Christmas is all around us and love is all around us - as sung best in Love Actually. Personally I think it's never too early to start drinking hot chocolate and watching Elf and Love Actually. But if you get tired of watching holiday movies with your significant other or date, it's time to go out and experience the Christmas magic for yourself. After all, holiday dates might just be the cutest of them all.
Christmas brings out a special sense of romance that can't be found in any other season. The whole town feels magical and spirits are high and jolly. We might not be in New York or Germany, but Vancouver knows how to bring its own Christmas magic into the city. Check out these unique spots that are sure to get you in the festive mood.
1. Get festive at the Vancouver Christmas Market // 1055 Canada Place
Find each other under the mistletoe. With a merry go round, a Christmas tree, and Christmas lights surrounding you, you really will find that at the Vancouver Christmas Market, Christmas is all around. The Vancouver Christmas Market is an annual hit with over 40 amazing vendors from Germany, Austria, US, and more.
When: November 26 – December 31 // Open daily: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., closes 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day
2. Go ice skating for free at Robson Square // 800 Robson St
Holding hands while ice skating under the Christmas tree and lights - can it get any more cute and festive than this in Vancouver? Plus, this year you'll get to skate under a 50-foot Christmas tree filled with over 6000 light bulbs.
When: December 1 - February 28 // Open daily: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday
3. Canyon Lights // Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
This is the place to experience the romance and magical lights of Christmas. Every year Capilano Suspension Bridge park transforms into an enchanting winter wonderland of dazzling lights and holiday cheer.
When: November 24, 2016 – January 8, 2017 // Open daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., closed Christmas Day
4. Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting 2016 // Robson Square
The annual Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting brings several Christmas festivities into one place. The free event will feature a holiday concert, an appearance of Santa, holiday crafts, free hot chocolate and cookies, food trucks, and of course the lighting of the 50-foot Christmas tree. The tree will stay in Robson until Christmas Day and is sure to bring even more Christmas cheer to the Robson area.
When: Friday, December 2, 2016 // 5 to 7 p.m., the tree will stay until Christmas Day
5. Experience winter wonderland with a sleigh ride on Grouse Mountain // 6400 Nancy Greene Way
Grouse Mountain transforms into a winter wonderland every year. Here you can relive your childhood dream and ride in a sleigh through the snow like Buddy did in Elf. There's also a cozy chalet, outdoor ice skating, and other Christmas festivities on the top of Grouse Mountain.
When: Typically late November to April // Open daily, weather dependent
6. Party it up at the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party // Commodore Ballroom
Show off your ugliest Christmas sweater at the biggest Ugly Christmas Sweater Party in Vancouver. You can spread some Christmas cheer at this party that supports and benefits the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
When: Friday, December 23, 2016 // Doors open at 8:00 p.m.
7. Go sledding, tobogganing, or tubing // Mount Seymour
Hold on tight to each other as you slide down a snow capped mountain. This date is sure to bring some fun, playful times. Mount Seymour has a tube park and a tobogganing park where you can also sled.
8. Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market // 1st and Crowe St
Get lost together in an enchanting light daze. The world’s biggest Christmas light maze is coming to Vancouver this holiday season. Enchant will bring over 55,000 square feet of illuminated sculptures to Olympic Village, alongside over 40 vendors and 12 food trucks to satisfy.
When: November 25 – December 31 // Open daily 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
9. Hit the slopes and shred some powder
Ski/board season is almost among us (finally!) and ski trips always make for such a cozy, romantic, and fun getaway. There are an ample of ski resorts to choose from in the Lower Mainland and throughout BC, such as Whistler, Revelstoke, and Manning Park.
10. Zipline through the snow // Ziptrek, Superfly, Grouse Mountain Ziplines
Your heart will be pounding for each other (in a good way) after this adrenaline induced date. In BC you can zipline through snow capped forests and across valleys.
11. Festival of Lights // VanDusen Botanical Garden
Vancouverites can't get enough of the Christmas lights and VanDusen does it right. Here you can experience over one million lights and while he's thinking about how you're one in a million (#soft).
When: December 1, 2016 – January 2, 2017 // Dec 1 – 15 4:30pm – 9 p.m., Dec 16 – 23 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., closed Christmas Day, Dec 26 – Jan 2 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
12. Winter Solstice Lantern Festival // Chinatown/Strathcona, Granvillle Island, and Yaletown
If you've ever wanted to see the floating lights like Rapunzel and Flynn did in Tangled, here's your chance! Every year the Secret Lantern Society hosts the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. See the lantern light float into the sky in four different Vancouver neighbourhoods.
When: December 21 // Starts at 6 p.m.
13. Experience Christmas at Flyover Canada // Canada Place
We're soaring, flying, there's not a star in heaven that we can't reach. Feel like you're flying over a winter wonderland at Flyover Canada, Vancouver's virtual flight ride simulator.
When: November 24th to January 2nd, 2017 // Open daily from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., December 24th 10 a.m. – p.m., December 25th – closed
14. Bright Nights Christmas Train // Stanley Park
3 million sparkling lights and a Christmas train - the Bright Nights Christmas Train is a highly festive event that will have you wanting to sing all the Christmas songs.
When: Monday, November 28, 2016 - Saturday, January 1, 2017 // Open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., closed December 25
15. Begin the new year with a Polar Bear swim // English Bay
What a cool way to start the new year. For the past 96 years, thousands of Vancouverites have been celebrating the new year by dipping into the chilly waters of English Bay for the annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim. If you want somewhere more low key, you can go for a polar bear swim at a different beach.
When: January 1st, 2017
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