Whether you're visiting Vancouver during Valentine's Day with your romantic partner, a group of friends, or alone, the city is full of holiday activities that will appeal to all tastes and relationship statuses. Explore the local food scene, visit one of the alternative Valentine's events, or take a weekend getaway into the natural beauty of British Columbia for a trip you'll always remember.
Vancouver in February is likely to be cold and rainy, but the temperature is relatively mild in comparison to other parts of Canada. Vancouverites have learned to adapt to the wet winter weather, and the city offers plenty of things to do when it's too dreary outside. In any case, spending Valentine's Day cuddled up with your loved one in a romantic hotel could be the most romantic plan of all.
Sip Hot Chocolate
Chocolate on Valentine's Day is pretty much a given, but that doesn't mean it has to be predictable. Treat your partner to new and extremely unusual hot chocolate flavors, like bacon, dark chocolate macadamia, or kumquat and yuzu, at the 39 participating Vancouver chocolate makers and artisans during the annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival.
The annual Hot Chocolate Festival begins in mid-January and lasts throughout February in 2021, although most cafes are only serving their beverages for take out. Amateur or professional photographers can snap a picture of themselves or friends enjoying their hot and tasty treat, and then upload it to Instagram for a chance to win gift cards to enjoy more chocolate later.
Many of Vancouver's top spas offer special Valentine's Day couples packages, sometimes at a discounted price. If you're looking for a way to unwind with your loved one, there's no better place than a luxury resort or destination spa in the city, and fortunately, there are plenty of options in Vancouver.
You can get a special aroma vitality massage at CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La or go to Willow Stream Spa in Coal Harbor to relax while taking in some of the best views of the city. Alternatively, you can bask in Middle Eastern opulence at the Miraj Hammam Spa in South Granville, which offers relaxing steam chambers known as hammam followed by a massage and exfoliation treatment known as gommage.
Granville Island is technically a sandpit in the water, not an island. While "sandpit" may not sound like an obvious Valentine's Day choice, you would be remiss to pass up this cultural hotspot and seafood mecca for a romantic plan.
Board one of the adorable tugboats from the docks for the short ride to Granville, and head first to the Public Market, which is home to endless rows of stalls selling fresh seafood, gourmet snacks, sweet treats, and artisan crafts.
For a more relaxed bite to eat, the Sandbar Seafood Restaurant is located next to the market under the Granville Street Bridge overlooking False Creek and is one of the top-rated restaurants for seafood in all of Vancouver. They serve a variety of seafood from sushi and fresh tapas to lobster and crab cakes, including a special Valentine's Day menu for February 14, 2021, that's available for dining in or take out.
Go Night Skiing or Showshoe
At Mt. Seymour, about 15 miles from Vancouver, you can go night skiing and then kick back at the casual Rock Chute Bar and Grill to relax over a cup of hot chocolate or share a brew and cheese plate.
Alpine lovers can experience the ultimate romance with the Twilight Snowshoe tour on February 13, 2021, which starts with a guided tour under the night sky through the forest trails and ends in a hand-carved snow lounge where couples can indulge in a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
Grouse Mountain is open for skiing and snowboarding in February 2021, but the Valentine's Day dinner and snowshoe tours are canceled.
This year, Grouse Mountain hosts two unique Valentine's Day events: a five-course dinner and a snowshoe tour that ends with making s' mores by the campfire.
Their Valentine's Day Dinner includes a five-star, five-course meal at the Peak of Vancouver Observatory featuring entrees of poached sturgeon, chestnut velouté, and AAA dry-aged beef tenderloin, as well as a variety of vegetarian dishes and desserts.
The snowshoe campfire tour is offered every Saturday in the winter, but if you're on the mountain for Valentine's Day weekend, there's an extra special event that is a romantic way to spend the night together. It begins with a light snowshoe excursion of about an hour through the forest, and you return to a roaring campfire with hot apple cider and all the fixings to make s' mores.
Dine on a Paddlewheeler
As of February 2021, all river cruises with Vancouver Paddlewheeler are suspended until further notice.
The Vancouver Paddlewheeler Riverboat offers Valentine's Day dinner cruise in New Westminster on the Fraser River, with a three-course dinner on board and cocktails prepared by an expert bartender. The menu includes a fresh garden salad, a choice between maple salmon caught locally or cornish hen, and finally a slice of New York cheesecake to finish off the meal.
Stroll along the waterfront before boarding the M.V. Native, an authentic 100-passenger paddle wheeler that harks back to the 19th-century riverboats that used to traverse this same river, carrying gold miners, fur traders, and pioneers.
Go Ice Skating at Robson Square
The Robson Square Ice Rink is closed for the 2020–2021 season.
If you're looking for something to do that is cheap and fun for all ages, you can't beat the free ice skating at downtown Vancouver's Robson Square. Take the whole family or make it a romantic night on the ice for two—though it may be a little crowded in the evening on Valentine's Day.
To make the mood even more romantic, the ice rink plays love songs and has lots of decorations set up just for the holiday. To use the rink is free, and you can either bring your own skates or rent them on site for just $5.
Dance at the People's Prom
Event organizers have canceled the People's Prom in 2021.
The annual People's Prom is one of the most unique things to do on Valentine's Day in Vancouver. Not only is the People's Prom "the prom you never had in high school," as the website proclaims, but it's also inclusive of all genders and orientations. If you're looking for a "community-oriented, anti-capitalist, queer, cross-dressing, gender-bending, bike-loving, slow dancing, big dress wearing, good time," the People's Prom welcomes all people, single and partnered, to enjoy the festivities.
Tickets are required to attend, and proceeds from the event go toward "creative resistance and direct action in British Columbia." The event often sells out, so reserve your tickets early; guests must be 19 or older to attend.
Cruise on the Pride of Vancouver
As of February 2021, dinner cruises around Vancouver are on hold until further notice.
Although it may be a little cold on the water, you and your loved one can stay warm aboard the Pride of Vancouver luxury cruise ship this Valentine's Day. The Valentine's Day Dinner and Dance Cruise offers guests three hours of candlelit buffet dining, stunning waterfront views, and live musical performances. Reservations are required to attend, and your ticket includes a glass of sparkling wine to enjoy with dinner.
Stay After Hours at the Vancouver Aquarium
As of February 2021, the Vancouver Aquarium is closed to the public until further notice.
The Vancouver Aquarium offers adults a unique Valentine's Day event: a party at the Aquarium that includes special programs and activities as well as cocktails, beer, wine, and snacks, making it the ultimate date night. Entertainment for the Valentine's Day After Hours event includes a shark reproduction show, an animal sex talk with the aquarium's veterinary fellow, watching the sea otter feeding, and live musical entertainment.
Admission to the event is charged separately from regular admission to the aquarium, and while guests must be 19 years or older to attend After Hours, a special children's area is available so parents can still attend and leave the little ones to explore the aquarium with a supervisor.
Spice It Up With a Burlesque Show
The Burlesque Duos show at the Rio Theatre is canceled in 2021.
Vancouver puts on an annual Valentine's Day show filled with feathers, tassels, and lingerie that's sure to spice up your holiday. The show Burlesque Duos is an adults-only show that is fun for couples or single audience members, bringing together a group of British Columbia's most talented burlesque dancers to perform in paired numbers.
This show always sells out, and buying tickets in advance is strongly recommended. The show is on Valentine's Day at the Rio Theatre in East Vancouver, considered the city's premier independent theater. It's a little outside of the city center, but the venue is located directly in front of the Commercial Broadway metro station for easy transport.