"It's the most beautiful time of the year, lights fill the streets, spreadin' so much cheer". The holidays are a time when twinkling lights brighten up our world. The city is aglow and it feels like magic is in the air.
Vancouver takes Christmas lights very seriously. We string colourful, bright lights on our houses, suspension bridges, forests, and botanical gardens. We deck out cruise ships with Christmas lights and create magical light tunnels through snowy mountains. We even send floating lantern lights into the sky.
Don't miss out on your chance to experience the bright lights of Christmas. Check out these 12 magical places in Vancouver and be enchanted into a daze.
1. Canyon Lights // Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
This is one of the best places ever to experience the romance and magical lights of Christmas. Every year the entire Capilano Suspension Bridge park transforms into an enchanting winter wonderland of dazzling lights and holiday cheer. The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon are all aglow with festive lights. You can even see the world’s tallest living Christmas tree here! 'Fireflies’ is the new interactive lighting display this year.
When: November 24, 2016 – January 8, 2017 // Open daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., closed Christmas Day
2. The Peak of Christmas // Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain transforms into a magical winter wonderland every year. The Light Walk steals the show - you'll be enchanted by the stunning string of lights glowing against the snowy covered mountain backdrop. Walk though the light tunnel and lanterns while enjoying the snow. At The Peak of Christmas, you can see Santa and skate on an 8,000 square foot mountaintop Ice Skating Pond. You can also relive your childhood dream and ride in a sleigh through the snow like Buddy did in Elf. There’s also a cozy chalet and other Christmas festivities at the top of Grouse Mountain. The Peak of Christmas activities are all free with your Grouse Mountain Alpine Experience ticket, Annual Membership, Winter Season Pass, or Lift Ticket.
When: November 25, 2016- January 2, 2017 // Open daily 9am to 10pm
3. 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. Your donations and a portion of ticket proceeds will go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund. Buy tickets to ride the Bright Nights Train ($12.00 + GST) or view the displays at the Train Plaza by donation ($4.00 suggested).
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
4. Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market // 1st and Crowe St
Get lost 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 and over 40 vendors and 12 food trucks. See the Christmas lights unlike you've seen them before in Vancouver.
When: November 25 – December 31 // Open daily 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
5. 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 winter the Secret Lantern Society hosts the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. See the lantern lights float into the sky in four different Vancouver neighbourhoods.
When: December 21 // Starts at 6 p.m.
6. Festival of Lights // VanDusen Botanical Garden
Vancouver's breathtaking botanical garden will be glowing with over 1 million twinkling lights this holiday season. This year, Festival of Lights has expanded the light show to include a brand new carousel and all entry tickets include a free ride. Enjoy all the entertainment at VanDusen this winter, such as the famous Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake, lighting a candle at the Make-A-Wish candle grotto, taking a photo with Santa, and more.
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.
7. St. Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope // 1081 Burrard Street
These lights give and inspire hope. Lights of Hope is an annual fundraising campaign supporting St. Paul’s Hospital's greatest needs. The light display features over 10km of lights and 100,000 bulbs. The annual display takes six weeks to build by over 150 volunteers. This is their biggest fundraiser of the year.
When: Starts November 24, 2016
8. Heritage Christmas // Burnaby Village Museum
Experience a Heritage Christmas of some old-fashioned fun and stunning light displays at the Burnaby Village Museum. Admission is free! Stroll through the heritage streets that are decorated with magical lights and vintage vibes, such as the cedar boughs, soft coloured lights, wreaths and big red bows. Several Christmas themed activities and entertainment will be taking place, so make sure to check out their website here for more information.
When: November 19, 2016 - January 2, 2017 // Nov 19 - Dec 9 Monday - Friday 1 - 5:30 p.m. Saturday & Sunday 1 - 9 p.m., Dec 10 - Jan 2 open daily 1 - 9 p.m., closed December 24 - 25
9. Carol Ships Parade of Lights
See the water light up with Christmas Magic. The Carol Ships Parade of Lights is a unique Vancouver Christmas tradition. "Carol Ships" are decked out with extravagant Christmas lights and sail through the harbours and waters in Vancouver. You can purchase tickets to cruise around on the Carol Ships, and Harbour Cruises & Events and Vancouver Cruises are among the many commercial cruises participating. If you are looking for a free light spectacle, you can enjoy the lights from the shore. Click here for a list of shoreside celebrations happening this December, hosted by the Carol Ships Parade of Lights Society.
When: December 2, 2016 - December 23, 2016
10. Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting 2016 // Robson Square
Watch four magnificent holiday trees, one of which is an astouding 50 feet tall, come to life with bright Christmas lights. The annual Vancouver Christmas tradition is a free event that will feature a holiday concert, an appearance of Santa, holiday crafts, free hot chocolate and cookies, food trucks. The tree will stay in Robson until Christmas Day and is sure to bring even more Christmas cheer to the area.
When: Friday, December 2, 2016 // 5 to 7 p.m., the tree will stay until Christmas Day
11. Vancouver Christmas Market // 1055 Canada Place
With a merry-go-round, a Christmas tree, and Christmas lights surrounding you, you will find that at the Vancouver Christmas Market, the magic 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
12. Robson Square // 800 Robson St
This year the Vancouver Christmas Tree, which is a 50-foot tree filled with over 6000 light bulbs, will relocate to the Robson Square area. Go for a free skate at the Robson Square and see the various holiday lights brightening up the square.
When: Skating: 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
Follow us on Snapchat: narcityvan