20 Fun Christmas Events in Vancouver (Local’s Guide)

Looking for Christmas events in Vancouver?

As a local to Vancouver, I’ve experienced many Christmas events and holiday festivities growing up, and Christmas also my favourite holiday.

Vancouver has many festivities, whether you’re looking for something to do in Downtown Vancouver, such as the Vancouver Christmas Market, or heading out of the city to the Martini Town movie set in Langley.

Here are more details on Christmas events in Vancouver or outside of Vancouver.

Christmas Events In Vancouver

These are some of the best things to do in Vancouver during Christmas time. Some of these locations are outside the city. As a heads up, most of these places are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

City setting with a white picket fence around four Christmas trees. Three of them are decorated with yellow Christmas lights and all three have a filled in shiny white star with one tree shorter than the other two. There is a taller Christmas tree with red and white Christmas lights with a outline white shining star.

1. Vancouver Christmas Market

The Vancouver Christmas Market is one of the most popular and biggest Christmas events in Vancouver at night. It’s a German-themed market with wooden stalls and local vendors selling artisan goods and gifts.

You can line up for mulled wine in the middle of the market. There’s also a food section where you can buy bratwurst (which looks like a hot dog), strudels, perogies, and other German delicacies.

There’s also the large Christmas Tree where you can take a picture inside or outside, a light-up tunnel, and a carousel ride.

πŸ“ Location: Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place
Cost: $19.00 Adult (there are various prices plus early bird & packages)
Dates: Middle November to December 24th

Me (the author of The Travelling City Girl) standing in the large lit Christmas tree at the Vancouver Christmas Market.

2. Bright Nights Stanley Park

Another one of Vancouver’s biggest attractions in Stanley Park during Christmas is Bright Nights when the area is decorated with Christmas lights and displays.

It’s extremely popular with families with young children as it has the Bright Nights Train ride.

It’s a 20-minute loop track ride that takes you through a decorated area with Christmas lights, displays, light tunnels, and more.

When I was younger, we used to go with family and friends for years. We would always ride the train and drink apple cider or hot chocolate.

Bright Nights is always a huge success and the most significant fundraiser, with donations collected going toward the BC Fire Fighters Burn Fund.

πŸ’‘ Note: Tickets for the Bright Nights Train go extremely fast.

πŸ“ Location: 610 Pipeline Road
Cost: Free or you can give a donation
Dates: Late November to January 1st

3. VanDusen Festival Of Lights

The beautiful VanDusen Botanical Gardens is transformed into a stunning Christmas wonderland. With over a million lights, the Festival of Lights is worth experiencing.

A beautiful place for a winter proposal in Vancouver, the 15 acres of Vancouver’s only botanical garden are decorated with displays and lights, attracting more than 100,000 people yearly.

πŸ“ Location: 5251 Oak Street
Cost: TBA
Dates: Late November to the first week of January

4. Canyon Lights Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Another popular holiday activity is checking out Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The canyon is decorated with lights, such as the dancing light balls over the small lake.

Of course, the main attraction is the 137-foot suspension bridge over a river. But there are other things to see in the park, such as Treetops Adventures, where you can walk among the trees using small suspension bridges.

There is also the Cliffwalk, where you can walk around a massive rock on the side of the cliff. I remember it was super cold once, and these gigantic icicles were hanging from the rocks.

πŸ“ Location: 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
Cost: TBA, but tickets must be purchased online in advance
Dates: November to January

A far away view of the Capilano Suspension Bridge lit up in Christmas lights with people walking on it. There is a buildiing to the right and a worker standing near the stairs that spiral down and the tree in the middle is all decorated in white Christmas lights and the bulding is also decorated in lights.

5. St. Paul’s Hospital Lights Of Hope

A fantastic event since 1998, the St. Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope fundraiser has raised millions for hundreds of thousands of patients and residents in British Columbia, illuminating the path for families during their darkest times.

All over the city, companies and individuals can donate an amount; $100 being the minimum and $1,000 for the smallest star. The larger the amount, the bigger the star on display outside St. Paul’s Hospital.

However, if you choose not to donate, you can still attend the free event outside for the countdown to the annual lighting show. There will be fireworks, musical entertainment, and free hot chocolate.

πŸ“ Location: 1081 Burrard Street
Cost: Free Event
Dates: On display from late November to January

Lights of Hope, outside of the St. Paul's Hospital on Helmcken St. Colourful and bright starts decorate a section of a wall with sponsors for the patients and residents by being the gift of hope.

6. Martini Town Movie Set (Merry & Bright)

Vancouver is known as a prime location (other than Toronto) for the filming industry. The Martini Town is a film backlot set built by talented local film crew that has filmed numerous television shows, commercials, and movies.

