Holiday gift ideas for art and culture lovers in Vancouver

Stuck on what to buy your highbrow pal for the holidays? How about an annual membership for one of Vancouver’s world-renowned museums? Or season tickets to the city’s preeminent musical performances and stage productions? When it comes to finding the perfect present for your favourite sophisticate, you can’t go wrong with a gift from any one of these distinguished cultural institutions.

Vancouver Art Gallery

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750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7

A Vancouver Art Gallery membership is likely at the top of every local art lover’s Christmas wish list. Currently housed in a stunning neo-classical building, the city’s largest art gallery offers more than 41,000 square feet of exhibition space and a beautiful on-site café to keep visitors satiated. The Gallery showcases historic and contemporary artworks by renowned painters, sculptors, photographers and graphic artists from Canada and around the world. Members are entitled to a number of exclusive benefits, including priority admission, event invites, special privileges at the gallery library, store discounts, and reciprocal admission to partner museums across the country.

Vancouver Opera

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1945 McLean Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 3J7

Is there anything more civilized than an evening at the Opera? There are a variety of different gift-giving options for those who are sharing Vancouver Opera’s main stage productions with friends and family. Pick up fixed-seat and flexible subscription packages for multiple performances, tickets for a single performance, or print-at-home gift cards that recipients can use towards a performance of their choosing. The 2015-2016 Season features a number of captivating performances, including the Canadian premiere of Dark Sisters from composer Nico Muhly, Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and a full-scale production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s modern classic, Evita.

Vancouver Museum Society

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1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9

Local history buffs can’t get enough of the Museum of Vancouver, which happens to be the largest civic museum in the country. Cultural artifacts and ethnographic objects are displayed throughout the space in storytelling vignettes that guide visitors through Vancouver’s historic growth from the early 1900s to the late 1970s. In addition to the permanent collection, rotating exhibitions showcase contemporary local artists and thought-provoking cultural works. MOV members receive unlimited yearly visits, free admission to curator talks, and discounts on exclusive programming and special events. Prices range from $42 for an individual membership to $80 for a family of five.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

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500-833 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC V6B 0G4

A subscription package for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra sounds like music to our ears! Now in its 97th season, the VSO hosts international artists and musicians who specialize in a diverse range of musical genres, including classical, pop, Broadway show tunes and swing. The 2016 season also features a Tiny Tots concert series for little ones and a special performance by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. Subscription packages are available in pre-set series or you can choose to “compose your own” package (pun intended). All subscribers also enjoy extra perks like ticket exchange privileges and discounts at the VSO gift shop.

Arts Club Theatre Company

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2750 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3J3

Everyone could use a little more drama in their lives – so why not treat your friends and family to a season pass for the Arts Club Theatre Company. A four-show Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage pass includes tickets to A Christmas Story, Pride and Prejudice, Good People and Billy Elliot. Alternatively, the four-show series for the Granville Island Stage features performances of It’s a Wonderful Life, BOOM, The Valley and Rock of Ages. Tickets are also available for individual shows, and you can always pick up a gift certificate if you’re not quite sure what production to choose.

Museum of Anthropology

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6393 Marine Dr NW, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

Built atop ancestral Musqueam land on the UBC campus, Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology is home to 535,000 archaeological objects from B.C. and around the world, including a remarkable collection of Northwest Coast First People’s artwork. Annual memberships for the world-renowned museum are a great gift option for anyone who’s interested in cultural anthropology. Benefits include unlimited free admission to the museum for a full year as well as invitations to exhibit-openings and discounts on MOA shop purchases. Memberships are $55 for an individual, $65 for a couple, or $75 for a family of two adults and up to four children.

Ballet British Columbia

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677 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2G6

Got a devoted dance-lover to impress this holiday season? Get your gift-giving game on pointe with tickets to one of Ballet BC’s upcoming performances. The company hosts classical ballets and innovative modern dance performances throughout the year. Tickets are currently available for Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker – a festive Christmas tradition on stage from December 29 to 31. For the 2016 season, you’ll find tickets priced between $30 and $90 for programs running March 17 to 19 and May 12 to 14. Our top pick? The world premier of New Work, a dynamic full-length ballet from rising French choreographer Medhi Walerski.

Vancity Theatre

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1181 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3M7

Home of the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Vancity Theatre offers a highbrow alternative to the big-budget blockbusters at your local multiplex. Moviegoers can visit this state-of-the-art cinema year-round to enjoy a civilized glass of wine in the lobby before taking in contemporary films from Canada and around the world. Reloadable gift cards can be purchased online but remember, visitors must be 19 or older and have a basic Vancity Theatre membership (a nominal $2 fee) in order to view unclassified screenings at this theatre. Premium memberships ($55 and up) include discounted movie tickets, guest privileges and a VIFF membership.

Vancouver Maritime Museum

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1905 Ogden Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1A3

Chart a course for this must-see attraction in Vanier Park and pick up an annual museum membership for your nautically inclined pals. First established in 1959, the Vancouver Maritime Museum features dozens of interactive displays and specialized exhibits on the historic oceans and waterways of the Pacific Northwest and Arctic. The museum is also home to more than 15,000 remarkable maritime objects, including naval uniforms and navigational tools. Annual memberships are priced at $45 for individuals and $63 for families and include unlimited museum access and discounted pricing for special events and activities.

Firehall Arts Centre

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280 Cordova St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1L3

Located inside a 1906 heritage fire station in Gastown, the Firehall Arts Centre is known for its thought-provoking productions. The intimate 175-seat theatre hosts engaging, immersive and occasionally controversial stage shows year-round, and the 2016 season features an eclectic line-up of theatre, dance and interdisciplinary performances. Opt for a simple gift certificate or pick up ticket passes, which are available in two options: full packs allow one individual patron to see a number of different shows, while flex packs provide the recipient with a block of tickets that can be used towards various different performances or on one single show.

It’s decorative gourd season y’all! The changing seasons are an ideal time to spruce up your interior with festive fall decor. If you’re dreaming of harvest-themed table runners, planter boxes filled with sunflowers and pumpkin-scented candles, it’s time to log off Pinterest and head to these local home decor stores to shop for autumnal accessories. [Photo credit: iStock.com/deiata]
When you’re trying to figure out what to wear for a theme party, there’s nothing better than finding a creative shop with an inspiring selection of dress-up gear. Whether you’re looking for a spooky, sexy or silly ensemble, these Vancouver costume stores can help you transform your look with out-of-the-ordinary apparel and accessories. [Photo credit: DragonImages]
Looking for stylish clothes and accessories that’ll have your little ones looking like they belong at the top of the class? Back-to-school shopping is a breeze at these locally owned kids’ boutiques in Vancouver, where parents can find everything from pint-sized designer duds to budget-friendly basics for growing boys and girls. [Photo credit: iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages]
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