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Vancouver Christmas Market 2018

Vancouver Christmas Market

The Vancouver Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver is a great place to shop and get into the festive spirit with friends in December.

In 2018 the Vancouver Christmas Market was open daily from 11 am until 9 pm from November 21st until December 23rd. On December 24th the hours were 11 am until 6 pm.

Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza

The Vancouver Christmas Market used to be located at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, but since 2016 its new home is at the larger Jack Poole Plaza outside the Vancouver Convention Centre at 1055 Canada Place.

The Vancouver Christmas Market is a fun outdoor European-style market that’s great for holiday window shopping and festive things to eat. It’s also the best place to Christmas shop while sipping mulled wine!


Click on any of the following topics to jump to specific information about the Vancouver Christmas Market, or continue reading and scrolling below for full details.

 Admission | What to Expect | Market Entertainment | Tips & Advice | Other Information


German Christmas Market
Vendor Stalls at the Vancouver Christmas Market

Admission to the Christmas Market

Regular admission is about $5 or so for children (age 7-12), around $9 for seniors and $10 for folk age 13+. Online ticket purchases include access to the Express Lane for entry and a FREE season pass, meaning you can go back multiple times.

Most years special VIP Ticket Packages are also available. Last year, for example, a Christmas Combo pass cost $25 and includes (1) adult admission, a complimentary souvenir mug, a beverage of your choice and unlimited rides for the day on the carousel. A Mistletoe Combo, meanwhile, cost $50 and included two of all the same things as the $25 Christmas Combo pass plus a complimentary photo session.

To compare, in 2016, a VIP pass cost $50 and included two (2) adult admissions, (2) carousel rides, (2) collector mugs with choice of gluhwein or beer, (2) pretzels and (1) take-home bottle of Bavarian gluhwein, plus a couple of other benefits.

TIP: Admission is usually free during the last half hour of each night, so from 8:30 until 9:00 pm. That doesn’t give you a lot of time, but enough to have a quick peek, check the place out and get a cup of something hot to drink.

What to Expect at the Market

If you are looking for an outdoor market to do your Christmas shopping, or just want to see all kinds of interesting quality trinkets and tasty things to eat, then the Vancouver Christmas Market is definitely worth visiting.

At the market you’ll find a huge selection of vendors selling food and Christmas-y souvenirs of all kinds. There is also a carnival carousel for the kids, hot non-alcoholic apple cider, and mulled wine for those 19+.

Even without the adult beverages, the Vancouver Christmas Market is arguably the Lower Mainland’s best outdoor market anywhere this time of year, although there are other good ones including Vancouver’s regular weekly winter farmers markets which feature local produce and artisan products.

Open from late November until Christmas Eve, the Vancouver Christmas Market has a German theme. Numerous European-style-looking stalls sell everything from German beer steins to specialty soaps, chocolates, handicrafts, craft-distilled spirits and hundreds of Christmas-y stocking-stuffer kinds of gifts. The quality of goods tends to be very high.

In addition to all the retail stalls, food for sale most years includes gingerbread, gluhwein drinks, pretzels, schnitzels and all sorts of pastries, not to mention beer and a range of other festive beverages.

New in 2017

With over 75 vendor huts, last year the Vancouver Christmas Market was the largest it has ever been. There were still all the regular features, like the mulled wine and entertainment, but new for 2017 was a 30-foot walk-in Christmas tree with some 36,000 lights.

2017 Market Zones

Also new for 2017, the market was divided up into four or so main sections to make it easier to find different things. The 2018 setup will likely be the same.

Christmas Tree Terrace

At the south end of the venue, near the market’s entrance, there’s the Tannenbaum Terrace, or Christmas Tree Terrace. That’s where you’ll find the giant Christmas tree you can go inside, the carousel, an information desk, First Aid booth and a couple of vendors.

Okanagan Spirits at the Vancouver Christmas Market
Okanagan Spirits in the Handwerkgasse Zone

Artisan Market

Along the western edge of the Vancouver Christmas Market, along the Cactus Club restaurant side, there’s the Handwerkgasse, or Artisan Market, which features about 16 or so vendors selling everything from craft distilled liqueurs to handmade chocolates to handcrafted wood and glasswork.

One of our absolute favourite vendors at the market is Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery. They are a family-owned BC company that makes award-winning liqueurs, whiskies, vodkas and other spirits.

Members of the British Royal Family have even raved about Okanagan Spirit’s products! And what’s more? At the Vancouver Christmas Market you can try free samples! Our favourite is the raspberry liqueur, but all are delicious! Warning: if you have a free taste you’ll want to take at least one bottle home with you, but maybe more!

