While the holiday season in Vancouver is marked by dazzling lights, pop-up festivities, and festive markets – the rest of BC is no stranger to getting into the holiday spirit. So for this list, we’ll be highlighting some of the biggest and most highly-anticipated events of the season across the province, from The Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens to the Winter Vallea Lumina in Whistler. So with that in mind, here are 15 things to add to your winter bucket list in BC this year.

PNE Winter Fair

For 10 nights in December, the PNE Winter Fair will feature Christmas-themed concerts, an indoor skating rink, family-friendly holiday theatre shows, and of course, a quintessential winter light display. Oh, and plenty of tasty doughnuts and holiday treats to go around, of course.

When: Wednesday, December 14th to Friday, December 23rd
Where: 2901 East Hastings Street
Cost: $15 for Fair admission, concerts additional (require fair admission)

Contact Winter Music Festival

Now, for a non-traditional option this holiday season. If hearing dubstep makes you nostalgic for the 2010s or gets you on your feet, this is the festival for you. Contact Winter Music Festival is returning to Vancouver for two days of high-energy music and high-energy performances. This year, guests can expect to see Chart-topping, Grammy-winning artists like The Chainsmokers, UK electronic group Above & Beyond, Canadian duo Loud Luxury, and much more.

When: December 29th and December 30th
Where: 777 Pacific Boulevard
Cost: $140.75 per day or $204.40 for a 2-day pass

Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain

The Peak of Christmas has transformed the top of Grouse Mountain into a winter wonderland with a variety of activities and experiences to enjoy, ranging from mountaintop ice skating to a magical light walk. You can even meet a couple of Santa’s reindeer before checking out his workshop. Access to the Peak of Christmas is available through a Mountain Admission Ticket, and those who have a season pass to Grouse Mountain can enjoy it free of charge.

When: Now open for the season
Where: Grouse Mountain
Cost: $75 for Mountain Admission

Martini Town Merry & Bright Holiday Lights 

winter bucket list
Photo via Martini Film Studios

If you’ve always wanted to step inside a Christmasy Hallmark movie, now’s your chance! From December 1st to January 1st, visitors of ‘Martini Town’ will have the opportunity to get a glimpse behind the proverbial curtains of BC’s film industry, all the while indulging in a magical holiday experience.

The outdoor site consists of many building facades and unique filming streetscapes – including an entire ‘small town,’ a New York City-themed Brownstone Street, a movie theatre with a lit marquee, a coffee shop, a diner, and a town square, and that’s just for starters.

When: Friday, December 1st to January 1st, Hallmark Fan Experience on December 2nd
Where: 1123 272 Street, Langley
Cost: $22 per adult, $12 per child

Grab some winter-inspired drinks

Vancouver Christmas Market

The annual Vancouver Christmas Market is a holiday staple for a reason. Actually, for multiple reasons, many of which can be consumed, including their iconic mulled wine, freshly baked pretzels, bratwurst, and more. And let’s not forget about their festive light installations and light tunnel. This classic wintertime activity needs no selling on our part.

When: Now until December 24th
Where: 1055 Canada Place
Cost: $20 for single entry

Reflections: The Winter Terrace

When it comes to amazing holiday-themed cocktails, The Winter Terrace at Rosewood Hotel Georgia is a must-visit this season. Enjoy some classic mules, Baileys drinks, and more under cozy lights and festive holiday decor.

Where: 801 West Georgia Street

Winterlust at H Tasting Lounge

This season, you can once again dine in H Tasting Lounge’s enchanting winter-themed glass domes, which boast heated interiors and panoramic views of the city. Up to six guests can indulge in a feast of tableside-flamed rib-eye steak, roasted carrots, sablefish, grilled octopus with Thai curry, and much more.

When: Now until the end of February
Where: 1601 Bayshore Drive
Cost: $150 minimum food & beverage per dome

The Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens

Now we come to one of the most famous gardens in Canada. Every year, The Magic of Christmas transforms the famed Butchart Gardens into a wonderland with thousands of holiday lights, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the season.

