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How to Spend a Weekend in Vancouver During the Winter

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How to Spend a Weekend in Vancouver During the Winter

Vancouver is one of my favourite cities in all of Canada, and I pretty much visit at least once or twice a year.

There are just so many fun things to do in Vancouver during the winter, whether it’s hiking through nature or even indulging in incredible sushi.

Adam and I headed off for a winter weekend in Vancouver, and we managed to do quite a bit while we were there.

We originally planned on spending our entire time up north in Whistler or Squamish, but decided it’d be much more relaxing to just spend our time in the city.

It would’ve been nice to do cool hikes and see frozen waterfalls, but the threat of bears terrifies me (Backcountry, anyone?) and neither one of us is that skilled in hiking anyways.

If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver, here are some other posts to help you plan your perfect trip:

If you’re looking for even more fun activities and things to do in Vancouver, be sure to check out some local tours!

If you’re looking for where to go in Vancouver during the winter season, keep on reading!

Disclaimer: Tourism Vancouver was kind enough to hook us up with a complimentary media pass, which gave us access to several of the experiences I’ll be mentioning in here. As always, all opinions are my own, and I would never recommend anything to you guys that I wouldn’t pay for myself.

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Where to stay in Vancouver


If you’re looking to book your flights and hotels for Vancouver, I’d recommend booking on Expedia, so you can collect points towards free rewards and discounts!

Hotels can be pretty pricy in Vancouver, but they’re great if you plan on only staying downtown and walking around without a car – Downtown Vancouver is very walkable!

Here are some of the best hotels to stay at in Vancouver:

Hilton Vancouver Downtown, British Columbia
Inside the chic Hilton Vancouver Downtown.

I also love staying in Airbnbs when I visit Vancouver, though I usually stay in Burnaby as it’s a little more budget-friendly.

If you’re interested in staying in Airbnbs, I have a separate blog post all about how to find the best Airbnbs!


Pro-tips for your winter weekend in Vancouver


Only rent a car on days you head out of the city

Downtown Vancouver is very walkable.

Ditch the car when you’re in the city and only rent it for when you’re heading outside of downtown.

We spent $46 on parking during these few days alone!

Pack winter layers

Winter in Vancouver is known to be mild, but pack just-in-case winter gear.

We arrived the week after a massive snowstorm hit the city, and the only jacket I packed was my Levi’s sherpa denim jacket.

Considering we just came from Toronto’s -20 weather, it wasn’t too bad, but I definitely would’ve preferred something warmer.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, even if Vancouver isn’t known for having super cold winters!


Where to go in North Vancouver during winter


If you’re looking to enjoy snow and nature, North Vancouver is the place to visit.

RELATED POST:
7 Best Things to Do in North Vancouver, British Columbia

I’ve also got a separate blog post all about the best things to do in North Vancouver!

Sea to Sky Gondola

It’s a long way up to the top of the gondola, but the views along the way are stunning.

There was a rare snowstorm the week before we arrived in Vancouver, and the summit of the mountain was a winter wonderland.

It was also snowing like crazy while we were wandering around, which I think made it all the more beautiful.

After our walk around the trails, we indulged in a Nanaimo bar (when in BC, right?) and hot drinks.

Things to note: $41.95 per adult for tickets online, free parking

LOCATION: 36800 BC-99, Squamish, BC | Website

How to spend a winter weekend getaway in Vancouver, British Columbia | most Instagram-worthy spots in Vancouver | top Instagrammable places to visit in Vancouver, BC | best things to see in North Vancouver | what to do and where to go in YVR | Vancity travel guide | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog
A snowy winter view from the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, British Columbia
Hat: Necessities (similar here) | Top: Marshall’s (similar here) | Denim: Zara (similar here) | Boots: Kamik

A snowy winter view from the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, British Columbia
A snowy winter view from the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, British Columbia
A snowy winter view from the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, British Columbia
A bird’s eye view (ha ha) of Howe Sound, the southernmost fjord in North America!

Capilano Suspension Bridge

I hadn’t visited Capilano Suspension Bridge in the past as I’d heard it was overrated, but friends, that is completely false.

Some people say Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge (which has free entrance) is comparable, but honestly, the only similarity is the bridge itself.

Both parks are awesome and different in their own ways, and the suspension bridge is probably the least exciting part of both in my opinion.

I’m not sure if the lights are up at Capilano year-round, but damn, it’s absolutely magical.

I wasn’t expecting the lights to be there at all because 1. it was the end of February and 2. we went for 9 AM, so it was a really amazing surprise.

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We did the cliff walk afterwards, and that was also really awesome.

These photos don’t even do justice for how dazzling it was to explore!

If you’re looking for a great lunch or snack spot in the area, I highly recommend BjornBar Bakery.

They’ve got a huge selection of pastries, and their grilled cheese is awesome.

