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A view from the chairlift at Grouse Mountain overlooking Vancouver

Vancouver in January: Events, Festivals & Things to Do

Visiting Vancouver in January offers a unique experience for any traveller.

The city comes alive amidst the winter season; from captivating festivals to exciting events, this Canadian gem has plenty to offer in the cold of January.

So grab your toque! Let’s delve into the best things to do in Vancouver in January.

Visiting Vancouver in January 2024

  1. Things to do in Vancouver in January
  2. Vancouver January events
  3. January concerts
  4. January weather
  5. What to pack for January
  6. FAQ

What to Do in Vancouver in January

Go Skiing or Snowboarding

a snowboarder taking a jump at the terrain park at grouse mountain in vancouver bc

Despite the colder temperatures, Vancouver’s natural beauty remains awe-inspiring. 

Whether you visit Whistler, Grouse Mountain or Cypress Mountain, you get to explore the vast urban oasis by skiing the snow-capped mountains that surround the city – and beyond. 

Additionally, you get to enjoy outdoor activities like snowboarding, providing thrilling adventures for both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts.

See the Capilano Suspension Bridge Canyon Lights

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is already one of the top things to do in Vancouver, offering a delightful blend of beauty and excitement.

However, if you’re visiting Vancouver during Christmas and beyond, its allure becomes even more captivating.

In January in Vancouver, you can experience this mesmerizing display of end-to-end illumination featuring a vibrant array of ever-changing colours.

To get a glimpse of this enchanting spectacle, check out the following video:

Mark your calendars as the Canyon Lights event will be held from November 19th to January 22nd, operating daily from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm (excluding Christmas Day).

Discover the Vancouver Art Gallery

outside view of vancouver art gallery in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Van Art Gallery

Escape the January winter chill by exploring the fascinating exhibits at the Vancouver Art Gallery

This is a must on any Vancouver itinerary – a diverse collection of contemporary and historical artwork, including pieces by renowned local and international artists – with a special insight into aboriginal works and local legend Emily Carr

The gallery frequently hosts special exhibitions, allowing visitors to delve deeper into various art movements and cultural perspectives.

Ride the Stanley Park Train

stanley park christmas train

Experience the magic of the Canadian Pacific Railroad #374 with this captivating model replica ride.

Recreating the historic journey that marked the completion of the first Canadian transcontinental trip, this enchanting ride operates from late November to early January.

Embark on the Stanley Park Bright Nights adventure and witness the park’s transformation like never before. As you chug along, Stanley Park comes alive with shimmering lights and festive displays.

This delightful experience is especially cherished by families visiting Vancouver – in fact it’s one of the best things to do with kids in Vancouver, hands down.

Visit the Vancouver Aquarium

outside view of the vancouver aquarium in vancouver bc canada

Marvel at the different attractions that the Vancouver Aquarium has to offer: a wholesome place that provides an immersive, conservation-first marine experience.

We get it; some might not be interested in visiting a place full of fish behind a glass window. But there’s just something so peaceful and beautiful when it comes to the Vancouver Aquarium.

Whether you’re observing sea creatures like diving dolphins, schooling salmon, and splashing sea otters or learning about conservation efforts to protect our oceans, the aquarium’s educational programs and interactive exhibits make it an engaging destination for visitors of all ages.

Take a Snowshoeing Trip at Cypress

snowshoers snowshoeing at seymour mountain vancouver bc canada

In Vancouver in January, you can immerse yourself in the quintessential Canadian experience by donning a pair of snowshoes and exploring the picturesque landscapes of old-growth forests and serene lakes.

Follow the meandering trails that lead to moments of tranquillity and solitude.

Why choose Seymour Mountain for your snowshoeing adventure? For starters, it has been acclaimed as the number one Snowshoeing Resort in North America by Snowshoe Magazine.

Additionally, the resort boasts a variety of gentle and well-marked trails that are ideal for beginners or those seeking a leisurely snow stroll.

Experience the Vancouver Lookout

the vancouver lookout at night in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Vancouver Lookout

Experiencing the Vancouver Lookout during January is a great way to marvel at the city’s stunning panoramic views while embracing the winter ambiance.

Perched high above the city, this 500+ foot observation deck offers breathtaking views of the city.

When visiting Vancouver in January, you can witness the city adorned with a dusting of snow, adding a magical touch to the already captivating scenery.

Visiting the Vancouver Lookout in January allows you to enjoy the sights from a warm and cozy indoor space without missing the majestic feeling of the season.

Looking to grab drinks afterwards? Check out our guide to the Best Gastown Bars.

Go Ice Skating in Robson Square

Lace-up your skates and glide across the ice!

Don’t miss the chance to go ice skating in Robson Square during January, as it offers a fun and festive Canadian winter experience.

Located in the heart of Vancouver, Robson Square transforms into a bright outdoor ice rink during the winter months.

Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, the area provides a friendly and welcoming environment to enjoy this classic winter pastime. Feel the crisp air on your face as you gracefully skate or take joy in the simple pleasure of gliding hand-in-hand with loved ones.

