More than 35 fun and fantastic things to do in Vancouver in December

Dec 1 2021, 3:00 pm

Please note: British Columbia is in Step 3 of its COVID-19 restart plan. Please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including physical distancing and frequent hand washing, and wearing a mask or face-covering in public indoor and retail spaces. If you are sick, please stay home.


December is here and it’s the best time of the year! Now let’s pack your schedule with fun things to see and do in Vancouver.

From magical holiday events to insightful films, rocking concerts to delicious food happenings. Here are 39 things to do this month!

Festive Holiday events

Vancouver Christmas Market

vancouver Christmas market 2021

GoToVan/Flickr

What: This fall and winter, you can experience the magic of a German-style holiday festival at the Vancouver Christmas Market until December 24. Organizers say this year’s event will be bigger than ever with more than 80 vendors where you can buy gifts and eat to your heart’s content. All your favourites are going to be there, so you can fill up on melty raclette cheese, spätzle, chimney cakes, schnitzel, and more.

When: Daily until December 24, 2021
Time: 11:30 am to 9 pm (Now until December 23), 11:30 am to 6 pm (December 24)
Where: Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver
Cost: Various, purchase online

KITSMAS TIME on YEW

What: The magic of the holidays is coming to Kitsilano as the West 4th Business Improvement Association (BIA) is hosting KITSMAS TIME on YEW on December 11 and 12. All ages are welcome to the family-friendly event, with a variety of activities and entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Plus the first 100 attendees daily will receive a holiday face covering from kuverUP.

When: December 11 and 12, 2021
Time: 12 to 8 pm (Saturday), 12 to 6 pm (Sunday)
Where: Yew Street at West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano, Vancouver
Cost: Free

FlyOver Canada – Soar With Santa

What: Experience the magic of Christmas this December with FlyOver Canada’s Soar With Santa. Fly across Canada and up to the North Pole in this festive flight happening until January 3, 2022.

When: December 9, 2021 to January 3, 2022 (Closed on December 25)
Time: Various times
Where: 999 Canada Place, Canada, Vancouver, BC
Tickets: Available on-site or online. Booking online beforehand is advised.

Holiday Splash at the Vancouver Aquarium

What: Scuba Claus will be visiting the Vancouver Aquarium daily to don his flippers and dive with the colourful cold-water creatures in the Strait of Georgia habitat, with festive decor and twinkling lights all around. All throughout December, and into January, keen-eyed youngsters and adults alike will be able to spot Scuba Claus during his daily dives, spreading holiday cheer and magic.

When: Now until January 3, 2022
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Vancouver Aquarium – 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
Admission: Adult: $42 | Senior/Student: $36.75 | Child (3-12): $26.25 | Child (0-2): Free. Purchase online

Photos and Visits with Santa at Capilano Mall

iStock

What: Now that Santa is setting up his home away from home at Capilano Mall, families have the chance to visit him right through to December 24. Walk-ins are available on a first-come, first-serve basis based on availability, and you can also make an appointment through the online booking system.

To ensure that everyone who visits Santa has a digital and print keepsake to remember the moment, there will be a local professional photographer on site. You can get a Santa photo package for $19.99, which includes one 4×6 print and a digital download. And to make it better, those who purchase a photo package will receive a snowman hand puppet (one per child while supplies last).

When: Now until December 24, 2021
Bookings: Walk-ins on the day, or book an appointment online ahead of time
Where: Capilano Mall’s Grand Court – 935 Marine Drive, North Vancouver
Price: Starting at $19.99

Eastside Flea Holiday Markets

What: After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, Eastside Flea returns in time for the holiday season. The popular Holiday Markets feature a curated roster of over 50 local makers and collectors with vintage clothing, small-batch items, antiques & collectibles and more to discover. Shop for everyone on your list and then treat yourself to delicious dishes from the food trucks on site.

When: December 4 and 5, December 11 and 12, December 18 and 19, 2021
Time: 11 am to 5 pm
Where: Eastside Studios – 550 Malkin Ave, Vancouver
Admission: $3, no one turned away for lack of funds

Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas

Grouse Mountain

Peak of Christmas/ Grouse Mountain

What: Grouse Mountain’s whimsical Peak of Christmas experience features a stunning Light Walk around Blue Grouse Lake, as well as open-air ice skating with incredible views on the 8,000 sq ft Mountaintop Skating Pond. Other fan-favourite events include Breakfast with Santa and photos at Santa’s Workshop by donation, which will benefit the BC Children’s Hospital.

