Every busy mom deserves a break at this time of year. It’s never easy to get away from all the many things that need our attention during the holiday prep time (it’s a never-ending list!), but hey, moms need attention too.
With that in mind, my friend and Seattle-based blogger Keryn Means of Walking On Travels and I took one for the team and hit Vancouver for a moms mini-break girls getaway weekend, enjoying all of the great holiday events and activities that the city has to offer. Of course, all of these holiday activities can be enjoyed with the family too!
A Festive Girls Getaway in Vancouver
Our getaway weekend was bone-chillingly cold, so we mixed things up with visits to some of Vancouver’s most popular indoor and outdoor holiday attractions.
I’ve been on the Soarin’ over California ride at Disneyland, so I was excited to try out the newest (and coolest) attraction in the city – Flyover Canada. It’s a virtual flight-simulation that lifts off for an 8-minute, breathtaking ride over our great land. I found this ride surprisingly emotional – Canada is so beautiful! – and the 3D experience is extremely well done. Note: For the holidays, Santa appears via video to request that guests help him find three missing reindeer during the Flyover flight.
Fancy a skate? The Robson Square Skating Rink is in the heart of downtown, just steps from the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s the perfect size for practicing your triple axels (or crossovers), provided it’s not too crowded. The rink stays cold and frozen even as the temperature rises, but only lasts a short time during the winter season. Skate rentals are on-site, and do check out the cute little Zambonis that clean the ice.
The annual German-style Vancouver Christmas Market in downtown Vancouver features wooden stalls of German handmade crafts, specialty food vendors (think chocolate, stollen, maple fudge), and prepared food options like pretzels, schnitzel, sausages and a spaetzle noodle house. Keep warm with some hot apple cider, Gluhwein (hot spiced red wine), or a warm baked apple with vanilla sauce, as you stroll around the Market. There’s live entertainment, a carousel, and a large indoor market by Kathe Wohlfahrt, the popular German Christmas ornament and decor company. Tip: Pay once and get a free re-entry pass good the entire season (until December 24th.)
We needed a warm break from the holiday rush, and ducked into the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG), in the middle of downtown. It’s a calm oasis of First Nations sculpture, Emily Carr landscapes, and rotating visiting exhibitions. The Gallery Store is a hidden treasure – the perfect place to find unique gifts for those hard-to-buy-for folks on your list.
Making the holiday rounds in this city has to include a visit to Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas, in North Vancouver. In addition to the snow play fun, there’s Santa’s Workshop, a chance to meet one of his reindeer – Prancer, strap on skates for the outdoor rink, stroll through the Gingerbread Village, watch classic Christmas movies, and even take a mountaintop sleigh ride. We enjoyed warming up with hot chocolate & nachos at Altitudes Bistro on the mountain while watching a gorgeous winter sunset.
The Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge is en route to Grouse Mountain, and worth the stop to admire the park all lighted up for the holidays. They’re laying claim to having the world’s tallest living Christmas tree, but you’ll have to judge that for yourself when you visit. Hold on tight as you walk over the suspension bridge – it does tend to sway. I was just thankful that I couldn’t see the canyon floor in the dark! Other popular attractions in the park include the Treetops Adventure and the Cliffwalk.
All photos by C. Laroye.
Disclosure: The writer visited these attractions as a guest of Tourism Vancouver. As always, our opinions are honest and our own.
Have you ever taken a moms getaway? What did you enjoy the most about your holiday break? Share your comment below.