5 Free Winter Family Activities in Vancouver


Winter-Solstice-Lantern-Festival                                                                    Winter Solstice Lantern Festival

This weekend, the last weekend before the big guy in the red fuzzy suit stops by, close up that wallet if you can and take the family out for some good old traditional and free Vancouver winter fun. Try one of the 5 free winter activities below including ice skating, snowshoeing, and dazzling light display watching.

5 Free Winter Family Activities in Vancouver

1. Ice Skating at Robson Square
A truly traditional winter activity – ice skating, is free for all at the Robson Square Ice Rink, located across from the Vancouver Art Gallery, downtown. Open every day from 9am onwards and skate rentals are available for $4. Children 12 and under must wear helmets (also available for rent). On until February 28.

2. Carol Ships Parade of Lights
The Carol Ships Parade of Lights began 52 years ago with just one boat decorated with Christmas lights. Now this holiday tradition has grown to more than 50 decorated boats collectively displaying over 100,000 glittering lights. While you will have to pay to actually go aboard the Carol Ships, watching the bright shows pass by from dry land is free. Check their website for dates and locations. On until December 23.

3. Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Celebrate the return of the light after the year’s shortest day with free lantern displays, live music, and fun entertainment at Ron Basford Park on Granville Island. Saturday, December 21, from 6pm to 10pm.

4. Christmas at Canada Place
Enjoy Christmas in Vancouver undercover at the Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal. Free activities include a visit with Santa and his workshop, a miniature holiday train, and indoor ice skating. Skate rentals are $2. On until December 31.

5. Snowshoeing at Seymour
There are quite a few wonderful and free snowshoeing trails located within a short driving distance from Kitsilano, including those on Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour. Dog Mountain at Mount Seymour Provincial Park is probably the most family friendly however, with minimal elevation gain, and a 4.5km,  2 hour roundtrip trail. This trail is maintained by BC Parks and is free to use, and spectacular views of the lower mainland from the summit are your reward. Do say hello and happy holidays to the resident ravens while up there.

Last modified: December 17, 2013

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