nanaimo winter activities

Top Things to Do in Nanaimo in Winter

nanaimo winter activities

Living in Nanaimo is such a pleasure. We’re surrounded by the ocean, mountains and plenty of wildlife. Not to mention, the this amazing island life doesn’t have to end once the summer does.

Due to the temperate climate we get here in Nanaimo, winters are fairly mild and this is one of the best places in Canada to escape the cold.  This means we can include plenty of outdoor as well as indoor activities on our list of the top things to do in Nanaimo in the winter. 

Whether you want to stay cozy and warm indoors, or you are still yearning to get outside and explore, this guide will have plenty of inspiration for you. With over 10 years of experience in the Nanaimo real estate market operating as part of Sutton Realty Nanaimo, as well as calling this place home, I am happy to share my top winter activities in and around Nanaimo with you. 

1. Visit Ammonite Falls

Vancouver Island has no shortage of beautiful waterfalls and Ammonite Falls is one of the best. Located less than a 20-minute drive from downtown Nanaimo in Benson Creek Falls Regional Park, this is easy to get to and the trail itself is a fairly easy hike.

The winter is actually one of the best times of year to see this waterfall as the flow of water is much higher than in the drier summer months  Watch the water cascade over the edge and enjoy the refreshing feeling of the spray swirling around you. 

2. Eat Your Way Along The Nanaimo Bar Trail

This city is famous for the delicious sweet treat known as the Nanaimo Bar. It is made up of chocolate, graham crackers, nuts, butter and custard powder. If you haven’t tried one yet you need to get your hands on one ASAP.


But why stop at one? Find the absolute best of these bars by going to as many of the 39 stops as possible along the Nanaimo Bar Trail. There are plenty of choices ranging from the classic style all the way to deep-fried and ice cream variations too. A tasty way to spend your winter!

3. See A Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Game

The Nanaimo Clippers are a Junior A hockey team that has been playing in the BCHL since 1972. You’ll catch their games at the Frank Crane Arena. The atmosphere at local hockey games is brilliant and you will enjoy watching some of Canada’s future stars take to the ice throughout the winter months.

4. Go Ice Skating  

If watching ice hockey isn’t good enough for you then why not take to the ice yourself. There are three public ice arenas to choose from and they include community events and programs that will help you learn to skate if you have never tried it before.

Depending on where you are in Nanaimo you can check out the Frank Crane Arena, Nanaimo Ice Centre and the Cliff McNabb Arena. 


5. Go Shopping

What better way to stave off the winter blues than with some retail therapy? Nanaimo has lots of great shopping and there is a little something for everyone. Check out some of the specialty shops and boutique stores in Nanaimo’s historic Old City Quarter.


If you fancy pottering around the largest mall on Vancouver Island then head to Woodgrove. Here you will find over 140 stores to choose from, with a wide variety of products and services on offer.


6. Eat Comfort Food In The Cities Best Restaurants

Another great way to spend a cold winter’s evening is to wine and dine with friends or family in one of the amazing restaurants we have littered across Nanaimo. Whether you want some amazing Greek food from Asteras, wood-fired pies and housemade pasta from La Stella Trattoria or some vegan food at Eve Olive, there is no shortage of delicious restaurants to choose from. 


Wash it all down with a couple of glasses of local BC wine and you have the perfect winter evening. 


7. Walk Along The Water By The Harbour

If you don’t fancy going for a hike but still want to stretch your legs, you can walk along the path that runs along the cities harbour. You can start at the southern end where there is a marina full of pleasure boats and a commercial fishing dock.


As you walk north you will pass by shops and restaurants before coming to Swy-A-Lana Lagoon which is a fishing pier and a children’s park. The walkway does continue on to the Departure Bay ferry terminal if you would like to walk even further.


8. Visit the Local Museums And Art Galleries

Soak in some of the local culture and explore some of the museums and art galleries around Nanaimo. The Nanaimo Museum showcases some interesting pieces of local and regional history as well as feature exhibits from the National Gallery, the Canadian History Museum, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.


The Vancouver Island Military Museum is full of interesting artifacts from the navy, army and air force such as uniforms, weapons and medals and the view from the museum is incredible.


If art is more your type of thing then head to the Nanaimo Art Gallery which showcases local and contemporary art. It also offers lectures and workshops, plus you can even buy some of your own local artwork. 


9. Entertain the Kids 

For some family friendly fun in the winter, you can take your kids to the water park at Beban Park. With a lazy river, spray features and a water-slide the kids will be kept well entertained and you can enjoy some time in the full length pool, steam room and hot tub.


Another great choice is the kids fun house at Jumping Jiminy’s. There is a large play area, games room and a climbing wall and is for kids up to the age of 15. 


Enjoy Winter in One of the Best Cities in BC 

There are plenty of amazing things to do in Nanaimo in the winter, both indoors and outdoors. And whether you like to relax with some good food or explore the outdoors, there is plenty to keep you entertained in this amazing part of Vancouver Island.


If you’re ready to sell, or looking for a new investment opportunity, Jeff King Real Estate is here to help! Check out our latest listings and contact me if you have any Nanaimo real estate questions.