29 FREE things to do in Vancouver this January

Dec 28 2018, 2:02 pm

Blow your budget over the holidays? We’re here to help with our list of 29 FREE events happening in Vancouver this January.

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

Get outside

Robson Square Ice Rink


@bilalsayed19/ Instagram

What: The provincial government’s Robson Square Ice Rink is open for the 2018 and 2019 season. As per tradition, skating is free for all ages for those who bring their own skates. Those without skates can rent a pair on-site for a fee. An on-site concession stand will also serve warm drinks and snacks.

When: Now to February 28, 2019
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)
Note: Helmets are mandatory for children 12 years and under. Robson Square Ice Rink accepts cash only

Survive Outside

What: Hikes Near Vancouver is partnering with the Surrey Search and Rescue team for an evening session of the BC AdventureSmart “Survive Outside – A Guide to Outdoor Safety” program. Taught by a highly-experienced SAR team member, this program is targeted at anyone interested in learning introductory outdoor survival practices. Attendees will learn about the “Three Ts” (Trip Planning, Training and Taking the Essentials), other outdoor travel tips, as well as how Search and Rescue operates. The seasoned, knowledgeable instructor helps tie everything together with scenarios and analyses of real-life SAR experiences.

When: Friday, January 11, 2019
Time: 6:30 to 8 pm
Where: Surrey Search & Rescue Society – 5752 142 Street, Surrey
Tickets: Online, Free

Nature Work Parties

What: Get your hands dirty removing invasive plants with friends and family and join others in caring for Surrey’s unique urban forest. Everyone is welcome to participate – no experience is required. Tools, training, and light refreshments are provided.  These events are drop-in, rain or shine (events may be canceled in high winds or extreme weather conditions). Stay comfortable by wearing appropriate clothing for winter activities.

When: January 12, February 9 and March 9, 2019
Time: 10 am to 12 pm
Where: Hazelnut Meadows Community Park – 14069 68 Ave, Surrey
Price: Free

Explore the city

Heritage Detectives

What: Join PoCo Heritage Museum and Archives’ resident local historian Bryan Ness in a weekly exploration of different aspects of Port Coquitlam’s heritage and history.

When: Every Tuesday in January and February
Time: 10 am to 12 pm
Where: PoCo Heritage Museum and Archives – 150-2248 McAllister Ave., Port Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Free Yoga at Gateway Theatre

What: In advance of their upcoming production of Yoga Play in February, Gateway Theatre has partnered up with Perfect Hearts Yoga to offer free yoga classes.

When: Wednesday, January 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2019
Time: 8:45 to 9:45 am
Where: Gateway Theatre – 6500 Gilbert Road Richmond
Admission: Free

Open Reception: Breathing Space and Learn • Create • Live

What: Start 2019 with an evening of art, conversation, wine and other refreshments at the opening reception for Port Moody Arts Centre’s January exhibitions Breathing Space and Learn • Create • Live, on display January 10 to February 7, 2019.

When: Thursday, January 10, 2019
Time: 6 to 8 pm
Where: Port Moody Arts Centre – 2425 St. Johns Street, Port Moody
Admission: Free

Women’s Personal Safety Workshops 2019

What: Women looking to learn more about self-defence are invited to join the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) for women’s personal safety workshops this winter. Participants will be able to learn easy self-defence tactics, and no prior training is required. The safety team encourages skills that involve “effective” self-defence.

The workshop is hosted by the VPD’s Women’s Personal Safety team and will take place on January 11 and February 7, 2019. The VPD says the workshop is open to all women, but the minimum age to sign-up is 16-years old. Anyone under 18 must come with a parent to sign a waiver. More information is available online.

When: Friday, January 11 and Thursday, February 7, 2019

  • January 11 from 6:15 to 8:15 pm:  Coal Harbour Community Centre — 480 Broughton Street, Vancouver
  • February 7 from 6 to 8 pm:  St. George’s School — 4175 West 29th Avenue, Vancouver


Price: Free

Herring Sale for Autism

What: To kick off fundraising in 2019, Autism Community Training is hosting an Herring for Autism Sale, sponsored by Oceanside Fisheries. Last year over 6,000 pounds of herring was sold.

When: Saturday, January 12, 2019
Time: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Where: 7th Avenue Wharf – 3080 Moncton Street, Richmond
Admission: Free. Each 20lb (9kg) bag is $20 with all proceeds going to ACT – Autism Community Training, a registered charity.

Artist Tour: Origo Club Gallery

What: Richmond Art Gallery Association in partnership with Origo Club invites everyone to tour the new gallery and its current exhibition. The event is also an opportunity to connect the Origo Club Art Gallery with the local arts community.