This year, for the health and safety of individuals enjoying Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas, proof of vaccination will be required for all guests born in 2009 or earlier. Additionally, face masks will be mandatory inside all resort facilities.

When: Now until January 3, 2022
Time: Various times
Where: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Complimentary with an annual Locals or Snow Pass, a Mountain Admission Ticket, or a special family ticket rate of $109 for two adults and two children.

The Holiday Festival at the Museum

What: The Port Moody Museum, across from Brewer’s Row, is going to turn into an adorable wonderland this season for the first time ever. The 3,200 square foot tent will both protect from the rain and provide airflow and ventilation for visitors. Shop from local vendors, take in live entertainment, and eat your way through a cozy market inspired by the heritage setting. Admission is by donation and the money will support the Port Moody Station Museum.

When: December 1 to 24, 2021
Time: 12 pm to 9 pm daily, closed at 6 pm on December 24
Where: Port Moody Station Museum – 2734 Murray Street, Port Moody
Admission: By donation

Little Mountain Shop Holiday Pop-up at The Polygon 

What: The Polygon Gallery hosts Little Mountain Shop Holiday Pop-Up throughout the holiday season. Shop for sustainably-minded products from an all-Canadian lineup of mostly-local, women-led, BIPOC makers and creatives. Plus every Thursday evening includes a festive Meet the Makers social that everyone is welcome to.

When: Now until December 26, 2021
Time: 10 am to 5 pm (Wednesday, Friday Saturday and Sunday), 10 am to 8 pm (Thursday)
Where: The Polygon Gallery – 101 Carrie Cates Ct, North Vancouver
Cost: Free

Robson Square Ice Rink

Robson

@bilalsayed19/ Instagram

What: Situated under the covered outdoor plaza at Robson Square, the rink operates seasonally when temperatures begin to dip. The rink also has an indoor skate rental and a cafe area that is currently being set up, as well as an outdoor patio with heaters. There will also be live music performances from December 13 to 24, as part of the 12 Days of Christmas programming.

When: Daily from Thursday, December 2, 2021
Time: Sunday to Thursday from 9 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 11 pm, Holiday hours vary.
Where: 800 Robson Street, Vancouver (Robson Street and Howe Street)
Cost: Free for all ages if you bring your own skates. (Skate rentals are $5, and rentals end 30 minutes before closing time.)

Home Alone at The Centre

What: Calling all Christmas movie lovers! The Centre is doing a free screening of one of the most iconic movies ever in December. In case you’re not familiar with the holiday classic, Home Alone stars a 10-year-old Macaulay Culkin as Kevin, a kid who gets accidentally left behind by his family for the holidays and is left to fend for himself – literally.

Masks and proof of vaccination are required to enter and everyone will get a free popcorn snack.

When: December 18, 2021
Time: Doors at 7, 7:30 pm showtime
Where: The Centre, 777 Homer Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Free, register online starting December 1

Tinseltown Christmas pop-up bar

What: This Christmas-themed pop-up bar is perfect for Christmas fanatics looking to have a merry ol’ time. You can indulge in all the good things about the holiday like Christmas music, Christmas-themed drinks and, of course, Christmas pudding. It is a 19+ event, and non-alcoholic beverages are available upon request.

When: Now until December 31, 2021
Time: Seatings available from 1 pm to 9 pm
Where: 904 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $17, purchase online

Dazzling Holiday Lights

Surrey Holiday Lights

surrey holiday lights

(Surrey Holiday Lights)

What: Surrey Holiday Lights is an indoor and outdoor light and music festival that will take place at Surrey Civic Plaza. The dazzling experience is highlighted by the holiday lights tent, which features different illuminated exhibitions, a canopy of holiday lights, and plenty of photo opportunities. The outdoor Snowflake Stage and the indoor North Pole stage will feature live music throughout the day as well.

Children will also be able to take photos with Santa, although they’ll be positioned and angled so that they can keep a safe distance. Visitors looking to do some shopping can also check out the Holiday Market, which will showcase boutique artisans, Christmas crafts, and Indigenous artists. And if you’re in need of some hot beverages or delicious food, check out the Enchanted Eats area, which has some of Surrey’s best food trucks, treats, and gourmet hot chocolate and coffee.

When: Now until to January 2, 2022
Time: 4 to 10 pm daily
Where: Surrey Civic Plaza – 13450-104 Avenue, Surrey
Tickets: Available online

Canyon Lights

What: The magical Canyon Lights attraction is making its return to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park for the 2021 holiday season. The famed suspension bridge will be glowing, and the canyon floor underneath it will be illuminated with lights from below, creating an enchanting winter wonderland.

