Winnipeg often gets a bad rap from the rest of Canada. Yes it is freezing. Yes, we have mosquitoes in the summer. And yes we have a love-hate relationship with our unofficial nickname Winterpeg. However, what the rest of Canada is unaware of is that there is tons of wonderful winter activities to do in Winnipeg. We’ve compiled a list of the top 20 free or cheap events and activities to do with your kiddies in the Peg. So, whether you are new to the city or just want to spice up plans for the weekend we have some great suggestions.
#1. The Forks
The is a reason why the Forks is one of our city’s most well known attractions. Bring your skates and enjoy the zipping around the Scotiabank stage and conjoining trails for free. The entire family can warm up afterwards in the Johnston Terminal. Bring some pocket change and treat the kids to some regional cuisine at the Forks Market.
#2. Assiniboine Park
Shimmering in a fresh coat of perfectly white snow, the Assiniboine Park is a totally different experience when visited in the winter. On a warm day take your family on a walk or ski around the perimeter. We also suggest a trip to the new playground and duck pond. In the winter both are transformed into a winter wonderland are popular spots for children to toboggan and skate.
#3. The Canadian Museum of Human Rights
Although normally quite costly, the Museum is free on the 1st Wednesday of every month from 4-8pm. We suggest grabbing the entire family after school and taking advantage of this steal of a deal. After touring the exhibits get your daily exercise in and climb all the way to the top of the tower. We guarantee an unforgettable view of the city.
#4. The Red River Mutual Trail
Visit one of the longest and best skating routes in all of Canada! Whether your family wants to skate, walk or ski the trail is open to everyone and anyone. To access the River Trail stop at on of the docks in Norwood, St.Boniface, in the Exchange District, Corydon, near the Legislature and obviously at the Forks! Remember to bundle up and bring some hot chocolate to warm up with after.
Photography by: Smithsonian Magazine
#6. Kid City
If your kids are in dire need of some jungle gym time Kid City is the perfect place. The company offers a massive three level play structure, lazer maze, inflatable bouncers, children’s library, private party rooms and even a separate toddler area. A visit to Kid City is not free but it could be a great one stop, stress free stop or a fun day.
#7. Sky Zone
Your kids will literally jump for joy when you take them to Winnipeg’s very own Sky Zone. The company offers the world’s first trampoline park, which is a great activity to do on a cold winter day. Admission is not free but there are a variety of different price points depending on what activities you and your kids want to participate in. One of our personal favourites is 3-D Dodgeball.
#8. Millennium Library Park
if you are strolling through downtown Winnipeg on a sunny Sunday afternoon grab an outdoor chair and check out the coolest, kid-friendly public art pieces in town. If you haven’t seen it already “Emptyful” is a 22,000 kg stainless steel fountain that at night is illuminated by LED lights. Your kids will love how the fountain uses both water and fog attract attention.
Photography by Gerry Kopelow
#8. Winnipeg Police Museum
Often overlooked or unknown to locals, the Winnipeg Police Museum is an awesome place to teach your kids about the criminal history of the city and to see some sweet memorabilia from old weapons, jail cells and inmate weapons. As a bonus it is absolutely free!
#9. Kildonan Park
Whether you are just going for an afternoon drive or want to take the family for a walk, ski, skate or toboggan Kildonan Park is an awesome spot for all that and more. The park is full of trails, open fields, toboggan slides and much more. All for free of course.
#10. Exchange District
The Exchange is becoming the new hot spot for trendy teenagers and young adults to wine and dine. However, complete with beautiful public murals, artistic street art, cute stores and amazing restaurants and cafes the Exchange is also a great place for a family outing. We highly recommend changing up your regular routine and hitting up this historic area … even if it just for a sweet instagram shot.
Photography by: Animated Confessions
#11. Bronuts, etc.
Speaking of the Exchange District, if you or you kids are seeking out a cool hipster vibe and amazing eats we suggest stop by Bronuts. It will cost you a little more than a Timbit at Timmies but the small splurge is well worth it. Other notable stops in the exchange for adventurous kid eaters include Boon Burger Cafe and Across the Board Game Cafe.
#12. Garbage Hill
We’ve mentioned this before and we will mention it again. If you are seeking the best sledding spot in town the Garbage Hill is it! Remember to wear layers, bring snacks and stop at the washroom first. What the hill lacks in facilities it makes up for it in free fun for the whole family.
On a stormy day we suggesting taking the kids to U-Puttz. This indoor facility isn’t free but provides Glo-Lite Mini Golf, Bumper Cars and even Lazer Tag. Pretty awesome if you ask me.
#14. Corydon & Osborne Village
Take the family for a walk down Winnipeg’s cutest and quaintest neighbourhoods. Scattered with local boutiques, restaurants and cafes both areas are perfect for to window shop or people watch!
#15. Kawaii Crepe
After your family has checked out Corydon and Osborne reward the kiddies with a treat from Kawaii Crepe. If you somehow how never visited this absolutely adorable crepery before be prepared for a cute, colourful cafe with both sweet and savory options. Your kids will love the giant tubs of Nutella and being able to watch their crepe being made right in front of them!
#16. The Royal Canadian Mint
For literally pocket change you and your family can check out where and how money from Canada and all over the world is made. The Mint is quite far outside of the city, but if you are already in the area it would be a great educational weekend outing.
#17. Winnipeg Public Library
With one in every community visiting one of Winnipeg's many Public Library's is the perfect afternoon indoor activity to do with you kids. Let them pick out a new bedtime story for you to check out. Hint: in the meantime indulge yourself with some free magazines.
#18. Manitoba Legislative Building
The Legislative - or the Leg, province’s most prized architectural gem mostly because it is home to the Golden Boy. However, if you have never ventured inside you are truly missing out on seeing the ancient temple design and impressive circular domed room. Free self-guided tours run everyday from 8 in the morning to 8 at night.
Photography by: Keep Exploring
#19. Baked Expectations
We know this place isn’t free but we couldn’t resist suggesting one of our favourite cafe’s in the city. With its old school diner interior, eclectic location and sinfully sensational desserts this place is perfect for an afternoon treat. We suggest splitting a piece of cake with the family (as the portions are huge)! However, Baked Expectations also offers a kid’s menu.
#20. St. Boniface Cathedral-Basilica
Last take your kids to the French part of town to check out the remains of the Basilica. Although ravaged by a fire in 1968 the cemetery includes the gravesite of Louis Riel, one of the founding fathers of our province. We understand checking out a cemetery may not seem like something you would choose to do in your free time. However, we think this blast from the past is a perfect way of teaching your kids about local history.