The bustle of the holidays is upon us, and there are so many opportunities to celebrate 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.
11 festive attractions 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 25, 2023 to January 5, 2024
Bright Nights in Stanley Park
The Stanley Park Bright Nights Train is back in operation for 2023, which means Bright Nights in Stanley Park is too!
Yes, the train tickets sold out (in only 90 minutes). But, you can still get festive and visit the light displays, all in support the BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund.
Stroll through the plaza to enjoy the festive lights, whimsical displays, and the crowd-pleasing vintage fire truck. Check out the live entertainment on your way to the North Pole workshop, where you can snap a pic with Santa and his fire fighter friends.
When: November 30, 2023 to January 1, 2024
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. This is one of the most magical holiday events anywhere in British Columbia.
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 17, 2023 to January 21, 2024
Flyover Canada – Soar with Santa
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: November 16, 2023 – January 2, 2024
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.
Timed entry tickets for the Festival of Lights go on sale on November 1st and must be purchased in advance.
When: November 25, 2023 to January 2, 2024
Vancouver Christmas Market
The popular German-style Vancouver Christmas Market is reopening at Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver on November 16th. 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 16 to December 24, 2023
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 8,000 sq ft mountaintop 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, 2023 – January 2, 2024
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, Christmas Carnival will combine the wonders of the season with the candy-covered thrill of big top carnival fun. Step right up to train to become the assistant Ringmaster and enjoy challenges and themed activities along the way.
The event includes a free craft corner and the Merry Makers Market, featuring more than 20 Fraser Valley vendors. Find unique and delicious home-grown food, 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 30, 2023
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
CandyTown is a free, family-friendly holiday festival in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood.
Transforming the plazas of Yaletown into a cheery winter wonderland, you’ll find toe-tapping live music, a gift market, horse-drawn carriage rides (by-donation) and some cool ice-carving demonstrations. Watch for roving entertainment, including roaming stilt walkers and photo-friendly costumed characters.
Don’t forget to drop by the Roundhouse Community Centre where historic steam engine 374 will be decked out in twinkling lights. Thirsty? Adults can partake of a self-guided CandyTown cocktail tour to toast the season in style. And if you’re keen to partake of some Christmas shopping while you’re here, download the Yaletown Gift Passport for deals and discounts at local stores.
When: December 2, 2023
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
This year marks the 30th 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, 2023
Pin for Later
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.
- Where to eat in Whistler with kids: 19 tasty places to nosh - January 8, 2024
- Camping in BC: where to find the best campgrounds in British Columbia - January 5, 2024
- Helpful Tips for BC Camping Reservations - January 5, 2024