Guide to Holiday Fun in Vancouver

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Looking for family fun, a little holiday cheer, or dazzling date night inspiration this season? This season you can experience some magic moments at a light display, a mountain top skating pond, over a holiday meal or cocktail, or simply by finding the perfect gifts for the ones you love. I have teamed up with Tourism Vancouver to present the ultimate guide to holiday fun in Vancouver:

Guide to Holiday Fun in Vancouver

VanDusen Festival of Lights - Holiday Fun in Vancouver
A rainy night is still bright at VanDusen Festival of Lights!

Light Displays

Make dark days and nights bright with these featured light displays!

VanDusen Festival of Lights takes over the 22 hectare urban oasis with lights sparkling throughout this lush landscape. Take a ride on the holiday carousel, be mesmerized by lights dancing to music on Livingstone Lake, sing along with Tinsel Tunes, warm up in the Fireside Lounge, and visit the Make-A-Wish Grotto to light a candle. On now until January 5, 2020.

Canyon Lights WideShot - Holiday Fun in Vancouver
Canyon Lights Photo by Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Take the free shuttle from Downtown Vancouver, visit the world’s tallest living Christmas tree and enjoy hundreds of thousands of lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park’s Canyon Lights. Snap pics at the illuminated Treetops AdventureCliffwalk, rainforest and all around the canyon which will be transformed into a world of visual enchantment. On now until January 26, 2020.


Take a stroll down Robson Street and pop in to shop all your favourite stores, from Aritzia and L’Occitane to Muji and Indigo. At Nordstorm Pacific Centre you can even write a letter to Santa – and he’ll write back! You’ll find stocking stuffers, gift cards, and something for everyone on your list at Metro Vancouver’s major shopping destinations that include Oakridge Centre, Park Royal Shopping Centre and Metropolis at Metrotown.

Vancouver Christmas Market. Photo by Lindsay Elliott.
Vancouver Christmas Market. Photo by Lindsay Elliott

Looking for some uniquely crafted, artisanal, one-of-a-kind items? Shop from over 80 huts at the Vancouver Christmas Market. John and I found some beeswax wrappers (which replace single-use plastic wrap), candles, soaps, wooden cutting boards, hand-painted ornaments, mulling spices, and warm fuzzy alpaca wool scarves – just the name a few of the gift ideas that may breathe life into your shopping list.


Like out of your favourite holiday movie, you can don your favourite pompom-topped toque, wrap a scarf around your sweetheart, and head to the rink for some good old fashioned ice skating.

Grouse Mountain Peak of Christmas Skating - Holiday Fun in Vancouver
Peak of Christmas photo by Grouse Mountain

The dazzling world of illuminated winter wonder at Aurora Festival Vancouver at the PNE Grounds is also home to the Skating Pond. Skating is included in your Aurora admission and you can bring your own skate or rent for $6. On now until January 5, 2020.

At the Peak of Christmas on Grouse Mountain you can go for a glide on a 8,000 square foot ice skating pond – the only one of its kind on the West Coast. Access to the skating pond is always complimentary with your Grouse Mountain Alpine Experience admission ticket, Membership, Winter Pass, or Lift Ticket. You can rent skates for all sizes at the Fireside Hut (located next to the Skating Pond) or bring your own.


H2 S'mores - Holiday Fun in Vancouver
S’mores at H2 (there’s even chocolate in the skillet under the marshmallows!)

Skating, strolling, shopping, how about stopping for some sipping and savouring? Botanist at Fairmont Pacific Rim is stirring up a collection of winter-inspired craft cocktails. The Fairmont Waterfront is offering an evening of live music and a three-course dinner with festive favourites complete with sweet treats.

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s Notch 8 has a Nutcracker-themed Afternoon Tea, and H2 Rotisserie & Bar at the Westin Bayshore has Festive Turkey Takeout and Christmas Brunch. Christmas Eve Dinner, Christmas Day Brunch and Christmas Day Dinner will all be served up at YEW Seafood + Bar at the Four Seasons.

Visit Santa

Stanley Park in December is simply enchanting and at Bright Nights, you can not only take a ride on the holiday train but you can also visit with Santa himself! You’ll find him there every day until December 24th at the Railway Plaza’s North Pole. Photos are $10 and all proceeds go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

The Nutcracker Ballet

Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker

The tunes and visuals from this show define the holidays for many; it’s classic, whimsical, and filled with magic! Catch Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker live on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from December 20-22, 2019. A traditional rendition of a classical masterpiece, The Nutcracker features local and international dancers from The National Ballet of Canada, The Bavarian State Ballet, and National Ballet of China.

Stay a While

Stay Vancouver Hotels is running a #VeryMerryVancouver promotion right now. Check in to one of 38 participating downtown Vancouver hotels (ranging from budget to luxury) and get a Visa Prepaid Card valued between $50-$125 for your first night’s stay. Plus, each additional night comes with another $50 Visa Prepaid Card, no matter how long you stay. You can also enter to win prizes from some of the beautiful attractions mentioned in this guide!

More Holiday Fun in Vancouver

For more information, things to do, and inspiration, visit Tourism Vancouver’s online holiday guide here and follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter #VeryVancouver.

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