1-The Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Designed by architect extraordinaire Antione Predock, Canada’s most eye-catching attraction dominates the Winnipeg skyline, shining like a beacon.
Inside an immersive experience that you can’t possibly shake awaits as 11 powerful, interactive and awe-inspiring exhibits gradually climb to the CMHR’s pinnacle, the tower of hope (which provides a stunning view of the city).
An ambitious museum meant to foster dialogue and promote change for a better world, the CMHR provides a stirring account of the human experience unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed.
2-Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park Zoo
With the possible exception of seals, everybody loves polar bears—that’s why they are the main attraction at the sensational new Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.
Watching these majestic mammals dive, swim and frolic above you through the exhibit’s glass dome will take your breath away, while the vast new terrain also features an incredible selection of animals like muskox, wolves, moose and seals.
One of the best things to do in Winnipeg, the zoo also features uber-rare animals like red pandas and snow leopards, along with over 200 other species.
3-The Forks National Historic Site
Saturated in 6,000 years of history, the meeting of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers has always been a gathering place for peoples.
Across 54 beautiful acres you’ll find a bustling central market, exceptional dining and accommodations, vast tree-lined paths overlooking all the bends in the riverbank, a world-class skate park, a children’s play area and water park, and all the best things a Winnipeg winter has to offer like skate rentals and access to the world’s longest skating rink (take that Ottawa!).
It also bridges, via the sexy Esplanade Riel, the très-European St. Boniface neighbourhood—with its restaurants, cafes, artistic heir and francophone flavour—and the downtown core.
4-Hermetic Code Tour in the Manitoba Legislative Building
Dan Brown would be at a loss trying to decipher all the meaning enlaced in Canada’s finest provincial legislative building.
The grandiose interior of this ode to Olympus is studded with hieroglyphics, freemasonic symbols and numeric codes, all of which are unveiled in the Hermetic Code Tour, a must for anyone with a sense of intrigue.
On the top of the building is Winnipeg’s most beloved citizen, the beaming Golden Boy, our nod to Hermes who was crafted in Paris and holds a sheath of wheat.
5-The Manitoba Museum
How many places do you know that can take you from the towering dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period, to across the cosmos through space and time, to the buffalo laden prairie plains all under one roof? If your answer is none, then you haven’t been to The Manitoba Museum.
The nine permanent galleries in this award-winning heritage and edu-tainment centre will enthral kids and adults alike.
Whether you are catching a Planetarium show featuring a highly sophisticated projection system, or viewing some of Canada’s most important historical artifacts in the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection, The Manitoba Museum is sure to please. It certainly is one of the best things to do in Winnipeg, and should not be missed.
6-Winnipeg Art Gallery
If you’re ever at a loss as to what to do in Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is a must-see.
Architecturally striking and centrally located in the heart of downtown, the WAG houses an internationally acclaimed collection (with exhibitions having been shown from New York, to Barcelona, to Tokyo) of nearly 24,000 works featuring a great deal of Canadian and Manitoba-centric pieces, including the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit art.
Critically acclaimed touring shows are also constantly brought in, featuring everything from the Renaissance to Dadaism, to Ancient Greece and the best in contemporary photography.
640 acres of pristine prairie beauty is waiting to welcome you in this oasis just south of the city. In the summer, feel the wind in your hair canoeing or sailing on one of Fortwhyte’s several lakes.
In the fall, sip a locally brewed beer on its restaurant patio while witnessing North America’s largest animal (the bison) roam in its natural habitat as migrating birds fill the sky.
When the snow falls, go cross-country skiing on its many trails, or take the kids out for a ridiculously fun day of sliding on the Richardson Rrrun Toboggan slide. No matter what the season, there is always an adventure to be had at Fortwhyte Alive.
8-The Exchange District
One of Canada’s architectural marvels, this 30-block district boasts North America’s most extensive (and handsome!) turn-of-the-century buildings.
While walking its charming streets, you’ll find some of the city’s trendiest and tastiest spots including small-plate restaurants and bistros, who flaunt their exposed brick and beam; up-and-coming and established galleries; vintage and antique shops, and some of the best the city has to offer in coffee and café culture.
9-Royal Canadian Mint
One of Winnipeg’s most beautiful buildings, its reflective glassy exterior is a sight to behold at sundown, glowing under an orange prairie sky.
On the inside, you’ll find guided tours that will have you holding a $500 thousand gold bar (its really quite heavy), ogling over the Olympic gold medals that were made for Vancouver 2010, and witnessing coins being produced for more than 70 different countries. A trip to the Mint is surely worth every penny.
10-Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature
The newest jewel in Winnipeg’s luxuriant-spa crown, Thermëa brings a bit of Scandinavia to the heart of the Canada.
Let the stress soak out of you in thermal pools situated amongst the pines; indulge your senses in Finnish saunas; treat yourself to the best in body treatments and massage therapy, and then finish your day with some exquisite dining because hey, you are worth it.
Mike Green is Tourism Winnipeg’s digital marketing and communications coordinator.
For more things to do in Canada see Best of Canada.
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