Vancouver is a city that is bustling with activities year-round. Which is a good thing since we’re heading there in the middle of December – hardly the peak of tourist seasons! But when your extended family has dreamed of spending a white Christmas together, what better place to go than Canada! With the lead up to Christmas and the winter season, we chose to start out Canada holidaysin Vancouver. We’ve been researching winter, Christmas and all-weather activities to ensure this trip is going to be the most memorable trip we could hope for, even if we don’t strike the best weather.
It turns out, all the family fun that you imagine doing during the Christmas season can be found in Vancouver. Pack up your warmest, grab your ice skates and get ready for the cocoa. Here are five of the best family-friendly holiday activities to experience in Vancouver.
Go Ice Skating at Robson Square
Ice skating is always at the top of the list for a fun family winter activity in any city. Robson Square Ice Rink in downtown Vancouver is the place families go for free ice skating. Bring your own ice skates or you can rent them for $4. Helmets and ice cleats are also available to rent.
The rink is open Sunday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Stop at Bright Nights at Stanley Park
The oldest and largest park in Vancouver, families rank a visit to Bright Nights at Stanley Park very highly among their holiday traditions. You and the kids will be amazed with the millions of twinkling lights and animated displays throughout the 1,000 acres of Stanley Park.
Entrance to the park and lights display is by donation. You can wander the park by foot or ride the Mini Train. The train runs from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm during the week and from 3:00 pm to 11:00 on Friday and Saturday nights. On Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, there are early rides from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children. Matinee tickets are $5.50.
Don’t forget to stop in the plaza to warm up with hot cocoa, roasted nuts and popcorn. You can eat them as you walk the park or sit down to enjoy the sounds of the carolers!
Visit the Christmas Market
A trip to the Vancouver Christmas Market holds the promise of a great day for both you and the kids. Venture into the rustic Christmas village to ride the carousel. Stop for a picture with the two gingerbread mascots, Holly and Jolly. The kids will love stopping at the kid’s activity station to decorate cookies and lollipops. You can enjoy German-style festive foods like brats and stollen.
Weekend tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for kids aged 7-12. Kids under 6 are free. During the week, adult tickets are just $2.
Experience Peak of Christmas
Grouse Mountain holds an annual holiday celebration 1,000 meters above Vancouver. You can visit Santa’s workshop, take a sleigh ride, skate on the 8,000 square foot outdoor skate pond, watch the real-live reindeer and listen to the sounds of the Christmas choir. You can even treat the kids to breakfast with Santa, including reindeer crafts and sing-a-long.
Tickets are $39.95 for adults, $23.95 for kids 13-18 and $13.95 for children aged 5-12.
Marvel at the Festival of Lights
The VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights will amaze the entire family. The gardeners string thousands of lights, including the “Dancing Lights” on Livingston Lake, Candy Cane Lane and Gingerbread Walk. Take the kids to visit Santa in his living room and stop at Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen for refreshments like hot dogs, popovers, cider and cocoa.
It is open daily from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Tickets are $14.25 for adults, $10.50 for youth and $7.75 for children.
Vancouver is the perfect place to celebrate the Christmas season. It is full of fun and holiday spirit and is certain to be one of the most memorable holiday trips your family will experience. Start planning your family’s upcoming Vancouver holiday right away to take part in the excitement. We’re looking forward to our time there!
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