This week marks this year’s Winter Solstice – AKA the shortest day of the year, which means every day to follow will gradually become longer and longer. So it’s time to rally your friends together for the darkest week of the year and make the most of the cozy weather! From seeing ELF in concert to checking out a two-day EDM Christmas show, here are 10 of the best things to do in and around Vancouver this week (December 18-22).

ELF in Concert 

This family-friendly holiday concert features the music from the movie ELF, a story of an elf from the North Pole who travels to New York in search of his father. The heartwarming classic and score by John Debney will come to life through the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on December 21st and 22nd.

When: Thursday, December 21st and Friday, December 22nd
Where: The Orpheum
Cost: $21.19 to $109.19

Sponsored pick: Try MONZO Burger’s New Pilsner

If burgers, beer and good vibes are your style, then grab your friends and a table at Monzo’s for a whole new experience of ‘fast food’. From their signature Canadian beef burgers and beef fat fries, to boozy milkshakes and new signature Italian Pilsner, it’s a burger utopia for all.

When: Open 11 am to midnight
Where: 1401 Granville Street – under the Granville Street Bridge

30th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival 

The Secret Lantern Society is back with its annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, which brings people across the city together to celebrate the cycles of nature and Vancouver’s local arts and culture scene.

The artist-led organization offers a variety of lantern-focused events and activities from now until December 21st, including Secret Lantern Walks at Yaletown’s Roundhouse Community Centre (8 to 9 pm on Thursday, December 21st) and the Strathcona Community Centre (6 to 7:30 pm), and two Labyrinths of Light ($11 per person).

When: Now until December 21st
Where: Locations throughout Vancouver

Candlelight: Holiday Special ft. “The Nutcracker” and More 

Vancouver is getting a series of holiday concerts this season with performances throughout December, and each one will be illuminated by thousands of candles. One of them will feature music from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” on December 22nd, both at the Kerrisdale Presbyterian Church and Christ Church Cathedral.

When: Friday, December 22nd and Saturday, December 23rd
Where: Kerrisdale Presbyterian Church and Christ Church Cathedral
Cost: $58 to $80

Funk The Halls featuring The Funk Hunters

The Funk Hunters are a Canadian EDM and DJ duo from right here in Vancouver, and every year, they put on a two-day, high-energy Christmas show. This year, they’re performing alongside Felix Cartal, Maddy Oneal, and Rome In Silver. So get ready to put a new kind of “jingle” in your step!

When: Friday, December 22nd and Saturday, December 23rd
Where: Commodore Ballroom
Cost: $59.75+

Back to the Holidays

The Improv Centre on Granville Island always has something fun going on, and this week is no exception. Their Back to the Holidays (think if A Christmas Carol and Back to the Future had a baby…) improv show is on from now until December 24th, so it’s the perfect time to get a jumpstart on all things festive.

When: On select days from now until December 24th
Where: 1515 Anderson Street
Cost: $26.50

Vancouver Christmas Market

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the iconic Vancouver Christmas Market, even if the holiday shopping isn’t the main draw of the event. And since it’s the last week that the market runs, now’s your chance to visit to get into the holiday spirit.

When: Now until December 24th
Where: 1055 Canada Place
Cost: $14 for advanced bookings

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

And that’s a wrap on the week, Vancouver!