The best time to visit Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge is during its Canyon Lights Christmas displays at night in December. The lights are amazing!
Christmas at Capilano Bridge
The decorations and illuminations at Canyon Lights are beautiful – not as plentiful as at Stanley Park or VanDusen Garden, but equally as wonderful. Instead of millions of lights, Capilano features closer to 500,000, which is still a ton!
Where is Canyon Lights?
Canyon Lights takes place at Capilano Suspension Bridge which is located less than a 5-minute drive from the Cleveland Dam and the base of Grouse Mountain. The venue’s address is 3735 Capilano Road in North Vancouver.
This year the Canyon Lights event runs every day from November 23, 2017, to January 28, 2018 (except for Christmas Day when it’s closed).
Admission to Capilano Suspension Bridge during this period is about $43 for adults, $39 for seniors, $34 for students (with ID), $27 for youth (ages 13-16) and $15 for children (ages 6-12).
In 2017 the Canyon Lights Family Pass is valid for 2 adults and up to 2 children ages 6 to 12. The cost is $89 and includes an annual membership for residents of BC.
Those prices might seem expensive for a stay of between an hour and two, even though it is beautiful. However, those are the regular rates for Capilano Suspension Bridge this time of year, and the tickets are valid all day, so having all the Christmas lights and festivities in the evening is a valuable bonus.
Capilano Suspension Bridge is open from 11 am to 9 pm during this period, with the Canyon Lights activities starting at 4 pm.
Note: Parking in the pay parking lot costs about $5 for the day. There is also a limited amount of free street parking in the area, including a block away on Capilano Crescent just off Ridgewood Drive a block down the hill from the attraction.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and things to know to help you make the most out of your visit to Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge.
TIP #1: For residents of BC, an annual pass is about the same price as single admission, which then makes the cost a great deal. Visit just after Christmas one year, come again in the summer, and then take in the lights one more time just before Christmas the following year and you’ll get more than your money’s worth! Also, often available at Christmas time are family memberships which make admission even more affordable (and which aren’t normally available at other times of the year).
TIP #2: Consider going in the later afternoon, before it gets dark, so you can see the sights while the sun is out and you can still see the river below. Then stick around for nightfall (around 5:30 pm or so) to see the place all lit up with Christmas lights and looking completely different.
TIP #3: Expect to spend between 1.5 and 2 hours at Canyon Lights, plus or minus depending on your interest level, the weather, the crowds and if all areas are open at the time of your visit. Take your time though and enjoy the amazing experience!
TIP #4: Canyon Lights gets busy on the weekend and during the week just before Christmas. Be merry and have patience with the crowds, especially if relying on public transift or the free shuttle bus service when waiting to go home.
NOTE: Many areas at Capilano Suspension Bridge are not wheelchair accessible. However, visitors in wheelchairs do receive free admission. Also, if on leash and under control, dogs are permitted at the venue.
What to See at Canyon Lights
There is a fair bit to do and see at Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge, as there is at any time of the year.
There are the site’s usual historical, geological and nature educational displays, beautiful First Nations totem pole art, and bridges throughout the trees. There is also the Cliffwalk, the fancy gift shop, places to buy hot chocolate, and of course the world-famous and very wobbly (but perfectly safe) suspension bridge.
Capilano Christmas Lights
What makes Capilano Suspension Bridge so special at Christmas time are all the magical lights and festive decorations. The light displays are done more tastefully and artistically than some of the Lower Mainland’s other Christmas light venues – there are fewer lights per square foot than at various other places, but they are equally impactful.
At Capilano Suspension Bridge over the Christmas season at night, be sure to look down and admire the illuminated river in the canyon far below. The lights there are constantly changing colour. Also be sure to admire the waterfall.
New as of 2016, at Capilano Suspension Bridge during the Canyon Lights event there is the ‘Fireflies’ interactive lighting display where visitors can use magic flashlights to awaken waves of twinkling firefly-like lights in the forest. It’s not a highlight of the attraction, but it is something new.
Each year at Canyon Lights there are a number of craft activities for children. In 2017 you can decorate a gingerbread cookie and then eat it, as well as make a customized button and wooden tree ornament.
The cost for doing the crafts is by donation with funds raised benefiting the BC Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund, which is a great cause. The craft area can be found just past the entrance to the Cliff Walk.
Canyon Lights Owls
Also fun for children, at Canyon Lights in 2017 there are light decorations in the shape of owls hidden around the property. Count them as you go, guess how many there are, and then enter to win a prize. Hint: there are at least 7 owls. Look up, down and all around to find them!
For more ideas on places to see Christmas lights in the Lower Mainland, check out Top Things to do at Christmas.
For more on Canyon Lights, check out the official Capilano Suspension Bridge‘s website.