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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.

Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza

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, or continue reading for full details about the Vancouver Christmas Market.

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

Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza
Jack Poole Plaza at Christmas

Where and When

The Vancouver Christmas Market is located at Jack Poole Plaza outside the Vancouver Convention Centre by the Olympic Cauldron at 1055 Canada Place.

In 2018 the market ran from November 21st until December 24th. It 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. We expect the 2019 market hours to be very similar.

For tickets and more information see the Vancouver Christmas Market website.

Admission to the Christmas Market

Regular admission when purchased online is $5 for children (ages 7-12), $9 for seniors (ages 65+) and $10 for adults (ages 13+). Tickets purchased at the gate cost $2 more for adults and seniors. Annual passes cost just $1 extra and can be purchased online or at the gate.

Most years special VIP Ticket Packages are also available. For example, for 2018, the Mistletoe Combo pass costs $50 and includes two of each of the following:  adult admissions, complimentary souvenir mugs, traditional beverages of your choice, fast passes and unlimited rides for the day on the carousel. The Mistletoe Combo also includes a Love Lock for each couple.

New for 2018 is the WunderBAR experience which costs $24.50 (on top of regular admission). It includes access to a special area and a Christmas cocktail, hot “Feuerzangenbowle” spiced mulled wine OR non-alcoholic beverage. Also included are a gourmet charcuterie appetizer board or German dessert plus a souvenir Vancouver Christmas Market mug. The WunderBAR experience is not “adults only”. The price though is the same for everyone.

Vancouver Christmas Market Shoppers
Christmas Market Shoppers

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. It’s a very popular attraction!

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.

With over 75 vendor huts, last year the Vancouver Christmas Market was the largest it has ever been and the 2018 edition will be similar. Regular features every year include things like the mulled wine and entertainment, and new since last year is a 30-foot walk-in Christmas tree with thousands of lights.

Christmas Market Zones

The Vancouver Christmas Market is divided up into four or so main sections to make it easier to find different things. When the attraction first started up years ago there were just two dozen or so vendors. Today there are about 80.

Typical zones at the Vancouver Christmas Market include the Christmas Tree Terrace, Artisan Market, Merchant Alley, Marktplatz, and Alpine Haus & Käthe Wohlfahrt Shop.

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!

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. Kids love them!

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 things like cheese and potatoes raclette, bratwurst sausages, spätzle, beef and vegan stews in a bread bowl, 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.

This year we tried the macaron’s from Bon Macaron Patisserie and they were amazing! Honestly the best macarons we’ve ever tasted, and we’ve had a few in our time!

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 usually 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 exquisite! Even if you don’t want to buy any, simply wander through and admire the displays as if walking through a toy museum. It’s impressive!

Christmas Market Map

For a map of the Vancouver Christmas Market showing you what’s where in 2018 click Market Venue Map.

For tickets and more information see the Vancouver Christmas Market website.

Market Entertainment

Most days at the Vancouver Christmas Market there is live music. Most of it happens on weekdays in the evenings, or on weekends throughout the afternoon. Groups that have performed in past years include the following:

  • Sm:)e Band – a fun and young all-female group
  • Clavinova Nights – a young 4-member band of crooners and Jazz musicians.
  • Grupo Asi-Somos – a Vancouver-based Latin Folk band that played tunes from Venezuela, Spain, Trinidad and Africa.
  • Winsome Kind – a local wife and husband Folk and Pop duo playing both popular and their own original Christmas tunes.
  • The Gingerbread Men – a talented 5-man group of crooners.
Gingerbread Men at Jack Poole Plaza
Gingerbread Men at the Christmas Market

Market Tips and Advice

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

TIP #1: 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. For $5 extra though you can get a “Fast Pass” that’s good for the entire season.

TIP #2: Upgrade your ticket to a season’s pass for just $1 extra so you can return again and again.

TIP #3: The Vancouver Christmas Market is arguably more for adults than children, but it’s still tons of fun for kids. Children enjoy the lights, music, carousel rides and toys sold by vendors. There are also scavenger hunts which are good at keeping children entertained. Last year, kids who completed the scavenger hunt earned a free ride on the carousel, which was great. New for 2018 is a kids’ craft station.

Vancouver Christmas Market Carousel
Carousel ride at the Vancouver Christmas Market

TIP #4: 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 from 5:00 to 9:30 pm Monday to Thursday and starting 90 minutes earlier on weekends. There’s also a place to post letters to St. Nick in the Alpine Haus.

TIP #5: Best times to go are when it’s not raining (unless you really want to avoid the crowds) and during live music scheduled times.

TIP #6: 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 #7: 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 #8: 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 late November until late December.

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.

TIP #9: 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!

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

For tickets and more information see the Vancouver Christmas Market website.

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:

Best Christmas Activities