey to Portage la Prairie will take around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on what time of day you travel and what kind of train you take. The train station in Portage la Prairie is found at 130 Fisher Avenue, right in the middle of town.
Prices for train tickets vary, but a one-way train ticket from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie starts at around $24 for an economy ticket, with prices rising depending on the class you choose. There are also private cars available, but those are significantly more expensive.
Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie by Private Transfer
If driving from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie doesn’t appeal, and the train isn’t an option, there are private transfers between the two cities. Private transfers certainly aren’t cheap, but they’re reliable and comfortable.
Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie by Other Options
Looking for an active adventure on your way from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie? If you’re an avid cyclist, cycling is certainly an option! Depending on where you start in Winnipeg, and how experienced a cyclist you are, expect the one-way route to take at least four hours. Keep in mind you will be cycling on a busy highway, so plan accordingly.
As for flying to Portage la Prairie, there are currently no commercial flights between the two cities. There are indeed private charter flights between Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie, but they are extremely expensive.
Fun Things To Do Along The Way
Although there’s only an hour’s drive between Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie, there are still quite a few things to do along the way! Here are a few of our favourites:
- Stop at Thunder Rapids Fun Park during the warmer months for go-karting, bumper boats, batting cages, mini-golf, and more. Check for seasonal closures before you plan your visit!
- Shop at Shelmerdine in Headingly for local goods, clothing, home decor, plants, and flowers.
- Explore the walking trails in Beaudry Provincial Park.
- Spot the White Horse Monument in the community of St. Francois Xavier.
- Keep your eyes peeled for the colours of Manitoba’s fields in summer! Look for wheat, canola, sunflowers, and so much more. If you want to stop for photos, make sure to pull over on a side road, not the main highway. Always remember to stay on the road and to not trespass on private property.
Upon Your Arrival
You made it!
However you’ve chosen to get from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie, once you arrive in the city, you’ll probably want to get something to eat or check in to your accommodation.
Keep in mind there is also the Portage la Prairie tourism centre for lots of information and advice on what to do in the “Island on the Prairies”.
Where to Stay in Portage la Prairie
Where to Eat in Portage la Prairie
There are a number of good restaurants in Portage la Prairie for a bite to eat. We recommend Over the Coals, Bill’s Sticky Fingers, Om Indian Cuisine, Mole Guacamole, Dick’s Cafe, or Lita’s Station.
For a more in-depth look, check out our complete guide to things to do in Portage la Prairie.
Planning to spend some time in the province’s capital before hitting the road? Don’t miss our guide on all the great things to do in Winnipeg. (Also, check out our article on our most beloved restaurants in Winnipeg as well!)
And if you’re making ANY drive in the province, don’t forget to download our FREE Road Trip Manitoba bingo cards to amp up the fun!