28 things to do in Vancouver this week: December 31 to January 3

Dec 27 2018, 8:37 am

So long 2018, hello 2019! Get your new year started with these 28 things to do from Monday, December 31 to Thursday, January 3. Concord’s New Years Eve, Polar Bear Swim, and more.

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

Monday, December 31, 2018

Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver: Countdown to 2019

Concord New Year's Eve Vancouver nye

Fireworks at Concord New Year’s Eve Vancouver. (Vancouver New Year’s Eve Celebration Society)

What: One of the largest New Year’s Eve celebrations in Canada, the fireworks spectacle on the Coal Harbour waterfront in downtown Vancouver on this auspicious night sees an attendance of over 100,000 people. Returning for its fourth consecutive year, Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver’s celebration is promising dazzling fireworks shows, a free outdoor street party at Jack Poole Plaza, and an extravagant premium indoor party held inside Vancouver Convention Centre West.

When: From 7 pm on Monday, December 31, 2018, to early morning on Tuesday, January 1, 2019

  • NYE Vancouver Street Party at Jack Poole Plaza: Starts at 7 pm
  • Concord Countdown Central Indoor Party at Vancouver Convention Centre West: Starts at 7 pm
  • Family Countdown Fireworks: 9 pm
  • Midnight Countdown Fireworks: 12 am

Where: Jack Poole Plaza, Vancouver Convention Centre West, and Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver
Tickets: Available now online

Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver 2018/19  Indoor Party

What: The enormous West Ballroom of the beautiful West Building of the Vancouver Convention Centre will be transformed into the largest indoor NYE party in Canada. It is all part of Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver, one of the largest NYE festivals in Canada. Revellers can take in the concert festivities, whimsical art installations, and spectacular high-aerial fireworks from a warm, comfortable, and fun indoor environment. The fireworks will be viewed through the convention centre’s impressive multi-storey high, floor-to-ceiling windows. This is also the only indoor party in Vancouver with its own fireworks. In fact, the fireworks barge in Coal Harbour is strategically positioned to provide indoor party revellers with the best, unobstructed sightlines of the fireworks.

When: Monday, December 31, 2018 from 7 pm to late

  • Family Fireworks: 9 pm
  • Midnight Fireworks: 12 am

Where: Vancouver Convention Centre West – 1055 Canada Place Way, Vancouver
Tickets: Celebration Pass — $59.00 (FREE for kids under 5 years old. The party is for all ages). 19+ adults only VIP Pass — $159.00. Fully licensed. Available here.

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration at Grouse Mountain

What: Enjoy performances throughout the night as well as a special 9 pm countdown for the littlest revelers that will be sure to light up the sky with a boom.

When: Monday, December 31, 2018
Time: Festivities starts at 5 pm
Where: Grouse Mountain Resort – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Tickets: Online

No Pressure NYE at Colony

What: Colony Bar on Main Street and Colony Bar in Kitsilano are holding No Pressure NYE parties for those who want to celebrate in Vancouver without the stress. There are $20 buckets of Bud and Bud Light on special, and if you get stamped at #NoPressureNYE at either Colony location, you’ll be able to get a complimentary caesar at brunch the following day.

When: Monday, December 31, 2018
Time: All evening long
Where: Colony Bar Main – 2904 Main Street; Colony Bar Kits – 3255 West Broadway
Price: Free cover – Make a reservation via Colony Main Street or Colony Bar Kits

Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Variety Show

What: Ring in 2019 with local host funny-man Daniel Zindler and his cast of fools including circus acrobats, magician Paul Nathan, live music, and a few surprises. It all ends early with one of Vancouver’s largest balloon drops letting you party afterwards or put the kids to bed.

When: Monday, December 31, 2018
Time: 8 pm to 10 pm
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 630 Hamilton St., Vancouver
Tickets: Online, $20-$89

New Year’s Eve at Tap & Barrel Shipyards

What: Tap & Barrel Shipyards is throwing its first annual New Year’s Eve Party in Lower Lonsdale. There will be a DJ, photobooth, and party favours. Tickets include a welcome drink, light canapés and bubbles at midnight.

When: Monday, December 31, 2018
Time: 9 pm to 1 am
Where: Tap & Barrel Shipyards – 8 Lonsdale Avenue North Vancouver
Tickets: Online, $25

NYE 2019 @ TELUS World of Science

Science World/Shutterstock

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. Note: cash bar only.

When: Monday,December 31, 2018
Time: 9 pm to 3 am
Where: TELUS World of Science – 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online. General admission starts at $80 and VIP packages start at $95 (each includes a complimentary glass of champagne for the NYE toast).

Tuesday, January 1, 2018

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2019


Polar Bear Swim (Mark Klotz / Flickr)

What: Take an invigorating dip in English Bay for Vancouver’s 99th annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim and join thousands of hardy “polar bears” in this free Vancouver tradition. Dress-up in fancy costume, compete in the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race, or come out to watch and delight in the spectacle. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be accepting donations of non-perishable food or cash.

