Winnipeg is the largest and most populated city within the Canadian province of Manitoba.
Found at the heart of Canada, Winnipeg is home to several world-class museums and lush green open spaces, and is where two of the country’s large rivers meet.
It also marked the halfway point of our epic road trip across Canada, so was a great landmark for us!
If you’re planning on travelling through Canada, you don’t want to leave this city off your list - trust me.
Below I will take you through many of the best things to do in Winnipeg.
While also including some useful tips & tricks to help get the most from your stay.
Let's get started ...
There are several ways you can travel to Winnipeg but of course, it all depends on where you’re travelling from.
Let’s break the options down for you!
The closest airport to the city is Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International airport. It’s located just 7km (4.3 miles) from the city centre, and there are public buses that run from the airport to Winnipeg.
Direct flights run daily from major cities in Canada including Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa. You can also fly from many cities within the United States but a changeover in Vancouver or another major city is often required.
To find the best deals make sure you check out Skyscanner!
There aren’t many rail routes that serve Winnipeg but you can reach the city from Vancouver and Toronto. You can also head on a multi-day train journey from Churchill.
Greyhound and Grey Goose run bus journeys from Canadian cities to Winnipeg if you’re already travelling through the country. The most popular routes are from Ottawa, Thunder, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Winnipeg is a large city and although you’ll find plenty of attractions within the city centre, you will need to venture a bit further out to see some of the other sites in this guide.
For this reason, the best way to get around Winnipeg is by using its public transport system.
Winnipeg Transit has 86 bus routes across the city that serve many of the popular attractions. The tickets are cheap, and the services run pretty regularly.
However, if you can, try to use the Downtown Spirit service as much as possible!
They operate three bus routes throughout downtown Winnipeg during the day, and they’re FREE to use.
If you don’t want to travel by public transport, then here are some other options to get around the city:
Walking - Although this isn’t the most popular way to get around, there are plenty of attractions within walking distance if you’re staying in the city centre.
Bicycle - You’ll find plenty of bicycle rental companies within Winnipeg, and the city has several bike lanes to use.
Taxis - Taking a taxi around the city is one of the most expensive ways to get around but is convenient if you need to reach somewhere quick. The prices are also a lot more reasonable here compared to other major cities.
Ride-sharing apps - Make sure you download these apps to save costs; My Cab App by Greencity, ReRyde, TappCar, WinRyde, and of course, Uber!
Car - Hiring a car is also a great way to get around the city as there are plenty of car parks and parking spaces to be found in the city. Some are even FREE! Popular car rental services include Avis, Hertz, Budget, and Enterprise.
Tours - You’ll find plenty of great tour options in Winnipeg if you want to learn more about the city. Some of the most popular options include a customised private tour with a local, and a 2-hour trolley tour that will show you the city’s best attractions.
To truly make the most out of your stay in Winnipeg, you’ll want to find accommodation right in the city centre.
This is where you’ll find a lot of the popular tourist attractions and public transport operates on a more regular basis here too.
The Fort Garry Hotel is the perfect luxury option as they have an array of incredible facilities including a full-service spa, a fitness centre, and a bar.
There is also a restaurant on-site that serves local cuisine and has daily jazz entertainment. Not only that but some of the most popular attractions in Winnipeg are found nearby.
Humphry Inn & Suites is just a 10-minute walk from Forks Market and is in a great location to explore the city centre.
They offer a variety of rooms and suites, and guests also have access to plenty of facilities during their stay. This includes a complimentary buffet breakfast, a fitness centre, a sauna, and a hot tub.
Alt Hotel Winnipeg is one of the best options if you’re staying in the city. It’s located just 150 yards from the Canada Life Centre which is home to the Winnipeg Jets.
The rooms are spacious and modern in design and have plenty of amenities including a TV and entertainment centre, a lounge area, and a work desk. You’ll also want to dine at the adjacent Merchant Kitchen during your stay!
Want an awesome place to eat at your stay at the Alt Hotel? Then check out The Merchant Kitchen! It's attached to the hotel, and it's an Asian/south American cuisine mix, and it's brilliant if you're up for trying some new combinations!
Heading to the Forks has to be one of the best things to do in Winnipeg!
The whole area is a national historic site and has over 6,000 years of trading history ranging from Early Aboriginal people to European fur traders.
Located in downtown Winnipeg, this popular attraction is found where the Assiniboine and Red Rivers join.
You’ll find plenty of things to do in this area, but the main attraction is Forks Market.