Sing along to classic carols, indulge in tasty eats at Dining Room Restaurant or Blue Poppy, and take in the festive scenes of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

When: December 1st to January 6th
Where: 800 Benvenuto Avenue, Brentwood Bay
Cost: $35 per adult, $3 to $17.50 per child

Go ice skating

Robson Square Ice Rink

Who’s ready to kick off ice skating season at Robson Square? For just $5 per skate rental, you can skate to your heart’s content. Stop by on a spontaneous trip downtown, or plan a special pre-dinner visit on your next date.

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

The Shipyards Skate Plaza

Starting Friday, December 2nd, you can head over to the Shipyards, rent some skates for $7 a pop ($5 for kids) and skate to your heart’s content at the largest outdoor skating rink in Metro Van. Enjoy some stunning waterfront views as you skate, and even pop into the nearby Polygon Gallery to make a day of it.

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

Whistler Olympic Plaza, Whistler 


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If you’re heading to Whistler for the weekend, a stop at the outdoor rink at Whistler Olympic Plaza is practically mandatory. As of November 24th, visitors can skate to their hearts’ content surrounded by mountain views and twinkling lights.

Note that The Snow Zone will open as soon as snow conditions permit, and guests are encouraged to bring their own skates. Admission is $2 per person without skate rentals, and $9 with skate rentals.

When: Open until mid-March
Where: 4365 Blackcomb Way, Whistler
Cost: $2 to $9 admission

VanDusen Festival of Lights

The holiday season at VanDusen Botanical Garden is marked by festive light displays and scenic walks through the illuminated lakeside path, surrounded by over one million Dancing Lights across the garden’s 15 acres. And with several themed areas to peruse, festive treats to feast on, and holiday music to enjoy – this event is a great date pick as well as a spot for the whole family to enjoy.

When: Now until January 2nd
Where: 5251 Oak Street
Cost: $21

The Polygon Gallery’s Annual Holiday Shop 

If you’re looking for a holiday market with multiple dates to shop, you’ll have plenty of time to check out this year’s Polygon Gallery Annual Holiday Shop, which runs from November 15th to January 7th. The gallery’s main floor will once again transform into a beautifully decorated shop with unique vendors, gifts, art, and interactive activities.

When: November 15th to January 7th
Where: 101 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
Cost: Free admission

Lights by the Lake – Harrison

Every year, Lights by the Lake transforms 2 km of waterfront at Harrison Lake into an illuminated wonderland. So if you’re planning an impromptu trip to Harrison Hot Springs, this is definitely worth adding to your trip itinerary. Each business along the promenade and village square has decorated its storefront, and visitors might just catch a glimpse of the infamous Sasquatch fishing for sturgeon.

When: Now until Sunday, January 7th
Where: Harrison Hot Springs

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

And now, for another classic holiday tradition in Vancouver. The Capilano Suspension Bridge transforms into an illuminated winter wonderland every year, complete with multi-colour displays, a ‘Snow Owl Prowl’ scavenger hunt, and cocoa & live music at the Trading Post Gift Store.

When: Now until Sunday, January 21st
Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Cost: $49.95 to $66.95 per adult

High on Ice Winter Festival

Every year, the small town of Fort. St. John throws its signature High on Ice Winter Festival, which features professional ice carvings, exciting ice slides, and other winter-themed activities at Centennial Park. The 2024 festival will take place from February 16th to 19th.

When: February 16th to 19th
Where: Centennial Park, Fort St. John

Vallea Lumina 

The Winter Vallea Lumina experience takes visitors on an illuminated journey through some of Whistler’s most scenic forests, guided by twinkling lights and cryptic radio transmissions. The 1 km trail takes around 30 to 45 minutes to complete and is available to explore nightly from now until May 2024 – so you’ve got plenty of time to check this one out.

When: Now until May
Where: Sixteen Mile Creek Forest Service Road, Whistler
Cost: $40 to $45

Go skiing/snowboarding 


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Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, these ski hills around Vancouver offer snow enthusiasts some great rental options, as well as unparalleled views. And all except one are officially open for the season!

Where: See our picks above

Explore a scenic snowshoeing trail 

If you’re more of a Nordic trail person than a slope skier, there are plenty of scenic snowshoeing trails you can check out in BC with beautiful, groomed pathways and breathtaking views.

Where: See our picks above

And that’s a wrap on our BC winter bucket list. We hope this list inspires you to make some plans and create fantastic new memories this season.