Spending the holidays at home this year? Even if you’re planning on staying put in Vancouver, you can still make a staycation something to look forward to by finding local experiences right where you live.
Lucky for us, there are no shortage of outdoor adventures and city excursions in and around the Greater Vancouver region, and there’s enough to do to make a full day trip or weekend trip out of it!
Just rally up your family and friends, grab your car keys (or Compass Card), and embark on these new and traditional winter activities in the Lower Mainland.
Canyon Lights. Photo: Capilano Suspension Bridge
CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE
A must-see attraction for visitors to Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver is also admired by locals who love to take a walk on the wild side (or in this case, a swinging bridge over the historic Capilano River).
The park transforms into a winter wonderland in November during the holiday season’s glittering Canyon Lights display. Walk among the rainforest treetops between the tallest Christmas trees in the world and wander along the“Arc de Lumina” light tunnel along the Cliffwalk.
This year, the world-famous bridge will be lit with a multi-colour changing display, adding to the magic of crossing the canyon above the illuminated river. You’ll want to take Instagram photos from every angle!
NORTH SHORE SKIING
Ski season is in full session, and the local North Shore ski mountain resorts are amped to welcome local snow adventurers back to the slopes.
From downhill skiing and snowboarding, to fun adventures in the snow through snowshoeing and snow-tubing in the Nordic areas, Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress each offer the classic outdoor winter activities you know and love. Not to be missed is the 8,000 square foot ice skating pond at Grouse – the only mountaintop outdoor skate pond in the Lower Mainland.
In the evenings, take an enchanting self-guided snowshoe trek along illuminated trails through the forest of Grouse and Cypress.
Located in the foothills of Grouse Mountain, the Travelodge by Wyndham Vancouver Lions Gate hotel in North Vancouver puts you close to all the adventure, from the great heights of the Capilano Suspension Bridge to the world-renowned Stanley Park just over the Lions Gate Bridge.
Richmond Dumpling Trail. Photo: Capilano Suspension Bridge
DUMPLING TRAIL AND GOLDEN VILLAGE FOOD TOUR
Journey to Richmond for the best spots for world-class, authentic Asian cuisine in Metro Vancouver.
In the Golden Village, you can dine at restaurants specializing in the regional foods of China, including Cantonese, Szechuan, Northern, and Hunan. Japanese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Malaysian cuisine are also in abundance. Alexandra Road — otherwise known as Food Street or Wai Sek Kai — is a three-block foodie's paradise with over 70 eateries, serving everything from Taiwanese bubble tea to Chinese hot pot.
Recognized in CNN Travel's list of the world's most enticing food and drink trails, the Dumpling Trail delivers some of the crispiest, chewiest, and most delectable dumplings, from Shanghainese xiao long bao to wontons.
MCARTHURGLEN DESIGNER OUTLETS
Need to tackle your holiday gift list but dread the prospect of navigating the crowded shopping malls? Skip the city malls this year and head over to the Lower Mainland’s destination for the best retail outlets!
A quick drive from the Vancouver International Airport, Richmond’s McArthurGlen Designer Outlets offer a wide range of designer brands for up to 70% off in savings. With over 80 stores in the outdoor outlet — including Canadian retailers such as Aritizia and Herschel and international brands like Nike and Coach — you’re bound to find the perfect present!
During the holiday season, McArthurGlen switches on the lights for its dazzling 52 foot Christmas tree and walk-thru ornament installation to add to the festive shopping spirit.
After a full day of shopping, check in and drop your bags off at your room at the Travelodge by Wyndham Vancouver Airport, located five minutes from YVR and close to the River Rock Casino and Aberdeen.
Fraser Valley Ale Trail. Photo: Trading Post Brewing.
FRASER VALLEY ALE TRAIL
As the largest agricultural region in B.C., the Fraser Valley is the ideal place to experience authentic farm fresh experiences — such as farm fresh craft beer along the Fraser Valley Ale Trail. The Township of Langley’s ‘Langley Loop’ makes for a great weekend getaway destination to explore the local craft breweries.
The farm-based Locality Brewing uses home-grown and harvested barley and hops, allowing you to truly taste the terroir of the beers. In tribute to Fort Langley’s trading post as part of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Trading Post Brewing crafts small-batch beer pioneers fresh, inventive flavours inspired by Canada's unique heritage. Also not to be missed is Dead Frog Brewery, which has built up a reputation for brewing some of B.C.'s most unusual beers — ever tried peanut butter stout?
Post brewery-hopping, wind down at the Travelodge by Wyndham Langley (by Langley Regional Airport and downtown Langley) and take advantage of the many great amenities for guests.
Travelodge in Richmond. Photo: Travelodge.