With the new year coming up in a few weeks, we thought we’d share some exciting events, activities, and things to do to mark the occasion. From New Year’s Day afternoon tea to the 104th annual Polar Bear Swim, here are 8 things to do around Vancouver on New Year’s Day.

Polar Bear Swim 2024


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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 104th 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

Afternoon Tea at H Tasting Lounge

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

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

The Capilano Suspension Bridge has transformed into an illuminated winter wonderland, and there’s still time to check it out this holiday season. From multi-colour displays, a sparkling rainforest below, and a transformed Cliffwalk – there’s plenty to explore here!

When: Friday, November 17th to Sunday, January 21st
Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Cost: $49.95 to $66.95 per adult

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

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 to enjoy, this is a great option.

Where: 845 Avison Way

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

Go tubing at Mt. Seymour

Tubing (or tobogganing) is certainly a rare opportunity for Vancouverites. Luckily, you can enjoy both on dedicated hills at Mt. Seymour. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a family-friendly day trip, or as a way to unwind after a day on the actual slopes.

When: Open throughout January
Where: 1700 Mt Seymour Road, North Vancouver
Cost: $29

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. So be it in snow, rain, or shine (or a combination of the three), here are some scenic walks to go on.

Where: See our picks above

So there you have it, Vancouver, happy new year!