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Christmas Vancouver 2020: Fun things to Do, Events, Activities, Markets

Christmas in Vancouver may not look the same as previous years but there are still lots of things to do (in a social distancing friendly manner). Here are some fun things to do for Christmas in Vancouver this year featuring festivals, markets, and dining recommendations.

1. VanDusen Festival of Lights 2020

VanDusen Festival of Lights is a magical winter wonderland with more than one million lights decorating 10 acres of VanDusen Botanical Garden.

Christmas Vancouver 2020: Fun things to Do, Events, Activities, Markets
Brett Ryan Studios / Brett Hitchins 

Reimagined for 2020, you will have the opportunity to take in the festival and experience the wonder of the winter season in a magical outdoor garden setting with themed areas, unique light features, and holiday music.

A new one-way path will take visitors through a memorable holiday experience with ample outdoor space for attendees to physically distance from others.

Tickets are not sold on site and must be purchased online for a designated entry time at www.vandusenfestivaloflights.ca.

Date: November 27, 2020 – January 3, 2021 (closed Christmas Day) 4 pm – 9:30 pm
Admission: $8 – 14
Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC 
Website: www.vandusenfestivaloflights.ca

2. Glow Gardens @ Greater Vancouver Zoo

Glow Gardens is transforming the Greater Vancouver Zoo open-air park into a dazzling Christmas landscape from November 18, 2020 – January 2, 2021.

Christmas Vancouver 2020: Fun things to Do, Events, Activities, Markets Glow Gardens @ Greater Vancouver Zoo

The charming outdoor landscape of Christmas festivities include larger-than-life lighted displays, a 100-foot dancing light tunnel, and festive music. Guests will also earn a surprise when they help Santa find his lost presents, scattered throughout the park.

Date: Most days between November 18, 2020 – January 2, 2021 (closed Dec 24, Dec 25, Dec 31, ) 4 pm – 9:30 pm
Admission: Adults $19.99, Child Ages 4 – 12 $14.99; Seniors $14.99, Family (2 adults + 3 children) $65.99
Location: VanDusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC 
Website: www.glowgardens.com/langley-christmas

3. Canyon Lights @ Capilano Suspension Bridge

Named one of the most spectacular holiday lights displays in the world, Canyon Lights is set to dazzle and amaze, high above the forest floor.

The 15th annual event at Capilano Suspension Bridge returns Tuesday, December 1, 2020 and runs until Sunday, January 3, 2021 from 2:00pm – 9:00pm daily (closed December 25).

The suspension bridge, rainforest and Capilano River are ablaze with lights. The Treetops Adventure (the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world) is lit from top to bottom while the “Arc de Lumina” light tunnel mesmerizes on Cliffwalk.

Tickets and annual passes will only be available for pre-purchase online for a specific date and time to limit contact upon entry and reduce capacity. BC Annual Pass holders will also be required to reserve their time online prior to visiting.

Tickets and timed entry bookings are on sale online.

Date: December 1, 2020 – January 3, 2021 from 2:00pm – 9:00pm daily (closed December 25).
Admission: Adults $55; Senior $50; Student $42; Youth $30; Child $19
Location: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1
Website: www.capbridge.com

4. Heritage Christmas @ Burnaby Village Museum

Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at the Burnaby Village Museum returns November 21 – January 1. Stay tuned for more details coming soon.

Dates:
November 21 – December 18: Wednesday – Friday, 1 – 5:30pm; Saturday – Sunday, 1-9pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
December 19 – January 1: Daily, 1 – 9pm (closed December 24 & 25)
Admission: TBD
Location: 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby BC 
Website: www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca

5. Fly Like Santa @ FlyOver Canada

One popular attraction in that is good for all ages is FlyOver Canada, a multi-dimensional theatre flying experience at Canada Place.

The Flying Ride is a simulation of a flight through the path of a bird. You can strapped into moving, pivoting and lifting seats to get the same sensation of flying.

The seasonal feature is “Fly Like Santa” where after meeting some of Santa’s elves, Chestnut and Pinecone, you’ll join them as they take flight across Canada looking for their fellow elves. You may even get a sneak peek of Santa’s Workshop as you soar over the North Pole. The feature runs November 18, 2020 – January 3, 2021.

Dates: November 18, 2020 – January 3, 2021
Admission: TBD
Location: 201 – 999 Canada Place Vancouver
Website: www.flyovercanada.com

6. Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park

Bright Nights train will once again be sounding its whistle and chugging through the sparkling magically-lit forest of Stanley Park from November 26 – January 1.

Kids of all ages will be signing along to their favourite carols as they take in the whimsical displays along their ride.

Dates: November 26, 2020 – January 1, 2021
Admission: Ages 3 and up, $10
Location: Pipeline Road in Stanley Park, via the West Georgia Street park entrance.
Website: vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

7. Festival of Trees to support BC Children’s Hospital

Festival of Trees Vancouver is a cherished community tradition dedicated to raising funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and in 2020 it will be hosted by the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver from November 27 to January 3.

Open to the public for viewing, the event will transform the hotel’s lobby into a festive winter wonderland, featuring a variety of Christmas trees that are decorated by the event’s sponsors.

Trees are sponsored by local businesses, providing community organizations a wonderful option to give back this holiday season.

Trees are available for sponsorship until November 20, and sponsorship information can be found on the Festival of Trees website.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC
www.fairmont.com/hotel-vancouver

8. Hashtag Holidays: Festive Art Installations for Capturing Your Holiday Cheer

Perfect for the Instagram savant, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has partnered with the décor masterminds at Koncept Event Design for Hashtag Holidays – a uniquely picture-perfect holiday experience.

Available Tuesdays through Sundays from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm, attendees can snap their best poses in each of the 10 themed installations, including the gift wrapped room, the candy cane lane, and a shimmering installation for anyone who loves to shine. 

Priced at $39 for adults and $25 for children (or $100 for families of four), this Hashtag Holidays event will also raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, as $5 from every ticket sold will be donated to the organization.

A limited number of tickets will be available for each 15 minute timeslot, and tickets must be purchased in advanced.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC
www.fairmont.com/hotel-vancouver

9. Shop at The Christmas Store at Potters

Western Canada’s largest Christmas store is open once again, through to December 24.

Shop at The Christmas Store at Potters

The 28,000-square-foot Potters Nursery garden centre has been transformed into The Christmas Store where you can find tens of thousands of holiday-related items.

Shop at The Christmas Store at Potters

The Potters buying team spends the entire year searching the world for the Christmas Store, which is why it offers a vast selection of merchandise you won’t find anywhere else in Canada – from ornaments, designer trees and collectibles, to stocking stuffers, food items and much more.

Shop at The Christmas Store at Potters

Address: 19158 48th Avenue, Surrey, BC
Hours: Open daily through December 24; Sat – Tues: 9am – 6pm; Wed – Fri: 9am – 8pm
Website: potters.ca/christmas-store

10. Festive eats & drinks in Vancouver

On my food blog, I have put together a list of where to eat in Vancouver during the holidays.

11. Christmas Staycations in Vancouver

Here are my recommendations on where to stay in Vancouver/Christmas staycations: