5 Things To Do In Vancouver in Winter - The Best All-Weather Activities

The Capilano Suspension Bridge during winter

Posted by on 01 Nov 2019 , in North America

With a landscape of snow-capped peaks, lush forests and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, it’s no surprise that Vancouver is consistently voted one of the world’s most liveable cities. The compact, walkable downtown core reflects the region’s multiculturalism and vibrancy, meaning that visitors find themselves surrounded by locals. It’s one of few cities where locals and tourists gravitate toward the same experiences – whether indulging in a snowshoe-and-fondue at one of three local mountains, biking the Stanley Park seawall or sampling Vancouver’s acclaimed culinary scene, it’s almost impossible not to make new friends or have an experience that instils a feeling of kinship with this friendly, welcoming city.

unique cultural attractions

The best way to start your Vancouver exploration is to get properly acquainted with its culture and history. Start from the beginning and learn about their heritage at the Museum of Anthropology where you can see displays of ancient and contemporary Indigenous works. Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery, the largest in Western Canada, to see ground-breaking exhibits from contemporary visionaries. Explore Gastown, the oldest part of the city with restaurants, shops, and galleries inside restored Victorian buildings. Complete the day with a trip the Granville Island Public Market and wander through endless stalls of novelties, street food, and art performances.

Outdoor activities

Home to three iconic mountains all within a short drive from the city centre, easily accessible parks and campsites, and numerous rivers and lakes to explore, Vancouver is a haven for all outdoor enthusiasts. There’s a plethora of activities to participate in – from hitting the slopes of Cypress Mountain, snowboarding down Grouse Mountain, or tobogganing at Mt. Seymour to ziplining, cycling around Stanley Park, and hiking to the frozen Norvan Falls. For a more relaxed approach, go up the Sea to Sky Gondola for a rewarding view, walk around Pacific Spirit, or go ice skating at Robson Square.

Brewery tours

With over 1,000 local brews, Vancouver is one of the best places to taste different craft beers. Whether you’re a savant in the scene or just someone who appreciates a cold glass, touring around with guides to discover the most beloved breweries in the city is a good way to spend half a day. Introduce yourself to the vibrant community that celebrates their passion for a fresh and locally made beer and enjoy a glass or two with your friends and the ones you’re about to make.


The winter season in Vancouver is full of events that you’ll never get bored of – from classic winter festivities, anticipated music festivals, mouth-watering culinary celebration, to elaborate costume contests. Discover Vancouver’s cuisine during the popular Dine Out Vancouver Festival where decorated chefs and local restaurateurs introduce their best dishes at a fixed price menu. Get warm and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time in the Hot Chocolate Festival, watch a local film at the Whistler Film festival, and celebrate the season through music, comedy, spoken word, and more at the Winterruption Festival on Granville Island.

Light displays

Even though winter brings the darkest hours of the year, Vancouver commemorates it by illuminating dark nights with magical light festivals. Join the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival where four neighbourhoods participate in a generous display of intricate lanterns, daring fire shows, singing and dancing, and drumming. Try to find your way out of the Enchant Christmas Maze and Market, the world’s largest Christmas light maze filled with food stalls, an ice-skating pond, and live performances. Don’t miss the iconic Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge where sparkling lights are draped across the 70m high bridge along with the nearby attractions like the Cliffwalk, Treetop Adventure, and the rainforest. Better yet, escape the busy city and find the hidden village that holds the Aurora Winter Festival for the ultimate Christmas winter wonderland experience.

When experience matters