For most adults, ringing in the New Year means heading to one of Vancouver's top 10 New Year's Eve parties; but since those events are 19+ (and generally involve alcohol), they aren't the place for families with kids to celebrate the new year.
Luckily, the options for family-friendly, all-ages New Year's Eve events in Vancouver are growing. 2016 saw the first officially-sanctioned celebration in downtown Vancouver, a free event for all ages that included fireworks, and more all-ages parties are popping up each year around Metro Vancouver.
Whether you're hoping to celebrate with delicious food and festive fireworks or you'd like to take the kids to a one-of-a-kind event, there are plenty of options to choose from on the last day of the year.
Since 2016, the City of Vancouver has put on an official celebration of the new year in the downtown area of the city every year, completely free of charge.
This all-ages event brings live music and entertainment to Canada Place Way between Burrard and Howe streets all night long. The celebration includes live music and entertainment, an early countdown and fireworks at 9 p.m., and the traditional countdown and more fireworks at midnight.
Although this annual event is free, you'll need to request a free R.S.V.P. to attend since space is limited closer to the performance stages. Be sure to check the official event website for a complete list of performers, activities, and special celebrations happening this year.
One of Vancouver's closest snow sports resorts, Mount Seymour, is about 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver and home to one of the area's best all-ages New Year's Eve events this year.
Family First Night at Mount Seymour runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Festivities include snow tubing and tobogganing, family activities, live music performances, children's entertainment, and an early countdown at 9 p.m. Past performers have included Carlos & Carlitta Clowning, magic by Joel Eddington, Vesta Fire, The Honey Tongues, and Tickles & Yowza the Clowns.
At Bright Nights, the forest around the famous Stanley Park Miniature Train is transformed into a winter wonderland with incredible light and holiday displays. During the event, kids get to ride the train, watch animated displays, enjoy holiday music, and nosh on hot cocoa and fresh popcorn.
Bright Nights at Stanley Park typically runs from late November to early January, closing on Christmas Day.
Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver celebrates New Year's Eve with its annual Family New Year's Celebration. Festivities include outdoor ice skating, live entertainment, and a special 9:00 pm countdown for kids.
This event typically kicks off at 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Attractions also include an 8,000-square foot mountaintop skate pond, a sliding zone for sledding, contemporary fire performances, and a visit from the magical Snow King and Queen.
If you already have a Grouse Mountain Annual Local's Pass, Y2Play or Winter Season Pass, then tickets to Family New Year's Eve is included with your pass (no need to purchase additional tickets for this event). If you don't have a pass, you can buy tickets just for this NYE event.
Vancouver Cabaret Theatre's annual Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Variety Show at the Vancouver Playhouse features circus acrobats, magicians, comedians, and one of Vancouver’s biggest balloon drops at 10 p.m.
The Variety Show typically begins at 8 p.m. on December 31, and features one 30-minute intermission. Tickets are required to attend and in the past, have ranged in price from $25 to $45 for kids under 12 and $29 to $59 for adults.
If you really want to escape the city to celebrate the new year, you can take an hour and a half drive north from Vancouver to the small mountain town of Whistler, which celebrates winter holidays all season long.
Whistler's family-friendly New Year's celebration takes place at Whistler Village and includes live entertainment, ice skating, games, a special Fire & Ice Show, and fireworks at midnight. The event also features two countdowns: an early one for younger kids and the traditional midnight countdown.
The event is alcohol-free, but adults of legal drinking age can celebrate a boozy New Year's Eve at nightclubs, pubs, and bars in the Village, many of which will be hosting all-night dance parties and events this year.