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These Are The Best Free Things To Do In Vancouver This Winter

Free Things To Do In Vancouver

Photo: Michael Thornquist / 604 Now Flickr Pool

Are you searching for things to do in the city, but you’re on a pretty tight budget?

While there are endless things to do in the city, many of them are rather expensive. In addition, many activities that were cheaper are becoming more and more expensive over time.

We’ve complied a list of things to keep you entertained and smiling through the colder months.

Free Things To Do In Vancouver This Winter 

Browse In A Bookstore

Free Things To Do In Vancouver

Okay, so they usually want you to buy things when you go into a bookstore, but it doesn’t hurt to just visit once and while. Indeed, when the frosty weather hits there’s nothing like curls up with a good book, or even just browsing through titles. What’s more, you can make a day of discovering the city’s most eccentric spots and determine what your next purchases may be. Vancouver has some unique and special literary gems just waiting to be discovered around many of its city blocks.

Visit A Panoramic Viewpoint

Free Things to Do In Vancouver
Photo: Spencer Finlay / Flickr

While there’s nothing like watching a sunset in the summer, there’s something particularly enchanting about staring out at the stars from an incredible vantage point on a cold night. What’s more, some of these incredible places are perfect for sledding and other alpine activities, so they are perfect when the snow falls.

Robson Square Ice Rink

Free Things To Do In Vancouver
Photo: Clayton Perry Photoworks / Flickr

Opening on December 1st, 2017, Robson Square provides free skates daily until Wednesday, February 28th, 2018. Located hear of downtown Vancouver, the rink rents skates for $4, but people are welcome to bring their own instead. What’s more, the rink is open late, until 9 pm, so people are able to use the rink for dates or late night skates with pals. Also, the rink has concessions near by in case you would like a snack or something to drink, but that part won’t be free. Alternatively, you could pack some snacks to bring along with you.

Visit Joffre Lakes

Free Things To Do In Vancouver
Photo: Greg Thomas / 604 Now Flickr Pool

While these lakes are exquisite at any time of year, the winter season makes everything look positively magical. What’s more, visiting them is completely free of charge. Not only will you get a does of heart-healthy exercise during your excursion, but your Instagram will be packed with pictures of this wondrous location. While the lakes do freeze over in winter, the park becomes a popular destination for snowshoers, skiers, and snowboarders alike. These winter activities usually occur between November and May, depending on snowfall.

Lights At LaFarge

Free Things To Do In Vancouver
Photo: @mikeg_604 / Instagram

While there are plenty of beautiful Christmas lights on display in Vancouver, not many many are quite as speculator as this display. Furthermore, VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights and the Capilano’s Canyon Lights are gorgeous but charge hefty entrance fees. LaFarge, on the other hand, is entirely free. In fact, it is one of the largest free outdoor light displays in Metro Vancouver. With over 100,000 twinkling lights on display, its well worth the visit.

Check Out The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Free Things To Do In Vancouver
Photo: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver / Facebook

While it does cost a pretty penny to stay in one of their rooms, visiting the lobby at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is completely free of charge. Not only is this hotel laden with fascinating history and elegant decor, but it is also extremely festive. With beautifully decorated trees and decorations galore, it makes a fun place for a fun stroll through a warm place. What’s more, they have festive concoctions during the holidays in their bars and restaurants. These are not be free of charge; however, they include fun things like gingerbread men during afternoon tea during the most magical time of year.

Vancouver Art Gallery

Free Things To Do In Vancouver
Photo: Thomas Quine / Flickr

Okay, so its not completely free of charge; however, it is by donation on Tuesday nights, which significantly reduces costs. While it may be kinder to give generously, it is still a viable option for those who can’t afford to go on a regular night. In addition, the Vancouver Art Gallery is amazing; a must-see for art lovers and inquisitive minds, the gallery holds an incredible variety of exhibits throughout the year. Indeed, the exhibits offer a healthy dose of culture while staying warm.

Annual Polar Bear Swim

Free Things To Do In Vancouver
karenleephotography.biz/ Flickr

Feeling brave? Then take the plunge!

This annual event rings in the new year in a shockingly cold, but incredibly fun way. Over 1,500 Vancouverites participated in the swim this year, and the event has been taking place since 1920. A great way to wash away the troubles from the last year, this revitalizing event ignites all kinds of hi-jinx. People dress up in crazy costumes, yell, and embrace an atmosphere of lighthearted tomfoolery. What’s more, this fun event is completely free!


Free Things To Do In Vancouver While there are endless ways to enjoy yourself in the city, the holidays are also about giving. With an extreme lack of affordable housing in the city, there’s no shortage of those in need. For a list of volunteer opportunities in the city, go here.

CP Holiday Train

Free Things To Do In Vancouver
Photo: @CPHolidayTrain/ Twitter

This beautiful train will make several stops in British Columbia during December and visits are completely free of charge. With this in mind, the 19th edition of the train also hopes to raise awareness about hunger-related issues and encourages attendees at each stop to bring a food or cash donation. This event is not only beautiful, but proceeds will go toward a good cause.

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