Looking for special and unique Christmas gift ideas? Treat your friends and family to Vancouver and Lower Mainland experiences they won’t forget.
Gift certificates and tickets to area attractions make exceptional gifts for a variety of reasons. They create memorable experiences and help support the local economy. They are also easy to purchase online (so you don’t have to drive in the snow and fight for parking to get them). And what’s more, if you want, you can go with the gift recipient and enjoy the experience together!
In this article we list a number of Christmas gift ideas we think you and your gift recipients might really enjoy! In our lists we include winter holiday attractions, upcoming events, performing arts shows, attractions with annual passes, outdoor adventure ideas, and other fun and unique activities.
Gift Certificates for Vancouver Events and Attractions
There are lots of amazing attractions and activities in the Lower Mainland. A gift certificate or annual membership to some of them make awesome Christmas gifts. Below are some really good ones to consider.
Treat your friends and family to any of the following Christmas attractions. The first three end before December 25th, so they’ll have to be early Christmas presents!
- Vancouver Christmas Market – this is a great place to treat someone to admission, a hot drink and some tasty food. While there, you’ll likely find extra things to buy for your guest (or yourself or other people on your shopping list). Last day of the season though is December 24th.
- PNE Winter Fair – got friends who would love to see Dionne Warwick, Johnny Reid or A Boy Band Christmas concert in the week leading up to Christmas? Then get them tickets to one of the Holiday Night Concerts. Or maybe just treat them to the lights and other entertainment that’s included with general admission. The fun continues until December 23rd.
Other Christmas Attractions to Treat Friends to
The following Christmas attractions continue until the end of December, and some even until later in January. With a couple, the venues offer annual passes which also make exceptional Christmas gifts.
- VanDusen Garden’s Festival of Lights – the garden has its Christmas attraction running until January 2nd, 2023. The Festival of Lights is an amazing place to take someone. An annual membership at VanDusen Botanical Garden can also make a great gift (and it lets the member in year-round on regular days and gives them a discount at other times, like during the Festival of Lights).
- Canyon Lights at Capilano Bridge – the lights at this amazing attraction are up until January 22nd in 2023. An annual pass costs the same amount as regular admission for residents of BC too (and if you get it for someone now they’ll be able to use it for part of this holiday season and part of next year’s too)!
- Christmas Glow – this Christmas attraction in Langley is beautiful, but it’s only open until December 31st. It’s half indoors and half outdoors. With the snow on the ground, like the above two places, it will be looking extra magical this holiday season!
- Soar With Santa at FlyOver Canada – the Christmas film at the multidimensional theatre at Canada Place runs until January 3rd in 2023. You can’t buy annual passes at FlyOver Canada, but you can buy gift certificates for future shows (including Soar Over Taiwan which starts up in January).
- Vallea Lumina – the light attraction in Whistler where you walk through the forest is open year-round and it’s especially beautiful when there is snow on the ground. The same venue also offers Ziplining and Snowmobiling Tours!
New Year’s Eve Events
In addition to the above, there are also New Year’s Eve nightclub-style cruises with Vancouver Boat Parties on December 31st.
To learn about other events happening on the last day of 2022, see our article about Vancouver New Year’s Eve Events.
Upcoming Events and Attractions
Do any of your friends like Marvel superheroes, dance and theatre productions, art exhibitions, or music? Then why not buy them tickets to one of the following events which take place in the first few months of 2023.
Special Touring Exhibitions
- Beyond King Tut – the immersive exhibition about King Tutankhamun has been getting great reviews since November. It continues at the Vancouver Convention Centre until January 14th in 2023. (TIP: Use the promo code SAVE15 and save 15% off the price of admission.)
- Beyond Van Gogh – an immersive exhibition featuring the art of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh takes place at the Cloverdale Agriplex in Surrey between February 1st and early March in 2023.
- Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. – an exciting Marvel superhero-themed exhibition takes place in Burnaby at The Amazing Brentwood from March 3rd until May 28th.
- Jurassic Quest – the dinosaur exhibition at the Vancouver Convention Centre and Tradex Centre in Abbotsford takes place on weekends between May 12th and May 22nd.
- Jurassic World Live Tour – a dinosaur-themed show at the Pacific Coliseum between May 19th and the 28th. Kids will love both this and the Jurassic Quest event!
