Finding yourself in Vancouver this New Year’s Eve? Whether you want to party or take it easy, here are five ways to ring in 2019 in this west coast city.
1. Watch fireworks in downtown Vancouver
If you’re seeking a public gathering to watch fireworks, head to Canada Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver. There will be fireworks along the waterfront at 9 and at midnight. If you’re staying at a hotel anywhere downtown, you can simply walk to and from here. You can also access this place easily by public transit, and transit is free on New Year’s Eve in Vancouver.
2. Attend an exclusive NYE party
Many Vancouver hotels, nightclubs, and venues throw parties on New Year’s Eve. Here are some notable events that could be fun, assuming tickets are still available:
- Concord’s NYE Vancouver is Canada’s largest New Year’s Eve party. Located inside the Vancouver Convention Centre with unobstructed views of the fireworks, there will be live bands and entertainment all night. See full details, here.
- CRAFT Beer Market, a cavernous restaurant at Olympic Village famous for their massive beer list, is throwing a dinner and dance with live-action food stations, DJs, snacks, and champagne. Full details, here.
- The Fairmont Waterfront is hosting the Waterfront Gala Ball presented by Glenfiddich and Nude Vodka. This is an upscale 25+ event with DJs, photo booths, a red carpet, appetizers, champagne, and a dress code. See full details, here.
- In Yaletown, the Distillery Bar + Kitchen is hosting a masquerade that includes a midnight breakfast buffet and bubbles. See full details, here.
- In East Van, the WISE Hall is hosting a Suits and Sequins Dress Up Party featuring local alt-country band, Petunia and the Vipers. You know it’s going to be fun. See full details, here.
- The Telus World of Science (forever known locally as Science World), is throwing a party featuring 3 music rooms on two floors with 5 cash bars featuring 6 DJs. See full details, here.
Need more suggestions? Check out the events listings in the Georgia Straight, here.
3. Enjoy a tasting menu at a restaurant
One of my favourite ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Vancouver is with friends enjoying a New Year’s Eve tasting menu at a restaurant. Many restaurants include fixed-price menus on New Year’s Eve which keeps things simple, classy, and delicious. Restaurants that I know are definitely hosting New Year’s Eve dinners, which I would not hesitate to recommend for the occasion, would be Hawksworth, Bauhaus, Boulevard, Farmer’s Apprentice, The Oakwood Bistro, Minami, and YEW Seafood + Bar. Click on any of the previous links to see their menu.
4. Save yourself for the Polar Bear Swim
Vancouver’s annual Polar Bear Swim is arguably more famous than any of its New Year’s Eve celebrations. Taking place on the sandy shores of English Bay in Vancouver’s West End, dress up in a costume and join the thousands of brave, hardy individuals for a splash in the freezing ocean at 2:30 pm. According to the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club is one of the oldest in the world, a tradition that started back in 1920. See full details, here.
5. Scrap Vancouver, go to Whistler instead
Only a 90-minute drive north up the highway is the resort municipality of Whistler, whose New Year’s Eve celebrations are legendary. If you want an inclusive party atmosphere in a winter wonderland setting, Whistler is your place. Everyone gathers in the village, there are fireworks, entertainment, and the scene is truly magical. The only downside is the hotel prices, which are about as expensive as it gets right now, and believe me, you do not want to be driving back to Vancouver the same night. However, for the ultimate New Year’s Eve party, Whistler is worth the drive.