There are many great things to do in Winnipeg, and it won’t bore you to spend some days there. Winnipeg is the capital city of Manitoba. Additionally, it is also the sixth-largest city in Canada and the largest in Manitoba.
Its name is based on Lake Winnipeg. ‘Winnipeg’ is a word that means ‘muddy water’, and has been derived from the word ‘winipihk’ of the Western Cree tribe language. Winnipeg is the traditional locality of the Anishinabe, Ininew, Dakota, Dene, and Oji-Cree tribes. It is also the birthplace of the Metis Nation. It is termed the ‘Gateway to the West‘ and is a hub for transportation and economy. It hosts a myriad of annual festivals and is home to many professional sports games and franchises.
1. Best Things to Do in Winnipeg
While there are multiple Winnipeg tourist attractions to check out, this article discusses the 15 top things to do in Winnipeg.
1.1) Visit the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba, was founded in 1912, making it one of Canada’s first art galleries. It is housed in a modernist building and features a mind-blowing collection of 27,000 artworks.
Their artworks feature media and cultures, and they are also host to the world’s grandest Inuit collection. Their exhibitions have a diversity of programs and events. If you want a glimpse of what Canada’s local artists have to offer, WAG is the place to be.
In 2020, WAG was given an Ojibway name, ‘Biindigin Biwaasaeyaah’. This translated to ‘come here to the dawn of light’. This was mainly done during the addition of Quamajuq to the gallery. It is a new museum with the aforementioned big Inuit collection.
1.1.1) Popular Attractions
One of the best exhibitions at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is the inaugural exhibition of Quamajuq. INUA is a wide range of work that can be viewed at the 8,000 square feet main gallery in Quamajuq. This gallery is called Qilak. Qilak means ‘sky’, and it is a rightful name for a gallery devoted to Inuit art and culture.
Now, INUA brings work created by Inuit artists from all over Canada. It features work done by indigenous colleagues and collaborations with Alaska and Greenland. It also brings to notice the past work of Inuit artists who have created the foundation of the present art.
The WAG-Quamajuq is an excellent portrayal of history and progress in culture through art; it is surely one of the most interesting things to do in Winnipeg.
1.2) Explore the Manitoba Museum
The Manitoba Museum is Manitoba’s largest museum for heritage and learning that is not-for-profit. It is known for various shows and exhibits, making it one of the best things to do in Winnipeg. Here are a few significant ones:
1.2.1) Planetarium Theatre
The Planetarium Theatre hosts interactive shows that recreate the sky, explore astronomy-related topics and highlight current space updates. It is a great spot for the universe and space enthusiasts.
1.2.2) New Prairies Gallery
The prairie is a defining landscape that shows how Manitoba is placed and defined in stories. Plants and animals from the prairies are showcased in this gallery. This living prairie museum offers a view of history, explores connections between humans and the land, and discusses essential elements like the Red River cabin, the tipi, and more.
While exploring the gallery, you can learn about the real places of Manitoba and how they need to be protected.
1.2.3) Science Gallery
Science Gallery is full of technology and illusion. You can learn about the world through interaction, and gain more knowledge through exploration.
The Cosmos Corner is a great spot to stop and learn about humanity’s space achievements, including the Black Brant Rocket built in Winnipeg by Magellan Aerospace!
The Manitoba Museum has received various awards, with the best one being the Michelin Green Guide’s top rating for ‘Worth the Trip.‘ A few awards include Tourism Service Excellence, Win with Winter in Canada, and the Prix Award for indoor activities.
1.3) Take Your Kids to Manitoba Children’s Museum
It may surprise you, but this spot is the best in Winnipeg for children. It houses the oldest train repair facility and has twelve galleries full of creativity and excitement. Here, you can interact with the galleries and help your children have a powerful experience of learning.
1.3.1) Special Features
Early learning is a core principle of the Manitoba Children’s Museum. They believe in providing an environment to nurture growth and self-discovery. This spark for creativity can be ignited by play, community outreach, and interactive exhibitions.
Their educational programs include school programs and blogs that help develop foundation skills for growth and progress.
The museum is also an ideal location to host birthdays, holiday parties, group sleepovers, conferences, fundraising events, media events, and more.
This makes it to the list of one of the best things to do in Winnipeg, especially downtown Winnipeg.
1.4) Have Fun at the Royal Aviation Museum
The Royal Aviation Museum is a facility that has experiences associated with aerospace heritage, Canada’s aviation, and stories to inspire future aviators. If you visit Winnipeg and want to learn about the aviation part of Canadian history, there’s no better place than the Royal Aviation Museum.
Amongst the so many attractions of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the museum has a large collection of 90 historic artifacts, 70,000 texts, and more than 40-year-old photographs.
1.4.1) Special Features
The museum is a way to honour and commemorate the indigenous people and aviation in Western Canada. It is also a source to explore the complex travel and trade history.
Its artifact collection is full of things like a Bush Pilot’s axe, a trans-Canada Air Lines Lighter, and a Fokker Super Universal Airplane Model (G-CASK). It hosts a lot of programs like National Aviation Day, and Open Cockpits Day.
