It’s beginning to look a lot like… well… winter. And with some frostier days ahead of us, we think knowing the best things to do in Vancouver this December is a must. Turn that frown upside down with incredible options, be it outdoor activities, food and drink events, or some live shows!

Here are the best things to do around Vancouver this December.

Live Events

Mother Mother

BC’s own rock icons Mother Mother are coming to the city for a whole slew of concerts this month! They’ll be playing a whopping 6 concerts, which means no excuse for you to go enjoy their unique sounds at least once with some friends.

When: December 2nd to 5th and December 30th
Where: 868 Granville Street
Tickets: $55+


Jazz it up? You bet, thanks to BADBADNOTGOOD, which has been a staple in the Canadian (and international) scene for years now. Relax, hear some new sounds… you know, classic jazz stuff for your soul.

When: December 13th and 14th
Where: 868 Granville Street
Tickets: $40

CONTACT Music Festival

Update: The organizers of this festival have cancelled it, with hopes to return next year.

Bryan Adams

Cap off the month (and the year) with this Canadian music icon’s New Year’s Eve party! Bryan Adams will be setting up at Rogers Place, for what is sure to be a triumphant return to the city.

When: December 31st
Where: 800 Griffiths Way
Cost: $65+

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

For those looking to dive into the holiday spirit in a high-class way, it doesn’t get much better than the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Check out a variety of shows this month, ranging from classic Christmas concerts to live-scoring of the iconic movie Home Alone.

When: Concerts throughout December
Where: 601 Smithe Street
Cost: Varies

Mixed Nuts

Put on by the Arts Umbrella Dance Company, Mixed Nuts offers a modern twist on the classic ballet experience. Rather than use one style, this show will incorporate a variety of them, ranging from ballroom to hip-hop and of course, the pas de deux ballet style that makes the original show so memorable.

When: December 10th to December 12th
Where: 600 Hamilton Street
Cost: $50

Vancouver Canucks

Has it been the best season so far for the Canucks? Nope. Will you still have a bucket of fun cheering them on at a home game? Absolutely! Who knows, maybe your words of encouragement are the exact thing the team needs to turn around this December.

When: Games throughout December
Where: 800 Griffiths Way
Cost: Varies


Rolla Skate Club at the PNE

Here’s a completely new option for the sporty folks around the city! Rolla Skate Club has found a permanent home at the PNE, and they’ll be hosting weekly roller skating parties for kids and adults alike! If you’re looking for some outside-the-box fun, this is it.

When: Saturdays starting December 4th
Where: 21 N Renfrew Street
Cost: $15+

Grouse Mountain

Of course, December also means that Metro Van’s ski hills are opening for the season! First up is Grouse, which has got the Peak of Christmas (see below) going for it, but in general is a great spot to get a few laps in on the weekend/after work one day.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Varies

Mount Seymour

We’re eagerly awaiting for Mount Seymour to open for the season, and hopefully that will come sooner rather than later! In addition to classic downhill skiing, Seymour offers snowshoe trails, tubing, and tobogganing options for visitors.

When: Open TBD
Where: 1700 Mount Seymour Road, North Vancouver
Cost: Varies

Cypress Mountain

Last but not least, we’ve got the biggest of the three hills around Vancouver! They’ve got downhill options, of course, but Cypress is also the best spot close to Vancouver for some cross-country skiing, which we have to admit is a great way to relax while getting outside.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 6000 Cypress Bowl Road, West Vancouver
Cost: Varies

Outdoor Options

Canyon Lights

Arguably one of the best holiday lights options in all of Canada, Canyon Lights transforms the already-stunning Capilano Suspension Bridge into an unforgettable experience. Sure, everyone you’ve ever met has seen it, but there’s good reason for that.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 3735 Capilano Road
Tickets: $54.95

VanDusen Festival of Lights

With well over a million lights and a wide variety of installations, the Festival of Lights at VanDusen is another must-see option in the city. After all, it combines an incredible setting with some mind-boggling technology, and that’s a winning combination.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 5251 Oak Street
Tickets: $17.50

Channel your inner Tarzan at Wildplay Element Park

With 12 Ziplines, 45 Aerial Adventure Games, a 40ft WTF Jump, and the newly added Axe Throwing, it’s all you need for real fun, real thrills and real outdoor adventure. The Park will remain open all the way ’til December 19 so don’t wait and book your next fun trip now!

