The holiday season is upon us which means it’s time to do all the festive things. There’s nothing like thousands of twinkling lights to get us into the mood. Here’s our 2017 guide to the best Christmas lights in Vancouver (we will keep this updated so check back often).
Christmas Lights – Free to See
Vancouver Christmas Tree
Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby Street), Vancouver
Tree lighting on December 1, 2017, 5:30-7pm
Vancouver’s iconic Christmas tree will be at the Vancouver Art Gallery this year – a 76-ft tall tree covered with thousands of lights. Catch the family-friendly tree lighting ceremony on December 1st! Festivities that evening include live music, free cookies and hot chocolate, food trucks, and activities for kids.
Christmas at Canada Place
Canada Place, Vancouver
November 23 – December 31, 2017
It’s the 30th annual Christmas at Canada Place this year. Check out the nostalgia of the Woodward’s Windows, an impressive lighting display, the Sails of Light, and the festive Avenue of Christmas Trees.
Lights of Hope
St Paul’s Hospital, 178 – 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver
Starts November 24, 2017
The annual Lights of Hope display takes 150+ volunteers to build. The beautifully lit wall features over 10km of lights, 100,000 bulbs and hundreds of sponsored stars. Donations are gratefully accepted for St. Paul’s Hospital.
English Bay and Jim Deva Plaza, Vancouver
Starts December 5, 2017
Luna the Orca returns this year. This installation features 6,000 white environmentally friendly bulbs. Hunt for the other public art installations this holiday season (map).
Vancouver Parade of Carol Ships
Coal Harbour and False Creek, Vancouver
December 1 – December 23, 2017
This is a unique display of lights along the water in and around downtown Vancouver. This is a nightly procession of nearly 50 decked-out boats, which you can enjoy from the shore.
Granville Island, Vancouver
Starting November 3, 2017
Stroll around the Island at night and head down this dreamy little alley for that Insta-moment. They are also hosting a Winter Solstice Lantern Festival on Thursday, December 21, 2017.
Canuck Place Children’s Hospice
1690 Matthews Avenue, Vancouver
Starting November 2017
Canuck Place is lit up every holiday season with over 60,000 lights. This pediatric palliative care home does so much for children and their families. You’ll feel the love and hope when you visit. It’s free to see. If you wish to make a donation, you can support their Light a Life campaign and celebrate anyone who has touched your life.
4967 Chalet Place, North Vancouver
December 2, 2017 – January 1, 2018
The Ribalkin/Viau family is back at it for 2017. This family home deserves a shout out as they put up thousands of lights and collect donations for charity, which have surpassed $65K to date. Their goal is $25K this year so head over to North Van to check it out! (Donations can be made online as well).
Lafarge Winter Lights
November 2016 – January 21, 2018
Lafarge Lake, Town Centre Park, Coquitlam
This is the biggest free outdoors lights display in the Lower Mainland. Before you go, check out the schedule of pop-up activities like light-making workshops, scavenger hunts, and themed nights.
Light Up Dome Experience
West Georgia & Granville Street (Vancouver City Centre Station)
Big, beautiful glowing ball of light. Insta-worthy scene that you have to check out (like this one from @pintheglobe). PS. This is also the best place to steal a kiss – there’s a pretty mistletoe at the centre of the installation.
Trinity Street Christmas Light Festival
December 2017 – early January 2018
2400-2900 Trinity Street, Vancouver
Walk down this festive residential block where neighbours try to out-do each other year after year. Keep an eye out for special events on some nights. Donations gratefully accepted for local organizations.
Self-Guided Tour of Residential Homes
There are lots of private residences that go all out with their light displays. Watch for interactive maps from News 1130 (CTV had one last year that was good as well).
Christmas Lights – Ticketed Experiences
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge
November 23, 2017 – January 28, 2018
Capilano Suspension Bridge, North Vancouver
This is the most jaw-dropping display of lights. Here, you will find the world’s tallest living Christmas tree – a Douglas Fir standing at 152 feet, decorated with thousands of sparking lights. The dazzling sight of the 140-metre bridge and the rainforest will not disappoint. For the kidlets, there is children’s scavenger hunt, gingerbread cookie decorating, sing-a-long carols, and more. Pro-tips: BC Residents can get a free unlimited annual pass with the purchase of admission. To avoid lineups, go before December 15 or after January 7th.
Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden
5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
December 1, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Experience the Festival of Lights, a frozen winter wonderland with over one million lights decorating the garden. Enjoy the Dancing Lights show on the lake, sing classics at the Festival Stage, take a selfie with Santa, and light a candle with Make-A-Wish Foundation. Lots of photo ops along the way. Pro-tip: Save a couple bucks and get your tickets online.
Bright Lights Train at Stanley Park
Stanley Park, Vancouver
November 30, 2017 – January 6, 2018
During the holidays, the Bright Nights Christmas Train and Stanley Park Train Plaza sparkle with three million twinkling lights. Enjoy the breathtaking displays and live performers along the train route. This is a must-do with the kids! Your donation and a portion of ticket sales go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.
November 24 – December 30, 2017
6690 216 Street, Langley, BC, Milner Village Garden Centre
Tickets: $14.95 – $19.99
The new-new is over in Langley this season. Four Christmas-themed gardens, a musical light tunnel, and a Christmas market. They have over 500,000 lights up across 103,000 square feet of space. Take a peek over on their IG.