The latest trend in gift-giving is experiences; going to shows, holiday attractions, and generally spending time with those you love. It’s zero waste and it feels really, really good. If you’re looking for some experiences this season that won’t break the bank, here is my 4th annual list of Free Christmas Activities Around 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
- St Paul’s Lights of Hope launch on November 14, 2019 at Burrard at Helmcken Street with the light display staying up all season.
- Tree Lighting at CF Pacific Centre on November 14, 2019.
- TELUS Santa Claus Parade in Downtown Vancouver on December 1st.
- Yule Duel Carolling for a Cause in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery Thursday, December 5, 2019.
- CBC Vancouver Open House & Food Bank Day is December 6, 2019. Meet your local CBC hosts, get newsroom tours, support a great cause.
- Skating at Robson Square Ice Rink. Free when you bring your own skates. Open December 1, 2019 to February 2019.
- 25th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival on Friday, December 21, 2019 on Granville Island, in Chinatown, Strathcona, and Yaletown.
- Chanukah Chocolate Party at the Jewish Community Centre December 15, 2019 free with donation to the Jewish Food Bank.
- Christmas at Canada Place December 6, 2019 to January 1, 2020 with free outdoor displays, lights, the legendary Woodward’s Windows, and more.
- Winter’s Dance on Robson, mixed reality dance performances and interactive light installations inspired by The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty December 7, 14 and 21, 2019.
- FAO Schwarz Holiday Pop-Up Vancouver – Holiday Photo Booth and Card Making on November 30, 2019. Free but registration is required.
- The 12 Days of Christmas at the Robson Square ice rink (December 13-24, 2019 and December 31, 2019) where your free skating session is complimented with live music from local talents. (Skate rental $5).
- Honourable mention: When you pay admission for VanDusen Festival of Lights you’ll get a free ticket to Festivale Tropicale at the Bloedel Conservatory.
Free Christmas Activities in Burnaby & New Westminster
- New Westminster Santa Parade along Columbia Street on December 15, 2019.
- Winter Celebrations at the Anvil Centre December 18, 2019 to January 5, 2020.
- Bright in Burnaby November 23, 2019 kick off for the season of Burnaby Village Museum Heritage Christmas November 23, 2019 – January 3, 2020. Free gate admission includes light displays, entertainment, crafts, and more.
- Fridays on Front special holiday edition on December 13, 2019.
Free Christmas Activities in Langley & Fort Langley
- The Magic of Christmas on December 7, 2019 at McBurney Plaza. Langley City’s free family event to start the holiday season with tree lighting and carolling.
- Aldergrove Christmas Light Up Parade on December 14, 2019.
Free Christmas Activities in Delta & Tsawwassen
- Rotary Club of Tsawwassen’s Gift of Light at Diefenbaker Park on December 1, 2019. Over 25,000 lights on more than 40 trees to light up the park with a spectacular display. Entertainment, Santa photos, face painting and more.
Free Christmas Activities in Surrey & White Rock
- Bear Creek Part Lights from November 2-15, 2019
- Surrey Tree Lighting Festival on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at City Hall Plaza.
- Big Rigs for Kids and Santa Parade on December 1, 2019 with parade in Cloverdale and then a family festival at Surrey City Hall.
- Heritage Christmas at Historic Stewart Farm, December 7, 2019 from 3:00pm to 7:00pm.
- Jingle Bell White Rock on December 7, 2019 with free photos with Santa, Christmas carolers and music performances, hot chocolate station, gingerbread decorating, ornament making and more.
- Christmas on the Peninsula in White Rock on November 30, 2019.
- Very Vintage Christmas at the Museum of Surrey on December 14, 2019.
- Festival of Trees at the Surrey Museum December 1-21, 2019 along with a kick-off event on December 1st.
- Gingerbread Village at Central City on display December 7-15, 2019.
Free Christmas Activities in Abbotsford & Chilliwack
- Highstreet’s Annual Tree Lighting and Holiday Show, November 16, 2019 and entertainment on Saturdays, November 16 to December 14, 2019.
- Downtown Abbotsford Winter Jubilee event on November 23, 2019.
- Harrison Lights by the Lake, November 23 to January 12, 2020.
Free Christmas Activities in the Tri-Cities
- Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam kick-off event November 30, 2019 and throughout the season until January 19, 2020. Hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, 10 themed zones and more.
- Jingle Bells Night at Lights at Lafarge on December 20th.
- Port Moody Christmas Craft Fair on November 30, 2019. There is no fee for entry, but donations to the DTES Women’s Centre are appreciated.
- Holiday Cheer at the Pier in Port Moody on November 30, 2019 – join your friends and neighbours at Rocky Point Park to celebrate the holiday season at Rocky Point Park.
- The CP Holiday Train arrives in Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, and Port Coquitlam December 16-17, 2019 with a free concert from Terri Clark.
- 35th Annual Mission Candlelight Parade on December 6, 2019.
Free Christmas Activities on the North Shore
- Dundarave Festival of lights with free concerts every Saturday in December.
- Burrard Yacht Club Festival of Lights Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 6:00pm. A flotilla of brightly lit and decorated boats from the Burrard Yacht Club will sail past the Shipyards at the Lonsdale Quay to celebrate the start of the holiday season on the North Shore.
- Spirit of Christmas at the Shipyards, December 13-24, 2019 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm nightly with free live entertainment and family activities.
- Park and Tilford Holiday Hi-Light Festival until December 31, 2019 (Park & Tilford Gardens, 333 Brooksbank Avenue). This annual event features a majestic festival of lights with over 150,000 lights on display over 3 acres.Entry is by donation with proceeds going to support the North Vancouver firefighters, and their various appointed charities.
Free Christmas Activities in Richmond
- Steveston Museum Lights in the Park on display December 1 to 31, 2019 in Town Square Park
- Steveston Santa Claus Parade on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2019) from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. This free, family event accepts both cash and food donations for the Richmond Food Bank. Parade begins from Regent Street at 6th Avenue.
If you have any other free Christmas activities around Vancouver 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.