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The bustle of the holidays is upon us, and there are so many opportunities to cglowelebrate the festive season with the family in and around Vancouver. From virtual flyovers of Santa’s workshop to spectacular light shows in gardens, canyons and parks, these joyful events and attractions are sure to brighten dark winter nights and add sparkle to the season. Gather up the troops for days of festive family fun and celebrate Christmas in Vancouver with kids and families.

*Note: Pandemic protocols may remain in effect for some Vancouver attractions and events this holiday season. Please consult attraction websites to determine operating hours and to book tickets online. Stay safe and happy holidays.

peak of christmas

Where to celebrate Christmas in Vancouver with kids

Burnaby Village Heritage Christmas

This is one of Metro Vancouver’s loveliest old-school Christmas events. Burnaby Village Museum historic site is transformed into a charming reminder of traditional holidays of old during the festive season. The brightly-painted clapboard buildings are decorated with twinkling lights and natural decorations to foster a warm glow. Seasonal entertainment, crafts and other festive-themed activities add to the fun. Be sure to take the kids to the old-fashioned Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet treat.

When: November 26, 2022 to January 2, 2023

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

North Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge never looks quite as spectacular than during the holidays. The trees and namesake suspension bridge are covered in tens of thousands of twinkling fairy lights that spill over into the rest of the rainforest. Explore the Treetops Adventure (with the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world), and tackle the self-directed Snowy Owl Prowl scavenger hunt – you could win a grand Canadian Rockies trip. There’s also live entertainment and kid-friendly fun including craft activities and scavenger hunts. Remember to hold on tight as you walk over the suspension bridge – it does tend to sway.

When: November 19, 2022 to January 22, 2023

woman standing in front of lighted trees vancouver

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Flyover Canada

Help Santa find his three missing reindeer at Flyover Canada. This virtual flight-simulation lifts off for a breathtaking eight-minute ride over Canada’s incredible winter landscape. From the wild East Coast shoreline to the vast prairies and soaring snow-covered peaks of the Rockies, everyone will marvel at how beautiful Canada is in winter. 

For Christmas, the ride takes on a holiday theme as guests assist two twinkle-eyed elves (Pinecone and Chestnut) on their reindeer search. The snowy pre-show segment gets everyone in the holiday mood, and be sure keep eyes peeled for the finale appearance of Santa’s sparkling North Pole workshop.

When: December 2022

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Gardens

One of Vancouver’s most popular holiday lights displays returns this season. The Festival of Lights transforms Van Dusen Botanical Garden into a wander-worthy winter wonderland of one million twinkling lights. Stroll along the lakeside, shimmering in the glow of northern lights, or wander into the lush Rose Garden, which is illuminated for a spectacular winter replica through the artistry of VanDusen’s garden stewards.

As with each outdoor (and indoor) holiday attraction this season, the Festival of Lights has been reimagined to incorporate Covid-related capacity reductions and safety measures, including face mask recommendations and one way pathways. Visitors will have 45 minutes to complete their visit. Timed entry tickets go on sale on November 1st and must be purchased in advance.

When: November 25, 2022 to January 2, 2023

festival of lights christmas in vancouver

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Vancouver Christmas Market

The popular German-style Vancouver Christmas Market is reopening at Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver on November 12th. Until December 24th, the Market will feature favorite foods like pretzels, bratwurst, glühwine and more, as well as stalls of local artisanal crafts, the walk-in Christmas tree and the beloved Christmas carousel. New attractions include a Sky Curtain of lights, a four-metre-high decorative candle holder display and a neat AR experience showcasing classic festive stories such as the Snow Queen and the Nutcracker

When: November 12 to December 24, 2022

santa at Vancouver christmas market

Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas

Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas  shines bright again this year. There’s loads of holiday happenings on Grouse Mountain, which turns into a magical, snow-covered winter wonderland during the Christmas season. Reserve a spot and ride the Skyride gondola to the peak to enjoy the outdoor fun and illuminations, including the show-stopping Light Walk glowing light tunnel. This snowy journey will take you around Blue Grouse lake through a series of magical Christmas Lights in a beautiful illuminated wonderland. Take a spin on the outdoor Skating Pond and visit real-life reindeer, Dancer and Vixen. Then warm up with some hot chocolate inside the lodge while enjoying the city’s twinkling lights below. 

