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Top Vancouver January Activities

Tubing at Cypress

Top activities in Vancouver in January include skiing and other snow sports, winter festivals, dining out and being outdoors when it’s not raining.

Below we list top activities in 2023 and typical years.

Highlights of the month in 2023 include the Beyond King Tut exhibition, Dine Out Vancouver Festival, PuSh Performing Arts Festival, and Lunar New Year events including LunarFest and the Chinese New Year celebrations at International Village Mall. There are lots of other fun things to do too including Vive les Voyageurs at Fort Langley on the weekend of January 21st and 22nd.


Celebrating Chinese New Year at International Village Mall

Vancouver events at Lunar New Year


January Events & Things to Do

Below you’ll find a list of recommended winter activities as well as January’s best festivals, events and live entertainment.

As you’ll see from our list, highlights of the month most years include seeing live theatre at places like the Arts Club or The Improv Centre, snowshoeing in Grouse Mountain’s Light Walk trails, tubing at Cypress and Mount Seymour, and enjoying the snow at any of the region’s great ski hills.


Dine Out Vancouver Festival Restaurants


Top January Activities

January is typically a fairly cold, dark and wet month, so best things to do include Indoor Activities most days, snow sports in the mountains anytime it’s not raining at higher elevations, and outdoor recreational activities close to town whenever it’s sunny.


Festivals, Events and Shows

Special events in January include the following:

  • Polar Bear Swim at English Bay Beach – hundreds of crazy participants turn out for an icy dip in the ocean, and thousands more turn out to watch on January 1st in the early afternoon. Similar events also take place in White Rock, Port Moody, Delta and in North Vancouver’s Deep Cove.
  • Dine Out Vancouver Festival – dozens of restaurants offer special multi-course meals during the last half of January throughout the Lower Mainland. (Running from January 20th until February 5th in 2023.)
  • PuSh Festival – this International Performing Arts Festival runs from mid-January to early February most years (and from January 19th until February 5th in 2023).
  • Soar Over Taiwan – an Asian-themed flying-experience attraction at FlyOver Canada runs from January 8th to February 12th in 2023.
  • Lunar New Year – this takes place in February most years, but sometimes in January (including on January 22nd in 2023). Examples of activities include the following (but there are more):
  • Performing Arts Productions – for live entertainment opportunities check out Vancouver’s Shows and Entertainment listing.


January Christmas Attractions

Christmas might be over, but some of the Lower Mainland’s best Christmas-themed attractions continue for a bit of January. Some of our favourites include the following:

  • Festival of Lights – the Christmas lights and festivities at VanDusen Botanical Garden. (Until January 2nd in 2023.)
  • Lights on the Lake – Christmas illuminations and light displays line the waterfront at Harrison Hot Springs. (Until January 8th in 2023.)
  • Lights at Lafarge – the Christmas illuminations at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park (until the middle of February in 2023).
  • Christmas at FlyOver Canada – the multi-dimensional film experience at Canada Place continues its Christmas holiday theme (until January 3rd in 2023).


Vancouver Indoor Activities

Best ways to escape the winter weather in Vancouver include the following most years (but in some cases not in 2021):

  • Dining Out – eating out is a great indoor activity anytime of the year, but especially in the second half of January during the Dine Out Vancouver Festival when hundreds of restaurants are offering special deals.
  • Taking in a Show – in addition to movies, lots of live entertainment takes place in Vancouver. Highlights in January include PuSh Festival performances. See Vancouver Shows and Entertainment for details.
  • Watching Live Hockey – Nothing is more stereotypically Canadian in winter than hockey, and the Vancouver Canucks and Vancouver Giants play about ten home games between them most years in January.
  • Ice Skating – there are lots of community rec centres where you can go ice skating in January most years. A couple of outdoor (yet covered) places to skate for free though are at Robson Square and North Vancouver’s Shipyards.
  • Exercising Indoors – January is usually a great month for being indoors and swimming at area recreation centres, especially at places like Watermania in Richmond and the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre on the North Shore. Fitness classes are also popular this time of year, and especially nice are sessions of hot yoga!
  • Visit an Indoor Attraction – Vancouver’s museums, art galleries and other indoor attractions are great places to visit when the weather is miserable. Check out Vancouver’s Best Indoor Activities for ideas.

For more ways to escape the rain, check out Vancouver’s top Rainy Day Activities.


Cypress Tubing
Tubing at Cypress Mountain


Fun in the Snow Activities

January is one of the best months to go downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tobogganing and tubing. Here is where you can do all that close by on the North Shore:

  • Cypress Mountain – Vancouver’s ski hill with the most terrain, lifts and vertical drop also features a fantastic tubing park and both cross-country and snowshoeing trails.
  • Mount Seymour – a great family ski hill with tubing, tobogganing and snowshoe trails, plus free snowshoeing at the provincial park next door.
  • Grouse Mountain – the resort offers excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities with awesome terrain parks, plus outdoor skating, snowshoeing trails, an indoor theatre, restaurants with views and a Light Walk and Sliding Zone.

Great snow activity venues a little further afield include the following:

  • Sasquatch Mountain – a ski resort located not far from Harrison Hot Springs. (Note: Up until 2016 it was called Hemlock Valley.)
  • Manning Provincial Park – although about three hours from Vancouver, it’s close for residents of the Fraser Valley, offers a change of scenery for city folk and features great snow for alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding and tubing.
  • Whistler-Blackcomb – Canada’s premier ski resort offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the world, as well as cross-country trails, tubing, snowmobiling, skating, heli-skiing, and even bobsleighing and dog sledding.


Whistler-Blackcomb in Winter


Best Outdoor Places on Sunny Days

January is one of Vancouver’s coldest and wettest months of the year, which means any day that’s clear and sunny is a great day to be outdoors. In addition to the above ski hills, top outdoor places to explore in January include the following:

Walking Trails in Nature – parks that still look exceptional in winter include Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park, Fort Langley‘s Fort to Fort Trail, Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, Lynn Canyon Park and Rice Lake in North Vancouver, anywhere in Stanley Park, Sasamat Lake in Belcarra Regional Park and Alice Lake by Squamish.

Urban Walking Trails and Seawalls – top places for a stroll on a sunny January day in the city include the Stanley Park seawall, from Ambleside to Dundarave in West Vancouver, anywhere along the False Creek Seawall, and along the waterfront in Coal Harbour and by English Bay.


Dine Out Vancouver Festival Restaurants


Other Information

For more information on what’s happening this month, check out Vancouver’s Best Places’ January Events Calendar.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following: