The city of Winnipeg is located at the heart of Canada. It’s also the geographical center of North America. With a population of just under a million people, Winnipeg sits at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers – a meeting place known as The Forks.
Often referred to as “The Peg”, Winnipeg is known as one of the coldest cities in the world – but don’t let that scare you! It is known for its diverse cultural and food scene, professional sports teams, and an impressive amount of festivals.
As a local, this city is a hidden gem, and has a lot to offer year-round. Let’s dive in and discover some of what Winnipeg is known for!
Winnipeg is known for its many festivals
If you are a food or music lover, there is no shortage of festivals happening in Winnipeg. From fall to summer, the city’s festival line-up is impressive. Here are five annual festivals worth checking out.
1. Festival du Voyageur
Festival du Voyageur is Canada’s largest winter festival that attracts more than 100,000 visitors from all over the world. Embrace a Canadian winter while learning about Winnipeg’s unique French heritage during this ten-day celebration.
The festival combines both outdoor and indoor activities for all ages and interests. Learn to jig to live music, admire magnificent ice sculptures, and try some traditional French-Canadian cuisine. From maple taffy to poutine, there is a reason this festival is known as “The World’s Largest Kitchen Party”!
Folklorama is a multicultural festival that celebrates the diverse cultures that call Winnipeg home. It is the largest and longest-running festival of its kind in the world.
This two-week event takes place at various venues throughout the city, referred to as pavilions. Immerse yourself in a new culture as you enjoy world-class performances, ethnic cuisines, and warm hospitality during your visit.
With over 40 pavilions to choose from, you can travel the world in two weeks – without ever leaving Winnipeg!
3. Winnipeg International Jazz Fest
Jazz Fest is an immersive music event that features some of the best in jazz, blues and urban entertainment. Enjoy outstanding live performances from both local and international artists in Winnipeg’s trendy Exchange District.
The festival kicks off with four days of free shows in the historic Old Market Square, followed by six days of concerts at various pop-up venues. Grab your friends and a lawn chair, and discover new musical talent in a wide range of genres.
4. Winnipeg Folk Festival
Folk Fest has become one of Winnipeg’s most popular summer festivals. This four-day music event is held at Birds Hill Provincial Park, and has been host to some notable musicians including Sheryl Crow, Jason Mraz and Kacey Musgraves.
Camp on the festival grounds, enjoy delicious food from local vendors, and meet fellow music-lovers in a beautiful park setting. The festival features a line-up of over 70 artists, ten stages and collaborative performances.
Act fast if you want to get your hands on tickets or camping passes – they sell out months in advance for a good reason!
Winnipeg is home to world-class museums and galleries
Known for its inspiring cultural scene, Winnipeg offers a mix of both historic and modern attractions. While this list is certainly not exhaustive, here are four must-sees that should be at the top any traveller’s list.
5. Canadian Museum for Human Rights
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The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first museum in the world dedicated to the history and understanding of human rights. It is also the first museum to be built outside of Canada’s Capital Region.
This marvelous architectural landmark has many stories to tell, and symbolizes our progression of human rights education. The museum encourages reflection, conversation, and exploration on the subject of human rights in Canada and around the world.
Take a 90-minute guided tour or explore on your own with the museum’s creative mobile technology. As you walk through the building, you will be presented with thought-provoking exhibits that are both uplifting and heavy all at once.
In addition to its 10 core galleries, the museum also features traveling exhibitions and a variety of educational programs. You can easily spend an entire day here.
6. Winnipeg Art Gallery
Located in the heart of downtown, The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is an architectural landmark. As Canada’s oldest civic gallery, the WAG is a great stop for art lovers and admirers.
Its indoor space is home to over 25,000 objects, including the biggest collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. The gallery offers guided tours, studio classes, and is a popular venue choice for local events.
In the summer months, head up to the rooftop garden for inspiration, relaxation, and some spectacular city views.
7. Manitoba Museum
Located in the historic Exchange District, the Manitoba Museum offers a detailed portrayal of the province’s rich history. The museum boasts an impressive 2.8 million artifacts that span over nine galleries, a science center, and a planetarium
There are plenty of interactive and hands-on exhibits that make for an educational experience. Highlights include the Nonsuch Gallery, which features a full-sized 17th-century ship replica, and the Hudson’s Bay Gallery for its gifted collections.
Whether you are a history or science buff, there is always something to discover at this multifaceted museum.
8. Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint is one of Winnipeg’s most iconic buildings. Built in 1976, this state-of-the-art facility produces coins for over 80 countries around the world.
