37 Things To Do In Vancouver In Winter You Shouldn’t Miss!

The Pacific Northwest has some of the most beautiful cities in North America and Vancouver, British Columbia is no exception. From its natural beauty to its outdoor lifestyle and cultural attractions, there are so many incredible things to do in Vancouver in winter. 

Not only is Vancouver known for its stunning natural beauty, but it also offers a wealth of attractions and activities that make it an amazing place to visit year-round. While summer may be the most popular time for many travellers to visit Vancouver, winter should not be overlooked as a great season for exploration. In fact, I’m one of those people who visits Vancouver often during winter – and I think it’s just as great a time to visit!

One of the best things about visiting Vancouver in winter is that it’s much quieter than during other seasons. That means you won’t have to worry about large crowds when exploring the city and its attractions. Plus, with mild temperatures throughout winter, you can enjoy outdoor activities like skiing without having to bundle up too heavily. 

Another plus side? If you’re visiting from other parts of Canada, you’ll appreciate how mild Vancouver’s winters are.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ve included some of the best things to do in Vancouver during winter. From road trips, cultural attractions and festivals, to food scenes and places to stay.

A City Girl Outside contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for reading!

Essential Links For Planning Your Winter Trip to Vancouver

Flights: Book through SkyScanner

Best Vancouver Tours:

Top Vancouver Accommodation:

Don’t Forget To Pack!

Where To Stay In Vancouver

Whether you are looking for luxury accommodations or something more budget friendly, there are plenty of places to stay in Vancouver that will suit your needs perfectly. Here are some of my favourite places, all just a short distance away from the top attractions, bars, and restaurants. 

  • Luxury Option: The Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel is a luxurious 5-star hotel located right in downtown Vancouver. This hotel offers stunning views of the city and its surrounding areas. You can expect impeccable service, elegant rooms, inviting infinity pools, and plenty of other amenities that will make your stay truly memorable.
  • Mid-Range Option: For those looking for a more mid-range option, The Burrard Hotel offers comfortable suites at an affordable price point. This boutique hotel is located right by Stanley Park and offers easy access to various attractions and activities around the city.
  • Budget Option: if you’re on a tight budget then the Samesun Hostel is definitely worth checking out. This hostel offers a range of room types from dorms to private rooms depending on your needs. It also has a great social atmosphere with plenty of activities such as bike tours and walking tours around the city.

Unique Things to do in Vancouver in Winter

Seaplane Tour

Vancouver is a stunningly beautiful city, but you can experience its beauty in a totally new way by seaplane!

This once-in-a-lifetime experience over Vancouver is guaranteed to blow your mind away with its stunning views of the downtown cityscape and majestic mountain peaks covered in snow

This 45 minute seaplane tour includes take off from Vancouver Harbour and takes you soaring above some of the most spectacular sights in the world. Be prepared for some heart racing excitement as the take-off and landing on water are one of a kind experiences. The cost for this tour is definitely worth every penny. 

Polar Bear Swim

The Polar Bear Swim is a unique event held every year in Vancouver since 1920. On New Year’s Day, thousands of brave locals and visitors alike plunge into the cold waters of English Bay Beach to celebrate the start of a new year. It’s a tradition that has grown into one of the most popular events in Vancouver, with over 2,000 participants annually. if you’re looking for something unique to do in Vancouver in winter, this might be it!  

Take Flight with FlyOver Canada

FlyOver Canada is a unique flight simulation experience that takes you on a virtual tour across the country. This 8-minute journey takes you from the west coast all the way to the east coast, showing you some of Canada’s most breathtaking landscapes. 

You’ll be seated in a suspended chair over a giant spherical projection screen – it’s like being in an airplane without ever leaving ground level. Through visuals and narration, each stop on your aerial tour provides insight into key cultural sites, natural attractions or historical monuments throughout Canada.

