The Most Festive Things to Do in Metro Vancouver This Holiday Season

Travel & Outdoors
The Most Festive Things to Do in Metro Vancouver This Holiday Season

The holiday season is a beautiful time across the lower mainland.

From Christmas lights to holiday markets, here are the best festive Metro Vancouver activities to check out this holiday season.

RELATED: Canada’s Largest Chinese Lantern Festival Is Coming To Vancouver This February

Christmas Lights

VanDusen Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights

Photo: VanDusen Botanical Garden / Facebook

About: Guests can stroll through the garden and be mesmerized by lights dancing to classic, disco and soul music. Dancing Lights occur every 20 minutes at Livingstone Lake.
Date: Saturday December 1st, 2018 – Sunday January 6th, 2019
Cost: $12.50 – $23
Time: Various

Glow Christmas

About: Light tunnels and a new “Glow Around the World” theme. A Christmas market with food, beverages and local pop-up shops. Endless food trucks and licensed bars. Dazzling lights and activities for children to enjoy. What more can you ask for?
Date: Thursday November 22nd, 2018 – Saturday January 19th, 2019
Cost: Free – $71.99
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Bright Nights Christmas Train

About: This family-friendly holiday attraction features lights, breathtaking displays, and live performers along the 14-minute train ride.
Date: Thursday November 29th, 2018 – Sunday January 6th, 2019
Cost: $8 – $12
Time: Various

Lights at Lafarge

Lights at Lafarge

Photo: @bon.bahar / Instagram

About: The route will take visitors through a dazzling 1.2 kilometres of festive lights with ten themed zones. This family-friendly event is free to attend and is located near the Lafarge Lake SkyTrain station.
Date: Saturday November 24th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: Dusk – 11:00 p.m.

Heritage Christmas

About: Stroll through Village streets to see wreaths, cedar swags and vintage-themed displays. At the bandstand, visitors can create their own magical holiday show with lights that change colours to sound.
Date: Saturday November 24th – Friday January 4th, 2019
Cost: Free
Time: Various

Aurora Winter Festival

About: The family-friendly festival will offer elements inspired by the North Pole, including mystical characters, captivating light displays, ice-skating on a frozen river, Santa’s workshop and carnival rides among other attractions.
Date: Friday November 23rd – Sunday December 30th, 2018
Cost: Free – $19.99
Time: Various

Canyon Lights

Canyon Lights

Photo: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

About: The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon are being transformed into a world of festive lights and visual enchantment.
Date: Thursday November 22nd, 2018 – Sunday January 27th, 2019
Cost: Free – $46.95
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Holiday Heights

About: Experience a winter wonderland inside the Bloedel Conservatory with magical lights, festive music, a holiday scavenger hunt, and much more.
Date: Friday, December 14th, 2018 – Sunday, January 6th, 2019
Cost: Free – $14.75
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Holiday Hi-Light Festival

About: This annual event features a majestic festival of lights with over 150,000 on display over 3 acres.
Date: Saturday, December 1st – Monday, December 31st, 2018
Cost: By donation
Time: Various

Peak Of Christmas

Peak of Christmas

Photo: @vancitywild / Instagram

About: Feel the enchantment and radiance of twinkling lights, the calm echo of the snow, the warmth of Santa’s smile as he greets you in his workshop and the joy of witnessing real reindeer.
Date: Friday November 23rd, 2018 – Sunday January 6th, 2019
Cost: Free – $149

St. Paul’s Lights Of Hope

About: The launch of the fundraising campaign will be celebrated with fireworks and St. Paul’s Hospital’s iconic lighting display. Burrard Street will be illuminated with over 100,000 sparkling light bulbs!
Date: Friday November 16th – Monday January 7th, 2019
Cost: By donation
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Highstreet Holiday Show & Tree Lighting

About: This event will include the lighting of a magical 65 ft. Christmas tree and an exciting visit from Santa Claus! Their 30 minute live show is composed of multimedia light display utilizing 6,000 tri-color LED bulbs, which are set to seasonal musical favourites.
Date: Saturday November 17th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 5:00 p.m.

Surrey Tree Lighting Festival

surrey tree lighting - christmas festival market

Photo: City of Surrey

About: The entire community is invited to see the City of Surrey’s official Christmas tree light up. This free, family event, will feature a 60-foot Christmas tree, Christmas market and more.
Date: Saturday November 24th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Harrison Hot Springs Winter Light Festival

About: Harrison Hot Springs is going to overflow with holiday cheer this year with a new winter light festival called Lights on the Lake, the Christmas Tree Trail, and a Cabin Style New Year’s celebration.
Date: Saturday November 24th, 2018 – Monday January 28th, 2019
Cost: Free
Time: Various

Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting

About: The height of this year’s Christmas tree hasn’t been announced yet, but as we’ve seen in previous years, it’ll be very tall. In 2017, there were four Christmas trees erected, with the tallest standing 76 feet tall – 16 feet taller than the massive Christmas tree in Surrey.
Date: Friday November 30th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Wish Upon A Star Christmas Light Display

Wish Upon A Star

Photo: Wish Upon A Star / Facebook

About: Visitors will get to see over 44,000 lights, numerous animated characters, an interactive musical snowman, and Santa with his sleigh flying overhead.
Date: Saturday, December 1st, 2018
Cost: By donation
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Dundarave Festival Of Lights

About: Over 100 Christmas trees are decorated, lit and sponsored by community groups, businesses, schools, churches and families.
Date: Saturday December 1st, 2018, Saturday December 8th, 2018, Saturday December 15th, 2018, Saturday December 22nd, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: Noon – Dusk

Chalet Lights Charity

About: This year, they estimate to have tens of thousands of lights, including the return of their beloved star that hangs 86 feet in the air on ropes attached to massive trees (no nails are used).
Date: Sunday December 2nd, 2018 – Sunday January 6th, 2019
Cost: By donation
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Surrey Santa Parade of Lights

About: The parade will have a wonderful mix of antique vehicles, big rigs, boats, floats, marching bands, mascots (like Mr Peanut), remote controlled vehicles, dancers, service clubs and sports teams.
Date: Sunday, December 2nd, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

CP Holiday Train

CP Holiday Train

Photo: @kristinrepsher / Instagram

About: The Canadian Train will depart Montreal on November 27th. Kelly Prescott will join three time Juno award-winner Terri Clark and Sierra Noble to spread holiday cheer through Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan to Calgary and Edmonton, Alta.
Date: Monday December 17th – Tuesday December 18th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: Various

Winterfest

About: The primary attractions of the event will be two trains: the Santa Express and the Christmas Night Train. The Christmas Night Train, running from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily, will take you through Bear Creek’s enchanted Forest Of Lights.This train will run from Wednesday to Sunday.
Date: Friday December 7th – Monday December 31st, 2018
Cost: $10 -$35
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Christmas Markets

Vancouver Christmas Market

Vancouver Christmas Market

Photo: Vancouver Christmas Market / Facebook

About: The city’s signature yuletide celebration offers its largest festivities to date. It will feature more than 80 huts of authentic German sweets, treats and treasures.
Date: Wednesday November 21st – Monday December 24th, 2018
Cost: $5 – $50
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve)

West Coast Christmas Show

About: This event showcases a wide range of handmade and commercial goods for all your holiday shopping needs.
Date: Friday November 16th – Sunday November 18th, 2018
Cost: 9:00 p.m.
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

European Christmas Festival

European Christmas FestivalAbout: You’ll come across cultural booths, ethnic food vendors, a market place, dance performances, kids activities and more.
Date: Saturday November 17th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Tri-Cities Collective Christmas Market

About: Enjoy a beverage from Moody Ales and Krause Berry Farm Winery as you shop.
Date: Sunday November 18th, 2018
Cost: $3 – $10
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Silver Harbour Christmas Market

About: Shop for handmade arts and crafts, delicious baked goods, vintage attic treasures and so much more!
Date: Saturday November 24th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Maan Farms Christmas Market

About: As you make your way through the market, you’ll discover an assortment of handmade products on display and authentic treats.
Date: Saturday November 24th – Sunday December 9th, 2018
Cost: By donation
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Vancouver Italian Christmas Market

Vancouver Italian Christmas MarketAbout: Once you arrive, visitors will experience one of the world’s most unique cultures. There will be a variety of vendors selling Italian products, local food and crafts.
Date: Friday November 23rd, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Wesbrook Village Winter Event

About: This year they’re partnering up with Etsy Vancouver to bring their Winter Craft Market to the Wesbrook Community Centre! Don’t miss all you can do, see and sing. Wesbrook Village’s Winter Event is as packed as the goodies on Santa’s Sleigh.
Date: Saturday December 1st – Sunday December 2nd, 2018
Cost: Free – $3
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

New West Craft Winter Night Market

About: Visitors will enjoy a festive evening of shopping, music, food, drinks and non-stop fun at the River Market in beautiful downtown New Westminster. You’ll get to shop at over 50+ handmade vendors, while enjoying a nice glass of beer or wine.
Date: Saturday, December 1st, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Kitsilano Winter Market

About: Held at Kits House, it’s a one-day indoor event focusing on local and sustainable crafts and food.
Date: Saturday December 1st, 2018
Cost: Free – $2
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Coquitlam Christmas Farmers Market

Wesbrook Village Winter EventAbout: Guests can shop for unique and beautifully handcrafted local products including jewelry, woodwork, beauty products, pottery, baked goods and more!
Date: Saturday December 8th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Weirdos Holiday Market

About: This event isn’t for those who gift chocolate hedgehogs and Starbucks gift cards. Organizers aim to find the most awesome and unconventional artists who create gifts from the quirky to the macabre.
Date: Saturday December 8th – Sunday December 9th, 2018
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Got Craft?

About: Founded in 2007, Got Craft? is held twice a year in May and December. It features 75+ handmade designers, craft workshops, tasty treats, music, FREE swag bags and an average attendance of over 5500 a year.
Date: Saturday December 8th – Sunday December 9th, 2018
Cost: $3
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Fridays On Front Holiday Edition

Fridays On Front

Photo: Jerry Meaden / Flickr

About: This event will take place under the parkade on Front Street (near 4th) and promises only good things.
Date: Friday December 14th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Make It Vancouver Market

About: You’ll find clothing, accessories, art, home decor, gourmet goodies, baby and kid items, and many other unique treasures.
Date: Wednesday December 12th – Sunday December 16th, 2018
Cost: Free – $8
Time: Various

Holiday Events

CandyTown

CandyTown

Photo: Yaletown BIA

About: Visitors can experience a festive Yaletown with palate-popping treats, Yuletide music and cozy carriage rides.
Date: Saturday November 24th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Disney On Ice

About: Featuring Disney’s Moana for the first time in a live production, hosts Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse bring the Disney magic to life!
Date: Wednesday November 21st – Sunday November 25th, 2018
Cost: $20 – $110
Time: 7:00 p.m.

The Polar Express Train Ride

Polar Express Train

Photo: The Polar Express / Facebook

About: Departing from West Coast Railway Heritage Park, hop on this magical train ride to the North Pole, while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies.
Date: Saturday November 24th – Sunday December 16th, 2018
Cost: $35 – $59
Time: Various

Magic Of Christmas

About: This free event will include breakfast with Santa, live entertainment, crafts for kids, letters to Santa, a parade, carolling and much more!
Date: Saturday December 1st, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Free Ice Skating at Robson Square Ice Rink

Robson Square Ice Rink

Photo: @myfreevancity / Instagram

About: This winter will mark the ice rink’s 10th consecutive year of family fun. As winter approaches Vancouver, the skating rink comes alive with families and loved ones. The annual event has become a tradition that helps welcome the holiday season in the 604.
Date: Saturday December 1st, 2018 – Thursday February 28th, 2019
Cost: Free
Time: Various

Vancouver Santa Claus Parade

About: The parade has been one of British Columbia’s most cherished holiday traditions for more than 13 years. It draws more than 300,000 spectators to downtown Vancouver each year, plus numerous viewers at home.
Date: Sunday December 2nd, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00 p.m.

Yule Duel

About: Choirs will be setup along Water Street, performing a selection of holiday songs to entertain the crowd. Once the judges have made their rounds, the festivities will shift to the main stage as teams compete in a final sing-off!
Date: Thursday December 6th, 2018
Cost: Free
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Lions Gate Sinfonia Christmas Special

About: Van Django will headline the magical night with special guests harmonica virtuoso Keith Bennett and vocalist extraordinaire LJ Mounteney.
Date: Saturday December 8th, 2018
Cost: $12 – $45. Use promo code SINFONIA30 to receive 30% off
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Big Elf Run

Big Elf Run

Photo: @thebigelfrun / Instagram

About: The scenic route passes by over 13 city landmarks, and festive cheering and water stations, before finishing at the Winter Wonderland Park for post-run activities by the waterfront.
Date: Saturday December 15th, 2018
Cost: $5 – $30
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Nutcracker

About: Presenting five performances at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Goh Ballet’s rendition features an intricate cast of over two hundred and fifty dancers, actors, gymnasts and guest artists, including homegrown talent and principal dancers of international acclaim.
Date: Friday December 21st – Sunday December 23rd, 2018
Cost: $37.75 – $184.75
Time: 7:30 p.m.

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