Header photo by: ©Enviro Foto
If you’ve set your sights across the border where your dollar goes further, or perhaps are hoping to have a new adventure, look no further than Winnipeg, Manitoba for your summer road trip. Here are 10 amazing things you MUST do on your trip to our capital city...
1. Take a Journey to Churchill at the Assiniboine Park Zoo
A day spent at the Assiniboine Park Zoo is an absolute necessity for all types of travellers. Your family will adore stepping into the Wapusk Lowlands, where some of the zoo’s most fascinating animals, including owls, Arctic fox, caribou and wolves dwell. Walk through the entrance to the arctic tunnel and be amazed by swimming polar bears overhead and playful seals.
New this year is the Xtreme BUGS! Presented by Artis REIT, featuring 19 giant, animatronic bugs along the forested trail inside the zoo.
2. Unwind at the spa
Is Winnipeg a spa city? Absolutely! Whether it’s practicing a hot/cold cycle at an outdoor spa, or experiencing an ancient bathing ritual, Winnipeg has a number of intriguing spas to relax into.
Start with the incredible Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature, an outdoor oasis with a number of hot/cold pools, saunas, steam rooms and more. Ten Spa at the historic Fort Garry Hotel is an ultra-chic and modern spa, where you can experience hammam, a hot air bathing ritual that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. If you find yourself at one of Winnipeg's most popular public spaces, The Forks, be sure to stop in at Riverstone Spa to try the Signature Indigenous Hot Stone Massage.The benefits of dead sea salt can be discovered at the Urban Oasis Mineral Spa, located inside the Clarion Hotel. Lastly, consider trying Winnipeg’s first Japanese-style spa, Pocca Poca Spa. The spa specializes in Ganban-yoku, a popular form of thermal relaxation in Japan that involves laying on heated stone slabs.
3. Shop 'til you drop
Start your shopping excursion with Winnipeg’s first outlet mall, Outlet Collection, which is situated in an ideal shopping location on Kenaston Blvd, close to other popular retailers like HomeSense, Urban Barn, Tommy Hilfiger, and yes, our very own IKEA!
Other popular malls include CF Polo Park (Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Coach, Saje, Aldo, and Club Monaco), St. Vital Centre (Le Chateau, Browns Shoes and RW & Co.) and Kildonan Place Mall (HomeSense and Marshalls).
For boutique shoppers, head to shopping areas like the historic Exchange District to find one-of-a-kind products and clothing. Retailers here include Hillary Druxman, Lennard Taylor Design Studio, A Pinch of Creativity, HUT K, and Tiny Feast.
If your shopping itch still hasn't been scratched, make time to wander the shops of Osborne Village, Corydon Avenue, and Academy Road.
4. Dig into our dining scene
What's wrong with basing your trip entirely on food? Nothing, that's what! Plan your dinners at fine-dining spots like Harth Mozza & Wine Bar and the Oxbow, or at tapas eateries like Deer + Almond, Cordova, Maque and Segovia.
It’s impossible to name all of our favourite restaurants in one blog post, but we can’t go without a mention of the to-die-for breakfast at Clementine, the array of food choices at The Forks Market, and the Canadiana vibes of Smith.
5. Get lucky
Add a little excitement to your next cross-border adventure to Winnipeg with game of chance at one of the city's top gaming destinations.
Horse enthusiasts will love the thundering of hooves at Assiniboia Downs, where, on a warm evening or sunny afternoon from May to September, the alfresco entertainment of live horse racing is exhilarating for all ages. For a variety of gambling opportunities, the Club Regent Casino is a popular choice with blackjack tables and VLTs, as well as a brand new, state-of-the-art event centre at which visitors can catch a variety of concerts and shows. The McPhillips Station Casino is all about old world, railway charm, complete with a sweeping staircase and chandeliers. It's also the ideal spot to win big.
6. Catch the game
For many, summer in Winnipeg is synonymous with spending the day cheering in the stands for the home team.
Winnipeg's CFL team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, inspires legions of fans, all inside the stunning new Investors Group Stadium where dining options are plentiful and delicious. GO BLUE! On the baseball side of things, catching a Winnipeg Goldeyes game is the prefect way to spend a sunny summer afternoon with the family – with low ticket prices to boot.
7. Spend a night out on the town
With a minimum drinking age of 18, our city comes alive at night (yes, even in the winter) at dance clubs, pubs and theatres. For those who crave a bit of dancing, our liveliest clubs include Upstairs in the District, OV Club, 441 Main, Citizen and the World Famous Palomino Club – which recently relocated into an historic building on Winnipeg’s Main Street. LGBTQ+ bars in the city include the high-energy dance club Fame and Club 200, which frequently features go-go dancers and drag queen performances.
Winnipeg is known for its music scene, so you won’t have any difficulty finding a show to check out on nearly any day of the week. For live music, keep an eye on The Park Theatre, The Cavern, Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club and The Handsome Daughter.
8. Be humbled by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Be prepared to spend several hours in the incredible Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. It takes time to get the most out of each exhibit in this massive museum, and even more time to take in the striking architecture of the space.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is also the first national museum to be built outside the National Capital Region. Coming up this summer is the Mandela: Struggle for Freedom exhibition (opening June 8, 2018) which looks at Nelson Mandela's life and the movement that formed around him.
9. Join into a Festival
If you love lively gatherings, music, and partying with the locals, plan your trip to Winnipeg during one of our many festivals.
If you enjoy cultural festivals, consider sampling food and entertainment from around the world at Folklorama. As far as world class music festivals go, the Winnipeg Folk Festival is right up there with the best. Film connoisseurs will adore the vibe of Winnipeg’s Exchange District during the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.
10. Venture outside the city limits
...And speaking of road trip adventures, we enthusiastically encourage you to venture outside the city limits during your stay, where some of the greatest beauty in Manitoba can be found!
Take a day trip to the region known as New Iceland and stop into quaint towns along the way like Gimli and the Village of Dunnottar. Keep going until you reach Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, where you can take in the scenery, embark on a hike, or check out an Icelandic settlement village.
For overnight trips, consider the stunning Riding Mountain National Park where you can see wildlife and an enclosed bison herd. Whiteshell Provincial Park is perfect for cabin stays and canoeing opportunities, while Nopiming Provincial Park offers the chance for camping excursions. The options are endless!