28 things to do in Vancouver this week: December 30 to January 2

Dec 30 2019, 1:00 pm

The last week of December is here! Make the most of it with these 28 events happening in Vancouver from December 30 to January 2, including New Year’s Eve, Bright Nights, and more.

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

Monday, December 30

Christmas Glow Vancouver

What: Christmas Glow will take place inside the Harbour Convention Centre, and visitors will be able to enjoy nearly 50,000 sq. ft. of enchanting twinkling lights and holiday activities.

This year’s theme for Vancouver is “Santa’s Lost Presents.” Guests will be able to help the elves find Santa’s lost presents. Themed light-up structures, including Santa’s sleigh and his trusty reindeer, will be set up around the venue. Adults will be able to enjoy the licensed bars, seasonal beverages, and live music while interactive activities and festive playgrounds will keep the kids busy.

When: Now until January 5, 2020
Time: Hours vary
Where: Harbour Convention Centre — 760 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Catoro Cafe Community Nights

December 30


What: Catoro, Vancouver’s magical cat cafe, is hosting a number of  “community nights,” in December. Enjoy a different holiday film every Monday in December, including My Neighbour Totoro on December 30. Each event will cost $25, is 90 minutes in duration, and includes a drink and plenty of cats.

When: December 30, 2019
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: Catoro Cafe — 666 E Broadway, Vancouver
Register: Online

Ballet BC presents Alberta Ballet – The Nutcracker

What: Ballet BC presents Alberta Ballet in the holiday tradition, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Featuring choreography by Edmund Stripe and sets and costumes designed by Emmy Award-winning designer Zack Brown, The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, the evil Mouse King, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Musical score performed live by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

When: Now until December 30, 2019
Time: 1 pm
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre — 630 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Cats and Dogs

What: Presented by White Spot, and created by La Cité des sciences et de l’industrie, in partnership with Le Musée de la civilization, the Cats & Dogs exhibition is the first “large-scale” exhibition dedicated to these animals, according to officials. Visitors will learn about the cognitive and sensory world of cats and dogs, in what’s described as an “immersive environment” that is meant to show people how their pets have a “completely different perception” of the world around them.

When: Now until January 5, 2020
What: Various times
Where: TELUS World of Science — 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

What: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Catch the musical at Gateway Theatre in December and sing along to the biblical story of Joseph, Jacob, and the coat of many colours.

When: Various dates until December 31, 2019
Time: Various times

Where: Gateway Theatre — 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond
Tickets: Online

Winter In The Village

What: Steveston’s Winter in the Village is back for another season. Until December 31, enjoy a variety of festive events including winter hayrides, Christmas caroling, photos with Santa and other free holiday happenings around the village.

When: Now until December 31, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Steveston Village
Admission: Free

Nutcracker Afternoon Tea

Notch8 Restaurant & Bar Nutcracker Tea

Courtesy Notch8 Restaurant & Bar

What: Held in the Notch8 Restaurant & Bar’s Private Dining Room, this Nutcracker themed tea service features holiday décor and vintage storybooks, and food will be served on a decorative Christmas tree tier.

Food featured in this tea includes Porcini Mushroom Hot Cocoa topped with bitter chocolate marshmallow, Ginger Mont Blanc Babka, and Fruitcake Scone served with clotted cream, marmalade and black cassis curd, and a ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ with candy cane stripe beetroot, goat cheese, and pine dust to name a few.

When: Now until December 31, 2019
Time: Seatings at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm
Where: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver – 900 W Georgia Street, Vancouver
Price: Adults, $79; children, $39.50 (ages 12 and under); reserve online

Tuesday, December 31

New Year’s Eve with Vancouver TheatreSports

What: Vancouver TheatreSports’ Year in Review is an improvised look at 2019’s top stories and gives a comedic perspective on the year’s happenings as the New Year approaches. There are three shows to choose from, with the late show including party favours and a complimentary glass of bubbly.

When: December 31, 2019
Time: 7:30, 9:30, and 11:15 pm
Where: The Improv Centre – 1502 Duranleau Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

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


What: Ring in the New Year at Mount Seymour and their Family First Night. The event includes snow shoeing, laser tobogganing, acro fire entertainment, food vendors, live performances, and more. There will also be an early countdown and fireworks at 8:25 pm.

When: December 31, 2019
Time: 5:30 to 8 pm
Where: Mt. Seymour — 1700 Mt. Seymour Road, North Vancouver
More Info: Online

NYE 2020 @ TELUS World of Science

What: Featuring five fully licensed bars, two rooms of music on two floors, six of the city’s top DJs and performers, and an amazing sound and light system that will have you dancing as soon as you arrive. Cash bar only.

When: December 31, 2019
Time: 9 pm to 3 am
Where: TELUS World of Science – 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online. General admission starts at $75 and VIP packages start at $95 (each includes a complimentary glass of champagne for the NYE toast)

Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Variety Show

What: Circus 3’s New Year’s Eve Variety Show features circus acrobats, a live orchestra, magic, and one of the city’s biggest balloon drops. Shows on New Year’s Eve in Vancouver and New Year’s Day in Abbotsford.

