15 Best Things to Do in Winnipeg

Winnipeg Skyline
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Winnipeg, Canada's seventh-largest city, lies at the Manitoba County at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers.

Though one of the country’s most underrated cities, Winnipeg is bustling and energetic, cultural, and scenic, and all with a dash of up-and-coming flare.

As the locals are affectionately known, Peggers have a thriving cultural scene that includes everything from theater to ballet company to concerts and opera.

Winnipeg's scorching summers and chilly winters mean the city's activities change with the seasons.

However, there's always something activities to try in this part of the world.

Now let's look at the 15 best things to do in Winnipeg, Canada:

Get Up Close With Animals in Assiniboine Park Zoo

Assiniboine Park Zoo
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See animals from all over the world at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

It is open year-round and spread out across 80 park-like acres.

In contrast to many other zoos that prioritize profit over animal care, the Assiniboine Park Zoo is at the forefront of conservation efforts and adheres strictly to international laws.

As a result, animal enthusiasts consider it to be a top Winnipeg destination.

Snow owl at Assiniboine Park Zoo
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More than two hundred different types of animals call the zoo home, and it cares for more than a thousand of them.

Because of its unique design, it serves as both an educational resource and an enjoyable destination for visitors of all ages.

The zoo has a well-known wildlife attraction: the grizzly bear.

Reindeer at Assiniboine Park Zoo
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Aside from its famous bears, you will also see muskoxen, Arctic foxes, and wolves.

The McFeetors Heavy Horse Centre is also in Assiniboine Park and spans 4.7 acres, including a barn, pastures, paddocks, and a carriage shed.

To understand more about the pioneer era of Manitoba's history, visitors to the Zoo may go on a barn tour and meet some of the animals.

For the little ones, there are even wagon rides.

Shop at The Forks

Outside of The Forks market
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The Forks offers you activities year-round, both indoors and outdoors.

The Forks, a commercial and entertainment center housed in several historic buildings, is situated at the confluence of the Red River and Assiniboine River.

After years of restoration work, the buildings where the railway maintenance facility used to stand now contain an eclectic mix of businesses, restaurants, and galleries.

The Forks
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Food stalls cook up a range of delectable meals in the main hall of The Forks Market.

Here, you will also see local merchants set up shops that occupy the first and second floors.

The viewing tower offers a panoramic view of the river as well as the city.

Ice rink near the forks
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In the summer, visitors flock here to take advantage of its indoor and outdoor options, as well as its riverfront.

Skating on the Forks ice rink or the river’s frozen waters is a favorite winter activity in the city.

Learn Winnipeg’s History at the Manitoba Museum

Manitoba Museum
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You may explore the province's finest attractions on display in the museum’s nine static galleries.

Meanwhile, its domed planetarium and science gallery reveals the night sky's grandeur through highly interactive exhibits.

Among the museum's highlights is the Pliosaur fossil, which is already 95 million years old.

Manitoba Museum
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It also features a show re-creating the aurora borealis and a replica of the fur trade station in Hudson Bay.

The Nonsuch, which is a reconstructed 17th-century sailing ship, is another well-known exhibition.

Climb aboard the Nonsuch and have a look around the ship so you can get a sense of the hardships those courageous individuals went through back in the day as they crossed the Atlantic.

Manitoba Museum lies at the renowned Exchange District in downtown.

Explore the Historical Exchange District

Exchange District
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When visiting Winnipeg, make a point of visiting the Exchange District, which has some of Canada's most interesting historical buildings and is a fantastic place to go sightseeing.

The brick walls and pillars in this neighborhood transport you back in time by a century.

The Exchange, sometimes known as the "Chicago of the North," is home to nearly 150 historic structures constructed from 1880 to 1920.

Exchange District
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As a result, it's one of the best things to do in downtown Winnipeg, featuring a wide range of dining options as well as coffee shops, museums, and leisure shops.

There are plenty of activities to do in Winnipeg on weekends in this area, whether you want to go shopping, take in the magnificent architecture, or just have a good time.

The historic district even offers guided tours for history buffs who wish to learn more about the region.

Visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Canadian Museum for Human Rights
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No vacation to Winnipeg would be complete without a stop at this museum, which is the only one in the world devoted entirely to human rights.

Since its inception in 2008, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has immediately drawn attention for two reasons: the significant content on display throughout the museum's floors and its avant-garde design.

Because of its unique façade, which depicts each of Canada's four primary landscapes, the building has become a prominent feature in photographs of Winnipeg.

Exhibitions at Canadian Museum for Human Rights
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Even after these years, the building's interior architecture still dazzles tourists with its tribute to the Giant's Causeway's basalt columns and upbeat decorations to contrast its depressing theme.

Despite its central location, the area underneath the museum is part of Treaty One Land, a historical region that has served as a gathering place for indigenous people throughout history.

Walking around the museum is an emotional experience; you'll learn why human rights have grown in relevance over the last 100 years and how far we've come as a species in that time as well.

Visiting the museum's exhibits is meant to inspire, but it should also push you to grow as a person since learning about human rights takes time and effort.

Interior of Canadian Museum for Human Rights
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Enjoy Ice Adventures at the Red River Mutual Trail

Red River Mutual Trail
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Although the winters in Canada are long, harsh, and snowy, Canadians prefer to get outside and enjoy the weather rather than hibernate until the warmer months arrive.

As soon as the ground begins to freeze, you'll see residents outside, enjoying a variety of activities, such as ice skating, fishing, hockey, snowshoeing, and skiing.

In Winnipeg, things are no different.

When the rivers freeze, the government constructs Red River Mutual Trail, the world's longest natural frozen skating rink.

Red River Mutual Trail
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Throughout the winter, locals and visitors alike make use of the Red River and Assiniboine River Trail to skate, sled, or simply wander along the riverbanks.

Every year, the duration fluctuates.

Although it's usually approximately five or six kilometers long, there have been instances where it's been 10!

For those who happen to be in Winnipeg when winter sets in and the river freezes, you'll have no problem finding something to try in the city.

Find Out How the Royal Canadian Mint is Made

Royal Canadian Mint
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Whether it's the mirrored glass structure or the fact that coins for more than 70 nations are made here, a visit to the Canadian Mint provides fascinating information about making money.

To learn more about money, guides take guests on an educational tour that includes holding a gold bar worth $600,000.

Here, you will also have the chance to see and admire the magnificent Vancouver 2010 Olympic gold medals.

And don’t forget to take pictures with the giant coin!

The Royal Canadian Mint is a rare discovery, so if you're in Winnipeg, be sure to stop by and see it.

Tour the Legislative Building

Legislative Building
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Winnipeg's Neoclassical Legislative Building, constructed in 1919 from native Tyndall limestone and imported Italian marble, is a work of art.

Cryptic numerical codes and Freemason symbols abound throughout the structure.

Weekly tours are available, led by a professional architectural historian.

Monuments and statues dot the expansive grounds, which also include lush gardens.

Legislative Building
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Golden Boy, which is a five-ton bronze figure standing four meters high and covered in gold that’s 23.5 carats, sits atop the 72-meter dome.

It is recognized as the crowning glory of the structure.

In addition to the large pile of wheat placed on Golden Boy's left arm, you will see him holding a candle in his right hand, signifying the province's continuing agricultural success.

Immerse in Icelandic Culture

Gimli Beach
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What was ancient civilization like before it was assimilated into contemporary society?

You don't have to wonder any longer!

Small yet distinctive, the village of Gimli was founded by Icelandic settlers back in the old days, and its residents still follow traditional customs.

Gimli centre building
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As a contemporary city with modern facilities, Gimli is a fantastic spot to get a taste of Icelandic culture without having to go all the way there.

One of the finest things to do in Winnipeg may undoubtedly be to visit this famous resort, particularly when the locally famous Icelandic Festival of Manitoba is taking place nearby.

You won't regret taking the time to check it out; it's a lot of fun, rewarding, and enlightening.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities at FortWhyte Alive

Fortwhyte Alive
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FortWhyte Alive is one of Winnipeg Manitoba's greatest parks and has 640 acres of prairie splendor, putting it on the list of the city's best elements of nature.

