From incredible landscapes to magical museums, discover why there are more things to do in Winnipeg than meets the eye.
Sitting snugly in the heart of the Canadian prairies, Winnipeg, Manitoba is a city that defies expectations. Known as the “Gateway to the West”, this hub of transportation and commerce has been the butt of a lot of jokes.
“Winterpeg, “the mosquito capital of Canada,” and more dramatic nicknames have been given to “The Peg” over the years. But those who have actually spent time in Winnipeg know that there is something far more special in this city than it’s ever given credit for.
Winnipeg is a bustling city with a vibrant arts scene, world-class museums, and a collection of barrier-bending culinary experiences that would give cities like Toronto and Vancouver a run for their money. It’s a city with a rich sports legacy, jaw-dropping parks, and a rich Indigenous heritage unlike anywhere else in Canada.
Whether you’re stopping through on a cross-Canada drive, catching a Winnipeg Jets game, or simply in town for business, these fantastic things to do in Winnipeg, Manitoba will keep you busy and have you coming back for more.
About Winnipeg, Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba is the capital city of the province of Manitoba, right in the heart of Canada. With a history that dates back over 6,000 years and continues to thrive in the region to the European fur traders who arrived in the 1600s and established the first trading post, Winnipeg has been a crucial location in the growth of Canada for centuries.
Modern Winnipeg has evolved into a diverse and multicultural city packed with beautiful architecture, lively festivals, and some of the world’s most prestigious museums.
Throughout its massive growth into the 21st century, Winnipeg has held firmly to its agricultural roots. It’s surrounded by endless fields of sunflower, wheat, and soy that transform into a rainbow of colours during harvest season. Winnipeg has also retained its place as a key rail transportation hub for both people and commerce making its way across Canada.
Things To Do In Winnipeg
Spend a little time in Winnipeg and you’ll quickly discover all of the incredible attractions that this city has to offer. Whether you’re there on a beautiful, sunny summer day or braving the deep cold of a Winnipeg winter, our guide to the top things to do in Winnipeg will give you everything that you need to know to stay busy.
Wander The Forks
If you can choose just one place to visit in Winnipeg, make it The Forks. This is one of the most culturally important places in Canada, and while it was left to ruin for many years as a train yard, The Forks has been revitalized into one of the best urban parks in Canada.
The Forks is located directly at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and is an important meeting place for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. And it has been for thousands of years. Today, The Forks is home to the Oodena Celebration Circle, a gathering place for all people, Indigenous, settlers, and visitors.
Along with beautiful scenery, impressive public art displays, and access to gorgeous stretches of water, The Forks is also home to The Forks Market, a must-visit for foodies. The Forks Market has a wide range of local and international cuisine and features over 20 vendors.
The Forks Winnipeg is also the hub for festivities in Winnipeg. You’ll find events taking place year-round as well as bicycle rentals, splash parks, and a playground for families.
The Forks is a unique and vibrant destination in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that offers a wide range of
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Combining thought-provoking exhibits, moving descriptions, and jaw-dropping architecture, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is one of the best things to experience in Winnipeg. This world-class museum will leave you feeling deeply moved and empowered.
Within the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a collection of exhibits and galleries exploring humanity’s history and current relationship with human rights around the world. Spread across several floors, the displays offer powerful immersion into some of the darkest moments in human history and give way to the bright hope of humanity’s future.
The building itself is a tribute to human growth and spiritual recovery as it takes visitors on a journey through the darkness and into the light, leading to an inspiring plateau with inspiring panoramics over the city from a glass viewing area.
You can read all about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights here.
Royal Canadian Mint
Have you ever wondered about the journey of Canadian currency, especially its world-renowned coin designs? There’s no better place to learn than the Royal Canadian Mint, one of the most unique places to visit in Winnipeg.
Embark on a fascinating journey through the history of Canadian coins where technology and craftsmanship combine to produce some of the most iconic and valuable coins in the world.
A visit to the Royal Canadian Mint takes you through the mint’s impressive production floor where you can see how new coins are pressed, polished, and packaged for distribution. Along the way you’ll get a glimpse into how the raw materials are processed into works of art.
Along with the production process, you can also experience the on-site museum that tells the stories behind some of Canada’s most famous coins such as the Canadian Loonie and Toonie. You’ll also get an up-close look at rare coins and precious metals that come from some of Canada’s most important mines in places like Sudbury and Yellowknife.