When: Saturday, January 12, 2019
Time: 11 am to 12:30 pm
Where: Origo Club – 6888 River Road #110, Richmond
Tickets: Online, Free

Mingling with Musicians

Sexual Music Festival

Emotions studio / Shutterstock

What: Come enjoy a free daily mini-concert featuring City Centre Community Centre’s music instructors in the Community Living Room. This event is for All Ages.

When: Monday, January 14 to Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 10:30 to 11:30 am
Where: City Centre Community Centre – 5900 Minoru Blvd, Richmond
Admission: Free

Richmond Resilient Communities Workshop – Cambie

What: Join the staff of Emergency Programs for this workshop, which is part of the Richmond Resilient Communities Program. Specifically designed for each community, workshops enable participants to b uild knowledge and awareness of risks and hazards, create basic family emergency plans to share with family and friends, learn about emergency notification systems, specifically Richmond BC Alert, and develop neighbourhood community emergency response maps and plans. This event is for Adult (ages 18+) and 55+ (ages 55 and over).

When: Thursday, January 17, 2019
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: East Richmond Community Hall – 12360 Cambie Rd, Richmond
Price: Free, Register Online

Jest Ladies Comedy

What: Fraser Valley Comedy presents Jest Ladies Comedy hosted by Nic Enright-Morin. Nic Enright-Morin is a freelance writer, editor and comic who performs comedy all over BC, as well as in the UK. She also wrote and produced the interactive comedy play “Aunt Biddy’s Wake”and is a stand-up comedy instructor at LaughterZone 101. Featuring special performances by Yumi Nagashima, Syd Bosel, Lisa Person, Katrina Bennett, Lydia Rickards, Monique Naicker-Bellamy, Alison Ogilvie, Marlene Swidzinski and Ericka Young.

When: Friday, January 18, 2019
Time: 8:30 pm
Where: Chances Maple Ridge – 22710 Lougheed Highway, Maple Ridge
Admission: Free

Drink and Draw in the Gallery

What: This free adult event is for artists, illustrators, sketchers, doodlers and art lovers to gather in the Art Gallery space for a social art event. The evening begins with a live drawing demo by guest artist Sandeep Johal, followed by open drawing time to work on solo or collaborative drawings and network with other artists while listening to DJ Shamik spin some tunes. Short tours of the Pierre Vassura exhibition will be ongoing throughout the night upon request. Drawing materials provided. Open to doodlers of all skill levels.

When: Friday, January 18, 2019
Time: 7 to 9 pm
Where: Richmond Art Gallery – 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond
Register: Online, Free

Artist Talk and Opening Reception

What: Celebrate the opening of Surrey Art Gallery’s winter exhibits Nicoletta Baumeister: In the Realm of PerceptionTriangle Trade: Camille Turner, Jérôme Havre, and Cauleen Smith; and Colette Urban: Gambler. A talk with Nicoletta Baumeister will start at 6:30 pm; reception follows at 7:30 pm.

When: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 6:30 to 9 pm
Where: Surrey Art Gallery – 13750 88 Avenue, Surrey
Admission: Free

Family Day at PdA

What:Start your afternoon with a self-guided tour of PDA’s new exhibitions: alcohol inks by Francis Friesen in A Celebration of Colour and Abstraction, photography by Fiona Howarth in And then there were none and paintings by Janet Strayer in FLOW: Nature, Art and Mind. Then, participate in three drop-in style art activities based on the subject matter and mediums of the exhibitions to make your very own masterpieces.

When: Sunday, January 20, 2019
Time: 2 to 4 pm
Where: Place des Arts – 1120 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam
Tickets: Online, Free

Flower Market at Yaohan Centre

What: Visit to the Yaohan Centre Flower Market during this time of the year is a great way to get into the spirit of Chinese New Year. The market is the perfect place to soak up in the joy of the festivities and pick up a few items to decorate the house.

When: Monday, January 21 to Monday, February 4, 2019
Time: 11 am to 7
Where: Yaohan Centre – 3700 No. 3 Rd #2220, Richmond
Admission: Free

Speaker Series – Dr. Alfredo Ferreira

What: SFU’s Centre for English Language Learning, Teaching and Research presents a talk by Dr. Alfredo Ferreira (lecturer, UBC Vantage College). The topic is institutional and pedagogical perspectives on an innovative content-based academic language and literacy curriculum.

When: Thursday, January 24, 2019
Time: 12:30 to 1:30 pm
Where: Centre for English Language Learning, Teaching and Research (CELLTR) – 1390 West Mall Centre, Simon Fraser University – 8888 University Drive, Burnaby
Tickets: Online, Free

Just for Men – Health Talk

What: Support healthy aging with community connection, relevant presentations by healthcare providers and practical information designed specifically for senior men. Featuring Dr. Romi Fung, ND. Registration required. This event is for ages 55 and over.

