The Christmas season is upon us. The mall parking lots are already crazy, if you want to go to Costco on the weekend you need to go for opening, and be ready to wait in long lines especially at Starbucks during their Cheers Hours. We like to be organized when it comes to the holidays and all the different activities that are available so we’ve put together a list of 16 Christmas events that are family friends in and around the Vancouver area.
Highstreet – 3122 Mt. Lehman Road Abbotsford
Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 19th. The pre-show starts at 4:30pm and the show starts at 5pm. There is a 65ft Christmas tree as well as a marching band, dancers, Frosty, Rudolph and of course Santa. Rumor has it snow may even start falling.
Holiday Shows from November 19 – December 17. On select dates, see their website for details, you can watch the holiday show at Highstreet for a fun outdoor experience. Take in our 65ft Christmas Tree with digital lights choreographed to holiday tunes. It’s a great opportunity to see the Christmas tree if you missed the tree lighting ceremony plus see the different characters too.
CandyTown a Yaletown Holiday Festival – 1152 Mainstreet Vancouver
CandyTown is set to return to Yaletown on Saturday, November 26th from 12pm – 7pm. This is downtown Vancouver’s only free winter festival. Mainstreet in Vancouver becomes a winter wonderland. You’ll find light posts transformed into candy canes and different holiday characters wandering the streets providing fun photo opportunities. You can visit with Santa or the Ice Queen, and go for a free horse-drawn carriage ride. There is even a little market set up where you can do some holiday shopping or pick up some treats to enjoy.
Rogers Santa Claus Parade – Downtown Vancouver
The 13th annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade will be back, making its way through Downtown Vancouver on Sunday, December 4th. The Parade is in downtown Vancouver, located just blocks from the Burrard, City Centre, Granville and Waterfront SkyTrain stations. Now there is a slightly new parade route this year! The parade will start at the same location – Georgia at Broughton, then continue East along Georgia, turning South on Howe. It will now end on Howe and Smithe. he Parade has more than 3,500 participants. This year’s Parade will feature more than 50 marching bands, choirs, festive floats, and community groups. Participant registration is now closed. This is a fun festive event that is great for the entire family. The parade happens rain or shine, be prepared for Raincouver weather.
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train – Port Moody and Port Coquitlam
The 8th Edition of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train starts travelling across Canada this November and makes its way to Port Moody and Port Coquitlam on December 17th. It will be in Port Moody ( 300 loco Road, behind Arena and Rec Centre) from 4:20 – 5:15pm and Port Coquitlam (Poco WCE Station, 2125 Kingsway Ave) from 6:00 – 6:45pm. Two trains have been decorated with strings of Christmas lights and will be making stops from coast to coast on a route that goes through Canada and the US. The all-Canadian route features live performances and help to raise food and dollar donations to stay with local food banks in the communities it stops in. The live performers at the Port Moody and Port Coquitlam stops are Dallas Smith and Odds. This is a free event but you are encouraged to make a food or dollar donation.
Enchant – 1st & Crowe Street Vancouver
Enchant Christmas starts November 25th and runs til New Years Eve. The maze is open daily from 4pm – 10pm. These hours are great for families who want to visit with their children but do not want them staying up too late. Enchant features the world’s largest Christmas light maze with spectacular illuminated sculptures. There is also a Christmas market and with over 40 local vendors and 12 Food trucks will be on location. Have a family adventure and enjoy some holiday treats while there.
Tickets: Adult (16+) Day Pass $19.95, Senior (65+) Day Pass $14.95, Child (6-15 years) $14.95. Family Day Pass (2 adults and up to 3 children) $59.95. All ages to the market only is $4.
Vancouver Christmas Market – Jack Poole Plaza, 1055 Canada Place Vancouver
The Vancouver Christmas Market is in its 7th year, and this year it is moving to a new location in Vancouver that allows it to be bigger and better. The market runs from November 26th – December 31. This is a fantastic German-inspired Christmas market filled with different vendors and lots of food options. If you are looking for a unique Christmas ornament, this is the place to go. Plus the food and holiday drinks are not to be missed. There is even a carousel that is perfect for kids and kids at heart to get to ride.
