Festival of Lights – Van Dusen Garden
The Van Dusen botanical gardens are close to downtown. Roughly the size of four square city blocks, they a great spot to escape a busy holiday schedule and enjoy a walk through a very well-designed Christmas light show.
There are various performances you can check out at different times of the evening, including the Dancing Lights on Livingstone Lake, Christmas gnomes, shadow puppets, photos with Santa, choral performances as well as a visit by the Grinch.
For more information on admission and for a schedule of events, visit http://vandusengarden.org.
Bright Nights – Stanley Park
Bright Nights in Stanley Park is Vancouver’s most-family friendly holiday attraction with it’s carnival-like atmosphere and Charlie Brown-themed, miniature train ride. For many Vancouverites, Bright Nights brings back childhood holiday memories: this attraction is a Vancouver classic.
There is a suggested donation at the door to help support the Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, a local Vancouver charity. Tickets to the train ride can be purchased inside once inside the venue.
For hours of operation and additional information about Bright Nights, visit http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.
Our Inside Vancouver tip: dress warmly so any potential waiting time in line for the miniature train is a comfortable experience.
Canyon Lights – Capilano Suspension Bridge
Canyon Lights presents Capilano Suspension Bridge Park’s year-round attractions (Suspension Bridge, Cliffwalk and Treetops Adventure) in a whole new way.
Thousands of lights fill this coastal forest at nightfall, creating a dazzling, holiday-themed showcase for Canada’s Pacific Coast.
The park is also home to the world’s tallest, living Christmas tree: a 46.4-meter (152-foot) tall Douglas-fir. Additional highlights include glass blowing workshops with Malcolm Macfadyen, a scavenger hunt, and sing-a-long carols with a holiday band.
Partial proceeds from your admission will be donated to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.
For more information on admission and hours of operation, visit http://www.capbridge.com.
The Peak of Christmas – Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain’s annual Peak of Christmas festivities take holiday revelers 3,700 meters above downtown. It offers some of the best views of the city, an incredible ride up on Grouse’s Skyride gondola, and a guaranteed ‘white Christmas’ during Vancouver’s otherwise mild winter.
Centered around the Peak Chalet, there are a number of family-friendly attractions to visit, including: a Gingerbread Village, outdoor ice-skating, sleigh rides, and fireside carols. Santa Clause and his right-hand reindeer Prancer are also on-hand for visiting and photos.
Proceeds from skate rentals supports the Karen Magnusson Foundation for young skaters. Donate at the Gingerbread Village and for a photo with Santa to support SOS Children’s Village, which provides long-term care for children in-need.
Our recommendation: visit before or after skiing or snowboarding on Grouse or make the Peak of Christmas a destination in its own right.
For more information on hours of operation, Skyride admission tickets, and a detailed daily schedule of activities, visit:
Vancouver Christmas Market
Inside Vancouver visits the Vancouver Christmas Market: a holiday shopping, eating, and family experience modelled after the traditional German christmas markets in Europe.
Located right in the heart of downtown, the market is one of the first seasonal attractions to open in Vancouver.
Make sure to bring a healthy appetite. From traditional fare like pretzels and shnitzel to more specialized regional dishes like the fire-oven Flammkuchen flatbread and sweet bratapfel, you won’t leave the market hungry. Although Vancouver’s winters are quite mild, the spiced wine (gluhwein) and flaming whiskey are perfect for anyone looking for a quick warm-up.
The indoor Kathe Wohlfahrt features hand-crafted ornaments and intricately carved German smokers–perfect gifts for holiday-lovers of all ages. Don’t forget to take a spin on the carousel!
For more information on hours of operation and admission fees, visit http://vancouverchristmasmarket.