January Weather Averages for Vancouver

What's the weather like in Vancouver in January

Vancouver, British Columbia has one of Canada's mildest winter climates, making it a popular tourist destination - even in January.  The city's average temperature ranges from 1.0°C (average daily minimum) to 7.0°C  (average daily maximum), for an overall monthly mean temperature of 4.0°C (39°F). 

Temperature

A further breakdown of Vancouver's January temperature patterns since 1981 reveals daily...

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  • Temperature Temperature 4°C 38°F
  • High Temperature Holiday Weather 6°C 43°F
  • Low Temperature Holiday Weather 1°C 34°F
  • Sunshine Hours Sunshine Hours 4 hrs
  • Rainfall Rainfall 140 mm
  • Rainfall days Rainfall days 21 days
  • Sea Temperature Sea Temperature 8°C 46°F

What's the weather like in Vancouver in January

Vancouver, British Columbia has one of Canada's mildest winter climates, making it a popular tourist destination - even in January.  The city's average temperature ranges from 1.0°C (average daily minimum) to 7.0°C  (average daily maximum), for an overall monthly mean temperature of 4.0°C (39°F). 

Temperature

A further breakdown of Vancouver's January temperature patterns since 1981 reveals daily highs between 10°C (50°F) and  20°C(68°F) for five days (out of thirty-one).  In addition, the city has daily lows below 0°C (32°F)  for ten days, below -2°C (28°F) for six days, and below -10°C (14°F) only once on average.

Nevertheless, the Vancouver metropolitan area ("Metro Vancouver") is susceptible to cold Arctic airflow from the Fraser Valley roughly every three years.  The coldest January on record was in 1950 when, according to Environment Canada, the average daily minimum was −9.7°C (15°F), and the average daily maximum was −2.9°C (27°F).  Making the overall monthly mean temperature −6.3°C (20.7°F) about ten degrees Celsius below normal.

Rainfall

Throughout January, Vancouver receives an average of 223 mm/8.8 inches of rainfall, the most of any major Canadian city or town.   It rains on average twenty days in January, and it's not uncommon for the city to receive both rain and snow in the same day.  With some form of precipitation occurring on so many days, there is a chance you'll experience mixed precipitation (combination of straight rain, freezing rain, snow flurries and/or snow showers) during your stay, so be prepared.

The likelihood of precipitation on a January day in Vancouver starts off at 53% on January 1st and drops to 49% by January 31st.  The probability of mixed precipitation stays pretty much at 3% throughout the month, while only snow registers at 1% (see below).

Snow

Unlike most Canadian cities in January, Vancouver is not known for its snowfall, averaging a total of 6.2 inches (mostly wet snow) that fall over only three (3) days.  Daily accumulation averages are less than 0.3 inches. 

However, greater accumulations do occur in other parts of Metro Vancouver (i.e. Burnaby, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, West Vancouver) as well as on nearby ski hills.

Sunshine Hours

In January, Vancouver has an average of eight hours, fifty minutes of daily sunshine, along with mean cloud coverage of about 73% (overcast, mostly cloudy) throughout the month. On an average day, the sky is clear 13% of the time, and partly cloudy/mostly clear 14% of the time.

Humidity

The average relative humidity for Vancouver in January is quite high.  It typically falls from 80% on New Year's Day to 74% on January 31st.   Winter is when humidity is most felt by residents and tourists alike, which means that it will usually feel colder than what the announced temperature suggests.

Wind

January is one of the windiest months for Vancouver.  During this month, average wind speeds fluctuate between 6.5 mph and 6.0 mph. The highest average wind speed of 6.5 mph happens around January 1st, when the average daily maximum is 6.8 mph, whilst the lowest average wind speed of 6.0 mph occurs around January 31st, when the average daily maximum is 6.5 mph.

Sea Temperature

Vancouver is located on the Pacific coast, on the Strait of Georgia.. This water body's wide-area average surface temperature is relatively consistent on both a daily and monthly basis, hovering between 44 and 45°F throughout the month.

The lowest average surface temperature for the year, 44°F, occurs on January 30 and other days.

