Must-See Museums in Winnipeg: A Local’s Guide to the City’s Rich Cultural Scene

Winnipeg's must see museums

Winnipeg boasts a vibrant cultural scene that never ceases to amaze me.

As a long-time resident, I’ve explored countless museums in the city.

Today, I’m sharing my personal experiences with you, so you can enjoy these must-see museums just as much as I do!


Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights stands tall in downtown Winnipeg. Its striking glass structure, designed by Antoine Predock, symbolizes hope and human rights advocacy.

When I first stepped inside, the exhibits showcasing human rights struggles and triumphs left a lasting impression on me.

One memorable exhibit is the Indigenous Perspectives gallery. This gallery highlights the resilience and contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
I felt humbled learning about their challenges and rich cultural heritage. Guided tours and programs help visitors engage deeper with the stories behind the exhibits.

Another exhibit I found captivating was the Holocaust gallery. It presents a powerful and sobering look at the atrocities committed during World War II.

The museum also features several interactive exhibits that engage visitors and encourage them to think critically about human rights issues.

  • Hours: Daily 10 am – 5 pm, Friday 10 am – 9 pm, Monday closed.
  • Admission Fee: Adults – $18, Youth – $8, Indigenous Peoples – Free.
One of the most important museums in Canada is in Winnipeg
photo via Instagram @humanrights.ca


Manitoba Museum

The Manitoba Museum holds a special place in my heart. Its exhibits showcase the province’s diverse heritage, from natural history to Indigenous peoples and early settlers. Every visit makes me feel proud of my hometown.

The Urban Gallery is my favorite section. It takes you back in time to Winnipeg’s early days. Life-sized replicas of historic storefronts, artifacts, and vintage items create a 1920s streetscape.

The Nonsuch Gallery, with its full-scale replica of a 17th-century sailing ship, tells the story of how the fur trade shaped Manitoba’s development.

The Science Gallery is another must-see, especially for families with children. It features hands-on exhibits that make learning about science fun and engaging.

The Planetarium offers a fascinating journey through the universe, with captivating shows about the stars, planets, and space exploration.

  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 10 am – 4 pm, Monday closed
  • Admission Fees: See the Manitoba Museum site for fees. First Friday of every month is open for free general admission from 4 pm – 9 pm.
Our province's main museum, located in downtown Winnipeg
photo via Instagram @manitobamuseum


Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) – Qaumajuq

The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), or Qaumajuq, has been an iconic institution for over a century. With the recent addition of Qaumajuq, a space dedicated to Inuit art, the gallery has become even more exciting.

The WAG offers an incredible range of art, from European masterpieces to contemporary Canadian works.

The Inuit Art Centre at Qaumajuq is home to the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. Over 14,000 pieces showcase the creativity and talent of Inuit artists, who deserve more recognition in the art world.

Besides the extensive art collection, the WAG also hosts various events and programs, including artist talks, workshops, and film screenings.

Don’t miss the stunning rooftop sculpture garden, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city while surrounded by beautiful art.

  • Hours: Daily 11 am – 5 pm, Friday 11 am – 9 pm, Monday closed.
  • Admission Fees: Adults – $18, Seniors (65+) – $15, Youth and Indigenous Peoples – Free.
Winnipeg's main art gallery - WAG Qaumajuq
photo via Instagram @wag_ca


Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada

The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada is a treasure trove for aviation enthusiasts like me. This museum is located near the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, and its large hangar floor and mezzanine offer stunning views of the adjacent runways.

The museum boasts a diverse collection, with over 90 historic aircraft, 70,000 artifacts, texts, and photographs on display. Aircraft featured range from one-of-a-kind models to military jets, bush planes, and commercial aircraft.

Exhibits are thoughtfully arranged into zones that represent different aspects of aviation history, such as Canadian Innovation, Northern Connections, and Military Skies.

These zones showcase unique aircraft like the Avrocar, Lockheed Electra 10A, and the Vickers Vedette replica.

The interactive displays, such as Experience Flight and the Mechanics Workshop, offer a hands-on educational experience that visitors of all ages can enjoy.

The museum’s collection is nothing short of impressive, with highlights including the Auster AOP.6, Avro CF-100 Canuck 5, Canadair CL-84, de Havilland Fox Moth, Fokker Universal, and McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo, among many others. Some of the aircraft are currently under restoration, like the Bellanca Aircruiser Eldorado Radium Silver Express and the Waco YKC-S.

