Besides shopping for Christmas gifts and tasting festive dishes at your favourite restaurants, one of the most popular traditions of the season is enjoying holiday lights around town.
There is no shortage of these colourful light installations across Metro Vancouver, which range from the popular Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden to new additions like Glow Christmas Light Garden and Market in Langley.
We find that that grabbing a cup of hot chocolate or hot apple cider elevates the experience even more—it keeps you warm and toasty amidst the chilly weather.
Here are 9 places to enjoy holiday lights around the city.
Stanley Park’s classic holiday tradition returns with three million colourful lights, complete with sparkling reindeers, snowflakes, and trees. Take a ride on the iconic Bright Nights Train to see even more displays and lights, as well as a live performer (on the night train). Admission to the event is by donation, and train tickets can be purchased online. A portion of the ticket sales and entrance donations go toward the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.
Where: On Pipeline Road in Stanley Park, via the West Georgia Street park entrance.
When: Through January 6, 2018 with various hours; closed on December 25.
Known as a Winter Lights Festival, guests can expect hundreds of thousands of lights that transform this popular summer attraction into a twinkling oasis for the holiday season. The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, rainforest, and canyon are all covered in bright lights. New to this year’s event are the 30-ton decorated Douglas firs, which are the tallest Christmas trees in the world. Besides being enchanted by lights, check out the Snowy Owl Prowl, decorate gingerbread cookies (by donation), or sing along with the holiday band. Tickets ($14.95 to $42.95) can be purchased online.
Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge, 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver.
When: Through January 28, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed on December 25.
With over one million lights decorating this garden, your breath will be taken away by the spectacular views—think glistening lake water and trees. Highlights include the dancing lights synchronized to music on Livingstone Lake, the festival stage with live performances, as well as the Air France carousel. Tickets ($11 to $18.50) can be purchased online.
Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak Street
When: Through January 7, 2018 with various hours; closed on December 25.
Explore 103,000-square-feet of festive fun at this new indoor holiday attraction in Langley. Glow features a total of 500,000 lights throughout its four Christmas-themed light gardens, 210-foot musical light tunnel, and expansive Christmas market. Kids’ activities, a Christmas treasure hunt, and food and beverage vendors are also on offer. Tickets ($14.95 to $19.99) can be purchased online.
Where: Milner Village Garden Centre, 6690 216th Street, Langley.
When: Through December 30, 2017 from 4 to 10 p.m.
For those who wish to embark on old-fashioned holiday fun, check out Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum. The streets of the village are covered with 1920s-style lights, accompanied by cedar wreaths and big red bows. There’s an interactive attraction at the bandstand, which allows visitors to create their own magical holiday show with lights that change colours to sound. Theatre performances, family-friendly activities, and photo opportunities with Santa are also available. Gate admission is free, and carousel rides are $2.65 each.
Where: Burnaby Village Museum, 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
When: Through January 5, 2018 with various hours; closed December 24 and 25.
The Lower Mainland’s largest free outdoor lights display is located at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park, which can be easily accessed via the Evergreen Line. There are 10-themed zones at this festive attraction in the suburbs, which feature 100,000 twinkling lights. In addition to the illuminations, the park also offers activities such as light-making, scavenger hunts, and singing along to Jingle Bells with other caroling groups.
Where: Town Centre Park, 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
When: Through January 21, 2018, from dusk to 11 p.m.
The Peak of Christmas is an annual festive celebration that takes place on Grouse Mountain, and features many fun activities for the entire brood. The Light Walk is one of them, which invites visitors to stroll through sparkling lights with a snowy backdrop. A light tunnel, lanterns, and other enchanting displays that surround Blue Grouse Lake make this a charming attraction. When you’re finished admiring the lights, check out the iconic skating pond, catch a Christmas movie, or meet Santa’s reindeer. Tickets ($15.95 to $44.95) can be purchased online.
Where: Grouse Mountain, 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
When: Through January 7, 2018 with various hours.
Lumière is not your traditional Christmas lights display—it combines light and art installations, as well as music and dance activities. Artists who are participating in this annual event have created everything from “Luna” the illuminated whale at Morton Park to “Luminous Birds” at Alexandra Park. A full list of programming can be found here. Admission to this event is free.
Where: West End, English Bay, and Jim Deva Plaza.
When: Through December 9, 2017.
This iconic holiday lights display at St. Paul’s Hospital is celebrating 20 years of its annual fundraising campaign. Its mesmerizing installation takes six weeks to build, and features over 10 kilometres of lights, 100,000 bulbs, and hundreds of sponsored stars. Donations to the St. Paul’s Foundation can be made online.
Where: St. Paul’s Hospital, 1081 Burrard Street
When: Through January 8, 2018 from dusk to dawn.More