30 things to do in Vancouver this weekend

Dec 31 2016, 2:55 am

Are you ready to ring in the New Year?

Party all night on Saturday, and then start 2017 off the right way with the Polar Bear swim on Sunday.

Here are 30 things to do in Vancouver this weekend, Saturday, December 31, 2016, and Sunday, January 1, 2017.

For more things happening around town, check out our events section.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver

Image: Jenn Chan / New Year’s Eve Vancouver

  • What: After 2016’s inaugural event that brought over 80,000 attendees, making it the largest NYE celebration in Canada, this year’s event is poised to be even bigger and better than before complete with free live music, two fireworks shows at 9 pm and midnight, and more.
  • Where: Canada Place
  • When: Saturday, December 31 starting at 6:30 pm
  • Cost: Free

TRUE NORTH Indoor Party by Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver

Check out various NYE events around town



NYE Decentralized Dance Party

Decentralized Fountain Party (Davis Chu)

Decentralized Fountain Party (Davis Chu)

  • What: Two “party revolutionaries” are bringing their Decentralized Dance Party back to Vancouver for New Year’s Eve this year – and everyone across the Lower Mainland is invited. DJs Tom and Gary will be broadcasting a live, city-wide, dance party set, which will be played out by hundreds of party people carrying boomboxes across Vancouver.
  • Where: Meeting locations yet to be revealed – or just party wherever you are!
    When: Saturday, December 31, from 9 pm till late
  • Info: decentralizeddanceparty.com 

Family First Night – New Year’s Eve at Mount Seymour 

  • What: Family First Night is the North Shore’s original and longest running family friendly New Year’s Eve event. Enjoy snow tubing, tobogganing, and take in live entertainment on the main stage.
  • Where: 1700 Mt. Seymour Road, North Vancouver. See parking details here.
  • When: Saturday, December 31, from 6 pm to 9 pm
  • Tickets: Available online, $15-$20. Children under 2 are free. 

Saturday Morning Qi Gong

  • What: This is a class that everyone can participate in from youngsters to seniors. You will learn how to move your body for greater flexibility, balance and well-being. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and flat shoes. All levels welcome.
  • Where: Vital Health Medical Clinic Kitsilano –1855 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 31, from 9 am to 10 am
  • Cost: Free. Register online

2016 Year in Review improv

  • What: 2016 has been quite the crazy year, and Vancouver TheatreSports League improvisors will create on-the-spot mashups of all of the events.
  • Where: The Improv Centre – 1502 Duranleau Street, Granville Island
  • When: Saturday, December 31. Various show times, check website for details
  • Tickets: Available online 

Ice Skating at Robson Square

  • What: The Robson Square Ice Rink, located in downtown Vancouver, is open all through the Christmas Holidays, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Skating is free with your own skates, otherwise rentals are available. The rink also features a concession stand with snacks and warm drinks.
  • Where: Robson Square – 800 Robson Square, Vancouver
  • When: The rink is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm Sunday to Thursday, and from 9 am to 11 pm Fridays and Saturdays, until February 14.

Holiday Heights at Bloedel

Holiday Heights at Bloedel Conservatory (@pcz/ Instagram)

  • What: Celebrate the holiday season at the top of Vancouver with Holiday Heights at Bloedel. You can experience a winter wonderland at Queen Elizabeth Park filled with magical lights, festive music, and a holiday scavenger hunt. You can even take a ride on a Ferris wheel at the highest point in the city. Bloedel Conservatory and the Dancing Waters fountain on the plaza will also be lit up throughout the run of Holiday Heights.
  • Where: Queen Elizabeth Park– 4600 Cambie Street, Vancouver
  • When: Holiday Heights at Bloedel runs every evening from 4 to 9 pm between December 9 and January 2.
  • Tickets: $6.75 for adults, $4.50 for youth (13-18), $3.25 for children (4-12).


