The Lower Mainland’s largest New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks take place just off Canada Place in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet on December 31st.
Below is information about the fireworks and celebration activities, as well as a list of top locations to view the pyrotechnics from. If you’re looking for information about New Year’s Eve parties specifically, including family-friendly venues, click Vancouver NYE Celebrations.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Celebrating its 4th year in 2018, the Concord NYE Vancouver event takes place in and around Canada Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver between 7 pm and just after midnight. In 2018 December 31st is on a Monday.
During the event there are live outdoor concerts on the 102.7 the PEAK Stage in the plaza outside Canada Place, as well as other entertainment by Jack Poole Plaza.
Also at the Concord NYE Vancouver event you can expect street performers, at least 20 food trucks and up to 100,000 people around Canada Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre and in the street between Howe and Thurlow.
For more details about the evening’s various activities, click Canada Place New Year’s Celebrations.
Vancouver Fireworks Sponsors
Vancouver’s New Year’s Eve event wouldn’t be possible without the support of its generous sponsors, one of which is the Shangri-La Hotel which is a 5-star hotel and the city’s tallest building. Rooms at the Shangri-La offer some of the region’s finest views, including of the December 31st fireworks!
For more information about the Shangri-La, to book a room or to learn about exceptional rates and special offers, check out StayVancouverHotels.com which is a website that promotes a wide variety of downtown Vancouver hotels.
New Year’s Fireworks Times
On New Year’s Eve each year there are two sets of firework displays taking off from a barge in the water off Canada Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre. A 5-minute mini-version suitable for families with young folk and early bedtimes blasts off at 9 pm. The main pyrotechnics light up the sky at midnight and last for about 10 minutes.
While the fireworks are exploding in the sky there is accompanying music played by local radio stations 93.7 JRfm and The PEAK 102.7 FM. If you’re not near one of the event’s two outdoor concert stages or at a ticketed venue, tune in to the stations on your radio or mobile device.
Fireworks Viewing Locations
There are several places to view the New Year’s Eve fireworks from including the Vancouver Convention Centre’s East Plaza, along the Coal Harbour seawall, from the eastern tip of Stanley Park near the 9 O’clock Gun, and from North Vancouver at Waterfront Park, Lonsdale Quay and the pier by Shipbuilders’ Square.
In addition to the above free venues, there are also ticketed viewing areas including at the Indoor Experience at the Convention Centre where you can view in comfort, from indoors if you want, and away from most of the crowds.
Ticketed Fireworks Venues
There are lots of free places to view the fireworks from, but also the following paid venues:
NYE Celebration Pass
In 2018 the NYE Celebration Pass costs $69 per person and includes premium views of the fireworks, live music and access to food and beverages for purchase. Children under 8 years of age are free (but they need to reserve their tickets in advance).
Last year the Celebration Pass cost about the same and included access to the outdoor Celebration Zone on Jack Poole Plaza, family zone activities, and two indoor dance rooms with both DJ tunes and live music.
NYE VIP Indoor Experience
The best (but also most expensive) venue for fireworks viewing is at the VIP Indoor Experience which takes place in the West Ballroom of the Vancouver Convention Centre. Here general admission costs about $178 per person, so it’s definitely not cheap.
The VIP Indoor Experience is the same as what you get with the Celebration Pass but with a few extra perks. It is an ages 19+ event and includes complimentary snacks, adult beverages for sale and live entertainment. Other benefits are access to a VIP lounge on an upper level, a complimentary glass of champagne and free coat check.
In previous years there has been a third ticketed area – the Family Zone – which two years ago was at Canada Place and last year was at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The Family Zone was a perfect venue for people with families (obviously) and cost about $30 per person plus fees (but free for accompanying children ages 4 and under). The venue was both outdoors and inside.
In 2018 there will NOT be a Family Zone. Instead, the NYE Celebration Pass area will be extra family-friendly.
Coal Harbour Fireworks Views
In addition to the above ticketed venues, some of the best views of the fireworks are from along the waterfront in Coal Harbour.
The north side of the Vancouver Convention Centre is the top spot (see the above information on ticketed venues for details), but also in Jack Poole Plaza (which is free).
The viewing is also excellent from further along the seawall at free locations including from Harbour Green Park just to the west of the Convention Centre and all the way up to the Westin Bayshore Hotel (with some exceptions along the way). Excellent but also exceptionally crowded free viewing can also be found in the plaza between the Convention Centre and Canada Place.
Expect the entire area along Vancouver’s north-facing downtown waterfront to be packed like sardines, but increasingly so the closer you are to the Convention Centre and Canada Place.