Single Tickets: Adult (13+) $8, Senior (65+) $7, Youth (7-12 years) $4, Child (6 and under) Free. There are also different combo tickets available, as well as a VIP experience ticket. Check out their site for more details on those.
Bright Nights at Stanley Park – Pipeline Road in Stanley Park
Bright Nights at Stanley Park arrives back into town on November 28th and is here til January 1st. Going to the Christmas train and light display in Stanley Park has become a holiday tradition for many. You are sure to fall in love with the light display that features over 3 million sparkling lights. Get your tickets to ride on the Bright Nights Train and experience the lights, breathtaking displays, and live performers along the train route. Donations to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund are accepted at the entrance to this event. $1.4 million has been raised to help burn survivors and their families since 1998.
Tickets: Adult (19-64 years) $12.00, Senior (65+ years) $9.00, Youth (13-18 years) $9.00, Child (3-12 years) $8.00, Small child (2 years and under) Free. Prices are before taxes and any applicable fees.
Canyon Lights – 3735 Capilano Road North Vancouver
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park opens for the 2016 holiday season on November 24th and goes til January 8th. Park hours are 11am – 9:00pm. This is a family favourite to visit in the North Vancouver area. This year Canyon Lights is unveiling a brand new light feature this year; ‘Fireflies’ is an interactive lighting display in the rainforest, ONLY at Capilano. Using magic flashlights, guests can awaken waves of tiny lights that glimmer and twinkle like fireflies. The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon will all be transformed with holiday lights. Lights will illuminate Capilano River and the canyon’s cliff face. There is plenty more to see and do while there.
Tickets: Adult (17-64 years) $39.95, Senior (65+ years) $36.95, Youth (13-16 years) $26.95, Child (6-12 years) $13.95, Kiddie (under 6 years) Free. Prices are before taxes.
FlyOver Canada Christmas Ride – 999 Canada Place Vancouver
FlyOver Canada Christmas Ride starts on November 24th til January 2nd. It is open from 10am-9pm November 24 to December 16, 9:30am-10pm December 17 to January 2, and on December 24 it is open from 10am-6pm. FlyOver Canada transforms into a winter wonderland for the Christmas season. Guests help Santa Claus search for his missing elves during an exhilarating flight across Canada and to the North Pole. The whole experience lasts for 20-25 minutes.
FastLane Tickets (buy online ahead of going: Adult (18-64) $22.64, Senior (65+) $19.80, Student/Youth $19.80, Child (Minimum 40″ – 12 years) $16.02.
Timberline Country Christmas – 22351 144 Avenue Maple Ridge
At Timberline Country Christmas you get to leave the busy city behind by taking a trip out to a 73 acre horse ranch in Maple Ridge. The ranch is transformed into a Christmas wonderland for the holiday season and provides many great photo opportunities and memory making moments. Everything here is a lot less commercial with a focus on the real reason for the season. You will discover stunning lights, beautiful trees, interactive scenes, lovely music, and delightful activities that will remind you of times when Christmas was a lot simpler. When you visit Timberline Country Christmas you do need to book online to reserve a time for your visit. When you go the place is set up on a rotation system and you work your way through the different areas of the ranch. You do not want to miss out on decorating cookies or going for a pony ride.
Tickets: Adults (13+) $9.45, Children (2-12) $11.55, Infants (0-1) Free but limited to one per paying adult, and pony rides are an additional $5.25.
Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum – 6501 Deer Lake Ave. Burnaby
Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum will be returning November 21 and going til January 1st. Times it is open varies throughout the week so be sure to check out their site for times operating times. Go back in time and explore what a heritage Christmas would be like. You are greeted with festive decorations and lights as soon as you arrive. This place is spectacular to see both during the day and at night when all the lights are twinkling. There are several different eco-sculptures, including bears wearing festive holiday sweaters. You can even visit Father Christmas and get a photo with him. A favourite of many who visit is to take part in the 12 days of Christmas challenge where you go on a scavenger hunt throughout the park. Be sure to pop over to the carousel and go for a ride. You are sure to love the vintage vibe here.
Admission: Free gate admission. Carousel rides are $2.55 each.
