13 Fun and Festive Things to Do in Manitoba

Posted November 14, 2023 | Author Breanne Sewards

There's no place like home for the holidays. But whether you're a local or just visiting, it's easy to get into the spirit of the season in Manitoba. From enchanting lights to heartwarming performances, the province comes alive each November and December with holiday cheer. Here are just a few ways to get that festive feeling in Manitoba.

Stroll Down Holiday Alley

This amazing lights event is coming up quick - so make your plans now. Selkirk's downtown festival, Holiday Alley, spans four days in a vibrant celebration of art, music, light, and creativity - November 16 to 19, 2023. The festival features a range of activities, including an opening concert and a lively street party with games, hot chocolate and food. Other highlights include the CUTEST pooch parade, night shopping at the Wishme Makers' Market, a family movie night, a delightful soup cook-off, and much more.

Holiday Fun at the St. Boniface Museum

The annual holiday event and market at the St. Boniface Museum is back again on December 2, 2023 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm! Step into Winnipeg's oldest building to find local vendors that will help you check off every name on your list. Warm up by the outdoor fire while sipping a hot cocoa, take a family photo with Santa, make some unique holiday crafts and enjoy dainties. Plus, get free admission to the museum for the day!

Once the market is over, you can still visit the La Belle Boutique Blanche for local creations, French-Canadian and Métis specialty items, old-fashioned children’s toys and more.

Fall in Love With The Sound of Music

If you agree that The Sound of Music is absolutely a holiday movie, you need to put the musical stage performance on your list. The show is making its way to the John Hirsch Mainstage from November 28 to December 23, 2023 at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg. With well-known tunes like Do-Re-Mi, My Favorite Things, So Long, Farewell, and Climb Ev’ry Mountain, this beloved musical offers a heartwarming experience for you and your family during the festive season.

Choo Choo Cheer

Get ready for the arrival of the CP Holiday Train 2023 at select stops across Manitoba! The enchanting Canadian Pacific Christmas train is set to bring festive joy with live events at every stop. Adorned with holiday lights and decorations, the train will host complimentary half-hour concerts by Anyway Gang.

Attendees are encouraged to embrace the holiday spirit by contributing non-perishable food items or cash donations for the local food bank/pantry.

Here's the Manitoba CP Holiday Train schedule:

December 2, 2023

6:50 pm - Whitemouth at Railway Avenue across from the Whitemouth Hotel
9:00 pm - Winnipeg at grade crossing on Panet Road and Molson Street

December 4, 2023

11:15 am - Portage la Prairie opposite Centennial Arena
2:35 pm - Neepawa at the CPKC Railway Station between Mountain Ave and Currie Ave
4:00 pm - Minnedosa west of CPKC Railway Station, north side of rail yard
7:15 pm - Shoal Lake in the gravel lot adjacent to the grain elevator on North Railway Ave

Memories at the Children's Museum

Manitoba Children's Museum

Manitoba Children's Museum

Experience a festive Winnipeg tradition that spans generations! The magic of Eaton's Fairytale Vignettes is on display from November 18, 2023, to January 7, 2024, at the Manitoba Children’s Museum. The collection has been meticulously restored from the ninth-floor annex of the historic Eaton’s downtown store. The timeless tales include the likes of Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty, Three Blind Mice, and more. It’s a nostalgic journey that promises joy and fascination.

Admission is complimentary with general museum entry, with guided tours available for $5.00 (plus GST) per person.

Walk in a Winter Wonderland

homesteader's village

Photo by Sandy Black

Every holiday season, the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin transforms into an enchanting Winter Wonderland. Head to the museum on the weekends of December 8-10, 2023 and December 15-17, 2023 to experience the magic with sleigh rides, games, crafts, hot chocolate, bonfires and more. In the Homesteader's Village, 20 structures dating back to 1879 will whisk you away to a bygone era.

