*Updated for the 2016 season
During the holiday season, Vancouver, Whistler, and Victoria all come alive with festive sights, sounds, and smells. Here are some great picks for the holidays in British Columbia if your family wants to get out and enjoy the holiday spirit!
Visit the Holiday Sights in Vancouver, B.C.
Trekaroo families love the Vancouver Aquarium at any time of year, but it’s especially special at Christmas! Come visit to meet Scuba Claus, see a holiday tree powered by electric eels, and even catch a 4D movie!
In the town of Burnaby, located just outside of Vancouver city limits, you will find the Burnaby Village Museum. During the holidays, this village is brightly decorated for the season. You can visit the historic buildings, enjoy holiday crafts, meet Father Christmas and much more. And best of all, admission to the Village is free! Holiday activities begin November 19, 2016 and run to January 2, 2017.
Head on up on the tram to the top of Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain for The Peak of Christmas on Grouse Mountain! During this fun festival you can meet Santa and his reindeer, twirl on the skating rink, do some snowman-themed crafts, tour a gingerbread village and more! Activities are included with your tram fare ($89.95 family ticket covers two adults and two kids), so head on up to the mountain and have fun! Open November 25, 2016 to January 2, 2017.
Another favorite destination for Trekaroo families is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. From November 24, 2016 to January 8, 2017 (closed Christmas Day), Capilano Suspension Bridge park comes alive with thousands of twinkling lights and the world’s tallest living Christmas tree! There is fun to be had while traveling around the park and admiring the lights. In addition, kids can take part in special events like a scavenger hunt and cookie decorating.
How about a trip to Germany, without leaving Vancouver? If that sounds like your family’s type of travel, a trip to downtown Vancouver’s Christmas Market should definitely be on your schedule. Held at the Jack Poole Plaza, this event features German crafts, cuisine, and entertainment, as well as lots of traditional wooden huts full of handcrafted holiday decorations and lots of great gifts! Open November 26 to December 31, 2016 (closed Christmas Day).
Who can resist a holiday train ride? Visit Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park for a ride on the train through the park and time to admire the three million sparkling lights adorning Stanley Park. Of course, your trip will also include a visit with Santa Claus at the train station! Train fun is open November 28, 2016 to January 1, 2017, and is closed Christmas Day so that Santa can get his work done. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for children and seniors, 2 years of age and under are free.
See a Winter Wonderland in Whistler, B.C.
Whistler, B.C. doesn’t believe in limiting the holiday fun to just the month of December; they have festive lights for the whole winter ski season! After enjoying a day on the slopes, grab a hot beverage and head out with your family to enjoy the sight of thousands of festive lights twinkling on the picturesque buildings that make up Whistler Village. Best of all, enjoying the lights is completely free!
Want to twirl on the ice in the heart of Whistler Village? Take your family to Whistler’s Olympic Plaza for some ice skating! The outdoor rink is open every day from December to mid April. Admission is free and skate rental is available for just $5. Santa will be at the ice rink on December 18, 2016 and at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler December 23 and 24, 2016.
Another free event taking place in Whistler is the Whistler Holiday Experience. From December 17, 2016 to December 30, 2016, (closed December 25), kids can have a blast playing a game of mini golf, bouncing in a castle, exploring their crafty sides, or testing their video game skills. Meanwhile, a lounge area with coffee and hot cocoa is also on-site for parents to rest and relax. Open daily 10am- 6pm. Another fun event for the whole family are Family Apres, a chance to relax with a hot beverage or take part in winter activities! Times and dates vary and can be found on the Whistler, BC homepage.
Visit the Beauty of Victoria, B.C.
Victoria B.C. is gorgeous and family-friendly at any time of the year, but does offer some special activities for the holiday season.
How about checking out the sights of Victoria from a ferris wheel! On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from November 26, 2016 to December 23, 2016, just $3 will get you a ticket to ride on the Centennial Square Ferris Wheel!
If your family would like to meet Father Christmas, head to the Royal BC Museum (a real favorite museum of Trekaroo families!) to pose for pictures with him in the Old Town section of the museum. Old Town in the museum will be decorated for the holidays, so come admire the views! You can meet the gentleman himself Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December (before Christmas) from 11am-3pm, and this event is free with admission to the museum.
From November 19, 2016 to January 2, 2017, Victoria’s Inn at Laurel Point will be home to the Annual Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase. Come admire the works of art constructed by amateur and professional chefs! Admission is free and donations will be accepted on behalf of Habitat for Humanity Victoria.
What are your favorite holiday activities in beautiful British Columbia? Share with us in the comments!
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