Guide to Christmas in Vancouver: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

Vancouver, Canada
Canada Place at blue hour, Vancouver, Canada. LeonU / Getty Images

Once all the gifts are opened and everyone's had a satisfying brunch on Christmas morning, the long afternoon stretches out before you. While it's true that many cities around the world shut down for Christmas Day, Vancouver stays alive with interesting seasonal activities, from visiting the Belugas at the Vancouver Aquarium to hitting the slopes or going out for Chinese. Here are some ideas on how to spend Christmas Day in Vancouver.

01 of 05

Visit the Vancouver Aquarium

Girl watches Beluga whale at the Vancouver Aquarium
Grant Faint/The Image Bank/Getty Images
845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada
Phone +1 778-655-9554

One of the best things to do on Christmas Day in Vancouver is to head to the Vancouver Aquarium. Unlike most Vancouver attractions, which are closed on December 25, the Vancouver Aquarium is open 365 days a year. It's also a great option if the weather is bad since most of the aquarium is indoors; there's even a (small) play area for younger kids on the lower level. The aquarium will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Christmas Day.

02 of 05

Go Ice Skating at Robson Square

Robson Square ice rink, lit up at night.
Ian Cook / Getty Images
800 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7, Canada
Phone +1 604-646-3554

Situated in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Robson Square's free outdoor ice skating rink is open on Christmas Day. In case there's bad weather, the rink can be covered, so don't worry if you see snow! The 50-foot lighted Vancouver Christmas Tree, which will be in Robson Square this year, serves as a beautiful holiday backdrop for a Christmas Day skate. You can rent skates at the rink for $5 a pair. On Christmas Day the rink will be open from noon to 5 p.m.

03 of 05

Eat Christmas Dinner at a Restaurant

1339 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E 2B1, Canada
Phone +1 604-685-0871

Eating out is always one of the best things to do on Christmas Day in Vancouver. Lots of restaurants are open on December 25 and may even offer special pre-fixe menus. This includes most Chinese restaurants, many Indian restaurants, and top restaurants like the Teahouse in Stanley Park that serve Canadian Christmas dinners. If you have a favorite Chinese or Indian restaurant, call ahead to confirm that they're open and make a reservation. Nearly every deluxe hotel in downtown Vancouver has a Christmas brunch, too. Here are just a few recommendations:

04 of 05

Hit the Slopes

Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb resort, Canada
James D. Morgan/Getty Images
Mount Seymour, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1L3, Canada

Vancouver is perfectly situated for hitting the slopes on Christmas Day. It's just 30 minutes to Mount Seymour and Cypress Mountain and an easy two-hour drive to Whistler. Whistler and Blackcomb are adjacent peaks that offer more than 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers combined. After all that holiday eating and drinking, crisp air and exercise are a perfect antidote. So strap on the skis and enjoy the fresh powder.

Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05

Go to the Movies

Courtesy of Scotiabank Media

One of the most popular things to do on Christmas Day in Vancouver—or in any city—is head to the movies. Some of the biggest movies of the year (and many Oscar-worthy films) open on Christmas Day, so you are sure to find one you want to see. Go in the morning of Christmas Day and you'll most likely have the theater to yourself as well.

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Guide to Christmas in Vancouver: Festivals, Events, Things to Do