They deck out every corner of the movie set during the holiday season as if you were in a Christmas town.

πŸ“ Location: 1123 272 St, Aldergrove, Langley
Cost: $22.00 General Admission 13+ | $12.00 6-12 years | $18,00 65+ years| $60.00 Family Pack
Dates: December 1st to January 1st

7. Gingerbread Lane

Gingerbread Lane, hosted by the Hyatt Regency Hotel, is an annual event that features gingerbread creations, showcases incredible talent, and supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Each year, talented professionals, amateurs, and secondary schools participate in creating these fantastic gingerbread displays. They’re open to the public every December. (My high school has won the secondary category many times)

πŸ“ Location: 655 Burrard Street
Cost: Free Entry (donations support Make-A-Wish Foundation)
Dates: December 1st to 29th

8. The Peak Of Christmas

Not only is Grouse Mountain one of the best places to check for things to do in winter, but it also has an annual event called The Peak of Christmas.

Think of the North Pole, but it’s on a mountain in Vancouver. There are many things to do, such as The Light Walk at Blue Grouse Lake and ice skating on the 8,000-square-foot skating pond.

There’s also watching Christmas movies at The Theatre, writing letters to Santa at Elf Headquarters, and more. Plus, you’ll also have a chance to meet real reindeer.

πŸ“ Location: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way
Cost: Varies + Skyride up the mountain
Dates: November 24th to December 24th

9. Heritage Christmas At Burnaby Village Museum

Burnaby Village Museum is an outdoor museum with old-fashioned storefronts, period costume townsfolk, and a blacksmithing area. It’s excellent for children and younger families.

During the festive season, the museum turns into Heritage Christmas, where everything is decorated for Christmas. They have the lighting of their Christmas tree, entertainment, and food options. In addition, there’s a carousel ride inside.

πŸ“ Location: 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
Cost: Free, carousel ride costs an extra $2.52 CAD
Dates: Late November to early January

Me (the author of The Travelling City Girl) and my boyfriend taking couples photos at the Burnaby Village Museum. There are Christmas lights and garland from the roofs of the buildings and buildings on either side of us.

10. Soar With Santa (FlyOver Canada)

A holiday spinoff FlyOver Canada offers during the holidays. While you’ll still fly over Canada, this time, you’ll accompany Santa soaring in the sky and over the North Pole.

FlyOver Canada is an immersive simulated flight experience that lasts 25 minutes. You’ll sit in these flight-motion seats over a massive wrap screen. Scents, wind, and mist are included as you go about your flight.

I tried FlyOver Canada once, and it was pretty neat. Seeing the different provinces from a bird’s-eye view and the special effects of the mist over water and in the clouds was also an experience. Now imagine that but with Santa Claus and the North Pole.

πŸ“ Location: 999 Canada Place (there’s a ticket booth)
Cost: $28.00 Adult | Children 15 & Under $18.00 (prices may vary)
Dates: Mid-November to early January

11. Robson Square Ice Rink

Robson Square was ultimately a celebration venue for the 2010 Olympics and the Paralympic Winter Games, so the city wanted to liven up the area and upgraded the rink.

Since then, Robson Square Ice Rink has been open to the public during the winter. The small outdoor rink is in the heart of Downtown Vancouver and is excellent for those looking for a touristy place to skate or a date night for couples.

πŸ’‘ Note: Helmets are mandatory for everyone 12 years and under.

πŸ“ Location: 800 Robson Street
Cost: $5 skate rentals
Dates: December to mid-February

Many people skating on a small outdoor ice rink with a geometric dome ceiling. There are also Christmas trees around on the outside of the rink.

12. The Shipyards Skate Plaza

Another outdoor public skating area is at The Shipyards Skate Plaza. The plaza is 12,000 square feet, making it the largest outdoor skate plaza in the region. It’s an excellent location if you’re a young family.

The plaza is located in North Vancouver, and the easiest way to get there is by the SeaBus. After you take the SeaBus, you can walk towards the plaza.

πŸ“ Location: 125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Cost: $7 Adult skate fee | $5 children skate fee
Dates: Weather dependent, usually in winter months, it’s open often

13. PNE Winter Fair

The PNE Winter Fair is an excellent thing to do in Vancouver during Christmas, it’s also more of a non touristy location in Vancouver. It has areas such as the Winter Lights display presented by BC Hydro. Explore the Northern Lights as you travel through the Polar Passage light tunnel and follow the path through Candy Cane Lane. 

The Pacific Coliseum also offers live performances, including The Nutcracker on Ice and The Magic of Santa: Holiday Musical Stage Show.