When: Monday, January 1, 2019
Time: 2:30 t0 3:30 pm. Come early for registration.
Where: English Bay Bathhouse – 1700 Beach Avenue, Vancouver
Admission: Free. Participants should register online. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be accepting donations of non-perishable food or cash – please be generous.

First Day Campfire

What: ​Start off the New Year by a cozy campfire amidst a backdrop of towering evergreens. Sing along to familiar songs or listen to stories about west coast plants and animals. Bring a mug for hot chocolate. All ages welcome.

When: Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Time: 12 to 2:30 pm
Where: Pacific Spirit Regional Park – Meet at the park centre on 16th Ave., 400 m west of Blanca St., Vancouver
Admission: Free

Penguin Plunge

What: Start off the new year with the Penguin Plunge at the Rocky Point boat launch. As this is a fundraiser for Pleasantside Community Association, participants are asked to pay $5 per person or $10 for a family of four. Money collected goes towards programs at Old Orchard Hall, Play Pals, Can Can dancers, and seniors badminton. There will also be sweet treats, coffee and hot chocolate for purchase.

When: Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Time: 1 pm
Where: Rocky Point Pier at Rocky Point Park – 2800 Murray St, Port Moody
Price: $5 per person or $10 for a family of four

Cross-country skiing at Cypress Mountain

Cypress Mountain Shutterstock

What: Located at the Nordic Area on Hollyburn Ridge, Cypress Mountain’s cross country skiing area features 19 km of groomed trail, 7.5 km of trail for night skiing, and the largest ski school in Canada offering both skate and classic lessons.

When: From now to closing day of the season
Time:  Hours vary from day-to-day
Where: Cypress Mountain – 6000 Cypress Bowl Road, West Vancouver
Rentals: Full day rentals start at $24, $16 after 3 pm

New Years Day Walk

What: Join like-minded friends and family for a guided walk at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve. See plenty of waterfowl and maybe some other creatures. Dress for the weather. Hot chocolate to follow.

When: Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Time: 1 pm
Where: Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve Society – 5200 Sumas Prairie Rd, Chilliwack
Admission: Free

Photo Print Sale at The Polygon Gallery

What: The Polygon is offering a sale of framed prints. The diverse selection of vintage and historical photographs, including many sizes and prices, range from limited-edition gelatin silver and albumen prints to contemporary inkjet prints. All prints are mounted and framed.

When: Now to Sunday, January 6, 2018
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: The Polygon Gallery – 101 Carrie Cates Ct, North Vancouver
Admission: Free

Fine Matcha Tasting & Workshop

What: The 90-minute artisan matcha ceremony led by Kimmy of Whisk Premium Matcha explores a variety of interesting matcha-related topics and facts. Practice tea ceremony etiquette and verbiage, prepare a bowl for yourself and others, taste world-class competition grade matcha from different regions and plant varieties, and pair with delicate matcha chocolate.

When: Tuesday, January 1, 2018
Time: 2:30 to 4 pm
Where: L’Atelier Coworking – 319 West Hastings Street #400, Vancouver
Tickets: Online, $60

Wednesday, January 2, 2018

Throwdown International TheatreSports Festival at Vancouver TheatreSports

What: Vancouver TheatreSports welcomes TheatreSports welcomes teams from other cities who bring their A-Game to head-to head matches with each other and local teams comprised of VTS’s top improvisers. The visiting line-up features SAK Comedy Lab (Orlando, Florida), Curious Comedy Theatre (Portland, Oregon), On the Spot Improv (Honolulu,Hawaii) and Ryan Stiles’ company Upfront Theatre (Bellingham, WA).

When: Wednesday, January 2 to Sunday, January 27, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: The Improv Centre – 1502 Duranleau St, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

IIHF World Junior Championship: Relegation and Quarter-final Games

What: Relegation and Quarter-Final rounds of IIHF World Junior Championship happen today at Rogers Arena.

When: Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Time: 11 am (relegation), 3:30 and 7:30 pm (quarter-finals)
Where: Rogers Arena – 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Glow Christmas

What: Glow Christmas brightens up Langley’s Milner Village Garden Centre with over 500,000 lights spanning 103,000-sq-ft of holiday magic. The display will feature four different light gardens, food trucks (and bar!), over 40 vendors, and – the cherry on top – a 210-foot musical light tunnel.

When: Select dates to January 19, 2019
Time: 4 to 10 pm
Where: Milner Village Garden Centre – 6690 216 St, Langley
Tickets: Available online, $8.99 to $39.99. Kids under 3 are free.


What: Count down to perihelion, the “real new year”, with H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and celebrate the moment when the Earth will be closest to the sun for all of 2019. Learn more about this amazing astronomical event during a show in the Planetarium Star Theatre, then enjoy the activities, science demos, and a tour of the  observatory at this family friendly event.