A personal favorite of mine is the Lockheed Model 10A Electra in Trans-Canada Air Lines livery. This beautiful aircraft transports me back to the golden age of aviation. Another remarkable piece in the museum is the Froebe helicopter, which showcases the incredible innovation and creativity of early aviation pioneers.

The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in aviation history. Its rich collection and engaging exhibits provide an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

  • Hours: Daily 10 am – 5 pm
  • Admission Fees: Adults – $15, Seniors (65+) – $12, Youth (3-12) – $9, Children under 2 – Free, Indigenous Peoples – Free.
For aircrast enthusiasts and aviation lover
photo via Instagram @royalaviationmuseumofwc


Saint Boniface Museum

The Saint Boniface Museum is a charming historical gem nestled in the heart of Winnipeg’s French Quarter.

The museum tells the story of the Francophone and Métis communities in Manitoba. As a local, I can’t help but feel a strong connection to the vibrant history that this museum brings to life.

Upon entering the museum, you’re greeted with exhibits on Louis Riel, the Métis leader and founder of Manitoba. I appreciate how the museum delves into Riel’s life, his political struggles, and his role in Manitoba’s history. The exhibits provide an engaging and educational experience that makes learning about the province’s past fascinating.

Another aspect of the museum I adore is the quaint and cozy atmosphere. The building, which once served as the Grey Nuns’ convent, has been beautifully preserved, and the architecture reflects the unique heritage of the area. This warm setting makes exploring the various exhibits and artifacts even more enjoyable.

As you continue through the museum, you’ll encounter displays showcasing the rich cultural traditions of the Francophone and Métis communities. You’ll learn about their contributions to Manitoba’s development, as well as their art, music, and traditional practices. Interactive displays and guided tours engage visitors of all ages, making this museum a must-visit for history enthusiasts and families alike.

Lastly, the Saint Boniface Museum regularly hosts special events and workshops that celebrate the Francophone and Métis cultures. These events provide an immersive experience and an opportunity to connect with the local community in a meaningful way. I highly recommend checking their calendar during your visit to make the most of your experience.

In conclusion, the Saint Boniface Museum is an enchanting and informative destination that captures the essence of the Francophone and Métis communities in Manitoba. Its captivating exhibits, intimate atmosphere, and engaging events make it an essential stop on your Winnipeg museum tour.

  • Hours: 12 pm – 4 pm, Thu 12 pm – 8 pm, Sun-Mon closed.
  • Admission Fees: $7, children under 12 – free.
photo via Instagram @museestbonifacemuseum


Manitoba Children’s Museum

The Manitoba Children’s Museum, located at The Forks, is a delightful destination for families with young children. As a local, I have enjoyed countless visits to this museum with my own family, and each time, it never fails to impress. The museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits and activities that promote learning through play, making it a must-visit for families exploring Winnipeg.

One of my favorite exhibits is the Lasagna Lookout. This multilevel play structure is designed like a giant lasagna, complete with noodles and layers of fun. Children can crawl, climb, and explore the different levels while developing their physical and problem-solving skills. It’s always a joy to watch kids immerse themselves in this creative and engaging space.

The Milk Machine is another fantastic exhibit that captures the imagination of young visitors. This interactive play area is designed to resemble a dairy farm, where children can learn about the process of milk production, from cow to carton. The hands-on activities provide a fun and educational experience that children will remember for years to come.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Winnipeg Children’s Museum frequently hosts special events and workshops tailored to children’s interests. From art classes and science experiments to storytelling sessions and puppet shows, there’s always something new and exciting happening at the museum. These events provide an excellent opportunity for children to learn, socialize, and develop new skills.

The museum’s staff are friendly, helpful, and committed to creating a safe and enjoyable environment for all visitors. Their dedication to fostering a love of learning in children is evident in the carefully designed exhibits and engaging programs. As a local, I wholeheartedly recommend the Winnipeg Children’s Museum to families looking for a fun and educational experience in the city.

  • Hours: Daily 9:30 am – 4 pm
  • Admission Fee: $12 for all ages
at the Froks - a great museum for kids
photo by Assaf Duvdevani


After exploring these incredible museums in Winnipeg, it’s clear that our city has a wealth of cultural and educational experiences to offer.

Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, an aviation enthusiast, or a family with young children, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So, go ahead and immerse yourself in the rich history, art, and heritage of Winnipeg through these captivating museums. I’m confident that you’ll leave each one with a newfound appreciation for our vibrant city and the stories it has to tell.


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