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100 Vancouver experiences that make awesome gifts

Skip the stuff this year! Here are 100 ideas for Vancouver experiences to give as gifts this Christmas...or anytime.
Great things come in small packages - especially when it's not a thing at all you're giving, but rather an experience. There are so many great experiences to gift in Vancouver this holiday season. File photo / Shutterstock

Gift-giving doesn't have to be about stuff. Skip the material goods this year and give an experience that will do anything from build skills to create memories, and offers a lot of fun in between.

Not only does an experience mean ditching some tangible object that may end up re-gifted or in the landfill, but it also makes the joy of the holidays last a little longer, and often well into the new year--like when the weather is warmer.

This is a call to get creative, too. Write a coupon book of IOUs for anything from a promise to take the lucky recipient to a big festival next summer, or for a few hours of babysitting to some tired parents. And, hey, we won't blame you if you work yourself into the experience, too. Win-win!

Here are 100 Vancouver (or nearby) experiences you can give as gifts this Christmas. We've provided links to some specific vendors; for others you'll need to figure out what works best for your recipient.

1. Cooking classes at Dirty Apron and the Northwest Culinary Academy (or look for specialty classes and workshops).

2. Improv lessons or workshops 

3. First Nation Kayak Tours

4. Tarot Card Reading

5. Guitar or Ukulele building classes 

6. Tickets to Vancouver Craft Beer Week 

7. Off the Eaten Track Gourmet Ice Cream Tours

8. Vancouver Brewery Tours

9. A culinary adventure around Vancouver with Secret Food Tours.

10. Whale Watching

11. Dining at Dark Table

12. Introduction to Fly Fishing course from Pacific Angler

13. Spa visit. We have tons of amazing spas in Vancouver, from the indulgent downtown luxury hotels to something smaller in your neighbourhood. There's always Scandinive in Whistler for a special experience.

14. Mani/pedi from a favourite nail salon

15. Kombucha making class from o5

16. Vancouver Aquarium membership or tickets to a special event like their sleepover or adults-only night

 After Hours at the Vancouver Aquarium (Photo courtesy Vancouver Aquarium)
After Hours at the Vancouver Aquarium (Photo courtesy Vancouver Aquarium)

17. Vancouver Art Gallery membership

18. Theatre, opera, or concert tickets

19. Grouse Mountain passes

20. Restaurant gift certificates/cards

21. Sea to Sky Gondola

22. Fitness class pass or gym membership

23. Dance classes (ballet, hip hop, jazz, ballroom)

24. River rafting tours

25. Flight experience in Squamish 

26. Stand-up paddleboard lesson

27. DJ classes

28. Art classes

29. Vancouver Circus School

30. Wall or rock climbing

31. Pole Dancing workshop

32. Sex workshops

Capilano Suspension Bridge. File photo via Shutterstock

33. Tour Vancouver and the Capilano Suspension Bridge

34. Take a blacksmithing workshop

35. Behind the scenes tour of Rogers Arena

36. The Olympic Experience at the Richmond Oval

37. Collage classes

38. Adult evenings at Science World (or a gift membership)

39. Photography: A sitting, or lessons, or a one-on-one workshop

40. The Forbidden Walking Tour

41. Membership to VanDusen Garden

42. Tickets to the Just For Laughs festival

43. Wine tasting/classes

44. Hula hooping

45. Bird watching

46. Ziplining

47. GT Race experience

48. Go-karting

49. Jet Ski to Bowen Island for dinner

50. Helicopter tours

51. Forest bathing

52. Vegan food tour

53. Scotch Whisky tasting events

54. Historical Chinatown tour

55. Calligraphy classes

56. Escape Rooms

57. Ride on a vintage Interuban Streetcar

58. Yoga classes

59. Star gazing excursion

60. Paintball

61. Whistler snowmobile tours

62. Pin-up photography/boudoir photoshoot

63. Vancouver staycation: Hotel and night on the town (or stay in!)

Photo: Person checking into hotel / Getty Images

64. Wild Foraging and lunch tour

65. Afternoon Tea

66. Boat rental

67. Bowling

68. Paint Nite wine and painting

69. Hawk Walks

70. Pottery classes

71. Scuba Diving School

72. Beginners Taxidermy Class

73. Personal shopping/stylist experience

74. Learn woodworking

Snowshoes. File photo via Shutterstock

75. Soap making school

76. Tickets to sporting events in Vancouver

77. Stand-up comedy classes

78. Writing workshops

79. Snowshoeing

80. Meditation course

81. Housecleaning service

82. Professional organizer/de-clutter service

83. Ski lift tickets

84. Amtrak tickets from Vancouver to Seattle or Portland

85. Take a water taxi at Granville Island, hop on an Aquabus or False Creek Ferry. 

86. Parkour classes

87. Rocky Mountaineer to Whistler 

88. Vancouver Gun Range

89. Virtual Reality at Funtastic World

90. Visit to Catfe

91. Take a jewellery making class

92. Sword fighting lessons at Academie Duello

93. Curling at Richmond Curling Club

94. Scavenger hunt at Big City Hunt

95. Laser tag

96. Glass blowing classes at Terminal City Glass

97. Intro to bartending class

98. An excursion on a vintage bus from the Transit Museum Society

99. Exotic car rental

100. Horse drawn carriage ride in Stanley Park

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