Visitors to Vancouver won't find a major public celebration with fireworks or grand-scale festivities. That slight disappointment aside, there are still many stylish ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in Vancouver, including hotel galas, family-friendly events, and outdoor excursions. Note that the hottest tickets tend to sell out weeks ahead of the midnight countdown.
1. 2014 Parties at Vancouver Attractions
From ski hills to science museums and boat cruises, it's possible to see some of Vancouver's best attractions while celebrating the New Year. There's a large New Year's Eve celebration at Telus World of Science, with two dance floors, DJs, and capacity for more than 1,000 people.
A New Year's Eve cruise aboard Pride of Vancouver is one of the most scenic settings to mark midnight. From the boat, you see the lights of the Vancouver skyline and dine on a buffet dinner. There are also dance floors and DJs.
The Vancouver Lookout is the setting for a sky-high New Year's event, providing 360-degree views of the city skyline at night to a DJ soundtrack. Another stylish option is the gala at the Rocky Mountaineer Station.
And, on Dec. 31, 2013, Robson Square Ice Rink hosts a family-friendly New Year's with music and kid's events. An early countdown for kids has happened at 8 p.m. in past years. For another before-midnight activity, try snowshoeing near one of the local ski hills like Mt Seymour.
2. New Year's Galas at Luxury Hotels
Many luxury downtown hotels host black-tie galas for New Year's Eve. The most well known (and therefore very quick to sell out) are galas are at the towering Shangri-La Hotel (tickets) and the Fairmont Waterfront (tickets). There's also a large multi-ballroom event at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (tickets) that's new in 2013 and expected to be a great time.
A warning for last-minute bookers: Hotel gala tickets are one of the fastest sellers among Vancouver New Year's events. Buy early.
3. Restaurants for New Year's Eve Dining
What Vancouver lacks in public celebrations, it makes up for in fine dining. Special occasion Vancouver restaurants are the perfect place for a New Year's Eve dinner. New and old favorites include Hawksworth Restaurant at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Boneta and L'Abattoir in Gastown, and Bacchus Lounge at the the Wedgewood Hotel.
For the best views, if it's a clear night, book a table at The Observatory. The Grouse Mountain restaurant stays open later for special New Year's Eve seatings.
4. Downtown Bars and Nightclubs
Along Granville Street and elsewhere in the city, downtown Vancouver bars and top-10 nightclubs hold parties into the early morning hours. Reliable New Year's favorites include The Roxy for champagne and pizza and the Commodore Ballroom for its beautiful heritage dance floor.
If you're making last-minute New Year's plans, nightclubs and bars will likely have the best availability for tickets. Although if you opt to brave the line ups, expect a lengthy wait.
5. Family-friendly New Year's Eve in Whistler
One of the best events happening outside Vancouver is the all-ages celebration in Whistler. While catering to families with an early countdown, the celebration also has music, ice-skating, and fireworks continuing until midnight. The alcohol-free event happens in the Village Square and there is an admission fee (adults $20, less when purchased in advance).