Among the many things to do in this area are lakeside sailing, kayaking and canoeing, seeing North America's biggest mammal (the bison), and even sipping local beer on the restaurant's terrace.

Classic wooden building at FortWhyte Alive
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If you have cross-country skis or snowshoes, you can enjoy a winter wonderland while getting some workouts.

FortWhyte Alive offers a fantastic destination if you want a brief retreat into nature or a full-on fun excursion.

The best part is that it's completely free!

Bring Your Kids to Manitoba Children's Museum

Manitoba Children's Museum
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The Forks building houses the Manitoba Children's Museum.

There are 12 interactive static galleries for kids of all ages inside this one-of-a-kind structure.

Each gallery has something for kids to do.

Manitoba Children's Museum
Robert Linsdell from St. Andrews, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's a big cow cube in the Milk Machine that you can step inside and a ton of knobs and switches to play in the Engine House.

The Lasagna Lookout offers a fun stop for youngsters, where they may play with their meal.

Traveling exhibits and special events such as Halloween and Christmas are held at the museum to top off the permanent galleries.

Manitoba Children's Museum
Robert Linsdell from St. Andrews, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Attend the Festival du Voyageur

Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg
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Winnipeg's most well-known winter event takes place every year in February.

The festival features activities in both French and English for all ages, as well as entertainment and food.

Festival du Voyageur
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In Voyageur Park and many other locations in Winnipeg, organizers set up large tents where visitors can enjoy live music, cuisine, dancing, and other activities.

Do not miss the spectacular ice sculptures, which are a festival highlight.

Its beard-growing competition is also a long-standing festival custom.

Before the event, participants must be able to grow the greatest beard possible for four different categories within 10 weeks.

Stroll Down the River Walk

River Walk in Winniepeg
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The city of Winnipeg has a distinct atmosphere for those who enjoy spending time in nature.

It's not your usual big metropolis, and there are a ton of parks, trees, and walkways wherever you look.

Walking along this site is a great way to admire nature and the cityscape.

The River Walk, which stretches from Riel Esplanade towards the Legislature buildings and offers some of the greatest views in town, is open year-round.

You'll be able to soak in all of Winnipeg's charm while getting your heart rate up.

Winnipeg Art Gallery
Intermedichbo - Dr Milorad Dimić, Serbia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in a cutting-edge ship-shaped structure, this Art Gallery has a collection of over 25,000 works of art by renowned Canadian, Inuit, and international artists.

The old Inuit Art Gallery was renamed Quamajuq sometime in 2021.

In this structure that spans 40,000 square feet, more than 14,000 works of Inuit artists are on display.

However, the Visible Vault that stands three stories, which displays 7,500 artifacts, is the most remarkable.

Winnipeg Art Gallery
Intermedichbo - Dr Milorad Dimić, Serbia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

WAG is the longest-surviving art gallery in Western Canada, regularly hosting events and various artists, including poets and performers.

Admire the views of the city from its unique rooftop that features a triangular sculpture garden.

This gallery is close to The Forks and downtown.

Pray at St. Boniface Cathedral

St. Boniface Cathedral
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St. Boniface Cathedral, founded in 1818, is Western Canada's first and foremost cathedral.

Locals regard it as Manitoba's ultimate expression of French Romanesque architecture.

However, a fire destroyed the cathedral several times and had to be rebuilt.

The cemetery where the Cathedral stands is the oldest Catholic burial ground in Western Canada.

St. Boniface Cathedral
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There are several antique gravestones commemorating early settlers and historical people, such as the one marking the final resting place of Louis Riel.

Built in 1846 for the Grey Nuns, the adjacent St. Boniface Museum is Winnipeg's oldest structure and was Canada's first convent, orphanage, girls' school, and hospital.

Following renovation in 1967, it now serves as a museum showcasing Manitoba's rich French heritage.

Final Thoughts

You'd hardly know what you'll find around the next corner in Winnipeg, so make sure to try as many of the places on our list as you can.

Whether you're an art geek, a shopaholic, or an outdoor enthusiast, Winnipeg has something for you.