The Best Vancouver Christmas Events 2018
Looking for the top Vancouver Christmas activities and events for 2018? Check out our list of Yuletide favourites including the lively German Christmas market, the festive Van Dusen Gardens Christmas lights, the Bright Nights Stanley Park Christmas Train and the brand new Vancouver Aurora Winter Festival. You’ll be busy all season long !
Save Money: I recommend checking sites such as Get Your Guide for discounts on Vancouver Christmas attractions. For example, I have seen discounts a great as 40% for a combined Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour offered by The Vancouver Trolley Bus Company (see deal) that takes in Bright Lights Stanley Park, the VanDusen Lights and St. Paul’s Lights of Hope in a single evening.
1. Vancouver Aurora Winter Festival
This Christmas season, experience Canada’s largest winter festival. Escape to a hidden village with a beautiful skating rink, a tube park, massive light displays, a Christmas market, rides, food trucks, magical characters, and plenty of other exciting activities.
Where: Concorde Pacific Place – 811 Carrall St. (See map here.)
When: Nov. 23rd – Dec. 30th, 2018 with some closure days (see site)
Cost: Adult (13-64) $19.99, Seniors $14.99, Children (4-12) $14.99, Family Pass (2 adults, 3 kids) $59.99.
Extras: Please note that tube rides, ice skate rentals and amusements rides cost extra (tickets available on site).
Learn more: https://www.aurorawinterfestival.com/vancouver/
2. The Vancouver Christmas Market
This popular Vancouver Xmas Market is guaranteed to get you in a festive mood! The outdoor village includes entertainment for both kids and adults including live music, a Christmas carousel, gingerbread decorating, fantastic food and drink options (get your 2018 collector’s Christmas mug), roaming gingerbread mascots, and a 30 foot twinkling Christmas tree (great for those holiday selfies!). You may also find the perfect gift or ornament at one of more than 75 artisan huts within the plaza.
Where: Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place (map)
When: Nov. 21st – Dec. 24th 2018
Cost: Adult $10, Seniors $9 Youth (7-12 years) $5, 6 and under are free. This season, the Christmas German Market Vancouver has teamed up with Flyover Canada to offer a special combo deal. Check the website below for details.
Learn more: http://vancouverchristmasmarket.com
3. Van Dusen Festival of Lights
Over one million tiny bulbs make up the VanDusen Botanical Garden Christmas lights display – transforming this beautiful green space into a festive winter wonderland. Kids will enjoy taking photos with Santa, riding the carousel (free ride with admission), watching the dancing lights show on Livingstone Lake, and singing holiday classics by the Festival Stage.
Where: 5251 Oak Street (map)
When: Dec. 1st 2018 to Jan. 6th 2019 (closed on Christmas Day)
Cost: Adult $20, Senior and Youth (13-18) $15.50, Child (4-12) $12, Tot (0-3) Free. Tickets can be purchased in person at the VanDusen Gardens Visitors Centre, or online for a small discount at http://vandusenfestivaloflights.ca.
Phone: +1 (604) 257-8335
Learn more at: http://vandusenfestivaloflights.ca/
4. Grouse Mountain Christmas – Peak of Christmas
For the Peak of Christmas Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is transformed into the North Pole, including the SOS Gingerbread Village, Santa’s workshop, elf craft station, ice skating rink, sleigh rides, magical light walk in the trees, a sliding centre and more.
Where: 6400 Nancy Greene Way (map)
When: Nov. 23rd, 2018 – Jan. 6th, 2019
Check website for special events schedule including Breakfast with Santa.
Cost: Adult (17-64) $56, Seniors $49, Children (5-16) $29, Tots (0-4) Free, Family Pass (2 adults, 2 kids) $89.
Phone: +1(604) 980-9311
Learn more at: www.grousemountain.com/peak-of-christmas
5. Christmas Canada Place
Capture the spirit of the season with Christmas at Canada Place presented by the Port of Vancouver. Experience the nostalgic tradition of the Woodward’s Windows, Canada’s North light display, the Sails of Light, and the festive Avenue of Trees.
6. Canyon Lights – Capilano Suspension Bridge Christmas
Transformed for the festive season and decorated in thousands of lights are the suspension bridge, the Treetops Adventure, the Cliffwalk, the rainforest and the canyon. Go on a Snowy Owl Prowl, decorate gingerbread cookies and make your own Christmas card in the Winter Pavilion, and sing-along with the holiday band.
