Christmas in Vancouver, BC: The Best Things to Do
Vancouver is a wonderful place to be during the Christmas season. There are tons of light shows, snowcapped mountains and outdoor activities to enjoy. I’ve been spending the last three or four Christmasses in Vancouver every year, with the exception of staying in Mexico for Christmas last year. It’s always a great place to be and there are so many fun things to do and see. With the help of some wonderful fellow travel bloggers, writers, and photographers, we have put together this list of some of the amazing things to do during Christmas in Vancouver.
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Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridges
Submitted by April from Just Leaving Footprints
A few years ago I went with a couple of friends to see the Canyon Lights at Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridges and had such an amazing time. The Capilano Suspension Bridges are open year-round for hiking and daytime enjoyment. However, in the winter you can enjoy the Canyon Lights Winter Festival at the bridges. This festival runs from late November to late January each year.
The first bridge you will cross is the longest one and takes you into the forest. There are thousands of dazzling sparkling lights that you can see all around you. When you reach the other side after the first bridge, you will enter a series of smaller bridges that run high into the treetops of the forest. Twinkling lights sparkle all around you and when you come down you will see incredible reflections of globe-shaped lights hovering over a small lake. It’s really like walking into a nighttime fairy tale. To find out more information check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge website here.
Bright Nights in Stanley Park
Submitted by April from Just Leaving Footprints
Another great thing to do in Vancouver is to visit Stanley Park for their Bright Nights event! Visiting the Christmas light display in Stanley Park is a super fun experience and costs are all by donation. Wander through the twinkling lights displays, listen to Christmas music, and more! You can even get in line to ride the Bright Nights Christmas Train!
When I visited, I arrived at the park quite late in the evening and the line up for the train was super long. We chose not to go on the train but instead just wander around the light displays and we still had a wonderful time! If you want to ride the train, make sure you get there pretty early. The train usually runs from 3 pm to 10 pm. You can find more information about donations and hours here.
April has been blogging here at Just Leaving Footprints for almost 5 years. She has also written for publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak.
Skiing at Cypress Mountain
Submitted by Josy Austin from A Walk and A Lark
One of the best things about Vancouver at Christmastime is when it is raining in the city, that means it’ll be snowing up in the North Shore Mountains! There are 3 ski resorts that overlook the city, but for me the most fun option is Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver.
You can catch a shuttle bus or drive for 25-30 minutes to reach the ski slopes. Once you’re there, you will love it. There are a whole range of downhill ski runs spread over two peaks, of varying levels of difficulty. Or, if you’re not into skiing, you can try tubing or snowshoeing in the “Nordic” area of the resort. Or relax in the lodge with a hot chocolate.
Submitted by Catherine Ryan Gregory from To & Fro Fam
Aurora Winter Festival
Submitted by Katy Liang from Photospired.
VanDusen Festival of Lights
Submitted by Hannah Kacary from That Adventurer
Snowshoeing at Dog Mountain
Submitted by Alison Hodgins from Around the World with Alison.
Vancouver is minutes away from a real-life Winter Wonderland—AKA, the mountains. As the online editor for an outdoor adventure publication, I spend more time climbing through emerald forests and navigating the spines of craggy peaks than I do admiring artificial lights or wandering through craft markets. There’s beauty to be found in both, but I feel more alive, grateful and present when I’m outside working up a sweat. Plus, it’s free! One of the best (and easiest) winter adventures for newbie explorers is snowshoeing Dog Mountain. This short trail is well-loved by pups and people alike. It’s located on Mount Seymour ski resort, so you could also pop on skis or a snowboard if you prefer to let gravity do the work.
Alison Hodgins is a Canadian backpacker who works for Explore Magazine as an Editor and Writer. She also writes about her travels at Around the World with Alison. You can also see more of her travels and photography on her Instagram page here.
Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain
Submitted by Emma from Forever Lost in Travel
Grouse Mountain is one of my favorite places to visit around Christmas. Despite already being one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions year-round, they go even BIGGER for Christmas. Starting around the end of November every year, The Peak of Christmas is the place to go to really get in the mood for the season. For one thing, it’s where you’ll likely find some snow because even though Vancouver is in Canada, it isn’t often snowy like the rest of the country. But at the top of Grouse Mountain, you’ll be able to look down on the beautiful city below surrounded by softly falling white snow for a picture-perfect winter wonderland scene.
While a lot of the activities are geared towards kids and families (Santa’s workshop, Christmas holiday specials in the movie theater and real-life reindeer to visit), it’s honestly just as fun for the big kids. My friends and I often go for a girls’ “Christmas day of fun” day. And I love nothing more than getting a hot chocolate from the cafe and taking a seat by the roaring fire in the main lodge (preferably with a book). There are outdoor activities too like a Christmas lights walk, an ice skating pond and skiing or snow-shoeing. Ticket prices are around $50 not including rental costs if you do an outdoor activity but check for family deals or locals rates. It’s best to get there earlier in the day so you can enjoy more of the fun.
Emma is from the UK and currently lives in Vancouver. Emma writes about her travels at Forever Lost in Travel. You can find a wonderful article by her on street art in Vancouver here.
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