If you’re looking for holiday fun on a budget, the good news is, there are plenty of fun indoor and outdoor activities to add to December’s itinerary. From holiday-themed improv to the Spirit of the Season Festival at the Shipyards, here are 12 amazing free & cheap things to do around Vancouver this December.

Coquitlam Christmas Craft Fair 

The 42nd Annual Coquitlam Christmas Craft Fair will take place from Friday, December 1st to Sunday, December 3rd this year, and will feature a wide array of locally-made crafts and gifts.

Admission is $5 per adult (free for children), and tickets can be booked online via two-hour time slots.

When: Friday, December 1st to Sunday, December 3rd
Where: 618 Poirier Street, Coquitlam
Cost: $5 admission

Spirit of the Season Festival 

Returning to the Shipyards this year is North Van’s iconic Spirit of the Season Festival, which delights visitors all over the region with free hot cocoa and a variety of food truck eats, a holiday market at The Pipe Shop, music, dance, & ice skating performances, and of course, a 30-foot Christmas tree lighting.

When: Saturday, December 2nd
Where: The Shipyards, North Vancouver
Cost: Free admission

Shipyards Skate Plaza 

Starting this Friday, ice skating enthusiasts have two popular rinks to choose from, starting with the Shipyards Skate Plaza.

When: Opens Friday, December 1st
Where: 125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver

Robson Square Ice Rink

The city’s popular Robson Square Ice Rink is also set to open for the season this Friday, so get ready to lace up your skates and partake in some classic holiday fun.

When: December 1, 2023 to February 29, 2024
Where: 800 Robson Street
Cost: $5 for skate rentals

Japan Market Christmas Fair 


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With over 75 vendors to peruse (and tasty Japanese fare to snack on), the Japan Market Christmas Fair is just as much for you as it is for the people you’re buying gifts for.

The fair will take place at UBC Robson Square at Plaza level UBC Sun Room from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd.

When: Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd
Where: 800 Robson Street
Cost: $4 for early bird admission per person, $5 for GA

Made in the 604 Fall & Winter Pop-up Markets – North Vancouver

Made in the 604 is hosting a slew of fall and winter pop-up markets at the Pipe Shop in North Van this fall, and shoppers can peruse dozens of local vendors for the perfect gifts.

Note that this market is dog-friendly!

When: Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd
Where: 115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Free admission

Made in the 604 Fall & Winter Pop-up Markets – Heritage Hall 

As well, Made in the 604 will also pop up at Main Street’s Heritage Hall on select weekends in November and December, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area!

When: Saturday, December 16th and Sunday, December 17th
Where: 3102 Main Street
Cost: Free admission

Vancouver Art Gallery

It never hurts to see what exhibitions are going on at Vancouver Art Gallery at any given time. This month, you can check out the Emily Carr exhibit: “A Room of Her Own,” “Conceptions of White,” and “Offsite” by Pedro Reyes – to name a few.

When: Open throughout December
Where: 750 Hornby Street
Cost: Free on December 1st and the first Friday of every month

Santa’s Workshop at Pacific Arts Market 

Finally, we come to the one-stop shop for your last-minute Christmas shopping needs. Pacific Arts Market is hosting a final holiday market on December 17th from 1 to 5 p.m., complete with live art demos, craft goods, and a visit from Santa.

When: Sunday, December 17th
Where: 1448 West Broadway
Cost: $11.98

Vancouver Giants

For the hockey lovers out there, the Vancouver Giants are playing multiple home games at the Arena Bowl at the Langley Events Centre this month against the Rockets, Silvertips, Cougars, Thunderbirds, Royals, and Oil Kings. Tickets start at just over $20 a pop, and you can view the full list of home games scheduled for this season here.

When: December 1st, 9th, 16th, 17th 27th, and 29th
Where: 7888 200 Street Langley
Cost: $23.70+

See an improv show


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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 if you’re ready for even more fun this season, you’ll definitely want to check out their Back to the Holidays show from now until December 24th, or their “NYE at TIC” show on December 31st.

Where: 1515 Anderson Street

Merry & Bright – North Shore Choirs 

This year, North Shore Choirs is performing twice on December 23rd; at 1 pm and 4 pm. The choral concerts will use partial proceeds to go towards #EndALS through ALS Action Canada.

When: Saturday, December 23rd
Where: 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver
Cost: $17.31