If you’re looking to ring in the new year on a budget, we hear you. The holiday season can be a time of splurging, and while the mulled wine and NYE fun is worth every penny, we typically need a month or two to get back on track. So we thought we’d share some fun indoor and outdoor activities, events, and things to do around Vancouver happening this January. All without putting a dent in your wallet, of course!

Street Food City 2023


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If you love food truck eats, you’ve likely already heard about Street Food City, Vancouver’s original street food festival. The festival kicks off the delicious Dine Out Vancouver program. And this year, they’re celebrating the festival’s 11th year with an amazing lineup of food trucks, serving everything from Indian food to grilled cheese. Luckily, you can snag some delicious eats without putting too large a dent in your wallet.

When: January 21st to January 29th
Where: šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square

Watch the best films of 2022 at VIFF 

It’s not too late to watch some of VIFF’s most celebrated and acclaimed films of 2022, including Triangle of Sadness, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, and more. In fact, you can book a spot for showings between December 26th and January 5th.

When: December 26th to January 5th
Where: 1181 Seymour Street

Robson Square Ice Rink

For just $5 per skate rental, you can skate to your heart’s content at Robson’s Square. Stop by on a spontaneous trip downtown, or plan a special pre-dinner visit on your next date night.

When: Open until February 28th
Where: 800 Robson Street
Cost: $5 for skate rentals

Shipyards Skate Plaza

By the same token, there’s no denying that the Shipyards Skate Plaza is one of the most festive places to hit the ice – even after the holiday season!

When: Open throughout January
Where: 125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Free, rental costs vary

Go for a Swim

That’s right, it doesn’t need to be summer to dive into a pool or get some laps in. Vancouver’s indoor swimming pools are open all month long, and it won’t hurt your wallet to go for a swim. Note that the Lord Byng Pool will reopen on January 3rd.

When: Open throughout January
Where: Locations around Vancouver
Cost: $6.66 for GA

Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival 


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While deets are still a bit scarce on their website, the beloved Vancouver Hot Chocolate fest is returning to the city this month, and we’re sure participating spots are bringing their A-game when it comes to crafting the best cups of cocoa around.

Where: January 14th to February 14th

Weekly specials at Lunch Bar by Kafka’s 

Warm up with a bowl of stew or a hot sandwich at Lunch Bar, Kafka Gastown’s newest venture. And to sweeten the pot, the new Lunch Bar is serving up weekly stew specials for $13.50 – one vegan and one meat. And what’s more, both are served with a slice of fresh-baked focaccia.

Where: 151 West Hastings Street

BC Culture Days 

From uncovering Vancouver’s lost architectural legacy to exploring the politics of the body, BC Culture Days always has an array of free (and by-donation) offerings. Check out some live events going on this month, or tune in at home digitally.

Where: See locations at the link above

Snowshoeing at Cypress Mountain


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Ok, emphasis on the ‘around’ Vancouver part here. But, if you’re ready to take a day trip this month, know that Cypress Mountain has got a serious amount of snowshoe trails for you to explore. Our advice? Check in with your more outdoorsy friends and family to secure a pair, and eliminate half the cost of a trip out!

When: Open throughout January
Where: 6000 Cypress Bowl Road, West Vancouver
Cost: $18 for GA

See an improv show

From Date Night improv to monthly standup sessions, House Team showcases, and more – there’s always something exciting going on at The Improv Centre on Granville Island. And why not start off the year with a couple of laughs and libations with your loved ones?

Where: 1515 Anderson Street

Rent a couple of e-bikes

Folks who want to hop on a Mobi and go on a joyride can do so with an emission-free electric bike that’s not only energy and time-efficient, but money-efficient as well.  Whether you bike through Stanley Park or go across the Lions Gate Bridge, Mobi has you covered. The 24 Hour Pass gives you access to e-bikes for 25¢/min for the first 30 minutes and 35¢/min thereafter.

Just make sure to pick a clearer day sans ice!

Vancouver Giants

The Vancouver Giants are facing off against the Chiefs, Americans, and Rockets at the Arena Bowl at the Langley Events Centre this month. With plenty of home games to choose from (and $20 tickets), why not go and support our team & make some great memories in the process?

When: Multiple dates in January
Where: 7888 200 Street Langley
Cost: $20

Check out the Bloedel Conservatory

For another city-owned option, we can’t forget the Bloedel Conservatory. We’ve long been proponents of this oasis in Queen Elizabeth Park, but it’s definitely during the colder months that we think it’s a must-see.

When: Open throughout January
Where: 4600 Cambie Street
Cost: $7.05

Save it for a rainy (or snowy) day

Why go with one rainy day activity when we could share all our fave picks?? And since quite a bit of snow is underway, that’s all the more reason to be cozy and enjoy some fun indoors. Luckily, these make for some amazing wintertime memories without breaking the bank.

Where: See our picks above

Go on a winter stroll 


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While it might make getting around a little (or a lot) more difficult, there’s no denying that our city transforms into a winter wonderland when it snows. If you’re looking to enjoy a nice stroll this season, here are some great options to start with – from mountain climbs to inner-city parks.

Where: See our picks above

And that’s a wrap on some of the best free & cheap things to do around Vancouver this month!