The Polar Express – 39645 Government Road Squamish
The Polar Express at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park happens on Saturdays and Sunday throughout November: November 26/27, December 3/4, December 10/11, and December 17/18. This is your chance to ride on the Polar Express and visit Santa at the North Pole. You can even have your picture taken with the Hobo from the story. Many who attend this dress up in the best holiday pyjamas to go along with the classic story of the Polar Express. Inside the building, you can ride the Mini-Rail, check out the new G Scale Train Set and more. Lots of fun for the whole family. Parking available for this event is $5 per car.
Coach Class $30.00+GST includes: PEX 2016 Golden ticket, hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookie, Christmas music and carols, access to the North Pole, chat and Pictures with Mr. & Mrs. Claus, a mini rail ride, exclusive PEX merchandise and a 50-minute ride on the Polar Express. First Class $45.00+GST includes: the same as coach plus assigned seating and a collector’s mug you get to keep.
Festival of Lights at VanDusen Garden – 5251 Oak Street at West 37th Avenue
The Festival of Lights at VanDusen Garden is open December 1st to January 2nd. VanDusen Garden is decorated with over a million lights, it becomes a magical winter wonderland. This year they have included a new carousel and all entry tickets include a free ride. Stroll through the garden with friends and family through the different interactive themed areas. Take in the Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake, and keep an eye out for the Scandinavian gnomes, as well as the reindeer throughout the garden. Hours of operation do depend on the date so be sure to check out their site for more details.
Tickets: Adult $18.50, Senior (65+) $14.25, Youth (13-18) $14.25, Child (4-12 years) $11.00, Children 3 and under are free. Family (2 adults and 2 children 18 and under) $40.
Sea to Sky Gondola: Pancakes and Pictures with Santa – 36800 BC-99, Squamish
Sea to Sky Gondola: Pancakes and Pictures with Santa will be back at the Summit Lodge this winter on December 3rd and 4th from 10am-3:30pm. Children get to enjoy a pancake breakfast inside at the Summit Lodge after a ride on the Sea to Sky Gondola. Then they can have a chat with Santa about what is on their wish list and have their photo taken with the big guy. There are also several other holiday-themed events at Sea To Sky Gondola throughout the winter season, be sure to check out their site to see what else there is. While you are there you can enjoy festive holiday activities: such as writing a postcard to Santa, create magical reindeer treats and discover the magic of Christmas, 2,800 feet above sea level. Photos with Santa are first-come, first-served. Santa Photo Cost $15 for one picture or $20 for two pictures.
Tickets: A Day Ticket is required to ride the gondola to the summit. Adult (19+) $37.95, Senior (65+) $35.95, Youth (13-18) $22.95, Child (6-12) $11.95, Child (5 and under) Free. Tickets to the pancake breakfast are $5 each and are available through the Eatery. No reservations required.
Bear Creek Train – 13750 88th Ave. Surrey
Visit the Bear Creek Park Christmas Train from December 9th til January 1st it is open from 10am to 4pm when the last train leaves the station. Santa Claus will be at the station December 9th to 24th, be sure to bring your camera so you can save the memories. When you visit with Santa you receive a candy cane. There are activities for the kids. Of course, go for a ride on the train through the forest of Bear Creek Park. The train is closed on Christmas Day.
Tickets: Adults & Children $10.00 each
The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way North Vancouver
Go to The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain and see how magical elves have transformed Grouse Mountain into Vancouver’s very own North Pole. You can have breakfast with Santa, visit his workshop or vote for your favourite creation in the SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village. The Peak of Christmas is sure to put you into the holiday spirit. Festivities at Grouse Mountain start November 25th and go to January 2nd. You can meet Santa in person at his workshop. Go to the sliding zone, visit Santa’s reindeer and learn all about them at the reindeer habitat, or go for a skate on the 8000 square foot skating pond. There is plenty to do and see as a family at The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain. You don’t want to miss the Light Walk, you’ll love all the glowing lights set in front of a snowy backdrop.
Admission: Access to the Peak of Christmas is included with your Annual Local’s Pass, Y2Play or Winter Season Pass as well as regular Alpine Experience tickets.
Tickets: Adults (19-64) $43.95, Seniors (65+) $39.95, Youth (13-18) $24.95, Children (5-12) $14.95, Tots (4 and under) Free. Family ticket rates available for November 25-January 2 ( valid for 2 adults and 2 children under 18 years old) for $89.95.