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39 Fun Things To Do In Metro Vancouver This Weekend (Dec 1-3)

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Photo: @thecityofsurrey & @cityofnorthvancouver / IG

It is the first weekend of December and there are so many festivities kicking off the holiday season to check out and do in and around Metro Vancouver.

From parades and light displays to holiday markets and more there is something for everyone to do this holiday season.

RELATED: 41 Fun + Free Things To Do In Metro Vancouver this December

Things to do in Vancouver this weekend

Candy Town – A Winter Wonderland in Yaletown (FREE)

 

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Join in on the holiday cheer as Yaletown’s public plazas turns into a magical winter wonderland with the return of CandyTown. This beloved event is returning for their 11th year, and this year’s event will be better than ever with new additions that will delight families, friends, and even pets.

When & Where: December 2 in Yaletown
Cost: Free admission

Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting (FREE)

 

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The lighting of the Christmas tree is a magical moment often symbolizing the beginning of the holiday season, and the lighting of the Vancouver Christmas Tree is a cherished tradition for many.

So, join hands and celebrate as Western Canada’s tallest Christmas tree gets lit up, marking the beginning of a season filled with laughter, love, and cherished moments spent with family and friends.

When & Where: December 1st at 6 pm infront of the Vancouver Art Gallery
Cost: Free

Spirit of the Season Festival at North Van Shipyards (FREE)

Get ready for the Spirit of the Season Festival happening as The Shipyards transforms into a delightful winter wonderland! Join the City of North Vancouver for a magical celebration to kick off the holiday season! Enjoy free activities including ice skating, appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, heartwarming stage performances, and plenty of family fun.

When & Where: December 2 from 4-8 pm at The Shipyards, 125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Free

Surrey Santa Parade (FREE)

Explore the holiday spirit with the 16th annual Surrey Santa Parade of Lights! This festive parade promises to be unforgettable, offering guests the opportunity to enjoy a delightful array of antique cars, trucks, floats, marching bands, dancers, and more.

When & Where: December 3 at 5 pm at the Cloverdale town centre, BC
Cost: Free

Festival of Lights boat Parade (FREE)

 

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Nearly two dozen boats will kick off the holidays when they sail from the Burrard Yacht Club to North Vancouver on December 2. The boat parade will depart from the Deep Cove Yacht Club at 6 pm and sail through Coal Harbour and past the North Van Shipyards. The general public is invited to go down to the waterfront from Waterfront Park all the way along to the Shipyards to watch the boats go by. Thousands of North Shore residents have gathered in previous years.

When & Where: December 2nd at 6 pm starting at Deep Cove, and going to Waterfront Park and Coal Harbour
Cost: Free

Santa’s Christmas Ships: Christmas Boat Parade (FREE)

The annual Santa cruises return to Port Moody’s Reed Point Marina, featuring up to 15 illuminated ships adorned in festive lights. They will be making their rounds starting on December 2nd and can be spotted cruising on Fridays and Saturdays until December 23rd.

Where & When:

  • Dec. 1: Rocky Point Park and Ioco
  • Dec. 2: Dollarton, Belcarra Bay, Barnet Marine Park
  • Dec. 8: Deep Cove
  • Dec. 9: Camp Howdy, Farrah Cove
  • Dec. 15: Woodlands, Brighton Beach in North Vancouver, Barnet Marine Park, Belcarra Bay
  • Dec. 16: Bedwell Bay, with Santa visiting children in Belcarra Regional Park followed by – fireworks
  • Dec. 22: Belcarra Bay, Deep Cove, Dollarton
  • Dec. 23: Belcarra Bay, Deep Cove, Dollarton

The ships depart from Reed Point Marina at 7pm and usually arrives at their destination around 7:30 to 8 pm.
Cost: Free

Dance Into Christmas

Join The Richmond Academy of Dance and New Westminster Symphony Orchestra for the 24th annual “Dance Into Christmas’ performance on Friday, December 1 at Bell Performing Arts Centre.

When & Where: December 1 from 7:30 – 9:30 pm at the Bell Performing Arts Centre, 6250 144 Street, Surrey
Cost: $43

Home For Christmas with Brian Doerksen & Friends

Join Brian, his family and friends as they host a hometown evening of beautiful and inspiring Christmas classics and carols, along with new songs of the season from Brian’s JUNO nominated album ‘The Heart Of Christmas.’