You can also have fun riding ice bumper cars at the Tim Hortons Ice Rink, enjoy festive treats at the Holiday Eats and Treats area, and explore the Holiday Market for unique gifts.

πŸ“ Location: 2901 East Hastings Street
Dates: Select dates in December

  • General 18-64 years – $25.00 online, $30.00 at gate
  • Senior 65+ years $19.00 online, $22.00 at gate
  • Youth 13-17 years $19.00 online, $22.00 at gate
  • Child 4-12 years $12.00 online, $15.00 at gate
  • Kids 3 and under Free

*Prices may be subject to change

14. Lights At Lafarge

Lights at Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam is a free event during Christmas time. The 1.2-kilometre pathway around the lake is decorated with beautiful Christmas lights, illuminated archways, and holiday themes.

πŸ“ Location: 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam (Town Centre Park)
Cost: Free
Dates: Late November to late January

15. Christmas Glow

One of the Lower Mainland’s largest Christmas attractions is Christmas Glow or Glow. Each year, the venue has a different theme; 2023 was a carnival theme. There are many indoor venues where you can find market vendors, activities, live performances, and more.

πŸ“ Location: 6690 216 Street, Langley
Costs: $24.00 Adults 13+ | $18.50 Children 4-12 years | $18.50 Seniors 65+ years | Free – Kids 3 & under
Dates: Select dates in November and December

16. Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Enjoy an evening with the prestigious Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra brings festive music to the Lower Mainland with multiple performances at local venues. The programs offer holiday classics, cherished songs, and the chance to sing along to Christmas carols.

πŸ“ Location: 843 Seymour Street
Costs: TBA
Dates: TBA

17. Cloverdale Christmas Tree Fest

Hosted at the Museum of Surrey, the foyer is transformed into a forest of Christmas trees. You can participate in the event by voting on which tree is your favourite and potentially win a prize.

There’s a tree lighting event and activities for children, such as Christmas crafts and meeting Santa Claus.

Donations made at the event go towards Cloverdale Community Hamper.

πŸ“ Location: 17710 56a Avenue, Surrey
Cost: Free or By Donation
Dates: TBA

18. Potters Christmas Shop

My newest discovery is the Potters Christmas Shop. Potters Nursery And Garden Centre transforms into a Christmas store on November 1st, where you can find thousands of Christmas decorations and ornaments.

There are different sections with themes, such as the Merry & Bright section, where you can find all the glittery and sparkly bits and bobs; The Dark Room, where you can find all the light-up decorations; and Gnomes & More, Gourmet Treats, and Mouse Town.

πŸ“ Location: 19158 48 Avenue, Surrey
Cost: Free (got to pay for your stuff, though)
Dates: November 1st (nine weeks for the Christmas decorations)

19. Festival Of Trees

For over 30 years, the Festival of Trees presented by Scotiabank has been a yearly tradition for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. The tradition is to decorate the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver with Christmas trees.

Each tree is sponsored and decorated by local businesses, organizations, or individuals, and you can vote for the best one and donate if you wish.

πŸ“ Location: 900 West Georgia
Cost: Free or By Donation
Dates: Late November to January 1st

A large Christmas Tree decorated with large white neon snowflakes and colourful lights. There's a while neon star on top. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is on the background on the left.

20. Christmas At Canada Place

Christmas at Canada Place presents a tradition of Woodward’s Windows, Avenue of Trees, a 15-foot tall Moose known as “Chrismoose,” Sails of Light, North Pole Light display, and more to see at this family-friendly event.

Canada Place is where the Soar with Santa, presented by FlyOver Canada, takes place, and the Vancouver Christmas Market is a block away on the other side of the Vancouver Convention Center.

πŸ“ Locations: 999 Canada Place – Canadian Trail (West Promenade)
Cost: Free
Dates: December to a couple of days in January

Is Vancouver A Good Place To Visit At Christmas?

Vancouver is a good place to visit at Christmas. There are many things to do that make Vancouver worth visiting during the holiday season. Plus, the city is decorated with Christmas lights and light displays.

Does Vancouver Have Christmas Markets?

Yes, Vancouver has Christmas Markets. The most popular one is the Vancouver Christmas Market. However, other markets, craft fairs, and pop-up markets in the lower mainland happen during November and December.

There’s the Circle Craft Christmas Market, Holiday Pop-Up Market, and Deer Lake Winter Festival, to name a few.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many things to do in Vancouver for Christmas. From the popular Vancouver Christmas Market to listening to classic Christmas songs by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver is a festival place to visit during Christmas.

Have a good day πŸ™‚