Whether you’re a coin collector, a history buff, or just a visitor to Winnipeg looking for a cool piece of Canadian history, the Royal Canadian Mint is a must-stop in the city.
One of the most beloved things to do in Winnipeg for both locals and visitors alike is to visit Assiniboine Park. Spread across 400 acres near the western edge of the city, Assiniboine Park is lauded not just for its magnificent attractions, but also its natural beauty.
Loaded with lush gardens, winding trails, and sparkling ponds, Assiniboine Park offers a peaceful escape within the city limits. If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss “The Leaf.” This spectacular horticultural attraction meanders through four unique biomes including tropical, Mediterranean, and even includes a butterfly garden.
Among other attractions in Assiniboine Park are the Assiniboine Zoo, the Pavilion Gallery Museum, and the newly renovated Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.
Manitoba Legislative Building
It’s hard to miss this iconic landmark in Winnipeg.
While a visit to a legislative building might not seem like the coolest way to spend time in Winnipeg, this piece of Manitoba history has a few tricks up its sleeve that draw visitors through its front doors and into a world of secrets.
One of the stand-out structures on the Winnipeg skyline, the Manitoba Legislative Building, which was built in 1920, is an impressive piece of architecture. The building was designed by Frank Worthington Simon and features massive columns, intricate carvings, and a majestic dome that towers over the waterfront.
But the building is also laden with hidden symbolism and secrete messages that a guided tour or self-guided audio tour can point to. Be on the lookout for things like “The Golden Boy,” a statue that stands atop the building’s iconic dome. The statue is a symbol of Manitoba’s prosperity and potential and is said to weigh over 5000 pounds.
You’ll also want to look for “The Devil’s Face.” This stone carving sits above the entrance, and legend has it that it was carved by one of the stonemasons intending to represent the devil himself.
Winnipeg Art Gallery
The Winnipeg Art Gallery, or WAG as it’s referred to locally, is the oldest public art gallery in Western Canada. With an extensive collection of more than 29,000 works of art that range from contemporary to modern and an entire wing reserved for Inuit artwork, it’s among the most prestigious art museums in Canada.
The Winnipeg Art Gallery hosts several special exhibits throughout the year showcasing work by local, national, and international artists. You’ll also find wonderful permanent exhibits focusing on Canadian artwork from notable creatives such as Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, and Tom Thompson.
One of the newest features of the WAG is the Inuit Art Centre. This is the largest gallery space devoted to Inuit art in the world. The centre showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Inuit Peoples with over 13,000 works of art from across the north.
Imagine an expansive outdoor adventure centre with hiking trails, marshes, and even a herd of Bison. Take all that and put it right on the edge of the city of Winnipeg and you have FortWhyte Alive.
If you love nature, the outdoors, and incredible wildlife, you must add this experience to your Winnipeg itinerary.
Start your visit at the FortWhyte Alive Interpretive Centre to learn about the region’s natural history and the park’s conservation initiatives. While you’re there, sign up for a Bison Safari.
This wild nature adventure takes you out to the bison prairie where you can get (safely) up close with these magnificent animals that once roamed the prairies in the millions.
While you’re at the park, enjoy the magnificent interpretive trails. Be on the lookout for a wide variety of bird species as well as deer, foxes, and more.
During the winter, FortWhyte Alive transforms its hiking and biking trails into cross-country ski and snowshoeing trails making this a true four-season destination.
You can read all about FortWhyte Alive here.
Winnipeg Craft Breweries
In recent years the craft beer seen in Manitoba has exploded. The province has over 30 craft breweries on record and at least 20 of those are located right in the province’s capital city. The boom has been a welcome addition to Winnipeg attractions.
Part of the growth comes from the city’s easy access to local ingredients such as hops and barley that are grown in Manitoba’s vast agricultural land. To experience the fresh flavours of the Winnipeg craft brew scene don’t miss Half Pints Brewing Company on Roseberry St. This brewpub has been a popular stop since 2006 and offers a range of great beers including an award-winning Little Scrapper IPA and their Bulldog Amber Ale.
Torque Brewing Co is another great Winnipeg brewery. They’re relatively new to the scene but have jumped in with both feet with their high-quality brews. They offer a great range of both traditional and experimental beers in their tasting room.
Fort Gary Brewing Company is one of the city’s oldest craft breweries. The company has been a Winnipeg staple since 1930. Grab a pint of their award-winning Dark Ale or their Frontier Pilsner or take a tasting tour through their historic taproom and brewery.
