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 illuminations at Canyon Lights are beautiful – not as plentiful as at Stanley Park or VanDusen Garden, but every bit as wonderful. Instead of millions of lights, Capilano features closer to 500,000, which is still a ton! The decorations at Capilano Suspension Bridge are also tasteful, unique and exquisitely Christmas-y in so many ways.
In our opinion, Canyon Lights gets first prize as the most romantic place to take a date to see Christmas illuminations! It really is quite magical!
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.
When is Canyon Lights?
In 2019 the attraction is open from November 22, 2019, until January 26, 2020. Canyon Lights is closed on Christmas Day (December 25th).
The park is usually open from 11 am until 9 pm daily. The lights and Christmas activities though typically start at 4 o’clock.
Admission Rates at Canyon Lights
Tickets to Canyon Lights in the evening are the same as tickets to Capilano Suspension Bridge during the day. Both are good for all day and evening.
Rates (excluding taxes) in 2019 are the following:
- Adults (ages 17 to 64) – $53.95
- Seniors (ages 65+) – $48.95
- Students (ages 17+) – $39.95
- Youth (ages 13 to 16) – $29.95
- Children (ages 6 to 12) – $16.95
- Little Kids (ages 5 & under) – Free
- Family Pass (2 adults & 2 children or youth) – $99.00
For comparison, admission to Capilano Suspension Bridge during this period last year was around $47 for adults, $43 for seniors, $35 for students (with ID), $28 for youth (ages 13-16) and $15 for children (ages 6-12).
In 2018 the Canyon Lights Family Pass was valid for 2 adults and up to 2 children ages 6 to 16. The cost was $99 (so the same as this year) and included an annual membership for residents of BC.
Canyon Lights admission prices are usually 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.
During the Christmas season Capilano Suspension Bridge is open usually from 11 am to 9 pm, with the Canyon Lights activities starting around 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.
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.
Every year it seems there is something new at Canyon Lights. A couple of years ago it was an interactive dancing light display. In 2019 it’s a really cool multi-coloured light tunnel on the Cliffwalk. We’re betting that this year’s new attraction will be an especially popular place for selfies!
Each year at Canyon Lights there are a number of craft activities for children. In recent years you’ve been able to decorate a gingerbread cookie and then eat it. However, that’s not the case in 2019 we understand. Last year guests could also make a customized button and wooden tree ornament. 2019 activities will likely be similar.
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.
Canyon Lights Owls
Also fun for children, at Canyon Lights last year there were light decorations in the shape of owls hidden around the property. They are back again in 2019! Count them as you go, guess how many there are, and then enter to win a prize.
Raising Funds for the Firefighters’ Burn Fund
A number of Metro Vancouver Christmas attractions raise money for charities. Two great venues with festive illuminations where admission is by donation to the BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund are Bright Nights at Stanley Park and the Holiday Hi-Light Festival in North Vancouver (both of which are just a 15-minute drive from Canyon Lights in good traffic).
Capilano Suspension Bridge also generously supports the BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund. Admission to Canyon Lights isn’t free as it is at the other two venues, but the attraction does collect donations and gives partial proceeds from admission sales at Christmas to the charity. As of 2019, in fact, Cap Bridge has donated close to $350,000 to the Burn Fund over the years.
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.
TIP #2: If you purchase an annual pass in December, 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. Do that and you’ll get more than your money’s worth!
TIP #3: 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 #4: Consider going to Capilano Suspension Bridge in December 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 #5: 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 #6: Canyon Lights gets especially busy on the weekend and during the week just before Christmas. Be merry and have patience with the crowds, especially if relying on public transit 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.
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.