14 must-do things to do in Winnipeg

Se promener le long de la Red River

How about exploring the capital of Manitoba, Canada? Here are 14 must-do things to do in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg is often unfairly overlooked by tourists visiting Canada. And yet, it enjoys a level of sunshine unmatched by any other Canadian city! But what is there to see and do in Winnipeg, you may ask? The answer is simple: a thousand and one things.

First and foremost, Canada’s seventh-largest city is renowned for its cultural dynamism. All the arts are celebrated in Winnipeg, and you’ll find plenty of events to take part in during your stay. What’s more, nature is close at hand and even permeates the city, with its beautiful, wild and relaxing parks.

Winnipeg’s winters may be harsh, but the city knows how to warm its visitors up with good food and human warmth. Welcoming Winnipeg abounds with family-friendly activities to delight young and old alike. In short, you’ll never be bored in Winnipeg, and here’s a roundup of the things to do to prove it.

1. Stroll around The Forks

visiter Winnipeg

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Salvador Maniquiz

The Forks district is the epicenter of the city and its vibrant heart. This attractive historic district welcomes no less than 4 million visitors a year.

The Forks has been a dynamic economic center for thousands of years. Today, it’s also the hub of local life, with the city’s stores, entertainment and restaurants. You’ll also be able to indulge your sweet tooth in the aisles of the Fork’s Market, a covered market dedicated entirely to gourmets.

2. Visit a museum

Visiter un musée

Photo credit: Shutterstock – SzB

As mentioned in the introduction, the city’s cultural life is well worth a visit. In particular, it’s brimming with museums, and we can only recommend that you visit them when you’re in Winnipeg. Some, like the new Museum for Human Rights, are almost unique in the world.

We also recommend the Manitoba Museum, which combines a planetarium, regional history and natural sciences. Art lovers will appreciate the Winnipeg Art Gallery, whose collections celebrate Aboriginal art in particular. Children will love the Manitoba Children’s Museum, dedicated entirely to them. Finally, you can breathe in the fresh air and observe nature at the Living Prairie Museum.

3. Explore the Exchange District

visiter Winnipeg - explorer l’Exchange District

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Salvador Maniquiz

Winnipeg does nothing like the others! The historic Exchange District is now one of the city’s trendiest areas. Former warehouses have been converted into boutiques, restaurants and galleries, giving it a new lease on life.

The district is also very dynamic from a cultural point of view, and is home to a variety of performing arts venues, brought together in the Manitoba Centennial Centre. As for Old Market Square, it regularly hosts shows and festivals. The square is also the best place to shop in Winnipeg, thanks to its many boutiques.

4. See a concert

Voir un concert

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Alan Heartfield

Among the things to do when visiting Winnipeg, live entertainment tops the list, especially concerts. Manitoba’s capital is also the home of Neil Young! The city’s folk, blues and rock spirit blends perfectly with its old-fashioned industrial charm.

If you want to see a concert in Winnipeg, you’re spoilt for choice. You’ll find plenty of them in the bars of The Forks and the Exchange District. And the famous Corydon Avenue hosts free open-air concerts every weekend in fine weather.

5. Watch a Winnipeg Jets game

visiter Winnipeg - voir un match des Winnipeg Jets

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Salvador Maniquiz

What better way to visit Winnipeg than at a field hockey game? A true local icon, the Winnipeg Jets are a renowned team that plays in the North American National Hockey League. Don’t forget to check the match schedule and reserve your seats in advance, as they’re in high demand.

6. Take part in a festival

Participer à un festival

Photo credit: Shuttertock – Thamyris Salgueiro

In Winnipeg, culture extends beyond the walls of the major institutions to include a multitude of festivals. Throughout the year, the city comes alive to their rhythm. We particularly recommend the francophone winter Festival du Voyageur, which offers a rich program of activities every year. From sled dogs and giant toboggans to ice sculptures and bean-soup contests, you’ll find plenty to warm up your Winnipeg winter!

7. See a show at the Manitoba Centennial Centre

visiter Winnipeg - voir un spectacle au Manitoba Centennial Centre

Photo credit: Shuttertock – Harold Stiver

If you’re still looking for proof that Winnipeg is a hotbed of culture, the Manitoba Centennial Centre is just what you need. It’s a mini-neighborhood dedicated entirely to arts and culture, located just east of the Exchange District.

It’s home to the Centennial Concert Hall, the Manitoba Museum, the Theatre Royal, a production center, an exhibition space and more, so you’ll have no trouble catching a performance, a concert or a play. But the district is also one of Winnipeg’s must-sees for urban planning enthusiasts, as it is the result of an interesting rehabilitation project.

8. Test restaurants

Tester les restaurants

Photo credit: Shuttertock – Salvador Maniquiz

Did you know that Winnipeg is known as the culinary capital of Canada? The city’s gastronomic scene is particularly rich, diverse and dynamic. Everywhere in the city, restaurants abound, and you’ll easily find a table to your liking. Forget pancakes with maple syrup: the cuisines of the world are widely represented in Winnipeg, and every nation has its own quarter.

9. Visit St. Boniface Cathedral

Visiter la cathédrale Sainte-Boniface

Photo credit: Shuttertock – Brian Banh

After a few days spent visiting Winnipeg, you’re feeling a little homesick? Take the opportunity to explore Sainte-Boniface, the city’s French-speaking quarter. Here you can visit the astonishing cathedral of the same name. Its imposing façade is now an empty shell, having been ravaged by fire in 1968. But the clouds glimpsed through the gaping hole left by the former rose window only add to its charm!

As you leave Sainte-Boniface, don’t miss the spectacularEsplanade Riel bridge, which weaves its web across the river.

10. Walk along the Red River

visiter Winnipeg - se promener le long de la Red River

Photo credit: Shuttertock – Thamyris Salgueiro

In Winnipeg, nature often invites itself into the city, especially along its three rivers. The banks of the main river, the Red River, are particularly suitable for strolling, as they are lined with several parks. You’ll particularly appreciate Fort Douglas Park, near the Manitoba Centennial Centre, and Whittier Park, opposite.

And if you’re visiting Winnipeg in the middle of winter, the Red River can be the most exhilarating activity in Canada. When it’s covered in a thick blanket of ice, locals flock to the river to go ice-skating!

11. Stroll through the Assiniboine Zoo Park

Flâner au parc-zoo Assiniboine

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Located to the west of the city, Assiniboine Park is the city’s oldest park, offering over 400 hectares of greenery. For those who want even more, it opens directly onto a large nature reserve. But the park itself is packed with points of interest, including its pretty English garden and sculpture garden.

What’s more, it’s home to a large zoo where you can admire many Nordic and polar animals, making it an ideal activity if you’re visiting the city as a family!

12. Visit the Legislative building

Visiter le Legislative building

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The Legislative Building is one of Winnipeg’s most impressive monuments, and therefore a must-see for tourists. But don’t stop at its imposing façade.

Indeed, the building opens its doors to visitors, offering them fascinating guided tours. The secrets of the building’s architecture are revealed, while the rich history and workings of this major institution are explained.

13. Airing out at FortWhyte Alive

visiter Winnipeg - s’aérer au FortWhyte Alive

Photo credit: Shuttertock – Spandau_Goulet

Located right on the edge of town, FortWhyte Alive gives you the impression of being in the middle of nature. The lakes surrounding this nature reserve are home to a wealth of wildlife, including numerous bison. Locals enjoy a wide range of activities: hiking, canoeing, ice fishing, skating and, of course, animal watching.

14. Relax at the Nordic spa

Se détendre au spa nordique

Photo credit: Shuttertock – GROGL

As you can see, Winnipeg knows how to make the most of polar temperatures, and there’s no shortage of winter activities. If you prefer relaxation to snow sports, we recommend a visit to Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature.

With open-air Nordic baths, saunas and wood fires in the snow, you’re sure to enjoy a relaxing and exotic experience. And if you want to enjoy it for longer, you should know that the site also offers accommodation, as well as a fine restaurant.

How do I get to Winnipeg?

Winnipeg International Airport is served by eight different airlines from several North and Central American countries. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Europe.

However, flights with a stopover in Montreal or Calgary will get you to Winnipeg in a dozen hours from Paris. To find the most convenient flight, we recommend using a flight comparator!

Another option is to reach Winnipeg by train or rent a car from one of the major cities served by France. However, you’ll need to be patient, as distances are very long in Canada. But Canada’s wide-open spaces lend themselves particularly well to road trips. So, if you choose to cross the country by car or van, we can only recommend a stop in Winnipeg.

Where to stay in Winnipeg

To make the most of your visit to Winnipeg, we recommend staying downtown. Winnipeg’s The Forks and Exchange District offer a wide range of accommodation options.

If you want to get off the beaten track, the French-speaking district of Sainte-Boniface may be an excellent option. And if you’re more interested in enjoying the natural surroundings of Winnipeg, it may be more convenient to stay on the edge of the city, near Assiniboine Park, for example. Either way, a hotel comparator will help you find the right accommodation in a jiffy.

If you’re looking for a slightly more intimate stay, we recommend renting one of the city’s charming Airbnb properties.

Off the beaten tourist track, Winnipeg offers a thousand things to do. Summer and winter alike, you’ll be entertained by a host of activities based on nature, culture and the local art of living. And to prepare for your trip, we recommend listening to Julien Doré and The Bash’s song « Winnipeg  » over and over again.

Map of hotels and accommodations – Winnipeg,ca