Winnipeg Guide to Outdoor Summer Fun -
Bee-2-Gether Bike Rentals at Assiniboine Park

Winnipeg Guide to Outdoor Summer Fun

With our multiple rivers, massive parks, lush gardens, charming patios, open-air theatres and festivals, Winnipeg makes the great outdoors even greater.   

Pack the sunscreen and start exploring.  

New at the zoo 

Assiniboine Park Zoo offers ample space for the family to roam, all while watching tigers, snow leopards, camels and kangaroos roam too. On top of polar bears that will make a splash over your head in the Sea Ice Passage, and gibbons, monkeys and the exotic bird species of Toucan Ridge, the zoo has a few special things in store this summer.   Its forested trail is now home to Xtreme BUGS, 19 larger-than-life animatronic insects and arachnids will tower over you and your family as they mash their mandibles and adjust their antenna. Inside the Family Centre you can also see the new travelling exhibit, Defenses of the Animal Kingdom, where you'll find some animal species with some serious skills. This interactive exhibit showcases nature's strangest methods of self-defence via cute creatures like two-toed sloths, three-banded armadillo and four-toed hedgehogs, along with freakier things like the Taiwan beauty snake and the Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula.  

Make a splash  

With four rivers, multiple lakes and wildlife filled wetlands, it’s easy to get out on the water in Winnipeg.  

If you’re looking to take in the urban scenery on the Red and Assiniboine rivers, look to The Forks Harbour, where Winnipeg Waterways now offers sight-seeing tours that depart regularly. Its Winnipeg by Water tour is a 45-minute experience covering architecture, nature and history, and you can book in advance online. The new company will also be offering a water bus service this summer, which will connect neighbourhoods like Wolseley, River Heights, downtown and St. Boniface all by boat. The original Splash Dash River Tours is also back for the summer 2024 season, operating every hour from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with its often cheeky 45-minute tours that showcase the city from its main waterways.  

Should you be looking to canoe, kayak, or perhaps even paddle board the Red, Assiniboine, Seine or La Salle River, look for rentals from outfitters like Kendrick’s Outdoor AdventuresType Eh Bikes, Winnipeg Canoe Rentals and Wilderness Supply, all of whom will have you safely paddling the Peg.  

For the easiest paddling setup out there, head to the region’s premier natural environments, FortWhyte Alive and Oak Hammock Marsh.  

Located just north of the city, Oak Hammock is the seasonal home to globally significant amounts of waterfowl and shore birds, along with countless songbirds, amphibians, turtles, deer, reptiles, beavers, foxes and martens. To spy species up close within the cattails, rent multiple sizes of canoes onsite or get really adventurous in hip waders. Either way, you’ll marvel at the diversity of this ecosystem.  

FortWhyte Alive is located right within the city, offering ample opportunities for birders, hikers, bikers, sailors and paddlers alike. Sail, paddle or kayak its small lakes—all rentals available onsite—as an incredible array of birds fill the air with sounds overhead. Traverse winding trails on bike or foot through its aspen forests and embark on a guided Bison Safari that will bring you up close to North America’s largest urban herd, where you can spy newly born calves and massive adults that are some of the heaviest land animals in North America.  

Cheer on the home team 

Spectator sports are all the rage in Winnipeg come summer and our stadiums are second to none. Catch Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball in downtown Winnipeg just one block from Portage and Main at Blue Cross Park. The Fish always put on a good show and there’s not a bad seat in the house, plus they are always making it extra fun with theme nights (like the legendary Bark in the Park), local beer in the Craft Beer Corner, and local food venues that knock it out of the park with their dishes.  

Princess Auto Stadium at the University of Manitoba is where professional football—in both its forms—takes to the field. The CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers are looking to make yet another run to the Grey Cup (they’ve made the last four finals, winning it all in 2019 and 2021), offering the non-stop, pass heavy, crazy kicking 3-down game that Canadian football is known for. For international football fans, Valour FC ply their trade in the Canadian Premier League while offering affordable tickets and group seating that will have you singing with its Red River Rising fan base. 

All the city is a stage 

Theatre fans are also in luck all summer long in Winnipeg. Within the majestic setting of Kildonan Park you’ll find Rainbow Stage, Canada's largest and longest-running open-air theatre. On its stage you can catch the world premiere of the musical Ma-Buhay! by local Filipino playwright Joseph Sevillo from June 27 to July 14, followed by Broadway’s Mary Poppins from August 16 to September 3.  

The Exchange District will be bumping from July 17 to 28 as the Winnipeg Fringe Festival—one of North America’s largest fringe festivals—takes over its streets, theatres and venues with plays, performances, dance companies and music.  

South of the city, at the gorgeous monastic ruins of St. Norbert, Shakespeare in the Ruins will stage on select dates both A Midsummer Night’s Dream from June 6 to July 6, along with Iago Speaks from June 14 to July 7.    

Live music? We have so much of that too.  

At Old Market Square in the Exchange District, you can watch free shows during both the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival (June 14-22) and Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition (June 8-10). The Burton Cummings Theatre also has its own outdoor festival called the Burt Block Party that will feature The Arkells, July Talk, Blue Rodeo, Sloan, Tom Cochran and more from August 22-25.  

If that’s not enough marquee names for you, head to Birds Hill Park for the Winnipeg Folk Festival (July 11-14) where headliners include Mt. Joy, Orville Peck, Killer Mike and Noah Cyrus. The Red River Ex (June 14-23) too has plenty of live music on offer, along with the world’s largest travelling midway, whacky carnival food, and super cute animals.  

 A walk in the park  

If you’re looking for tranquility, hit up our two biggest parks – Kildonan Park and Assiniboine Park. The former features charming foot bridges over streams, stately old elms and oaks, an outdoor public pool, plenty of space to wonder, areas to barbecue, the aforementioned Rainbow Stage and the whimsical Witch’s Hut.  

Assiniboine Park boasts ample green space, the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, a formal English Garden and the thematic Gardens at the Leaf (all free!), along with plenty of options for dining and people watching from patios like the one at Cargo Bar.  

If you’re looking to see as much of the park as possible, rent novelty bikes from Bee-2-Gether Bikes, who have a rental kiosk across from the Qualico Family Centre. They also have rentals at The Forks too, which makes for an easy way to tour that whole area along with the French flavour of Saint-Boniface across the Esplanade Riel.  

Take a tour    

Speaking of tours, there are so many on offer in the city that will shine a big bright spotlight on some of loveliest neighbourhoods.   The worldly West End provides both a world of flavours and an abundance of murals, both of which are the focal points on tours by The West End Biz. The European flair of Saint-Boniface is ripe for discovery when you take a walking tour with Tourisme Riel that will bring you to its historic sites and tasty cafes. The Exchange District Biz brings to life its heritage buildings on architecture tours that reveal why the area was once called “The Chicago of the North,” all while following themes that cover things like the Winnipeg General Strike, Bank Halls and Brutalism, and the area’s sinister early 19th century history of “drunk mayors, angry mobs and prostitutes on horseback” –– oh my!   

At The Forks, look to Parks Canada for the Where Our Stories Meet Tour, which covers the area’s Indigenous history, the fur-trade era and the birth of the Métis Nation.   

Cool for kids  

Finally, let’s not forget about the littles!   A few great spots to bring your kids out under the expansive prairie skies include Thunder Rapids Fun Park and Grand Prix Amusements –– both home to go-karts, bumper boats, batting cages, miniature golf and so much more, along with Tinkertown –– where all the classic amusement park rides are tailor made for kids 12 and under.

Visitor Information

21 Forks Market Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada R3C 4T7
1 855 PEG CITY (734-2489)

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