Things to note: $46.95 per adult for tickets, $6 parking for 4 hours

LOCATION: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC | Website

During the holiday and winter season, the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver lights up with shimmering lights
During the holiday and winter season, the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver lights up with shimmering lights
During the holiday and winter season, the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver lights up with shimmering lights
During the holiday and winter season, the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver lights up with shimmering lights
During the holiday and winter season, the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver lights up with shimmering lights

Cleveland Park

Cleveland Park is a peaceful little area to wander around with small trails and gorgeous mountain views.

We were there on Family Day, and it was pretty busy with families and people with dogs.

The little shed on the water is also hecka photo-worthy.

I always take pics of it whenever I visit here.

Things to note: free entry, free parking

LOCATION: North Vancouver, BC | Website

The stunning Cleveland Park with mountainous views located in North Vancouver, British Columbia
The stunning Cleveland Park with mountainous views located in North Vancouver, British Columbia

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park is beautiful, and it’s incredibly breathtaking walking through the mossy forest.

I remembered the beautiful teal waters of the gorge during the spring, and I was just as much in awe this time around.

As it is free, expect for there to be crowds of people, as well as at least one person who will think it’s hilarious to jump up and down on the suspension bridge.

Most likely more than a few.

Things to note: free entry, free parking

LOCATION: 3690 Park Rd, North Vancouver, BC | Website

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is a popular, family-friendly nature spot for hiking in North Vancouver, British Columbia
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is a popular, family-friendly nature spot for hiking in North Vancouver, British Columbia

Where to go in downtown Vancouver during winter


Brunch at Chambar, Jam Cafe, or Medina

Brunch at one or brunch at all of them, if you can.

What better way to warm up during a winter weekend in Vancouver than with some hearty breakfast food?

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These are my top 3 favourite brunch spots in the city (in that order), and of course we hit up each one while we were visiting Vancouver.

Adam’s order of faves is Jam Cafe, Medina, then Chambar.

I’d recommend the paella at Chambar, the pork belly benny at Jam, and the le complet at Medina.

If you’re looking for more Vancouver food spots, check out my blog post on where to eat in Vancouver.

If you’re a big foodie, you can also do a guided 3-hour food and history tour!

Things to note: $3 hourly street parking 9am-10pm, so go at 8am for free parking lolz

Vancouver has tons of awesome breakfast spots, and Jam Café is one of the best brunch restaurants to visit

FlyOver Canada

FlyOver Canada is super touristy but still a really fun activity!

It’s essentially an interactive VR experience that flies you through the different provinces across Canada.

As it was Chinese New Year, we got to see a double feature of both the Flight of the Dragon show and the original show.

I’d seen the original once before, but I enjoyed it even more this time around because I actually have an appreciation for travel, and have quite a few Canadian destinations on my bucket list.

Things to note: $28.05 per adult for tickets online, $4 hourly parking

LOCATION: 999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC | Website

FlyOver Canada is a touristy yet fun attraction in the heart of downtown Vancouver

Stanley Park

The first time I saw Stanley Park was by bike during my Vancouver to Calgary road trip, and it was a pretty different experience driving along it.

We stopped along the way at various spots that interested us, and I wasn’t expecting to spend two hours just walking around!

This view of the Lion’s Gate Bridge at Prospect Point is one of my fave spots in the park.

Things to note: $2.50 hourly parking during winter (Oct 1-Mar 31)

LOCATION: Vancouver, BC | Website

A scenic view of the Lion's Gate Bridge from Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Aquarium

Y’all, believe me when I say that the Vancouver Aquarium is somewhere you must visit, especially if you love animals.

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We didn’t really know what to expect going in, but we were surprised to see a sea turtle, a dolphin, lil baby monkeys from the Amazon Rainforest, sea lions, otters, and so much more!

The otters were definitely my favourite little creatures – they were like puppies rolling around in the water.

I was sad to have missed the South African penguins as it’s too cold for them to come out during the winter, but I’ll definitely be back in the summer someday to see them.

Things to note: $38 per adult for tickets, $2.50 hourly parking during winter (Oct 1-Mar 31)

LOCATION: 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC | Website

The Vancouver Aquarium has many unique animals you can visit all year-round

So that’s how we spent our winter weekend in Vancouver.

There are plenty of cool things to do in Vancouver during the winter, especially since the weather is a lot more mild than Toronto’s frigid winters.

If you’re looking for even more fun activities and things to do in Vancouver, be sure to check out some local tours!

Have you visited Vancouver during the winter? Where are some other great spots to go in Vancouver during the winter? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver, here are some other posts to help you plan your perfect trip:

Be sure to keep up with me on InstagramTwitter, Facebook, and Pinterest if you aren’t already!

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

How to spend a perfect winter weekend getaway in Vancouver, British Columbia!

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