It is also a Canadian museum that involves itself in education and outreach by hosting children’s programs from the museum. This enables children to learn about artifacts and aircraft in restoration, gives them hands-on experience, and ensures an improvement in learning outcomes.
For a museum that focuses on only one aspect, there are various fun things to do.
1.5) Visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Human Rights Canadian Museum was set up in 2003. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is built on Indigenous lands. The water that is supplied to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights comes from Shoal Lake, Winnipeg.
Along with being a museum for human rights, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is also the first to ever have a global dialogue about human rights. It is the first and most sophisticated museum that focuses solely on human rights.
They revolve around the premise that respect and understanding can change the world for the better. The museum works towards exploring human rights and understanding people’s opinions about them.
1.5.1) Special Features
Just like the other museums in Canada, the Human Rights Canadian Museum works to preserve and promote Canada’s heritage, contributes to the Canadian sense of identity, enhances research and learning, and serves entertainment purposes.
Here are a few of the Canadian Museum For Human Right’s best exhibits:
220.127.116.11) Time to Act: Rohingya Voices
Time to Act: Rohingya Voices was conducted to portray the difficulties faced by the Rohingya people. It was also a call to recognize the efforts Myanmar made to dehumanize the Rohingyas.
People around the world were called to be more aware and act against injustice. The exhibition was developed by the museum and Kevin Frayer. Local Rohingyas and the Burmese community also contributed.
18.104.22.168) ARTiculate Our Rights
ARTiculate Our Rights was a project that was implemented to mark the 150th anniversary of Manitoba as a province. People were asked to submit their artwork, and more than 100 pieces were chosen for display.
There was an outdoor exhibit by 26 youths, and the indoor exhibit consisted of projected images and stills.
22.214.171.124) Mandela: Struggle for Freedom
Mandela: Struggle for Freedom looks at Nelson Mandela and his efforts to build a nation where racism and injustice have no space. The exhibition sheds light on the struggles faced by South African children and the stories of struggles for equality and freedom.
1.6) Witness the Manitoba Legislative Building
The Manitoba Legislative Building was once called the Manitoba Parliament Building. The Manitoba Legislative Building is the meeting spot of the Assembly of Legislation. Additionally, it is also Manitoba’s twelfth heritage site. The building is also the accommodation spot of the Premier.
The Manitoba Legislative Building was built in a neoclassical, Beaux-Arts style. It was completed in 1920 and has a gold-covered bronze statue of Mercury, the Roman God. It is on top of the building and is 77 meters tall.
It was designed by Frank Simon and Henry Boddington III.
The whole family can visit the building and see the vantage point of view of a session from the Visitor’s Gallery. Tours are available, along with wheelchair accessibility.
1.7) Become a Part of the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba
The first Icelandic Festival was held in 1890 and has been moved to Gimli in 1932. It has been hosted in Gimli since then. The festival is termed ‘Islendingadagurinn’. It is the second oldest festival in North America dedicated to ethnicity.
Their vision is to promote global awareness of the festival as a meeting space for people to celebrate Icelandic culture. The Icelandic Festival is an organization run by volunteers interested in its culture.
1.7.1) Special Features
Fjallkona is an important tradition of this festival. It started in 1924, with the selection of a woman to be the Maid of the Mountain. During the festival, the selected Fjallkona sits on the elevated throne in a white gown, green robe, golden belt, high-crowned headrest, and white veil.
The festival is home to amazing food, and outdoor activities including Lawn Parade Contest, Family Scavenger Hunt, and live music events.
1.8) Assiniboine Park Zoo
Assiniboine Park Zoo is made up of two parts: Assiniboine Park and Assiniboine Zoo. This place’s vision is to share nature’s wonders with people and conserve the same for the future.
The Assiniboine Park Conservancy was founded in 2008 and is responsible for the historic Assiniboine Park. The Conservancy is also responsible for establishing and carrying out the redevelopment of the zoo and park.
1.8.1) Assiniboine Park
Assiniboine Park is a hub of activity for natural and joyful gatherings. It allows people to connect with nature. Enjoy some amazing attractions there, including The Pavilion, The Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, and The English Garden.
It is also home to green spaces, breathtaking gardens, educational programs, outdoor activities, and a variety of events providing opportunities to learn and enjoy.
Assiniboine Park is one of the best parks in Winnipeg, Canada for enjoying, relaxing, and reconnecting with nature.
1.8.2) Assiniboine Zoo
More than 150 animal species can be found in the zoo, making it an amazing spot for exploration and fun for the whole family. This zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It focuses on meeting the standards of animal welfare.
One of the highlights of the zoo is the Journey to Churchill exhibit. It is a comprehensive exhibit of naturalistic landscapes, animal viewing, and interactive displays.
You get to learn about biodiversity, conservation, and climate change. It is a great way to boost learning through engagement.
Some of the species found here include Polar bears, snowy Owls, Arctic foxes, reindeer, muskox, and harbour seal.
This exhibit has received multiple awards, including the 2015 Innovation Award, the 2015 Exhibit Award Top Honours, and the 2015 Thomas R. Baines Award for outstanding achievement.
