A Guide to Spending Winter Break in Vancouver!

Vancouver is a beautiful city: even more so when it’s covered in snow and you can finally cozy up under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate. Whether it’s your first time in Vancouver or you’ve decided to stay here for the break, here are some winter activities that’ll make you feel like the main character! There are so many fun things to do at this time of the year and having grown up in this city, I was even surprised to see some items on this list.  

1. Hit the Slopes

Vancouver has some of the best mountains including Grouse, Seymour, and Cypress. You can go snowboarding, skiing, but if you’re looking for something more chill but still as fun, you can try out snow tubing! You might be wondering what that is, let me explain: you ride these big comfy round tubes and it’s so thrilling when you’re rushing down the slope. I remember going tubing for the first time when I was in Grade 7 on a field trip and it was probably one of the most fun times I’ve ever had. Looking back, it just reminds me of that nostalgic youthful spirit you have when you’re a kid. What made it more fun was laughing and screaming down the hill with all my friends, so I’d definitely recommend going in a group!

Photo by Erika on Flickr

2. Ice Skating

When I think of ice skating, my mind immediately goes to movie scenes and snowfalls and there’s something romantic about it. Every year there’s an outdoor ice rink set up in Robson Square downtown and it’s always decked out with decorations. The rink is scheduled to open in December and if you don’t have your own skates you can rent them for around $5. For those living on campus, there’s also an ice rink at Thunderbird Sports Center and you can check out this link for information about the drop-in schedule. The last time I went ice skating was for my 12th birthday, and I remember it was really exciting even though I didn’t know how to skate. My uncle took me, my siblings and my cousins to an indoor skating rink and I remember I kept falling and getting back up and falling again and bursting out laughing. My cousins are actually staying in Vancouver this winter so maybe we’ll go ice skating during the break and recreate that memory now that we’re all older. 

Photo by Stephen Rees on Flickr

3. Whistler Trip

If you’re looking to go on a road trip, Whistler is the perfect destination. It’s about a 2-hour drive north of Vancouver. If you’re looking to commute there, there are shuttle buses that leave from the downtown area or from the airport that range from $50-100. I’d suggest making this a 2-3 day trip since there’s so much to explore in Whistler. I remember driving up to Whistler a few years ago with my family and we stayed in this beautiful hotel. I remember it was snowing the entire time we were there. We rode the famous Peak to Peak Gondola and the views were incredible. We visited Whistler Village where there were so many shops, restaurants, and fun tourist attractions. If you decide to hit the slopes in Whistler, that would be a great idea too and you can even go snowmobiling. A trip like this would likely need planning so I find that creating an itinerary and tracking your budget in a journal really helps! 

Photo by Hamilton Nestman on Flickr

4. Bright Nights at Stanley Park

Stanley Park is one the best parks this city has to offer all year round but during the winter holidays it’s something else! The park is all decked out in these incredible lights and you can ride on the train all the way around the park. That probably sounds like something for kids but I think it’s still fun and spontaneous. I bet watching the flickering lights change color would feel magical. You can buy a ticket online or at the door and there are tons of food vendors that sell things including baked pastries, pretzels, churros, and hot chocolate. If you want to ride the train, the main attraction – you have to reserve your spot super early so keep that in mind! I haven’t gone to this one yet but I’m definitely excited to check it out with some friends this winter break.

Photo by Ray Van Eng on Flickr

These are just a few activities of many that you could try out this winter break if you’re planning to spend it here in Vancouver. Do you have any favorite winter activities of your own?

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