- Shen Yun – the American-based Chinese performing arts company brings its spectacular production to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from March 21st to 26th in 2023.
Other Upcoming Festivals and Events
- Vancouver International Wine Festival – one of North America’s biggest and most prestigious wine shows takes place in Vancouver between April 22nd and 30th. Wine enthusiasts will love to be treated to some of its events!
- Just for Laughs Vancouver – the comedy is in Vancouver from February 16th to 25th in 2023. Why not buy tickets or promise an IOU for a show to friends who like funny stuff? Laughter makes a fabulous present!
- PuSh Festival – the performing arts shows take place at various venues in Vancouver between January 19th and February 5th in 2023. Your theatre-loving friends will no doubt appreciate a ticket or multi-show pass to this festival!
- Festival du Bois – BC’s largest francophone festival happens in 2023 at Mackin Park in Coquitlam. You can’t buy tickets to it yet, but you can give someone an IOU and promise to take them on the weekend of March 24th to 26th.
- Art Vancouver – the international art fair at the Vancouver Convention Centre takes place this year on the weekend of May 4th to 7th. Early-bird tickets are available until January 6th!
- The Comic Strippers – the parody improv comedy show is at the ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge on February 11th in 2023. It’s for adults only (ages 19+), but doesn’t contain extreme nudity.
Give the Gift of Music & Theatre
Gift certificates or IOUs for concerts and theatrical shows with local performing arts groups make awesome Christmas presents. Support a local arts group and treat your friends and family to something special from one of the following organizations.
Choir & Symphony Organizations
- Vancouver Welshmen’s Choir – the popular men’s choir has concerts coming up on January 25th and March 11th, 17th and 19th in 2023. You can’t buy tickets for all of them yet. You can though promise to buy them for someone when they become available.
- Chor Leoni – the choir’s PopCappella III concert features a mix of Jazz, Pop and Choral Music at the beautiful St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church on March 3rd and 4th in 2023. Tickets cost between $20 and $50.
- Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – the symphony’s end-of-year Christmas concerts might be finished for the season, but they have more performances coming up in January and then continuing all year. A ticket to one of the concerts, or a full subscription to the symphony, can be a great present.
- Early Music Vancouver – this organization hosts lots of concerts including during the Vancouver Summer Festival in the summer. Consider one of their concerts for your classical music-loving friends!
Theatre and Opera Gift Ideas
- Vancouver Opera – A Midsummer’s Night Dream takes place in mid-February and The Flying Dutchman takes the stage in the spring. If you buy your tickets by the end of day on December 25th and use the promo code GIFT you’ll save 20%!
- Theatre Under the Stars – tickets to the outdoor theatre at Stanley Park in the summer make a great gift. Next year’s shows are Matilda and The Prom! You can’t buy tickets yet, but you can give an IOU gift to one or both of the shows.
- Bard on the Beach – the Shakespearean productions take place in Vanier Park from early-June to mid-September every year. The 2023 season includes a Beatles-themed version of As You Like It, Julius Caesar, Henry V, and Goblin: Macbeth (which is a version of the Shakespearean play produced by a trio of goblins). 2023 Flex Packs and Season Packs are available for purchase!
Attraction Annual Passes
Do any of your friends like gardens, museums or other places of interest? Why not give them an annual pass to somewhere special, like to any of the following attractions.
National Historic Sites
- Gulf of Georgia Cannery – this is a great historical site in Steveston Village. It’s also home to the Steveston Festival of Trees which runs over the Christmas season until Christmas Eve. Annual passes cost just $25 for adults and $45 for families.
- Fort Langley National Historic Site – this venue hosts interesting events at various times of the year. In December, for example, there are craft activities with Humbug Holidays until December 31st. In January there is also Vive les Voyageurs which is a celebration of French-Canadian culture. Annual passes here cost just $21 for adults and about $18 for seniors. Admission is also free for youth ages 17 and under.
- Britannia Mine Museum – this is another local national historic site that’s full of interesting things to see and do. Annual memberships cost $98 for adults, $70 for children (ages 5 to 17) and $195 for families.
Other Museums & Places of Interest
- Vancouver Maritime Museum – friends who like history, model ships and boats will appreciate an annual pass to this museum at Vanier Park. A one-time visit costs between $10 and $13.50 depending on your age (but kids under 6 years of age enter for free). Annual memberships, meanwhile, cost $40 for adults and $60 for families (plus GST).
