Christmas in Vancouver on Two Wheels

Christmas in Vancouver on Two Wheels

City Tour, 13 miles

Overview

Vancouver is a great place to discover by bicycle throughout our warm summers. However, the city lights up over the holiday season and hosts numerous activities and events to get you into the spirit of the season. For our family, it has become a tradition to bundle up and set out to any number of activities throughout Vancouver on bicycles. With a portable stereo on hand, we enjoy the twinkling lights and get into the Christmas spirit while listening to some of our favourite Indie Christmas songs.
This ride features countless stops and activities that can be enjoyed day and night, as well as lots of suggestions for stops to eat or warm up with a cup of hot cocoa (or even some mulled wine). Most events are free for the whole family, although some do charge a small fee. What better way to experience the beauty of the holiday season than on two wheels with your nearest and dearest!

Logistics

Route Map

bikes

  • Spokes - $25+ daily for cruiser, city, mountain, road, tandem, kids, trail-a-bike, trailer, child seat
  • Bayshore - $30+ daily for cruiser, mountain, hybrid, tandem, kids, trail-a-bike or trailer.  Locks extra
  • English Bay - $30+ daily for cruiser, mountain, folding, tandem and kids.  Helmets and locks included.
  • EzeeRiders - $24+ daily for cruiser, mountain, road, electric, tandem, kids, trailer.
  • Reckless - $30+ daily for city, cruiser, road, electric, tandem, trail-a-bike, trailer and baby seat.  Includes helmet, lock, basket and map.

TRAIN STATIONS:

  • Start and end of ride - Main Street-Science World, Skytrain's Expo & Millennium lines
  • System Map

what to bring?

Dress in layers for both riding /walking in cold and shopping or eating indoors; comfortable walking shoes; panniers or basket for carrying shopping items; travel mug for hot chocolate, coffee or winter nip;)


route highlights

A. Portobello West Market  1 Athletes Way | http://portobellowest.com/event/holiday-market-2/

If you're looking to do a little shopping, the Portobello West Market offers locally made gifts and goodies. Runs November 29-30, and admission is just $2. If you missed the market, Olympic Village hosts a number of cafes and restaurants, including Terra Breads and Tap and Barrel to help warm you up and fill your bellies before you set off.

B. Kids' Market  1496 Cartwright St | kidsmarket.ca | (604) 689-8447

The Kids Market at Granville Island is a treat all year round, with lots of toy stores all geared to bring smiles to the faces of children of all ages. At Christmas time, they also get daily visits from the "Big Guy". Venture up to Santa's Workshop on the second floor near the arcade and listen as Santa reads a story, sings songs, and even get your picture taken on his lap - all at no cost! Our kids love the authentic looking Santa, and a visit to see him has become a yearly tradition. 

C. Robson Square Ice Rink  800, Robson St | www.robsonsquare.com | (604) 646-3554

It may not snow much in Vancouver, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy some winter activities. Each year Robson Square freezes over, offering skating daily starting at 9am. Skating is free with your own skates, or you can rent some from the skate shop. Runs Dec 1st, 2016-Feb 14, 2017.

D. Vancouver Christmas Market  650 Hamilton St | www.vancouverchristmasmarket.com | (604) 561-7597

The Vancouver Christmas Market is a traditional German Christkindlmarkt in the heart of downtown. Featuring numerous crafts, lots of tasty goodies, and even warm mulled wine, the Christmas Market has become a Vancouver tradition and a favourite for locals and tourists. For our kids, the colourful carousel ride is a highlight each year, along with the maple treats. Runs November 26-December 31 11am-9pm. Admission $7 for adults, $3 for kids 7-12 and FREE for kids 6 and under. There are often groupon deals worth looking for.

E. Christmas at Canada Place and Carol Ships Parade  999 Canada Pl | http://www.christmas.canadaplace.ca | (604) 665-9000

Canada Place offers numerous activities for the whole family throughout the month of December. View the beautifully decorated Woodward's Windows, enjoy free outdoor skating, lots of twinkling lights and even pictures with Santa. Runs December 16-30 (closed Dec 24 & 25). Canada place is also a great please to sit with a cup of hot cocoa and watch the annual Carol Ships Parade of Lights. More than 50 boats and over 100,000 light up Coal Harbour, False Creek and other waters throughout Metro Vancouver. Runs December 5-25. Check the website for specific locations and dates as they vary.

F. Bright Nights Christmas Train  Stanley Park 

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx | (604) 921-1070

During the holiday season, the Bright Nights Train and Plaza at Stanley Park sparkles with three million twinkling lights, decorating the darkness that comes early at this time of year. Wander through the twinkling lights, and enjoy some hot cocoa and kettle corn from the concession. Entrance to the Bright Nights Train Plaza is by donation (you don't need to purchase train tickets to see the holiday lights). Suggested minimum $4.00 donation. To book tickets for the Christmas Train, visit the website. Runs November 28th, 2016-January 1st, 2017.

G. Carol Ships Parade of Lights  English Bay | http://www.carolships.org/s/Home.asp 

English Bay is another place to enjoy. Carol Ships Parade of Lights. More than 50 boats and over 100,000 light up Coal Harbour, False Creek and other waters throughout Metro Vancouver. Runs Friday and Saturday nights, December 2-17,. Check the website for specific locations and dates as they vary.

H. Lights of Hope  1081 Burrard St 

http://www.helpstpauls.com/lights-of-hope/ 

A Vancouver tradition, Lights of Hope is an annual fundraiser that lights up St. Paul's Hospital and Burrard Street. The display is definitely worth the trip, and a point of pride for many Vancouverites. FREE

I. Carol Ships at Science World  1455 Quebec St http://www.carolships.org/s/Home.asp

Science World will be the starting point for several Carol Ships Parade of Lights, including the opening night, December 5th. More than 50 boats and over 100,000 light up Coal Harbour, False Creek and other waters throughout Metro Vancouver. Runs December 5-25. Check the website for specific locations and dates as they vary.

J. Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens  5251 Oak St http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/festival-of-lights.aspx | (604) 257-8335

Experience the Festival of Lights, a frozen winter wonderland with over one million lights decorating VanDusen Garden.Stroll with friends and family through themed areas and enjoy the Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake, the gnome performance, and the shadow puppet show. Have photos taken with Santa, savour holiday treats, and delight in much more! Although it isn't free, our kids love running along the lit pathways and we have to stick around for at least two of the musical light displays on the lake. Runs Wednesday, December 1, 2016, to Sunday, January 2, 2017. See webpage for Admission prices.  

K. Make-It Fair  2901 E Hastings St http://makeitproductions.com/vancouver/welcome-to-make-it/

The Make-It Fair runs each year and is the perfect destination to shop for one-of-a-kind handmade items from over 250 of Canada’s hottest urban artisans, designers & crafters. Make It is the ultimate upbeat shopping experience! There will be something for everyone from fashion, accessories, art, jewelry, baby items , home decor and stuff for the guys. Runs December 8th-11th Admission $7 and gets you in all weekend (Kids 12 and under FREE)