Christmas in Vancouver is the season for decking the boughs, and everything else, with millions of twinkling lights. Vancouver attractions and neighborhoods light up the holidays with incredible displays that are wonderful fun for all ages. The best Vancouver Christmas light displays include the immensely popular Festival of Lights at the VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bright Nights in Stanley Park, but there are free light displays, too.
Many of the holiday light events around Vancouver are canceled or scaled back in 2020. Be sure to check for the most up-to-date information from event organizers.
Robson Square Christmas Tree Lighting
The lights will be turned on the four Christmas trees, one of which is 76 feet tall, at the Vancouver Art Gallery at Robson Square on November 27, 2020, at 6 p.m. This free family-friendly event typically features live entertainment and music, free cookies, and hot chocolate, with Santa and his elves making an appearance. However, the 2020 event is completely virtual, and families can tune in to watch from home.
The trees stay lit throughout the winter holidays until January 4, 2021.
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is open to visitors in December 2020, but Canyon Lights is canceled.
Want a touch of adventure with your Christmas lights? Capilano Suspension Bridge Park celebrates the winter holidays by decking out its major, adrenaline-pumping attractions, including the Capilano Suspension Bridge and CLIFF WALK, with zillions of sparkling holiday lights. It's closed on Christmas Day.
Bright Nights at Stanley Park
Stanley Park is open to visitors in December 2020, but the Bright Nights event is canceled.
One of the best Vancouver Christmas lights displays for kids, Bright Nights is also one of the top five Vancouver holiday attractions. Every December, Stanley Park's famous miniature train transforms into the Christmas train and takes riders on a journey through a magical forest full of twinkling lights and fantastic Christmas displays. Along with the train ride, Bright Nights includes a chance to visit Santa and see the Parade of Trees. Bright Nights is closed on Christmas Day.
Festival of Lights at Vandusen Botanical Garden
The Vandusen Botanical Garden is open in December 2020, but the Festival of Lights is canceled.
Arguably the most famous display of Vancouver Christmas lights, the incredibly dense and elaborate Festival of Lights transforms the gorgeous VanDusen Botanical Garden into a winter wonderland. It's not hyperbolic to say that the Festival of Lights goes all out, with festive decor everywhere you turn, from a dancing lights show to candy cane trees, gingerbread walks, and Santa's workshop, among many more displays. The botanical garden is closed on Christmas Day.
Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam
Lights at Lafarge is canceled in 2020.
The town of Coquitlam's Lights at Lafarge event is one of the biggest free holiday light displays in the Lower Mainland. At Lafarge Lake, located about 18 miles (30 kilometers) east of downtown Vancouver, visitors can tour 100,000 twinkling lights at this magical outdoor display.
The kick-off event includes live entertainment and dazzling light displays that encircle the nearly mile-long loop around Lafarge Lake.
Hop on SkyTrain's Evergreen Extension to reach the lights easily; just get off at the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Sky Train Station, which is the end of the line. From Downtown Vancouver, it takes about an hour on the SkyTrain to reach Coquitlam, or 30 minutes by car.
Vancouver Parade of Carol Ships
All Carol Ship excursions have been canceled in 2020.
One of the most uniquely Vancouver Christmas lights displays takes place on the water (naturally). Carol Ships, decked out with elaborate Christmas lights, parade through Vancouver's waterways in nightly processions. The Carol Ship Parade of Lights is the main festive procession and is held in the waters around downtown Vancouver, running every Friday and Saturday during the month of December.
Going aboard the Carol Ships costs money (many of them are sightseeing or dinner cruises), but it's free to watch the spectacle at any of the shoreside Carol Ship events, including Carol Ship watching and bonfires in North Burnaby and West Vancouver's Dundarave Park.