35 Fun Things To Do In And Around Vancouver This Weekend (Dec 17-19)

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lafarge lake

Christmas is just around the corner, which means this is the last weekend before the big day.

If you’re not rushing to get those last minute holiday gifts, then this is a great weekend to enjoy the snow and festive events in full-swing.

With tons of festive and non-festive events taking place all over the city, there are a large number of fun options that everyone can enjoy. Check out this week’s roundup of fun and exciting things to do in Metro Vancouver this weekend.

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This Weekend – December 17-19

Check Out a Waterfront Winter Village

Richmond Waterfront Village Winter Wonderland Steveston

Photo: City of Richmond

For the entire month of December, the Richmond waterfront at Steveston Village, is being transformed into a Winter Wonderland, full of beautiful displays and festive activities. Winter in the Village is a perfect holiday attraction for the whole family.

Go On A Holiday Flower Trail

flowers downtown vancouver

Photo: @fleursdevilles / Instagram

On until December 19, the 3rd annual “Fleurs de Villes Noël’ has hit 45 different locations in downtown, offering a flower extravaganza in downtown. Fleurs de Villes NOËL is a free, self-guided trail through downtown. There are dozens of festive displays to take in from wreaths to arches and magical visions.

Enjoy Junk Food as Art

junk food richmond

Photo: @lipontgallery / Instagram

There is a fun new gallery in Richmond where many beloved snacks and treats are on display in a super fun and interactive concept. The junk food gallery is on display at Lipont Gallery in Richmond. The best part… it’s entirely FREE.

Attend a Huge Winter Market

thing to do vancouver

Photo: @alisaanton / Unsplash

A free outdoor market is appearing at the upper parking lot at IKEA Coquitlam. It will feature local artisans, community partners and festive Swedish treats, and more. On from Friday December 17 to Sunday December 19 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. the market will also be supporting community partners such as Canucks Autism Network and SHARE Family and Community Services Society.

Drive-Through A Free Light Festival

things to do vancouver

Photo: @thebcconnection / Instagram

This weekend is your last chance to check out the annual Christmas in Williams Park lights display. This drive-through has no requirement for advanced booking. Best part yet, it is a completely free event where families can enjoy the route multiple times.

Take The Polar Express

polar express

Photo: West Coast Railway Heritage Park/FB

The Railway Museum of BC is bringing back its beloved holiday magic experience with the North Pole Express Train Ride in Squamish. You can board the train and head straight towards Santa’s home town. The train is ending this weekend on Sunday December 19th, so be sure to check their website for last minute spots before going.

On-Going Holiday Things To Do

Fly Over the North Pole

FlyOver Canada has started their Winter show. You can now take a ride simulating flying all across Canada and visiting the North Pole, the entire experience lasts about 20 minutes and full of exciting scenes.

Browse Holiday Shops and Bright Lights

The City of New West is illuminating their city streets and shops with a number of events in the uptown and downtown areas. You can visit a Holiday Food & Craft market this weekend, or attend Uptown Live Christmas where there is live music and installations, or Shine Bright Downtown. New West is also a great place to take a date, discover all the fun things to do there.

Enjoy Magical Winter Lights at PNE

pne winter lights drive-thru holiday events

Photo: @kellihehe / Instagram

Back by popular demand, PNE/Playland is kicking off their drive-through Winter Lights event. This is perfect for a safe and entertaining experience with your family. Without having to leave your car you can enjoy nine enchanted lands filled with glowing lights and live performers. There is also a feast of treats to enjoy at this festival.

Go Skating Under The Sky

Robson Square’s Ice Rink is now open for the season. Enjoy gliding in this iconic space in the heart of downtown, right in the centre of all the hustle and bustle of holiday happenings. Skating here with the family is truly magical and out of a Christmas movie it feels. Best of all, bring your own skates, and the experience is free!

 

Have A Blast At The Vancouver Christmas Market

Back at Jack Poole Plaza, the Vancouver Christmas Market will be opened until December 24. Offering an authentic German Christmas market appeal, this festival unites everyone and offers attractions, delicious eats and treats, hot seasonal drinks, twinkling lights and more. This European-inspired Christmas village will sure be a must-see of the season.