  • WhatThe world’s biggest Christmas light maze is in VancouverEnchant 2016 includes a breathtaking maze, but tasty food and drinks, a local vendor market, live entertainment, an outdoor fire pit, and much more. Saturday is the last day you can see this Christmas light extravaganza.
  • Where: 1st and Crowe Street, between the Cambie Street Bridge and Olympic Village
  • When: Saturday, December 31, 4 to 10 pm.
  • Tickets: Adults $19.95, kids $14.95. Buy online

Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain 

rosettejoyy/ Instagram

  • What: Grouse Mountain has transformed into a winter wonderland for its annual Peak of Christmas event. This year’s Light Walk features new installations, including a 23-foot reindeer and light walls.
  • Where: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
  • When: Friday, November 25 to Monday, January 2. For more information and a detailed daily schedule for all Peak of Christmas activities, please check here.
  • Admission: Family Rate for Peak of Christmas festivities includes admission for 2 adults and 2 children/youth (under 18) for $89.95. Guests are reminded that all festive Peak of Christmas activities are complimentary with an Annual or Snow Pass, a Skyride admission ticket.

Dundarave Festival of Lights

  • What: A West Vancouver tradition returns with the Dundarave Festival of Lights.
  • Where: Dundarave Park – 25th Street and Bellevue Avenue, West Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday until December 31, from noon to 6 pm.

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Canyon Lights (Capilano Suspension Bridge)

Canyon Lights (Capilano Suspension Bridge)

  • What: The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon are transformed into a world of festive lights and visual enchantment. See the world’s tallest living Christmas tree (153 feet tall), experience the voice-activated light show, go on a scavenger hunt throughout the park, sing along with the holiday band, take a family photo at the Winter Pavilion, and more.
  • Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge – 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
  • When: November 24 – January 8, 2017; 11 am to 9 pm.
  • Tickets: $39.95 for adults, $36.95 for seniors, $32.95 for students, $26.95 for youth (ages 13 to 16) $13.95 for children (ages 6 to 12) and free for children under 6.

New Year’s Medieval Feastival at Storm Crow Tavern

  • What: Get ready to ring in 2017 like a King or Queen. Eat and drink a royal spread at Storm Crow Tavern’s Medieval Feastival. Choose from a meat- or veg-friendly menu with beer or wine pairings, and three levels of packages ($100, $150, and $200) that offer different perks.
  • Where: The Storm Crow Tavern – 1305 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 31, 6 to 11 pm.
  • Tickets: $100/$150/$200 available online

New Belgium Tap Takeover at Portland Craft

  • What: New Year’s Eve = New Belgium time at Portland Craft. For a beer-y low-key NYE, head to this US-inspired bar to try some great New Belgium brews. They’ll have 16 New Belgium beers on tap. Tickets are $20, which includes 1 beer, 1 appy, door prizes, and 10 raffle tickets.
  • Where: Portland Craft – 3835 Main Street, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 31, 9 pm to 1 am.
  • Tickets: online. Available $20

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2017

Polar Bear Swim

Sherwood411 / Flickr

  • What: Start off 2017 the right way by plunging into the frigid waters of English Bay to ring in the New Year. The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim is a tradition dating back to 1920 when 10 brave swimmers took a cool dip into English Bay on January 1.
  • Where: English Bay Bathhouse – 1700 Beach Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, January 1, 2017. From 2:30 t0 3:30 pm. Come early for registration.
  • Tickets: Free. Participants must register online. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be accepting donations of non-perishable food or cash – please be generous!

New Year’s Day Fat Ass 50K Ultramarathon



  • What: Run off those holiday calories at this New Year’s Day Ultramarathon.
  • Where: Brockton Oval in Stanley Park
  • When: Sunday, January 1, 2017. Run starts at 9 am.
  • Register: Online, $25

Salute to Vienna

  • What: Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert an afternoon concert of Strauss waltzes with the Strauss Symphony of Canada featuring the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
  • Where: Orpheum– 601 Smithe Street at Seymour, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, January 1, 2017, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm.
  • Tickets: Available online 

Big Rock Urban presents: Hangover Brunch 

brunch table


  • What: Looking for something to soak up all the alcohol from your New Years Eve escapades? Look no further than our Hangover Brunch at Big Rock Urban Eatery.
  • Where: Big Rock Urban Eatery – 310 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, January 1, 2017, from 11 am to 3 pm.
  • Tickets: Available on Eventbrite, $13

Ninjitsu Sundays

  • What: Ninjitsu is the ancient art of the ninja shadow warriors of Japan. Through the practice of Ninjitsu you’ll learn to move your body & mind in a more poetic way, through breath & traditional exercises.
  • Where: Vital Health Medical Clinic Kitsilano –1855 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, January 1, from 10:30 am to 12 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, free

