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.
The light displays are first-rate and highly recommended for all ages!
VanDusen Garden at Christmas
The light displays at VanDusen Botanical Garden in December are amazing and very popular, and 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 some 15 acres of gardens.
Festival of Lights 2017
Last season the Festival of Lights ran from December 1, 2017, until January 7, 2018. Celebrating its 33rd anniversary, the event is Vancouver’s longest running Christmas attraction. We expect the lights to be open for viewing starting November 30 in 2018.
New for 2017, and hopefully continuing in 2018, was the area where live entertainment took place inside the Visitor Centre. Being fully licensed meant a little extra festive cheer while enjoying the singing and other performances.
Festival of Lights Admission
The garden is open most years for the Festival of Lights from 4:30 until 9 pm for the entire month of December, except for the 25th as it’s closed on Christmas Day. In 2017, from about December 15 to 24, it was also open until one hour later, so until 10 pm. Perhaps this will continue for 2018.
Admission is about $19 for adults (including GST), $15 for seniors and youth, and $11.50 for children ages 3-12 at the gate. Tickets are also available online at a discount which works out to about 50 cents less per ticket after you include the extra online fees.
TIP: When you exit the Festival of Lights look out for the person handing out free tickets (as you leave) to see the Holiday Heights Arctic Oasis event which may be running at the Bloedel Conservatory from about December 14th until January 6th. So do the Christmas lights at VanDusen Garden first and the Bloedel attraction second, not the other way around, or you’ll end up having to pay for both!
FREE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
NOTE: If you’re looking for amazing Christmas lights that are FREE (or almost free), then check out attractions like Bright Nights at Stanley Park, the Holiday Hi-Light Festival at Park & Tilford Gardens in North Vancouver, Heritage Christmas in Burnaby, or Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam. All are free, or by donation, and all are quite spectacular!
What to See at VanDusen at Xmas
In addition to the million spectacular lights, at the Festival of Lights there are scheduled dancing light shows that last about 8 minutes and take place approximately once every half hour. There are also other activities, like photo opportunities with Santa and live performances.
The lights at VanDusen themselves are wonderful and displayed throughout the different gardens and around the various ponds.
At the Festival of Lights there is also a carousel that’s suitable for folk ages 2 and older. Admission prices include one complimentary ride per person.
Plan to stay at VanDusen Garden for the Festival of Lights for at least an hour, but probably more. Don’t forget to take your camera!
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 (and Happy Hour with discounted drinks and appetizers between 3 and 5 pm most days).
For something more casual, check out Truffles Cafe by the garden’s information centre or any one of a number of food trucks at the event.
For additional details about the evening holiday celebrations at VanDusen Garden in December, click Festival of Lights.
For further information on the garden in general, see VanDusen Garden.