With the new year rapidly approaching, we thought we’d share some exciting events, activities, and things to do to mark the occasion. From New Year’s Day brunch to hitting the slopes, here are 10 fun things to do around Vancouver to get you started – whether you’re looking for some spontaneous fun or a plan to send to all your group chats ahead of the holidays.

Just be sure to look into what’s open and closed first before pressing send!

Afternoon Tea at H Tasting Lounge


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The Winterlust dome dining experience at The Westin Bayshore Hotel is definitely a huge draw, but it isn’t the only way you can indulge in festive eats this season. The Afternoon Tea experience at H Tasting Lounge is a delicious way to ring in the new year, and there is still availability between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm if you’re looking to book a spot.

Where: 1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver
Cost: $80.54 per person

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. Act fast though – it ends pretty soon!

When: Open until January 2nd
Where: 5251 Oak Street
Tickets: $21 for adults

New Year’s Day Brunch at The Victor


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Looking for another special food & drink option? The Victor is hosting a New Year’s Day Brunch for $79 per person, including tasty treats like Caramelized Bananas Foster French Toast, Shakshuka, sweet & savoury crepes, specialty sushi, and more. Oh, and don’t forget about the Mule Cart or the build-your-own-Bloody Mary bar!

Where: 39 Smithe Street

Polar Bear Swim

Looking for something invigorating to do on the first of the year? Why not dive in head first (literally) with a cold plunge at English Bay?? To sweeten the pot, the event organizers have put together a lineup of food trucks, live music, and yes, warming tents – all to make the experience even more memorable. The 103rd annual Polar Bear Swim starts at 2:30 pm on New Year’s Day, so break out your swimsuits and don’t forget your layers and dry socks!

Where: English Bay

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Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain


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Christmas might be over, but that doesn’t mean that Grouse Mountain has stopped celebrating the season. The Peak of Christmas is on until January 2nd, and has completely transformed the top of the mountain into its own winter wonderland, complete with ice pond skating, magical light walk, and plenty of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing options for those who aren’t downhill skiers or snowboarders.

When: Friday, November 25th to January 2nd
Where: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Cost: $36-$69, or $119 for a family of four

Hang out at the Aquarium 

Believe it or not, the Vancouver Aquarium will remain open from 9:30 am to 4 pm on New Year’s Day, so whether you need a last-minute day activity for the whole family, this is a great option.

Where: 845 Avison Way

Grab a drink at a lobby bar

It never hurts to dress up and grab a couple of rounds at a fancy hotel bar – but what better day than the first of the new year? If you’re looking for some cozy spots to indulge in winter-themed cocktails and escape the cold, you really can’t do better than these swanky bars.

Where: See our picks above

Robson Square Ice Rink

For just $5 per skate rental, you can skate to your heart’s content at Robson’s Square, even on New Year’s Day. The rink will be open from 12 to 5 pm.

Where: 800 Robson Street
Cost: $5 for skate rentals

Dundarave Festival of Lights

The Dundarave Festival of Lights is on until Sunday, January 8th, which means you can visit their “Forest of Miracles” on New Year’s Day as well. Get your fix of holiday light installations while you can!

Where: Dundarave Beach, Millennium Park, Grosvenor Ambleside Galleria

Check out Science World 

In the same vein as the aquarium, but with more hands-on exhibits to take advantage of. If you’re in need of a fun daytime activity – be it in a group setting or not – Science World is always a fun time. And they’re open from noon until 5 pm on New Year’s Day, giving visitors plenty of time to pop by.

Where: 1455 Quebec Street

Go on a classic winter stroll 

A wintertime stroll on New Year’s Day is the perfect way to get some fresh air, reflect on the year, and spend time with friends and family. And while the snow might slow the pace a bit, the magical views are definitely worth it.

Where: See our picks above

Happy (almost) New Year, Vancouver!