December is a busy month. There’s holiday shopping, sharing meals with family, and of course, a ton of fantastic family-friendly activities! Go for an ice skate, enjoy a lantern festival, or take in a show. Head to a winter farmers’ market, explore the fascinating world of math, or learn all about space. Take a look at our roundup and start planning some memorable family fun. If you like learning about great family-friendly activities happening in Metro Vancouver, make sure you sign up to receive our weekly emails.
The Holiday season is here! We gathered all sorts of awesome family-friendly holiday happenings into a giant guide. Whether you are after a craft fair, holiday ballet, concerts, spectacular light display, or a chance to visit Santa Claus, we’ve got you covered! Check out our guide to find out what’s happening around town.
Festivals & Activities
Robson Square Ice Skating
Open December 1 – February 28th, see website for hours, Robson Square, Vancouver
This winter, renew a classic Vancouver tradition and enjoy some old-fashioned fun. Robson Square’s outdoor skating rink is open, so celebrate winter in style with skating in the heart of downtown Vancouver. It’s a magical place to enjoy the holidays with your friends, family and loved ones.
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Thursday, December 21st, 6 pm, various locations, see website for details
Come celebrate this free community event with a glowing constellation of lanterns shining in four Vancouver neighbourhoods. These four festivals are community-based and reflect the unique nature of each neighbourhood. Intimate and accessible, each invites your participation. Wherever you wind up, you’ll feel connected to your community and to the universal spirit of celebration!
Winter Ice Palace
Friday, December 22nd – Sunday, January 7th, Cloverdale Ice Arena, 6090 176th Street, Surrey
It’s time for the 20th Annual Winter Ice Palace! Experience a winter wonderland at Cloverdale Arena and enjoy this fun, seasonal event with your friends and family. Visit the website for skating days and times.
Winter Farmers’ Markets
Nat Bailey Stadium Winter Market
Saturdays, 10 am – 2 pm, from November 4th, 2016 – April 21st, 2017 (closed December 30th), Nat Bailey Stadium, 4601 Ontario Street, Vancouver
Hastings Park Winter Market
Sundays, 10 am – 2 pm, November 5th, 2016 – April 29th, 2017 (closed December 24th & 31st), Hastings Park, 2901 E. Hastings Street, Vancouver
Port Moody Winter Market
Sundays, 10 am – 2 pm, November – April, Port Moody Recreation Complex, 300 Ioco Road, Port Moody
Steveston Cannery Winter Market
Sundays, 10 am – 3 pm, December 3rd, 10th & 17th, Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, 12138 Fourth Avenue, Richmond
New Westminster Winter Market
First & Third Saturdays of the month, 11 am – 3 pm, November – April, 600 Block of Belmont Street, New Westminster
Take a peek at some great upcoming Christmas Craft Fairs & Holiday Markets here
Plays, Shows & Concerts
Cirque Du Soleil – Kurios
October 19th – December 31st, Concord Pacific Place, Vancouver
A World of Curiosities to Unravel. Step into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. Suddenly, the visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
November 25th – December 31st, Carousel Theatre for Young People, Granville Island, Vancouver
C.S Lewis’ first installment of the epic Chronicles of Narnia series bounds on to the CTYP stage this holiday season. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy discover an old wardrobe that leads to an enchanted land, Narnia, full of mythical creatures, talking animals, quests and secrets. In one of the greatest battles between Good and Evil in children’s literature, the fate of the four children unfolds in a grand, otherworldly adventure. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is recommended for ages 5+.
East Van Panto: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves
November 29th – January 6th, York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
The Panto is back with an outrageous take on Snow White. In this East Van telling, our hero flees the Queen of North Vancouver across the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and straight into the madness of the PNE, where she dances with Superdogs, takes a ride on the Coaster, and befriends washed up 80s rock stars “The Seven Dwarves.” Pure Panto hilarity ensues as they do everything they can to escape the Queen’s wicked clutches.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
December 7th – January 13th, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver
“Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme.” Can Belle teach the Beast to love, before it is too late? Discover the magic behind the castle walls in this brilliant adaptation of the Academy Award-winning animated film. This beloved fairy-tale spectacle will thrill you with its show-stopping musical numbers, astonishing sets, and lavish costumes.
There are lots more holiday performances, pantos and shows happening this month in Metro Vancouver! Check out our round up of family-friendly holiday performances.
Science World: Math Moves!
September 23rd – January 1st, 2018, Telus World of Science, 1455 Quebec Street
Put your calculator away! The feature exhibition, Math Moves! uses hands-on activities to make experimenting with mathematical concepts memorable and fun. Visitors of all ages can work together in a playful, full-body exploration of ratios, proportions and other fundamental concepts. Drawing on the power of teamwork, Math Moves! uses partner activity and conversation to advance understanding. So, put down your pencils and flex your mathlete muscles at Science World!
Cosmic Yearbook Holiday Week
December 26th – January 7th, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver
Whether it was the solar eclipse in August or the end of the Saturn Cassini mission, we had a lot to celebrate in 2017. During the holiday week, the Space Centre will feature a special craft every day, and shows will highlight some amazing events from the past year. You will also get to look ahead to some exciting cosmic events on the horizon for 2018!
We hope this big giant list has inspired you and your family to get out and enjoy everything Metro Vancouver has to offer in December! For more great family fun make sure to join our mailing list to receive weekly Metro Vancouver events right in your inbox.
By: Michelle Hughes