5 things to do in and around Winnipeg this weekend

This is one of those frustratingly awesome weekends when you want to do absolutely everything and there’s only time to check out a few things.

Culture Days, Nuit Blanche, Migration Festival and George Takei top the list

The Science Gallery and Planetarium Star Theatre is hosting a Mad Men themed party this weekend. It's free and everyone who attends is encouraged to wear 50’s era attire. (Michael Yarish, AMC/Associated Press)

This is one of those frustratingly awesome weekends when you want to do absolutely everything and there’s only time to check out a few things.

I have no idea why Culture Days and Nuit Blanche pack so many amazing events into one night. No one can possibly see it all, and I would love to see it spread out over a week or two so I could check out all the fun things without feeling like I’m missing out.

There’s something for everyone this weekend, from the sci-fi nerd to the nature nut to people with kids to every single plastic-framed-glasses-wearing hipster from Wolseley to Osborne.

Have a great weekend, you guys!

WHAT: MUSIC - Sci-fi Spectacular at WSO

When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where: Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at 555 Main St.

Cost: $27 to $96

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is bringing in some pretty big celebrity power this weekend. 
George Takei (left) played Sulu on Star Trek. Now he's internet famous and will be in Winnipeg this weekend. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

Star Trek’s George Takei is hosting a sci-fi night at the symphony, and the symphony will be playing music from a bunch of science fiction TV shows and movies including Star Wars. If you’ve seen anything Takei has been doing on the internet lately, you know this will be hilarious. I imagine it will be like Big Bang Theory meets high society meets that super strange guy from your college bio class who everyone loved.

Bring your nerdiest, or most tolerant of your nerdiness friend, and settle in for an entertaining night.

WHAT: CULTURE - Manitoba Culture Days

When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where: Various locations

Cost: FREE

This is a big deal. There are over 300 activities in Manitoba, with 206 of those in Winnipeg. Basically, everything cool that could possibly happen in this city is crammed into three days, and you have to choose your time wisely.

My top picks for the weekend are a fashion exhibit called Bloomer to Bikinis, which looks at women’s clothing and social change; an open house at the Centennial Concert Hall with programming from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Manitoba Opera House; a Mad Men party at Science Gallery and Planetarium Star Theatre that is free and has everyone who attends wear 50’s era attire; and an event called Bare, which is where a guy named Robert Sim paints a nude person live.

I suggest crawling the Culture Days website, writing down your favourites and then narrowing down your choices. Also, forget your family and friends if they don’t want to go to the coolest stuff. If you have to, chart your own solo mission to enjoy everything that Winnipeg can be!

WHAT: ART - Nuit Blanche

When: Saturday, Sept. 28

Where: Various locations

Cost: FREE

Oh geeze. I am so excited for this, you guys. It’s that lovely time of year when everyone creative and fun and lovely comes out of their studio apartments and spends time interacting with one another at super rad venues. And everyone stays up late. 
Massive lineups at the Winnipeg Art Gallery stretched around the building during Nuit Blanche in 2012. (CBC)

Nuit Blanche is like Christmas for people who love this city. From drawing clubs in the basement of brand-new locally owned coffee shops to an all-night party at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, absolutely nothing is more fun.

If you’re not exactly sure where to land or you’ve never participated, check out the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s party. Last year there were drinks, fashion shows and interactive light displays. The only downside is that it fills up very, very early and the lines are very, very long. If you can get in, amazing. If you can’t, don’t despair. There are tons of other free parties to check out.

If Saturday finds you hungover and sleepy, go to Little Sister Coffee Maker in the Village. They’re having a Places for Peanuts drawing club event. Free supplies and anyone is welcome.

If you’re not hungover but aren’t interested in cramming into a night club or other venue where people will be drinking, check out Cinematheque’s Ill-Mannered Cinema event. They’ve collected some dark and scary short films centered on the theme of demons. Go and watch and then ask your friend to sleep on your couch.

If you want to party but can’t bear the line up at the WAG, head down to Union Sound Hall in the Exchange. They’re having a free dance party after a bike-tour of Nuit Blanche. You don’t have to participate in the bike tour to go have a drink and dance with some great people.

WHAT: NATURE - Migration Festival

When: Saturday and Sunday

Where: Oak Hammock Marsh

Cost: FREE to $5

The city is going to be a little crazy this weekend. If the whole thing sounds exhausting to you, put on a cozy sweater and take the lovely fall drive out to Oak Hammock Marsh. They’re holding their annual migration festival where you can check out little birds up close, watch big birds fly in by the hundreds and hop on a horse-led wagon ride around the marsh.

Why this will be great: Remember going on school field trips to the marsh and the best part was when they were done talking to you about things inside and you could go outside and look at bugs and animals and stuff? Well, now you’re an adult. And you can spend the whole day outside. And there are things to entertain you there this weekend beyond the bugs and animals.

This one is an especially good idea if you have kidlets or are friends with an adult-sized child like me.

WHAT: DANCE - RWB’s Dance Downtown

When: Sunday, Sept. 29

Where: 380 Graham Ave.

Cost: FREE

This is part of culture days, but any time you can see ballet for free in this city it's worth its own mention. 
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is holding free performances and dance lessons on Sunday. (Marianne Helm/Canadian Press)

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is opening its doors and letting everyone in for free on Sunday afternoon. You can watch people perform, take a free class or have really lithe people entertain your children for awhile while you watch and relax a bit.

Ballet is one of those things I always thought I would find boring, but once I saw it, I realized I was going to be saving a lot of money for tickets for the rest of my life. It’s not boring! It’s a way, way better version of So You Think You Can Dance. It’s pretty fun to watch incredibly talented people do their thing for free.

Bring a friend. Then commiserate about how you should’ve been enrolled in dance classes as a child over coffee with said friend. 


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