The best things to do in Winnipeg, from Inuit art galleries to Filipino cuisine
Canada’s seventh largest city, Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba and is known as the “Gateway to the West” because it was the first major city to emerge at the entrance to the Canadian Prairies. Filled with cultural activities, it blends its distinct prairie heritage and history with modern arts and restoration. In fact, this city is home to the largest collection of Inuit art in Canada and some of the best French cuisine west of Montreal. Downtown and the city’s skyline is also notable for the preservation of many heritage buildings in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. These historic buildings are currently home to a range of local businesses, including trendy cafes and high-end local fashion ateliers.
Whether you’re enjoying the winter chill or strolling the city in the summer, here are some of the best places to dine and drink, drop off your bags and explore on your next trip to Winnipeg.
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Getting to Winnipeg
Downtown Winnipeg is approximately a 15-minute drive from Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG), serving more than twenty cities in Canada and various seasonal flights to the United States. Winnipeg Transit also offers bus service to and from the airport. Bus lines 15 Sargent/Mountain and 20 Academy/Watt run there every twenty minutes most days (weekend and holiday schedules are subject to change).
What to do
Nestled at the intersection of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, Forks has been an important meeting place in Winnipeg for thousands of years. This National Historic Site of Canada has a rich history that dates back more than 6,000 years, when Indigenous groups first used the “Fork” of the adjacent river as a trading outpost. Today, the community space functions as a daily indoor and outdoor farmer’s market and craft shopping center, and is also home to many of the city’s festivals and celebrations. Come winter, it becomes a community hotspot and turns into what looks like a real snow globe: the 5.3-mile Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail freezes over to become the second-longest skating rink in the world. . Throughout the community area, there are also several free sledding and snowboarding sites for visitors.
Winnipeg’s cultural museums and galleries celebrate the art of Canada’s Aboriginal communities and European communities who settled in Manitoba, including Manitoba Museum. Art lovers and history buffs should take ample time to explore the vast Winnipeg Art Gallery. The 120,000 square foot visual art museum houses the Qaumajuq – the largest collection of Inuit art in the world – and more than 24,000 Indigenous and Canadian works of art in the permanent collection alone.
Learn about the different cultures that make up Winnipeg at Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Center Where The Museum of Saint-Boniface Museum, which tells the story of the Franco-Manitoban and Métis communities (descendants of European and Aboriginal heritage) in the oldest building still standing in the province. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights‘Spiraled Peak has become a landmark in the Winnipeg skyline, examining the history of human rights issues and what the future might look like.
Where to eat
Winnipeg has experienced a culinary renaissance over the past decade, with modern and unique fine dining restaurants and laid-back cocktail bars opening regularly. Restaurants like Basement embody Winnipeg’s whimsical dining scene with a hidden entrance and candlelit dining space that serves bar bites and upscale cuisine on ornate plates and platters.