Experience ‘Lights with Heights’

Canyon Lights

Photo: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

With much anticipation Canyon Lights will be returning to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. You can witness the Capilano River become illuminated, while walking across the illuminated 140 metres long breath-taking suspension bridge. The entire rainforest and infamous Treetops Adventure is also lit up with dazzling lights.

Check out some Neighbourhood Houses

There are many homes all over Metro Vancouver that are beautifully decorated. From Vancouver to Langley and everywhere in between, there is bound to be one near you to check out with friends and family this weekend. Some impressive displays even sync up with music.

Of those, the lights at Canuck Place is a great place to browse holiday lights for a good cause. Light a Life signifies the beginning of the holidays to help short lives shine bright at Canuck Place. Donations for those interested can also be made online. However, please be sure to stay away from the yard and enjoy from a distance, as the yard and home is for residents and staff only.

Experience the Magic of Lumagica

For the first time ever, Lumagica is in BC. The massive light festival will be taking place at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds will be transformed into various magical lands that capture the spirit of the holidays. Stroll on a 1km walk that is fully light up and take a light tunnel through to Gingerbread lane. It eventually leads you to a North Pole village and tonnes of amazing displays.

Visit The North Pole

Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas is a perfect place to go and pretend you are actually at the North Pole. With a winter wonderland village, actual reindeer, ice rink, sledding and a Santa’s workshop, there is tonnes of family fun to be had here.

See A Million Twinkling Lights at Glow

glow langley

Photo: @glowlangley / Instagram

Given the success of last year’s experience, Glow Langley is bringing back its drive-through winter wonderland event. Guests can enjoy magical landscapes, a million twinkling light displays, and festive joy all from the comfort of their car.

Hop On To The Stanley Park Christmas Train

Bright Nights in Stanley Park returned after having to be closed due to the pandemic last year. The train has been running for 24 years, and is a favourite holiday tradition for many. It delights guests with decorated lights, music and an entire Christmas village. It’s a great family event full of festive glee.

Be Mesmerized At VanDusen Gardens

Back to offer all the enchantment, the VanDusen of Festival of Lights returned. This event has run every year since 1984. Over the years it’s grown to encompass more than 1 million dazzling lights and displays and spread holiday cheer.

Walk Around a Lit Up Lake

lafarge lake

Photo: @cityofcoquitlam / Instagram

Lights at Lafarge is the largest free outdoor display in Coquitlam. For 9 full weeks, this huge and beautiful display will light up the 1.2km stroll around the lake. This is an annual event, where people get to enjoy the garden unique designs with their family and friends.

Be Enchanted at Burnaby Village

The Burnaby Village Museum will host their annual event, Heritage Christmas. It is a completely transformed holiday experienced with traditional decorations, lights and holiday spirit. The entire village will be adorned with festive displays. The event will be ongoing till January 3, and the best part yet—it’s free.

Enjoy A New Lights Festival in Surrey

There is a new festival in Surrey’s Civic Plaza. The Surrey Holiday of Lights Festival brings together a mix of live entertainment, immersive indoor and outdoor light displays, vendors, food trucks and so much joy.

Get Inspired by Lights of Hope

The Lights of Hope are back on at St. Pauls Hospital in downtown Vancouver. Located at 1081 Burrard Street, the lights take up the entire front interface of the hospital. They bring hope to patients and support staff, and joy to passerbys. People are encouraged to give hope by donating at the Living Light installation or online.

Get A Drink With Santa at ‘Tinseltown’

tinseltown vancouver

Photo: @tinseltownbar / Instagram

A Christmas themed pop-up bar has opened up for guests on Granville Street in Vancouver. Tinseltown’ is a fully immersive Santa’s workshop inspired cocktail bar that is likely to be very popular this winter. There will be festive lights, decor, and even Santa and his elves. Enter to win tickets to enjoy this experience until December 23. 