Dress Code

January in Vancouver is typically mild and wet.  To remain warm and dry, you'll need to dress in layers on cooler, windier days, and have a raincoat and/or umbrella handy at all times. Waterproof footwear (e.g. rain boots, hikers) is highly recommended.

If you plan to head up into the mountains for skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, etc., don't forget to pack your winter hats, gloves and scarves.

Vancouver Hotels in January

Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver is located in the heart of downtown, a short walk away from the magnificent CF Pacific Centre shopping mall and numerous other dining and entertainment attractions.  Four Seasons offers thirty stories of urban luxury that truly reflect the city's natural charms and multicultural make-up.

Accommodation is provided in the form of 372 guest rooms, including 66 luxury suites, each of which features at least one marble bathroom with designer toiletries and stunning panoramic views of Vancouver's skyline, as well as the Lower Mainland's mountains and harbours.

On-site services and facilities include: YEW bar lounge open from 11:00 AM until midnight (1:00 AM on weekends); Fitness training facilities and Wi-Fi access; Indoor (heated)/Outdoor pool; Children's Welcome Program; Fully equipped Business Centre.

Four Seasons Vancouver is one of two local hotels to hold the prestigious Forbes Five Star rating.

Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre

Downtown Vancouver's Sandman Hotel is ideal for sports and entertainment tourists, as it faces both Rogers Arena and BC Place and is within walking distance of Robson Street's shopping and restaurant area.  It is also a short walk away from the historic Gastown district with its stylish boutiques, pubs, upscale restaurants, clubs and access to both mountain and ocean views.  That same short walk in the opposite direction leads you to hip and trendy Yaletown, which enjoys its current status thanks to a bevy of sidewalk cafes and a thriving nightlife.

A solid three-star hotel, Sandman's on-site amenities include: an indoor pool, business centre, fitness centre, Shark Club Bar & Grill and Moxie's Grill & Bar.   Its rooms range from Standard Queen and Standard Two Doubles to Corporate King and Corporate King Suite.  Standard amenities include free Wi-Fi,  flat screen TV, and a self-controlled heating/cooling system.

Sandman Hotel Group was recognized by Hotelier Magazine as their 2017 Pinnacle Award Winner for Company of the Year.

The Buchan Hotel

The Buchan Hotel, located in a quiet residential area of Vancouver's downtown West End,  is a no-frills three-story walk-up hotel that offers clean, quiet, and comfortable accommodation.  Ideal for adventurous tourists, it is one block from the famous Stanley Park, three blocks from English Bay Beach.  The Buchan hotel is a 100% non-smoking premise to ensure your comfort.

Among The Buchan's hotel amenities are: Complimentary coffee, tea and daily newspaper; free wireless Internet access; secured luggage, ski and bicycle storage; tour and travel arrangements.

Its sixty-one rooms range in affordability (Economy, Standard, Deluxe) and size (Twin, Double, Queen, Family).  Room amenities at all guest rooms include high definition 32" television with free movie channels, alarm clock, and daily housekeeping services.

Although The Buchan Hotel itself does not offer on-site dining, it is located one block from the Denman Street "Restaurant Row", home to over 50 restaurants serving a variety of local and world cuisines. See the list of nearby restaurants

YWCA Hotel Vancouver

The YWCA Hotel is conveniently located at the corner of Beatty and Robson, in downtown Vancouver's vibrant Yaletown district.  It offers a unique combination of comfort, affordability and convenience.  It specializes in group accommodation for sports and entertainment visitors, given that it is located one block from the SkyTrain and 2-3 blocks from Rogers Arena and B.C. Place Stadium.

YWCA Hotel is a brief stroll from Robson Street, the city's popular downtown shopping district. A short walk will take you to other great attractions, like the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Vancouver Public Library.

On-site amenities include kitchens and lounges, a coffee bar, laundry facilities, wireless Internet and quality meeting room facilities.  It offers rooms of all sizes (Single, Double, Triple, Quint) for budget conscious individual and group travellers.

