I love the holiday season, but it can be a bit depressing when it’s all over. That’s why I love planning little trips away from Seattle in the new year, and one place I often visit is Vancouver, British Columbia. While you may be surprised, there are actually many things to do in January in Vancouver!
If you’re a snow lover, you’ll enjoy tubing or skiing down the many mountains in the area. This is also an ideal time to take a tour of the city when the holiday crowds have thinned out, and you won’t have to worry about reservations at some popular places.
Here are all the things to do in Vancouver during January to check out, as well as things to know about visiting during this time of the year.
Fun Things to Do in Vancouver in January
While there are many popular things to do during summer in Vancouver, the city also offers a variety of fun activities and places to visit in the winter. We have compiled a list of the best things to do in January, along with what weather to expect and where to stay. You may be surprised how many things to do during the winter in Vancouver there are!
1. Ski the Slopes of Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour
Skiing and winter hiking are must-do activities in Vancouver in January (same with winter hikes around Seattle). For those who prefer to stay close to the city, explore the local North Shore Mountains. Grouse, Seymour, and Cypress mountains are within thirty minutes of downtown Vancouver.
A skiing day trip costs about CAD 70 for adults and CAD 25 for kids, depending on which ski resort is visited. Driving a bit further will get you to Whistler Blackcomb, an internationally renowned ski resort, and it is one of the biggest resorts in Canada, including 1,925 hectares of skiable terrain. You’ll find plenty of Whistler attractions in winter here.
The drive to Whistler Blackcomb is about two hours along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway. Tickets are more pricey, starting at CAD 190 for adults, CAD 160 for teens, and CAD 95 for children. There are fun guided tours to explore and sightsee the Whistler region.
If you really want to take an adventure, head over to Vancouver Island to ski at Mount Washington.
Tip: Be sure to book in advance to get an early bird discount at Whistler Blackcomb.
You can also ski on Mount Washington, which is one of the best winter activities on Vancouver Island.
2. Ice Skate at an Outdoor Rink
Ice skating is a fun activity to add to a winter trip to Vancouver. Various indoor skating rinks are located throughout the city, mainly at recreation centers. It usually costs just under CAD 10 to rent skates and enjoy the rink. You’ll love adding this to your 2 days in Vancouver itinerary.
Robson Square in downtown Vancouver has fun outdoor skating rinks set up temporarily to enjoy in the winter. It is a festive activity to partake in, plus you can view the decked-out holiday decorations. The Robson Square rink is open from December to February and is free.
Skates cost around CAD 5 to rent.
3. Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most popular landmarks in Vancouver and has strong recommendations as a must-visit location. The bridge is extra special during the winter because there are fewer tourists, making it one of the best things to do in Vancouver in January.
This allows for exploring it at a flexible pace and includes the opportunity for a tourist-free picture. The bridge offers a Canyon Lights show, creating a romantic evening out for couples. It costs around CAD 59 to visit.
4. Go to a Hockey Game
Vancouver is known for their talented Vancouver Canucks ice hockey team. Watching them at the Rogers Arena is a true marvel to witness. They usually play a few days a week during the season.
Prices can vary depending on the location of the seat or the day of the week. The best way to watch a hockey game is with a beer in one hand and a locally-made hot dog in the other. Getting tickets to the NHL game may be a challenge, but the team’s official website is the best option to try.
5. Explore Whistler Village
Whistler is a two-hour drive from Vancouver and offers amazing things to do and places to explore in the winter. Whistler Village has many great shops, cafés, restaurants, and bars, and there are also cultural attractions and museums to visit, making it ideal to visit during this time of year. You can easily add this to your trip when in Vancouver for 3 days.
The village offers many outdoor activities and some luxurious hotels and spas to relax in. Scandinave Spa Whistler is a memorable experience to replenish yourself on a cold winter’s day. For more of an adrenaline kick, try ziplining or snowmobiling.
6. Marvel at the Lights
There’s no need to let go of the Christmas spirit too early, because the White Rock Festival of Lights is available until the the end of January. The festival is made up of thousands of festive lights and displays, spread along the White Rock waterfront. You’ll love this thing to do in Vancouver at Christmas if you like holiday lights.
