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Robson square ice rink at night
December 9, 2019
4 mins read

8 things to do over the holidays in Vancouver

The time after classes end and before the start of the second term is the perfect opportunity to explore what Vancouver has to offer over the holidays. Resist the urge to retreat into a Netflix cocoon by checking out these fun and festive holiday events and locations.

Vancouver Christmas Market

Why you should go

Enjoy authentic German sweets and treats at this classic market!


I highly recommend visiting this one at night. Under the glow of the Olympic Cauldron and the lights of the Carousel, explore authentic German crafts and delicious food. There’s over 75 vendors, so you can check some gifts off your list as you walk around. More info.

  • When: Now - Tue, Dec 24 | 11:30 am - 9:30 pm (closes at 6:00 pm on Tue, Dec 24)

  • Price: $12.99 online (includes Season Pass) | other pricing options available

  • Where: Jack Poole Plaza

Buy tickets

Christmas Glow

Why you should go

This giant indoor light festival serves festive drinks and live entertainment.


At this indoor spectacle of lights, hang out on LED swings and wander under a glowing light tunnel. They also have a number of local food trucks, and a bar where you can drink concoctions from lightbulbs. Plus: there's tons of opportunities for great pics. More info.

  • When: Now - Sun, Jan 5, 2020 | Hours vary

  • Price: Weekdays: $19.99; Weekends & Holidays: $22.99

  • WhereHarbour Convention Centre

Buy tickets

Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park

Why you should go

You can ride a lovely train through hundreds of twinkling lights!


For this one, you have 2 options: view the lights by donation or ride the train for $12.60. The Christmas Train includes a trip through the forest, holiday music, breathtaking displays, and live performers. Plus, donations and a portion of ticket sales go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. More info.

  • When: Now - Wed, Jan 1 (closed Wed, Dec 25)

    Thu, Nov 28 - Thu, Dec 19, Tue, Dec 24, & Mon, Dec 30 - Wed, Jan 1 | 3:00 - 10:00 pm

    Fri, Dec 20 - Mon, Dec 23 & Wed, Dec 25 - Sun, Dec 29 | 3:00 - 11:00 pm 

  • Price: Suggested donation of $5 to view the lights, or $12.60 to ride the train at night ($6.30 for matinee ride)

  • Where: Stanley Park

Buy tickets for the train

VanDusen Festival of Lights

Why you should go

This one is perfect for a romantic date or a fun night with friends.


This Vancouver event is a classic. The VanDusen Botanical Garden is stunning on its own, and a great place to visit any day of the year. During the holidays, it is completely transformed with over a million twinkling lights, becoming a dazzling wonderland and the perfect backdrop for photos. With your ticket, you’ll also get a free ride on a carousel, a chance to take photos with Santa, and more. They also have delicious food and drinks, and cozy fire pits to huddle around. More info.

  • When: Now - Sun, Jan 5 (closed Wed, Dec 25) | 4:00 - 9:30 pm

  • Price: $19 online, $21 at the gate on regular nights

    $22 online, $24 at the gate on premium nights (Dec 7, 8, 14, 15, & 21 - 29)
  • Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden

Get tickets

Skating at Robson Square

Why you should go

It’s free if you bring your own skates!


Almost every holiday movie, book, or jigsaw puzzle includes a scene of ice-skaters on a frozen lake. While we don’t have any frozen lakes to skate on in downtown Vancouver, we do have the next best thing: an outdoor ice rink that lets you skate below the streets of downtown!

  • When: Now - Sat, Feb 29, 2020 | Sun to Thu, 9:00 am - 9:00 pm ; Fri & Sat, 9:00 am - 11:00 pm

    Tue, Dec 24, Thu, Dec 26, & Wed, Jan 1 | 9:00 am - 9:00 pm

    Wed, Dec 25 | 12:00 - 5:00 pm

    Tue, Dec 31 | 9:00 am - 11:00 pm

  • Price: Free + $5 for skate rental

  • Where: Robson Square

Find out more


Christmas at Canada Place

Why you should go

Experience a part of Vancouver’s past, resurrected.


When a department store called Woodwards closed in the 90s, Canada Place purchased their famous holiday window displays, which they continue to show every year. Bring your camera and head to Canada Place to see the windows for yourself. Plus, check out their avenue of decorated trees and other light displays (including "Chrismoose", a 15-foot-tall moose made of lights). 

  • When: Now - Wed, Jan 1, 2020 | 8:00 am - 10:00 pm

  • Price: Free

  • Where: Canada Place

More info

Make It Vancouver!

Why you should go

With over 250 crafty vendors, this event is fun just to walk through, even if you don’t end up buying anything.


Craft fairs are tons of fun. With lots of homemade goodies like clothing, art, home decor, bookmarks, and more, all by small businesses, you’ll definitely find some fun gifts for friends, family, or yourself! Plus, there will be delicious food trucks and, if you’re 19+, a beer garden if you feel like a cold one on a cold day. Visit the market any day for all the vendors, or check it out Wednesday night for a 19+ evening of entertainment, prizes, and a venue-wide liquor license (pro-tip: avoid the Wednesday night if you have an exam the next day). 

  • When: Wed, Dec 11 | 5:00 - 9:00 pm

    Thu, Dec 12 & Fri, Dec 13 | 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

    Sat, Dec 14 | 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

    Sun, Dec 15 | 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Price: $5 plus fees online, $10 at the door

  • Where: PNE Forum

Buy tickets

Grand Menorah Lighting

Why you should go

Witness Canada’s tallest Menorah right here in Vancouver!


Chanukah is pretty late this year—it starts on Dec 22 and ends on Dec 30. Join Vancouver’s Jewish community at the start of the festivities with the lighting of the Silber Family Agam Menorah, the tallest one in Canada! There will also be live music, delicious latkes, hot chocolate, and donuts.

Get the details