17 Things to Do in Vancouver in the Winter 2023

If you’re up for snowy adventures and cozy vibes, Vancouver winter activities are calling your name! This western Canadian city offers a magical blend of city life and natural wonders, all wrapped up in a winter wonderland. From sipping hot cocoa by the waterfront to exploring snow-covered parks, your chilly escapade starts here. Let’s dive into why Vancouver in the winter is the ultimate cold-weather retreat!

1. Skiing and Snowboarding

Get ready to hit the slopes in Vancouver’s winter playground! With world-class ski resorts like Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain just a snowball’s throw away from the city, you’re in for some serious snowy thrills. Glide down powdery trails, catch air in the terrain parks, and soak in breathtaking views of the city and the Pacific Ocean.

Whether you’re a seasoned shredder or a newbie on the snow, Vancouver’s ski and snowboard scene has slopes and runs that cater to all levels. So grab your gear, embrace the mountain, and let the adventure begin! Check out more places to ski and snowboard in British Columbia and Alberta!

2. Outdoor ice skating

Outdoor skating in Vancouver in the winter

Strap on your skates and embrace the icy charm of outdoor skating rinks in Vancouver. Picture this: gliding under the open sky, surrounded by twinkling lights and towering trees. From Robson Square to Stanley Park, these rinks offer a unique winter experience. Whether you’re twirling with friends or holding hands with a loved one, the joy of skating outdoors in Vancouver’s crisp air is something you won’t want to miss. Lace up and let the good times glide!

3. Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge in winter

Step into a fairy tale at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver during the winter. As you walk across this swaying masterpiece, placed in the middle of a snowy wonderland, you’ll feel a rush of excitement. The towering trees dressed in snow, the frosted river below – it’s a sight straight out of a storybook.

The suspension bridge becomes a magical pathway to explore the forest canopy from a whole new angle. Twinkling lights light up the bridge at night, and the magic continues even after the sun sets. If you’re seeking a winter adventure in Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is your ticket to the perfect experience.

4. Go to a Canucks game

Vancouver Canucks game in winter

Get ready to cheer your heart out at Rogers Arena as you join the passionate crowd for a Vancouver Canucks hockey game. Gather your family and dive into the electric atmosphere of Canada’s favourite sport. Even if you’re not a hockey fan, the roar of the crowd and the thrill of the game will entertain you and everyone in your family.

Get your blue and green on and become part of a sea of fans all rallying behind the Canucks. The energy is contagious, the action is fast-paced, and the memories you make here will be cherished for years to come. So grab your jerseys, wave those foam fingers, and let the hockey magic sweep you away in a whirlwind of excitement!

5. Snowshoeing

Let’s talk snowshoeing in Vancouver – the ultimate winter adventure! Get ready to strap on those snowshoes and head to places like Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain. It’s like hiking’s cooler, snowier cousin. Imagine trekking through forests and untouched snow, with each step a satisfying crunch beneath your feet.

The views from the top are like rewards for your effort – sweeping vistas of snow-covered landscapes that’ll take your breath away. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for a new winter activity, these snowshoe trails are calling your name. So layer up, grab your family, and let the snowy exploration begin!

6. Vancouver Christmas Market

Vancouver Christmas Market

Experience the warmth and wonder of the holiday season at this lovely winter farmers market. As you walk through this festive market, the air is filled with the aroma of spiced mulled wine and freshly baked treats. Twinkling lights and charming wooden stalls create cozy surroundings, making you feel like you’re in a holiday fairytale.

From handcrafted ornaments to unique Vancouver art, there’s something for everyone on your list. Don’t miss the chance to savor traditional German food like bratwurst and gingerbread hearts. Whether you’re admiring the beautifully decorated trees or listening to live carolers, the Vancouver Christmas Market is a magical place to create cherished memories with loved ones in the winter. So bundle up, sip on some hot cocoa, and immerse yourself in the festive joy!

7. The Stanley Park Bright Nights

Vancouver bright nights

Just steps away from downtown Vancouver, be sure to check out the Stanley Park Bright Nights and watch the park transform into a twinkling winter wonderland. This annual holiday event is a treat for all ages, where millions of sparkling lights come together to create a spectacle of magic and joy. As you stroll through the lighted pathways, the displays tell stories of the season and ignite the childlike wonder within you.

From dazzling trees to whimsical characters, each corner reveals a new delight. It’s not just about the lights; it’s about the shared moments, the laughter, and the beauty that makes this experience unforgettable. So bundle up, gather your loved ones, and let The Stanley Park Bright Nights illuminate your heart with holiday cheer!

8. Ride the Stanley Park Train

Stanley Park train ride

Ready for a winter train adventure in Stanley Park? Picture this: cozying up with your favourite scarf and stepping onto a vintage-style train that’s all decked out for the holidays. As you chug along, the park’s snow-covered beauty unfolds around you, like something out of a postcard.

Twinkling lights, and frosty trees – it’s a sight to behold. You’ll feel like you’re in a Christmas movie, minus the scripted lines. So grab your hot cocoa, snap some pics, and let the old-school train whisk you away into a winter dreamland. All aboard the festive fun train! One of the best things to do in Vancouver during the winter!

9. VanDusen Botanical Gardens

VanDusen Gardens

VanDusen Gardens in winter is like stepping into a snow-kissed wonderland! Imagine walking through this botanical paradise, with trees draped in white, and the crunch of snow underfoot. It’s like Mother Nature herself decided to sprinkle some extra magic. The Festival of Lights takes it up a notch with a gazillion twinkling bulbs that turn the gardens into a mesmerizing light show.

