Christmas time is here... and so is happiness and cheer. And sometimes, you just need to get out of your hometown to experience it. No matter where you're from, there's somewhere in BC you can travel to that hosts amazing Christmas celebrations that are sure to get you in a festive mood.
Every year, small towns and big towns across BC transform into dazzling winter wonderlands filled with bright lights, colourful decor and nostalgic music. As we all know, Europe has some of the most amazing Christmas markets and events, but these towns in BC are so Christmasy that they'll make you feel just like your in the middle of a Christmas market in Munich or London.
Here are 7 towns in BC that you have to check out this holiday season:
Big White // Kelowna
Kelowna may sound like a cold and dreary location to visit during the winter, but just an hour away from the main town is a bumpin' Christmas village that you'd believe you were in the North Pole. Every year, Big White Ski Resort hosts their famous Light Up Big White event where the entire ski town is brought to life with a festive carnival, thousands of Christmas lights and a stunning fireworks show.
Whistler Village // Whistler
If you really want to get out of the city this winter to experience that festive Christmas cheer but Kelowna is a bit too far for you, then Whistler is an absolute must. As one of BC's most popular destinations for skiing and snowboarding, it's no surprise that Whistler would host one hell of a Christmas party during the holidays. You can go ice skating with Santa in their outdoor ice rink, watch all the Christmas trees light up at the Festival of Trees, get on board Santa's sleigh, listen to carolers singing all night...you get the picture. If this isn't Christmas town, I don't know what is.
Parliament Buildings // Victoria
Victoria is a true European experience in BC. Is it just me, or do the Parliament Buildings slightly resemble the Buda Castle in Budapest? Not only do the cobblestone streets and the legislative buildings remind me of Europe, so does the city's cheerful holiday spirit during the winter. During the holidays, the Parliament Buildings are completely decked out in festive coloured lights and Christmas trees. There's nothing like a stroll through the Inner Harbour during the winter season that makes you feel like you're in Europe at Christmas.
Butchart Gardens // Victoria
Everyone knows about Butchart Gardens in the spring time. With pastel flora in full bloom and crisp leaves greener than your neighbour's grass, you wouldn't think that the gardens could be any more beautiful. But they can. During the holidays, the green gardens transform into a dazzling winter wonderland display that looks as if it's been put under a spell by sugar plum fairies. There's even a festive outdoor ice skating rink that's perfect for a romantic holiday date.
Festival of Lights // Ladysmith
Just south of Nanaimo is a small town called Ladysmith. But don't let the size of this town fool you because they throw one heck of a Christmas party. Their annual Festival of Lights is a huge holiday celebration that everyone in town attends. There's a huge parade that marches through the vibrant streets of Ladysmith, delicious food trucks to keep you warm, and even a spectacular fireworks show to end the evening. Talk about ending with a bang.
Vancouver Christmas Market // Vancouver
This might be a predictable one, but Christmas in Vancouver is unlike any other Christmas in BC. Though we don't always get enough snow for those true winter feels, we definitely have enough cheer throughout the holidays to call ourselves a Christmas town. The Vancouver Christmas Market is an iconic event that happens every year, with tons of glüwhein, sausages and pretzels, and artisinal Christmas crafts to go around. If Vancouver can't go to Germany for a bomb AF Christmas market, bring the German markets to Vancouver!
Wildlights Festival // Kamloops
A wildlife park may be far from the idea of a "European Christmas", but not during the winter time in Kamloops. Every Christmas, the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops hosts a Wildlights Festival where they hang thousands of lights on the tallest of evergreen trees and even create light displays in the shape of animals. It's pretty cute, tbh. The colourful lights all around will make you feel like you've been transported to Christmas land, but perhaps a more "wild" version.