When: Open until December 19th
Where: 23485 Fern Crescent, Maple Ridge

Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain

For those looking for something a little more active during the holidays, we’ve got the Peak of Christmas. The upper area at Grouse Mountain transforms into a veritable winter wonderland, complete with a mountaintop skating pond, illuminated light walks, and even reindeer!

When: On until January 3rd, 2022
Where: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Cost: $61 for GA (or $109 for a family of 4)

Shipyards Skate Plaza

Next up is the Shipyards Skate Plaza, which is actually the largest skating rink in the region! Pair that with some stunning views of Vancouver, a wide range of food/drink options nearby, and the fact that it’s free to access, and this is easily worth the SeaBus trip over there.

When: Slated to open early December
Where: 125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Free!

Robson Square Ice Rink

Last up is the Robson Square Ice Rink, which is returning after a hiatus last year. The ever-popular downtown location ensures that this is going to be busy throughout the winter, so make sure to try and get there outside of peak hours for the best experience.

When: Opens for the season December 2nd
Where: 800 Robson Street
Cost: Varies per rental

Arts and Culture

Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art Gallery has a ton of limited exhibitions to check out this month, ranging from Vancouver-specific artists to a major exhibition from Yoko Ono. Head down on a rainy Tuesday night and take advantage of admission by donation for the best bang for your buck.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 750 Hornby Street
Cost: Varies

Bill Reid Gallery

Meanwhile, the Bill Reid Gallery has two current exhibitions that are mainly focused on Indigenous weaving and fashion in general. A mix of traditional and modern designs are ready to be explored, with political themes present throughout.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 639 Hornby Street
Cost: $13

Polygon Gallery

This admission-by-donation gallery on the North Shore has two exhibitions to check out this month. One focuses on the city’s punk subculture, while the other is a solo exhibition from the world-renowned artist Steven Shearer. Plus, their holiday gift shop features some amazing options.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 101 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
Cost: By donation

Museum of Vancouver

The MOV’s Boarder X exhibition showcases works from contemporary Indigenous artists across Canada, with a focus on sports (surfing/snowboarding/skateboarding) that have also been the focus of political and social intolerance. It’s an interesting idea, to say the least.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 1100 Chestnut Street
Cost: Varies

Museum of Anthropology

Our final gallery/museum pick this month is the Museum of Anthropology. Their new exhibition Sankofa: African Routes, Canadian Roots focuses on contemporary artists from, you guessed it, African countries and Canada alike. Alongside the permanent exhibition and the amazing setting, this will be well worth the visit.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 6393 NW Marine Drive
Cost: $15

Imagine Picasso

With Imagine Van Gogh wrapped up, fans of it will be happy to know another has landed! Imagine Picasso features a similar concept- showcasing an iconic artist in a unique and immersive fashion. This time around, expect an origami-like setting for the high definition projections.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 1055 Canada Place
Tickets: $34.99

Holiday Experiences

PNE WinterLights

The PNE’s drive-through holiday experience is back! Load up the car with friends or family and go enjoy nine different light display areas, ranging from ‘Polar North’ to ‘Santa Street’. Really kick of the festivity by grabbing a hot chocolate at the start of the experience, too.

When: Opens Friday, December 3rd
Where: 2901 E Hastings Street
Cost: $37+ per car

Bright Nights Christmas Train

All aboard! If The Polar Express is your favourite movie (good on you for overcoming the CGI), then this Christmas train option is sure to be a hit. Winding through the already beautiful Stanley Park, you’ll get to see a variety of different light displays while you leisurely cruise along.

When: On until January 2nd, 2022
Where: Stanley Park
Cost: $6+ for GA

Holiday Splash

Speaking of The Polar Express, the Vancouver Aquarium is actually showing it as part of its holiday programming this year! But honestly, we’re recommending this for one reason alone- the daily dives featuring Santa in full scuba gear. If that doesn’t scream memorable holiday sight, we don’t know what does.

