Vancouver winter light displays

Vancouver winter light displays

Vancouver winter light displays - Grouse Mountain has a gorgeous Light walkVancouver has some seriously amazing winter light displays over the Christmas period that continue well into the New year. This post will share some of the pretty festive lights we visited this winter. There are plenty of other festive light options, so if this whets your appetite for pretty twinkly lights, I’ll include more possibilities at the end of this post.

The Christmas-related light displays tend to light up Vancouver from November to January, but a couple of them (like the Grouse Light Walk and Lights to the Lodge on Cypress Mountain) continue through February.

Light displays – perks of visiting Vancouver in winter

I LOVE it when friends and family come to visit us. I normally encourage people to visit in the summertime as the weather is so blooming gorgeous and it means I’ll be able to take them hiking. However depending on schedules it is often easier (and cheaper) for people to visit in the wintertime. If you are planning a trip to Vancouver during the winter, it is likely to rain. However you’ll be able to see some fantastic winter light displays, and if it snows, you’ll get to see a beautiful side of the city that most tourists miss out on.

Vancouver Christmas Market

Dates: Nov 20 – Dec 24 (11:30am – 9:30pm)
Location: Jack Poole Plaza, Vancouver
Cost: $13 (online) $15 (at the door)
Tip: It’s best to book online, so you receive a free season’s pass along with your admission. We booked online while standing in the queue. That way, if you want to go back, it’ll be free.

This isn’t just lights! For the last 10 years Vancouver has had a small Christmas market with food, drinks, rides and stalls where you can buy Christmas decorations and gifts. This year there was even a giant Christmas tree that you could go inside.

Vancouver Christmas Market mulled wine
We tried the traditional Glühwein (spiced mulled wine) as well Feuerzangenbowle (which also contained rum infused sugar). I found it difficult to pronouce, but I loved the taste of the feuerzangenbowle. 

There were quite a few (amazing smelling) food options. We tried the bratwurst as well as some churros covered in chocolate.

Even the Olympic torch was lit up and looking festive.

Vancouver City lit up

Dates: The city is lit up at night all year ’round. It’s just extra festive from November to Janurary
Location: Anywhere your legs will take you
Cost: Free

Canada Place lights
After you have explored the Vancouver Christmas market, you should take a wander and see how Vancouver lights up it’s harbour at Canada Place. I loved looking over to the North Shore to see the city sparkle across the water.

This is the area where cruise ships dock in Vancouver so it can get quite crowded in the daytime. However in the evening in December it was completely deserted. We actually loved how empty it was after the crowds of the Christmas Market.

False Creek Lights
I mentioned that it can get quite soggy here in the wintertime. Well, on the beautiful days when we’re not being drenched, we like to take detours to walk home. On this occasion we walked via False Creek. Quite a few of the moored boats had decorated their masts with lights, so it made the whole area look festive.

This is the view of Vancouver lit up, looking South to the opposite side of False Creek.

If you keep walking by the water you’ll reach Yale Town. It is always lit up beautifully at night. It’s just the addition of people’s Christmas lights make the area even more bright and colourful.

Vancouver’s homely Christmas lights

If you visit Vancouver around Christmastime, it is worth exploring the back streets and local neighbourhoods. We found so many houses lit up with fantastic Christmas lights. These may not be official, but they are really fun to find.

Capilano Suspension Bridge – Canyon Lights

Dates: Nov 22 – Jan 26 (11am – 9pm)
Location: The Capilano Suspension Bridge, 3735 Capilano Rd
Cost: $53.95 for adults
Tip: We visited in the daytime to see the views, then received a stamp on our hands so we could return later to see the lights. If you live in BC, you can get a season’s pass for free as you leave, so you can come back.

This is one of the priciest sights in Vancouver. I do really love the whole park, but it is always a bit of a shock to see the ticket prices. On this occasion, there was so much snow that they had closed the tree-top walks and cliff walk. This meant it was 50% off.

Still, if you have not seen them, the Canyon lights at Capilano Suspension bridge are fantastic. Click here if you’d like to see what Capilano Suspension Bridge looks like in the daytime.

Isn’t it pretty?

I love the way they light up the giant trees from below, and have lights dance over the canyon floor to music.

We found the park was also far less busy than it had been during the day. Although, maybe that is just because it was such a cold, snow-covered evening? This is an expensive light show, but I am glad that I got to show it to my sister.

Grouse Mountain Light Walk

I have written about this before, but visiting Grouse Mountain in the snow is a great adventure for anyone visiting Vancouver in the wintertime (or even in the spring.)

Dates: Nov – at least March (I can’t find the date when they remove the lights, it might be later)
Location: Grouse Mountain
Cost: $59 (for the ride up the Gondola)
There is no cost for the light walk, but if the snow is fresh, you may want to hire snowshoes. We just walked around in our hiking boots.
If you want to visit for free: If the trail is open, (and you are prepared with spikes + the ten essentials,) you could hike up and down the BCMC trail. You’ll gain
Tip: If you visit on a weeknight in the evening, the light walk is likely to be totally empty.

The light walk is a short walk (about 500m long) through the lit-up firs trees on Grouse mountain. There is not much elevation gain or loss, so it is easy, pretty and fun. Plus once you get back to the lodge, there are cafes and restaurants where you can warm up and grab a drink.

The Most Canadian lights in Vancouver

While my sister Rosy visited Vancouver, we went to see a Hockey Game, the Canuks vs the Arizona Coyotes. The lights within the Roger’s Arena were pretty impressive, and at one point it went super Canadian!

