The countdown is on and the holiday season has arrived – and with it, a flurry of fun family activities in Vancouver in December and beyond, all month long. From European-style Christmas markets to impressive outdoor light displays, there’s something for everyone in the coming weeks (and even a few non-holiday events for those who need a break from all the Yule time cheer.) Don’t forget to grab your Christmas tree! Here’s our round-up of festive activities to check out in the next few weeks. Outsource that holiday dinner so you can take them all in…
What’s On for Family Fun in Vancouver in December
Lights at Lafarge
When: November 26 – January 31
Join local holiday revellers at the kickoff event for the annual Lights at Lafarge with live entertainment, musical performances, food trucks and more on November 26 – then return any time through the holidays until the end of January to enjoy the lights all over again. This light display circles Lafarge Lake at Town Centre Park; this year, two paths will be available to help ease congestion on busy nights.
Flyover Canada – Soar With Santa
When: December 8 to January 3
Returning for the holiday season, this popular “flight” has become an annual tradition for many. Soar through the skies with Santa’s sleigh for a special seasonal trip. And if the holiday ride isn’t of interest and you’re craving sunny shores, check out the limited time run of Soar over Hawaii, on until December 16.
VanDusen Festival of Lights
When: November 25 to January 2
With more than one million lights over the 15 acres of landscaped gardens at VanDusen Botanical Garden, this is a winter wonderland not to be missed. Light a candle at the Scottish Shelter as part of a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. The display has various themed sections, holiday music and snacks for purchase.
PNE Winter Fair
When: December 14 to 23
Where: PNE fairgrounds, East Vancouver
The PNE conjures up images of sunny days and fairground fun but this year, it’s taking winter by storm with an immersive and magical holiday experience, featuring a nightly concert series, an indoor skating rink, holiday theatre shows, a winter market and food trucks – not to mention a walk-through winter light display.
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge
When: on now until January 22
Where: North Vancouver
A popular destination with tourists and locals alike, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park will transform until late January for the festive Canyon Lights celebration. Cross the bridge, covered in multicoloured lights, then head into the forest via suspended bridges high among the treetops, the forest illuminated with glowing lights. There’s a light tunnel, too. Remember, this one is all outdoors, so dress for the weather.
Glow Gardens in Langley
When: November 23 to December 31
Enjoy food trucks, hot chocolate, and much more at Glow Gardens. From an animated musical tunnel of lights to a scavenger hunt, there’s plenty here for kids of all ages. Wander through the “Forest of the Dancing Trees” and visit the Elf Castle, or take a ride on the “Glow-Comotive.”
Bright Nights at Stanley Park
When: December 1 to January 1
Where: Stanley Park, Vancouver
Things will look a little different this year at Bright Nights, but the fun will remain unchanged. There won’t be any vintage trains doing runs through the forest but the area will be lit up with thousands of lights and unique displays, incluing a sparkling tunnel of lights in the plaza. There will also be an antique fire truck on display, along with food vendors offering a variety of treats. Check out Santa’s workshop and enjoy a magical night in Stanley Park. Entrance is by donation with money going to the Burn Fund.
Lights by the Lake
When: on now until January 8
Where: Harrison Hot Springs
Head out to the Fraser Valley and take in this unique holiday celebration with light displays along the waterfront in Harrison Hot Springs. The displays highlight local wildlife, including the elusive Sasquatch. Lights are on from dusk to 11 pm, along a two kilometre portion of the waterfront promenade. The Starlight Synthetic Rink runs from Thursday to Monday, 1 pm to 9 pm.
Beyond King Tut
When: on now until January 8
Need a break from the holiday music and twinkly lights? Check out Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience at the Convention Centre this month. The show and exhibition takes visitors on a journey through one of the great wonders of the world – the pyramids and temples of ancient Egypt. Learn more about King Tut, and the world as it existed 3,000 years ago.
Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum
When: November 26 to January 2
One of the region’s most popular holiday events returns to the heart of Burnaby with Heritage Christmas, presented by Concord Pacific at the Burnaby Village Museum. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of an old fashioned Christmas celebration, with entertainment, demonstrations and more throughout the 10-acre village, which replicates a 1920’s era community. Many of the village’s buildings and features are original, having been moved to the museum site for preservation.
Vancouver Christmas Market
When: on now until December 24
Eat, drink, shop and be merry at the popular Vancouver Christmas Market, now at Jack Poole Plaza near the Vancouver Convention Centre. This European-themed market features unique vendors, light displays and a new augmented reality experience for visitors. Find some holiday gifts and decorations, or just enjoy the pretzels and mulled wine (to name just a few of the treats.)
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