If you’re taking the time to explore all of the fun things to do in Winnipeg, you should add a little relaxation to your schedule. And there are few better places to do that than the Thermea Spa.
An oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation tucked right into the heart of Winnipeg, this Scandinavian spa boasts a serene natural setting and luxurious amenities. The property is replete with flowing water, and shade trees, and welcomes visitors with a soothing ambiance that sets the mood for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Thermea Spa features a wide range of spa treatments such as hot stone massages, body scrubs, and facials. Amongst the treatments is a Nordic-inspired atmosphere with outdoor baths, saunas, as well as hot and cold pools.
For those looking to make Thermea Spa a full-day event, there are healthy meals and snacks at the spa’s restaurant in a relaxed, casual environment.
Winnipeg Food Scene
Winnipeg boasts one of Canada’s best food scenes. Chefs are drawn to the city from across Canada and around the world thanks to the city’s ample access to fresh produce and ingredients. All that innovation has inspired a broad range of restaurants and food experiences in the city.
Winnipeg offers a range of culinary delights from High-Tea and luxury restaurants to casual fare and pub food. And while the city has its own local quirks such as honey dill sauce and a mild obsession with pierogies, you’ll find local twists and traditional fare everywhere.
Make a stop at The Forks Market to experience more than 20 food vendors in an upscale food court experience. The market itself is built into the city’s retired train yard and offers a stunning example of reclaimed architecture. Enjoy some all-day breakfast at the Original Pancake House, a grilled Flank steak at SMITHs, or a sandwich at the Tall Grass Bread Co.
For a fine dining experience, get a reservation at Harth Mozza and Wine Bar. Serving fine Italian fare in an upscale environment, Harth is known for its respect for tradition. Harth has everything from service and plating to presentation and taste down to science.
Don’t miss the alla famiglia set menu. This tasting menu allows you to wrap your tastebuds around a selection of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. And it also offers great value for the price.
The Saint Boniface neighbourhood sits on the southern banks of the Assiniboine River. This historic section of Winnipeg was named for Saint Boniface, a French Catholic missionary who helped to establish the church’s presence in the mid-19th century.
Saint Boniface has an awe-inspiring history and is known for its French-Canadian and Métis culture. The neighbourhood is also home to some of Winnipegs most notable landmarks. Among them is the Saint Boniface Cathedral. This church was completed in 1908 and is still one of the largest cathedrals in Western Canada.
Saint Boniface Cathedral was declared a Canadian National Historic Site. Its stunning stained glass windows and unique architecture make it one of the coolest places to visit in Winnipeg.
Among other things to do in Winnipeg’s Saint Boniface neighbourhood is the Maison Gabrielle-Roy. This museum is dedicated to the life and work of the renowned French Canadian author and is situated in a house that Roy lived in for many years.
Saint Boniface is home to many of the best festivals in Winnipeg such as the Festival du Voyageur, a vibrant winter festival that celebrates the city’s French Canadian and Métis heritage.
Winnipeg Street Art
Winnipeg has a booming street art scene. The incredible creations offer a vibrant glimpse into the city’s cultural landscape. Among the many works of art throughout the city are large murals, small works of graffiti, and lines of garage doors and fences bursting with colourful scenes.
If you love to explore street art, don’t miss the city’s West End. This part of the city is home to a large Indigenous community that includes many artists who create work that reflect the culture and history of the city. The West End is also home to the Wall-to-Wall mural festival. This festival unites artists from around the world who create large-scale murals on buildings.
The Exchange District is also a popular spot for street art. This area is known for its historic architecture and features loads of impressive displays splayed across former warehouses.
One of the most unique sections of town is in the North End. Here, set amongst back alleys in urban neighbourhoods is a wild collection of artworks painted on urban fences, garage doors, and buildings. Many of them feature scenes of Manitoba wildlife.
Enjoy These Top Things To Do In Winnipeg
There are more things to do in Winnipeg, Manitoba than meets the eye. From outdoor escapes to cultural immersion and mouthwatering food to gorgeous street art you can find something for everyone in this beautiful region of Manitoba.
Many of these businesses and restaurants are anxious for visitors after a tough year. So let’s support local and make the most of your Edmonton adventure.
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Kevin Wagar is a founder and editor of We Explore Canada. He has been working in the travel media industry since 2015 when he founded his family travel website Wandering Wagars – Adventure Family Travel.
Over the years Kevin has developed a deep love for his home country and aims to showcase the incredible experiences and amazing small businesses found within it.