Cold Weather Activities in Nanaimo

While we’re certainly not heralded as snow destination, Nanaimo does get its fair share of chillier days. If you’re travelling during the off season, you can reap all the benefits of areas being less crowded, a stunning fog that rolls over the city, and year-round hikes. The city’s weather is mild in comparison to other parts of Canada, but we still like to bundle up from time to time and hide away from the frost! Here are a few cold weather activities for your stay in #ExploreNanaimo.

Shop Local

Nanaimo’s downtown streets fan out from the center, the Bastion, with windows to the storefront homes of some of the best local shopping you’ll find on the Island. The proud owners of these gems curate the best in everything from vintage finds to carefully crafted goods. Whether you’re looking for a souvenir or simply eyeing the artistry of local makers while strolling, both the downtown core and the Old City Quarter are must stops on a chillier day. Just about every shopping complex in the city is home to a local vendor, so don’t discount these stops either! Simply bundle up, pop into each shop, and warm up with a smile from a Nanaimo vendor.

Hike Nanaimo

A getaway to Nanaimo on a colder weekend can still be filled with outdoor adventure. Don’t be intimidated by the weather—rain, snow, fog or mist, all you need is the proper gear! Some of our favourite cold-weather hikes are Westwood Lake, where the fog rolls over the water and the heavily treed path shields you from the rain; Ammonite Falls, where the falls run-heavy during the offseason; and the waterfront, where the cement path makes for an easy stroll along the harbour.


Who says your winter layers can’t come in the form of comfort food? From fine dining to late-night snacks, Nanaimo’s restaurants and take out joints will add a little heat to your travels. Some of our favourites include The Vault, where you can expect a heavenly pesto mac and cheese, and Javawocky, the waterfront café that serves up hot bevvies for your stroll around the city center. You could also opt to check off as many stops on the Nanaimo Bar Trail as your sweet tooth can handle.


When the snow is heavy or the temperatures have really plummeted, it’s best to set aside a few hours at a local museum, where the outside world can be put on the back burner for a while. The Nanaimo Museum’s exhibits on town and regional history share stories of local heroes, early pioneers, and current artists. Just down the street, the Vancouver Island Military Museum has an impressive collection of artifacts from the past 200 years. The friendly volunteers will give you a tour and tell you the stories of the people who fought valiantly and contributed to the homefront.

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