*Updated for the 2017 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 25, 2017 and run to January 5, 2018.
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 24, 2017 to January 7, 2018.
Another favorite destination for Trekaroo families is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. From November 23, 2017 to January 28, 2018 (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 22 to December 24, 2017.
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 30, 2017 to January 6, 2018, and is closed Christmas Day so that Santa can get his work done. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for youth (13-18) and seniors, $8 for children, and 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.
Another free event taking place in Whistler is the Whistler Holiday Experience. From December 22, 2017 to January 4, 2018, (closed December 25 and 31, opening at noon on January 1), 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. Santa will be visiting on December 23 and 24 from 1-4pm. 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.
If your family would like to experience an old-fashioned Christmas, head to the Royal BC Museum (a real favorite museum of Trekaroo families!) to take it all in in the Old Town section of the museum. Christmas in Old Town begins November 16, 2017.
Do some shopping in Victoria’s Christmas Market and pick up unique and beautiful gifts for your family! This event takes place on November 25, 2017. If outdoor sightseeing is more your speed, Victoria’s famous Butchart Gardens are all decorated with lights and fun with Christmas carolers, fine dining, ice skating and more await you from December 1, 2017 to January 6, 2018. Another beautiful sight is the Festival of Trees, an annual event which is taking place at Victoria’s Bay Center from November 15, 2017 to January 2, 2018.
From November 18, 2017 to January 2, 2018, Victoria’s Parkside Hotel 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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