When: Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Time: 6:30 to 8:15 pm
Location: H.R. MacMillan Space Centre – 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver
Admission: Adult: $14, Child: $8.50, Youth/Senior $11, Family (5 persons; 2 adults maximum): $41

Britannia Community Services Centre – January Art Exhibition Openings

What: Everyone is welcome to Britannia Community Services Centre’s January Art Exhibition Openings: “The Seasons of Vancouver” photo essay by John Wang, and “The Highrises That Ate Vancouver” oil paintings by Deanna Fogstrom. Artists will be in attendance, and catering is provided by Michael Speier of Open Sesame.

When: Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: Britannia Community Services Centre – 1661 Napier Street, Vancouver
Admission: Free

Rooftop Gardening Sessions

What: Learn about how to garden in your community at Collingwood Neighbourhood House’s rooftop gardening sessions. Event is free, tools are provided, and the event is accessible for all. Hosted by Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute.

When: Every Wednesday
Time: 5 to 8 pm
Where: Collingwood Neighbourhood House – 5288 Joyce Street, Vancouver
Admission: Free

Whistler presents Family Après

Whistler Blackcomb

Josef Hanus/Shutterstock

What: Celebrate the magic of winter with outdoor fun at Whistler’s Family Après. Sip a hot beverage and enjoy live music, dancing, face painting, hula hooping, characters in costume, balloon twisting animals, popcorn, cookies, donuts, juggling and games, all in the heart of the Village at Whistler Olympic Plaza.

When: Every Monday and Wednesday until March 27, 2019
Time: 3 to 6 pm
Where: Whistler Olympic Plaza, Whistler
Admission: Free

Thursday, January 3, 2018

Christmas at Canada Place 2018

Canada Place

Christmas at Canada Place

What: Free Christmas attractions will be taking over the Canadian Trail, along the west promenade of Canada Place. This year’s festivities include giant light installations at the Canada North light display, the historic Woodward’s Windows, and the festive Avenue of Trees. For the whole of the Christmas celebrations, the iconic white sails of Canada Place will be illuminated with festive colours and designs.

When: Now to Thursday, January 3, 2019
 Time:  8 am to 11 pm.
Where: The Canadian Trail, West Promenade – 999 Canada Pl, Vancouver
Admission: Free

Family Movie at McGill: Paddington 2

What: Enjoy a free screening of Paddington 2 at Burnaby Public Library – McGill Branch. Parents must accompany children under 10. Drop-in, space is limited.

When: Thursday, January 3, 2019
Time: 2 to 3:30 pm
Where: Burnaby Public Library – 4595 Albert St, Burnaby
Admission: Free

Hoop Dance Class with Faydra Flow

What: A free trial Hoop Dance class with Faydra Flow. Learn how to dance with your hoop while doing fun tricks and transitions using light weight poly pros. The fun and interactive class is available to those wanting to strengthen their skills or learn for the first time. Hoops will be provided.

When: Thursday, January 3, 2019
Time: 7:15 to 8:15 pm
Where: False Creek Community Centre – 1318 Cartwright St., Vancouver
Admission: Free

Buckin’ Hilarious Open Mic Comedy Night

What: The Buck & Ear Bar and Grill hosts an open mic for local comedians. Hosted by Shane Wilson.

When: Thursday, January 3, 2019
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: The Buck & Ear Bar and Grill – 12111 3rd Ave, Richmond
Admission: Free

Song & Storytime at Treehaus Teahaus

What: Treehaus Teahaus, a play cafe that includes an interactive play area and learning space for young children and their parents, hosts an all-ages song & storytime.

When: Thursday, January 3 and Saturday, January 5, 2019
Time: 2:30 pm
Where: Treehaus Teahaus – 1705 Marine Drive, North Vancouver
Admission: Free

Twilight Evenings at Science World

What: Patrons can enjoy extended hours and reduced rates on Thursday, January 3 at Science World, from 5 pm to 8 pm, while exploring the exhibits, catching a live science show, or checking out the feature exhibition, The Science Behind Pixar. There will also be a screening of Incredibles 2 in the Science Theatre at 6 pm. Film screening is included with general admission. Seating is limited, and on a first-come, first-served basis.

When: Thursday, January 3, 2019
Time: 5 to 8 pm
Where: Telus World of Science – 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver
Admission: General Admission $12, Child (3–12) $10

Para Ice Hockey – Try It Day

Para Ice Hockey / City of Surrey

What: Come and learn how to move your sled, shoot the puck and play fun games. All abilities and ages are welcome and necessary sledge hockey equipment can be provided. This program is offered in partnership with SportAbility.

When: Thursday, January 3, 2019
Time: 6 to 8 pm
Where: Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex Arena – 16555 Fraser Highway, Surrey
Register: Online, Free

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