The best gifts are time spent together and experiences that create memories. Whether you're looking for a birthday gift for your parent, your partner, or yourself these Manitoba outings will prove that time spent exploring is the best gift of all. So gather friends or escape on a weekend getaway and make the best birthday memories in Manitoba.
Warning: Cake not included in any of these adventures. If you're looking for the same old birthday, turn back now.
Skate your way to a drink at The Forks
One of the easiest birthday outings to plan has to be an evening at The Forks. Rent a pair of skates and head out under the sparkling lights, then head back to The Common for a locally brewed beer and delicious food. The great thing about this option is it doesn't matter how big your group is or when people show up, no reservations needed.
Go ice climbing
If you're looking for a birthday challenge, ice climbing at the Club d'escalade de Saint-Boniface is a great way to test your strength and endurance (and potentially show off a little). The three-sided tower offers varying degrees of difficulty, so even your least sporty friends can give it a go. Strap on your alpine boots (which they provide), grab your ice tools and conquer one of the sweetest climbing walls you've ever seen.
Get out on the ski trails
An outdoorsy weekend in Manitoba's Whiteshell is a lovely way to celebrate a birthday. Rent a cabin at Falcon Trails Resort and explore the 30 kilometres of cross-country ski trails that include flat straights on the frozen lake as well as more challenging areas with small climbs and descents. It's the perfect combination of activity and relaxation for a solo or small group birthday.
Go on a snowshoe hike
Exploring Manitoba's winter beauty is a sure way to feel great on your birthday. You can rent a pair and head out anywhere in the province where there's snow (so pretty much everywhere!) or join a guided snowshoe hike at Oak Hammock Marsh or in a provincial park. Bonus: take a trip to FortWhyte Alive and travel down the path to their bison enclosure for great scenery and a bit of wildlife spotting.
Explore a provincial park
Entrance to all Provincial Parks is free in February, so if your birthday is this month, you've really lucked out! Try hiking in Birds Hill, marvel at the frozen waters inside Pinawa Dam Provincial Park, or discover a bit of Manitoba history in Camp Morton Provincial Park.
Relax at the Fort Garry Hotel
Birthdays are a great excuse to treat yourself, even if it's just for 24 hours. One of the best ways to do that is by combining a relaxing stay at a hotel and a spa day. Ten Spa at the historic Fort Garry Hotel is an excellent option for a birthday-pick-me-up. Experience Hamam, a hot air bathing ritual that dates back to the Ottoman Empire, get a massage or a mani-pedi. No matter what you choose you'll feel refreshed even after your birthday is over.
Enjoy the theatre
March can be a little unpredictable, especially if you're trying to plan something outdoors. Luckily, Manitoba has so many great indoor entertainment options. Catch a show at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Théâtre Cercle Molière and small town venues like the Manitou Opera House. Buy one seat or a whole row for a bigger birthday bash.
Get crafty (and don't clean up!)
Homemade gifts come in at a close second, after experiences, on the best-birthday-gifts scale. So combining both would make the ultimate gift, right? DIY Craft Bar does just that. Pick from 17 crafts, grab your materials (all provided on-site), order a glass of beer or wine and start creating. The space has 60 crafting stations so you can book in advance and bring a big group for a crafty birthday bash. And the best part? You don't have to clean up all the glue and glitter when you're done, it's all taken care of.
Be awe-struck by the northern lights
Could you imagine seeing the sky come to life above your head, as if the entire universe is lighting up to celebrate your birthday? February and March are the best months to see the northern lights and Churchill, Manitoba is one of the best places in the world to witness them. A weekend in Churchill to see this magnificent natural light show is guaranteed to become one of your most memorable birthdays ever.
If you're looking for something that challenges both the mind and the muscles, Activate Games feels like a combination of an escape room and an arcade, with challenges that not only require you to solve a good puzzle, but also climb a wall and shoot a decent hoop. You need three or four people in your group to participate, so this is a great option for a small, close-knit birthday group.
Craft a cocktail
A cocktail class with Capital K Distillery is the perfect way to celebrate and prep your cocktail crafting skills for the fast-approaching summer. A Capital K Cocktail class includes a tour of the facilities, where you'll see how alcohol is made, and a hands-on demonstration of some tasty cocktails made with their signature Tall Grass Prairie spirits.
Enjoy the spring weather in an outdoor pool
Not only is the Lakeview Hecla Resort an excellent home base for exploring the surrounding provincial park, it also boasts a swim-through, indoor/outdoor heated pool, so you can enjoy the cool spring weather and soak in the steamy waters at the same time. Talk about a relaxing birthday getaway!
Learn to bake sourdough at Eadha Bread
Eadha Bread in Winnipeg's West End offers 2-hour sourdough workshops where you can learn the basics of making sourdough bread. Bonus: a sourdough starter makes a good future gift for the bakers in your life. It's the gift that keeps giving – and expanding!
Go on a garden centre “crawl”
Think pub crawl for plants. Create an itinerary of garden centres and plant nurseries to visit in your community and pick up a new plant at each stop to start your own garden (or expand your house forest). The lush greenery of garden centres also make for great photo-ops, so if you don't have room for more plants, do it for the gram instead.
Learn traditional beading techniques
Spend a weekend in Ste. Genevieve and learn a new skill at a Borealis Beading workshop. Choose from a traditional Métis 2-needle beading, loom beading or finger weaving workshop. During the workshops you'll also learn the history and cultural importance behind the art forms. You can also book a room with Borealis Beading and stay one or two nights to complete your birthday weekend.