Here you’ll find a wide variety of dining options and stores, so make sure you give yourself a good amount of time to wander around.
If you can time your visit to this place with lunchtime - even better!
There are endless choices and you’ll find a variety of cuisine here including Sri Lankan curries, Caribbean food, and Greek dishes.
With so much to see and do, it can be pretty overwhelming so here’s a map of the market!
You can also download this self-guided smartphone tour which will take you to all the top sites and tell you stories about the area’s history.
Forks is one of the top tourist places in Winnipeg, attracting over four million people every year, so it’s a must-visit!
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is one of Winnipeg’s most popular tourist attractions.
Although it’s only been open since 2014, the museum has won several international awards.
Not only is the building’s design incredibly unique, but the museum is also known for its use of technology and art to display its exhibits.
As you wander through CMHR, you’ll get to learn about the evolution of human rights throughout history, not just in Canada, but within the world.
There are six levels at this museum and various galleries that depict the history of this ever-changing global issue.
During your time at CMHR, you’ll also want to head up the Israel Asper Tower of Hope. It’s a glass structure that offers scenic views of the city.
Visiting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is without a doubt one of the top things to do in Winnipeg, so don’t miss this place out.
This 2-hour trolly tour will show you the best sites in the city including the CMHR Museum. You’ll also get to drive past the French Quarter, Wellington Crescent, and the Bell MTS Place Hockey Arena.
If you’re a fan of nature and outdoor spaces, make sure you visit Assiniboine Park.
This park has an endless amount of attractions, and you’ll want to allow yourself a good couple of hours to explore it all.
Assiniboine Park covers over 400 acres and is home to plenty of incredible sites including the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, the Pavillion Art Galleries, and the Nature Playground.
However, one of the most popular places to visit within the park is Assiniboine Park Zoo!
The zoo is found at the west end of Assiniboine Park and covers an impressive 80 acres.
There are over 200 species here, although the highlight has to be the ‘Journey to Churchill’ exhibit.
This exhibit focuses on arctic animals including polar bears, seals, reindeer, and muskox.
What makes this exhibit unique is the Sea Ice Passage which allows you to see seals and polar bears swimming above the tunnels.
It is so cool!
When it comes to Winnipeg tourist attractions, Assiniboine Park is one of the most popular places to visit.
If you want to learn more about this awesome place you can download this self-guided tour. It allows you to enjoy the park at your own pace, whilst learning about all the top attractions.
The Exchange District is one of Winnipeg’s most famous neighbourhoods and is a national historic site.
It’s a 20-square block district that’s home to over 150 heritage buildings that were built between 1880 and 1920.
The buildings themselves are incredible, but the Exchange District also has plenty of other things to offer too!
It’s one of the city’s best spots for independent shopping with over 40 unique retailers.
These stores are all located along a 10-minute walk so you won’t have to wander far to see them all.
If you’re travelling to Winnipeg during the summer months, you’ll also want to visit Old Market Square which hosts several festivals and events during its peak tourist season.
If you’re a culture buff or love science, then I’d highly recommend visiting the Manitoba Museum.
There are plenty of galleries and ever-changing exhibits to explore, and there is also a Science Gallery on-site.
Heading to the Science Gallery is a must if you’re looking for fun things to do in Winnipeg - especially if you have children.
You can design and build remote control cars, visit the Lego Brickyard, or get involved with the Explore Science Zone.
However one of the highlights has to be the Planetarium!
You’ll get to see a re-creation of the night sky, explore exhibits about the latest space discoveries, and watch productions that change on a regular basis.
There are plenty of permanent exhibitions at the museum, but if you want to check the temporary or tourist exhibits you can take a look at the website before your visit.
If you’re wondering what to do in Winnipeg, then I’d recommend heading to the Manitoba Museum.
We can all agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it fuels you for a full day of exploring.
The food at Stella’s Cafe has been voted ‘the best breakfast in the city’ and once you get there you’ll understand why!
Their menu is extensive and includes popular breakfast choices like avocado toast, pancakes, waffles, and French toast.
However, they also have an endless list of unique breakfast dishes including chorizo hash, a smoked salmon breakfast, and a Mexican breakfast which comes with tortillas, guacamole, and hash browns.
You can even pick one of their tasty smoothie options including ‘mango express’ and ‘Stella’s original’.
What more do you need to fuel your body?
There are multiple locations of Stella’s throughout the city, so it’s up to you which one you decide to visit. Trust me, you’ll thank us for it later!