When: December 31, 2019, December 1, 2020
Time: 3 pm and 8 pm (December 31), 3 pm (January 1)
Where: Vancouver Playhouse – 600 Hamilton Street, Vancouver; Abbotsford Arts Centre — 2329 Crescent Way, Abbotsford
Tickets: Online

New Year’s Eve SkyTrain and SeaBus Party



What: The fourth annual SkyTrain and SeaBus Dance Party, hosted by Vyve, will take place at 8 pm on New Year’s Eve — aka, the perfect time to liven up a commute to an epic NYE party. The starting location will be announced on December 31, 12 hours before the start of the event. Participants are required to register in advance and admission is by donation.

When: December 31, 2019
Time: Event starts at 8 pm
Where: Starting location to be announced at 8 am on the day of the event
Admission: By donation

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration at Grouse Mountain

What: Skate on the 8,000-sq-ft mountaintop Skate Pond, take a sled down the Sliding Zone and enjoy the outdoor Light Walk around Blue Grouse Lake at Grouse Mountain on New Year’s Eve. There will also be live performances throughout the night as well as a 9 pm countdown for the young ones.

When: December 31, 2019
Time: Festivities starts at 5 pm
Where: Grouse Mountain Resort – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Tickets: Online

NYE at Wildeye Brewing

What: You can enjoy a “tiki-style” celebration at Wildeye Brewing in North Vancouver. The night’s festivities include an exclusive menu of beer, wine, cider, and feature cocktails. The Dance Party will feature a live DJ spinning hits until 2 am. Tickets also include live entertainment, party favours, and a glass of bubbles at midnight.

When: December 31, 2019
Time: 9 pm to 2 am
Where: Wildeye Brewing 1385 Main Street, North Vancouver
Tickets: Online, $25

Wednesday, January 1

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

2019 Vancouver New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim (Steve McConnell)

What: The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club is one of the largest and oldest Polar Bear Clubs in the world. Its initial swim was in 1920, when a small number of hardy swimmers took the plunge into English Bay on New Year’s Day. The afternoon will also have live musical performances, food trucks, and more.

When: January 1, 2020
Time: Noon to 4 pm. Swim happens at 2:30 pm
Where: English Bay
Admission: Free. Participants must register online. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be accepting donations of non-perishable food or cash – please be generous

Christmas at Canada Place 2019

What: Free Christmas attractions presented by the Port of Vancouver will be taking over the Canadian Trail, along the west promenade of Canada Place from now until January 1, 2020, from 8 am to 11 pm daily. This year’s festivities include a historic peek into the past with Woodward’s Windows displays, the festive Avenue of Trees, and the iconic white sails of Canada Place being illuminated with bright colours and designs throughout the holidays. And make sure to stop by Canada’s North light display including “Chrismoose,” a massive 15-ft-tall moose light sculpture. Snap a photo to commemorate a fun time at Christmas at Canada Place.

When: Now until January 1, 2020
 Time: 8 am to 11 pm Daily
Where: The Canadian Trail, West Promenade – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
Admission: Free

Lights at Lafarge Lake

What: Lights at Lafarge Lake is one of the largest free light displays in Metro Vancouver and features more than 100,000 twinkling lights. The outdoor display wraps its way entirely around the lake, leading visitors on a 1.2-km loop through 10 themed zones. The display is located just steps from SkyTrain’s Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station, and the lights will remain on from dusk each night until 11 pm.

When: Now until January 19, 2019
Time: Dusk to 11 pm daily (until midnight on New Year’s Eve)
Where: Town Centre Park – 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Bright Nights at Stanley Park 2019

Stanley Park

Stanley Park Bright Nights (@sammietan/Instagram)

What: Bright Nights at Stanley Park features over three million dazzling lights decorating acres of the dark forest, reaching as high as the forest canopy for all to see and enjoy. The attraction in the heart of the park is also accompanied by a train ride, music, snacks, entertainment, and even visits with Santa and his elves.

The annual tradition, now in its 22nd year, is operated and installed by 800 firefighters – a task that requires 8,000 hours of set-up over three months. Bright Nights attracts 200,000 visitors every year, with all proceeds benefiting the Burn Fund, which provides life-saving, life-supporting, and life-enriching services to people in BC.

When: Now until January 1, 2020
Time: Various times
Where: Stanley Park Miniature Railway – Pipeline Road, Stanley Park
Admission: $8.40 – 12.60. Tickets available online

Lights on the Lake at Harrison Hot Springs

What: Harrison Hot Springs will be overflowing with Christmas spirit this holiday season, thanks to the return of its annual Winter Light Festival. Light displays on the Harrison Lakefront will showcase the mythical creature hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, fishing, camping, and windsurfing. The event will also feature a Christmas tree trail and a brand-new synthetic outdoor ice rink.

When: Now until January 12, 2020
Time: Various times
Where: Harrison Hot Springs
Admission: Free

Heritage Christmas

What: Take a trip back to holidays past at Burnaby Village Museum with Heritage Christmas. See vintage-themed displays, listen to live music, and enjoy theatre performances. There will also be crafts for children, baking in the Farmhouse, and visits with Father Christmas. There’s even the option to have a full turkey dinner, or festive drinks or treats from the Ice Cream Parlour.