When: November 25, 2022 – January 2, 2023

Time to start planning your holiday fun in Vancouver! Check out these 7 fun and festive ways to celebrate Christmas in Vancouver with kids and families.
Amazing baked creations at the Gingerbread Village. Which one gets your vote? Credit: Claudia Laroye

Glow Langley

One of Metro Vancouver’s most popular Christmas lights extravaganzas takes place at Glow Langley in the Fraser Valley. This holiday attraction is a family-friendly walk-around festival with over one million lights, including illuminated trees, sculptures and Yuletide characters.

Each year Glow Langley presents a new holiday theme.

This season, The Jolly Jumble will tell a story and send families on a mission to find Santa’s tree decorating team of six elves so that they can finish the North Pole’s biggest and most beautiful Christmas Tree. The Mini Merry Makers Market will feature Fraser Valley vendors with unique and delicious home-grown food and beverages and farm-based holiday gift ideas.

While most prices in BC are increasing, Glow Langley wants to ensure that as many families as possible can attend, and is discounting ticket prices back to those offered pre-pandemic. A regular adult pass is $19.99, while family passes are $69.99. Parking is free and all attractions within the event are included in the ticket price.

When: November 23 to December 31, 2022

car at glow gardens langley

Lumagica Surrey

The festive lighting extravaganza LUMAGICA returns to Surrey’s Cloverdale Fairgrounds this holiday season. Pack up the family for a 1 km light walk through a magical forest and escape on a fantastical journey through diverse lands. You’ll travel through a light tunnel to Gingerbread Lane, leading to the magical North Pole Village, where the jolly old elf, Santa Claus himself, will greet you. Soak up the magical atmosphere with interactive displays, photo opportunities and surprises galore for all ages.

Guests can make their way through the light walk with hot cocoa, mulled wine, and snacks from various vendors in the park. Eat, drink and be merry in the north pole village with food and live entertainment. Pick up some holiday gifts at the festive marketplace.

When: November 25 – December 30, 2022

Robson Square Skating Rink

Lace up at the Robson Square Skating Rink in the heart of downtown Vancouver, just steps from the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s the perfect rink size for taking the littles ice skating for the first time. You can even practice your triple axels (or crossovers), if it’s not too crowded. Skate rentals are on-site (including helmets), and check out the cute little Zambonis that clean the ice. Opens early December

robson square ice rink

Tinseltown

Tinseltown is all about celebrating Christmas, so expect holiday tunes, themed drinks and more at this festive party in the Vancouver Alpen Club. Santa and his elves may even make a surprise appearance. The halls are decked out with baubles, bows, hanging trees, wreaths and just about every festive goodie you can think of. Tickets are required and can be purchased for just $19.00 pp. Tickets include entry to the themed bar (19+ only) for 90 minutes and a festive drink on arrival.

When: November 15 to December 30, 2022

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival 

This year marks the 29th annual edition of this charming, family-friendly community festival illuminating the darkest night of the year. The Winter Solstice Lantern Festival welcomes everyone to gather together in procession in three Vancouver neighbourhoods (Granville Island, Yaletown and Strathcona). Dress warmly and expect music, dancing and singing as the strolling parade wanders along: everything illuminated by its handmade lanterns.  

When: December 21, 2022

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Time to start planning your holiday fun in Vancouver! Check out these 7 fun and festive ways to celebrate Christmas in Vancouver with kids and families. #vancouver #familytravel #christmasinvancouver

Disclosure: The writer visited these attractions as a guest of Tourism Vancouver. As always, her opinions are honest and her own.

How do you like to celebrate the holidays with your family? Share your comment below.

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4 thoughts on “Christmas in Vancouver with kids: holiday attractions and activities”

    1. Kids 12 and older are required to have a vaccine to enter into most of the holiday attractions in Vancouver, including the Van Dusen Gardens Festival of Lights.

    1. Hi Michele, Kids 12 and older are required to have a vaccine to enter into most of the holiday attractions in Vancouver, including the Van Dusen Gardens Festival of Lights.

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