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Dine Out Vancouver

Warm Up This Winter With These 7 Fun, Family Activities in Metro Vancouver

By Mary Ann Bell

The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop! Whether you are a Metro Vancouver local, or lucky enough to be visiting our beautiful region, you’ll find that there are still lots of fun activities and events to check out in January and February.  Here are a few of my family’s favourite things to do in the winter:

Hot Chocolate Festival

This delicious festival runs from mid-January to mid-February with participating shops offering the ultimate cup of hot chocolate. For the record, it’s not really a “festival”, and the hot chocolate being served up isn’t your typical cup of chocolaty goodness. Each restaurant is striving to create unique flavours and those flavours can get pretty adventurous. Flavours can range from the outrageous like, wasabi, black sesame and crickets (don’t worry … they were a garnish) to the more traditional like vanilla, hazelnut and raspberry. Visit the festival website for complete details about participating venues and flavours.

Eagle. Photo: Tourism Squamish

Photo: Tourism Squamish

Brackendale Winter Eagle Viewing

Imagine standing on the shore of a river and counting so many bald eagles that you lose track! It’s a common occurrence from October to early January in Squamish. There are several prime locations for viewing the eagles. The Eagle Run dike and viewing shelter on Government Road, directly across the Squamish River overlooking Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park.  There is an interpretive display of the eagles and the chum salmon that they feed on. Walking tours and eagle floats are ways to get up close and personal with the eagles. Don’t forget your camera! More information.

Photo: Grouse Mountain Resorts

Photo: Grouse Mountain Resorts

Go Skating

It may not get cold enough in Metro Vancouver to freeze the lakes for skating, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t strap on your skates and twirl around an outdoor skating rink. Skate under the glittering lights of the city at the outdoor rink at Robson Square until the end of February. It’s free to skate if you bring your own skates, or rentals are available. Or, head up North Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain, and skate under the stars on their 8,000 square foot outdoor skating pond. Use of the rink is included with your Alpine Experience pass, and you can rent skates, or bring your own. Grouse Mountain’s rink is open while the weather permits, usually into April.

Photo: Mount Seymour

Photo: Mount Seymour

Try Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is the perfect way to get out and enjoy the local mountains. If you can walk, you can snowshoe, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried it as there’s practically no learning curve at all. All you need are some snowshoes (which you can rent) and an adventurous spirit! Popular snowshoeing destinations near Vancouver include: Mount Seymour, Cypress Mountain, Squamish’s Sea to Sky Gondola trails and Sasquatch Mountain near Agassiz.

Photo: Vancouver Giants (Facebook)

Photo: Vancouver Giants (Facebook)

Catch a Hockey Game

Cheer for the home team at a Vancouver Giants Hockey Game at the Langley Events Centre.  Exciting, and fun for the whole family, Giants games are an affordable alternative to a Vancouver Canucks game, and you never know, you may be watching the next Wayne Gretzky!

Dine Out Vancouver

Canada’s largest food and drink festival grew from small beginnings in 2002. With 17 days of culinary events and experiences and hundreds of restaurants to choose from, DineOut is hugely popular with locals and visitors.  From mid-January to early February, restaurants offer prix fixe menus between under $65, and many provide BC VQA wine pairings for an additional charge. Be sure to check out some of the special events taking place throughout the festival. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Visit the website for more details.

Photo: Tourism Harrison (Facebook)

Photo: Tourism Harrison (Facebook)

Holiday Light Displays

Not quite ready to let go of the holiday season? Or didn’t have a chance over the holidays to visit as many light displays as you’d like? Don’t fret, there’s still time in January to stroll among thousands of glittering lights and snap that perfect ‘gram.

Glow Christmas

Enter the magical world of Glow Christmas in Langley. Impressive indoor light installations (there are over a million lights) is perfect for those winter days. The theme changes each year and it’s fun for the kids and adults alike. More information.

Lights at Lafarge

Metro Vancouver’s largest, free outdoor light display is in the city of Coquitlam. Bundle up and enjoy a leisurely stroll around the 1.2 km Lafarge Lake loop.  The twinkling lights are divided into zones and include a woodland garden, fantasy forest and illuminated maple leafs. More information.

Lights by the Lake

Harrison Hot Springs plays host to the annual winter lights festival, Lights By The Lake. Light displays depict the infamous Sasquatch hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, fishing, camping and windsurfing, all activities visitors can enjoy when they visit Harrison. More information.

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Published: January 9, 2019
Last Updated: February 5, 2024

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About the Author

As a tourism marketer and community manager for some of British Columbia’s most spectacular destinations, Mary Ann Bell spends her days writing, tweeting and posting! When she’s not online, Mary Ann can be found exploring Vancouver’s North Shore trails with her family and her camera, and trying new restaurants in the hunt for the best taco in Metro Vancouver.

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