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Vancouver’s Festival of Lights at VanDusen Garden

VanDusen Festival of Lights

Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden is worth seeing any time of the year, but especially during the Festival of Lights at Christmas time in December.

In 2023 the event ran from November 24th until January 7th, 2024. Exact dates for the 2024/2025 season are to be confirmed.

For tickets and full details about the event, see the official Festival of Lights website.

NOTE: The Festival of Lights was recently named one of the “World’s Most Spectacular Holiday Light Displays” by Condé Nast. If you go, especially if you see the light show over Livingstone Lake, you’ll understand why!


This article includes the following Festival of Lights information:

Where & When | Admission Rates | What to Expect | Food Options | Festival of Lights Videos | Tips & Advice | Other Information


VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights


Festival of Lights at VanDusen Garden at Christmas

Festival of Lights celebrated its 39th anniversary last year. The event is Vancouver’s longest running winter holiday attraction. The light displays are first-rate and highly recommended for all ages!

The illuminations at VanDusen Botanical Garden in late November, December and early January are amazing and very popular. In recent years the Festival of Lights has attracted over 110,000 visitors per season. The event’s Christmas displays feature over 1 million lights spread out over 15 acres of gardens in typical years.


VanDusen Festival of Lights
Christmas Lights by Livingstone Lake


Where and When

The Festival of Lights takes place at VanDusen Botanical Garden which is located at 5151 Oak Street in Vancouver. Its main parking lot is just off West 37th Avenue. There is usually street parking along Oak and nearby side streets.

The event ran from November 24th in 2023 until January 7th in 2024. The garden is open every day for the Festival of Lights from 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm, except for December 25th when it is closed on Christmas Day. After Christmas Day it’s open for the same hours, so from 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm, every day including Boxing Day and New Year’s Day up until January 7th, 2024.


For tickets and full details click Festival of Lights.


Christmas Tree at VanDusen Festival of Lights
A Christmas Tree in 2022


Festival of Lights Admission

Admission to the Festival of Lights typically costs between about $11.00 and $24.00 per person depending on your age.

To gauge pricing, below were the admission rates for the Christmas season in 2023/2024. Tickets can be purchased online. All prices exclude taxes and online fees. We expect the prices to be comparable during the event’s end-of-year run in 2024.

Regular rates (2023/2024):

  • Adults (ages 19 to 64) – $24.00
  • Seniors (ages 65+) – $16.50
  • Youth (13 to 18 years) – $16.50
  • Children (5 to 12 years) – $11.00
  • Garden Members (with valid card) – $16.25

Children ages 4 and under have free admission, but their tickets must be reserved online in advance as well.


For tickets see the City of Vancouver‘s website.


Snow Globe at VanDusen


What to Expect, See and Do

In addition to the million spectacular lights, the Festival of Lights also features dancing light shows that last about eight minutes and take place every 20 minutes from the top of the hour. They are really good! Be sure to watch them at least once (or maybe twice from different angles). Also, don’t miss the illuminated Rose Garden, Japanese Maples and, of course, the various light tunnels for the perfect holiday photo.

The lights at VanDusen themselves are absolutely wonderful. They are displayed throughout the different gardens and around the various ponds. They are always spectacular! Also expect to hear holiday music and enjoy some food!


VanDusen Festival of Lights
Christmas Illuminations in 2022


Food Options

Looking for a place to eat before, after or in the middle of your Christmas light viewing? Then check out the Shaughnessy Restaurant just outside the VanDusen Garden close to West 37th Avenue at Oak Street for fancy dining. To avoid disappointment, book your restaurant reservations in advance.

For something more casual, check out the Garden Café or any one of a number of food trucks that are at the event. A couple of additional vendors are on-site including Cin City Donuts.


For tickets and full details click Festival of Lights.


Lagoon at VanDusen Festival of Lights
Livingstone Lake at Christmas


Festival of Lights Videos

To give you an idea of what to expect at the Festival of Lights, check out the following two videos.

There isn’t usually snow on the ground in Vancouver in December, but there is occasionally, and there was when we went to see the attraction in 2022. As you’ll see in the first video, the snow makes the place look extra magical!



The following video is from December 2023. It’s a clip of the light show at the attraction’s Livingstone Lake. As you can see, the lights synchronize to music by turning off and on and also switching colours. It’s fun to watch!



Tips & Advice

Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most of your experience at the Festival of Lights in normal years.

TIP #1: If you like Christmas lights and beautiful gardens, then be sure to check out this event! It’s stunningly beautiful!

TIP #2: The number of tickets for sale is limited and they typically sell out during the 10 or so days leading up to Christmas Eve. Tickets are sold only online and you’re encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.

TIP #3: If you are looking to avoid crowds, the show is typically less busy from Monday to Thursday in the first two weeks of the event.


VanDusen Garden Entrance at Christmas
VanDusen Garden at Night


Other Information

For additional details about the evening holiday celebrations at VanDusen Garden in December, and to book your tickets online, click Festival of Lights.

For more ideas on places to see Christmas lights in the Lower Mainland, check out Top Things to do at Christmas. And for a list of even more December activities, see the Vancouver Events Calendar.

For further information on the garden in general, click VanDusen Garden or check out the official VanDusen Botanical Garden website.

Other events that happen at VanDusen Garden at other times of the year include the following:


Top Vancouver December Things to Do