The largest city on Canada’s west coast is a great place to visit anytime of the year. But during Christmas, Vancouver transforms. Parks, plazas, and neighbourhoods celebrate the holidays by taking advantage of the city’s culture and nature to create memorable experiences.

From packed Christmas markets to stunning light displays, there are plenty of ways you and your family can enjoy Christmas in Vancouver. 

Explore the Vancouver Christmas Market

Nothing says Christmas quite like a Christmas market. Originating from Germany, these markets are filled with local artisans, festive refreshments, and plenty of ways to spread holiday cheer. Which means if you’re visiting the city and looking to celebrate the holidays, the Vancouver Christmas Market should be one of your first stops.

Located at Jack Poole Plaza, the Vancouver Christmas Market features dozens of vendors selling delicious treats, custom artwork, artisanal crafts, and more. If you’re looking to do more than shop, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. Enjoy a hot cup of cocoa as you listen to live music. Ride the holiday carousel and marvel at the light displays. Take part in a scavenger hunt with your kids to earn a special prize. 

Visit Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas

Thanks to its climate, Vancouver isn’t exactly known for being a winter wonderland. Fortunately, a short trip from downtown Vancouver takes you right to Grouse Mountain, where there’s plenty of snow for all your winter activities. It’s a popular skiing destination, with slopes for newcomers and veterans alike.

But if you visit during Christmastime, you’ll be able to experience The Peak of Christmas at the top of the mountain. There, you can meet with Santa Claus himself in his workshop alongside his trusty reindeer and elves. Glide across the massive Mountaintop Skating Pond or enjoy some live music at Peak Chalet. Before you leave, be sure to strap on a pair of snowshoes to experience the Light Walk, with thousands of lights strung up for you to enjoy on a winter path. Grouse Mountain may not be the North Pole, but it’s close enough.

Enjoy the VanDusen Festival of Lights

Few places are as gorgeous – or as well lit – during the holiday season as the VanDusen Festival of Lights. Taking place at the VanDusen Botanical Garden, the event has been held annually since 1984. Running from November till January 2, over 15 acres filled with trees and flowers are transformed into an amazing light display. Featuring over one million lights, the garden transforms into a holiday spectacle that anyone can enjoy. 

Visitors can look forward to daily visits from Santa Claus, as well as plenty of food vendors with tasty treats to try out. Adults can enjoy beverages at the Fireside Lounge, while children aged two and up can take a ride on the carousel. Be sure to check out the Dancing Lights show as well, as the displays dance” to the tune of holiday music.

See the Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is gorgeous at any time of year. But during the holiday season, it transforms into a magical world as thousands of lights illuminate the bridge and the Capilano River below. The park’s Treetops Adventure, which features seven suspension bridges high above the ground, are similarly transformed into a spectacle that must be seen. And the Arc de Lumina light tunnel that follows a part of the Cliffwalk is the perfect place for Instagram photos. The displays embrace nature, creating a beautiful atmosphere that is perfect for couples and families alike. 

Beyond the Canyon Lights itself, there’s a lot to do in the park. The Capilano Suspension Bridge features a gift store that’s perfect for those looking for a Christmas stocking stuffer, live music, an ornament and greeting card making shop, scavenger hunts, and more.

Travel to The Past At Heritage Christmas

Each year, the Burnaby Village Museum takes visitors back in time to what Christmas was like a century ago. The 10-acre museum features old fashioned streets, buildings, and period-costume townsfolk. There are even businesses like a blacksmith and ice cream parlor to check out. And during the holidays, the entire grounds turn into a festive display complete with lights and traditional decorations.

Heritage Christmas has many events that run through the season, including a scavenger hunt, children’s craft making, theatre performances, Christmas movies, carolers, and more. The best part? Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum has a low price: free! 

Choice Hotels in Vancouver