When: Thursday, January 24, Thursday, January 31, Thursday, February 28, 2018
Time: 1:30 to 2:30 pm
Where: Thompson Community Centre – 5151 Granville Ave, Richmond
Admission: Free

Live at the Gallery: Eddie Lam and Sillken

What: Live at the Gallery is a monthly concert series held at the Deer Lake Art Gallery. This month’s concert features local musicians Eddie Lam and Sillken.

When: Saturday, January 26, 2019
Time: Doors 7:30 pm, show 8 pm
Where: Deer Lake Gallery – 6584 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
Tickets: Online, Free

Flea Market

Burnaby Flea Market

Image: Burnaby Flea Market

What: ​More than 50 tables of pre-loved items are on display to comb through. Clean out your cupboards or find yourself a great bargain.

When: Saturday, January 26, 2019
Time: 9:30 am to 2 pm
Where: Confederation Community Centre – 4585 Albert Street, Burnaby
Admission: Free for buyers

Live Music at the Shadbolt

What: A Little Lunch Music for the lunch crowd, and then a Jazz Jam with musician Cory Weeds in the evening.

When: Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Time: 12 to 1 pm, 6 to 8 pm
Where: Shadbolt Centre for the Arts – 6450 Deer Lake Avenue Burnaby, BC
Admission: Free

Aberdeen Centre’s Chinese New Year Flower & Gift Fair

What: The hallways of Aberdeen Centre will be transformed into a Chinese New Year Flower & Gift Fair, featuring vendors selling including gifts, decorations, fresh flowers, crafts, food, home goods and more. Your one-stop-shop for all Chinese New Year essentials.

When: Wednesday January 30 to Tuesday, February 5, 2018
Time: 11 am to 7 pm
Where: Aberdeen Centre – 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond
Admission: Free

Teen Art Drop-In

What: Teens are invited to explore their creativity and work alongside their peers to develop a collaborative art piece while building meaningful friendships. Free drop-in event, no previous art skills are required. Open to teens 13 to 18 years old. This program is run in partnership between the City of Surrey’s Community Art Program and Surrey Libraries.

When: Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Time: 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Where: City Centre Library – Room 120 – 10350 University Dr, 

Kit And Ace Metrotown Pop-Up Shop

What: Kit and Ace has opened a pop-up shop at Metropolis at Metrotown to celebrate the holiday season, and this is the first-ever time the brand has had a physical presence in Burnaby. Visitors to the pop-up will have the chance to win a head-to-toe Kit and Ace look featuring both the Navigator and Brushed French Terry fabrics. Look for the mannequins wearing these looks and leave your email address to be entered to win. Two winners will be selected at the end of each month.

When: Open now through Thursday, January 31, 2019
Time: Regular mall hours
Where: Level 1 through Entrance 4 on the left, Metropolis at Metrotown – 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby
Price: Free admission

Holiday Lights

Lights on the Lake at Harrison Hot Springs

What: A Sasquatch-themed festival that hopes to share some of Harrison’s favourite ways to spend time outdoors. Light displays on the Harrison Lakefront will showcase the mythical creature hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, fishing, camping, and windsurfing. The celebration will also include a Christmas tree trail, Whoville-themed village, and cabin-style New Year’s celebration.

When: Now to Monday, January 28, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Harrison Hot Springs
Admission: Free

Lights at Lafarge Lake

Lights at Lafarge

Lights at Lafarge (Ania Jedrzejewska/Instagram)

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 to Sunday, January 20, 2019
Time: Dusk to 11 pm daily
Where: Town Centre Park – 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Eat fresh with farmers’ markets

Riley Park and Nat Bailey Stadium Farmers; Market

What: Each week you can look forward to finding locally grown vegetables and fruit, meat and seafood from local ranchers and fishermen, artisan cheese and bread, herbs and seasonal nursery items, baked goods, prepared foods and artisanal crafts.

When: Every Saturday to April 27, 2019
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Riley Park Plaza – 50E. 30th Ave., Vancouver, Nat Bailey Stadium – 4601 Ontario Street, Vancouver
Admission: Free

Hastings Park Farmers’ Market

What: Find a great selection of local produce, fish, meat, dairy, artisan prepared foods, baked goods, local crafts, craft alcohol producers, and food trucks. There is free parking for market shoppers at Gate 2 off of Renfrew St.

When: Every Sunday to April 28
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Hastings Park Centre grounds – 2901 East Hastings Street
Admission: Free

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 to April 28, 2019
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Port Moody Recreation Complex – 300 Ioco Rd, Port Moody
Admission: Free

See also

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