There’s so much more to do this winter than swig questionable eggnog and wear fuzzy cat sweaters. Even Jon Snow knows that winter isn’t just coming; it’s here. And luckily, there are more than a few things around Vancouver worth leaving the house for. Grab your mittens, and double wrap your scarf, here are the best winter activities in Vancouver:
1. Robson Square Ice Rink
Let’s get this one out of the way: Ice skating at Robson Square is a must. Period. Done. No discussion needed. Ok, we’ll add a tiny bit of discussion. Robson Square is the only public rink in downtown Vancouver and is nestled against pretty sights like the Vancouver Art Gallery and twinkling skyline. Best of all? There ain’t no shame in being a cheapskate around here. The ice rink is free, if you bring your own equipment. Who said that winter in Vancouver had to be expensive?
2. Grouse Mountain
You can usually tell when someone is abysmal at skiing because their only skiing joke is “eat some pie, then go pie.” So when you’re ready to eat some pie, then go pie, make your way to Grouse Mountain. Here, you’ll find four lifts taking you to 26 ski and snowboard runs. It might not be Whistler, but this Vancouver winter attraction is only 22 km from downtown, making it ridiculously convenient.
3. Vancouver Polar Bear Swim
Feel like proving to everyone that you’re insane? Perfect. Sign up for the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim. The gist goes something like this: On New Year’s Day, about 2,500 nutty folks in a variety of costumes meet at the English Bay Bathhouse then jump into the near-freezing water. Apparently, this Vancouver winter activity is a blast, so…why not?
4. Vancouver Christmas Market
Being sappy is perfectly fine when it’s Christmas time. And for the best cheer and tinsel, head to the Vancouver Christmas Market. This European-inspired marketplace is 50,000 square feet and features everything from carolers and gingerbread to Santa himself. Don’t be that person grabbing presents at the drug store last minute; find some neat treasures while you participate in the good tidings.
5. Stay the Heck Inside
Look, it’s cold. You don’t need to bother yourself with frost if you don’t want to. And it just so happens that Vancouver has a ton of indoor activities. Warm up at Extreme Air Park (the largest trampoline park in Canada), see some cold-blooded creatures at the Vancouver Aquarium, or admire flora and fauna at the warm Bloedel Conservatory.
Whether you want to watch the holiday lights glow in the market or a few people regret their decision to dive into the cold Bay, there’s a ton to do on a Vancouver winter vacation.