If you're lucky enough to be spending time in Vancouver during the holiday season, you'll be delighted by the city's bounty of lights displays, Christmas markets, and concerts.
Vancouver's Christmas lights are the city's main holiday attraction, but consider these holiday attractions the best must-sees of the season.
The best Vancouver Christmas attraction for younger kids is fun for the whole family, too. At Stanley Park's Bright Nights, three 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 closed on Christmas Day.
Grouse Mountain might not be the North Pole, but it sure is a good imitator. Plus, located just 15 minutes north of Vancouver, it's more accessible! This spectacular winter wonderland is replete with outdoor ice skating, sleigh rides, sledding, a light walk, and a gingerbread village.
As the only Vancouver Christmas attraction that lasts for one day only, the Rogers 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.
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. There are also nightly appearances from Santa, a dancing lights show holiday-themed entertainment, and treats to eat. This spectacular display is closed on Christmas Day.
Watch a Performance of the Classic Nutcracker
Can it be December without Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker? Arguably the most famous and beloved ballet of all time, The Nutcracker is 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. Each year, it's performed at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts and Ballet BC at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Admire the Lights at Lafarge
Just a quick trip outside of Vancouver and you'll find yourself in a twinkling wonderland at Lafarge Lake!
This impressive display wraps around the lake, with many of the lights made by members of the surrounding Coquitlam community. Many of the displays use recycled materials, such as soda bottles and milk jugs.
Go Back in Time at Heritage Christmas
The Burnaby Village Museum hosts Heritage Christmas every year, bringing the 1920s to life. This free event is an outdoor living history museum, complete with old-fashioned streets, an antique Vancouver streetcar, and historic buildings such as a school and church. There's even an ice cream parlor and other stores for visitors to check out.
Heritage Christmas features a huge variety of events throughout the holiday season, such as a scavenger hunt, children's craft-making, carolers, live music, theatre performances, and more
Admission is free and carousel rides are $2.65 CDN.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is breathtaking at any time of year, but there's nothing like ringing in the holiday season with Canyon Lights. From Thanksgiving through mid-January each year, the bridge is illuminated with thousands of lights, suspended from the bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, and elsewhere throughout the park. The park is also home to the world’s tallest living Christmas tree, which was 153-feet tall when last measured.
Admission to Canyon Lights includes entrance to the park, a Snowy Owl Prowl, craft-making in the Winter Pavilion, and sing-a-long carols with the Christmas band.
Relive an Authentic German Christmas Market
You'll instantly be transported to Europe at Vancouver's one-of-a-kind Christmas Market. This beloved holiday tradition features more than 75 different vendors of various sweets, treats, and holiday treasures. Authentic dishes like Gulasch to Handbrot abound, as do delicate German-made Christmas ornaments and twinkling Herrnhut stars, perfect for brightening a festive home for the holiday season.
The market is held at Jack Poole Plaza, home of the Olympic Cauldron.
Have Christmas Fun at Hycroft Manor
Hycroft is Vancouver’s longest-running Christmas fair and there's much to see, do, and buy, as you wander through the beautifully decorated, historical Hycroft Manor. The 17,000 square-foot Edwardian mansion has three floors of gift and decor items and features over two-dozen local Artisans.
On the grounds, you can warm up with mulled wine or hot chocolate while taking in the festivities. Food and beverages are sold in the bistro or from food booths.