YWCA Hotel Vancouver is a recipient of Trip Advisor's 2017 Certificate of Excellence and its 2018 Travellers' Choice Award.

Bars and Restaurants

The Observatory Restaurant - Upscale West Coast dining at Grouse Mountain

If you are willing to visit Grouse Mountain in January, the least you can do is close out your excursion with a meal at The Observatory Restaurant.  Yes, it will likely be expensive and there is a dress code (no jeans or sportswear!) to observe, but as a (probable) once in a lifetime experience, you can't go wrong by dining at the Peak of Vancouver.

Your dining choices include: Dinner à la Carte, a Five-Course Fixed Price Tasting Menu, and a Group Dining (Three-course) Menu Option.  Among the popular entrées are Central Park Farms Chicken (braised legs, heirloom carrots, resort made bacon, cheddar biscuit) and the Acres Beef Striploin (potato chips, pickled onions, heirloom tomatoes, red wine).  The carrot cake/cheesecake/candied nut desserts come highly recommended.  Ask for the carrot white chocolate cheese cake with 3 different types of ice cream.

The Observatory is open for dinner 7 nights a week from 4:30pm-9:30pm. An Alpine Experience admission ticket to Grouse Mountain for dinner party members is complimentary with advance reservations and includes access to the Skyride and mountaintop activities, including access to the mountaintop and Peak Chalet, the restaurant's location.

Vij's Restaurant – Legendary Vancouver Indian cuisine

Head Chef and owner Vikram Vij is synonymous with Indian cuisine in Vancouver and throughout Canada, and his new Vij's Restaurant ("Vij's") location on Cambie Street (Shaughnessy neighbourhood) is but the latest bold move forward for this restaurateur.

By following a philosophy of traditional Indian cooking and locally sourced meats, seafood, and produce, Vij's maintains an award-winning reputation for high quality dishes.  The restaurant is also home to a world-class bartending team that shepherds a wine and beer menu geared to match its spicy and flavourful Indian meals.

Among its most popular meat selections are the wine-marinated "lamb popsicles" in fenugreek curry, Punjabi-style goat curry with stuffed vegetables, and braised beef short ribs in fennel and mustard seed curry.  Vegetarian dishes include coconut-curried vegetables with lentils and brown Basmati pilaf. 

Family-style dining, i.e. platter sharing, is recommended at Vij's, and all dishes include rice, naan bread, and chapatis (can also be ordered as sides).  Regular-sized platter orders are the norm, but small plates may be preferable if you indulge in a tasty starter (e.g. Vij's 'Hummingbird' – lentil, quinoa plus coconut pilaf with beets) and/or want to have room for a delectable dessert (rice pudding, mango ice cream) to end your meal.

Dinner is served seven days a week from 5:30 PM, and be forewarned, line-ups are possible given that Vij's does not take reservations.  On the other hand, the rotating staff is likely to offer no-charge appetisers prior to being seated, as well as throughout your meal.

Red Ginger Asian Cuisine – Asian Fusion at its Best

If you are willing to venture a bit south of downtown (Fairview-Shaughnessy area) for great Asian fusion cuisine, the Red Ginger Asian Cuisine restaurant is sure to please.

With a well-established reputation for friendly service (the owner himself often greets diners and offers suggestions), and a casual kids-friendly atmosphere, Red Ginger Asian Cuisine presents  Chinese/Malay/Thai/Singapore dishes that easily satisfy discerning palates.

Among its most popular appetizers are "Singaporean" samosas (deep-fried Singaporean style pastry, stuffed with potatoes, minced beef and green peas) and lettuce wraps (spicy beef or chicken with diced vegetables).  You cannot go wrong with either the ginger beef or long bean spicy beef (pan fried beef with chili, garlic and long bean) dishes for the main course.  Other excellent choices include the orange chicken (crispy chicken sauteed with sweet orange peel, onion and chili), classic Chow Mein (beef, chicken or pork with noodles in a black bean sauce) and any one of three (3) fried rice dishes.