Catch a Hockey Game

There’s nothing quite as Canadian as watching hockey. When you’re in Vancouver, make sure to catch a game and see the Vancouver Canucks in action at the Rogers Arena

The first step to getting tickets is knowing when the Canucks are playing. During the season they usually play a few times a week. Prices can vary depending on the day of the week and where your seat is located – so if you have some flexibility with your schedule, it can help save some money. You can purchase tickets directly from their website or through StubHub for second-hand tickets off a trusted site. 

Best Vancouver Winter Outdoor Activities

Go Skiing Or Snowboarding

During the winter months Vancouvers mountains are full of snow, making it an ideal place to ski and snowboard!  

If you don’t want to travel too far outside the city, Grouse Mountain Ski Resort is your best choice. Grouse offers an excellent variety of terrain, with over 26 runs and two bowls. It is accessible by transit, so if you don’t have access to a car this is definitely the way to go.

Seymour and Cypress Mountains are very close together and within 30 minutes drive from downtown Vancouver. They offer a combined total of 44 runs and 4 terrain parks, making them great choices if you want to stay closer to home.

Whistler Blackcomb is an internationally renowned ski resort located 1 hour away from downtown Vancouver. It boasts an impressive 4757 acres/1925 hectares of skiable terrain, 36 lifts, and over 200 runs! Whistler Blackcomb is great for all skill levels so it’s suitable for any group looking for an adventure-filled winter getaway.

Ice Skating

One of the best ways to get out and enjoy the winter weather is ice skating. If you’re looking for an affordable way to lace up your skates and hit the ice, then check out one of Vancouver’s many indoor skating rinks. 

Robson Square in downtown Vancouver also has a fun outdoor skating rink set up temporarily during the winter months. It’s always decked out in holiday decorations and has a fun, festive environment that locals and tourists alike love. The Robson Square rink is open from December to February and is completely free to use; if you don’t have your own skates you can rent them there for around $5 CAD.

Afterward, you can go to Robson Street for a hot chocolate and some shopping. It’s the perfect way to spend a winter’s day or night in Vancouver!   

Snow Tubing

If you’re looking for something that is all fun and requires no skill, try snow tubing! At Cypress Mountain, located just 30-45 minutes from downtown Vancouver in North Vancouver, you can experience the thrill of rushing downhill in a big, comfy tube. 

Snow Tubing is essentially like tobogganing but with bigger and comfier tubes that provide a heightened sense of thrill. With no prior skill or training required, it’s perfect for both adults and children who are looking for some wintery fun outdoors without having to commit themselves to learning how ski or snowboard.

When visiting Gnarly’s Tube Park at Cypress Mountain, expect to be met with a lot of excitement! After your first tube run down the hill, you can attach yourself to the convenient conveyor belt which will take you back up the hill quickly so you can do it all over again.  

The price of the tubing varies every year so check before you plan your trip.


Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the outdoors during the winter in Vancouver and get some exercise at the same time. The Greater Vancouver region has plenty of trails that are well-maintained and good for all fitness and experience levels. 

Snowshoeing is popular in both Seymour and Cypress Mountain. On Seymour, Dog Mountain is a very popular trail with majestic views of Vancouver’s skyline. It’s also known as one of the most challenging routes in the area but it’s worth it because of the stunning views from the top.

On Cypress Mountain, there are lots of different trails that can be explored, ranging from easy to advanced. My favourite snowshoe trail at Cypress is to the beautiful Cypress Mountain Cabins!

Fat Biking

If you’re feeling adventurous this winter season and looking for something different to do, why not give fat biking a go? 

Fat biking is a type of cycling that uses oversized tires and rims to make the bike suitable for riding on different terrains, such as snow or sand. The large tires allow for better traction, which makes them perfect for trying out in winter conditions.

Although fat biking is still relatively new in Vancouver, there are some great places to go if you want to give it a try. Squamish is one of the most popular spots, located about an hour and a half away from downtown Vancouver. The trails here offer something for everyone—from beginner-friendly paths to more challenging ones for experienced riders. Plus, there are plenty of rental shops around town that will have everything you need to get started! 