When & Where: December 2 from 7-9:30pm at the Abbotsford Pentecostal Assembly, 3145 Gladwin Road, Abbotsford,
Cost: $6.99

Art Gallery Free Entry (FREE)

The Vancouver Art Gallery is free on the first Friday of every month. Attendees can enter between 4 and 8 pm. They will be offering educational tours and other programming free of charge. It’s also worth mentioning that children and teens aged 18 and under can visit the art gallery for free at any time, thanks to a program launched last summer that runs for five years.

When & Where: November 3 from 4-8pm at 750 Hornby St, Vancouver
Cost: Free admission (pre-registration is recommended)

Grand Splash Fundraiser For Surrey Christmas Bureau

Help the Surrey / White Communities with an Environment Friendly Car Wash by Donation to the Surrey Christmas Bureau. This weekend, the Express Auto Wash on King George Blvd is offering FREE Platinum-level car washes in exchange for a donation to Surrey Christmas Bureau.

When & Where: December 2-10 from 8am – 8pm daily at the Express Auto Wash King George, 2337 King George Blvd, Surrey
Cost: By Donation

EBONY ROOTS: A Concert Reclaiming Vancouver’s Black Strathcona

Reclaiming the once displaced Black Strathcona/Hogan’s Alley community through a concert celebration of Vancouver’s past, present, and future African Descent performing artists.

Produced by Vancouver’s award-winning producers at Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre, who have been wowing audiences across the country with their concert tours, part 1 of this concert series will be held on Saturday.

When & Where: December 2 from 7:30-9:30 pm at Strathcona Church, 431 Princess Ave., Vancouver
Cost: $30-35

The Granville Flea – HOMECOMING Event


Get ready to dive into Vancouver’s freshest fashion scene at The Granville Flea, the city’s newest hotspot for vintage streetwear and high-end fashion enthusiasts. Hosting its HOMECOMING indoor event for three consecutive Sundays, this market promises an unmatched shopping experience.

When & Where: December 3 from 10am – 5:30 pm at Good Co. Granville, 965 Granville St, Vancouver
Cost: $5

Holiday Events Starting This week

Stanley Park Bright Nights opening weekend

 

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Every holiday season has cherished traditions that bring joy to our hearts. And one of Vancouver’s favourite tradition is taking in the breathtaking light display at Stanley Park’s Bright Nights event.

This FREE family-friendly event returns for another year of beautiful twinkling light displays, live entertainment, and delicious food. And the best part… the Stanley Park Holiday train will be returning!

When & Where: November 30 – January 6 from 4-10pm at Stanley Park
Cost: by donation

Robson Square Ice Rink Opening Weekend (FREE)

 

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This winter, strap on some skates and frolic in one of Vancouver’s most beloved ice rinks. Downtown’s Robson Square Ice Rink will return to the public this holiday season. Conveniently located in the centre of downtown, it is an outdoor rink with a glass ceiling that beautifully lights up for the festive season.

When & Where: December 1 – February 29 from various times at Robson Square Ice Rink, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
Cost: Free (Skate rentals are $5)

Williams Park Christmas Lights Display Drive Thru Opening Weekend (FREE)

 

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Langley’s annual Christmas in Williams Park lights display will be returning for the 2023 season! Visitors can once again enjoy Langley’s beautiful park adorned with thousands of twinkling lights. The annual drive thru experience is FREE to attend and is perfect for those looking to soak in holiday lights and cheer.

When & Where: December 1-20 from 5-9 pm at Williams Park, 8 Ave & 238 Street, Langley Twp
Cost: Free admission

Christmas at Canada Place Opening Weekend(FREE)

The annual family-friendly Christmas at Canada Place marks its return on December 1. Guests of all ages are invited to soak in the season and experience this popular holiday tradition. Many of the favourites from past installments are here as well, including Woodward’s Windows, North Point Lights, Sails of Light and the Avenue of Trees.

When & Where: December 1 – January 2 from 8am – 10pm daily at Canada Place, Vancouver
Cost: Free

Winter Experience at the White Rock Bright Walk Opening Weekend (FREE)

 

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Although already beautiful, the White Rock Pier will become even more magical and festive during the holiday season. This winter, the waterfront promenade decked with magical lights and displays full of holiday cheer. Among the beautiful holiday lights is a beautifully illuminated light tunnel and a 20-foot Christmas tree.

When & Where: December 2- January 8 at the White Rock Pier
Cost: Free

Dundarave Festival of Lights Opening Weekend(FREE)

What better way to celebrate the season than taking in the shimmering lights displays, humming along to the free live music, or warming your heart by the giant bonfire. West Vancouver’s signature holiday celebration, the Dundarave Festival of Lights returns for another great year. The event will start with the tree decorating party on opening night on Saturday, December 2, and ends on the 23 with a giant bonfire party to conclude the season. In between, there will be free concerts and activities that are also open to the public.

