Winnipeg, Manitoba | A 48 Hour Or Weekend Destination Guide
Planning a trip to Winnipeg?
A few years ago I went to Winnipeg, Manitoba for a quick weekend trip. I told some friends who are Canadian that I had gone and I remember their skepticism when I said there were cool things to do there.
The middle of Canada gets a lot of flack from Canadian folks from the bigger cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. They think that there is nothing interesting to do outside of the big cities or the coasts. I had a great time when I was in Winnipeg and found some gems that are worthy of sharing. Even Nat Geo said that Winnipeg is one of the top places to go and they know a bit about travel!!
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Table of Contents
The Ultimate Weekend Guide To Winnipeg
Getting In & Around
From Vancouver, I flew with Air Canada and arrived into the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson Airport. The airport is not too far from the city and I took a limo in. This is very handy when travelling with a group as they offer a flat rate and have a lot of room. Taxis can cost anywhere from $20-$55 into the city depending on destination and traffic.
My hotel was in the center of the city so I was able to walk around when I was exploring. I also took taxis and was shuttled around by my local friend when I needed to go further.
Where To Stay
I stayed at a newer boutique hotel called the Mere Hotel. I was a fan! Not only was it brand new but it was modern and it had great amenities. The rooms had platform beds with a work area and a great shower. There were USB and charging outlets right by the bed. Bath amenities were by Molton Brown and there was a Nespresso Machine in my room. The location was perfect because I could walk to the Forks or The Exchange District in 10-15 minutes.
Click here to look up rates at the Mere Hotel
Loved my modern suite at the Mere!
For rates at other properties throughout Winnipeg:
Where To Get Great Coffee
Good news coffee lovers!! There’s great coffee in Winnipeg. In the downtown area, head to Parlour Coffee which is on Main Street. They serve beans from roasters like Parallel 49 and Phil and Sebastian.
468 Main St, Winnipeg, MB R2H 1E9, Canada
Parlour Coffee in the Exchange District
Little Sister Coffee Maker
Little Sister is part of the Parlour Coffee family. It’s located in Osborne Village. When you’re shopping and need a caffeine break this place is perfect. They are super friendly too!
470 River Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3L 0C8, Canada
Where To Eat & Drink
Deer + Almond
Deer + Almond was a restaurant that I had heard about from some local friends and other travellers. Owned by Chef Mandel Hitzer, Deer + Almond serves small plates and almost seems out of place in Winnipeg. When I was there I had a plate of foie gras and unagi, arancini, scallops from Japan, and other dishes that delighted me. The soundtrack and vibe in the restaurant were awesome. The restaurant is very involved in the community and takes part in events like pop-up restaurants on the frozen Red River or during the Table for 1200 white dinner.
85 Princess St, Winnipeg, MB R3B 1K4, Canada
Foie gras and unagi. Oye!
Love a good old-fashioned
Peasant Cookery is located in the Exchange District and serves carefully sourced comfort food with a modern twist. I had some moules frites or mussels and fries and they were delicious!
283 Bannatyne Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3B 1M3, Canada
I popped into Cibo for a quick meal before I left Winnipeg. It is conveniently located right beside the Mere Hotel along the Red River. If you order room service at the Mere, they are who make the food.
339 Waterfront Dr, Winnipeg, MB R3B 0G8, Canada
Great space at Cibo
Bridge Drive-In was probably my favourite place in Winnipeg. My girlfriend Ida took me here before she dropped me off at the airport. It’s not something most travellers would find, it’s a real local gem. Bridge Drive-In is an ice cream shop/stand that sells frozen treats like cones, milkshakes, sundaes, and more. Some of the items have funny names like the Goog or Sleeping Beauty.
I kept it classic with a sundae
**Other dining recommendations: Segovia is a popular Spanish restaurant. I wanted to eat and drink here but reservations were full. I also ate and had cocktails at Bistro 7 1/4 with my local friend Ida but the quality of my photos was subpar.
I’d really like to have had some Filipino food when I was in Winnipeg but no one could give me a recommendation. There is a large Filipino population and I even asked the editor of the local Filipino newspaper but everyone seemed to be at a loss. If you know of a place please get in touch or leave a comment. I know there has to be something!!! I don’t need it to be fancy, I just need to be reminded of my mom.
Things To Do
The Forks is a National Historic Site of Canada and a very important place in Winnipeg history. Here First Nations tribes, as well as European settlers would meet. Now it’s home to a public food market, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, a skate park, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Manitoba Children’s Museum, Assiniboine Riverwalk, Esplanade Riel, and more.
The Canadian Museum of Human Rights
The CMHR is the first national museum in Canada built since 1967 and the first outside of Ottawa. The museum allows visitors to explore human rights with reference to Canada but not exclusively. The museum was designed by star architect Antoine Predock. While I was not able to visit in its entirety, I took a quick tour while the museum was still under construction.
