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18 places to see magical Christmas light displays across Metro Vancouver

And a couple that don't have lights.
Christmas lights are popping up in every corner of Metro Vancouver right now; here's a list of some of the best places to see them.

Vancouver seems to really be getting into the Christmas spirit this year.

There is lots going on, from the classics, like the largest Christmas store in Western Canada over at Potters in Surrey to new things like the Holiday History and Hot Chocolate Tour.

A big part of Christmas, though, is the big displays full of decorations and lights. We've collected more than 20 events with spectacular displays, both inside and out.

In Vancouver

The Downtown Christmas Tree

This display is pretty straightforward; a 76-foot tall tree is being set up in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery in šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl'e7énḵ Square.

The tree lighting ceremony will happen on Dec. 1 starting at 6 p.m. with live music, free hot drinks, and an appearance from Santa.

Entrance: Free

Christmas at Canada Place

The iconic Vancouver site will be hosting a few displays. From a distance, you'll be able to spot the sails all lit up with Christmas colours, but there are street-level displays as well, with an Avenue of Trees and the Woodward's Windows showing off holiday shop window displays from eras past.

It'll start Dec. 1 and run until Jan. 2.


Lights of Hope

While the lighting ceremony took place with a bang on Nov. 23, the Lights of Hope is a season-long display lighting up the walls of St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver (1081 Burrard St.).

It's a free display, but also a fundraiser, having brought in more than $50 million for the hospital foundation over the years.

Entrance: Free

Liven Up

This new event is coming to Coal Harbour on Friday and Saturday evenings starting Dec. 1 until Dec. 30. It'll be spread out, with different parts between Canada Place and Cadero Park, making a lovely nighttime walk along the seawall just a bit more magical.

With light installations like "Davie the Grizzly Bear" and performers using fire to dazzle, it's sure the brighten up the night.

There will also be live singing at Cadero Park and a tent at Harbour Green Park with live music and a bar (with both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks). Unique to this event, there'll be storytellers as well, near the Komagata Maru memorial.

Entrance: Free

Bright Nights

Yes, the Bright Nights Christmas train has sold out, but that's not the only activity at this longtime Stanley Park event. The free family-friendly festival around it is still open to the public, with a vintage firetruck, live entertainment, and, of course, lots of lights.

It'll be open daily (except on Dec. 25) until Jan. 1. Each night runs to 10 p.m.

Entrance: Free

PNE Winterfest

The Winterfest is returning for its second year this season, with several dates leading up to Christmas. Along with the WinterLights display, there will be live performances like the Nutcracker on Ice and the Magic of Santa musical, a holiday ride on the PNE Express Train, and the Sparkle in the Night light show.

For another $7 each there are ice bumper cars and ice skating (not at the same time).

The festive winter event will run on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, and Dec. 14 through Dec. 23 in the evenings from 4 to 10 p.m.

Entrance: Adults (19-64): $25, Children (4-12): $12, Youth (13-18) and Seniors (65+): $19

VanDusen Festival of Lights

Over 1 million lights twinkle each night at Vancouver's VanDusen Gardens. The botanical wonderland is back with 15 acres of glowing displays among its famed gardens.

It's running until Jan. 7.

Entrance: Adults (19-64): $26.88, Children (5-12): $12.32, Garden members, Youth (13-18) and Seniors (65+): $18.48

Granville Island

It's not the largest display, but Granville Island has set up some lights around the popular tourist destination, including the ever-popular star behind the market, perfect for posing with if you want the False Creek backdrop. There's also a lit-up alley and other displays.

Entrance: Free

Sleigh the Days in South Granville

The South Granville BIA is getting in the mix with events at (though not restricted to) Granville Street and West 14th Avenue (a section of the intersection is now a street plaza).

A new Christmas tree will be lit up on Dec. 1, with celebrations kicking off at 6 p.m. and running to 9 p.m. There will be live music, and free (for the first 200 people) cocoa and brownies.

Shops in the area are also joining in with displays, and live music will be popping up throughout December, along with other festive happenings, like mistletoe kissing stations.

Entrance: Free

Non-Christmas light displays

Gingerbread Lane

The 31st annual Gingerbread Lane is returning to the Hyatt Regency in downtown Vancouver (655 Burrard St.) to show off structural food from professional and amateur bakers.

Running from Dec. 1 to 29 the sweet tradition (though there's no chewing on the displays) is a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Entrance: Free

Fleur de VIlles Noel Christmas trail

This trail of holiday cheer will feature festive floral displays set up around the city's downtown.

