We spent a week running around British Columbia and while we had so many fantastic adventures, the night we spent at the Vancouver Christmas Market was hands down my favorite evening.
Wine! European food! Twinkle lights! CHRISTMAS! I adore German Christmas markets & think they make every holiday season 10000% more special.
Since California is totally lacking on the Christmas markets, I was so happy to find there’s one in Vancouver. I shouldn’t be surprised, British Columbia seems to go all out for the holidays. If you’re in Vancouver in December, keep reading for my 8 Essential Tips For Visiting The German Christmas Market in Vancouver (a detailed guide to the best of the market + must know tips so you can have a wonderful, magical evening!)
California is sunny, warm and… not very festive. So, we’ve been in the habit of taking Christmas trips each holiday season so we can get our holly jolly on properly. Last year we went to Leavenworth, Washington. It’s basically a real-life Christmas village!
As I mentioned, British Columbia goes ALL OUT for Christmas. I’m talking about multiple botanical gardens turning into Christmas wonderlands, tons of string lights, giant Christmas Trees in almost every square downtown and of course, the German Christmas Market!
The Vancouver German Christmas Market features over 80 huts of small businesses selling German crafts and food, all centered around a giant Christmas tree and wine hut. Come for a date night or bring the whole family – you’ll love it.
Where is the German Christmas Market in Vancouver?
Location: Jack Poole Plaza, 1055 Canada Place (home of the Olympic Cauldron)
Opening Times: Nov 20 to Dec 23, 2019 – Open daily from 11:30am to 9:30pm
Dec 24, 2019 – Open 11:30am to 6pm
Tickets: Varies, between $8-15 (learn more here)
How To Get To The Vancouver Christmas Market
The market is located in downtown Vancouver. We were staying at the Shangra-li hotel a few blocks up so we just walked over. If you are staying in downtown Vancouver, you should probably just walk over.
There are no rideshare services like Uber in the city, but you can also take the Metro Vancouver bus or train. There is also the option to drive and park in a parking garage nearby but the prices to park downtown are very steep (easily $4 for 30 minutes.)
8 Essential Tips For Visiting The German Christmas Market in Vancouver 2020
Now, on to my essential tips for making the most of your visit to the Christmas market!
Get there early before sunset to avoid lines
We rolled up sometime between 3:30pm-4pm and there were already people in the market, but we didn’t have to wait long in line to grab tickets and we had the freedom to explore the market before it got packed.
When we left around 6pm, there had to be at least a hundred people waiting in line outside to get in. I was so happy we came early!
You can buy tickets online ahead of time (which is a few dollars cheaper) and skip some of the line, but not all of it as you may still have to wait with the crowds. So, do yourself a favor and come early to the market! Make it a whole evening thing.
- If you want to come before 2pm, early bird tickets are just $8 each
If you plan on visiting more than once, get the season pass
The Christmas Market offers tons of packages and bundled deals that help you reduce the cost you’ll spend. If you live in the area and/or plan on coming to the market more than once, it’s totally worth it to get the season pass.
Speaking of passes, I wish we got the WunderBAR package, which includes the entry ticket, cocktail, menu item and souvenir mug which would have been handy to use in the market as I spilled wine on myself WAY too much drinking out of those flimsy paper cups.
Play the scavenger hunt
It’s totally free and you get a prize at the end when you solve it all! As adults, we still loved this easy game. It was a fun way to kick off our night at the market. Pick up the paper and crayons at the information desk & bring it back there at the end for your prize!
Try the chimney cakes
Holy moly I never knew I needed chimney cakes in my life until I tried the hut making them fresh. They’re kinda like crepes, but rolled and smothered with things like Nutella, lemon jam, walnuts and more.
I’m sure all the flavors are great but we adored our Nutella and coconut chimney cake. SO DANG TASTY!
Drink the rum mulled wine (aka Glühwein )
Also aka Feuerzangenbowle which is an impossible German word I simply cannot pronounce. Feuerzangenbowle literally translates to fire-tongs punch which is fitting since it is a rum-spike wine drink.
Glühwein is a mulled red wine that’s popular to drink during Christmas and New Years. Think of it as a hot sangria, but way better. Feuerzangenbowle is like the kicked up version. It’s made by setting a rum-soaked sugarloaf on fire and letting it drip into the Glühwein.
Yes its as epic as it sounds. And it’s the same price as the normal Glühwein so give it a whirl.
Bring a large bag that can hold gifts
The German Christmas Market in Vancouver is basically a giant craft fair with a lot of food and wine mixed in.There are over 80 huts full of artisan goods PLUS a giant crafts tent where you can find literally any Christmas ornament your heart desires.
Bring a bag large enough to fit your shopping list! We bought my sister some fun soaps and ourselves a set of German Christmas ornaments for our tree back home.
Gotta pee? Get your hand stamped
The bathrooms are located outside the market and on the boardwalk level of the convention center. If you need to use it, make sure you get your hand stamped by a staff member BEFORE YOU leave, otherwise, you won’t be allowed back in. There is usually one standing at the door.
The Carousel Is Extra
Unfournatly, riding the carousel is not included in the admission. If you have kids who want to ride it, plan to pay extra. The price is $3 a ride or $10 for an all-day pass.
Avoid rain if possible
The Vancouver Christmas Market is mostly all outdoor market so if it’s raining out, it could be uncomfortable to visit. There are some tables with umbrellas, the huts have awnings and there is a covered hall with tables. But it’s not a lot of covered space.
As the only holiday night market in Vancouver, if you are limited on days and it’s raining, you may have to suck it up and get a little damp. But it’ll be worth it, I promise!
WHAT TO WEAR TO THE GERMAN CHRISTMAS MARKET VANCOUVER
We found November and December to be pretty mild. In the days I was fine in a good sweater and in the evening, I just needed to put on a coat. No gloves needed, it was never that cold!
Since this is the Pacific North West, it rains. Like, a LOT. We packed ourselves umbrellas, rain jackets and rain boots to protect again the weather.
Christmas ’tis the most magical time of year and Vancouver Canada is a great place to ring in the holidays. I hope you spend a night drinking wine, eating chimney cakes and watching the city lights twinkle.
If you have any questions about the German Christmas Market in Vancouver or Vancouver travel things, leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul and I’ll be happy to help!