When: On until January 3rd, 2022
Where: 845 Avison Way
Cost: $42 for GA

Heritage Christmas

If you’re willing to drive a little bit, then the Heritage Village Museum in Burnaby is a great choice. Not only is this already impressive heritage village worth a trip in and of itself, but it’s going to be transformed for the holiday season with light installations. The best part? It’s free!

When: Open until January 3rd, 2022
Where: 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby
Cost: Free to attend!


Toque Craft Fair

Presented by Western Front, Toque Craft Fair is a highly-curated selection of some amazing local makers, and especially those with an eye for design. Say goodbye to flannel-print mugs, and say hello to unique ceramics, jewelry and more that will look good in any space.

When: December 1st to 5th
Where: Online
Cost: Free

Japan Market Christmas Fair

Like the Vancouver Christmas Market, this fair is back after taking a 2 year (!!) break. The focus here, naturally, is on Japanese-inspired products ranging from jewelry to accessories to crafts and more. Find something understated, on go all out on an anime aesthetic.

When: December 4th
Where: 800 Robson Street
Cost: $3+

Weirdos Holiday Market

Vancouver is lowkey a very weird city, filled with eccentricities of all sorts. Well, one easy option for the weirdo is your life is to check out the Weirdos Holiday Market, which could be a one-stop-shop for that crazy vintage gift you haven’t even been able to find on eBay.

When: December 4th/5th and 11th/12th
Where: 1738 Venables Street
Cost: $4 for those 13+

Eastside Flea Holiday Markets

The Eastside Flea is back, baby! This beloved collection of vintage curators and local artisans will be making a return just in time for the holidays. Not only is this a must-visit option for bargain hunters, but it’s also going to be open right up until the week before Christmas. Perfect for those looking for a last-minute gift.

When: December 4th/5th, 11th/12th and 18th/19th
Where: 550 Malkin Ave
Cost: $2

Made in the 604

And last but not least, we have another option that is great for the last-minute shoppers among us. Not only does Made in the 604 find vendors that really represent the city (naturally), but they’ve also picked the best venue for their market on this list. Seriously, if you haven’t been to the Pipe Shop, then that’s reason enough.

When: December 18th and 19th
Where: 115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Free!

Food and Drink


What’s Christmas without a little eggnog? Celebrate the season in a very devoted fashion with a trip to this fully decked out Christmas bar, complete with seasonal drinks and an absolute boatload of decorations.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 908 Granville Street
Tickets: $10+

Miracle on Main Street

More about Christmas beers than Christmas cocktails? At least one brewery has your back. For the first bit of the month, Main St. Brewing is offering free beer to those who come drop off presents for them donate over the holidays. That’s a win-win in our books!

When: December 1st to December 12th
Where: 261 E 7th Avenue
Cost: Min. $10 value donation

Vancouver Christmas Market

For a more family-friendly open, this beloved open-air market is returning after a hiatus last year! While this is a mix of shopping, entertainment, and food, it’s the food portion we’re truly focused on here. A little mulled wine while we pick up Christmas ornaments? Perfect.

When: Open until December 24th
Where: Jack Poole Plaza
Tickets: $7.99+

Swing by your local Farmers Market

You better believe that we think a trip to the farmers market is worthwhile any time of year! Picking up great groceries from local producers? This requires no selling on our part.

Where: Locations around Vancouver


Watch a movie

This year has been absolutely screaming along on the movie front, from major blockbusters to niche titles from major directors and art-house options all coming together. So, if you’re thinking December’s a good time to see what’s playing at the Rio, the Cinematheque, or the VIFF Centre, you’re absolutely right.

When: Showtimes throughout December
Where: Locations around Vancouver
Cost: Varies per event

Go on a romantic date

For some more vibe specific options, we rounded up our top picks for amazing romantic dates around Vancouver this winter. Whether you’ve already got a special someone or hope that this is the month you get one, these date options are sure to please just about anyone.

Where: Click the link above for more info

Have a weekend getaway

Obviously, weekend getaways for the next little while are dependent on road conditions and travel advisories. But, if things clear up, then we think the first order of business should be checking out all the ski resorts around BC that don’t rhyme with “Hiss For”.

Where: Click the link above for more info

Those are our top picks for the things to do around Vancouver this December! One thing’s for sure this holiday season- you’ve got options!