Visitors will be able to venture through a rainforest decorated with holiday lights and see the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world. Not to mention, part of the park will light up with its Insta-worthy “Arc de Lumina” light tunnel.

When: Now until January 23, 2022
Time: 11 am to 9 pm
Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
Tickets: Available online

Vallea Lumina

What: Vallea Lumina is an enchanting outdoor experience that is just a 10-minute drive from Whistler Village. Immerse yourself in a natural landscape that’s been transformed with lights, sounds, videos, and art as you wander through the woods on your journey.

The 1.5 km undulating trail can take visitors between 50 to 80 minutes to explore. You can get your tickets online in advance. For the winter season, the first showtimes of the night will happen at 6 pm. During the holiday season, shows will begin at 5 pm.

When: Now until April 2022
Time: Various times
Where: Cougar Mountain Basecamp, Whistler
Tickets: Online, $29.99

Bright Nights 2021 at Stanley Park

stanley park christmas train

Univaded Fox/Flickr

What: Vancouver’s most wholesome and nostalgic holiday activity has officially returned to Stanley Park for the holidays. The Stanley Park Christmas Train, also called Bright Nights, will be humming along its tracks, and you can experience the magic of millions of twinkling lights in the festive forest. Firefighter volunteers are busy setting up the Bright Nights display in the plaza, and they will be getting donations for the Burn Fund.

When: Now until January 2, 2022
Time: Various times
Where: Stanley Park, Vancouver
Admission: Tickets available online, $13 for train tickets and Christmas train tickets available on Ticketleader, from $6-$12

PNE WinterLights Drive-Thru

What: This December, the PNE will transform the park into PNE WinterLights, a unique and whimsical holiday drive-thru. The experience will include stunning lights, special holiday characters and winter creatures, live performers, and some tasty seasonal food offerings.

Specifically, this year’s installation will feature two light tunnels, a snowglobe village filled with live dancers, and nine different “lands” each with unique themes. The drive-thru will also have a special radio broadcast throughout the experience that visitors can tune into from their vehicle.

When: December 3 to 5, 9 to 12, 16 to 23, and 26 to 31, 2021
Time:
 4:30 to 10:30 pm
Where: 
The Pacific National Exhibition — 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Available online, starting at $42

Christmas Glow in Langley Drive Through

Glow 2021

Glow Langley

What: The 2021 Glow Gardens in Langley is back this holiday season. You can drive through illuminated tunnels and see towering light sculptures from the coziness of your car. You’ll go on a 20-minute long journey through gardens of twinkling lights at a pace that will make you feel like you’re driving in a parade. Plus, you can order one of their iconic light-bulb-shaped Glow Cups to sip on while you cruise.

When: Now until January 1, 2022
Time: Various times
Where: Darvonda Nurseries – 6690 216 Street, Langley
Tickets: $29.99 per vehicle

VanDusen Festival of Lights

What: More than 15 acres of the grounds at VanDusen Botanical Garden will be dripping with magical lights and filled with holiday decor. Expect to find plenty of your favourite holiday treats for sale, too, as you wander the illuminated paths of the gardens. This year, there’s a new illuminated rose garden display where the garden stewards used their artistry to “reawaken” the garden. Capacity for the event will be limited and proof of vaccination will be required.

When: Now until January 3, 2022
Time: Various times
Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden – 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online only, $17.50 for adults

Things to do in December

Floodstock: Vancouver Rocks for Relief

floodstock rickshaw

Rickshaw Theatre/Facebook

What: Presented by the band Brass Camel, 10 musical acts are going to be hitting the stage in support of BC residents who have been hit hardest by extreme weather events in recent weeks. The full list of artists that will be playing at the show include Crooked Rider, Wazonek, Spendo, Bad Magic, Raincity, Chase The Bear, Brass Camel, The History of Gunpowder, JP Maurice and Old Soul Rebel.

100% of the proceeds from Floodstock are going to the Canadian Red Cross British Columbia Floods & Extreme Weather Appeal. The show will be hosted by Larry Hennessey from 96.9 JackFM.

When: December 10, 2021
Time: 6:45 pm to 12:15 am
Where: Rickshaw Theatre – 254 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $25 plus fees, purchase online

See the Challenger Map of BC at Vancouver Convention Centre

What: A giant piece of the three-dimensional Challenger Map detailing the topography of British Columbia is now being temporarily exhibited at the Vancouver Convention Centre. This piece of the map was moved to the publicly accessible East Building lobby of the convention centre — within Canada Place, beyond the Pan Pacific Hotel lobby — and it will remain at this location for free public viewing throughout the holiday season.