It's a self-guided tour with stops to see a flowery Grinch, Princess Elsa from Frozen in floral designs, and a "high-fashion Whoveill Installation." There are also a couple of cafes participating this year, with Narnia-themed displays, and a pop-up floral market on Dec. 10 and 17.

Given the temporary nature of flowers, the displays will be up from Dec. 8 through to Dec. 17

Entrance: Free

The Festival of Trees

If trees are your thing, the Hotel Vancouver will be a spot to check out. More than 30 uniquely decorated trees are lining the hotel's lobby as part of a fundraiser for the BC Children's Hospital Foundation.

Running until Jan. 1, this year's event is raising money to go towards cancer research in B.C.

Entrance: Free

Across Metro Vancouver

Canyon Lights

The Capilano Suspension Bridge and surrounding forest are lit up again this year in spectacular fashion until Jan. 21. With the bridge, forest, and cliff walk all included, it's a unique Vancouver experience.

It runs until Jan. 21, 2024, with open daily (except Dec. 25) from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets need to be ordered in advance and a specific time chosen. Given that parking is limited, there's a free shuttle from downtown Vancouver as an alternative.

Entrance: Adults (18-64): $66.95, Children (6-12): $26.95, Youth (13-17): $36.95, Students (18+ with ID): 53.95, Seniors (65+): $61.59

Lights at Lafarge

The biggest free Christmas light display in the region, the Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam's Lafarge Lake (1263 Pinetree Way) has returned and will be running until the end of February 2024.

The 1.2 km walk will take people through a light tunnel along with new and old displays.

Entrance: Free

Heritage Christmas Village

The 10-acre Burnaby Village Museum (6501 Deer Lake Ave.) has gotten all dressed up for the holiday season with plenty of lights along with traditional decorations, it can look more like a film set than a museum

It's open daily (except Mondays) starting at 1 p.m. and closing at 5:30 p.m., except on weekends (Saturday and Sundays) when it's open until 9 p.m. Starting Dec. 19 until Jan. 5 (when it closes up) it's open until 9 p.m. each night (except for the aforementioned Monday closures).

Entrance: Free

Bright Walk in White Rock

Metro Vancouver's southernmost seaside town will be getting lit up on Dec. 2. White Rock's Bright Walk returns with a tree-lighting ceremony as Memorial Park (which is right next to the beach and city museum at 15300 Marine Dr.) turns into a festive wonderland.

The kick-off will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2, while the lights will shine bright on the seashore until Jan. 7.

Entrance: Free

Forest of Miracles

West Vancouver's waterfront will be lit up with over 150 trees, each decorated by locals, this winter. The walk from Ambleside to Dundarve beaches 

Open 24/7 for anyone to amble by, the trees will be up from Dec. 2 until Jan. 7. On Saturdays Dundarve will be hosting mini-festivals nearby.

Entrance: Free

Light Up The Holiday/Hi-Light Festival

The annual event at North Vancouver's Park and Tilford Gardens (333 Brooksbank Ave.) kicks off on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. with 50,000 lights lighting up the greenery for the month of December.

Entrance: Free

Christmas in Williams Park

It's a bit further out there, but Christmas in Williams Park will be sure to delight those looking for lights in the forest, but the display in Williams Park at the end of 238 Street is one of the few drive-through displays in the area (though it may be in its last year).

The volunteer-run trail of holiday wonder opens up on Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. and runs nightly until 9 p.m. on Dec. 17.

Entrance: Free

Glow Langley

The annual holiday display at the Glow Gardens (6690 216 St, Langley) offers a Christmas carnival theme this year, with mini-games, a craft corner, and a maker's market.

Along with a magical display for the eyes, there will be live music for the ears and food trucks for the tastebuds (and covered areas with heaters so you won't go numb).

"All the attractions as well as convenient parking, come included with your ticket," note organizers.

Entrance: Adults (13-64): $23.99, Children (4-12): $18.59, Seniors (65+): $18.59, Family (2 adults and 3 children or seniors): $79.50

The Peak of Christmas

Tucked away atop Grouse Mountain, there are Christmas lights, a skating pond, Santa in his workshop and more. The schedule is rather complex, so it's best to view it here.

Entrance: It's accessible via a few different passes. Mountain admission tickets are: Adults (19-64) $75, Senior (65+) $65, Youth (13-18) $55, Child (5-12) $39. For families (two adults and two children) $89 specials are available.