If you’re looking to get some holiday shopping done and support local this weekend, there are multiple holiday markets to check out, in addition to festive activities, concerts, and other live events. So with that in mind, here are 10 of the best things to do in and around Vancouver this weekend (December 1-3).

Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting

Ready for the official start of the holiday season? On Friday, December 1st, the Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting will take place outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery ( šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square) at 6 pm.

When: Friday, December 1st
Where: 750 Hornby Street

Vancouver Giants vs the Rockets

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

When: Friday, December 1st
Where: 7888 200 Street Langley
Cost: $23.70+

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

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

Bassjackers & Julian Jordan 

Known for hits like “Eternity,” “Wrong or Right (The Riddle),” and “Traffic,” electronic duo Bassjackers is no stranger to throwing a great party, and that’s exactly what the group is doing alongside Dutch DJ and producer Julian Jordan.

Note that this concert is 19+.

When: Saturday, December 2nd
Where: Harbour Event & Convention Centre
Cost: $37 to $43

Japan Market Christmas Fair 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Japan Market (@japanmarketvancouver)

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 Winter Pop-up Market – North Vancouver

Made in the 604 is hosting a slew of fall and winter pop-up markets at the Pipe Shop in North Vancouver, and shoppers can peruse dozens of local vendors for the perfect gifts. On Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd, the next ‘Made in the 604’ market will take place – and this one’s dog-friendly!

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

Recent Posts:
Thousands of lights are set to illuminate this famous BC garden for the holidays
BC is getting a new festival of lights with a glowing tunnel & enchanted forest

Bright Nights at Stanley Park

Who’s ready for the return of a beloved Vancouver holiday tradition? Stanley Park’s Bright Nights is back, and while the popular holiday train ride is sold out, there are plenty of other holiday lights and activities guests can enjoy free of charge at the Stanley Park Plaza.

When: Now until Monday, January 1st
Where: Pipeline Road in Stanley Park
Cost: Free admission, Train tickets sold out

Festival of Lights at VanDusen

VanDusen Botanical Garden has once again transformed into the ultimate holiday-themed destination, complete with over one million twinkling lights.

This year, the massive light displays pay homage to the vibrant flora and fauna from BC’s endangered Garry Oak meadows, according to the City of Vancouver. Guests can also enjoy the garden’s famed Dancing Lights, an immersive show full of spectacular lights in motion as they beam across the pond and treetops.

When: Now until January 7th
Where: 5251 Oak Street
Cost: Tickets available November 1st

Go skiing/snowboarding 

It might not be peak ski or snowboarding season just yet, but multiple ski hills near Vancouver have already opened, or are set to open this weekend. So grab your gear and get ready to make the most of the snow that’s already fallen!

Where: See our picks above

And that’s a wrap on the weekend, Vancouver! Time to get out there and enjoy some holiday festivities.