Take a guided tour to learn how coins are made, find unique souvenirs in the boutique, and take a photo with the 2010 Vancouver Olympic medals. You can even hold a gold bar worth over $600,000! It’s all about the money at this remarkable tourist attraction!
Winnipeg is famous for its sports fanatics
As home to some of the loudest fans in sports, catching a game in Winnipeg is a truly unique experience. The city has numerous professional, amateur and college-level sporting events. Here are a few of the most popular teams in the area.
9. Winnipeg Jets
You won’t find a city in the world more passionate about hockey than Winnipeg. The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets have put this Canadian city on the map. You can head down to Canada Life Center, enjoy a beer and hot dog while basking in the excitement of a “Go Jets Go” chant.
During the playoffs, Winnipeggers gather to root for their home team at the Whiteout Street Party. Thousands of fans (dressed in all-white), flock outside the arena to watch the game on large video screens and join the fanfare.
The parties have drawn international attention, and have become Winnipeg’s signature display of team support. There is no better place to immerse yourself in hockey culture!
10. Winnipeg Goldeyes
Looking for a budget and family-friendly activity? Head over to Shaw Park and catch the Winnipeg Goldeyes in action!
Winnipeg’s professional baseball team has been hitting it out of the park since 1994, and it has ten league championships under their bats.
With delightful food options like deep-fried cookie dough, giveaways, and post-game fireworks – be prepared for a lot more than just baseball.
The field is only steps away from The Canadian Rights Museum which serves as a stunning backdrop on a summer evening.
11. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Blue Bombers are Winnipeg’s oldest established professional team, and are part of the Canadian Football League. Games take place at Investors Group Field from May to November.
Bomber fans are known to be die-hards who will bundle up in rain or snow to support their home team. Join the electric environment and expect your ears to be plugged the next morning – it’s a loud crowd!
The stadium is also home to the University of Manitoba Bisons football team, and the Valour FC soccer team.
Winnipeg is a foodie’s dream destination
With the most restaurants per capita in all of North America, Winnipeg has a dynamic and exciting food scene. You will find everything from vibrant food halls to hip urban cafés to globally recognized restaurants.
Whether you are in the mood for poutine or pickerel, the options are quite literally endless. Let’s see what makes Winnipeg Canada’s most emerging culinary hotspot.
12. The Forks
The Forks Market is a must-visit destination for foodies of all types. With over 50 options to choose from, you could spend an entire day eating your way through this newly renovated food hall.
Enjoy Winnipeg’s best cinnamon bun from Tall Grass Prairie, or a local burger from Nuburger. Passero offers an upscale dining experience featuring some mouthwatering Italian dishes. The market’s most unique offering may just be The Common – a wine and beer kiosk that serves up 40 curated wines and beer on tap.
The Forks also has a liquor license for the whole market area so you can sip as you shop the charming boutiques. Or enjoy your drink on the outdoor patio, while you overlook the Assiniboine River and immerse yourself in Winnipeg’s historic gathering place.
13. Exchange District
Winnipeg’s Exchange District offers a culinary vibe like no other. Eat where the locals do in one of the 50 unique restaurants in a 30-block radius.
Enjoy seasonal-inspired breakfast and locally roasted coffee at Forth Café before you explore some of the oldest buildings in the city. Deer + Almond serves up globally inspired small plates, and has been named one of Canada’s best 100 restaurants twice. Satisfy your sweet tooth at notable bakeries like Bronuts and Cake-ology. Finally, unwind at the end of a long day with a tea-infused nightcap at The Amsterdam Tea Room.
Can’t decide on your craving? The Exchange District Biz offers a variety of food tours so you can try a little bit of everything. From breakfast to a midnight snack, this historic neighborhood won’t disappoint your appetite.
14. Food Trucks
Winnipeg’s food scene has recently exploded with food truck options. From farmers markets to retail parking lots, it’s not uncommon to find a mobile dining option anywhere you go. With the number of festivals and concerts in the city, tons of restaurants are hopping on the food truck trend!
If you want to try them all in one place, look no further than Many Fest – an annual street party that takes over Broadway Street for three days in September.
Known as Winnipeg’s “food truck wars”, you can find an abundance of options including perogies, ice cream, barbecue and more. Browse the local artisan booths with your treats in hand, or stop in at the beer gardens for a cold one.
Winnipeg is a thriving city, appreciated for its history and cultural diversity. It is famous for its world-class attractions, its many winter and summer festivals, and its top-notch food scene. A big city with a small-town vibe, Winnipeg is loved by locals and tourists alike.
Don’t miss your chance to visit the center of Canada and discover more of what Winnipeg (and Manitoba) has to offer.