The holiday season only really begins with the opening of the Vancouver Christmas Market. It suddenly feels like Christmas when you’ve got a warm cup of glühwein in hand. The market is in its thirteenth year and it opened again on November 16 in Jack Poole Plaza. Those who want to enjoy have from now until December 24th to visit Vancouver’s biggest holiday market.
What’s New At the Vancouver Christmas Market
Eighteen new vendors are joining this year’s lineup to add to the already seventy-eight returning vendors. More space has been granted to the market’s busiest vendors to aid in speed of service for market guests. Vendors this year are selling a range of goods from Christmas decorations to coffee, and from holiday drink bombs to pearls. The Vancouver Christmas Market is also introducing some new holiday traditions this year like a Lantern Parade, Christmas Trivia, and Christmas Karaoke. They will also be offering free photographs with St. Nick on Wednesdays from 4 pm to 8 pm.
What to Drink
It can be chilly in Jack Poole Plaza with the wind coming right off the water in Coal Harbour so you’ll want to make sure you have a warm cup of something. The options are many. My personal favourite is a cup of glühwein but the Flying Stage also serves Kinderpunsch. No matter which beverage you choose, it will taste better served in one of the Christmas Market’s 2023 Collectible Mugs.
For those looking for non-alcoholic options, you can find hot apple cider at the Apfel Haus and hot chocolate and hot coffee from Barista Brothers Coffee Company or from Ho Ho Hot Chocolate. If you’re looking for something cold, Pancakes & Waffles Haus serves affogatos and Beer Haus serves, well, beer. I particularly enjoyed a Stiegl Raspberry Radler.
What to Eat
You’ve got to get a brat from the Brat Haus if only to have the opportunity to use their ingenious udder-like ketchup and mustard dispensers. The hot sauerkraut is a must as well.
Cheese Me Raclette is a returning favourite food vendor. If there’s ever a time for melted molten cheese it’s outdoors at a Christmas market. The smoked meat sandwiches from Das Smoked Meat Haus are provided by Continental Sausage and are a literal handful. Another great sandwich option is the Grilled Cheese from Das Soup Haus. If you have room for more molten cheese after enjoying something from Cheese Me Raclette, I suggest you order the French Onion Soup with your grilled cheese and then dip the sandwich in the soup for a doubly-cheesy feast.
Bon Macaron is selling many flavours of their macarons, which are the perfect sweet treat but also an excellent gift idea. Ask them about their macaron making workshops! There are two other must-try desserts at Vancouver’s Christmas Market: the poffertjes and the churros. The poffertjes can be ordered with a variety of toppings but my favourite is simply butter and icing sugar. The butter melts from the heat of the mini pancakes and adds just the right level of saltiness. The Vancouver Christmas Market churros might just be better than the churros at Disneyland, which is high praise. The smell of these freshly fried churros fills the market and is downright irresistible. The exterior is crisp and the interior is light and fluffy.
What to See and Do
Besides catching a performance by the Gingerbread Men, the Market offers other entertainment like the Carousel. The Carousel is a feature attraction of the market and this year it is sponsored by Aeroplan. Riding a carousel horse with the smell of churros and mulled wine in the air, and the market lit with lights, sparks a special kind of childish joy.
Romance is always in the air at the Vancouver Christmas Market. Indeed each year, the market is the site of proposals. The so called Lover’s Lane is a particularly popular spot for these romantic declarations. Lover’s Lane also just makes for a great photo opportunity with its 20,000 lights. Speaking of photo opportunities, be sure to grab a photo with the Market mascots, Holly and Jolly.
Wait times to enter have been longer this year so make sure to grab your tickets ahead of time, and to show up as early as you can. The Vancouver Christmas Market is on now until Christmas Eve.