- MONOVA – the Museum of North Vancouver is where you’ll learn all about the history of Vancouver’s North Shore. Annual passes cost $33.33 for adults, $23.81 for youth (ages 6 to 17) and $71.43 for families.
- Fraser River Discovery Centre – this is a great place for young families to learn about the Fraser River region and the environment. Located at the waterfront in New Westminster, annual memberships cost $25 for adults and $45 for families (of up to 2 adults and 4 children between ages 2 and 12).
Outdoor Adventure Venues
- Playland – season passes for the summer amusement park make awesome Christmas gifts, and if you buy them by December 24th you’ll save about $10. For a limited time, Fun Season Passes (which provide access to the kid-friendly rides like the Dizzy Drop and Kettle Creek Mine Coaster) cost $79. Thrill Season Passes, meanwhile, provide access to almost all the rides and cost $119. Wait until after Christmas Eve and the passes will cost $10 more!
- WildPlay Element Park – know anyone who’d like an adventure on the ziplines and ropes courses in Maple Ridge? The 2023 season at the outdoor adventure centre starts on February 11th. As of December 2022 you can save $25 on season passes. This means $174.99 instead of $199.99 for adults and $119.99 instead of $139.99 for kids. For a limited time, if you buy a $100 gift card you’ll also get a $25 bonus credit!
Other Experiential Gift Ideas
Other awesome Christmas gifts are tickets for dinner theatre, walking tours, multidimensional theatre shows and other adventures including the following:
Walking Tours and Adventure Activities
- Forbidden Vancouver – people who like history and walking tours will love what this local company has to offer! The tours start back up for the season in February. For a limited time though you can buy gift certificates and save 20%!
- Vancouver Mysteries – outdoor adventure games in downtown Vancouver can be fun experiential gifts too. They have games with detective, superhero, secret agent and other themes. The games run year-round (although not on December 24th or 25th). Gift certificates start at $70 for 2 players (for outdoor games) or $150 for up to 6 players (for fully-hosted online games via Zoom).
- Foxtrail – this company offers scavenger hunt-styles games for adults in downtown Vancouver. They operate year-round and cost about $32 per person.
- Historical Chinatown Tours – Lunar New Year takes place in January in 2023. A great way to celebrate is with a walking tour around Vancouver’s Chinatown. Judy Lam Maxwell offers customized tours which often include dim sum for lunch!
- Ziplining – there aren’t many experiential gifts as exciting as ziplining. A great place to do that is at Superfly Ziplines in Whistler where they happen year-round. The same venue also offers Snowmobiling Tours in winter and Whitewater Rafting in the spring and summer. It’s also where you’ll find Whistler’s famous Vallea Lumina light walk attraction.
Dinner and/or Theatre Activities
- Giggle Dam – the not-so-politically-correct dinner and theatre venue has different shows throughout the year including special New Year’s Eve events on December 30th and 31st in 2022. It’s a fun and unique experience for mature audiences!
- FlyOver Canada – you can promise to take your friends to one of the shows about Canada and enjoy the experience with them, or you can buy a gift ticket that’s good for any show for $25 for adults or $15 for children (ages 15 and under). Soar with Santa is showing until January 3rd, 2023. After that, Soar Over Taiwan shows between January 8th and February 12th.
- Winterlust – a unique and memorable dining experience is in one of the private, heated, outdoor domes at the Westin Bayshore Hotel‘s H2 Tasting Lounge. You can book your spot for up to 6 people.
Vancouver Vacation Gifts
Whether it’s as a staycation for friends or family who already live in the Lower Mainland, or for guests from out of town, overnight accommodations at a hotel also make a great gift. A good place to look for deals in downtown Vancouver is at StayVancouverHotels.com. When you book through it you can get bonus perks.
As of mid-December in 2022, bonus offers through the site include things like tickets to the Vancouver International Wine Festival, Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, and the Beyond King Tut Exhibition. Those are all very valuable perks!
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Downtown Vancouver Hotels
- Vancouver Christmas Activities
- BC Buy Local Week
- Staycations in Downtown Vancouver
- Vacations in Downtown Vancouver
- Vancouver’s December Calendar of Events
- Lower Mainland Winter Activities