1.8.3) The Leaf
The last part of the Assiniboine Park Zoo is the Leaf, an indoor horticultural experience to explore four biomes, including the Mediterranean, the Hartley and Heather Richardson Tropical, the Babs Asper Display, and the Shirley Butterfly Garden.
The Leaf also has over 30 acres of gardens, with the main ones being The Grove, the Seasonal Garden, the Kitchen Garden, the Performance Garden, the Indigenous Garden, and the Sensory Garden.
1.9) Uncover the Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint has one of its branches in Winnipeg. It is a world leader in the circulation of coin design. It was established in 1976 and is a high-tech manufacturing facility. Every Canadian coin has been produced here. It also produces coins from around the world.
The Royal Canadian Mint offers 45-minute tours to educate yourself about the production process, major milestones, and unique history of the Mint.
With the help of this tour, you can get a bird’s eye view of the production floor, learn about the technology used, learn about the skills required, and get close-up views of the medals.
1.10) Birds Hill Provincial Park
Birds Hill Provincial Park is in Manitoba that protects areas of the Aspen/Oak parkland. It is a top Winnipeg tourist attraction receiving a lot of visitors. There are many festivals and events held in the main campground that families enjoy spending their vacation with picnics in the park.
1.10.1) Special Features
- In winter, there are areas for country skiing and kick-sledding.
- The park also has a side backcountry, which offers visitors a chance to hike, horseback ride, and mountain bike.
- The park is also assigned for recreational use, and there are also pioneer homesteads.
- Additionally, North Drive, South Drive, and Festival Drive are some scenic roadways used for cycling and roller sports games.
1.11) Experience the Northern Lights
In Manitoba, you can see an amazing display of the Northern Lights. Spellbinding, amazing, and flawless lights dancing across the skyline is what make this place one of the top Winnipeg tourist attractions.
The show of bright green, purple, and other colours can unfold even in downtown Winnipeg. The best time to visit these lights would be from January through March. North Winnipeg’s St. Andrews would probably be the best destination to do so.
1.12) Explore the Centennial Concert Hall
Centennial Concert Hall is a performing arts center in downtown Winnipeg, with 2305 seats. It opened in 1968 and is the home of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Manitoba Opera, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
The Winnipeg Architecture Foundation says that the building has a modern-influenced architecture, with the exterior being a mixture of orthogonal lines, glass, and masonry. The coloration of the building also complements the Winnipeg City Hall and features Tyndall stone and deep masonry.
The Centennial Concert Hall is connected to the Manitoba Museum and supports Manitoba artists through exhibitions. The Piano Nobile, a gallery featuring over 200 artists has high ceilings, majestic chandeliers, and a grand piano. The hall also hosts local and global artists and live music.
1.13) Celebrate Art at Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre is the oldest English-language theatre in Canada. It has a grand audience as compared to other theatres in the area. It is an amalgamation of Theatre 77 and Winnipeg Little Theatre.
Don’t miss their Pre-show chats and Talkback series. Get the opportunity to see many world-famous artists and new rising talents in one place.
1.14) Forks National Historic Site
The Forks National Historic Site of Canada is publicly accessible in Winnipeg. It used to be a critical junction for two important rivers, the Red and Assiniboine rivers. But now it is used as a gathering and meeting space for recreation and commercial operations.
National Historic Site of Canada. This site has witnessed many historical events, including changes in the natural history of Canada. People use the space as fishing and camping grounds.
It has also been a meeting place for First National groups like Algonquin, North Dakota, and Minnesota.
It also provided a spot for camping for Ojibwa, Cree, and Dakota people. The location, the courses of the rivers, and the well-being of the artifacts uncovered here make this spot one of the key things to do in Winnipeg.
1.15) Red River Mutual Trail
The Red River Mutual Trail is a long frozen skating trail. It has a Guinness World Record for the same. The Red River Mutual is more than 10 kilometres long and stretches from Arlington to St. Vital Bridge.
The route, length, and direction of the Red River Mutual Trail depend on the hand-shovelling and it takes about a month to freeze for being used by skaters and trailers.
As of 2022, the Red River mutual trail is the longest run in history, has over 900,000 visitors, and features a unique installation by Kal Barteski, a local artist.
In 2018, the trail was made public to visitors. The Manitoba New Music Festival was in January 2019. Community Day and Skate Day were hosted in January and February 2019.
There are plenty of things to do in Winnipeg that make it a hub for tourists to visit. Age isn’t a limit to finding something fun to do in Winnipeg. Winnipeg also offers budget-friendly things to do like visiting the Birds Hill Provincial Park, Doors Open Winnipeg, and Assiniboine Forest.
If you visit Winnipeg and find that you’ve already seen every place mentioned in the above list, try out coffee shops and boutique shops to see what Winnipeg has to offer in terms of food and clothes respectively.
The best place to find coffee shops and boutique shops in the same place would be The Exchange District.
Winnipeg in Canada may seem like a small corner of Manitoba with nothing special to hold. But that is not the case! Filled with art, music, parks, and trails, there are lots of things to do in Winnipeg that make it a tourist hub and a place the locals appreciate.