A polar bear in Churchill, one of the top things to do in Manitoba

15 Best Things To Do in Manitoba (When It’s Time)

Editor’s Note: Manitoba continues to experience a significant covid wave, and as of June 2021, travel to or within Manitoba is not advised by public health authorities. We hope this list of things to do in Manitoba, written by our local writer, can help you dream and plan for a day – hopefully sooner than later – when travel in Manitoba is appropriate.

With over 100,000 lakes, thousands of years worth of history, dynamic cities, and gorgeous landscapes, narrowing down the best things to do in Manitoba, Canada can be a challenge. While drastically underrated when compared to other, more popular, Canadian provinces, Manitoba holds its own when it comes to a ton of exciting things to do.

How do I know this? Because not only did I grow up in the adjacent province of Saskatchewan, but I’m now a bonafide Manitoba local as an adult. 

Here are my picks for the 15 best attractions in Manitoba, Canada!

15 Best Things to Do in Manitoba, Canada

Taylor on the boardwalk of the Grassy Narrows Marsh Trail in Hecla Island, Manitoba.
The Grassy Narrows Marsh in Hecla / Grindstone Provincial Park!

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#1 – Explore The Forks National Historic Site

The Museum for Human Rights and Bridge at dusk, Winnipeg

Located at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red rivers, The Forks has been an important site for Canadian history for over 6,000 years. Originally used by Indigenous peoples as a trading spot, The Forks later became important for the European fur trade, railway trailblazers, and immigrants. 

Today, The Forks is one of the top Manitoba attractions and invites people to experience the magic in a variety of ways. Not only is the location known for putting on great events, but there is also a shopping center, food hall, an art gallery, museums, beer gardens, and so much more.

👉 You Might Also Like: The Forks also tops our list of the best things to do in Winnipeg, but there is so much more in that article so bookmark it!

#2 – See Polar Bears & Beluga Whales in Churchill

A large adult male polar bear walks through snow and vegetation toward the camera in soft reddish sunset light, in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

Set on the shores of Canada’s iconic Hudson Bay, Churchill is known for the polar bears that descend on the area in the fall, as well as the beluga whales that migrate through the area in the summer. Designated the polar bear capital of the world, this remote Manitoba town is a beacon for avid wildlife lovers, explorers, and photographers. Churchill also made our list of the best travel destinations in Canada.

With these wildlife experiences set to a backdrop of northern lights viewing and some unique culinary experiences, it’s no wonder that Churchill, Manitoba draws in thousands of tourists each year. 

🐻‍❄️ Pro Tip: Churchill is a bit of a mission, so the best way to go is part of an organized tour. Taking you from Winnipeg, this excellent 5-night Churchill tour includes a dog-sled ride, polar-bear viewing, a stop at the Itsanitaq Museum, and so much more!

#3 – Go Hiking in Riding Mountain National Park

A bison roams in the field of Riding Mountain National Park

One of two National Parks in Manitoba (the other being Wapusk National Park near Churchill), Riding Mountain National Park is a protected area consisting of boreal forest, a Bison sanctuary, rugged nature, and a charming resort town.

While the park is great for canoeing, kayaking, cross country skiing, mountain biking, camping, and relaxing, the hiking trails really shine in these parts.

🥾 Best Hiking Trails: check out the Bald Hill Trail (9.5km/5.9miles), Burls and Bittersweet Trail (2.2km/1.4mile loop), Moon Lake Trail (9.2km/5.7 miles), Beach Ridges Trail (3.5km/2.2 mile loop), Kinosao Trail (3.9km/2.4 miles), Lakeshore Trail (5km/3.1miles), and Grasshopper Valley Trail (17.2km/10.7miles).

#4 – Explore Pinawa Dam

Water rushes through the Pinawa Dam in Manitoba, Canada

Situated on the outskirts of Winnipeg River, the Pinawa Dam was built in 1906 as Manitoba’s first hydro-electric generating location. Though the dam was shut down as an electricity generator back in 1951, it has since been designated a provincial heritage park and has been maintained as a scenic recreational site.