Festive Things To Do In Vancouver In Winter

Capilano Suspension Bridge & Canyon Lights

One of the best places to visit in Vancouver in the winter is the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge. Not only does it offer stunning views, but there are also fewer visitors during this time of year, so you can explore and take pictures without as many people around.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vancouver and with good reason. It stretches across a 450-foot deep canyon and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area. The bridge itself is over 460 feet long, making it one of the world’s longest suspension bridges.

Another great thing about visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the winter is that you can check out the Canyon Lights event. This annual event features thousands of lights illuminating various parts of the bridge and surrounding areas for an amazing sight at night. don’t forget to check out its Canyon Lights show if you have time – it’s truly breathtaking!

Gingerbread Lane at the Hyatt Regency

The holiday season brings with it many holiday treats, but none quite as sweet as the annual Gingerbread Lane event located at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Vancouver.

From late November to late December, visitors can step inside a fantastic gingerbread wonderland – each year featuring gingerbread creations from local bakeries, cooking institutes, and public schools. Plus, admission is free (although donations are encouraged)! 

Visitors of this delightful event will be treated to an array of edible gingerbread buildings that were created by local bakers and chefs. 

Gingerbread Lane isn’t just about admiring the creativity behind each creation – it’s also about giving back to the community! All proceeds from purchases and donations go directly to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain

Come revel in a sleigh ride under the stars at the Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain. Go ice skating on a frozen pond or walk into Santa’s Workshop and meet his reindeer. Plus, take in some holiday cheer by listening to choirs singing Christmas carols.

Grouse Mountain is aptly named “The Peak of Vancouver” because it boasts stunning views from its summit out over the city. You can also observe beautiful winter landscapes while riding the gondola to the top. Once there, you can explore a plethora of fun activities

You can take a magical sleigh ride through snow-covered grounds and feel like you’re living inside a real-life Christmas card. Wrap up your night with some holiday cheer by watching classic films at Theatre in the Sky or singing along with choirs performing Christmas carols throughout the grounds. 

Vancouver Santa Claus Parade

The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, and what better way to get into the festive spirit than attending the world-famous Vancouver Santa Claus Parade? This annual tradition attracts over 300,000 visitors every year. With lots of fun activities for kids, it is one of the best things to do in Vancouver in winter.

The Vancouver Santa Claus Parade usually lasts for a few hours features marching bands, dancers dressed up as elves, floats with oversized Christmas characters such as gingerbread men and snowmen. Attendance to this delightful event is completely free!  

if you are looking for something fun and festive to do in Vancouver during wintertime then be sure to mark your calendar so that you don’t miss out on an opportunity to attend one of the most popular events in town during the holiday season.

St. Pauls Hospital Lights of Hope

Every year, the holiday season is celebrated with a spectacular show of lights at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital. For over 20 years now, the Lights of Hope event has been bringing holiday cheer to locals and visitors alike while raising funds for much-needed patient services.

Over one million sparkling lights are used to transform the hospital grounds into a winter wonderland, full of festive music and decorations that will get you in the holiday spirit.

The event itself is free for all ages and makes for an excellent evening out with family and friends or even just by yourself. Since 1998, more than $47 million has been raised via donations from people attending the Lights of Hope event each year!  

Attendance at Lights of Hope is an inspiring way to spend a few hours during your time in Vancouver—and it’s all for a good cause.

Vancouver Christmas Market

If you’re looking for an unforgettable holiday experience, then you should definitely make a trip to the Vancouver Christmas Market. This festive event is inspired by the classic Christmas markets in Germany and Europe, with delicious food, festive music, and shopping.

The market is located at the Jack Poole Plaza and once inside, you can explore the many different stalls with treats and handicrafts. Of course, a visit to a German-style market wouldn’t be complete without some traditional German food—I highly recommend treating yourself to some Glühwein (mulled wine) or schnitzel! 