Where: 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver (map)
When: Nov. 22nd 2018 – Jan. 27th, 2019 (closed on Christmas Day)
Cost: Adult $46.95, Senior $42.95, student 17+ with ID $34.95, Youth (13-16) $27.95, Child (6-12) $14.95, Under 6 are free. Skip the line by purchasing tickets ahead of time online. Buy here (no additional service charge).
Phone: +1 (604) 985-7474
Important Note: Strollers are not permitted on the attractions (suspension bridge etc.)
Learn more at: www.capbridge.com/explore/canyon-lights
7. Robson Square Skating
Surrounded by festively decorated trees, the Robson Square Ice Rink is a perfect place to throw down a triple axel in celebration of the holidays (just don’t throw out your back).
Where: Downstairs at Robson + Howe Street (map)
When: Dec. 1, 2018 – Feb. 28, 2019
Cost: Skating is free, skate rental $5, helmets are free with skate rental.
Phone: +1 (604) 646-3554
Learn more at: http://www.robsonsquare.com/en/
8. Vancouver Santa Claus Parade 2018
Kids will get a kick out of waving to Santa in the 15th annual Santa Claus Parade. Join in the pre-parade festivities at Christmas Square in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, including gingerbread decorating, face painting, Letters to Santa station, balloon twisting, and live entertainment.
Where: West along Georgia and then South along Howe. See complete Vancouver Santa Claus parade route here.
When: Sunday Dec. 2nd 2018, 12pm.
Time: Enjoy family-friendly festivities in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery from 10:00am. Parade starts at 12pm.
Cost: A donation to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society can be dropped off at Christmas Square, although there will also be people collecting donations along the parade route.
Learn more at: http://vancouversantaclausparade.com/parade-information/
9. Christmas Train Stanley Park – Bright Lights Vancouver
A true Vancouver tradition, the Bright Nights Christmas Train and Plaza at Stanley Park simply glows with 3 million lights, festive music and live actors making their rounds. Due to its immense popularity, tickets for the train are best bought ahead online. Even if you cannot score a ticket for the train it still makes for a nice festive evening to visit the Bright Lights Plaza where entry is by donation and partial proceeds go to the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund.
Where: 2099 Beach Ave (map)
When : Nov. 29th 2018 – Jan. 5th 2019 (closed on Christmas Day)
Cost for Train: adults $12.60, seniors and youth (12-17) $9.45, children (3-11) $8.40, tots (0-2) free.
There is a reduced rate for the matinee train of $6.30 for everyone (10am-2:45pm on select dates). Tickets are best purchased online ahead of time due to high demand at ticketleader.ca (service charge will be applied). You may also buy tickets at the booth in the train park, but time slots go quickly so be sure to arrive very early.
Phone: +1 (604) 257-8531
Learn more at: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx
10. Christmas at Flyover Canada
Flyover Canada’s family-friendly flight simulation ride, uses the latest in projection to create a true flying experience (complete with wind, scents and mist !). During the Christmas holiday season, flyers are taken on a magical journey with Santa across Canada and on to the North Pole. The festive experience is enhanced with holiday music, lights, hot drinks and festive food.
Where: #201 – 999 Canada Place (map)
When: Nov. 22rd, 2018 – Jan. 6th, 2019 (closed on Christmas Day)
Cost: Adult $30, Senior $27, Student and Youth $23, child (12 and under) $16.02. Buy tickets online here.
Phone: +1 (604) 620-8455
Learn more at: www.flyovercanada.com/christmas/
11. Vancouver Lights of Hope
This spectacular volunteer-driven display of lights is an annual fundraising initiative for St. Paul’s Hospital.
Where: 1081 Burrard Street
When: Nov. 23rd 2018 – Jan. 6th 2019
Cost: A donation to help St. Paul’s hospital reach their fundraising goal is appreciated.
Learn more at: http://lightsofhope.helpstpauls.com
12. Goh Ballet Nutcracker
Experience Clara’s dream come to life as she embarks on a magical journey through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets where she is greeted by the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy. An unforgettable adventure awaits as her gallant Nutcracker battles the evil Mouse King and his army of mischievous mice. This heart-warming production is sure to delight audiences of all ages with more than 200 glittering costumes, dramatic sets and valuable lessons – all danced to Tchaikovsky’s memorable score performed live by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.