If you’re looking for places to visit in Winnipeg I’d recommend heading to this art gallery.
Winnipeg Art Gallery is one of the best art museums in Canada and has plenty of exhibitions to explore.
It’s home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world, and an Inuit art centre called Qaumajuq has recently been opened here.
As you walk into Qaumajuq you’ll see a three-storey glass vault that’s filled with thousands of Inuit carvings. It’s quite the sight and not a place you want to miss.
The Winnipeg Art Gallery is also home to an extensive collection of fine art, photography, and decorative arts.
Not only that but there’s a rooftop sculpture garden at the gallery that covers an area of 15,000 square feet. It’s the perfect place to relax, take a picnic, or admire the city skyline.
This art gallery is one of the most popular Winnipeg attractions and is a must-visit during your stay in the city.
The James Avenue Pumphouse is one of the more unique places in Winnipeg to visit.
This establishment serves a variety of food and drink, and is located within one of the city’s historical buildings.
The building was home to the city’s first high-pressure water system - hence the name! It was built in 1906 to help fight the fires that seemed to frequent downtown Winnipeg.
The water was drawn from the Red River which is pretty cool, so this place is full of history.
As you relax on one of the tables, you’ll get to see the century old-pumps through the pump house’s floor to ceiling windows.
There are also vintage fire hose carts, copper fire extinguishers, and fire hydrants for you to see too!
Not only is there plenty to see, but James Avenue Pump House serves a variety of delicious meals.
However, if you’re looking for a light lunch you can choose from their small plates section or pick one of the delicious sandwiches.
Want a cocktail? I recommend the Margarita!
Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature is located just 8 km (5 miles) from downtown Winnipeg.
Inspired by traditions in Scandinavia, this spa is home to some of the world's best thermotherapy facilities.
Here you’ll find four outdoor baths (with different temperatures), four saunas, an exfoliation room, and a restaurant and lounge area.
You’ll also find indoor and outdoor relaxation areas at Thermëa, as well as the opportunity to have a massage or body treatment.
To make the most out of this place you need to fully embrace the thermal cycle.
This consists of alternating hot and cold temperatures and then allowing time to rest. It’s recommended you repeat this three times to have the maximum benefits.
So, if you’re wondering where to go in Winnipeg then I’d recommend heading to this place.
It’s the perfect way to de-stress (because unfortunately, travel CAN be stressful), and relax those muscles after a long day of exploring!
Winnipeg has endless dining options, but there is something special about this one!
Although it only opened in 2016, Feast Cafe Bistro has become a hugely popular dining option in the city.
It’s one of the only indigenous-owned restaurants in Canada and specialises in First Nations Cuisine.
The chef is extremely talented and as she didn’t go to culinary school herself, she aims to employ staff who’ve had barriers to employment in the past.
When it comes to food, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from!
However, some of the favourites include bison ribs, maple cedar salmon, lemon pepper pickerel dinner, and maple chipotle chicken mac & cheese.
They also have plenty of vegetarian options including roasted butternut squash ravioli, and veggie lasagna.
You’ll also find lots of tasty beverage options here including an extensive wine list, local beers, and smoothies.
If you only dine out once during your trip to Winnipeg - make sure it’s here!
This is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Winnipeg.
The Royal Canadian Mint has a location in the city and offers tours of its manufacturing facility.
This facility was established in 1976 and every Canadian coin in circulation since then has been made here.
The tours last 45 minutes so you won’t need a lot of time for this attraction, but trust me - it’s worth it.
Each tour is led by a guide who will teach you how the coins are produced, tell you about the “million-dollar coin”, and offer interesting stories about the facility.
You’ll also get a birds-eye view of the production floor which is pretty impressive!
If you’re a fan of getting souvenirs, this is the place you want to do it. There are plenty of themed coins to choose from including animals, flowers, and landscapes among others.
This is one of the cheapest things to do in Winnipeg and is a great experience!
When it comes to sightseeing in Winnipeg, there are plenty of incredible places to visit.
However, the Living Prairie Museum is one of the most unique and interesting sites in the city.
Tallgrass prairie used to cover around one million square km in North America, but unfortunately, the majority of this has disappeared.
Today only 1% of this ecosystem still exists in the Canadian province of Manitoba, and the Living Prairie Museum makes up part of this.
It’s a 32-acre nature preserve that’s home to over 150 grass and wildflower species. You’ll also find plenty of wildlife here, and there are a couple of self-guided trails you can take to explore the area.
