It’s tough to save money during the holidays while going to gatherings of friends and family, hosting dinners, and exchanging gifts. However, I know of several activities that will get you in the holiday spirit without sliding you into debt. Here is my third annual list of Free Christmas Activities in Metro Vancouver*:
This list will be updated often throughout the season so be sure to bookmark it and check back regularly.
Free Christmas Activities Around Vancouver
- TELUS Santa Claus Parade in Downtown Vancouver on December 1st.
- St Paul’s Lights of Hope launch on November 16, 2018 at Burrard at Helmcken Street with the light display staying up all season.
- Thursday, December 6, 2018 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Yule Duel Choir Competition in Gastown, proceeds from donations support May’s Place Hospice.
- Vancouver Menorah Lighting on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at the Vancouver Art Gallery for Chanukah in the City.
- Festival of Trees at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver & CF Pacific Centre on display from November 21, 2018 to January 1, 2019. The 32nd annual Festival of Trees are on display supporting BC Children’s Hospital.
- Skating at Robson Square Ice Rink. Free when you bring your own skates. Open December 1, 2018 to February 2019. Free live music nightly starting mid-December.
- 25th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival on Friday, December 21, 2018 on Granville Island, in Chinatown, Strathcona, and Yaletown.
- Wesbrook Village holiday events November 17 to January 2019. Photos with Santa, light displays, games, and more. Check the event schedule to see what’s happening each weekend.
- Christmas at Canada Place December 7, 2018 to January 1, 2019 with free outdoor displays, lights, the legendary Woodward’s Windows, and more.
- Free family movie afternoons at Wesbrook Village, December 5, 12, and 19.
- Lumiere Light Displays in the West End. Luna the Orca, Luna the Whale, Eugenia the Tree and Stanley the Blue Heron will remain up in Morton Park/English Bay until February 2019.
Free Christmas Activities in Burnaby & New Westminster
- Burnaby Village Museum Heritage Christmas November 24, 2018 to January 4, 2019. Free gate admission includes light displays, entertainment, crafts, and more.
Free Christmas Activities in Langley & Fort Langley
- The Magic of Christmas on December 1, 2018 at McBurney Plaza. Langley City’s free family event to start the holiday season with tree lighting and caroling.
Free Christmas Activities in Surrey & White Rock
- Surrey Tree Lighting Festival on Saturday, November 24, 2018 from 12:00pm to 7:00pm with Warren Dean Flandez, Jessie Farrell, Dawn Pemberton and Lovecoast.
- Big Rigs for Kids and Santa Parade on December 2, 2018.
- Heritage Christmas at Historic Stewart Farm, December 8, 2018 from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Enter the world of an old-fashioned Christmas at the Historic Stewart Farm.
- Christmas on the Peninsula in White Rock on November 24, 2018.
- Very Vintage Christmas at the Museum of Surrey on December 8, 2018.
- Gingerbread Village at Central City on display December 8-16, 2018.
Free Christmas Activities in Abbotsford
- Holidays at Highstreet Tree Lighting, November 17, 2108 and entertainment on Saturdays, November 17 to December 15, 2018.
- Abbotsford Historic Downtown Lighting event on Saturday, December 1, 2018.
Free Christmas Activities in the Tri-Cities
- Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam kick-off event November 24, 2018 and throughout the season until January 21, 2018. Hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, 10 themed zones and more.
- Port Moody Christmas Craft Fair on December 8, 2018. There is no fee for entry, but donations to the Share Family and Community Services Society are appreciated.
- Holiday Cheer at the Pier in Port Moody on December 1, 2018 – join your friends and neighbours at Rocky Point Park to celebrate the holiday season at Rocky Point Park.
- Christmas in Leigh Square and Winter Artisan Market on November 24, 2018 with gingerbread decorating, artisan market, photos with Santa, and lighting ceremony at the bandshell.
- The CP Holiday Train arrives in Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, and Port Coquitlam December 17-18, 2018 with a free concert from Sam Roberts Band, Kelly Prescott and Tracey Brown.
Free Christmas Activities on the North Shore
- Park & Tilford Hi-Light Festival opens November 30, 2018 from 7:00pm-10:00pm and runs until December 31, 2018. The 30th annual Holiday Hi-Light Festival features a majestic festival of lights with over 150,000 on display over 3 acres.
- Dundarave Festival of lights with free concerts every Saturday in December.
- Holiday Events at Lonsdale Quay from November 21 to December 23, 2018. Menorah Lighting on December 4, Storytime with Santa on December 8, and more.
Free Christmas Activities in Richmond
- Steveston Museum Lights in the Park on display December 1 to 31, 2018 in Town Square Park
- Sparkle Brighter at MacArthur Glen on November 22, 2018 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. Christmas carols, guests from the North pole, photo-worthy Christmas decor, and a 52-foot Christmas tree that Santa himself will be switching on at the stroke of 7:00pm.
If you have any other events to add, send them in via my contact form and I’ll include them (free or not) on the December event list. Thank you!
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* Please note that there may be costs associated with extra activities at these events and attractions, such as food/snacks, admission to other attractions or sites, etc. This post covers information available at the time of publishing and any posted signage or fees at these activities should be observed.