Header photo by Nicole Marie.

Looking for something do this weekend with friends? Or perhaps your date night ideas have run dry? Believe it or not, these Winnipeg gaming destinations aren't just for kid's birthday parties. From physical challenges to brain twisters, here are 6 game night ideas that will make your weekend 100% better!

Board game night


Whether you want to learn a new table top game or just want to gather with friends to play good ol' Catan, board game cafes can make it happen. Across the Board is a gem of a cafe in Winnipeg's Exchange District, where you can choose from an insane amount of games while snacking on menu items like "The 12 Sided Dice Bowl" (a mix of BBQ soy nuts, hot cajun sticks, corn nuts, toasted walnuts, smarties and gummy worms) or the "Board Game Club" (Roasted chicken, bacon, tomato, sautéed onions, iceberg lettuce, grated Bothwell cheddar, and a honey dill mayo). 

In Osborne Village, After Dark is a gaming lounge right on the main strip. In addition to a large collection of games, After Dark serves up all you could want with your gaming night in the form of comfort food. Poutine and Carcassonne? Yes please! 

And I don't know about you, but reading the instructions for a new game is the absolute worst. At Across the Board and After Dark, qualified staff provide recommendations and expertise on a multitude of games, meaning no deciphering complicated gameplay.

Escape the room


Escape rooms are definitely having a moment and continue to pop up across the city. The Real Escape are experts at creating immersive, multi-room escape challenges, from abandoned stations to alien-invaded spaceships

With three locations throughout Winnipeg, Enigma Escapes is another excellent option for making your escape. Rooms take participants to the depths of hell (where they have sold their soul for a #1 hit) and to the jungles of Africa in pursuit of a lost jewel.

And there's more. Head to Time Lapse to escape the warlock's curse, Escape Hatch to solve the riddle of the vampire, Codebreakers to loot Grandma's attic for hidden treasure, Epic Escapes to escape-room-duel against your friends, and Next Level Escapes to go back in time to the wild, wild west. 

Laser tag

You can say you're not into things like laser tag, but as soon as that vest goes on and you enter the battleground...it's game on! Young and old alike will be amazed at how much fun Lasertopia really is, with over 13,000 square feet of glow-in-the-dark fun. And if you feel super stealthy after a few rounds, give the Mission Impossible style laser maze challenge a try! 

U-Puttz Amusement Centre is another go-to destination for laser tag, with an apocalypse-themed arena. And if you find yourself with an adrenaline rush, you can end your visit with a few rounds of calming mini-golf (unless you're super competitive, in which mini golf is totally not relaxing)! 

Go old school and new school


You don't have to go far for arcades in Winnipeg, in fact, both U-Puttz and Lasertopia have a plethora of old and new school arcade games.

While it may seem an unlikely choice, XSCAPE Entertainment Centre in St. Vital Centre Mall has all the latest arcade games, directly adjacent to the movie theatre. And if you ask me, movies + arcade games = the perfect first date. 

For something entirely new, try The Portal, Winnipeg's first virtual reality arcade. There are 20+ games to choose from, depending on what kind of virtual world you want to escape to. There's even a "Job Simulator" where you learn what it was like 'to job'. I'm not kidding.

Jump to it


Bounce, leap and jump to your heart's content at Winnipeg's indoor trampoline parks. Sky Zone offers more than just trampolining - you can also test your balance and coordination on an obstacle course or experience an entirely different aerial challenge on "The Wall" - part trampoline, part parkour, part skating vert ramp. 

At Flying Squirrel Sports, go freestyle on the courts or test your abilities on the Olympic-grade trampolines. And if you'd still like to test your strength and endurance further, try the slack line, the ninja course and the climbing walls. 

Or do what I do, and just jump into the foam pit  and admit defeat. 

Race to the finish


As Winnipeg's only indoor kart track, Speedworld brings the thrill of the race to well, anyone willing to take on the challenge. Depending on your age and height, there are three ways to take on the track:  Sprint level (40km per hour), Race level (50 km per hour) and PRO level (60 km per hour).

Grand Prix Amusements is another option for racing, with sprint, double and wildcat go-karts. If, in the end, you decide racing is not for you, simply switch over to the bumper boats or another one of the many attractions in this amusement park.