Drive Through a Lights Spectacular

An annual Christmas tradition cherished by Manitobans, the Canad Inns Winter Wonderland is back for another year, adorned with over a million lights spread across various themed areas. Experience the brilliance of these light displays from the warmth of your car as you navigate the 2.5 km route through the scenic Red River Exhibition grounds, with over 30 NEW light displays. This year's Winter Wonderland runs from December 1, 2023, to January 6, 2024 (Closed on December 25).

Meet Santa in the Forest

Take your Christmas photos up a notch with an amazing Santa photo against the backdrop of a snow-covered forest. Register your spot in one of the available Santa in the Forest dates at FortWhyte Alive and have your family or child's photo taken by a professional photographer. Your child is welcome to chat to Santa and share their wishlist!

For other ways to have festive fun at FortWhyte Alive, check out the Marshmallow Roast, After Hours Holiday Shopping Event, Nature Shop Holiday Weekend, and the Christmas Bird Count.

Be Charmed by a Holiday Classic

Is there any show more classic than The Nutcracker during the holidays? Experience a uniquely Canadian twist on the beloved holiday tale at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Watch as young Clara's nutcracker transforms into a valiant soldier, defending her against the Mouse King's army, while majestic Mounties face off against mischievous Mice. Together, they journey through a dazzling winter wonderland filled with dancing snowflakes and adorable polar bears, ultimately arriving at the court of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Adding to the excitement, don't miss the playful antics of the fan-favourite Filbert the Bear during the family party! This year, the stage welcomes the Asham Stompers, making their debut with the RWB to showcase the Red River jig.

Explore the World of Lights

Explore the enchanting world of holiday lights at the Manitoba Electrical Museum & Education Centre's annual exhibit, All That Glows. Running from November 21, 2023, to January 6, 2024, All That Glows takes you on a captivating journey through the evolution of festive lighting. Learn about the rich history of Christmas lighting and decorations, tracing their revolutionary path since the 1880s.

With a distinct local focus, the exhibition highlights the electronic innovations that have shaped the holiday traditions found in Manitoba.

Feel the Magic of The Village

This quaint outdoor market will make you feel like you're starring in your own Hallmark movie! The Village at Pineridge Hollow is located just 30 minutes from central Winnipeg on the edge of Birds Hill Provincial Park. Stroll through the outdoor plaza and step into unique shops like Teekca's Boutique and The Faded Barn, then grab a bite to eat a The Village Square or in the Pineridge Village restaurant. From November 17 to January 7, 2023, Holidays at the Hollow will warm your heart with bonfires, gourmet hot chocolate, photo ops, specialty markets and more. You can also get your photo taken with Santa in his beautiful snow globe in the forest - you'll have to take a magical sleigh ride to get there! For the creatives and makers, there are a variety of workshops throughout the season including wreath making workshops, foraged winter garland workshops and vintage paper garland workshops.

Catch a Santa Claus Parade

Celebrate the holidays in Manitoba with the joyous tradition of Santa Claus parades. These festive events bring communities together, offering a magical spectacle with Santa's arrival, vibrant floats, and lively performances. Here are just a few to check out this year!

Winnipeg: November 18

Thompson: November 25

Brandon: November 18

Portage la Prairie: December 1

Dazzle Beneath Twinkling Lights

The Assiniboine Park is one of the best spots in Winnipeg to feel some holiday cheer. First, plan to visit the Zoo Lights Festival, featuring thousands of light installations to dazzle you. The festival includes a number different entertainers and activities, with some new additions this year like pictures with Santa and other winter characters, a light maze, LED games like corn hole and ladder toss, and a unique visual and musical experience known as Domino Effect.

Next, head into The Leaf to warm up in the tropical biome and walk through its stunning seasonal display - which is set to be unveiled in late November. Check back to the website for updates!

About The Author

Hey! I'm Breanne, Editorial Content Specialist for Travel Manitoba. First to jump in the lake and last to make it down the River Trail. Lover of croissants, cats, and croissant-shaped cats. Got a story idea? Email me at bsewards@travelmanitoba.com.

Editorial Content Specialist