17 September 2018
What to do in Vancouver in the mild wintertime
With a backdrop of towering, snow-capped mountains and a world-renowned ski resort down the road, a Vancouver winter can be deceiving. As a coastal area next to rugged landscapes and situated in a temperate rainforest, wintertime in Vancouver is mild and moderate, rather than cold and unforgiving, truly making it a year-round destination. Here’s what you can get up to during winter in Vancouver.
Festivals and events
Some of Vancouver’s most popular events and festivals take place during the winter months. The outdoor Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza brings the German tradition to Vancouver’s waterfront in December. The signature yuletide celebrations include Lover’s Lane, a 30-foot-long tunnel illuminated by the glow of 10,000 twinkling lights, live seasonal entertainment performed on the Christmas Pyramid’s Flying Stage and more than 80 stalls offering culinary treats and beautiful crafts.
Dine Out Vancouver Festival is another winter highlight, with its full 17-day schedule of delicious events including guided dining tours, cocktail masterclasses and wine brunches, while the Lunar New Year in January or February is another cause for celebration in Vancouver and marks the start to the year’s stellar line-up of cultural events.
Big city, bright lights
Mild winters mean that exploring the city is easy and comfortable to do. It’s also the perfect time to take an outdoor stroll and see some of Vancouver’s fabulous winter light displays. Make sure to check out VanDusen Botanical Garden’s festival of lights, the Carol Ships Parade of Lights on the city’s waters, or the Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which make for a breathtaking evening.
“A visit to Vancouver must include the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is more than 70 metres above the river below. If you think that’s scary enough, try the cliff walk and walk in the treetops on the other side – a fantastic experience and a great test for fear of heights!”
Joanne, Travel Counsellor
You can also go for a walk around Canada’s thousand-acre green space, Stanley Park and explore its beautiful rose gardens, totem poles, promenade, or even ride the Bright Nights Christmas Train.
Go on a city tour
Walking around the city is easy as there is rarely any ice and snow, and there are a multitude of guided tours which will give you a greater understanding of Vancouver while taking in some of its most iconic sites.
Explore the city's indigenous history on an interpretive tour or a visit to the breathtaking Museum of Anthropology, feast on a blend of local and foreign cuisine such as salmon candy and the California roll on a Vancouver foodie tour or enjoy a tour of popular filming locations in ‘Hollywood North.’
Hit the slopes
Vancouver may be just a short ride from the famous Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, which was part-host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, but it has its own facilities for a good time in the snow. Just 20-30 minutes from downtown, both Grouse and Cypress Mountains offer cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing (a snowshoe and fondue tour and scenic winter views.
If you would like to book your winter adventure in Vancouver, contact your local Travel Counsellor.