Canadian Museum of Human Rights designed by architect Antoine Predock
The ceiling of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights
Reflection area at CMHR
The Forks Market
While the Forks Market is not Pike Place in Seattle or Granville Island in Vancouver, it has its own charm and is a great place to stop for a quick bite or snack. You can find cheese and meat vendors, organic baked goods, prepared foods, and more.
The Forks Market
Tall Grass Prairie – an awesome bakery and shop in the Forks
Skate Park at the Forks
In case you skate or have kids, there’s a skate park at the Forks!
The Exchange District
The Exchange District is home to many beautiful heritage buildings from the late 1800s when Winnipeg was one of Canada’s biggest cities and considered the Chicago of the North. The whole area is a National Historic Site of Canada.
The Cube in The Exchange which is a concert stage slash outdoor art in Old Market Square
A cool neighbourhood in Winnipeg where you’ll find tons of bars, restaurants, and shopping. If you’re a fan of antique shopping there was an antique mall there which I loved.
Village Antique Mall in Osborne Village
The Manitoba Museum is a museum in downtown Winnipeg that focuses on natural history as well as the history of the province. Inside the museum, you’ll also find a planetarium and Science wing (which I was unable to visit) along with a life-sized replica of the Nonsuch which was the first trading voyage for what would eventually become the Hudson’s Bay Company.
There is also a Hudson’s Bay Company Gallery which was commissioned by the company to exhibit pieces from its historic past and importance to Canada. I’m a bit of an HBC lover so I loved seeing this wing.
The Nonsuch, a life-sized replica
Vintage HBC blankets (sorry Pendleton, these were around hundreds of years before yours)
HBC Point Blankets were made in England
Winnipeg Art Gallery
The Winnipeg Art Gallery or the WAG was founded in 1912 and the oldest civic gallery in Canada. The gallery’s focus is on Manitoban and Canadian art with the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art.
Art by Jackson Beardy, from an Indian Group of Seven exhibit
Untitled (infinity) by Jonathan Jones
Royal Winnipeg Ballet
If you’re a ballet or dance lover, you must watch a ballet performance by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. It is one of the world’s premiere dance companies. It is Canada’s oldest ballet company and the longest running ballet company in North America.
While I was in Winnipeg, there weren’t any performances happening but I was invited to visit the school. Most of their performances are at the Centennial Concert Hall.
Inside the RWB’s shoe closet!
Inside the costume department
I’ve been to a lot of spas over the years but I have to say that Ten Spa is probably my favourite. I would never have believed you if you told me Winnipeg had such an incredible spa, but it’s true. When you arrive you’re outfitted with a plush robe and slippers. Then you if you have time before your treatment you can enjoy some healthy snacks and quiet time in the lounge as well as go in for a steam in the sauna.
My treatment was called the Cleopatra Milk and Oil Cocoon. My body was exfoliated by a spa attendant and then I was slathered in goat milk and essential oils and wrapped up in plastic while I lay on a heated Soft Pack Envelopment Bed. I don’t really know how to explain it but it was one of the best treatments I’ve ever had in my life. I walked out of there soft as a baby’s butt and so relaxed. If I could live in this spa forever I would.
222 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB R3C 0R3, Canada (Tenth Floor)
A really gorgeous and well thought out spa
If you know me, you know I love this
So happy at Ten Spa
There is so much to do at Assiniboine Park. There’s a forest, gardens, sculpture garden, mini railway for kids, an outdoor theatre, a zoo, and more.
If you’re a runner, there’s lots of terrain for you at the park
Loved seeing cricket at Assiniboine Park (you’re definitely in the Commonwealth when you see this)
Where To Take Good Photos (You know…Instagram)
If you stay central in Winnipeg, a lot is walking distance. I walked through the train station for a shortcut and then found….
The ceiling is so cool!
Union Station ceiling
Near the Forks is Esplanade Riel, a pedestrian bridge that takes you from downtown to residential St Boniface neighbourhood.
The Exchange District
Many buildings in and around the Exchange District have been around since the 1800s. If you’re a fan of architecture, there’s a lot to photograph in Winnipeg
While exploring I came across a lot of street art in the city. I didn’t take too many photos but saved this one in my Winnipeg album.
Table For 1200
Table For 1200 was an event organized by StorefrontMB and 5468796 Architecture to showcase Winnipeg’s emerging design scene. It was a long table white dinner at a secret location during the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada conference. It is now a yearly event.
Sitting with the Tourism Winnipeg crew at Table for 1200
Everyone in (almost) all white and the longest table down the Esplanade Riel
Channelling my best Back Street Boy
While I was in Winnipeg, Pride Celebrations were happening. During the summer months, people are out and about and lots of events happen. I missed the parade but I walked through the Forks and by the Scotia Bank Stage where there were entertainment and booths set up.
And these are my recommendations for Winnipeg! Have you been before? What are your favourite things to do here? If there’s anything you think I should check out for future visits, please leave them in the comments!
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**Disclaimer: Many thanks to Tourism Winnipeg who assisted me with this trip and my itinerary. As always opinions are solely my own.**