• Gallery photo

Well-known for our local mountains close to the city’s downtown core, Vancouver is an ideal destination for travellers wanting to hit the slopes and experience winter minus the extreme cold. But there’s much more to do outdoors during the winter months than just ski and snowboard. Activities for people of all ages and skill levels await, making the city a true winter wonderland.

Here is a list of fun outdoor activities you should check out in Vancouver during the winter months.

Go Skiing or Snowboarding   

Photo of skiing and snowboarding in Whistler by Todd Van Hoosear on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/6bbWdk

Photo of skiing and snowboarding in Whistler by Todd Van Hoosear on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/6bbWdk

Yes, skiing and snowboarding are one of the most popular winter activities in our city. Vancouver is perfectly situated with four ski mountains--including some of the top venues in North America--just a short distance away. There are runs available for every skill level from beginner to expert, so bring your group along for some adrenaline!

Local mountains:

Just two hours north from downtown:

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

Click here for directions to our local mountains and Whistler Blackcomb.

 

Outdoor ice skating at Robson Square or up on Grouse Mountain

Photo of skating at Robson Square by Travis McCrea on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/bk8KTc

Photo of skating at Robson Square by Travis McCrea on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/bk8KTc

Celebrate Canadian winter in style by skating out in the open air in the heart of downtown Vancouver or on a frozen lake on top of Grouse mountain. It’s a magical place to enjoy the holidays with your friends, family and loved ones.

We recommend these two outdoor skating venues:

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

To get to Robson Square from the YWCA Hotel (11 minutes walking)

  • Head southwest on Beatty St toward Robson St

  • Turn right onto Robson St

  • Arrive at 800 Robson St (Robson and Hornby)

Click here for directions to Grouse Mountain.

 

Go Snow Tubing or Tobogganing

Perfect for those who don’t ski or board, snow tubing offers the thrill of sliding down a hill in the safety of a tube. Snow tubing is a great activity for all ages, so bring your group of friends or your family along and enjoy the ride.

Our recommended snow tube parks:

For a gentler experience, or for family with children under six years old, there are great tobogganing hills around Vancouver. Both Mount Seymour and Cypress Mountain are good options.

Directions from YWCA Hotel:

Click here for directions to Cypress and Seymour from YWCA Hotel.

 

Snowshoe

Photo by Andrew Curran on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/5Xrqi5

Photo by Andrew Curran on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/5Xrqi5

From serene walks through old growth forests to vigorous treks on our backcountry trails, our city offers a wide variety of terrain whether you are an experienced snowshoer or a first-timer. Snowshoeing season can start as early as November near Vancouver, and last right through to April. All three local mountains Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mt. Seymour have scenic snowshoe trails. You can get up close and personal with the West Coast forests. Explore the trails on your own or take a guided tour.

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

Click here for directions to Seymour, Grouse and Cypress.

 

Build an Igloo after Snowshoeing

Who doesn’t want to build an igloo? Grouse Mountain offers snowshoe tours with a snow cave experience where you can snowshoe your way to pre-built igloos before getting down and dirty to build your own. Gather a few friends or your family together to do this!

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

Click here for directions to Grouse Mountain.

 

Visit Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Photo of Capilano Suspension Bridge by Bob n Renee on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/Xh72bv 

The view from Capilano Suspension Bridge is breathtaking all year round, but if you have not visited during the winter yet, it's time you did. The Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension bridge Park begins end of November to end of January and the entire park gets decorated with thousands of twinkling lights. The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon are transformed into a world of festive lights and visual enchantment that will make you feel like you're in a fairy tale.

Photo by Province of British Columbia on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/BJJfdi

Photo by Province of British Columbia on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/BJJfdi

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

There are free Shuttle busses to Capilano departing from Downtown daily. Schedules and directions can be accessed here: https://www.capbridge.com/visit/shuttle-service/

Transit directions:

  • Walk for 5 mins to Bus Stop at SB Hamilton St NS w Georgia St Bay 1

    • Head northeast on Beatty St toward W Georgia St

    • Turn left onto W Georgia St

    • Turn right onto Hamilton St and continue until you reach Georgia St (Stop ID: 61870)

  • From Hamilton and Georgia, take bus #246 Highland to Lonsdale Quay

    • Ride 12 Stops and get off at NB Capilano Rd FS Paisley Rd

  • Then take bus # 236 to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

 

Hike in Lynn Canyon Park

Photo of Lynn Canyon by Adam Harvey on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/iye8GA

Photo of Lynn Canyon by Adam Harvey on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/iye8GA

Hiking in Vancouver during the winter months is another breathtaking experience, especially if we get some snow. You will experience a true West Coast rainforest when you go for a hike in Lynn Canyon Park. This easy and strikingly beautiful park is yet another locals favourite, so close to downtown Vancouver at only 30 minutes away. Cross the Suspension Bridge and go to Twin Falls or the 30-foot pool. Stop at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre for some learning and fun.

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

Via transit:

  • Walk for 9 minutes to the Bus Stop on Homer and Pender

    • Head northeast on Beatty St toward W Georgia St

    • Turn left toward Homer St

    • Continue on Homer St until Pender St where you will approach the 210 Bus stop. (Stop ID: 50407)

  • Take the 210 Bus towards upper Lynn Valley

    • Ride for 31 stops and get off at NB Underwood Ave FS Evelyn St

  • Walk south on Underwood Ave toward Evelyn St for 50m

  • Turn left onto Dempsey Rd and walk for 50m where you will approach a Lynn Valley map stand to start your journey

 

Winter Zip Lining

For anyone who loves scenery, action and an adrenaline-pumping good time and not afraid of a little wind, zip lining is a great adventure that is available year-round. Accessible to most people, ziplining in Vancouver is a chance to soar above snowcapped forests and between mountains.  

Here are our two top picks:

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

Click here for directions to Grouse Mountain and Whistler Blackcomb.

 

Go on a Sleigh Ride


This photo of Grouse Mountain is courtesy of TripAdvisor

There’s nothing so picturesque as a sleigh ride. There are a few places in and around the city that offer this experience:

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

Click here for directions to Grouse Mountain and Whistler Blackcomb.

 

Go on a dogsled on Whistler

Photo by profernity on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/kzo9Xu

Photo by profernity on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/kzo9Xu

Try dogsledding in Whistler and race across the snow covered landscape forests pulled by a team of professional furry friends. You will be riding along a mix of open and winding trails for an unforgettable winter journey while learning about the unique physiology and incredible skills of the specially bred Arctic sled dogs.

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

Click here for directions to Whistler Blackcomb.

 

Take a chilly dip in English Bay

Photo by karenleephotography.biz on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/DUHejt

Photo by karenleephotography.biz on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/DUHejt

Every year, thousands of brave souls start the first day of the New Year with a chilly swim at the annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim, hosted by one of the largest polar bear clubs in the world.

Most people come dressed in fancy costumes, dip their feet in the icy cold water and then run off and scream for laughs. Highlights include the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 Yards Swim Race, a canned food drive and raffle prizes – plus the ultimate prize: bragging to your friends that you dipped in English Bay in sub-zero temperatures.

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

  • Walk for 3 minutes to the Bus Stop on Cambie and Georgia

    • Head northeast on Beatty St toward W Georgia S

    • Turn left onto W Georgia St

    • Turn left onto Cambie St

    • Continue on Cambie until you hit the bus stop at Cambie St at W Georgia St Bay 3 ( Stop ID: 50082)

  • Take the 6 Bus towards Davie

    • Ride for 12 stops and get off at WB Davie St NS Denman St

  • Walk along Davie towards Denman and you will see the beach in 200m

 

Just go to Stanley Park

A winter Seawall stroll by peter pelisek on Flickr:  https://flic.kr/p/WBqwNr

A winter Seawall stroll by peter pelisek on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/WBqwNr

Stanley Park, the crown jewel in the heart of our city, shines the brightest during the winter months when no one is paying close attention. Stroll along the seawall in the crisp, frosty air without the crowds of tourists blocking your view and enjoy the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt (the hidden gem of Vancouver) without wait times. Winter also has its own attractions in Stanley Park, including the presence of a wide variety of water birds. Dress for the weather and walk into this winter wonderland.

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

  • Walk for 6 mins to the bus stop at Pender and Abbott

    • Head northeast on Beatty St toward W Georgia St

    • Turn right onto W Pender St and the stop will be on the left

  • Take the #19 bus towards Stanley Park at the Pender and Abbott bus stop (Stop ID: 50093)

    • Ride for 10 stops

    • Get off at WB w Georgia St FS Gilford St

  • Head northeast for 270m and you should be able to see Stanley Park’s signs and directions

 

Go up a Gondola

Photo of the Sea-to-Sky Gondola by Sam Zhao on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qxqX79

Photo of the Sea-to-Sky Gondola by Sam Zhao on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qxqX79

Enjoy sweeping views of luscious coastal forest above towering Douglas firs and enjoy breath-taking views without doing any of the hiking. Get pulled up the side of a mountain by going up a gondola and watch snowy peaks unfold. We dare you to look down.

Explore these three recommendations:

Directions from YWCA Hotel Vancouver:

Click here for directions to Grouse Mountain, Sea-to-Sky Summit and Whistler Blackcomb.

 

Cover photo by Steve Chou on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/CJr7dN

A Bit of Construction,
A Lot of Good.

January 2019 - June 2020
But we're still open!

YWCA Hotel Vancouver is expanding to offer you more of what you love about us. More affordable rooms, more options and more convenience.

close