Have a picnic in the park
It's summertime and a beautiful time to have an outdoor birthday. Head to Assiniboine Park for a stroll through the English Gardens and Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, before finding a spot to sit and enjoy a home-packed picnic. If you've got a big birthday group, bring a ball for a pick-up game of soccer in the park's wide-open green spaces.
Host a pooch party
Got a friend who would rather spend their birthday with their dog than with you? No problem! Host a pooch party at the Bonnycastle off-leash dog park in Winnipeg then head across the street for a celebratory cone at Fête Ice Cream & Coffee. Your pooch friend might even make it onto the dog-wall-of-fame!
Cast a line
A fishing trip is a classic Manitoban birthday experience. There are lodges across the province that offer weekend trips for all levels of fishers. Learn the basics of angling or head to a remote lodge in Manitoba's north and see who in your group scores the biggest catch.
Sip craft beverages
Winnipeg's Exchange District is the perfect spot for a craft beverage crawl. Sip locally made beer at Nonsuch Brewing Co. and Little Brown Jug, get small batch spirits at Winnipeg distillery Patent 5, and taste unique cocktails at Amsterdam Tea Room and Forth – all within a ten block radius.
Laze down a river
Tubing down a gently flowing lazy river seems to be all the rage right now! Grab a tube with your friends and float the Pinawa Channel (rentals from Wilderness Edge Resort and Eduvacay) or the Brokenhead River. A relaxing yet adventurous way to spend a birthday.
Zip through southern Manitoba
Get farm-fresh pizza
If you find yourself keen to drive up through the Interlake for your birthday, plan to visit on a Friday or Saturday night and experience Pizza Night at Integrity Farms near Riverton. This summer event features wood-fired pizza (you can pick the ingredients yourself from the garden, if you like) and tons of cute animals!
Root, root, root for the home team
Baseball, beer and more food choices than you could ever eat in nine innings. Going to a Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball game is a great way to celebrate a birthday. Even if you don't know the difference between the backstop and the pitcher's mound, you can cheer along with the crowd as you indulge in the salty and sweet snack options that fill the stadium.
Take on Manitoba's wilderness in a canoe
Experience the beauty of Eastern Manitoba as you paddle through Nopiming Provincial Park with Twin River Travel. These two to five day trips are designed for paddlers with a range of experience and all equipment and provisions are provided.
Hunt for Manitoba's roadside attractions
Manitoba as an abundance of roadside statues and attractions that make for fun photo-ops – how many can you reach in a day? Try to see as many as you can as you work your way around the province.
Puzzle your way out of a room
Is there any other way you'd like to spend a birthday than locked in a room with your closest friends? Maybe it doesn't sound ideal, but escape rooms are actually so fun. They're challenging and stressful in the best way. If you like puzzles, this is the perfect birthday activity. There are so many different themed rooms around Manitoba – from spaceships to castles to train cars – you're sure to find one that suits your group.
Go camping, the easy way
Surrounded by the changing fall foliage of Riding Mountain National Park, the new winterized oTENTiks at Moon Lake are a cozy place to celebrate. The Moon Lake oTENTiks are much more remote than the Wasagaming oTENTiks but still come equipped with a wood stove, a solar powered USB charging station and LED lights - making them the best option if you want to camp without the hassle of putting up a tent or the discomfort of sleeping on the ground.
Watch the geese take flight
Oak Hammock Marsh is one of the best places in the province to see the annual fall bird migration - whether it be from the viewpoint of a canoe or through the marsh boardwalk. Go at sunset for a breathtaking view of hundreds of geese flying across the pink prairie sky.
Admire the fall colours from above
The fall foliage surrounding Gimli is gorgeous from the ground. But if you take the fall tour with Prairie Helicopters, the view will make this one of the best birthday experiences ever.
Visit the lords of the arctic
October is one of the best times to see polar bears in Churchill. For many people, seeing the bears is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can go on a tour with various tour guides to search for these lords of the arctic. Don't forget your camera, seeing your first polar bear is a moment you'll definitely want to capture!
Relax into the hot-cold-rest cycle
Enjoy your birthday with a visit to one of Winnipeg's best spas. Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature is an outdoor oasis set in a quiet nook of the city. The signature Thermal Experience is the ultimate way to relax, and follows a hot-cold-rest cycle. November's chilly weather makes it an ideal month to enjoy the hot tubs and steam rooms and be comfortably refreshed when you step out into the open air.
Cheer your heart out at a hockey game
Celebrate a birthday the Canadian way at a good ol' hockey game! Rep your team's colours and cheer at the top of your lungs, whether it be for the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Ice or Brandon Wheat Kings.
Take on winter in a tent
Looking for a real challenge on your birthday? Plan a custom winter camping trip with Wilderland Adventure Co. Learn to use teamwork and skills shared by the team at Wilderland to thrive in Manitoba's cold.
Find your way out of the world's largest snow maze
Wouldn't it be neat to say you visited the world's largest snow maze on your birthday? A Maze in Corn holds that title in the winter and now it's even more than a maze! With a brand new snow bar that serves specialty drinks (think boozy hot chocolate and hot toddies), warming areas with bonfires, a giant snow mountain and sleigh rides, it's the whole package for a birthday outing.
Feel the magic at a light display
Experience the thrill of a dog sled adventure
Connect with nature and tradition on a dogsled adventure. In Churchill there are two options: Wapusk Adventures and Bluesky Expeditions, while those in southern Manitoba can head to Richer's Harness Adventure Mushing Co.