During your time here make sure you visit the Museum Interpretive Centre as it’s home to a variety of galleries and exhibits where you can learn more.
There is also an observation deck where you’ll get incredible views of the preserve.
Visiting the Living Prairie Museum is one of the best things to do in Winnipeg - especially for nature lovers.
Winnipeg is home to plenty of beautiful historical buildings and this is one of them!
The Manitoba Legislative Building has been around since the early 1900s and was built with Italian marble and local stone.
It’s one of the most impressive buildings in North America and is a must-visit for any Winnipeg itinerary.
You can either take a couple of photographs from the entrance or head inside for a tour and admire the incredible architecture from inside too.
If you’re looking for free things to do in Winnipeg, this is a great choice as you don’t have to pay for the tours.
Not only that, but the tours are led by a historian, and you’ll learn so much about the Legislative Assembly, the building, and some of its unique features.
You’ll also get to explore the beautiful grounds surrounding the Manitoba Legislative Building. The gardens are made up of manicured gardens, statues, and monuments, and are the perfect place to escape the craziness of the city.
As you explore these grounds you can download this great self-guided smartphone tour. Not only will it teach you about the historical statues, but there is also a cool trivia game at the end too!
Although Winnipeg is landlocked, there are plenty of beautiful beaches located on Lake Winnipeg.
The lake is just a 60-minute drive from the city centre and is perfect for a day trip out of the city.
However, you’ll have to hire a car for this one as getting to Lake Winnipeg via public transport is extremely difficult.
Once you’re there, you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to beaches.
Some of the most popular options include Beaconia Beach, Grand Beach, Patricia Beach, and Winnipeg Beach.
All of them are beautiful, but Grand Beach stands out above the rest with its pristine white sand, crystal clear waters, and scenic views.
If you’re travelling to Winnipeg during the summer months, this is the perfect place to grab a picnic and catch some rays.
Although you’ll want to be mindful of the traffic during the peak months, as the lake and its surrounding beaches can get pretty busy during the summer.
Now, this has to be one of the most unique things to do in Winnipeg. Whilst Gimli isn’t actually located in the city, it’s the perfect day trip.
Gimli is located just an hour’s drive from Winnipeg city centre, although you’ll also need a car for this trip as public transport isn’t available.
This lakeside community was actually founded by Icelandic Settlers, and the culture and language have still been preserved to this day.
There is plenty to do in Gimli like walking along the scenic boardwalk, visiting Viking Park, and relaxing on the beach.
It’s also a great place to visit if you’re looking to taste Icelandic food, and if you visit in the summer you’re extra lucky.
Time your visit right and you’ll get to experience the Icelandic Festival and the Gimli Film Festival.
During your visit to Gimli, make sure you also head to the New Iceland Heritage Museum.
This is the best place to learn about the area’s Icelandic heritage as there are plenty of interesting exhibits here.
Generally, the best time to visit Winnipeg is between June and September when the temperatures are at their warmest, although still expect to see some rainfall.
If you decide to visit in the winter months (especially between November and March) be prepared for freezing temperatures, although precipitation levels seem to be relatively low during this time of year.
As the majority of things to see in Winnipeg are located within close proximity to each other, you can see the best of the city within a couple of days.
I’d recommend spending at least 3 days in Winnipeg so you can enjoy your time, see the best attractions, and not have to rush around.
Winnipeg is one of the more budget-friendly cities in Canada compared to the likes of Toronto. However, you’re still going to be spending quite a bit of money!
There are plenty of FREE places you can visit, relatively cheap food options, and cheap public transport though so it’s not all doom and gloom. When it comes to budget, I’d recommend around CA$100 -145 per day.
It depends largely on your choice of accommodation and where you eat out.
Or, if you’d prefer to explore Winnipeg on your own you can purchase a self-guided tour. This is where you’ll download an audio recording on your smartphone, and listen to a guide as you explore at your own leisure.
English and French are the two main languages spoken in Winnipeg, and Canada as a whole.
Unlike Quebec City, the predominant language within Winnipeg is generally English. Although if you head to Old St. Boniface the area is mostly French-speaking, as it’s the city’s French Quarter.
Now it's over to you:
Where on this list will you be visiting?
Or maybe you have some other top spots you think we missed?
Let me know in the comments below!
Winnipeg is a city full of culture, art, and entertainment but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring Canada.
After spending some time in this incredible city, make sure you leave some time to visit some of the country’s other major attractions.
If you need some more help planning your Canada trip here are some of our other guides: