Last updated: December 31, 2019
Vancouver may not have large public gatherings on New Year’s Eve like they do in Sydney or New York, but there are smaller events taking place indoors if you know where to look. Many of us locals have insider knowledge about where to go and what to do, but it’s not always obvious to visitors who find themselves in town on December 31. Thus, this local’s guide will help you narrow down the best ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Vancouver.
1. Attend a New Year’s Eve GalaIf an old-fashioned New Year’s Eve soirée is what you crave, you’ll find them all over Vancouver, especially at nightclubs and downtown hotels. Most Vancouver New Year’s Eve galas aren’t annual affairs, so you’ll need to research them from scratch every year (tip: the Georgia Straight’s events listings is a good place to start). I’d argue these types of events are more fun if you can bring a group of friends along.
For ringing in 2020, here are some parties that caught my eye:
- The Great Gatsby themed New Year’s Eve Speakeasy at the Biltmore Cabaret (a hipster nightclub) in East Van.
- New Year’s Eve Karaoke Burlesque at the ANZA Club, a cozy pub/community hall venue surrounded by East Van craft breweries.
- New Year’s Eve 2020: A Space Odyssey at the Waldorf, a retro art hotel in East Van) featuring many DJs and planet-themed parties.
- Roaring 20’s New Year’s Eve Bash at Pourhouse, a darkly-lit prohibition-era cocktail bar in Gastown.
- New Year’s Eve 2020 at the Telus World of Science, the Epcot-looking children’s museum by day, but the largest party venue in the city by night.
- New Year’s Eve Parq Gala 2020 at the newest Vegas-style casino hotel in Vancouver, the JW Parq Marriott.
- New Year’s Eve 4-hour Boat Party aboard a 3-story luxury yacht with DJs, bar, and dinner buffer.
2. Toast in the New Year in a restaurantVancouver’s restaurant scene is a lot more interesting than its nightclub scene these days, and toasting in the New Year at a neighbourhood restaurant is definitely a popular way to celebrate in this city.
Scout Magazine, Eater, and Vancouver Magazine’s Restaurant Awards are where I recommend getting a sense of the best places to eat in this city. For New Year’s Eve celebrations, here are a few restaurants I’d consider:
- Wildebeest – Vegans, avert your eyes… this hip nose-to-tail restaurant in Gastown has an impressive New Year’s spread this year
- Tavola – one of my favourite neighbourhood Italian restaurants in the West End
- Les Faux Bourgeois – always a good time at this bustling French bistro
- Bodega on Main – a lively, noisy, but fun Spanish tapas bar in Chinatown
- Minami – one of my favourite upscale Japanese restaurants in Yaletown, famous for its aburi sushi
- Fable – literally farm to table, a gem of a restaurant in Kitsilano
- Maenam – elevated contemporary Thai food with a west coast twist, also located in Kits
3. Celebrate with craft beerVancouver’s craft beer scene has exploded with dozens of new breweries that have opened over the past decade. While many breweries close early for New Year’s, here are some craft beer destinations to ring in 2020:
- Anything Less: A Civilized Celebration at The Magnet in Gastown (Alibi Room‘s latest beer bar/restaurant) with a 5-course dinner with Four Winds Brewery beer pairings and live jazz.
- St Augustine’s – this casual craft beer sports bar on Commercial Drive has 60+ (primarily local) beer on tap with a live beer menu and Cicerone-trained servers.
- Black and Gold Party at CRAFT, the pub with the largest beer selection in the city, has DJs, food stations, and dancing.
4. Fireworks (but not this year)No fireworks are planned to ring in 2020, so you’re out of luck this year. It’ll be cold and windy in Vancouver with monsoon rains tonight, so it’s actually a blessing in disguise.
5. Head to the mountains
With three ski hills a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver and Whistler only an hour and a half up the highway means locals have access to four mountain destinations for celebrating New Year’s Eve. Each mountain will have early family-friendly celebrations for kids, but Whistler’s where you go for a proper party. Note: Looks like all three local mountains are cancelling their family events due to severe wind and rain, but Whistler’s festivities are still taking place.