The market typically opens on November 20 until December 24 between 11:30 am and 9:30 pm except on Christmas eve it’s only open until 6 pm. However, you should check the event’s specific dates every year.  

Bright Nights at Stanley Park

The Stanley Park Bright Nights event is one of those special holiday experiences that should not be missed when visiting Vancouver in winter! Whether you’re looking for something fun and festive to do with your family or just want to explore what Stanley Park has to offer during wintertime, this event is sure to check off all those boxes. 

One of the highlights of this event is taking a train ride through some amazing light displays. Over three million lights are used to create beautiful and imaginative scenes filled with fairytale creatures like dragons, polar bears, and Santa Claus himself!

After taking a tour through all the light displays, you can grab something hot to drink from any of the stalls that are set up throughout the park. You can also buy some unique gifts from these stalls or pick up some snacks for yourself or your loved ones. The atmosphere at this event is truly festive and it’s perfect for getting into the winter spirit!

VanDusen Festival of Lights

The beautiful VanDusen Gardens are a sight to behold year-round, but they become extra special during the winter months.

From late November through early January, the gardens transform into an enchanting light show called the Festival of Lights. This unique display features over one million twinkling lights spread out over 10 acres of land and includes festive music in the background. It’s truly a magical experience and one of the best things to do in Vancouver during wintertime! 

Tickets can be purchased online or onsite at the ticket booth when you arrive. If you plan on visiting multiple times throughout the season, consider getting a season pass which allows unlimited entry. continue to bring joy to visitors every year!

Vancouver Winter Activities For Foodies

Join a Vancouver Food Tour

Joining a food tour while visiting Vancouver is an excellent way to explore the incredible culinary scene while also learning more about local culture and customs. From finding hidden gems that only locals know about to enjoying delicious dishes prepared by talented chefs.

Spending two hours eating your way around town and discovering local gems that only locals know about is an experience not to be missed! Tours usually last between two and four hours—so no matter how much time you have available during your visit to Vancouver, there’s sure to be a tour that fits within your schedule! 

Of course, if you prefer to explore on your own, that’s always an option as well—but nothing beats having a knowledgeable local guide show you the ropes.

Dine Out Vancouver

This popular food festival runs in January and offers an array of delicious events, including guided dining adventures, spirited cocktail master classes, wine brunches, food tours, markets, and even guest-chef collaboration dinners!  

Dine Out Vancouver celebrates the best of British Columbia eats and drinks. It brings together renowned chefs from all over to create epicurean experiences that have something for everyone. Whether you are a fan of fine dining or street eats, this festival has something for your palate. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to sample some of BC’s finest wines and craft beers during special tastings throughout the week. 

Visit A Craft Brewery

Whether you are looking for an afternoon pint or an evening out with friends celebrating special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries; visiting any one of Vancouver’s amazing craft breweries will make your time in Vancouver truly memorable. 

If you are looking for an expert opinion on which breweries to visit while in East Van then look no further than this tour which pairs beer tasting and art

Main Street is a great area of the city for craft beer lovers. Brassneck Brewery boasts an impressive selection of beers on tap – their table beer is a favourite among patrons! Another option is 33 Acres Brewing, a brewery located near False Creek that offers classic beers as well as seasonal rotating options. While Faculty Brewing Co. has a wide range of beers from IPAs to sours and everything in between.

Granville Island is home to one of Vancouver’s oldest breweries – Granville Island Brewing. The brewery was founded in 1984 and has been crafting award-winning beers ever since. You can take a tour of the facility at 1pm or 3pm daily or just grab a pint at their tasting room. 

East Vancouver is a great spot for craft beer fans – it’s home to three popular breweries – Storm Brewing (which has been around since 1995!), Andina Brewing Co., and Off The Rail Brewing. These three offer delicious pub-style food alongside their brews; definitely worth checking out! 