Grab your mittens, wander through the illuminated tunnels, and feel the holiday spirit wrap around you like a cozy scarf. So go on, make your winter sparkle at VanDusen Gardens – you won’t regret it!

10. Winter Solstice Lantern Festival

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival

Gather the fam because the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival is where the real magic happens! Imagine the whole crew walking through the streets, lanterns in hand, and a sky full of stars above. The air buzzes with excitement as you join the parade, surrounded by people of all ages sharing in the joy.

Lanterns of all shapes and sizes light up the night, creating a breathtaking display that’s like a dream come true. There’s music, laughter, and a feeling of togetherness that warms you from the inside out. It’s not just an event – it’s a memory-making masterpiece. So grab those lanterns, and let the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival light up your family’s hearts!

11. Hot Chocolate Festival

For the chocoholic in your family, be sure to check out Vancouver’s Hot Chocolate Festival, where cocoa dreams come true! Imagine sipping on a mug of liquid happiness, each one a work of art crafted by local cafes and chocolatiers. From classic comfort flavors to wild and wacky creations, there’s a hot chocolate for every mood. Think marshmallow mountains, whipped cream clouds – the whole shebang!

You’re not just sipping; you’re supporting local businesses and diving headfirst into a sea of cocoa goodness. So grab your kids, plan your hot chocolate crawl, and get ready for a month of chocolatey bliss. It’s one of the sweetest tours you won’t want to miss!

12. Burnaby Village Museum

Burnaby Village Museum

Have you heard about the Burnaby Village Museum? It’s like time travel but without the crazy machines. Step into the past as you wander through vintage streets decked out in twinkling lights and holiday cheer. The old-timey shops and cozy cottages make you feel like you’re in a holiday movie, in the middle of Vancouver.

And guess what? Ice skating is on the menu! Glide across the rink like you’re in a winter fairy tale. Don’t forget to warm up with some hot cocoa, because this place is all about old-fashioned fun and festive vibes. So bundle up, and let the Burnaby Village Museum whisk you away to a magical winter escape!

13. Tubing at Cypress Mountain

Tubing in Vancouver in winter

Another wintery spot at Cypress Mountain! For the thrill-seekers in your family, your visit to Vancouver in the winter would not be complete without a trip to go tubing! Grab that inflatable tube and get ready to fly down the snowy slopes like a human snowball. It’s the ultimate sledding adventure! The chill mountain air and the giggles of fellow tubers create an atmosphere that’s pure joy.

Thankfully, there’s no climbing uphill – the magic carpet lifts you back to the top. Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart, tubing at Cypress is a snow-packed blast that’ll leave you grinning from ear to ear. So bundle up, embrace the cold rush, and let the good times roll!

14. Sleigh ride on Grouse Mountain

Have you ever been on a winter sleigh ride? Imagine snuggling up under cozy blankets as the sleigh glides through a snowy paradise. The crisp mountain air and the jingle of sleigh bells create an atmosphere straight out of a holiday movie.

You’ll be surrounded by towering trees and the hush of the winter wilderness. This sleigh ride is a memory-making adventure that’ll warm your heart in the coldest of winters. So grab those blankets, hold tight, and let the magic of Grouse Mountain sleigh rides sweep you away!

15. Granville Island

Visiting Granville Island is a great thing to do while visiting Vancouver

Let’s talk about Granville Island – the coolest spot even when it’s chilly! Imagine wandering through this artsy hub, with steam rising from your to-go coffee and a hint of adventure in the air. The artisan shops are bursting with unique finds, and the indoor Public Market is a feast for the senses. Warm pastries, local cheeses – oh, the cravings! There is also a huge indoor play area for kids that includes arcade games, climbing structures, and mini rides.

The Granville Island Theatre is alive with performances that’ll make you laugh, cry, and feel all the feels. It’s like a cultural hug for your soul. So bundle up, embrace the artsy vibes, and let Granville Island spice up your winter with its creativity and warmth!

16. Cross-country skiing

Ready to glide through Vancouver’s winter wonderland on cross-country skis? Grab those skinny skis and hit up places like Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour. Picture this: snowy trails, towering trees, and the thrill of exploring nature in a whole new way. It’s like a cardio workout with a side of breathtaking views.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie, these trails offer something for everyone. So pack those thermoses of hot cocoa, lace up those boots, and let the cross-country adventure begin – Vancouver style!

17. Go on a trip to Whistler

Snowboarding in Whistler

While visiting Vancouver in winter, you must, must, MUST make a trip to Whistler! It’s like stepping into a snowy paradise just a hop and a skip away. The drive itself is a sight to behold – mountains dressed in white like they’ve been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Once you’re there, get ready for a snow-packed extravaganza.

Whether you’re carving down the slopes, sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace, or strolling through the charming village, Whistler’s got you covered. And don’t even get me started on the après-ski scene – it’s like a winter party that lasts all season. So pack those layers, load up the car, and let Whistler whisk you away to a winter wonderland that’ll have you grinning ear to ear!

In Conclusion…

So there you have it – Vancouver in winter is a dreamy blend of urban excitement and snow-covered serenity. From skiing to snowshoeing while watching the snowflakes dance to hitting the slopes in nearby mountains, this city knows how to do winter right.

Whether you’re exploring festive markets, taking in dazzling light displays, or going on snowy adventures, Vancouver’s got it all. The magic of winter in this city is sure to warm your heart and leave you with memories to cherish. So bundle up, embrace the chill, and let Vancouver’s winter wonderland unfold before you!