Vegetarians and vegans are well-accommodated with delicious non-meat choices, and the friendly staff are careful to cater to people with specific food (e.g. nut, shellfish) allergies. 

Open Monday to Friday from 11am–3pm and 5 pm–9:30pm, and Saturday  11am–3 pm and 5pm–9:30pm,  Red Ginger Asian Cuisine is a seemingly nondescript establishment that outdoes more famous (and expensive) restaurants in its category.

Keg Steakhouse and Bar – Yaletown

The Keg Steakhouse and Bar is a well-established North American franchise in the upper casual dining domain.  In particular, the Yaletown location on Mainland Street has acquired a reputation as one of Vancouver's best steakhouses, striking the right balance between service, atmosphere, and quality food (all at a reasonable price).

In addition to classic steak dishes seasoned with a special spice blend and aged for tenderness, The Keg Yaletown also offers great seafood platters, enticing appetizers, and delicious desserts. In addition to a special cocktail menu and lengthy wine list, The Keg Yaletown is pleased to offer vegetarian options and gluten free alternatives.

For those travelling with children under 12, The Keg Yaletown also offers a Kids' Menu with full meals that include a soft drink, juice or milk, your choice of side (Keg fries, Caesar salad, or seasonal vegetables) and ice cream for under $20 CAD.

Open Sunday to Thursday 4pm-Midnight and Friday-Saturday 4pm-1:30am, The Keg Yaletown offers a breathtaking view of downtown Vancouver on its rooftop patio, which is heated during winter.  It is less than a ten minute walk from many downtown hotels, and is easily accessible from Roundhouse SkyTrain Station and the Nelson St bus line.

Cocktails are available in the lounge and on the rooftop patio from 4pm-6pm; Late Night Daily from 10pm-Close.

Things to do in Vancouver in January

Vancouver Aquarium

Founded in 1956, the Vancouver Aquarium is Canada's largest and original public aquarium.  Its global reputation as a leading marine science and research centre has attracted top educators, scientists, and conservation experts devoted to the cause of ocean and marine species protection.  As home to tens of thousands of fascinating ocean species, it has brought aquatic life closer to over 40 million visitors since its inception.

Located in the heart of Stanley Park on the western outskirts of downtown, the Vancouver Aquarium introduces people to general marine wildlife.  Also, it takes seriously its mission to focus on species that are native to the Pacific Northwest via a dizzying array of specialized exhibits, its "Marine Life in 4-D" theatre, shows, and special events.

Of special note is the 19th annual Divers' Weekend which was held January 27-28, 2018 with the theme of training.  It offered numerous insights into diving via diving demonstrations, exhibits by diving clubs, organizations and businesses; dry land training workshop sessions, and fun kids' activities.

Open all year long, winter visitors are advised to come by Vancouver Aquarium on weekdays before noon and after 2 P.M. to avoid larger crowds and big line-ups.   

Grouse Mountain

In January and the winter months in general, Grouse Mountain (altitude 1,250 metres or 4,101 feet) earns the title of "The Peak of Vancouver".  Winter activities abound in this alpine paradise, including day and night skiing, snowboarding, skating on its 8,000 square foot skating pond, tobogganing and many other pursuits. 

Located in the District Municipality of North Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is about 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) north of downtown Vancouver – a 20 minute drive away or  roughly 45-50 minutes via public transit (SeaBus, SkyTrain, bus).

No trip to Grouse Mountain – or Vancouver for that matter – is complete without a trip on the Red Skyride, North America's largest aerial tramway system.  Its full 8-minute run offers breathtaking vistas of endless Douglas firs, the Pacific Ocean, Metro Vancouver's skyline, the Gulf Islands, and various mountain peaks, valleys, inlets and bays. 

Fifty-eight metres (20 storeys) above the Peak of Vancouver rests another unique Grouse Mountain feature - the awe-inspiring and revolutionary Eye of the Wind – the world's first and only wind turbine that allows you to stand in a transparent ViewPOD at the top of the tower, three metres from its massive, rotating blades.  Along with the guided tour, you see the Coast Mountains as well as Vancouver proper with its busy harbours.

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