When: Now until December 26, 2021
Time: Various times
Where: Vancouver Convention Centre East – 1055 Canada Pl, Vancouver
Cost: Free

Singletree Winery Di Vine Domes

What: Singletree Winery in Abbotsford has two dazzling domes set up for cozy wine tastings. The Di Vine Domes are open Wednesday to Sunday, and there are a few different packages available. Each dome has a theme, with guests choosing whether they want to drink in the ambiance of an Enchanted Forest or a Canadian Cabin. Guests will sample cheese from the Fraser Valley and hyper-local eats inside the domes paired with their wine.

When: Wednesday to Sunday
Time: Various times
Where: 5782 Mount Lehman Road, Abbotsford
Reservations: Online

The Bryan Adams New Years Eve Party

(Bryan Adams/Live Nation)

What: The Bryan Adams New Years Eve Party will be hosted at Rogers Arena on December 31, 2021. The Canadian superstar will be joined by fellow Vancouver acts Mother Mother and 54-40.  The concert will mark Adams’ first hometown show in nearly four years. According to event organizers, the event will also be “the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in decades.” Adams, a multi-platinum artist, is also set to release his 15th studio album, So Happy It Hurts, in March 2022.

When: December 31, 2021
Time: 8 pm
Where: Rogers Arena – 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver
Tickets: Available online

Vancouver International Black Film Festival

What: The first edition of Vancouver International Black Film Festival is created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation and features 38 films from seven countries. The entirely-virtual festival runs from December 9 to 12 and also includes panels and special events for filmmakers. There will also be encore presentations of panels from VIBFF Sister Festivals.

When: December 9 to 12, 2021
Time: Various times
Where: Virtual
Cost: $39 for all access pass, purchase online

H Tasting Lounge’s Winterlust

What: H Tasting Lounge’s enchanting winter patio, located at The Westin Bayshore Vancouver. Winterlust offers an opportunity to chill out in the magical snow globes and soak in the winter vibes as well as enjoy festive cocktails.

Folks can look forward to enjoying new heated Alpine-inspired domes decked out with cozy Nordic-inspired decor this year. Each dome is 8’-by-8′ and boasts panoramic glass panelling.

When: Now through winter 2022
Time: Various times
Where: H Tasting Lounge — 1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver
Reservations: Online

The Wizard’s Den

What: The Wizard’s Den is a boozy interactive experience. In your 90-minute sitting, you’ll get to imagine what it would be like to be at a Hogwarts party. You and your friends will have to complete challenges to unlock potion ingredients. Then, you’ll brew your concoctions with the help of the local potion master. Your ticket will get you two boozy potions plus either a mulled wine or an IPA to drink.

When: Now until December 30, 2021
Time: Various times
Where:
 904 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $46, purchase online

Cheer on the home teams

Vancouver Canucks

What: The Canucks continue their NHL season off at Rogers Arena in December. Home games include the LA Kings on December 6, Toronto Maple Leafs on December 18, and Seattle Kraken on December 27.

When: Various dates
Time: Various times
Where: Rogers Arena – 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver
Cost: Various, purchase online

Vancouver Giants

What: Vancouver Giants’ CHL season continues in December at the Langley Events Centre. Cheer them on as they face off with Kamloops Blazers on December 3, Victoria Royals on December 10, Prince George Cougars on December 18, and more.

When: Various dates
Time: Various times
Where: Langley Events Centre – 7888 200 Street, Langley
Cost: Various, purchase online

Abbotsford Canucks

What: Abbotsford Canucks continue their inaugural AHL season with games against the Ontario Reign on December 1, San Jose Barracuda on December 4 and 5, and Tuscon Roadrunners on December 22.

When: Various dates
Time: Various times
Where: Abbotsford Centre – 33800 King Road, Abbotsford
Cost: Various, purchase online

Enjoy the arts

Yoko Ono: Growing Freedom

vancouver Yoko ono

Daily Hive

What: GROWING FREEDOM: The instructions of Yoko Ono and The art of John and Yoko at Vancouver Art Gallery showcases the importance of imagination and participation in the work of Yoko Ono and John Lennon. Inside the gallery, instructional exhibits can be as simple as an exercise in imagination printed on the walls and putting a literal bag over your head. The second part of the exhibit explores more works and focuses on Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s Canadian connections, including their meeting with Pierre Trudeau and the Montreal bed-in.

