Vancouver Winter Wonderland

vancouver in winter rose garden snow ikigai travel

Winter in Vancouver can be extremely depressing or totally awesome, depending on what you like to do.
This is a quick guide to save yourself a trip in the wrong season. 😉

For Christmas lovers:

If you are a child at heart like me, you’ll love Vancouver in December! There are lights, markets and events everywhere for all budgets and tastes. The format is usually similar: incredible light shows, food trucks, arts and crafts stands, workshops, fun and games, Christmas carols, mazes, the occasional Santa appearance and even a free Ferris Wheel this year! My personal favourites are:

Van Dusen Festival of Lights

One million lights, musical fountain, carousel ride… magical.

Cost: $15.25 online – $18.10 at the gate (2017 prices)

Van Dusen festival of lights winter in vancouver botanical gardens ikigai travel

Bright Nights in Stanley Park

Same format, a bit smaller than the botanical gardens if you don’t get on the train. For the train ride, buy your tickets in advance online, as there is always a huge line-up and very often it’s sold out.

Entrance: by donation – Train ride: $12

Bright nights in Stanley Park christmas winter in vancouver ikigai travel


Apparently this is going to be the biggest Christmas lights display ever. It’s a new event in town, so I can’t vouch for it yet. Last year there was Enchant instead, a huge maze of lights where you were supposed to find 9 reindeer, get a stamp on your card for each one and find your way out. I’m a stamp-rally junkie, so I had a lot of fun.

enchant glow christmas market winter in vancouver ikigai travel

Canyon Lights

It’s the Christmas light-up at Capilano Suspension Bridge. I’ve been wanting to go forever but never had the chance to (yet). It’s expensive ($43) and always crowded, but I’m sure it’s worth it.

For skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers:

You’ll find your Winter Wonderland on the beautiful mountains around Vancouver. Depending on your budget, you can choose the smaller slopes on Mt. Seymour/Cypress Mountain/Grouse Mountain or go all in and treat yourself to a fancy trip to Whistler. Whistler is expensive, but it boasts the best facilities in BC for all the winter activities you can possibly think of (it’s where the Winter Olympics were held after all). The village is clearly conceived for tourists, but it’s still very charming. For people on a budget, there are a couple of hostels, but make sure to book way in advance, as it’s a really popular destination.

ski snowboard whistler grouse cypress seymour mountain Vancouver ikigai travel

For tea drinkers, freelancers and digital nomads:

I won’t lie, I find winter in Vancouver rather depressing once the Christmas buzz is over. It rains way too much for my taste, meaning that I can’t go on long walks as often as I’d like to. Luckily, rain and cold mean also that it’s time for tasty hot beverages! When I can’t concentrate at home or I just want to play the part of the glamorous freelancer who works from coffee shops, I explore places.
As a result, I’m proud to present:

2 great matcha latte places

Off the tracks Espresso Bar and Bistro on Granville Island
Blaq Sheep on Dunbar street
While the first one is always quite busy because of its location, Blaq Sheep is perfect for working: the WiFi is excellent, the place is cozy and quiet and I love their “When it rains, we pour” slogan!
Blaq sheep matcha latte coffee vancouver ikigai travel

My favourite working space in downtown Vancouver

Nelson the Seagull in Gastown

Okay, it’s my second favourite. My favourite is actually the Vancouver Public Library, which is huge and amazing.
Anyway, Nelson the Seagull is minimalist and really cozy, the WiFi works very well and their food is tasty!

Nelson the seagull working space coffee food digital nomads ikigai travel

My tea salons of choice

Last but not least, the tea salons. These are ideal for girls’ meet-ups, brainstorming sessions or just a chat with friends. Always make a reservation beforehand, as they tend to be busy.


As the name suggests, it’s a Peter Pan themed salon. The decor is whimsical and creative, with Peter Pan quotes on the walls and matching decor, the food is good and the tea selection is incredible. And the price is fair.

Neverland tea salon Peter Pan Vancouver Ikigai travel

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden has a slightly more aristocratic feel to it, but the atmosphere is very warm and welcoming. Other than the tea salon itself, they also have a shop that sells their own tea and cute teapots.

the secret garden tea salon high tea vancouver ikigai travel

So, is winter the right season for you? Then, Go and Explore!

If it’s not, check out the upcoming posts about summer, fall and spring… I’m sure you’ll find the perfect match!

Questions or comments? Let’s start a conversation below!

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