Note: If you’re tall or right up close to the water near the Convention Centre you’ll probably have a great view. If you’re short and packed in the middle of the crowd your view likely won’t be perfect and you’ll no doubt feel at least somewhat claustrophobic.
TIP: Arrive early to stake out a good viewing spot (and maybe even bring a lawn chair if you plan to get there early enough to be at the very front).
Stanley Park Fireworks Views
The views of the fireworks are also good from the seawall along the southeastern part of Stanley Park facing the city. The views are great from between around the totem pole area and the easternmost tip of the park near the 9 O’clock Gun.
Look out for the barge in the water – if you can see the barge, or at least the sky above it, you’ll be able to see the fireworks. If you can’t see the barge, however, or at least its shadow in the water, then move along and try to find a better location.
Stanley Park is where we watched the fireworks from a few years ago and it was an excellent venue. There weren’t too many crowds, the pyrotechnics weren’t too far away, and the view of the city was spectacular.
TIP: Viewing from the southeastern tip of Stanley Park is highly recommended given the city views, relative proximity to the fireworks and lack of crowds. The main drawback though is transportation. At some point in the evening the road around the southeastern section of Stanley Park will likely be closed, which means you’ll need to walk a ways if you arrive after it closes or you might be trapped until the end if you arrive before. Also, unless you manage to be one of the first cars out, make yourself comfortable and don’t expect to get anywhere fast after the fireworks finish as traffic through the area moves at a snail’s pace for quite a while.
North Vancouver Fireworks Views
For people on Metro Vancouver’s North Shore, the best and most convenient fireworks viewing venues are in North Vancouver at Waterfront Park, Lonsdale Quay and the pier at Shipbuilders’ Square.
All three of these venues offer excellent views of the city lights across the water. The fireworks are admittedly in the distance, but still pretty good, and the crowds and transportation issues are nothing compared to what people in downtown Vancouver have to deal with.
Waterfront Park Fireworks Viewing
Waterfront Park is the green space just a five-minute walk west of the SeaBus terminal at Lonsdale Quay. To get there hang a left at the McDonald’s as you exit the SeaBus, walk the half block past the taxis and cars waiting to pick people up, and then continue west a minute or so down the path to the park.
The view from Waterfront Park is similar to that of Lonsdale Quay and Shipbuilders’ Square. There won’t likely be many people and there’s a nice little shelter which is convenient if it’s raining or if you want something picturesque in the foreground of your fireworks photos.
Lonsdale Quay Fireworks Viewing
Just outside the SeaBus terminal is Lonsdale Quay which has a great view of Vancouver from across the water. The crowds won’t likely be bad here (but more than at Waterfront Park) and for those that arrive early the views from the top of the Lonsdale Quay tower (with the giant “Q” on top) are especially impressive.
Shipbuilders’ Square and Pier
Shipbuilders’ Square and its pier are likely the most popular places on the North Shore to view Vancouver’s fireworks. There still won’t be a lot of people, but the fact that the pier extends quite a ways into the water means the fireworks will be just that much less in the distance compared to Waterfront Park and Lonsdale Quay.
Fireworks Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your New Year’s Eve fireworks-viewing experience.
TIP #1: Don’t try to drive downtown and expect to find parking anywhere near Canada Place, the Convention Centre or Coal Harbour (unless you arrive really early). Take public transit! Starting at 5 pm public transit is usually free on the day and Waterfront Station with its buses, SkyTrains and SeaBus terminal is just a short walk away!
TIP #2: Dress warmly!
TIP #3: If it’s raining, then the ticketed indoor venues at the Convention Centre are definitely the best places to be! Best free venues in the rain, meanwhile, are along the seawall in Stanley Park and at venues in North Vancouver? Why? Because there are far fewer people at those locations so the likelihood of being able to use an umbrella without angering people behind you is relatively good!
TIP #4: The barge from which the fireworks blast off is actually quite a ways offshore from Canada Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre. This is nice as it means the pyrotechnics can be seen from all around the region, and they aren’t overly far from either Stanley Park or North Vancouver. As mentioned above, when trying to find a spot to view from, look out for the barge. If you can see the barge, or at least the sky above it, you’ll be able to see the fireworks. If you can’t see the barge because of obstructions (other than people’s heads), then you’ll probably want to find a different spot.
For more information on Vancouver’s main New Year’s Eve celebrations, see New Year’s Eve at Canada Place.
For further details about the fireworks and festivities at Canada Place click NYE Vancouver.
For information on Lower Mainland fireworks at other times of the year, click Vancouver Fireworks.
For ideas on other things to do over the Christmas holidays and winter season, check out the following:
- Vancouver’s December or January calendars of events
- Best Christmas Activities
- Vancouver Winter Activities
- Vancouver Rainy Day Activities