Planning a trip to Winnipeg this summer? Our capital city is home to a number of lively festivals and events all summer long. But no matter what brings you to Winnipeg, these are 10 attractions that can't miss during your stay.
1. Assiniboine Park + Zoo
If you're spending time in Winnipeg this summer, the Assiniboine Park Zoo is an absolute must. Start by exploring the Park's pathways with a rental from Bee-Together Bikes, then grab some food to enjoy by the duck pond from the Park Café or the pop-up Cargo Bar.
Next, take a stroll through the vibrant English Gardens and admire works of art in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden. For an even bigger garden attraction, explore the outdoor Gardens at The Leaf, made up of almost 30 acres of blooms with five themed areas.
At the tail end of The Gardens is an incredible piece of architecture called The Leaf. Although not yet open to the public, visitors will soon be able to explore The Leaf's gorgeous interior - with a tropical biome (featuring Canada’s tallest indoor waterfall), Babs Asper Display House (with gorgeous floral exhibits) and the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden.
Finally, a trip to the Assiniboine Park Zoo needs to include a few hours (or easily an entire day) dedicated to the many animals who call it home. Stand beneath swimming polar bears and seals in the incredible Journey to Churchill exhibit, or meet the goats of Aunt Sally’s Farm.
2. The Forks
As a National Historic Site of Canada, The Forks has been a place of significance for over 6,000 years. Its location at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers connected Indigenous people who used the site for transportation, trade and settlement.
Today, this meeting spot remains a vibrant attraction with countless activities. Take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the site via costumed interpreter, or explore on your own.
Venture into The Forks Market to find a number of unique vendors and shops, as well as an amazing array of eateries at The Forks Market Food Hall. Grab a pastry from Tall Grass Bakery, one of Manitoba's best homegrown bakeries, or get a taste of Manitoban cuisine with pickerel from Fergie's Fish and Chips.
The Forks Market Food Hall is also home to The Common; a trendy bar with both indoor and outdoor service and a curated selection of craft beer and wine on tap. Grab a spot on the patio or stroll along the River Walk.
Other attractions at The Forks include Johnston Terminal (with even more shopping and food), Inn at the Fork’s, Riverstone Spa, The Children’s Museum, Oodena Circle and many works of public art.
3. Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Located next to The Forks, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights literally can't be missed. Designed by Anthony Predock, the building's curving exterior (known as the Cloud) is made up of 1335 pieces of glass which mirror the sky and is sure to catch your eye on your visit to Winnipeg.
Inside the building, the museum's architecture is equally as impressive with illuminated Alabaster-clad ramps which lead you on a journey from darkness into light as you move through the museum.
As the only museum in the world dedicated to human rights, this thought-provoking museum recounts tragic and triumphant moments in history and celebrates hope for the future through a number of interactive and innovative galleries. Permanent galleries include Indigenous Perspectives, Canadian Journeys, Examining the Holocaust and Breaking the Silence.
4. Thermëa Nordic Spa
If relaxation is the name of your game, you simply can't pass up an opportunity to have the mind-and-body-melting experience that is Thermëa. This serene, outdoor spa practices a number of Nordic traditions: from the hot-cold cycle to the Aufguss ritual.
Spend time unwinding in thermal pools ranging from hot-to-cold, with sessions in the saunas, steam and relaxation rooms in between. During the summer, the lower beach level also opens up with a craft beer stand and plenty loungers to lay back on. Plan to dine at the on-site restaurant known as Restö, where you will be treated to a delicious gourmet meal that perfectly compliments this luxurious experience.
5. Historic Exchange District
Whether you’re staying at a hotel within its limits or just visiting it for the day, the Exchange District is one of Winnipeg’s most vibrant and intriguing neighbourhoods.
The neighbourhood maintains its charm with historic turn-of-the-20th-century warehouse buildings that are now home to independent boutiques, restaurants, cocktail bars and more. For this reason, the Exchange is a popular spot for walking tours — check out the Exchange District Biz, Downtown Biz, Socina Travel and Square Peg Tours for summer dates.
The Exchange is the location for many events that you could easily centre your visit on: The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival (July 13 to 24, 2022) and the Winnipeg Jazz Festival (June 14 to 19, 2022) being among the largest. You may also find yourself in the neighbourhood for a bite to eat before a performance at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre or the Centennial Concert Hall.
Exchange District also has a lively nightlife scene with nightclubs and bars like Patent 5, Nonsuch Brewing Co., Little Brown Jug, King’s Head Pub and Palomino Club.
6. Manitoba Museum
Another major attraction located within the Exchange District is the Manitoba Museum. This family-friendly destination offers three areas to explore: The Science Gallery (perfect for those with kids), the Planetarium (featuring daily shows all about the universe) and the main gallery space.
The main gallery space showcases captivating stories from the natural world as well as from human history in Manitoba. Highlights include the new Prairies Gallery and the Nonsuch Gallery - where you can step aboard a life-size replica of the 17th century sailing ship that launched the Hudson’s Bay Company.
7. Winnipeg Art Gallery
For the artistically inclined or just those who want to expand their perspective, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is a world-class attraction that has recently been enhanced with the addition of Qaumajuq. Home to the world's largest public collection of Inuit art, Qaumajuq is a site to behold with its visible vault spanning multiple levels.
Other collections housed within the gallery includes remarkable pieces of Canadian art, contemporary art and decorative art. Upcoming shows to check out this summer are Kwaata-nihtaawakihk: A Hard Birth, Tunniit: Inuit Embodied Practices and Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat.
During the summer, the rooftop of the Winnipeg Art Gallery is transformed into an urban retreat where you can take in views of the rooftop sculpture garden or visit for a pop-up event.
8. Fortwhyte Alive
Get closer to nature without having to leave city limits with the urban oasis that is FortWhyte Alive.
The site has over seven kilometres of trails that wind through prairie, aspen forest and alongside lakes. For something more exhilarating, FortWhyte Alive is also home to a legacy mountain biking venue from the 2017 Canada Summer Games.
For water-based activities, travel over the lakes aboard a canoe or rowboat, discover the family activity of dip netting or try your hand at fishing.
For a guided experience, tours offered by FortWhyte Alive include Baby Bison Walks (until June), Wild Edibles Walk, A Prairie Legacy: A Bison and Its People, Bison Safaris and more!
9. Rainbow Stage
One of the best theatrical experiences to have in Manitoba happens every summer at Rainbow Stage. Tucked into the scenic Kildonan Park (which - FYI - is also home to a great pool for kids), Rainbow Stage punches well above its weight and wows audiences with two to three musical productions every summer.
The 2022 season kicks off with The Hockey Sweater from June 30 to July 17, a timeless Canadian story that comes to life in a family-friendly musical.
The second show of the season is a classic everyone can appreciate: The Wizard of Oz. From August 18 to September 4, see all your favourite characters as they dance their way down the yellow brick road.
Before the show, reserve a table at Prairie's Edge for great food and a beautiful patio.
10. Royal Canadian Mint
Located 20 minutes from downtown Winnipeg, the Royal Canadian Mint is a unique attraction with a major international impact, manufacturing coins for more than 75 countries around the globe.
The best way to learn about the facility is on a 45-minute tour offered regularly throughout the summer and delivered in both English and French. You will have the opportunity to strike your own coin and feel how heavy a pure gold bar worth over $700,000 is.
Be sure to stop into the Mint’s gift shop on your way out to browse a wide selection of collector coins!