If you’re looking to spend the weekend away from the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day life, look no further than Winnipeg. It’s an unconventional city break with its natural prairie landscapes to scenic river walks. There are many unique things to do in Winnipeg, whether you’re travelling as a couple, solo or with a few of your besties.
Winnipeg is a destination where the dress code is occasionally “wear all the clothing you’ve got!” But, a little cold doesn’t stop the party.
If you’ve got 48 hours to spend in Winnipeg, we’ve got the checklist of activities for this eclectic city.
Day 1: Explore Like a Local
One of the best ways to experience a new place is to frequent the favourite local hangouts. As Winnipeg isn’t a super touristy destination, you won’t find massive crowds or lineups. Enjoy breakfast at one of our favourite hotels and then head out for your day of adventure.
Hang out at The Forks
Situated at the meeting point of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, The Forks National Historic Site is arguably Winnipeg’s most popular attraction. Delve 6, 000 years into the past at Winnipeg’s “Meeting Place” while soaking up the bustling ambiance. Discover how a way of life changed for the Indigenous Peoples who traded, socialized, camped and fished here for generations. Check out the shops and cafes housed in refurbished horse stables and stop for craft beer at The Common, where communal tables that overlook the courtyard encourage conversations between locals and visitors.
Originally two stables of competing rail companies from the 1900s, and now a courtyard bridges the two building together creating a modern-day marketplace. There are tons of specialty shops for souvenirs, crafts and unique food items. There are works by 300 Canadian and local craftspeople and artisans so there are plenty of unique treasures to find.
Splash Dash Boat Ride
Splash Dash offers half hour boat tours along the river with informative and entertaining commentary about Winnipeg. You will learn history about the region and view specific points of interest on the way. It is the perfect activity on a bright and sunny day.
Lunch at the Forks
After spending the morning diving into some of Winnipeg’s history, it’s time for lunch.
Don’t skip the opportunity to dine at The Forks. From delicious Caribbean delights to Sushi, and don’t forget about pancakes and poutine, there are plenty of options for everyone.
Relax and Unwind
You’ve kept busy all morning and sailed on the water, so now it’s time to relax and unwind at Thermea Spa. It is a traditional Nordic Spa where you can fully indulge in a wellness experience. There are numerous health benefits to this ancient Scandinavian ritual including eliminating toxins and stimulating circulation. Go for a long soak in the thermal pools, sweat it out in the Finnish saunas and treat yourself to a massage. Leave your cell phones in the change room, this is time to leave your stresses and cares behind. Allow yourself to relax, rest and rejuvenate.
Day 2: Polar Bears & Museums
Tour the Canadian Museum For Human Rights
This is the only museum in the world solely dedicated to human rights, so no trip to Winnipeg is complete without spending a few hours here. It is Canada’s first museum build for the sole purpose of illustrating the evolution, crisis and future of human rights around the globe. Its unusual exterior highlights the four major landscapes that can be found in Canada and it has now become a focal point in Winnipeg. Visitors are also wowed by the architecture on the inside with floating ramps rising through the levels, a tribute to the basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway.
Eat in The Exchange District
After spending the morning diving into some history, it’s time for lunch. Head to the Exchange District, a national historic site that is home to the city’s hippest bars, restaurants, cafes and boutiques. As an added bonus, it is also home to stunning turn-of-the-20th-century architecture. Zip over to Clementine, known for serving the best all-day breakfast in the city. The menu is unique and varied made with organic ingredients. Wash it down with coffee or cocktails in the rooftop bar at Forth, where funky art and Scandi-style décor set the mood.
See the Polar Bears in Assiniboine Park Zoo
This zoo has one of the most unique exhibits of its kind in the world. It’s home to over two hundred different species and has over a thousand animals in its care. Its work in wildlife education, conservation and research has been a tremendous help to preserving the lives of animals. The favourite species among all visitors is the polar bears. The work they do to help preserve polar bears has been second to none. The Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Hub is at the top of its field. But don’t just spend your time at the Churchill Exhibit. Make sure to check out the wolves, foxes and plains bison.
Witness the Northern Lights
Catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights is something to behold, but where can you find them? A lot of people think you must go to Iceland or Norway to see them, but you can get a good glimpse of them in Canada. The best time to see the Northern Lights is in the Winter but there is also a chance of seeing them in Spring and Fall. It is hard to see from the city, so it’s best to head north away from the light pollution, to see if you can get a proper look. There is nothing quite like them, The Aurora Borealis is one natural phenomenon that is on most people’s bucket lists.
For more things to do, click here for the Top 10 Attractions in Manitoba.