Christmas Market Okanagan Spirits Liqueur Samples
Free samples at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

Merchant Alley

Along the eastern edge of the venue, on the side closest to the Vancouver Convention Centre, there’s the Kaufmannsgasse or Merchant Alley. That’s where the market has another 15 or so vendors selling things like imported beer steins, exotic alpaca clothing and natural handmade soaps from Turkey. It’s also where you can buy gingerbread cookies that you can then decorate on site yourself.

Marktplatz Eats & Treats

It’s in the central area of the Marktplatz that you’ll find the attraction’s 20 or so food and drink vendors. Menu items there include borscht soup, cheese and potatoes raclette, bratwurst sausages, spätzle, beef and vegan stews, salmon burgers, and items made from wild mushrooms and other natural delicacies.

Dessert items in the Marktplatz include waffles, Spanish churros, German donuts, Belgian chocolates and chimney cakes. Beverages include everything from craft beers to German beers, glühwein, schnapps and hot apple cider.

Käthe Wohlfahrt Toy Village Display
Christmas decorations at the Kathe Wohlfahrt Shop

Alpine Haus & Käthe Wohlfahrt Shop

At the north end of the Marktplatz, at the edge of Burrard Inlet, there is an indoor area that includes picnic tables in the Alpine Haus and thousands of beautiful Christmas ornaments in the Käthe Wohlfahrt Shop.

The Alpine House is simply a great place to escape the rain and sit down to eat your dinner. By its entrance there is also a place where children can post letters to Santa Claus.

The Käthe Wohlfahrt Shop is a fancy German store that’s famous the world over for its Christmas ornaments. Inside there are rows upon rows of tree decorations, holiday characters and handcrafted Christmas decorations of all kinds.

Items for sale at Käthe Wohlfahrt are not inexpensive, but they are exquisite. If you can’t handle the price tags, simply wander through and admire the displays as if walking through a toy museum. It’s impressive!

2017 Market Entertainment

Most days (especially weekends) at the Vancouver Christmas Market there is live music. Sometimes it’s in the afternoons and sometimes in the evenings.

Below is a list of some of the live entertainment scheduled for 2017. As you’ll notice, most of the live music took place on weekdays in the evenings, or on weekends throughout the afternoon. (Note: schedule details are subject to change.)

To skip this section about entertainment click Tips & Advice to jump to the next section in this article.

