Top 5 Christmas Attractions in Vancouver

Lights, Parades, 'Nutcracker' Celebrate Season

Vancouver is an exciting place to be for Christmas. If you're lucky enough to be spending some time there anytime during the holiday season, special experiences are waiting that will make your visit one of your most memorable holidays. Vancouver is home to a bounty of lights displays, two of which are included here.  You'll create lasting memories by seeing at least one of Vancouver's annual holiday attractions--or see them all. These top five attractions are the "must-sees" of the season.


  • 01 of 05
    Bright Nights in Stanley Park
    ••• Bright Nights in Stanley Park. Courtesy of Bright Nights in Stanley Park

    The best Vancouver Christmas attraction for younger kids is fun for the whole family, too. At Stanley Park's Bright Nights, 3 million twinkly lights transform the forest and the famous miniature train into a winter wonderland. Ride the train, visit Santa, and see the Parade of Trees at this top Vancouver Christmas attraction. Bright Lights is on from Nov. 30, 2017, through Jan. 6, 2018. It's closed on Christmas Day.


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    Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain
    ••• Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain. Courtesy of Grouse Mountain Resort

    Grouse Mountain might not be the North Pole, but it sure does give a good imitation of it. The kids can have breakfast with Santa and check out his reindeer for a super-special Santa visit. Grouse Mountain is located just 15 minutes north of Vancouver, so this stand-in for the North Pole is extremely accessible. Grouse Mountain's spectacular winter wonderland is complete with outdoor ice skating, sleigh rides, sledding, a light walk, and Gingerbread Village. It's no wonder it's on this list of top Vancouver Christmas attractions. Visit anytime between Nov. 24, 2017, and Jan. 7, 2018.


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    Rogers Santa Claus Parade vancouver
    ••• Rogers Santa Claus Parade in Vancouver. Courtesy of Rogers Santa Claus Parade

    The only Vancouver Christmas attraction that lasts for one day only, the Santa Claus Parade has become a bona fide don't-miss holiday event. The parade features more than 60 marching bands, dance troupes, festive floats, and community groups. It attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators along its route through downtown Vancouver. Sponsored in 2017 by Telus, the parade begins at noon on Dec. 3rd. If you want to go and live out of town, it's smart to reserve lodging early for this well-attended holiday event.


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    VanDusen Botanical Garden
    ••• Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden. Wendy Cutler / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    The gorgeous VanDusen Botanical Garden puts on its festive dress for the season with more than a million lights in displays that cover 15 acres of the garden. You'll see a candy cane tree and a gingerbread walk, among countless other displays. There are also nightly appearances from Santa, a dancing lights show, holiday-themed entertainment, and treats to eat. This spectacular display is open from Dec. 1, 2017, through Jan. 7, 2018. It's closed on Christmas Day.


    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Ballet BC Nutcracker
    ••• Ballet BC Nutcracker. Paul McGrath / Ballet BC

    Can it be December without Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker," arguably the most famous and beloved ballet of all time and a Christmas tradition? Attending a live performance of this classic is a beautiful way to make memories, dress up in your holiday best, and support ballet all at the same time.

    It will be on stage in 2017 at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts from Dec. 14 through Dec. 19 and performed by Ballet BC at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Dec. 28 through Dec. 30.