When & Where: Starts December 2 and ends December 23, at the Dundarave Beach Park in West Vancouver.
Cost: Free

Ice Skating at North Vancouver’s Shipyards Rink Opening Weekend (FREE)

North Vancouver’s impressive 12,000 square foot skating rink in The Shipyards is set to open again this December and it’s free for all. You can see the skyline of the city in the background and all of these commercial amenities immediately accessible – it’s just absolutely spectacular.

When & Where: December 1 – March 3 from various times at The Shipyards, 125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Free (Skate rentals are $5)

“A Christmas Cocktail Story” Retro Holiday Pop-up Opening Weekend (FREE)

This retro-themed pop-up, hosted at Dalina in Chinatown, is a must-visit for Vancouver foodies and cocktail lovers looking to celebrate the holiday season in style. As guests step into this holiday wonderland, they’ll be greeted with a special holiday drink to set the mood, delectable shareable fondue, and a delightful assortment of holiday treats.

When & Where: December 1 – 23 at DALINA Main st., 687 Main Street, Vancouver
Cost: $40

Steveston’s Winter In The Village Opening Weekend (FREE)

 

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The holiday season brings about many cheerful celebrations, but Steveston’s Winter In The Village is special. Special because it transforms Richmond into a month-long winter wonderland spreading Christmas joy and light. And the best part of this multi-venue, citywide festival – everything is FREE or low-cost. To beautiful lights and visits from Santa, to holiday trams and craft fairs, there are tons of things to do all month long.

When & Where: December 1 – January 8 at Steveston Village, Richmond
Cost: Free or low cost

Martini Town Film Studio Tour Opening Weekend

Have you’ve always wanted to feel like you live in a Hallmark movie? Well here’s your chance to experience the magic of the films in real life. For the first time, Martini Town, Langley’s very own exterior Film Backlot, is open to the public after being transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Visit a New York City Street, courthouse, diner, town square and small town – all at Merry & Bright.

When & Where: December 1 – January 1 at Martini Town, 1123 272 St, Aldergrove, BC
Cost: $22

All aboard the Bear Creek Santa Express + Christmas Night Train Opening Weekend

Riding on a mini-holiday train through a winter wonderland of lights and festive displays is undoubtedly one of the most magical holiday experiences.

If you’re having no luck getting tickets for the recently returned Stanley Park train, have no fear, because Surrey has its own magical train ride for all to enjoy. The Bear Creek Christmas Train is back to provide a lot of joy, glee, and loads of family fun.

When & Where: Dec 2 – 31 from 4:30-10pm at Bear Creek Park, 13750 88 Ave, Surrey
Cost: $13

Go Holiday Shopping

As the holiday season approaches, the sweet scent of hot spiced apple juice fills the air, and toes begin to tap to bouncy Christmas tunes. And so the holiday shopping season has also begun. Here are a few fun spots to check out this winter season

  • The Christmas Store at Potters – Located in South Surrey, this is Western Canada’s Largest Christmas Store with an impressive array of festive decor.
  • Glenda’s Christmas Cottage -This home-grown holiday shop in Abbotsford is must see place for any Yuletide lovers celebrating the joy of Christmas.
  • There are also a number of Christmas Markets going on from now until the end of December. You can check out our full guide here, with details on the markets taking place this weekend.

Ongoing Holiday Festivities

Check out our full guide of events taking place this December. Below are a few highlights

Vancouver Christmas Market


The Vancouver Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza is a festive holiday tradition in the heart of the city. This enchanting market features beautifully decorated wooden stalls, offering a wide array of seasonal treats, handcrafted gifts, and traditional German fare.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the holiday spirit as they explore the market’s charming atmosphere, sip on mulled wine, and enjoy live entertainment against the backdrop of the iconic Olympic Cauldron.

When & Where: November 16 – December 24 at Jack Poole Plaza
Cost: $19.99

Burnaby Village Museum – Heritage Village (Free)

Experience Burnaby in all its festive beauty. The popular Heritage Christmas event will be coming back for another year.

The event takes place November 25 to January 5, 2024, and the best part yet—it’s free. The official launch of the Heritage Christmas with a tree lighting ceremony will be on December 2nd at 6 p.m.