7. Visit Science World
On rainy days during winter, visiting Science World is a great way to enjoy a more relaxed day indoors. The building has a unique spherical shape, dominating the Vancouver skyline.
They have various interesting exhibits of all things science and abundant children’s activities, making it a perfect trip for families.
Science World can easily be accessed via the SkyTrain, costing about CAD 25 to enter.
8. Ride the Hop-on Hop-off Bus
Taking a ride on the Vancouver Hop-on Hop-off Bus seems like a touristy thing to do, but it is the best way to see a lot of Vancouver in a short time. This activity is highly recommended to guests who are visiting Vancouver in January for a few days. Seeing the city on a bus tour is a truly magical experience.
The Vancouver Hop-on Hop-off Bus pass works for 24 hours, allowing guests to explore the city at their own pace. There are approximately thirty stops, including Chinatown, Gastown, Stanley Park, and the Robson Shopping District. The buses include headset commentary to learn more about the city at the cost of CAD 59.
9. Attend One of The City’s Winter Festivals
Towards the end of January, you’ll be able to attend one of the many “festivals” happening in the city. These are sometimes fully festive affairs, and other times just a really fun time out.
There is a hot chocolate festival, where you can find hot chocolate specials at a few different spots. As well as the Dine Out Vancouver Festival with tons of restaurant specials. And don’t forget the performing arts PuSh Festival.
10. Go Snow Tubing
Cypress Mountain has snow tubing available at Gnarly’s Tube Park that people of all ages will enjoy. After enjoying the adrenaline of rushing downhill at a fast speed, link the tube to a conveyor belt to pull it back up to the top.
Cypress is located thirty minutes from downtown Vancouver, and the price is announced every year, so checking in advance is recommended.
Tips for Visiting During January in Vancouver
Weather in Vancouver in January
The weather in January in Vancouver is cold, with an average temperature ranging between 41.5°F and 36.1°F. The relative humidity is approximately 84%, the most humid month of the year. Rainfall is on average 196 mm with 19 days of rainfall in January.
It is highly possible that snowfall will occur during the month for an average of 1.8 days accumulating to 2.05 inches of snow.
Items to Pack for Vancouver in January
Warm, waterproof layers are essential when visiting Vancouver in January. The locals dress comfortably in gear such as rain boots rather than worrying about style. Casual clothes are acceptable in more fancy locations like restaurants.
Be sure to pack thermal layers, including underwear for a cozy, dry base layer. Add sweaters and fleeces or a large, heavy winter coat for warmth. Don’t forget to include a waterproof jacket as some large coats are not double-duty. Bring your hats, scarves, gloves, and an umbrella for extra protection from the rain and cold.
Best Places to Stay During January in Vancouver
Yaletown is the best place to stay for first-timers because green parks and a waterfront surround it. Many restaurants serve international food, and many public transport options, including the Skytrain Station.
Read more about the best weekend getaways in Vancouver to plan a memorable stay.
2. West End
The west end is perfect for guests who are visiting on a budget. It is a very lively location with stunning beaches right near English Bay. There are many activities to enjoy, including renting bikes, enjoying cafés, and shopping at Denman Street.
3. Gastown and Chinatown
For foodies, Gastown and Chinatown are the best locations to stay at. Although they are two different locations, they are situated in close proximity and are both relatively small. This is the area for guests looking to explore different types of cuisines, wine bars, and exciting restaurants.
4. Coral Harbour
The Coal Harbour or Waterfront is for travelers looking to enjoy a vibrant nightlife. This is the entertainment district of Vancouver, and it offers different types of cruises and social scenes for all types of travelers.
It is close to the West End for a chilled day where you can enjoy the activities offered, but during the night various bars and pubs come to life.
5. Main Street and Mount Pleasant
Main Street and Mount Pleasant are the top areas for a cool vibe ideal for young people and hipsters looking to have fun. Main Street is located close to the airport, art galleries, cafés, and interesting restaurants.
There are many public transport options here to take guests downtown to enjoy the beautiful scenery in the area.
Which of these fun activities in Vancouver in January are you most excited about?