The dam has since become one of the top Manitoba attractions due to its sheer beauty.

While here, I recommend exploring the area by hitting up a hiking trail and kayaking (there are some great rapids in the area), and by taking photos at the dam. Pinawa also lies on the outskirts of Whiteshell Provincial Park, and the two combined make for a great adventure.

Additionally, just down the road from the Pinawa Dam is the Suspension Bridge, which spans the Pinawa Channel. This is a popular spot for tubing down the river and hiking the Pinawa Loop (12.7km.7.9miles).

#5 – Take a Tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building

The Manitoba Legislative Building at dusk

If you’re interested in numerology, Freemason symbols, and hidden clues, then be sure to put a Hermetic Code Tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building on your Manitoba itinerary.

Located right downtown in Winnipeg, the Legislative Building is easily spotted given its grandiose architecture, but there is much more to this landmark than meets the eye. Through the guidance of a local architectural historian, the ever-intriguing Hermetic Code Tour will help you discover the occult symbols and numerology codes that tell a secret story of one of the most recognizable attractions in Manitoba.

#6 – Learn About Icelandic Culture in Gimli

Sailboats rest in the Marina of Gimli, Manitoba Canada

Located about an hour north of Winnipeg, Gimli is a small town on the west side of Lake Winnipeg (Canada’s 6th largest lake) with strong Icelandic heritage and customs. No wonder Gimli has been nicknamed “The New Iceland.”

Known for its fresh fish and charming beachy vibe, Gimli is well known for its water activities all year round — with sailing, swimming, and the like in the summer and ice fishing and ice racing in the winter. But even though the community packs a punch with things to do, it’s the culture that makes it special.

To experience the Viking culture of Manitoba in all its glory, take a photo with a statue at Viking Park, catch a battle reenactment at one of the town’s festivals, and explore the New Icelandic Heritage Museum.

#7 – Relax on Grand Beach

Water laps up onto Grand Beach, Manitoba

Looking for a world-class beachy getaway on your trip to Manitoba? Then look no further than Grand Beach Provincial Park!

Set on Lake Winnipeg’s freshwater shores, you’ll find this idyllic beach stretching along the water in Grand Marais. Just an hour’s drive from Winnipeg, this spot is noted for its white-sand beaches, towering dunes, nearby lagoon, and refreshing clear water. 

More than just a place to laze around though, Grand Beach, Manitoba is excellent for swimming, jet skiing, paddle boarding, windsurfing, catching a performance at the amphitheater, or hiking. In particular, there are a few great hikes in the area, notably Ancient Beach Trail (2.1km/1.3miles) and Boulder Hill Trail (6.6km/4.1miles).

✈️Canada is pretty safe as travel destinations go, but you never know what will happen (especially these days!). Making sure you’re covered in case of an emergency is essential when traveling. Here is everything you need to know about Canada visitor insurance!

#8 – Climb the Sand Dunes at Spruce Woods Provincial Park

Landscape of Spirit Sands dunes in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Manitoba, Canada

Located in south-central Manitoba, Spruce Woods Provincial Park is a great place to explore sand dunes, prairie fields, rivers, and forests alike. 

A beautiful park from any angle, Spruce Woods is best known for being the home of the Spirit Sand Dunes; a plain of blowing sand that stretches 30 meters/98 feet high. These sand dunes were created after the last ice age, and are home to flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the province. 

Spruce Woods is a great spot for camping, relaxing, or going on wagon rides, but if you’re interested in hiking then you’re in for a treat. Spirit Sands & Devil’s Punch Bowl (10km/6.2miles), Spruce and Juniper Loop Trails (5.8km/3.6miles), and Marsh’s Lake Trails (1.9km/1.2miles) are all excellent options.

#9 – Visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum of Human Rights at night, with Winnipeg lit up behind it

The first of its kind in the world, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Manitoba is dedicated to “exploring the subject of human rights…in order to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue”. 

With galleries and exhibitions built around different themes, the museum is located right next door to The Forks and is renowned for its education, stories, use of technology, and architecture. 

Plus, with new content regularly being added to the museum, this is a great place to explore time and time again. 

#10 – Visit the Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba during the summer

Ever wonder where money gets made? Then head to the Royal Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba — the high-tech facility that produces billions of the world’s coins every year. 

With plenty of tours available, the Mint is a great place to learn about the money production process, see the 50-ton presses in action, and grab a few coins for your collection.

#11 – Visit the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site

An old white house sits on the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site in Manitoba

Located on the shore of the Red River, the Lower Fort Garry was constructed in 1830 by the Hudson’s Bay Company. Important to Canada’s history, this is where Treaty 1 between the Ojibwa, Swampy Cree, and Crown was signed.

Today, the site is an excellent location to learn more about Canada’s history while experiencing how the early fur traders and immigrants would have lived, and how trades would have happened. People who work here are fully dressed in time-appropriate costumes, and tours are available.

#12 – Explore Hecla / Grindstone Provincial Park

Taylor at the Grassy Narrows Marsh of Hecla Island, Manitoba Canada

Named after one of the most famous volcanoes in Iceland, Hekla, Hecla / Grindstone Provincial Park in Manitoba is a major adventure hub and an easy road trip from Winnipeg.

With a number of islands dotting the waters between the east and west banks of Lake Winnipeg, Hecla boasts a ton of beautiful nature including forests, limestone cliffs, marshes, beaches, and meadows.

In particular, hike the Grassy Narrows Marsh Trail, explore Hecla Village, take the Hecla Scenic Drive, check out the Lighthouse Trail, and wander around Gull Harbour Marina.

🚗 Looking to Get Away from Winnipeg for a Day? Check out our list of the best day excursions from Winnipeg!

#13 – Hit the Slopes at Asessippi

Three snowboarder friends ride the ski lift to the top of the hill

Feel like hitting some of the prairie slopes? The Asessippi Ski Area & Resort in Manitoba features three chairlifts, 26 downhill runs, ski and snowboard rentals, a tubing park, and ski lessons. Whether you’re new to the hills or are a seasoned pro, this is a great, energy-burning, way to spend the day.

The resort also boasts a winter village with a full food court, pub, gift shop, and educational rooms, which is always a great way to warm up between runs. As a kid, heading to Asessippi every winter on a school bus full of my friends was a major highlight. This Manitoba destination still holds its own! 

#14 – Hit Up a Festival

Old buildings in the Exchange District of Downtown Winnipeg

A festival-loving province to the core, Manitoba is home to a ton of diverse events.

In particular, check out Festival Du Voyageur (a wintertime multi-medium festival), Nuit Blanche (fall art festival), Winnipeg Comedy Festival (Summer/Fall), Winnipeg Folk Festival (July), Red River Exhibition (Summer), Folklorama (Summer), Manito Ahbee Festival (Spring), and Fire & Water Music Festival (Summer).

🏨 Need a place to stay in Winnipeg? I ranked the top Winnipeg hotels to help you find the best accommodation for your trip.

#15 – Catch a Winnipeg Jets Game

The Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Canada

The sole professional NHL hockey team of Manitoba, a home game for the Winnipeg Jets means a whole lot of hometown spirit. 

If you’ve never experienced an NHL game in the flesh, then head on over to the Bell MTS Center in downtown Winnipeg and be prepared for some fast-paced action! 

***

That’s it for my 15 best things to do in Manitoba, Canada!

I hope this gave you a ton of inspiration for your next trip.

For more articles on traveling Canada, visit the Travel Lemming Canada Travel hub or check out these popular articles:

Have fun in Manitoba!

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