Go Wine Tasting In The Fraser Valley

The Fraser Valley is an agricultural region located east of Vancouver, about an hour’s drive away. This area is home to some amazing vineyards and wineries, so why not join a tour to explore this region and try some delicious local wine? 

When you join a tour like this one, you can expect much more than just visiting wineries and tasting wines. On this half-day tour, you will get hotel pick-up in downtown Vancouver, and transportation between wineries. Which means all you have to worry about is having fun! 

If you don’t feel like joining a tour, however, it is still possible to visit Fraser Valley’s many wineries on your own. Just be sure to make time for Seaside Pearl WineryMt. Lehman Winery, and Ripples Estate Winery. No matter which option you choose—tour or self-guided—you are sure to have a great time exploring this picturesque region. 

Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival

The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is an annual celebration that runs throughout the entire month of February. During this time, many of the city’s chocolatiers, pastry shops, bakeries, cafes and ice cream makers come together to create their own interpretation of hot chocolate.

Since 2011, this city-wide initiative has been inviting locals and visitors alike to support small businesses while sampling some of the best hot chocolate drinks around.

Many of the participating venues include some of Vancouver’s most popular spots such as Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie, Belgard Kitchen, Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe and La Glace Ice Cream Parlour. 

Best Museums To Visit In Vancouver In Winter

Vancouver Art Gallery

Situated downtown, the Vancouver Art Gallery is home to an ever-changing collection of artwork that is sure to ignite your creative spirit. From rotating exhibitions featuring Canadian and international artists to special events, the gallery is a great place to spend an afternoon of culture and creativity. 

Take a tour of the vast collection and explore works from local Canadian artists as well as internationally renowned masters. It provides an opportunity to dive deeper into history and appreciate artwork from different perspectives. The pieces range from sculptures, paintings, photographs and more.

On Tuesdays after 5 PM, you can get into the gallery by donation instead of paying full price admission. This is a great way to check out the galleries without breaking your budget. Plus, there are special events throughout the year with themed tours and talks

Whether you love art or are just looking for something fun (and cheap!) To do on a winter afternoon in town, visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery is one of the best indoor activities around!

Museum of Anthropology

Built in 1976, the Museum of Anthropology explores the history and culture of British Columbia. Here, you’ll find one of the finest collections of Northwest Coast First Nations art in the world, as well as seasonal feature exhibits and guided tours.

The Museum of Anthropology houses over 50,000 artifacts that have been collected from various Indigenous communities throughout Canada. The collection includes items from all over British Columbia and focuses heavily on Indigenous cultures from pre-contact times until today.

Visitors will find an impressive collection that reflects both traditional practices as well as modern interpretations. In addition to its permanent collection, there are also often special exhibitions displaying contemporary artwork that are worth checking out during your visit.

Science World

When you need a day out of the rain, head to Science World—the iconic landmark of False Creek. Whether you are a visitor or local looking for an inside day, Science World has tons of interesting and exciting exhibits and shows about all things science. Plus, it has plenty of child-orientated activities so it’s perfect for families too! 

Science World is located in False Creek and it’s easy to spot from its unique spherical shape that dominates the skyline. Once you enter, you will find yourself surrounded by over 500 interactive exhibits and displays that cover topics such as biology, chemistry, physics, music, engineering, geology and more. 

The best part? You don’t need to be a genius to enjoy Science World. As long as you have an interest in science then this is the perfect place for you.

H.R. Macmillan Space Centre

Are you a space enthusiast? If so, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, Canada is the perfect place to explore all things outer space!

The GroundStation Canada Theatre offers visitors interactive shows on various space-related topics. These shows are around 20 minutes long, during which time you can enjoy learning about our universe and its wonders in a fun and exciting way. 

The Planetarium Star Theatre at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre features longer shows about constellations, stars, planets in our solar system, and other celestial bodies like comets and asteroids. This experience is truly unique – you get to witness the night sky like never before!  