Shop At The Largest Christmas Store in BC

The Christmas Store at Potters Nursery is back. The entire nursery has transformed into a magical winter wonderland and has all your holiday wants and needs. The massive 28,000 sq-ft space is full of enchanted decor, wonderful gifts, and so much more. A number of themes that make this spot worthy of being added to your holiday “things to do” bucket list.

 

Take A Festive Mini Train Ride

The City of Surrey Bear Creek Park is hosting a Santa Express and Christmas Night Train and it’s absolutely magical. The event is on from December 6th – 31st, with tickets starting at $11.50 per person (children under the age of 2 rides free). You can get more information here.

Experience Magical Illuminated Art

Lumiere

Photo: Lumiere

Back for its 8th year, Lumière illumiated the streets of downtown Vancouver. A number of beautiful art displays has been set up throughout our downtown core. These free to view installations are perfect for a beautiful walk downtown this December.

Take A Photo with Santa

Although absent in 2020, photo opportunities with Santa Claus have returned to multiple malls in the lower mainland. You won’t be able to get too close to Jolly Saint Nick this year, however it is still a fun experience for the family and a great keepsake. Many of the displays are quite beautiful and creative this year. But be sure to book an appointment fast…space is quickly filling out.

On-Going ‘Non-Holiday’ Things To Do

Check Out The New Bridge in West Vancouver

Another beautiful pathway now exists amongst treetops here in B.C. This time it is a 200m long wooden “Trestle Bridge” in West Vancouver, on route up to Cypress Mountain Resort. The stunning bridge opened up last week. The path providing stunning views of the Burrard Inlet, and the Burrard Peninsula.

Play Inside Unique Displays At The Moon and Back Gallery

moon and back gallery

Photo: @moonandbackgallery / Instagram

An impressive immersive experience just reopened in Richmond and it is absolutely stunning. The Moon and Back Gallery has a series of rooms with augmented virtual reality. The experience will make you smile, bring your pictures to life, and is truly out of this world.

Discover Hidden Lounges and Speakeasies

What started as murmurs surrounded by a hint of secrecy, a new hidden lounge opened up in Chinatown, and it is one worth checking out—if you have the password that is. As a matter of fact, it’s not the only. If you’re up for more mystery, check out some of the other Vancouver speakeasies and secret bars.

Enjoy DaVinci’s Art & Greatest Inventions

The DaVinci exhibit is an exclusive multi-room exhibit and a unique interactive experience showcasing the work of Leonardo da Vinci. This is the first time this art exhibit has come to Canada, and has drawn millions of visitors worldwide. Check out the educational program available for kids as well. Take advantage of the exhibit on now before it’s gone for good.

Experience the Sistine Chapel in Vancouver

If you love the art of ages, experience Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition in Vancouver. The exhibit will take place at Canada Place. Without going to Rome, this will allow you to see a life-sized close-up of the greatest masterpieces of Michelangelo. Tickets are on sale now.

Get Dazzled At A Hidden Wonders Show

hidden wonders new west speakeasy show

Photo: @hiddenwondersshow / Facebook

Have a magical experience in New West by checking out this Hidden Wonders is a 75-minute performance by Canadian magician Shawn Farquhar. Champion of Magic, who is originally from Maple Ridge, B.C. The show is getting rave reviews from across North America. The coolest part is that the venue is hidden and secret to only ticket holders.

Check Out Imagine Picasso

Imagine Picasso opened to the public, allowing guests to experience 200 of Pablo Picasso’s paintings from various eras of his life. Slightly different from the Imagine Van Gogh exhibit, the set up for this event mimics an illusive maze where visitors can roam around gazing at moving art come to life, quite literally. The exhibit will run until January 8, 2022.

Check Out The Art of John and Yoko

If you are a John Lennon fan or of Yoko Ono, the Vancouver Art Gallery is hosting “Growing Freedom: The instructions of Yoko Ono and The art of John and Yoko” started last week. The exhibit will look at the couples collaborative projects as well as artistic instruction work by Yoko Ono.

 

Regardless of what you do, we hope you enjoy your weekend activities!

 

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