The days are short and the nights are dark. Thankfully, twinkly lights are here to brighten our dark evenings as the holidays approach. Vancouver has everything from jaw-dropping spectacles to flashy neighbourhood displays. There’s no denying the magic of Christmas lights. And there’s no shortage around town!
Here are a few places sure to light up your night and put you in the holiday spirit.
November 21 – December 30, 2017
Last year, it was Enchant and this year, it’s Glow! Lights are having a moment. This new glittering display takes place in at the Milner Garden Centre in Langley with 103,000 square feet of lights including four Christmas-themed light gardens, a musical light tunnel. Kids can help Santa locate his lost presents scattered throughout the light gardens while parents amble through the Christmas market. For food and libations, there are food vendors, real drinks and food trucks. PS: It’s all indoors so no need to pack an umbrella!
Milner Garden Centre in Langley
The 2400-2900 blocks of Trinity Street, near the PNE, is home to a stretch of incredible residential Christmas lights that will blow your mind. Each year, neighbours engage in some friendly light display competition. But there’s also carolling, hot chocolate stands and so much more! Try and park a little way away and walk down, or take transit, as there’s no parking on Trinity itself.
The light walk on Grouse Mountain
Experience magic in the trees on this enchanting Light Walk up on top of Grouse Mountain. Start at the glowing light tunnel (and excellent photo op!), then walk among the fir and spruce around Blue Grouse Lake where stunning light installations bring radiance to the winter night. Twinkling lights set against a snowy mountain backdrop are definitely worth the trip.
November 24 – January 7, Grouse Mountain
December 1, 2017 to January 7, 2018.
This is a evening great adventure with kids. Huge parts of the gardens are lit up (1 million lights in fact) in a dazzling display. There are the “dancing lights” on the central pond, a carousel, sweet treats, real food, and hot chocolate on offer, as well as a lovely Santa in his living room. It’s worth noting that tickets are on the expensive side, as are the drinks and snacks, and parking can be a bit of headache. However, it is a truly exceptional display.
5251 Oak St, Vancouver
Now until January 1, 2018
Wander across the suspension bridge all lit up with twinkling lights and wander across the various tree top bridges on the other side. Marvel at the world’s tallest living Christmas tree (153 feet tall!). Check out the daring light show on the cliff face. There’s also cookie decorating, hot drinks, live music and plenty of photo ops! NB: you can’t take strollers on the bridge or the Cliff Walk, so best be prepared with a carrier. The parking fills up fast, so aim for early evening on a weekday if you can.
3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver
One single house in North Vancouver puts up more than 1,000,000 lights at Christmas time. The work begins a couple months in advance, and this family project is a true labour of love. This year, they are collecting donations and 100% goes to the Harvest Project, the BC Epilepsy Society and Shriners Care for Kids.
4967 Chalet Place, North Vancouver
November 25, 2017 – Jan 21, 2018
A 1.2-kilometre trail loops this popular urban lake in Town Centre Park, offering views of both mountains and cityscape. Prepare to be dazzled by the Lights at Lafarge Winter Lights Display. Walk the lakeside circuit after dusk to take in the hundreds of thousands of lights across multiple themed zones. The lake is located just steps away from Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain station, also with free two-hour parking in Lot D of Town Centre Park, off Trevor Wingrove Way
All aboard the Christmas train! A favourite adventure for Vancouver families, the Christmas train winds through holiday light displays and past live performers on a 14-minute ride. Wander around the train plaza before and after to see all the little Christmas displays and lights. There’s snacks, hot chocolate, and more available around the train plaza. Buy your tickets online, or drop by in the morning to get same-day tickets. Parking is free, but fills up fast. There are matinee trains for $6 per person, though those don’t include live performers – still a good option if you’ve got small people that fall asleep too early for the night train.
Carol Ships: Parade of Light
There are several good viewing spots to see the Carol Ships glide past, including Granville Island and Olympic Village, which both have good hot chocolate near by! Listen to the choirs singing on the ships as the songs travel across the water. Check the sailing schedule to see where the ships will be when.
Karaoke Christmas Lights: The Ultimate Christmas Tour
Bundle a couple of these Christmas lights experiences into one night, with a happy carol-singing trolley ride in between! The Vancouver Trolley runs their Karaoke Christmas Lights tour all December – hop on their specially decorated trolley bus downtown, equipped with karaoke machine, and sing all the way to Stanley Park where you can take in the display around the Bright Nights Train (though not an actual train ride). The bus sings its way up to Van Dusen for a tour of those lights too. Book ahead, these fun trips sell out quickly.
Departs from Canada Place
Image credits: Capitano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Trolley Company
Originally written by Erin McGann and updated in 2017.