After the Hockey game we wandered along False Creek and were treated to some gorgeous lights, that lit up Vancouver’s snow. This is why I like walking around Vancouver in the evening – it was so pretty.

Other Vancouver winter light displays

I only mentioned a few places to see pretty lights in Vancouver. So, here is a round up of other Festive Lights in Vancouver:

  • The Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park– ride a train to see Stanley Park sparkle (December) If you don’t ride the train, entry is by donation.
  • There is normally a giant Christmas tree on Robson Square
  • Aurora Winter Festival – a Hastings Park (PNE) has lights, music and even rides in this huge North-Pole inspired event.
  • Van Dusen Festival of Lights – The beautiful garden on Oak Street is lit up
  • Lights to the Lodge This is an easy 1km snowshoe track through LED-lit old growth forest on the Nordic area of Cypress Mountain. Tickets are available until the end of February.
  • Lights at Lafarge is a giant free outdoor light display in Coquitlam (December – mid January)

If you like the look of these light displays, please click on the images below to pin them.

Vancouver winter light displays - Capilano Suspension Bridge and Canyon is lit up for Christmas Vancouver Winter Lights - there are so many pretty lit up areas Vancouver winter light displays - Grouse Mountain has a gorgeous Light walk

43 thoughts on “Vancouver winter light displays

    1. Lol it’s like wintertime in Canada all rolled into one. I am really glad you like it.

      Do you have loads of good light festivals over in Toronto?

  1. How beautiful seeing our city all lit up in winter lights. I’ve been to Grouse so many times but never at night with the seasonal lights on display…on my list now! Too bad the Capilano Suspension Bridge is so expensive. It is absolutely gorgeous but I’m too cheap. I see the lights from a distance, twinkling through the trees, when I go for my runs in Cap Canyon. Great recommendations!

    1. I don’t think I can count it yet, as I still don’t really understand what was going on (especially the off-side rule!) I just helped cheer!! 😉

      The Canuks won, so it was even more fun to watch!

  2. Wow. Just wow. Those are ALL really neat. I’d love to see them all. Thanks for the suggestions. January is a good month for us to travel since the Inn is so quiet during that time. Perhaps we’ll get up there next year.

    As always, thanks for sharing.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. That makes sense, I guess there are always fewer guests once everyone is recovering in the new year! Which month is your epic cruise adventure this year?

  3. What fabulous photos, Vancouver looks absolutely stunning with the lights and all that snow. We loved it in the summer but it almost looks better in the winter. Bit colder though …………

    1. Just a bit colder! It doesn’t normally get crazily cold here in winter (it’s about the same as London) so it’s not too bad for going out to see lights.

      It’s just, we had a rare snowstorm in the city, just before my sister arrived for her visit!

  4. I love the winter light displays in Vancouver and these are some of my favorites. Capilano is so good and I’m a big fan of the Christmas market. Vancouver really goes all out in the winter

    1. Yaaay Em! We need to tempt you back. I still think it’s mad that you were staying so close and I didn’t know until after you had left!!!

    1. It’s most 2°C to 10°C, s pretty similar to London. We just had one super cold week in January when it went down to -8°C(ish). It was one very chilly week!

  5. Wow–beautiful! Give me winter lights anytime. So jealous of your snow–we’ve gotten absolutely zero white stuff so far this winter in Maryland. Hailing from Cleveland, this is so sad for me! Love seeing your pics!

    1. Oooh but does that mean you can stay out and about? Or is it a bit rainy? I have to admit, the snow was a nice break from all the rain we’ve had this winter.

      1. We’ve gotten some rain, but it’s just too warm and gray, and we could use that shock of white snow to brighten everything up. We can stay out and about, but my favorite winter activities involve snow. I think I should probably be hiking more!

        1. I know what you mean. I used to hate the snow, but now I have learned how to ski/snowshoe, life is just better with a sprinkling of white-stuff.

  6. I had no idea Vancouver got so lit up in the winter time! What a beautiful way to bring a feeling of warmth in the cold months! Thanks for teaching me something new!

  7. Loving the photos Josy! Vancouver is so pretty at Christmas! I was only able to do a few of these last year but hoping to do some of the others. I love the Capilano bridge at Christmas – we got the annual pass too so did it twice. It looks so pretty in the snow but we are always too early for that!

    1. You know, it sounds like Whistler has some amazing winter lights this season too. I think they are called Vallea Lumina. Did you see them?

  8. The winter light displays are gorgeous! I feel like I’ve been missing out on Canada and need to put Vancouver on my to do list. I need somewhere more inspiring than where I live (Pittsburgh) in winter.

  9. I haven’t been to Vancouver in the winter and it looks so pretty! Grouse mountain lights look so beautiful with the trees thick with snow, its magical. It’s nice that there can be a free option to hike up to it. Have you done the Grouse Grind in the summer?

  10. Wow!!! Vancouver looks amazing during the winter and we love Christmas markets. I love traveling around the holidays. There is always so much to see and do. I have totally added this to my places to visit in the winter.

  11. Looks like such a festive place to be in winter. I was at the Suspension Bridge when the lights were up but was there only during the day. Bet all those winter displays gets one in the holiday spirit.

  12. Beautiful pictures. Everything is covered in snow and just looks so pretty. I am always so conflicted when I look at pictures like this, I love looking at it and would want to see it with my own eyes but the other part of me is thinking ‘girl, I know you hate the cold, so who are we kidding here?!’ lol. Would love to visit Canada soon though just not in the dead of winter.

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