Winnipeg was not one of my favorite cities to visit in my exploration of Canada. However, these are 6 things you can do, 2 more if you have more time to pass, and one I would avoid, if you find yourself in the city.
Eat Filipino Food – At 57,000, Winnipeg has the highest % of Filipinos making up its population of any Canadian city. Needless to say, there are going to be a lot of Filipino restaurants to eat at. The most obvious is Jollibee. This is the Filipino “Mcdonald’s” and actually outsells Mcdonalds in the Philippines. If you have never tried it – you should! I love the spicy fried chicken. The meat is very moist and well seasoned. The skin is perfectly crisp. Get with a side of gravy. I also like the spaghetti. You should be warned that this is the Filipino version which is sweet. I believe that during WWII, there was a shortage of tomatoes so Filipinos made ketchup out of bananas and this is what goes into the sauce to make it sweet. It also has sliced up hot dogs in it. The burgers and mashed potatoes are also good.
There are various other smaller eateries and restaurants throughout the city. The one we went to was just ok so I won’t write about it here, but you can do research and find better ones.
Aside from Filipino food, Enoteca was very good for dinner.
2. Legislature Building – Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba and the legislature is worth a photo stop.
3. The Winnipeg sign is in front of the Human Rights museum (which we did not get a chance to go to), but both are worth a photo stop at least.
4. The Mint – This was by far our favorite thing to do in the city. Take the tour. You will learn a lot about Canadian coins and the mint in general. It was interesting to learn that Canada also makes coins for 80+ other countries around the world. You cannot take pictures on the tour.
5. Esplanade Riel Foot Bridge and St. Boniface – Near the Winnipeg sign and Human Rights Museum, you will find the Esplanade Riel Foot Bridge which you can walk over to St. Boniface – the French Quarter. Its a nice short walk and worth a few minutes to check out the cathedral and some other architecture in the area.
6. The Forks – This is what everyone will tell you that you have to do in Winnipeg. Its basically a food market. Its OK. I really liked the Macarons at Jenna Rae Cakes. They had some really unique flavors like birthday cake, and were delicious.
After you have checked out the Forks, you can also take a walk along the river or have a drink outside by the river.
Two things to do if you still have more time:
The Exchange District – This area is known for its early 20th Century Architecture. While there are some cool things to see like old school ads painted on the sides of buildings, and nice architecture, overall, I was not impressed and the area is not well maintained. This could be due to the COVID situation however.
2. Thermea – Thermea is a Nordic spa with various facilities like outdoor hot tubs, cold pools, steam rooms, saunas etc. Its worth a visit if you have run out of things to do, and want to relax prior to a flight. Allow, 2-3 hours to fully enjoy the facilities.
One thing to avoid
The parks – I would skip the parks. Some of the popular ones are Assiniboine and Fort Whyte. Both were disappointing. Note that at Fort Whyte, you have to pay admission, but its basically just a bunch of hiking trails that would be free in any other city.