Music at Vancouver Christmas Market
Live Music at the Vancouver Christmas Market
  • Wednesday, November 22, 2017
    • Singer-songwriter Vicky Sjohall performed from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
    • British actor and songwriter (but now based in Vancouver) musician Andrew Mockler entertained from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Thursday, November 23, 2017
    • Sm:)e Band is an all-female group with members from both Surrey and Burnaby. They performed from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Friday, November 24, 2017
    • Vancouver-based British actor, songwriter and musician Andrew Mockler entertained from 4:30 until 6:30 pm.
    • The Soul 2 Life Duo featured local vocalist Sharon Bryson and drummer Elijah Jean. Specializing in Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Jazz and Gospel, they played from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Saturday, November 25, 2017
    • Teena G is a Louisiana-born singer-songwriter who performed with the Kelowna-based band Symphonic Rock Evolution. She loves Rhythm & Blues, Jazz and Rock and she entertained at the Vancouver Christmas Market between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm.
    • Ruel Morales is a Vancouver-based and educated vocalist and guitar player who performed from 3:30 until 5:30 pm.
    • Clavinova Nights is a young 4-member band of crooners and Jazz musicians that performed from 6:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Sunday, November 26, 2017
    • My Little Birthday Princess is a Vancouver-based princess company with characters entertaining from 2:15 until 3:15 pm.
    • Singer-songwriter Vicky Sjohall performed from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.
    • Teena G entertained with a mix of Rhythm & Blues, Jazz and Rock from 12:00 until 3:00 pm.
    • Clavinova Nights is a young 4-member band of crooners and Jazz musicians that finished the evening with music from 6:00 until 9:00 pm.
Clavinova Jazz Band Guitarist
The Clavinova Nights
  • Monday, November 27, 2017
    • The Soul 2 Life Duo features local vocalist Sharon Bryson and drummer Elijah Jean. Specializing in Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Jazz and Gospel, the band played from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
  • Tuesday, November 28, 2017
    • Melanie Dekker is a prolific singer and songwriter from North Vancouver. She performed from 4:30 until 6:30 pm.
  • Wednesday, November 29, 2017
    • Desmond Day is a singer-songwriter originating from Comox BC. He performed at the Vancouver Christmas Market in the afternoon from 4:30 until 6:30.
    • BC-based but Texas-raised Ari Neufeld is a one-man band who played the guitar, banjo, piano and ukulele. His show is from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Thursday, November 30, 2017
    • No performances were scheduled for this day as of start of the market season, although Santa was scheduled to make his regular 5:00 to 9:00 pm appearance for photos and Christmas wish list discussions.
  • Friday, December 1, 2017
    • The 4-member band Santa’s Brass performed holiday favourites from 4:30 until 6:30 pm.
  • Saturday, December 2, 2017
    • The Soul 2 Life Duo featured local vocalist Sharon Bryson and drummer Elijah Jean. Specializing in Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Jazz and Gospel, the band played from 3:30 until 5:30 pm.
  • Sunday, December 3, 2017
    • Grupo Asi-somos is a Vancouver-based Latin Folk band that played tunes from Venezuela, Spain, Trinidad and Africa from 3:30 until 5:30 pm.
    • Phat Santa Swing with Scott Robertson played Christmas favourites, Dixieland and other Jazz from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
  • Monday, December 4, 2017
    • Winsome Kind is a local wife and husband Folk and Pop duo playing both popular and their own original Christmas tunes from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
    • Desmond Day is a singer-songwriter originating from Comox BC. He performed at the Vancouver Christmas Market today from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Tuesday, December 5, 2017
    • BC-based but Texas-raised Ari Neufeld is a one-man band who plays the guitar, banjo, piano and ukulele. His show was from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Wednesday, December 6, 2017
    • No performances were scheduled for this day as of start of the market season, although Santa was scheduled to make his regular 5:00 to 9:00 pm appearance for photos and Christmas wish list discussions.
  • Thursday, December 7, 2017
    • No performances were scheduled for this day as of start of the market season, although Santa was scheduled to make his regular 5:00 to 9:00 pm appearance for photos and Christmas wish list discussions.
  • Friday, December 8, 2017
    • Melanie Dekker is a prolific singer and songwriter from North Vancouver. She performed from 4:30 until 6:30 pm.
    • Phat Santa Swing with Scott Robertson played Christmas favourites, Dixieland and other Jazz from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
  • Saturday, December 9, 2017
    • Sm:)e Band is an all-female band with members from both Surrey and Burnaby. They performed from 12:00 until 3:00 pm.
    • The Soul 2 Life Duo features local vocalist Sharon Bryson and drummer Elijah Jean. Specializing in Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Jazz and Gospel, the band played from 3:30 until 5:30 pm.
    • BC-based but Texas-raised Ari Neufeld is a one-man band who plays the guitar, banjo, piano and ukulele. His show was from 6:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Sunday, December 10, 2017
    • The Christmas Revelers with Amy Newman are an a cappella caroling quartet who dress in Dickensian costumes and entertained with holiday favourites from 3:30 until 5:30 pm.
    • Dane Szohner performed on stage between 6:00 and 9:00 pm. People might recognize Dane from his starring role as the famous crooner in The Music of Sinatra and as Gaston in Theatre Under the Stars’ 2016 production of Beauty & the Beast.
  • Monday, December 11, 2017
    • Andrew Mockler is a British musician and songwriter performing at the Vancouver Christmas Market for a couple of hours starting at 4:30 pm.
    • Singer-songwriter Vicky Sjohall performed from 7:30 until 9:00 pm.
  • Tuesday, December 12, 2017
    • David Capper is a Vancouver-based singer, drummer and guitar player who entertained with a mix of Jazz and Latin Folk Music between 7:00 and 9:00 pm.
  • Wednesday, December 13, 2017
    • Andrew Mockler is a British musician and songwriter performing at the Vancouver Christmas Market for a couple of hours between 4:30 until 6:30 pm.
  • Thursday, December 14, 2017
    • The 4-member band Santa’s Brass performed holiday favourites from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Friday, December 15, 2017
    • Andrew Mockler is a British musician and songwriter performing at the Vancouver Christmas Market from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
    • David Capper is a Vancouver-based singer, drummer and guitarist who entertained with a mix of Jazz and Latin Folk Music between 7:00 and 9:00 pm.
  • Saturday, December 16, 2017
    • Ruel Morales is a Vancouver-based and educated vocalist and guitar player who performed from 3:30 until 5:30 pm.
    • Singer-songwriter Vicky Sjohall performed between 6:00 and 9:00 pm.
  • Sunday, December 17, 2017
    • Singer-songwriter Vicky Sjohall performed from noon until 3:00 pm.
    • Ruel Morales is a Vancouver-based and educated vocalist and guitar player who performed from 3:30 until 5:30 pm.
    • Clavinova Nights is a young 4-member band of crooners and Jazz musicians that performed from 6:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Monday, December 18, 2017
    • Desmond Day is a singer-songwriter originating from Comox BC.
  • Tuesday, December 19, 2017
    • The Westside German School Choir performed on the Flying Stage from 4:30 until 6:30 pm.
    • The Gingerbread Men is a talented 5-man group of crooners who entertained at the market between 7:00 and 9:00 pm.
Gingerbread Men at Market
The Gingerbread Men at the Vancouver Christmas Market
  • Wednesday, December 20, 2017
    • Desmond Day is a singer-songwriter originating from Comox BC. He performed in the evening from 4:30 until 6:30 pm.
    • BC-based but Texas-raised Ari Neufeld is a one-man band who plays the guitar, banjo, piano and ukulele. His show was from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Thursday, December 21, 2017
    • Desmond Day performed at the Vancouver Christmas Market from 4:30 until 6:30 pm.
    • The 4-member band Santa’s Brass performed holiday favourites from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Friday, December 22, 2017
    • Phat Santa Swing with Scott Robertson played Christmas favourites, Dixieland and other Jazz from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
    • Clavinova Nights is a young 4-member band of crooners and Jazz musicians that performed from 7:00 until 9:00 pm.
  • Saturday, December 23, 2017
    • The Ukuladies of Lulu Island are a ukulele-playing duo made up of Richmond’s Becca Wade and Alana Zerbe. They performed on the Vancouver Christmas Market’s Flying Stage from 3:30 until around 5:30 pm.
  • Sunday, December 24, 2017
    • Rachel Button is a Vancouver-based fiddler, vocalist and songwriter from the UK who entertained with holiday music from noon until 3:00 pm.
    • Sm:)e Band is an all-female band with members from both Surrey and Burnaby. They performed from 3:30 until 5:45 pm.

