50 Things to Do This Winter in Manitoba

Posted November 27, 2023 | Author Shel Zolkewich

Bright blue skies. Fresh white snow. Crisp clean air. It’s winter in Manitoba and time to play outside. Whether you slide into skis, hop on a snowmobile, lace up skates, drop a fishing line or tie up a pair of snowshoes, our wide-open spaces make it nearly impossible to resist the calling of the great outdoors. Then it’s warm up time with hot sips, cool music and wintertime activities to stir your soul. The best of both worlds awaits this season.

1. Drop a line at an ice fishing derby. Hot chocolate of big prizes await at Gimli Ice Fishing Derby, Winter Fish Off at Falcon Lake or the Jimmy Jackfish Ice Fishing Derby in The Pas.

2. Lace up and cruise the Nestaweya River Trail at The Forks. Not a skater? You can walk, ice bike or cross-country ski instead.

3. Look up under the auroral oval to see winter’s most colourful show in Churchill. The northern lights shine brightest in February and March.

4. Dan’s Diner pop-up restaurant in Churchill happens during high season for Aurora Borealis. The cozy dining room features panoramic windows and skylights overhead for optimal views of the northern skies.

5. Pull up a stump for storytelling and roasted marshmallows over the campfire at FortWhyte Alive on weekends.

6. Burn off some energy at the Hylife Back Forty Multi-Use Trail Park in Neepawa. It’s open for fat biking, walking, tobogganing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

7. You’re welcome to go for a cross country ski, snowshoe or fat bike ride along one of the nearly 130 kilometres of winter trails at Riding Mountain National Park.

8. Mugs, bowls and platters from the potter’s wheel await as you learn the art of hand-built pottery. Workshops happen at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

9. Your Gimli getaway starts with brews and bites at Interlake Brewing Company followed by a stay at Chippy Rentals with a view of Lake Winnipeg’s ice fishing village.

10. Shop Winnipeg’s Indigenous boutiques including the new Anishinaabe Girl, Teekca’s Boutique and Cree-Ations for handmade gifts and custom creations.

11. Do brunch on a lazy weekend! Check out Pauline for Florentine eggs benedict, Clementine for Chorizo verde tostada and Danny’s All Day Breakfast at The Forks.

12. It’s Canada’s largest festival dedicated to contemporary art music. Grab a ticket for Winnipeg New Music Festival this January.

13. Dog sled races, sparkling ice castles and plenty of Northern hospitality await at the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival in The Pas in February.

14. Manitoba is home to The Guinness Book of World Record's Largest Snow Maze! Snow sculptures, a snow mountain for tobogganing, bonfires, a giant luge run, snow games and hot chocolate await.

15. Dine at The Den, a cavern made entirely out of snow, hosting a world-class dining experience catered by some of Manitoba’s finest chef

16. Head to Beausejour to see the fastest racers on tracks and skis at the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships in March.

17. Workshops and screenings await multimedia lovers at Freeze Frame’s International Film Festival for Kids in March.

18. See world-class show jumping, heavy horse competitions and top-notch live entertainers at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon.

19. Winter camping is a thing! Head to Riding Mountain National Park for your choice of oTENTiks or the new Turtle Village eco-cabins.

20. Do The Floppet at Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes. The Floppet ski race winds through the boreal forest of Falcon Lake, providing stunning views and plenty of fun.

21. Book an overnight winter glamping and dog sledding adventure with Harness Adventures. You’ll slumber in a queen bed inside a winter-walled tent with a wood stove to keep you warm.

22. Do some Manitoba downhill skiiing with visits to Mystery Mountain Winter Park in Thompson, Holiday Mountain in La Riviere or Asessippi near Russell.

23. Cool air and warm waters. Warm sauna air and a polar plunge. Mix it up for maximum therapeutic results at Thermea Spa Winnipeg.

24. Getaway to Falcon Lake with a beautiful boreal stay at Falcon Beach Ranch, The Hotel at Falcon Lake or Falcon Trails Resort.

25. Update your wardrobe in The Exchange with warm winter wear from Canadian Footwear, vintage treasures from the Clothing Bakery and slow fashion from Simone Rose.

26. Book it to the best bakeries for winter warm-ups like cinnamon buns at Tall Grass Prairie Bakery, applejacks from Goodies Bakery and homestyle donuts from Gunn’s Bakery.

27. Delightful Dauphin is waiting with a soak in the hot tub at the Best Western Plus Dauphin after your day of retail therapy with stops at Hippie Mama Gifts, Hodge Podge and The Prairie Corner.

28. 12 shows, 30 performers and venues throughout the city—that’s Winterupption 2024 in January, your excuse to leave the house for hot music.

29. Call a dome your home during a weekend at Wild Skies Resort where the new wood-fired sauna is waiting to take away winter’s chill.

30. Dine inside the Spruce Hut on Lakehouse’s patio this winter in Wasagaming with five friends. Start with the Manitoba Charcuterie board to kick off your culinary adventure.

31. Sample zero proof cocktails at swanky stops in the Exchange District including The Rose Bar for the Spritz Falso and Patent 5 Distillery for the Razzle Dazzle.

32. Rent a pair of snowshoes from Wilderness Supply then hit the trails in Winnipeg and beyond.

33. Did you know that the first floor of WAG-Qaumajuq is always free to visit? Shop, eat and view nearly 5,000 stone carvings in Ilavut, the glass vault.

34. Warm up inside the 2024 collection of Warming Huts and see what winners of the annual art and architecture competition have created along the Nestaweya River Trail at The Forks.

35. Gear up and climb the ice tower in St. Boniface with a little help from your friends at The Club d’escalade de Saint-Boniface.

36. Step inside Lagasse’s Studio of Fine Art in Souris for a sampling of works by more than 170 artists and creators. Don’t miss Minary Homestyle Bakery for bigfoot sized fritters Woodfire Deli for The Farmhouse pizza.

37. Explore Indigenous art and culture with visits to Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art, the HBC Museum Collection at the Manitoba Museum, St. Boniface Museum and The Indigenous Perspectives Gallery at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

38. It’s a waterpark wonderland! Hecla Lakeview Inn (Hecla Island), Days Inn (Steinbach), CanadInns Destination Centre (Brandon), Best Western (Dauphin) and Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (Winnipeg) all have wet and wild indoor fun.

39. Slide the afternoon away at Valley View Tubing Hill in MacGregor and remember to bring some weenies to roast over the campfire.

40. Keep your swing in check with some virtual golf at Golfzon Winnipeg, The Golf Dome or Stonewall’s The 19th Hole.

41. Stroll Osborne Village for an afternoon of retail therapy and sweet treats at the iconic Baked Expectations.

42. Fly high and have some fun at Winnipeg’s indoor trampoline and adventure parks including The Flying Squirrel, Fun Park Canada and The Rec Room.

43. Spend the day at Birds Hill Park where the resident deer population is in no short supply along the hiking, biking, snowshoe and cross country ski trails.

44. Brandon’s Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba is always free and open to the public with a gift shop stocked with irresistible treasures. While in Brandon, skate the Oval and explore downtown.

45. Enjoy a visit to the tropics—close to home—at The Leaf’s Hartley and Heather Richardson Tropical Biome.

46. Load up the sled and head for Buffalo Point Resort where the groomed and treed trails await avid snowmobilers. Stop for lunch at Fire & Water Bistro.

47. Get your fill of piping hot pea soup, savoury tourtiere and maple syrup rolled in snow at Festival du Voyageur.

48. Skate under twinkling lights at Wasagaming’s outdoor rink, tucked among the towering trees behind the visitor’s centre in Riding Mountain National Park.

49. Toss a frozen fish, roast bannock over an open fire and marvel at fireworks in the winter sky at the Gimli Ice Festival in March.

50. Experience the raw beauty of the north by booking a night's stay on the ice in the Aurora Pod at Bakers Narrows Lodge. By day, enjoy activities like snowmobiling, ice fishing, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing (rentals available). By night, stay up late and marvel at the spectacular northern lights.

Call ahead to your point of interest to confirm hours and information.

About The Author

A journalist by trade and an adventurer at heart, my career has included stints as a reporter, magazine writer, editor, food stylist, television cook and digital marketer. I am always collecting stories about Manitoba, whether I’m on assignment or not.