To cap off your visit to this amazing centre, make sure to stop by the Observatory where you can use their giant telescope to view stars up close with your own eyes! This is an unforgettable experience that will allow you to appreciate the beauty of our universe even more than before. 

Fun Things To Do In Vancouver In Winter

Hop On Hop Off Bus

Exploring Vancouver can be an overwhelming task due to its size – but with the hop-on hop-off bus, you can take your time touring the entire city with ease!

The hop-on-hop-off bus is valid for 24 or 48 hours and gives you access to over 30 stops across the city. This makes it perfect for those who want to explore at their own pace without having to worry about time constraints or public transportation schedules.

Plus, all buses are equipped with headsets and audio commentary so you can learn more about each stop as you travel around town. Some popular stops include Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, or the Robson Shopping District. 

Explore Granville Island

Located on False Creek across from downtown, Granville Island is a vibrant shopping area and a must-visit destination. Featuring an indoor market along with lots of independent shops, restaurants and bars, it’s no wonder why Granville Island is one of the best things to do in Vancouver in winter. 

Getting to Granville Island is easy! You can drive over on Granville Bridge or walk over (which is a great way to take in the sights). Alternatively, you can take a ferry from False Creek Marina. The ferry ride alone offers stunning views of downtown and Burrard Bridge and I’d highly recommend taking this option!

Once you arrive on Granville Island, be sure to check out their popular indoor market. Here you will find fresh produce, cheese, jam and other specialty items that have been made by local businesses. It’s also a great place to grab some snacks while exploring the island – there are plenty of options! My personal favourite is Lee’s Donuts, you cannot stop by Granville Island Public Market without picking up one of their delectable donuts. 

Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or just want to enjoy some stunning views of False Creek and Downtown Vancouver, this charming island should definitely be on your list for things to do during your winter trip to Vancouver!

One of the best parts of going to an NHL game is all the food! Grab yourself an ice-cold beer and hot dog (or two) and enjoy the game to its fullest!

GasTown Walking Tour

Explore the historic heart of Vancouver and experience its beautiful cobblestone streets and architecture from the early twentieth century with a guided walking tour. Gastown is one of the oldest, most interesting neighbourhoods in Vancouver to explore. It is full of history, but also great places to eat, shop, and drink.

This 1.5-hour guided tour will take you through the winding streets and alleys of Gastown, which have been home to some fascinating stories that span over 100 years ago. You’ll see some iconic landmarks such as The steam clock (A famous clock powered by steam), The Canadian Pacific Railway Station (built between 1893-1914 as part of Canada’s first transcontinental railway), and much more.  

Whether you’re a local or just visiting for a few days, taking a Gastown walking tour is an excellent way to explore this historic neighbourhood with an experienced guide who can give you insight into its past and present. 

Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is one of the city’s oldest and most beloved attractions. Since 1956, it has been a source of education, entertainment, and wonder for visitors from all around the world. With over 65,000 different animals housed in the Aquarium’s displays and interactive exhibits, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and learn about the amazing marine life that exists in our oceans.

The Vancouver Aquarium is committed to educating their visitors on understanding and respecting aquatic life through interactive exhibits and educational programs. Their extensive Marine Mammal Rescue program is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating injured or orphaned marine mammals with the goal of releasing them back into their natural habitats.

If you plan on visiting multiple times throughout your stay in Vancouver, consider getting a member pass which allows entry at discounted prices multiple times a year! 

Stanley Park / Vancouver Sea Wall

On a typical winter day here, you can expect to see grey skies and plenty of rain. But even on the gloomiest days, there’s one place that never fails to make me smile—the seawall at Stanley Park. 

This iconic attraction offers breathtaking ocean vistas, as well as excellent views of Coal Harbour and the city’s skyline. The most popular section of the wall is the ocean-side trail located in Stanley Park, but I also recommend walking all the way to English Bay and Sunset Beach.