Market Tips and Advice

Below are some suggestions and pieces of information to help you make the most out of your visit to the Vancouver Christmas Market.

TIP #1: Look out for free food and drink samples at some of the vendor stalls. And if you like berry liqueurs, whisky, vodka or other forms of Christmas cheer, then definitely don’t forget to visit the folk at the Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery stall! You won’t regret it!

TIP #2: Apart from the carousel rides and candy floss, the Vancouver Christmas Market is arguably more for adults than children. Kids will have lots of fun with both of those, plus all the lights, music and toys sold by vendors, but the rest is more for adults. They do offer Christmas scavenger hunts, however, which are good at keeping children entertained. And new for 2017, kids who completed the scavenger hunt earned a free ride on the carousel.

TIP #3: If going to the market with young children, it’s good to know that Santa Claus is usually there for photos and Christmas wish list discussions daily from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. There’s also a place to post letters to St. Nick in the Alpine Haus.

TIP #4: If arriving in the early evening (when Vancouverites are getting off work) on a non-rainy day, be prepared to stand in line for tickets if you don’t get them in advance. Also, again if the weather is good, be prepared for crowds.

TIP #5: Buy your tickets online if you want to get in faster, and keep your ticket if you think you might return another day (which you can for free if you purchased it online and registered your name).

TIP #6: Some people love the Vancouver Christmas Market, and others not so much. We love it. The market is interesting and of high quality, there’s a nice festive atmosphere to it, and the event is about as authentic a German Christmas market as you can get in a place like Vancouver.

With online review sites like Yelp, however, the Vancouver Christmas Market only gets about a 2.5 rating with reviewers giving it everything from 1’s to 5’s. Google Reviews, however, gives it about 3.8 out of 5 which in our opinion makes much more sense. A lot depends though on the crowds and weather when you go, but also if you like shopping, window shopping and just looking at Christmas-y things.

If you don’t like window shopping, or you don’t like shopping at places that aren’t inexpensive, then the Vancouver Christmas Market might not be for you.

TIP #7: Best times to go are when it’s not raining (unless you really want to avoid the crowds) and during live music scheduled times. See above or click Market Entertainment for details.

Christmas Market in the Rain
A rainy evening at the Vancouver Christmas Market

TIP #8: If it’s been raining a lot (which it often does this time of year), wear boots or other good waterproof footwear. After a few days of exceptionally heavy rain puddles can form at Jack Poole Plaza.

TIP #9: Unless the place is really busy, chat with the vendors. They have interesting stories about their products and can be fun to talk with.

TIP #10: While in the area, and if the weather is good, then go for a stroll around nearby Canada Place either before or after your trip to the market. Christmas at Canada Place isn’t a huge attraction, but it is free, and it does have nice lights and decorations running from about November 23rd until December 31st.

And if the weather isn’t great but you still want something more, then check out Gingerbread Lane at the Hyatt Regency at 655 Burrard Street starting around December 1st and continuing until early January.

Other Information

For further information about Vancouver’s annual German-themed Christmas event, see the Vancouver Christmas Market website.

For more ideas on Christmas-y things to do, check out any of the following: