7 Essential Winnipeg Experiences for First Time Visitors
Whatever you’re into, Winnipeg offers a lot to visitors. The city has a hipster-artsy side, a really fantastic food scene, and some world-class attractions. As with visiting any new-to-you city, it can be hard to know what you should see and do first in your time there. Well, don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of essential Winnipeg experiences to get your trip off on the right foot.
- See the polar bears at Assiniboine Park Zoo. The fairly new Journey to Churchill exhibit is home to rescued polar bears and it is pretty fantastic. You’ll see the bears swimming before you as you walk through underwater viewing tunnels, and it is just magical. There is of course plenty of other interesting stuff to check out at the zoo and in Assiniboine Park itself.
- Explore the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This stunningly designed museum opened in 2014, and has exhibits that explore human rights issues not only in Canada but the world at large. It is a heavy subject, but one the museum tackles very well. There are a range of permanent exhibits (such as the one on Truth and Reconciliation) and visiting exhibits, and each fulfils the mandate that the museum has to be both inspiring and educational.
- Check out the Exchange District. This National Historic Site is made up of beautiful old buildings that have been turned into a collection of excellent restaurants, interesting art galleries, gorgeous boutiques, and plenty of neat places to hang out an enjoy a cocktail or two. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll be in town at the same time as one of the many festivals that take place there (these include the International Jazz Festival and Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, to name a few).
- Eat perogies. These (usually) savoury Ukrainian pancakes are a big deal in Manitoba, and which establishment makes the best ones is a contentious subject. Throughout the city you’ll find lots of hole-in-the-wall type places serving up delicious and authentic perogies (such as Mom’s Perogy Factory at 832 Sinclair St, or Ann’s Perogey Palace at 413 Magnus Ave, neither of which have websites) but you’ll also find excellent ones at the Baba’s Tall Grass Pantry in the Forks Market, and served out of the Better Than Baba’s food truck. Did you know that you can get sweet perogies too? Look out for ones filled with apple or cherry for a sweet treat.
- Get back to nature at FortWhyte Alive. Just south of Winnipeg you’ll find a 640 acre park where you can go on a bison safari, go kayaking, sailing, or explore the many trails throughout the park. There’s also a great cafe onsite should you want to make a day of it.
- Visit the Royal Canadian Mint. See where our money is made, and check out various exhibits relating to the process and art of our currency. Honestly, even if you just want to go check out the building that’s pretty cool too, especially if you go at sunset because the glass walls of the building look absolutely glorious at that time.
- Go retro and eat steak at Rae and Jerry’s. If you love pin-up style glamour, then Rae and Jerry’s will be your kind of place. A Winnipeg institution, and virtually unchanged since it opened in 1957, this is a super fun place to go for cocktails or all those classic steakhouse menu items of yesterday with a Manitoban twist (pickled herring with sour cream, anyone?).
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