1. See a performance of Nutcracker by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet – This holiday tradition has delighted audiences year after year with enchanting costumes, timeless choreography, and a brilliant score by Tchaikovsky. Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the oldest ballet company in the country, sets the perfect stage for young Clara’s Christmas fantasy, complete with Canadian scenes of a snowy game of pond hockey. Find tickets for the festive event here.
2. Stroll through Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes at the Children’s Museum – Vintage Winnipeg Christmas memories surround the downtown Eaton’s building, which would boast grand holiday display windows along Portage Avenue, and the Eaton Fairytale Vignettes on the ninth floor annex. When the store closed in 1999, the Children’s Museum lovingly purchased and restored the collection of 15 displays that include Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty, Three Blind Mice and more. Over the years they’ve added six animatronic woodland characters for a modern twist. You can see this family favourite with regular admission to the museum.
3. Drive through Canad Inns Winter Wonderland - This holiday tradition is electrifying. Take in more than one million lights that make up 26 different themed areas during a 2.5 kilometre drive through Red River Exhibition Park. Along the route stop for a quick skate at the outdoor rink, pull over for a bucket of mini donuts and hot chocolate, or bundle up to take a free horse-drawn sleigh ride. Tickets are available at the gate, but you can grab a sweet discount by purchasing advance tickets here.
Side note: While you’re driving around looking at lights, Candy Cane Lane (Foxmeadow Drive), Polar Bear Lane (Hennessey Drive), and the 200 block of Aldgate Road are residential seasonal staples.
4. Skate at The Forks – Strap on a pair of blades (rentals available onsite) and glide your way through Arctic Glacier Winter Park at The Forks. Perfect your twirl on the Rink Under the Canopy, get in on a game of pick up at the CN Stage hockey rink, or just cruise through the one kilometre of on-land trails that wind around The Forks (make sure to stop for the perfect selfie under the lit archway). If you find yourself back in the city after New Years, head out for more skating (or perhaps a fat tire bike ride) down the River Trail, formerly the Guinness World Record-holding longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world (2009). The Trail stretches down the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and boasts an eclectic array of super cool Warming Huts. After, you can really warm up in the brand new public sauna, which is located between The Forks Market and the Johnston Terminal.
5. Photos with Santa – While CF Polo Park, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, and St. Vital Centre have some incredible holiday set ups to get those cute Christmas moments (crying children or not), there are lots of other great places across the city to snap seasonal photos. Pop into the perfectly decorated Santa Suite at Fairmont Winnipeg, or meet both Mr. and Mrs. Claus amongst the aromatic holiday greenery at Shelmerdine Garden Centre (book your spot NOW as this popular shoot fills up quick).
Know what else is quintessential Winnipeg? Discounts. Check out Tourism Winnipeg’s Holiday Shop & Stay packages and promotions for the best prices on places to stay and deals to be had at partnering retailers this festive season.