Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below). As of November 10, 2020, all the playgrounds, skate parks, and other outdoor recreation amenities in Winnipeg are closed until further notice.
Winnipeg is famous all over Canada for its spectacular Christmas lights. The city offers dozens of holiday-themed events—children’s parties, carols, performances, and holiday concerts. Many Christmas happenings are adorned with magical light displays making cold Manitoba winters a bit warmer.
Arctic Glacier Winter Park at The Forks (December–February; on hold)
Arctic Glacier Winter Park at The Forks marks the holiday season with festive illumination that lights up the main walkaway. Visitors of the park can enjoy fun winter activities like skating on the one-kilometer Manitoba 150 Trails, illuminated with twinkling lights, then go tobogganing downhill, play Crokicurl, and take stunning photos under the illuminated archway. The Forks also offers traditional entertainment such as horse-drawn wagon rides, Indigenous storytelling, bannock making in teepees, snow sculpting, and ice carving. The illuminated Canopy Skating Rink becomes a dance floor on ice with DJs spinning popular tunes while visitors spin around the ice. Once the temperature drops, the Red River Mutual Trail on the river becomes available for skating. Don't forget to try your hand in Crokicurl, the ice game that combines curling and the board game crokinole.
Assiniboine Park Zoo Lights Festival (December–January; on hold)
Zoo Lights Festival at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg is more than just pretty illuminations. The festival features thousands of light installations creating the magical Polar Town with many fun activities. There are interactive experiences, a Third + Bird market, warm beverages and food, as well as other entertainment. Warm-up at the Town Hall near the Zoo entrance and the Tundra Grill. Sip a cup of warm cocoa by a fire pit throughout the zoo and roast your own s’mores.
Canad Inns Winter Wonderland, Red River Exhibition Park (November 21, 2020–January 2, 2021; on hold)
Canad Inns Winter Wonderland at Red River Exhibition Park is one of the best places in Winnipeg to get into the Christmas spirit. Its main highlight is the dazzling drive-through light display that consists of over one million lights and over twenty-six different themed areas. The two and a half kilometer course also features an outdoor skating rink. On weekends experience the lights while riding a horse-drawn sleigh for free.
Lights of the North Christmas, Hudson's Bay (December–January; on hold)
Winnipeg's best indoor Christmas Festival, Lights of the North Christmas used to be held at Red River Exhibition Park, but in 2019 it moved to Hudson's Bay Downtown. Stroll under the light of more than half of a million lights that bring to life Christmas-themed 3D light sculptures. Entertainment includes interactive exhibits, light tunnels, a photo booth, live music and performances, and even illuminated drinks. Special children's play space features Christmas characters like elves, Santa Clause, face-painting and other activities. With 7500 square meters of space, there is a lot to see at this indoor Christmas light festival.
Christmas Lights Tours (December; on hold)
See all of Winnipeg's best light displays on one night by joining a Christmas Light Tour that starts and ends at the Travel Manitoba Information Centre, located at The Forks Market by the Johnston Terminal. Find out why Winnipeg is called the Christmas capital of Canada. Get on the festive streets while listening to merry Christmas carols and see many colorful Christmas light displays in residential and business areas. Marvel the spectacular Christmas Lights at the Manitoba Legislative Building and the Camels across from it. The tour goes along Candy Cane Lane, Polar Bear Lane, and Nutcracker Street with the most amazing light displays!