9 Winter Things to Do in Vancouver Before the New Year Comes

Cliffwalk at Canyon Lights, Photo: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Immerse yourself in snowy scenes and twinkling holiday lights. You won’t want to miss these festive winter activities around Vancouver.


Go Ice Skating Outdoors

Nothing says winter quite like skating outdoors. Feel the breeze in your hair as you twirl around on the ice. The Vancouver area has several outdoor ice rinks open each winter and decorated for the holidays. They also offer skate rentals if you don’t have your own.

A group skating on a pond at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver at night

Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Rishad Daroowala


Attend a Holiday Concert

Vancouver’s musicians embrace the holiday season each year. Choir Leoni, Vancouver’s famous men’s choir, is holding their popular Christmas concert series between December 15 and 18. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has several holiday-themed concerts this month, including Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons as well as concerts featuring music from favourite films like Home Alone and Elf. Or attend a performance of Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker between December 14 and 17.

Christmas with Choir Leoni

Christmas with Choir Leoni. Photo: David Cooper


Hit the Slopes

While it’s still early season in the mountains, winter break is a popular time to go skiing and snowboarding. Most resorts have night skiing so you can extend the fun past sunset. Our guide to skiing in Vancouver has all the details for six different ski areas.

Skiing above the clouds at Cypress Mountain in Vancouver.

Skiing at Cypress Mountain. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout


Enjoy Outdoor Holiday Lights

Vancouver’s natural attractions go all out for the holidays. You can combine a visit to our city’s gorgeous mountain tops, forests, or gardens with some holiday cheer.

Take the Skyride up to Grouse Mountain to enjoy their Peak of Christmas event which includes a breathtaking light walk through the snowy forest as well as real reindeer, Santa, and lots more.

Or walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge to explore the rainforest canopy with thousands of twinkling lights at Canyon Lights.

VanDusen Botanical Garden is decked out in its seasonal finery with over a million twinkling lights and their famous Dancing Light show a the Festival of Lights event.

Other great outdoor holiday lights include the Decorated Forest Walk at the Sea to Sky Gondola, Bright Nights in Stanley Park, the PNE Winter Fair in East Vancouver, Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam, Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum, and Lights by the Lake in Harrison Hot Springs.

Light Walk at Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain Light Walk. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout


Try Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is one of the easiest winter sports to learn. You can rent snowshoes at all three of the North Shore Mountains, and then explore the beginner-friendly trails. Choose a route from our list of easy snowshoe trails near Vancouver.

A group of people snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver

Snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout


Visit the Vancouver Christmas Market

Did you know you can eat and shop at an authentic German Christmas Market without leaving Canada? The Vancouver Christmas Market is on until December 24th and includes festive decor, music, performances, and lots of German Christmas traditions like Glühwein (mulled wine), a beer garden, German food, and lots of vendors selling local and German ornaments, gifts, and souvenirs.

Photo: Vancouver Christmas Market


Take a Historic Holiday Walking Tour

Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours is offering a special Holiday History and Hot Chocolate Tour in December. You’ll stroll around downtown while learning about Vancouver’s scandalous history of intrigue, jealousy and murder. The tour also visits holiday displays at the city’s most iconic buildings and finishes with a decadent hot chocolate.

Participants on the Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tour

Photo: Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours


Go Sledding or Snow-Tubing

While there is rarely enough snow to go sledding in the city, Vancouver’s ski hills offer sledding and snow-tubing all winter. Our guide to sledding near Vancouver has info on seven different spots to sled and snow-tube.

Bubly Tube Park in Whistler

Bubly Tube Park. Photo: Destination BC/Rick Collins


Soar With Santa at FlyOver Canada

Take a unique voyage to the North Pole with FlyOver Canada’s Soar with Santa experience. The family-friendly ride includes special effects like wind, mist, and scents along with motion.

Soar with Santa at Flyover Canada

Photo: Flyover Canada

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