Valentine’s Day may be the annual celebration of all things lovey-dovey, conjuring up visions of romantic candlelit dinners or a surprise weekend getaway for two – but for most of us with little ones, such things don’t often fit into the family schedule. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find plenty of ways to celebrate together that are just as fun, much less costly and don’t interfere with the bedtime routine. Check out our guide for some sweet celebrations to mark Valentine’s Day in Vancouver:
7 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Vancouver
Did someone say sweet? Head to your favourite local gourmet donut shop and stock up on some confections – from sprinkles to chocolate, caramel filling to cookie toppings, local shops are delivering up quite an array of unique delights. Make a day of it and do a donut tour: map out three or four destinations in the region and sample the best of the best while on a driving tour of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Here’s a few of our favourites: Cartem’s Donuts in Vancouver, Boca Grande Donut Shop in Ladner and the Oh So Sweet Sugar Boutique (with donuts and much, much more) on the Surrey-North Delta border.
All Booked Up
Family Literacy Day was in January but let’s be honest: every day is a good day to celebrate books. Take the kids to your favourite local bookshop and let them choose out a gift or two (or three, or four.) Better yet, head to one of our local children’s book stores: Kidsbooks operates two locations, one in Vancouver and one in North Vancouver, while Kinder Books is conveniently located in the New Westminster Quay Market (while you’re there, check out Raincity Games for more great fun for all ages, from board games to card games, puzzles and more.)
Ticket to Ride
Why not save the celebrations for another day? Pick up tickets to something fun as a Valentine’s Day gift, and have an event to look forward to down the road. Fan Expo Vancouver takes place just one week after Valentine’s at the Vancouver Convention Centre, returning to the city with its regular lineup of comic books, collectibles and sci-fi fun, while tickets for Allegria at Cirque Du Soleil Vancouver are on sale now for shows running from March through to May. Or for something more simple: check out your local independent movie theatres for a lower ticket price on recent blockbuster hits. The Hollywood3 group of small independent theatres operates in White Rock, Surrey, and Maple Ridge.
Sip On Something Sweet
This is your last chance till 2023 to take part in the Greater Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival. It’s been running all month and ends on February 14. There are nearly 50 vendors around the region, with more than 100 flavours of unique and traditional hot chocolate. This event first began in 2011 as the first city-wide initiative in the world focused on hot chocolate as a method to support small local businesses. And bonus: most of the shops that are involved offer up a pretty extensive menu of other treats: pastries, baked goods, ice cream, cookies and more. Check out their website for the locations. (Or stay home and pick up the ingredients to make your own. Here’s a simple and delicious version from Epicurious: Simple Hot Cocoa For One.
Skate Away for the Day
These two destinations have appeared on our family favourite recommendations several times this winter, and for good reasons. It’s a great activity for all ages, the price is great, and it’s outdoors. So lace up your skates (or rent them on site) at both Robson Square ice skating or at the North Vancouver Shipyards Plaza for a morning or afternoon of icy delight for Valentine’s Day in Vancouver. Enjoy nearby cafes for a warm snack after you’re done. But don’t delay: these ice rinks don’t stay all year ‘round and spring is on its way.
Let Your Garden Grow
All right, all right, it’s not quite time to plant those seeds yet – unless you’ve got a greenhouse or a sunny window spot to for sprouts. But why not make a Valentine’s date with your family to check out some local gardens for inspiration, and then spend some time plotting your own spring planting? This region has some of the country’s most beautiful gardens: check out Van Dusen Botanical Garden and the Queen Elizabeth Quarry Gardens (and while you’re at QE, pop into Bloedel Conservatory for some warm tropical air and check out plants you won’t see anywhere else in this part of the world.) Then head over to local seed supplier West Coast Seeds and figure out what you’d like to grow yourself. While you’re at it, check out Growing Chefs, a local charity aimed at supporting and encourage urban agriculture, for local programs and resources.
A Breath of Fresh Air
There’s a Scandinavian expression that says: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. This sentiment is certainly true in this region, where rainy and grey skies through the winter can lead us to believe we ought to stay indoors, dry and warm. Maybe this is the year to invest in some of that “good gear” and get outdoors for Valentine’s Day in Vancouver. Check out our recent round-up of family friendly winter hikes in the region, and then figure out what you need to round out your closet. Local shops Jan and Jul and Norsekoden offer plenty of hats, coats, and boots for the little ones. And there’s always the long-time favourite, MEC, where practical gear is the name of the game.