What do most Manitobans do for rest and relaxation? There are a lot of choices! Aside from exploring nature, culture and the arts, there are many things you can do to relax, unwind and recover from a grueling work week. Here are some of the most common ways you can have fun on the weekends:
Who doesn’t love barbecues? Look at most Manitoban backyards and for sure you’ll see that there’s a grill. Summer is the season for barbecue parties but you can grill those meats even until late fall, or as long as you’re not knee-deep in snow and out in the freezing cold. A barbecue is a great venue to get together with your neighbors and friends and start getting to know them over yummy food and beers (or other drinks, of course).
Explore the family parks
In Winnipeg, your all-weather park is Assiniboine Park. It is where you can take long strolls, play sports, or barbecue outdoors in spring, summer and fall. In winter, you can learn to ice skate there on one of the longest ice trails in the world. The Assiniboine zoo also has various attractions all year-round.
If your family likes the carnival atmosphere and taking exciting rides, you can go to amusement parks like Tinkertown Family Park and Red River X (open in summer). A Maze in Corn (open when trails are dry, or check their daily bulletin on their website) is a farm/family park that offers zip lining, hay rides, pony rides and other attractions. Manitoba also has many water parks like the Winkler Aquatic Centre, Splash Island Water Park in Portage la Prairie (both open in summer only), and Steinbach Aquatic Centre which has indoor heated pools that are open all year round.
Whether you like watching from the sidelines or sweating it out and doing the actual thing, sports buffs have it good in Manitoba. Canadians in general are passionate about sports, particularly, hockey, baseball, football, and soccer which you can watch in various arenas like MTS Centre, Shaw Park, and the Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, skating arenas all over Manitoba, and in community sports centres. If you or your kids want to take up a sport, check your nearest community centre or the leisure guide for classes. You might also want to check ethnocultural organizations that offer sports programs you are familiar with or good at.
With the many lakes in Manitoba, it’s no wonder that fishing is one of the major pastimes in the province. But before you go out into the water, you should first learn about recreational fishing regulations which will tell you how and where to get licences, what fishing methods to use, and other guidelines. Also check out Fishing in Manitoba (Travel Manitoba site) and Manitoba’s fishing hot spots from Outdoor Canada if you want to know more.
If retail therapy is your only cure, Manitoba has malls and shopping centres where you can treat yourself (pun intended). Around Winnipeg, there’s Polo Park, St. Vital Centre, Portage Place, Johnston Terminal, and the Forks Market (or read Winnipeg Shopping Guide: The top 5 shopping districts in Winnipeg from where.ca for more upscale and/or quaint shops around the City) . Brandon has Brandon Shoppers Mall, Portage la Prairie has Portage la Prairie Mall and Steinbach has Clearspring Shopping Centre.
Movies and shows
If you’re a film or theatre buff, there are plenty of shows for you to see in Manitoba. Aside from the cineplexes and cinemas where you can catch the latest movies, it also has an active theatre circuit with brilliant plays performed at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Prairie Theatre Exchange and Pantages Playhouse, among others. For other must-see shows and events, go to Tourism Winnipeg to stay updated.
Restaurants and clubs
Aside from the many bistros, bars and restaurants that offer western food, Manitoba is a great place for authentic international cuisine (read Craving for your native dish? You just might find it here). In Winnipeg, Corydon Avenue features a strip of restaurants and bars offering anything from Mediterranean to Thai. There are new food trends coming up too, like food trucks, pop-up restaurants set on frozen rivers, and even secret dinners (at one time). So if you’re a foodie, there are many things to look forward to in the city.
Relax at home
Who’s up for two stress-free, relaxing days, spent at an easily accessible venue with comfortable and familiar surroundings? And guess what? Accommodations are for free (well, technically, it’s not, because you do pay rent or mortgage, but you know what I mean)! The ultimate staycation is spent at home, sleeping in late, cooking and having meals together with your family, exchanging stories and catching up on each other’s lives. You can also play board games, jigsaw puzzles, or even come up with a quiz on Canadian culture to make learning fun. Just make sure everyone (even the little ones) can join in and participate in all the activities. Enjoy your weekend!
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