Vancouver Weekender: November 30 through December 2, 2012

This weekend is all but guaranteed to get you into the seasonal spirit. With annual holiday festivals gearing things up, Christmas-themed fairs and a star-studded film festival set in picturesque Whistler, there’s plenty going on to satisfy the YP appetite.

Kick things off on Friday by paying a post-work visit to one of our favourite spots in town (and we’ve got a few options for you). Wildebeest is always a sure bet. With communal long tables, a warm and inviting atmosphere, great cocktail and wine list, ccompanied by a great selection of charcuterie and sharables (check out their wine bar menu here), it’s the perfect place to land with a group to unwind.

Another option worth checking out is the Sol Sun Belt Cookery. We’ve been back for drinks a few times since this Coal Harbour spot opened in the late summer – and they’ve recently revamped their menu for the season, as well as feature live music every Friday and Saturday night. Curious? Check them out here

Post drinks and dinner, why not throw a little culture into the mix? The Arts Club Theatre presents its annual holiday favourite, White Christmas: The Musical, at the Stanley Theatre on South Granville starting this weekend. It’s a musical masterpiece based on the classic Paramount Pictures film and fuelled by friendship and love perfect for getting you into the holiday spirit. 

Another entertaining option for Friday night with a winter-theme is the Banff Mountain Film Festival presentation taking place at the Rio Theatre. Score tickets to this popular event and be inspired by the fantastic adventure-themed stories that unfold on the big screen. You’ll likely feel exhausted by the end as this festival is packed with clips from various high-octane films and guaranteed to get your adrenaline going. 

On Saturday, why not pay a visit to the Winter Farmer’s Market at Nat Bailey Stadium and peruse the good brought to us by local suppliers. There’s a load of new produce available at this time of year and more than 70 new vendors on-site showcasing their wares. Start off with some java at West Best Coffee and a sweet serving at Creperie La Boheme before stocking up on treats from French Made Baking, Crisp Organics and goodies from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks.  

Have a hankering for something holiday-themed? Be sure to check out one of a few different Christmas markets taking place around town. Start with a trek out to check out the annual Bloom Market’s A Handmade Holiday taking place in historic Fort Langley all weekend. This market is showcasing the goods of more than 40 different local BC artisans, original artwork, jewellery, clothing, live holiday music, treats and more.  

Also taking place this weekend, the West Coast Christmas Show & Marketplace is back for another year and is one of Western Canada’s first Christmas shows to bring all things holiday-inspired together under one roof. This show features celebrity chefs, live entertainment, trolley tours, onstage decor demos, holiday shopping, exhibits and more.

Of course, if you’re looking for something a little bit closer to the city, be sure to check out one of these two seasonal offerings: the Vancouver Christmas Market set right next to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (you can’t miss its sprawling set-up right off of West Georgia). Alternatively, grab the Seabus and make your way to Lower Lonsdale to catch the Christmas Festival at The Shipyards. There will be performances by Mike Battie, the Vancouver Community Outreach Soul Gospel Choir, carollers and more. Admission is free and the festival takes place at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue next to the Quay. 

Feeling like getting out of town this weekend and mixing a little bit of culture with play? Be sure to check out the 12th Annual Whistler Film Festival (November 28 to December 2nd). There are plenty of A-listers who are making the scene this year, including Canada’s own Rachelle Lefevre. She’ll be sharing the spotlight with various other notable talents such as Rashida Jones, Daniel Radcliffe and APJ Canada Board Member George Stroumboulopoulos. Be sure to catch screenings of noteworthy cinematic gems from Canada and around the world and catch fundraisers and cocktail hours as you rub elbows with industry stars. The best part about heading up to Whistler for the festival: in between screenings, you can hit the slopes for some runs (check out the current snow forecast here). 

Sunday, head out for a stroll along the Seawall before grabbing some brunch in English Bay at either the Sylvia Hotel or Raincity Grill. If you’re a bit closer to Kitsilano we suggest paying a visit to Notable favourite go-to spot Bistro Pastis or Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe. 

Be forewarned, though, traffic through Vancouver’s downtown core will be pretty much at a standstill leading up to 1pm for the kick-off to the 9th Annual Santa Claus Parade courtesy of Rogers. Thousands of people line the street as the parade weaves its way through town. Check out the route here and unleash your inner kid. 

Photo courtesy Wildebeest