Richmond Cuddle Party

  • What: Wanna socialize? Fill your cuddle Tank? Practice clear communication? Many find it a cheerful environment to meet others. In an atmosphere that’s nurturing and fun. And you decide with whom and how to cuddle. Including the option to not cuddle at all but socialize, relax.
  • Where: #307-6451 Minoru Blvd (buzz #7224), Richmond
  • When: Sunday, January 1, from 2 to 5 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, donation of $20 is recommended at the door

Double Down: Spontaneous Comedy Duos 

  • What: Instant Theatre Company proudly presents DOUBLE DOWN: A Night of Spontaneous Improv Duos! You’ve seen very structured and methodical improv, where groups have worked together for weeks and months to put on a show. Now, we’re going to break all of those rules. Come watch as 4 brand new improv duos will be created on the spot from 8 names drawn randomly from a bowl! No preparation, no safety net, just spontaneous improv fun!
  • Where: Havana–1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, January 1, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, $8

Streetfight Imrov! 

Streetfight Improv / Eventbrite

  • What: Streetfight is a hilarious hour of head to head short form improv that you don’t want to miss. Every week we get ten of the funniest improvisers in town (or amazing special guests!) who compete back and forth with short improvised scenes vying for your laughter!
  • Where: Havana–1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, January 1, from 9 to 10 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, $8

The Sunday Service Presents: Hangoverstravaganza

  • What: It is widely agreed that 2016 was the worst year on record and at the Sunday Service they totally agree and have a job for you: start your 2017 off correctly by coming down to the Fox Cabaret as they do a salute to Hangovers called: The Hangoverstravaganza.
  • Where: The Fox Cabaret–2321 Main Street, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, January 1, from 9 to 11 pm

Bright Nights in Stanley Park

  • What: More than three million dazzling lights decorate hectares of the dark forest, reaching high as the forest canopy for Bright Nights in Stanley Park. There’s also a train ride, music, snacks, entertainment, and visits with Santa and his elves. Be sure to catch the last day of the event!
  • Where: Miniature railway area in Stanley Park
  • When: Now until Sunday, January 1. Times vary, check website for details.
  • Admission: Bright Nights entry by donation ($4 is suggested), Christmas train tickets available on Ticketleader, from $6-$12.

Chalet Place, North Vancouver Light Display

  • What: A North Vancouver has been lighting up with over 100,000 lights each Christmas for a few years, all for a good cause. The homeowners welcome visitors but encourage a donation to the Harvest Project in return.
  • Where: 4967 Chalet Place, North Vancouver
  • When:  Until January 6. The house is illuminated nightly at 5:30 pm.

Holidays at the Aquarium

SC and penguin

Holidays/Vancouver Aquarium

  • What: Scuba Claus is back in town for another underwater adventure at the Vancouver Aquarium. He’ll be making special trips to deliver gifts to the most deserving creates in the sea while entertaining guests on the other side of the glass. Once that’s done, you can catch a showing of the Polar Express in 4-D.
  • Where: Vancouver Aquarium – 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
  • When: Now until January 2

Festival of Lights at VanDusen

  • What: See the botanical garden covered in more than a million lights. Find reindeer and Scandinavian goes roaming the trails.
  • Where: VanDusen Gardens – 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
  • When: Now until January 2

Christmas at FlyOver Canada

  • What: Christmas at FlyOver Canada takes FlyOver Canada’s spectacular trip across Canada and adds a couple of holiday elements, like helping Santa search for his missing elves and getting an extra 90-second animated view of the North Pole.
  • Where: 201 – 999 Canada Place
  • When: Now until January 2, 9:30 am to 10 pm. 9:30 am to 6 pm on December 24.
  • Price: $21.95 for adults, $23.95 for FastLane. Buy tickets online

Lights at Lafarge Lake

Photo by: Ania Jedrzejewska / Instagram

  • What: See more than 100,000 twinkling lights light up Coquitlam’s Lafarge Lake, in a magical, free, outdoor display for visitors of all ages.
  • When: Town Centre Park – 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
  • When: Nightly from dusk to 11 pm, until January 22
DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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