Vancouver Adventures: Our Picks for December

Safely enjoy festive treats, bright lights and more this December in and around the city

Safely enjoy festive treats, bright lights and more this December in and around the city

1. Festive culinary workshops

In the spirit of the holiday season, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts will be offering a limited-edition series of festive workshops designed to help participants improve their at-home cooking and baking skills. Led by award-winning chef instructors, these interactive pastry lessons, confectionary classes and a special ‘Holiday Feast at Home’ workshop will cover everything from artisanal chocolate truffles and authentic German Christmas Stollen to chefs’ tips for turning out a moist and perfectly golden turkey for smaller groups and more. 
Various dates and times; $220 per person per session; Details here

2. Kinton’s festive truffle turkey ramen – Until Thursday, December 31

Rain plus a pandemic = a different kind of festive season, but Kinton’s festive truffle turkey ramen brings some much-needed holiday cheer. Featuring a distinctly Japanese spin on a traditional turkey feast, this dish is served in a rich and creamy white truffle vegetable broth with thin noodles topped with turkey ham, arugula, cherry tomato, white onion, bamboo shoots and aonori seaweed flakes. Available for dine-in, takeout and delivery. 
Kinton Ramen, 102 – 6111 University Boulevard, Vancouver; $16.95; Details online

3. Stanley Park Bright Lights Train – Until Friday, January 1

Derailed temporarily owing to COVID-19, the Stanley Park Bright Lights Train hopes to return as of December 8th. Once provincial health orders are lifted (hopefully!), enjoy a festive jaunt through the forest. The usual plaza won’t be open to the public this year, but you will soon be able to again book ahead to experience a fun ride. 
Stanley Park; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Details online

4. Hashtag Holidays – Until Sunday, January 3

Do it for the gram! And for the kids at B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation, as $5 from every ticket sold will be donated to the organization. Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has partnered with the decor masterminds at Koncept Event Design to create a uniquely picture-perfect holiday experience. Subject to public health orders, the event spaces will be available Tuesdays through Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.,  with attendees able to snap their best poses in each of the 10 themed installations, including the gift-wrapped room, a candy cane lane, and a shimmering installation for anyone who loves to shine. 
Priced at $39 for adults and $25 for children (or $100 for families of four); Details online

5. VanDusen’s Festival of Lights – Until Sunday, January 3

Again, once public health orders are lifted, get lit at VanDusen Gardens where millions of lights line a one-way path around the garden for a COVID-compliant festive evening out. Book a time slot in advance for entry to the lights and get ready for some highly Instagrammable installations. 
VanDusen Gardens, 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver; 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and closed December 25th; Details online

6. Festival of Trees – Until Sunday, January 3

Open to the public for viewing, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s lobby transforms into a festive  winter wonderland, featuring a variety of Christmas trees that are decorated by local businesses and sponsors. 
Details online

7. St. Paul’s Lights of Hope – Until Monday, January 4

Brightening up Burrard Street until January 4th, the annual Lights of Hope now have an option to also live stream for those who want to support the cause and see the lights from the comfort of home. 
St. Paul’s Hospital, 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver; Details online

8. Glow Maple Ridge – Until Friday, January 8

Once the provincial health officer provides the nod, Maple Ridge will again transform into a winter wonderland as Memorial Peace Park lights up with a light tunnel, giant ornaments, and a glowing bandstand. Explore the ‘Old Fashioned Christmas Village’ storefronts in downtown for some festive fun. 
Details online

9. PNE Winter Lights – Friday, December 11 to Sunday, December 13 & Thursday, December 17 to Wednesday, December 23

Buckle up for the city’s first drive-through festive experience when PNE Winter Lights opens with a 2 kilometre route that follows “a magical journey to Santa” through nine themed lands from the Polar North to a musical Merry and Bright forest and even an interactive Carol-oke stop. Reserve your day and time in advance to book a slot. 
PNE; 2091 East Hastings Street, Vancouver; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Details online

10. Home for the Holidays – Friday, December 18 to Friday, January 1

‘Home for the Holidays’ transforms Gateway Theatre’s traditional year-end extravaganza into an intimate online tour through some of Gateway’s most successful and beloved musical theatre productions, transporting the viewer right into the homes of the artists themselves. It all begins with Lauren Bowler’s masterful take on “Wouldn’t it Be Loverly”—revived from Gateway’s 2007 production of My Fair Lady. From there, director Barbara Tomasic has assembled a who’s who of Gateway alumni including Tom Pickett, Meghan Gardiner, David Adams, Chelsea Rose, Scotia Browner and many more, reprising timeless favourites from Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, Annie, The Music Man, The Wizard of Oz, and—naturally—knockout Gateway classic Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat
Opening Night Watch Party, Friday, December 18 at 8 p.m., then on-demand, Saturday, December 19 to Friday, January 1; $25; Details online