When: Now until May 1, 2022
Time: Gallery hours 10 am to 5 pm, 12 pm to 8 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays
Where: Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver
Cost: $24, admission by donation Tuesdays 5 pm to 8 pm. Purchase Online

Look Towards the Sun at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden

What: The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden’s newest exhibition is Look Towards the Sun, an artistic exchange between Lam Wong, a Chinese Canadian diaspora artist from Hong Kong, and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, an artist of Cowichan and Syilx First Nations ancestry.

Yuxweluptun’s paintings celebrate and assert Indigenous ways of living and being while shining a light on Indigenous title, rights, and sovereignty on unceded territories. Wong’s paintings and contemplations as an immigrant inspire his practice as the Garden’s artist-in-residence. Looking Towards the Sun also includes a personal response to the horrific findings of the remains of 215 children buried at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, the school that Yuxweluptun is a survivor of.

When: Wednesday to Sunday until  December 23, 2021
Time: Various times
Where: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – 578 Carrall Street, Vancouver
Cost: $12-$32, purchase online

Sankofa: African Routes, Canadian Roots

What: Sankofa: African Routes, Canadian Roots at Museum of Anthropology features works by contemporary artists from Lagos, Nigeria, and Vancouver, as well as objects in MOA’s permanent collection, to share stories, histories and projects of African and Black affirmation. A focus of the exhibition is to draw connections to historical contributions and the growing vitality of Vancouver’s Black Canadians.

When: Now until March 22, 2022
Time: 10 am to 5 pm, closed on Monday (open until 9 pm on the last Thursday of the month)
Where: Museum of Anthropology – 6393 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver
Tickets: Available online

Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo at the Vancouver Art Gallery

What: Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo is an expansive look at Greater Vancouver contemporary art. The exhibition features works by newer artists as well as established artists, with a variety of media, scale and modes of presentation.

When: Now until January 2, 2022
Where: Vancouver Art Gallery – 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Imagine Picasso

imagine picasso

Daily Hive

What: Imagine Picasso is a collaboration between creators Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron, art historian Androula Michael, and leading figure in the French architecture movement Rudy Ricciotti. The experience will feature more than 200 of Picasso’s paintings being shown together for the very first time.

Paintings will be projected onto nine full-blown Origami-style structures, which will offer a one-of-a-kind perspective on the work of the great Picasso. The experience will last approximately one hour. Non-commercial photography is permitted, and organizers encourage guests to share their photos online.

Organizers point out that Imagine Picasso is designed as a contactless experience. It will have limited capacity and timed entries, and the event will be in full accordance with current public health orders.

When: Now until January 8, 2022
Time: Various times
Where: Vancouver Convention Centre — 1055 Canada Place Way, Vancouver
Tickets: Available online

Steven Shearer at The Polygon Gallery

What: A solo exhibition featuring Vancouver artist Steven Shearer at The Polygon Gallery, The first major survey in Canada of the artist’s work made over the past 20 years, the exhibition showcases the importance of Shearer’s monumental archive of photographic and print material and how it continues to act as a source material for works across a spectrum of media.

When: Now until February 13, 2022
Time: Wednesday, 10 am–5 pm; Thursday, 10 am–8 pm; Friday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm
Where: The Polygon Gallery — 101 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
Cost: By donation

Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo

What: Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo is an expansive look at Greater Vancouver contemporary art. The exhibition features works by newer artists as well as established artists, with a variety of media, scale and modes of presentation.

When: Now until January 2, 2022
Where: Vancouver Art Gallery – 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Eat fresh with farmers’ markets

Riley Park Winter Farmers Market

What: Visitors will find over 70 farms and producers and a selection of food and coffee trucks. Shop for fruits and veggies, eggs and dairy, meat, prepared food, craft beverages, craft items, and more.

When: Every Saturday until April 23, 2022
Time: 10 an to 2 pm
Location: 50 E 30th Ave and Ontario St, Vancouver

Granville Island Public Market

What: You can shop at the Granville Island Public Market year-round. It’s indoors, so it’s a great option on a rainy day. This place is loved by locals and tourists alike. Shop for all your basics and extras here and grab lunch from some of the city’s best eats.

When: Every day
Time: 9 am to 6 pm
Location: Granville Island – 1661 Duranleau Street, Vancouver

Port Moody Winter Farmers’ Market

What: Established in 2008, the Port Moody Winter Farmers’ Market began as a bi-weekly market in the lobby and courtyard of the Port Moody Rec Centre. Now a weekly market, shoppers can stop by every Sunday for local BC produce, artisan crafts, and delicious baked goods.

When: Every Sunday until April
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Port Moody Recreation Complex – 300 Ioco Rd, Port Moody

Daniel ChaiDaniel Chai

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