Participate in the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

It’s officially Vancouver January with the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim.

Join the courageous locals on January 1st as they take part in this invigorating activity. This annual tradition sees thousands of brave souls plunging into the chilly waters of English Bay to ring in the new year.

It’s definitely an exhilarating way to start the year and embrace the unique spirit of Vancouver’s residents.

Naturally, it’s free, making it one of the best cheap things to do in Vancouver.

Vancouver January Events 2024

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is a renowned and highly anticipated event that takes place annually in Vancouver. Over the course of several weeks, the festival showcases an impressive lineup of cutting-edge performances in theatre, dance and music.

vancouver whale tour banner

Various Canadian artists come together to present their innovative works, pushing the boundaries of traditional performing arts and captivating audiences with their creativity and thought-provoking storytelling.

So when is the upcoming PuSh International Performing Arts Festival this January 2024? Make sure to check out the dates by clicking here.

Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival

vancouver hot chocolate festival that happens in vancouver bc canada

Indulge your taste buds at the annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, held throughout January.

This delectable event brings together renowned chocolatiers, cafes, and patisseries, offering a variety of unique hot chocolate flavours and creations. 

So don’t miss out on the chance to warm yourself up with a steaming cup of goodness as you explore Vancouver’s best neighbourhoods.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival

dine out vancouver poster and a woman walking

Embark on a culinary adventure during the Dine Out Vancouver Festival, taking place in January.

This eagerly anticipated event showcases the city’s vibrant food scene, with participating restaurants offering an array of discounted set menus – some as much as 70% off.

In this festival, held at Vancouver’s best restaurants, you can easily delight in mouthwatering creations and explore new flavours as you savour the diverse gastronomic offerings.

Concerts in January in Vancouver 2024

  • Clairo / Arlo Parks: January 26, Orpheum Theatre 
  • Nick Mason: January 4, Orpheum Theatre
  • Luca Stricagnoli: January 25, Massey Theatre

For more information on these January Vancouver concerts, check out Ticketmaster.

January Weather in Vancouver

In January, Vancouver experiences cool and wet weather conditions.

The average temperature ranges from around 1°C to 6°C (34°F to 43°F). The nearby mountains receive a healthy dose of snowfall, creating a picturesque backdrop.

Rainfall is a common feature during January, with around 20 rainy days in the month. So, it’s advisable to carry a waterproof jacket and an umbrella to stay dry while exploring the city.

a snowboarder taking a jump at the terrain park at grouse mountain in vancouver bc

What to Pack for a Trip to Vancouver in January

A sturdy and waterproof jacket is essential to keep you dry and protected from Vancouver’s rainy weather in January. Make sure to look for a jacket with a hood and sealed seams for added protection.

We also recommend packing a variety of warm and layered clothing options, including sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, and thermal undergarments.

You’ll also need a pair of waterproof boots or shoes to navigate the wet streets of Vancouver. Look for footwear with good traction to prevent slipping on slippery surfaces.

capilano suspension bridge and grouse mountain tour banner for 2024

An umbrella is also another must-have accessory for your trip to Vancouver in January. It will come in handy during the frequent rain showers that characterize the city’s weather during this best time to visit Vancouver.

Don’t forget to pack a warm hat, scarf, and gloves to protect your head, neck, and hands from the cold. Opt for materials that provide insulation and are suitable for winter conditions.

Visiting Vancouver in July FAQ

Does Vancouver get snow in January?

Yes, Vancouver does receive snowfall in January, although it is not as frequent or heavy compared to other regions in Canada.

When snow does occur in Vancouver during January, it can create a picturesque scene and add a touch of winter charm to the city. The surrounding mountains, such as Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain, are more likely to receive significant snowfall, making them popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts.

Is it cold in Vancouver in January?

Yes, Vancouver can be considered cold in January, although the term “cold” is relative and depends on individual perceptions and comparisons. Vancouver’s winters are generally mild compared to other regions in Canada, but temperatures can still drop to chilly levels.

So make sure to bring clothes that can really warm you up!

Should I visit Vancouver in January?

Visiting Vancouver in January is definitely worth it. While the city’s winters may be wet and cooler compared to other seasons, there are several reasons why it remains an attractive destination during this time.

From winter sceneries to snowy sports activities, as well as the many exciting festivals and events where there are fewer crowds, Vancouver in January offers a relaxing holiday for anyone who would like to experience a snowy getaway that isn’t insanely cold.

Is Vancouver rainy in January?

Yes, Vancouver is both rainy and snowy during January. The city experiences a considerable amount of precipitation during this month, and it’s not uncommon for Vancouver to have overcast and wet conditions throughout January.

Visiting Vancouver in January?

Visiting Vancouver in January presents a captivating blend of winter charm, cultural celebrations, and vibrant events.

From sipping hot chocolate to plunging into icy waters, you’ll find an array of experiences that embrace the city’s unique spirit.

With festivals, outdoor adventures, and cultural attractions, Vancouver in January offers an unforgettable journey filled with warmth, excitement, and exploration.

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