Top things to do in Vancouver this Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  The lights twinkle a little more brightly, the air is crisp, and there’s a party going somewhere.

Best Vancouver Christmas Attractions

Vancouver Christmas Market

I love the Vancouver Christmas Market, it’s a taste of Europe here in Vancouver. The new location is pretty swank this year.  Running November 26 to December 31, 2016, enjoy the 7th Annual Vancouver Christmas Market. An authentic German-inspired Christmas Market creates the perfect atmosphere to mix and mingle with friends and family, have a quick drink after work or do lunch, and take in a wide variety of cultural activities and entertainment.

Visit the Vancouver Christmas Market and experience a mix of traditional food and beverage, as well as a selection of authentic wood carvings and toys, knitted goods, nutcrackers, pottery and other unique gifts. Explore downtown’s Vancouver’s only Christmas Carousel.

When: Open daily from 11am to 9pm from November 26 to December 31, 2016 (Closed at 6pm on December 24th, and closed Christmas Day).

New Location: Jack Poole Plaza (home of the 2010 Olympic Cauldron). 1055 Canada Place,Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,V6C 3E1.

Admission is $8 for adults, but you can drop in for lunch 11am-2pm Monday – Friday for half-off. Youth 7-12 admission is $4. Children under 6 enter for free.  When you Buy Online you automatically receive a free Season Pass andExpress Lane access (good to return all season long after your first visit).

VanDusen Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights VanDusen Garden Vancouver Christmas
Festival of Lights VanDusen Garden Vancouver Christmas

Experience VanDusen Festival of Lights, a magical winter wonderland with over one million lights decorating VanDusen Botanical Garden open from December 1 to January 2.

This year is expanded to include a new carousel and all entry tickets include a free ride!

Stroll with friends and family through interactive themed areas, enjoy the famous Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake, look for roving Scandinavian gnomes and reindeer in the garden, light a candle at the Make-A-Wish candle grotto, take a photo with Santa, and much more!

When / Hours: December 1 – 15 from 4:30pm – 9:00pm. December 16 – 23 from 4:30pm – 10:00pm. December 24 from 4:30pm – 9:00pm. December 25 Closed. December 26 – January 2 from 4:30pm – 9:00pm.

Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden is at 5251 Oak Street in Vancouver.

Admission at the gate: Adults 19 – 64 years $17.86. Youth 13 – 18 years $13.81.  Child 4 – 12 years $10.71. Child 3 and under can enter for Free. Online tickets are around $2 cheaper.

Top Free Things to do in Vancouver this Holiday Season

St. Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope 2016 & Fireworks

On Thursday, November 24th when the 2016 display will be lit for the first time and thousands of Vancouverites and tourists gather around Burrard Street come and from  6:00 PM – 8:00 PM enjoy the experience of the annual fireworks display at St. Paul’s in Downtown Vancouver.

Since 1998, St. Paul’s Foundation has illuminated the streets with a breathtaking display of Christmas lights in support of Lights of Hope, the annual fundraising campaign for the hospital’s greatest needs. Watch as over 100,000 light bulbs, spanning a length of more than 10 kilometres sparkle in the night sky, feast at the food trucks lining the street, and listen to the soaring voices of choirs singing christmas carols.

When: On Thursday, November 24, from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM on Burrard Street come to celebrate turning on the Lights of Hope display for the first time during a Community Celebration with fireworks, food trucks and entertainment.  The ‘Lights of Hope’ are turned on over the holiday season.

Location: In front of St. Paul’s Hospital, 1081 Burrard Street

Admission is Free but even the smallest donation supports the needs of the community.

CandyTown 2016

Yaletown’s annual free holiday festival returns on Saturday November 26 from 12pm to 7pm, Mainland street will be decked out in true holiday style for this festive community celebration.

Christmas lovers will find plenty here to spark their desires, from CandyTown themed cocktails (try the CandyCane martini at OPUS Bar) to horse-drawn carriage rides that cruise along Pacific (rides are 15 minutes and depart from Salsa and Agave on Pacific Boulevard, with a suggested donation of $2). Food trucks will be on-site, such as Cloud Nine Cotton Candy Co., Hugs by Mollie’s Minis and Old Country Pierogi, and Yaletown restaurants such as Earls and Rodney’s Oyster House will create seasonal morsels. More than 15 additional food vendors will also serve mouthwatering fare, including Bella Gelateria, Bluebird Cakery, and Damien’s Belgian Waffles. 

When: Saturday, November 26 from 12pm to 7pm

Location: Mainland street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Admission is Free.

Robson Square Ice Rink – Skating Is Free

The Robson Square Ice Rink is open December 1st, 2016  until the 14th of February 2017 (so you can take your Valentine on the last day!). This open air ice rink in the heart of Downtown Vancouver is open daily. Almost a ‘best kept secrets’, a great and often uncrowded way to introduce kids and young-at-hearts to ice skating.

When: December 1, 2016 to Feb 14 2017

Location: Robson Square, Vancouver

Admission is Free to skate. Skate Rentals $4.

Rogers Santa Claus Parade

The 13th Annual  2016 Rogers Santa Claus Parade has a new route and start time! Each year this free event attracts over 300,000 spectators to downtown Vancouver. This year’s Parade will feature more than 50 marching bands, choirs, festive floats, and community groups. The festivities begin at 10:00am with two hours of family entertainment at the Coast Capital Savings Christmas Square at the 800 block of Robson Street (between Howe and Hornby on the south side of the Vancouver Art Gallery). Christmas Square includes the Food Bank drop-off zone, gingerbread decorating station, face painting, Letters to Santa station and an entertainment stage featuring several music and dance performances.

When: Sunday, December 4. Parade starts an noon, 12pm

Location: The Parade is in downtown Vancouver, located just blocks from the Burrard, City Centre, Granville and Waterfront SkyTrain stations.

Parade route:
The Parade starts at Georgia and Broughton, travels east on Georgia, turns south on Howe, and finishes at Howe and Smithe (1.4 km). Download the Parade Route here.

Welcome to Vancouver’s Winter Wonderland