When & Where: November 25 to January 5, 2024 at the Burnaby Village Museum, Burnaby
Cost: Free

Polar Express Squamish

Bring out the candy canes and presents – it’s time to board the North Pole Express! As winter’s beauty envelops Squamish, adventurous families are invited to climb on the train to Santa’s workshop. Don’t miss this magical Christmas train ride full of family memories that will last a lifetime.

When & Where: November 25 – December 17 at the Railway Museum of British Columbia,39645 Government Rd, Squamish
Cost: $82-$132 (for 2)

Tinseltown: the Christmas Speakeasy

Get ready for Tinseltown, the Christmas-themed pop-up returns to Vancouver this Winter. It’s all about spreading holiday cheer with Santa, elves, presents, festive decorations, and a delightful Christmas cocktail menu. With decorations galore, this event will leave you in the holiday spirit.

When & Where: November 22 – December 31 at a Secret Location
Cost: $17

Glow Gardens in Langley

 

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The popular event returns to Langley, transforming a massive indoor venue into a dazzling wonderland of lights and interactive displays.

Families and visitors can explore illuminated gardens, admire intricate light sculptures, and even enjoy a visit from Santa Claus. With its enchanting atmosphere, Glow Langley has become a beloved holiday tradition, offering a magical experience for all ages during the festive season.

When & Where: November 23 – December 30 at Glow Gardens Langley, 6690 216 St, Langley
Cost: $23.99

Check out a Beautiful Light Display

 

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There are over 15 light displays taking place around metro Vancouver, free and paid events that are sure to make your weekend magical. Here is the full guide here with all the details. A few of our favourites includes:

Ongoing Things To Do

Cirque du Soleil: KOOZA

 

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Cirque du Soleil is set to return to Vancouver this October with their mesmerizing show, “KOOZA.”

This highly anticipated event promises to once again transport audiences into a world of wonder and awe as only Cirque du Soleil can.

When & Where: October 21-December  31 at Concord Pacific Place, 88 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver
Cost: $60-$70

Fall Exhibits at The Museum of Surrey (Free)

The arrival of fall marks the introduction of two exciting new exhibits at the Museum of Surrey: Everything is Still Awesome and #HOPEANDHEALINGCANADA. Both exhibits just opened in October, and invite visitors to build and connect, whether it be with the ageless love of classic toys, or the journey towards hope and reconciliation.

There is also an amazing indoor playground, TD Explore Zone, to discover with your little ones. Where they can learn about sustainability while interacting with a variety of fun displays.

When & Where: October – March 2024 at the Museum of Surrey, 17710 56a Ave, Surrey
Cost: Free

Moss Art Exhibition (Free)

“MOSS AFFAIR” is a free Moss Art exhibition at the Hycroft Manor by the University Women’s Club of Vancouver.

Come and explore an exhibition where you can experience the beauty of nature in your own home. It features artistic moss installations and frames created by Ukrainian-Canadian artist Anna Vagramova.

When & Where: November 8 – December 5 at the Gallery at the Hycroft Manor, 1489 McRae Ave, Vancouver
Cost: Free

Catch a Movie

Saturday Morning Movie for only $2.99

Cineplex is offering children’s movie at 11 o’clock on Saturday mornings for only $2.99 +tax. This month’s lineup includes:

  • Saturday, December 2/9 – The Polar Express
  • Saturday, December 16/23 – Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch

Note however that it is only at participating theatres, and available films details may vary on locations. You can check out their website for the most up-to-date details.

When & Where: Every Saturday at participating Cineplex Theatres

Hidden Wonders Speakeasy Magic Experience

Hidden Wonders Speakeasy Magic Experience is a speakeasy-style performance venue hidden behind a fake business facade in New Westminster’s historic district.

The evening offers a seventy-five-minute magic experience featuring effects exclusively designed for the venue as well as several of the effects Shawn created to impress Ellen, win the world championship and to fool Vegas’s Penn & Teller twice on their hit television show Fool Us.

When & Where: offered every Thursday – Sunday until December 17 at Hidden Wonders Showroom, 662 Clarkson St, New Westminster

VanCity Treasure Hunt

Starting this weekend until Dec 1, you can participate in a one-of-a-kind treasure hunt in Vancouver, B.C. Explore the rich and diverse culture of this magical province by going through the city’s historic landmarks and hidden gems. This is a fun for all activity while also learning about the indigenous people’s history, culture, and modern-day contributions.

When & Where: June 1 – Dec 1 at the Met 2 (by Concord Pacific), 6538 Nelson Ave, Burnaby

For more upcoming events, check out our new events calendar.

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