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Free Vancouver Christmas & Holiday Events

Free Things to Do in Vancouver in November & December

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You don't need to spend money to enjoy Christmas in Vancouver. Finding free Christmas and holiday events in Vancouver is easy!

Use this list to find the best free things to do in Vancouver for Christmas and the winter holidays, whether you're looking for family fun, a romantic evening, or the best way to celebrate the season.

1. Free Ice Skating at Robson Square - November 15, 2013 - February 28, 2013

Free Vancouver Christmas Events: Robson Square Ice Skating

Since reopening for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the free outdoor ice skating at Robson Square has become one of Vancouver's most popular winter activities. Located at 800 Robson Street (just across from the Vancouver Art Gallery in the heart of downtown Vancouver), the Robson Square Ice Rink is open Sunday - Thursday from 9am - 9pm and Fridays & Saturdays from 9am - 11pm. Skating is free; skate rentals are $4, helmets and ice cleats are $2.

More Free Christmas & New Year's Events at Robson Square

2. Candytown: A Yaletown Holiday Festival - November 23, 2013

free christmas events vancouver
Image Courtesy of Yaletown BIA

Yaletown hosts the its second-annual free Christmas event in Vancouver: a festival on Mainland Street (between Davie and Nelson) that includes a "All I want for Christmas" street market, horse-drawn carriage rides, reindeer, ice skating, and Santa. (Bring your own camera for pictures with Santa!)

3. Light Up the Night: Vancouver Chanukah Celebration - November 27, 2013

free vancouver christmas events: Chanukah Celebration at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Image Courtesy of Lubavitch BC

Held in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver, Light Up the Night celebrates the first night of Chanukah with by lighting Canada's tallest Menorah! The celebration also includes amazing fire performers, hot cocoa and latkes, and pictures with Judah the Macabee. Festivities start at 6pm.

You can also bring a unwrapped toy to donate to the Chanukah Toy Drive for the BC Children's Hospital.

4. Rogers Santa Claus Parade - December 1, 2013

Top Christmas Events Vancouver
Photo by Greg Descantes

One of the Top 5 Vancouver Holiday Attractions, the Rogers Santa Claus Parade features over 60 marching bands, dance troupes, festive floats and community groups, attracting over 300,000 spectators along its route through downtown Vancouver.

5. Christmas at Canada Place - December 1 - 31, 2013

free vancouver christmas events: christmas at canada place
© Canada Place Corporation

Canada Place goes all out for Christmas in Vancouver! This year, the theme is "Christmas in Canada" and free activities include indoor ice skating at the Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal, seeing and visiting Santa in his workshop, the historic, holiday-themed Woodward’s Windows, and live music and "festive performances" every day.

6. Carol Ships Parade of Light- December 6 - 23, 2013

Carol Ships, Vancouver
Image Courtesy of Carol Ships Parade of Light Society

One of Vancouver's more unique holiday traditions is the parade of "Carol Ships"--ships decked out with elaborate Christmas lights--that take to Vancouver's waterways for nightly processions. To go aboard the Carol Ships costs money, but it's free to watch the spectacle at any of the shoreside Carol Ship events, including Carol Ship watching and bonfires in North Burnaby and West Vancouver's Dundarave Park.

7. Vancouver Tree Lighting Celebration - December 6, 2013

Free Vancouver Christmas Events: Vancouver Tree Lighting Celebration
Image Courtesy of Amacon
Sponsored by Amacon, the sixth annual Vancouver Tree Lighting Celebration is a free party at the Jack Poole Plaza at the Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver. The celebration includes the ceremonial lighting of a 50-foot Christmas Tree, plus live music from the Vancouver Children’s Choir and Christmas soloists, and special guest appearances by the BC Lions along with the Felines and Bro Jake from Rock 101, as well as Santa himself.

8. Christmas in Kerrisdale - December 7, 14, 21 & 23, 2013

Kerrisdale Village--a picturesque shopping district in the southern Vancouver--celebrates the season with lots of free fun, including free horse and carriage rides (Saturdays only and December 23), live Christmas music in the streets, and a chance to meet Santa and his elves.

9. Trinity Street Christmas Light Festival - December 7 - January 5, 2014

free vancouver christmas events & activities: trinity street christmas light festival
Image Courtesy of Trinity Street Christmas Light Festival

Every year, the residents of East Vancouver's Trinity Street join together to create one of the best displays of Christmas lights in Vancouver. Houses along Trinity Street go all-out for the holidays with incredible light displays and festive decor, inviting their neighbours (and all of Vancouver) to enjoy a free stroll down the street.

10. Winter Solstice Lantern Festival - December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice Festival at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, Vancouver
Image Courtesy of Secret Lantern Society

Take part in one of the world's oldest traditions at this annual event that celebrates the return of the light after the year's shortest day, the Winter Solstice. The Festival includes lantern displays, live musical performances, and events in five Vancouver neighbourhoods, including Yaletown, the Downtown Eastside, Granville Island, and at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden in Chinatown. All Festival events are free, but donations are requested.

11. Free Skate at the Kerrisdale Arena - December 22, 2013

Kerrisdale Arena, Vancouver
Image Courtesy of Vancouver Park Board

Part of Christmas in Kerrisdale, this free afternoon of indoor ice skating at the Kerrisdale Arena runs from 3:45pm - 5:30pm and includes live music.

12. All-Ages New Year's Eve Party at Robson Square - December 31, 2013

free holiday activities in vancouver: free ice skating at robson square
Image Courtesy of Inside Vancouver
Ring in the New Year in the heart of downtown Vancouver! One of the Top 10 New Year's Eve Parties in Vancouver, this free celebration includes live music and performers, free noisemakers and glow sticks for the kids, and an early countdown (festivities end at 11pm).
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