Don’t forget to stop for photos at other points along the way like Brockton Point, Prospect Point, and Siwash Rock. There are also several totem poles located along the seawall that are worth checking out for their historic significance as well as their artistic beauty. 

Exploring Vancouver’s iconic seawall in winter is one of my favourite things to do in Vancouver. It’s especially peaceful during winter because there aren’t as many people around—just you and nature enjoying each other’s company while admiring some truly spectacular views.

Vancouver Lookout

Located at Harbour Centre, the Vancouver Lookout offers unparalleled views from 168 m (553 ft) above sea level and stunning 360° views of the city. The best part? Tickets to the Lookout give you all-day admission. This means that you can come back multiple times throughout the day or evening to take in different views of the skyline. 

One of the most exciting features of the Lookout is its high-speed exterior glass elevator which takes visitors from ground level to the observation deck in around 40 seconds–all while giving them a spectacular view along the way.

If you’re looking for fine dining with a view then Revel Restaurant & Lounge is your spot. Located on top of Harbour Centre Tower adjacent to the Vancouver Lookout, Revel serves breakfast (weekends only), lunch and dinner featuring Pacific Northwest cuisine with an Asian twist. The restaurant rotates 360° every hour so that diners have a constantly changing view as they enjoy their meal — how cool is that?!  


Shopping in Vancouver is an exciting experience no matter what time of year it is—especially during the festive holiday season. 

If you’re looking for high-end stores, make sure to visit Robson Street in downtown Vancouver. This popular shopping district is home to many designer boutiques and local stores like Roots.

When it comes to malls, Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver or Metrotown in nearby Burnaby have tons of options available. Both malls have a variety of stores ranging from luxury brands all the way down to fashion chains like H&M or Forever 21.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlets is located just outside of Vancouver and has dozens of stores offering discounts year-round. It’s definitely worth checking out if you want designer brands at a fraction of their usual price! 

Take a Walk

While it’s easy to get distracted by the lure of skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, one of the most underrated yet best free things to do in Vancouver in winter is walking around the city.

With its numerous parks, easy walking trails, and breathtaking views of the skyline and harbour, it’s no wonder why walking around Vancouver is one of the best ways to explore this beautiful city.

From strolling through the Stanley Park Seawall or Queen Elizabeth Park or taking in breathtaking views from Ambleside Beach or False Creek; there are countless reasons why walking around should be top on your list when visiting this beautiful Canadian city during the colder months.

Relax in a Hot Tub

After a few days of sightseeing and exploring all that Vancouver has to offer, sometimes you just need to take some time for yourself to relax. The good news is that there are plenty of places in the city where you can do just that.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim Spa & Pool offers a variety of services. Plus, they have an outdoor heated pool and hot tub that you can enjoy while taking in views of English Bay and Coal Harbour. 

For those seeking a tranquil oasis in downtown Vancouver, CHI at Shangri-La is the perfect destination. Sense A Rosewood Spa is a chic day spa offers an array of services designed to leave guests feeling refreshed and rejuvenated

Best Day Trips From Vancouver In Winter


Whistler is a paradise for adventure seekers year-round. In winter months, skiers and snowboarders alike flock here for the world-class skiing offered at the iconic Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort. 

Besides the fantastic skiing opportunities there are plenty more winter activities to do in Whistler. Snowmobiling is a great way to explore the backcountry around Whistler with family and friends. If relaxation is what you’re after, unwind at Scandinave Spa – it’s one of the most popular activities in all of Whistler! For nighttime activities head to Vallea Lumina, an interactive walk through magical forests near Cougar Mountain just outside of Whistler Village. 

Whistler is a great option for a day trip from Vancouver in winter, but if you want to spend longer here it makes for a great weekend trip from Vancouver too! 


