10 free things to do in Vancouver this January

Free Vancouver events activities February 2013

Free snowshoeing trails on Cypress Mountain. Photo credit: T. Jerven

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to spend less money (and, let’s be honest, we’ll all need that after the holiday season) it doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun!

While we could fill a list of free things to do easily with the abundance of walkable nature trails in Vancouver (or snowshoeing, like Hollyburn Mountain pictured in the image above), we wanted to include some other ideas incase the rain sticks around for awhile.

So, if your purse strings are drawn a little tighter lately, check out this fabulous list of 10 FREE things to do in Vancouver for January.

1. Ice Skating at Robson Square

This small, covered rink in the centre of Vancouver is a much-loved destination throughout the winter season. Skating is free for all ages who bring their own skates. If you don’t have a pair, you can also rent some for a small fee.

The Robson Square Ice Rink, located at 800 Robson Street near UBC Robson Square, is open daily until February 29, 2020.

Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 9 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 11 pm.

Website: www.robsonsquare.com

2. Ice Skating at the Shipyards in North Vancouver

New this year, the North Vancouver Shipyards has transformed its outdoor plaza into a free ice rink for the season. Open daily from noon to 7 pm, the skateable surface is approximately 20,000 sq. ft. and covered by a retractable roof.

You can either bring your own skates or rent a pair of skates for $7.

Hours: Daily from 12pm to 7pm

Website: cnv.org

3. New Westminster Free Market

Every two weeks, the Free Market celebrates life without money. The event is created to build community, share skills, food, ideas and things with each other. Bring items that you’d like to give away and get something that you may find interesting!

When: Saturday, January 4

Where: 740 Carnarvon St, New Westminster

Website: Facebook event page

4. Free Movie Screening

Enjoy the free screening of the movie “Big Night” and get popcorn and a drink at Gordon Neighbourhood House in downtown Vancouver. If that movie doesn’t get you excited, there will be other free movie nights in the future!

When: Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 7pm

Where: 1019 Broughton Street, Vancouver

Website: Event page

discovery day vancouver free

Image courtesy of Discovery Day

5. Discovery Day

A free family event, Discovery Day on Sunday, January 19, is packed with exhibitors and displays that will educate visitors about geology and innovations in the mineral exploration industry. Everyone is invited to experience the intrigue and excitement of mineral exploration in B.C. with interactive and educational displays that will engage both adults and children alike.

Enjoy complimentary coffee and tea, hot chocolate, popcorn, candy floss as well as face painting and balloon twisters.

When: Sunday, January 19 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Location: Vancouver Convention Centre East

Website: Event page

6. LunarFest Vancouver

Celebrate the year of the rat! LunarFest brings a variety of events to Vancouver in January and February, many of them free. Celebrations include live performances, community booths, crafts and more.

When: Various dates from January 16 until February 10, 2020

Where: Various locations

Website: lunarfest.org

Street Food City 9 as part of DOVF

7. Street Food City 9

Since 2011, this food truck extravaganza has been taking over the Vancouver Art Gallery main square (šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk). While the food isn’t free, the atmosphere and entertainment is! Splurge a little on a good meal, and you’re bound to have an amazing time in an outdoor, winter picnic!

When: January 17, 18, 19, and 31, February 1 to 6, 2020

Where: šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square (in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery), Vancouver

Website: dineoutvancouver.com

8. Chinese New Year Celebration at International Village Mall

Traditional Chinese Spring festivities and rituals, as well as exhibition and sales booths on the Main and Upper Mall Levels of this downtown mall. There will be Chinese New Year items, multicultural live performances and more. This three-day event includes an opening celebration with a ceremonial lion dance.

When: January 24 to January 26, 2020

Where: International Village Mall – 88 W Pender Street, Vancouver

Website: www.internationalvillagemall.ca

9. Lights at Lafarge Lake

One of the largest free light displays in Metro Vancouver that features more than 100,000 twinkling lights! Lafarge Lake features an outdoor display that wraps its way entirely around the lake, leading visitors on a 1.2-km loop through 10 themed zones. The display is located just steps from SkyTrain’s Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station, and the lights will remain on from dusk each night until 11 pm.

When: Now until January 19, 2020

Where: Town Centre Park – 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam

Website: coquitlam.ca

10. Teachers’ Night Out at Science World

Okay, so technically this one is only free if you happen to be a teacher. At this event, teachers enjoy free access to explore Science World’s engaging exhibit galleries. Access quality resources and network with colleagues at this evening just for teachers. Event also includes discounts on items in the gift shop and other special surprises.

When: January 28, 2020 from 5pm–8:30pm

Where: TELUS World of Science

Website: Registration page

If all else fails, don’t forget all the fabulous outdoor locations that don’t require an admission fee! If you’re looking for some snowshoeing opportunities, head up Mount Seymour or Cypress. If you’re just looking for a hike – head to the North Shore! Want to walk the beach? Pacific Spirit Park near UBC is fabulous!

Have any more ideas for free events in January? Let us know in the comment section below!

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