When: Now until January 3, 2020
Time: 1 to 9 pm
Where: Burnaby Village Museum – 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
Admission: Free, carousel rides $2.65

Holidays at Vancouver Aquarium

What: Vancouver Aquarium has a variety of holiday favourite activities this season, including the electric-eel-powered Christmas tree (with feedings daily at 11:30 am), the tot-friendly kelp maze, and the picture-perfect jelly snow globe. Check out the mistle-toad” near the Frogs Forever Gallery, and after wandering the galleries with cocoa in hand, it’s time for a journey to the North Pole in the Vancouver Aquarium’s 4-D theatre, where The Polar Express 4D Experience plays daily. 

When: Now until January 5, 2020
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park – 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
Admission: Adults: $38| Senior/Student: $30 | Child (4-12): $21 | Child (0-4): $0  – Tickets available online

Thursday, January 2

Skate Plaza at The Shipyards

What: The Shipyards’ large, covered outdoor plaza has been converted into a free ice rink for the season. The rink will be open to skating seven days a week from 12 to 7 pm.

The skateable surface is approximately 20,000 sq.ft, including the floor area of the 12,000 sq.ft. plaza and the adjacent 8,000 sq.ft. summertime water spray area, both of which are covered by a retractable roof. Skaters can either bring their own skates or rent a pair of skates on-site for $7, although quantities are limited. Helmets and skating aids are free.

When: Daily until the end of season
Time: Noon to 7 pm
Where: The Shipyards Commons, North Vancouver
Admission: Free, skate rentals are available at a cost of $7 (quantities are limited)

The Sound of Music

What: Arts Club Theatre brings the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical to life at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Enjoy classics like “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” and more with the family.

When: Now until January 5, 2020
Time: Various times
Where: Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage — 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

2020 Year of Predictions at Vancouver TheatreSports

Vancouver TheatreSports/Facebook

What: Vancouver TheatreSports’ ensemble take a comedic look into the future with predictions of the top news stories of 2020.

When: January 2 to January 4, 2020
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: The Improv Centre – 1502 Duranleau Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

VanDusen Festival of Lights 2019

What: The dazzling botanical garden will be covered in more than a million lights to help ring in the Christmas season. Visitors can stroll through interactive themed areas, watch the famous dancing lights show on Livingstone Lake, take a photo with Santa, light a candle at the Make-A-Wish candle grotto, or simply warm up with a specialty beverage at the licensed fireside lounge. All tickets, which can be purchased online or at the gate, include a free ride on the carousel.

When: Now until January 5, 2020
Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden – 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
Time: 4 to 9:30 pm (closed Christmas Day)
AdmissionAdults: $19 online and $21 at the gate. Youth and seniors: $14.50 online and $16 at the gate

Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas 2019

What: Visitors can take a spin on Grouse Mountain’s 8,000-sq-ft outdoor ice skating pond or zip down the multi-lane snow sliding zone. You can also take a sleigh ride through the mountain’s Winter Wonderland, meet magic reindeer, watch family Christmas movies, and write a letter to Santa. At Santa’s Workshop, believers young and old can share their special Christmas wishes and take a photo. Photos are pay by donation to BC Children’s Hospital.

Access to the Peak of Christmas is included with your Annual Local’s Pass, Y2Play or Winter Season Pass, as well as regular Alpine Experience tickets.

When: Now until January 5, 2020
Time: 9 am to 10 pm
Where: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Admission: Peak of Christmas activities are complimentary with Mountain Admission Ticket, Annual Membership, Winter Season Pass, or Lift Ticket. Tickets online. Discounted rates are also available for BC residents

There is Truth Here: Creativity and Resilience in Children’s Art from Indian Residential and Day Schools

What: There is Truth Here is the feature exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver. The exhibit showcases rare surviving artworks created by children who attended the Inkameep Day School (Okanagan), St Michael’s Indian Residential School (Alert Bay), the Alberni Indian Residential School (Vancouver Island), and Mackay Indian Residential School (Manitoba). Experiences of the survivors are shared through their childhood artworks. Curated by Andrea Walsh, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Victoria, and originally displayed at the Legacy Art Gallery in Victoria.

When: Now until January 5, 2020
Time: Various times
Where: Museum of Vancouver — 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver
Admission Info: Online

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge 2019

Canyon Lights/Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

What: The Canyon Lights features thousands of sparkling lights illuminating the iconic suspension bridge and other areas of the park. The 30-ton Douglas Firs of the Treetops Adventure will also be dressed in lights. Standing at an impressive 110 feet above the forest floor, the Douglas Firs that connect the suspension bridges are the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world, according to event organizers. Also returning to this year’s festival is the Snowy Owl Prowl scavenger hunt, gingerbread cookie decorating, and sing-along carols with a holiday band.

When: Now until January 26, 2020
Time: 11 am to 9 pm daily; holiday activities run from 4 to 9 pm
Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park — 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
Tickets: Available online, with annual passes (included with admission) available for BC residents

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