Squamish is a bucket-list destination in BC, from it’s charming downtown scene to it’s plethora of outdoor activities. Surrounded by mountains, lakes, rivers and forests, nature lovers will find plenty to do here. 

As soon as you get out of your car in Squamish, you’ll feel the laid-back vibe of a small town surrounded by nature. There are over 200 km of mountain biking trails here, so if this is your thing then bring your bike! If you’d rather go on foot, there are plenty of hiking trails available too. Plus, there are kayaking and rafting options on the local rivers and lakes if you want to try something different. 

You can find some pretty cool boutiques selling unique items and artisanal souvenirs.  If it’s aSaturday morning then make sure not to miss the Farmer’s Market – get some freshly baked goods plus fresh fruits!

How to Get Around Vancouver in Winter


Driving is probably your best option if you’re looking to explore any area outside of downtown Vancouver. You’ll have much more freedom and flexibility with a car than any other form of transportation. Just keep in mind that traffic can be quite heavy in certain areas, especially during rush hour. Additionally, parking can be expensive both on the streets and in parkades (garages). However, some hotels provide free parking so make sure to check ahead of time if that’s something important to you. 

The SkyTrain 

Vancouver has an extensive light rail system known as The SkyTrain. It runs from Downtown Vancouver all the way out to Surrey and provides plenty of access points between those two locales. It’s easy-to-use and incredibly convenient for getting around within Vancouver itself or connecting with some of its neighbouring cities such as Burnaby or New Westminster. The SkyTrain is also a great option for avoiding traffic congestion when traveling within downtown or between surrounding cities like Richmond or Delta. 


Buses are another great way to get around both in and around Vancouver. TransLink operates buses throughout Greater Vancouver so they are especially useful if you plan on exploring beyond the downtown core or heading into one of the neighboring cities like North Vancouver or West Vancouver. Buses are affordable and reliable but they can be prone to delays due to traffic congestion so bear that in mind when planning your trip!  


Popular ride-share apps such as Uber and Lyft are available in Vancouver too! While they may be slightly more expensive than public transit fare, they offer door-to-door service so you won’t need to worry about missing your stop or getting lost on your way back from dinner. Plus, these apps make it very easy to monitor costs before you book a ride – so no surprises when you get your bill.

I have never used a taxi in Vancouver as I think they are far too expensive, but I have used Uber and Lyft, and I will always recommend these over a taxi. They are cheaper, cleaner aren’t going to charge more than the advertised price. 

What to Pack For Vancouver in Winter

Thermal Layers: Thermal layers are great because they provide warmth without adding a lot of bulk or weight to your outfit. Look for high quality thermal layers that are made from breathable fabrics so that you don’t overheat while still staying nice and warm throughout your outdoor adventures!   

Merino Wool Socks: Merino wool socks are one of the best materials for keeping feet warm and dry during outdoor adventures in cold climates like Canada. Not only will they keep your feet warm but they also wick away moisture, making them ideal for long hikes or ski trips where sweat can quickly chill your feet if they’re not properly protected. 

Waterproof Hiking Boots: Investing in some waterproof boots is a must if you plan on doing any hiking or outdoor activities during your trip. Look for boots with good traction and a thick sole so that your feet will stay dry and comfortable no matter what Mother Nature throws your way. 

Backpack: A backpack is essential for carrying all those extra layers of clothing, snacks, and other adventuresome items you may need while exploring Vancouver in winter. Look for one that is lightweight and waterproof so that all your belongings stay dry even when braving snow or rain. 

Crampons/ Ice Cleats: If you plan on exploring some tricky terrain during your stay, then crampons or ice cleats are essential. They will help keep you safe and secure as you traverse icy surfaces. Make sure to choose ones that are lightweight yet durable for maximum comfort and protection. 

Buff: A buff is a type of scarf that can be worn around your neck, head, or face to help keep you warm while out on adventures in cold climates like those found in Canada during the winter months. They come in many styles and patterns so choose one that matches your personality and enjoy! 

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