It’s the most wonderful time of the year — time for sparkly lights, delicious food, delightful performances, and best of all, time with family. We love Metro Vancouver during the holiday season and this year is no exception! We’re gearing up to take in as much festive fun as we possibly can. Here are our top must-do holiday activities for families in Metro Vancouver.

Featured Events

park royal

Magical Holiday Events at Park Royal
November 11th – January 1st, Park Royal Shopping Centre, West Vancouver
Enjoy the festive season at Park Royal with twinkling lights, photos with Santa, delightful holiday performances, and extended shopping hours. Wander The Village at Park Royal where you’ll see a spectacular light display, plus their beautiful feature Christmas Tree. Stop by the Shopping Centre and visit Santa Claus! Santa Claus will be at his beautiful home, designed by Urban Barn, until Christmas Eve and Lindt will be gifting a parting token for every visit. Be sure to catch holiday performances by the Goh Ballet, North Shore Student Choirs, The Gingerbread Men and more! More details…

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
December 26th – January 7th, 10 am – 5 pm, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver
Head to the Space Centre from December 26th, 2018 to January 7th, 2019 for some out of this world holiday family fun. As part of their general admission they will be offering special activities during the day including learning more about Canada’s latest astronaut heading to space in December. The Space Centre has also extended their hours to 10 am – 5 pm daily from December 26th – January 7th to make sure you pack in as much outer space fun as you possibly can! More details…

Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum
November 24th – December 14th, Monday – Friday 1 pm – 5:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 1 pm – 9 pm; December 15th – January 4th, 1 pm – 9 pm (closed December 24th & 25th), Cost: Free, Carousel Rides $2.65 each
Head to the Burnaby Village Museum for a season of old-fashioned fun and spectacular light displays. This magical event is free and a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit. Read more…

Timberline Country Christmas
December 1st – 19th, Timberline Ranch, 22351 144 Ave, Maple Ridge, Cost: kids 6+ & adults: $11 (weekends $13); children 1 – 5: $9(weekends $11); 1 and under are free; Pony Rides: $5.00
Leave the busy city behind, and enjoy your time at Timberline Ranch, a 73-acre horse ranch that has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Beautiful lights, decorated trees, and fun interactive activities will enchant you and delight your kids. There’s music, cookie decorating, and pony rides too. Something for everyone! More details…

Visit a Holiday Market

From handmade goods to delicious eats, holiday markets are the pinnacle of festive fun. There are tons of craft fairs and artisan markets hosted by community centres and elementary schools across Metro Vancouver, but the ultimate holiday market of the season is the Vancouver Christmas Market. Enjoy tasty treats and the yummiest Glühwein this side of the Atlantic. Kids will get a kick out of the walk-in Christmas Tree and the glittering carousel.

photo credit: Lindsay Elliott

Take a Cruise for Lights

Mix up some hot chocolate in travel mugs and take a walk or a drive around your neighbourhood to take in the holiday lights. Take a vote for family-favourite. Which house had the most lights? The most creative display? Or head out on the town and discover amazing light displays across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge will be transformed into an enchanting fantasy forest for Canyon Lights that will dazzle young and old. For a smaller display on the North Shore, check out the Park and Tilford Hi-light Festival, which is by donation and has free Santa visits, hot chocolate and face painting Friday evenings starting November 30th.

The VanDusen Festival of Lights and Holiday Heights at Bloedel Conservatory both have amazing light displays, and the Conservatory is indoors, so it’s a great place to visit with young kids who aren’t able to be out in the cold for long. Glow in Langley is another fabulous indoor option with lots of sparkling lights and fun activities for families.

Visit The Village at Park Royal for a 30-foot tree and all sorts of twinkling lights, head to High Street in Abbotsford for a dazzling display of 6,000 tri-coloured lights on their 65-foot Christmas Tree, or take a leisurely drive (or stroll) through Williams Park in Langley for a lovely collection of holiday light displays.

Take in a Holiday Show

Enjoy all sorts of holiday fun at shows like The Nutcracker, and Charlie Brown. Even the Wizard of Oz gets a holiday twist this year. The Goh Ballet once again performs the classic Nutcracker ballet with spectacular sets and beautiful dancing. The Carousel Theatre for Young People presents A Charlie Brown Double Bill, an awesome show for all ages. Head to The Cultch for some laughs in East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz. For the more musically inclined, there’s the annual VSO’s Traditional Christmas, or the Yule Duel in Gastown, where dozens of Metro Vancouver’s best choirs perform in the streets.

reindeer rice krispies pops

Make a Festive Treat

Blast some holiday tunes and make a batch of tasty cookies or delicious treats for your family and friends. Get the kiddos to help measure ingredients! Try out these super cute Reindeer Rice Krispies Pops, or how about a bite of Melted Snowman Bark? These itty-bitty Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups are customizable and super delicious! Break out the old cookbooks and saved family recipes and let your kids decide what to make. Maybe you’ll stumble on an old favourite!

Go Tobogganing

If we get blessed with a dusting of snow, grab your crazy carpets, snow tubes, and an extra pair of gloves and find your nearest hill. No snow on the ground? Time to head up a mountain! Cypress and Seymour mountains have snow tube parks for children 6 and older and smaller slopes for families with younger children to toboggan on.

What’s your family’s favourite holiday activity? We want to know! Let us know in the comments below.

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