Winter Wonderland: Fun, Safe, and Festive Holiday Activities

It’s been a strange year, as we all well know. Even though 2020’s holiday season looks different as we stay safe and close to home, we’re all ready for a bit of festive cheer! Large family gatherings and parties remain off-limits, but there are still options across the Lower Mainland for COVID-safe, family-friendly fun.Here are our top picks for the best holiday activities in Vancouver, North Vancouver, and the Sea to Sky.  Vancouver: Granville Island Festive Lights Surround yourself with bright lights and scenic views at one of Vancouver’s most beautiful landmarks! With complimentary parking and no entrance fee, families and friends (from the same bubble) can easily enjoy a safe, leisurely, and festive evening stroll around the Island. Many of Granville Island’s famous restaurants, bars, and taprooms remain open for take out, so you can make a complete night out of it!Highlights of the exhibit include a dazzling giant star in the center of the Public Market courtyard, the jewel tones along Railspur Alley (artisan district), giant musical notes among the trees that surround the theatres, and Granville Island’s historic yellow crane fully illuminated.To read more and plan your visit, click here!   North Vancouver: Grouse Mountain’s Skyride GondolaWhile not strictly a holiday activity, Grouse Mountain’s Skyride Gondola is one of North Vancouver’s best sources for family fun.In a matter of minutes, travel to the North Shore mountains’ peak and take in stunning views of Metro Vancouver. From here, you’ve got unimpeded views of the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf Islands, and snow-covered peaks that make our pocket of the world so special.Passengers will need to wear masks while boarding and travelling on the Skyride and must use hand sanitizer before boarding. Skyride capacity has also been reduced, and the cabin’s upper windows have been removed to allow for air circulation throughout the ride. Purchasing tickets online in advance is recommended to minimize lineups and guest interaction. Read more about the Skyride experience!  Sea-to-Sky Corridor: Ice Skating at Olympic PlazaThis nostalgic winter pastime offers the perfect blend of the great outdoors and holiday cheer! Ice Skating at Olympic Plaza is an ideal activity for the whole family — with thousands of festive lights and breathtaking mountain views, what else could you ask for during the holidays?To ensure provincial health and safety protocols are met, the rink is hosting a maximum of 30 skaters at a time. Admission is $2, rental skates are $8, and helmets/skating aids are complimentary with admission! Please note that masks are required in the lobby and exit areas of the rink. Olympic Plaza’s skating rink will remain open until late March 2021, depending on the weather.Learn more about Whistler’s premier holiday adventure!  For Those Staying Home Stanley Park Bright Nights Train (Virtual) The Stanley Park Bright Nights Train is an annual tradition with an unusual twist—this year, it’s moved online. This unique virtual experience checks all the boxes for festive family fun. Settle in and buckle up for a familiar ride through the stunning light displays and holiday decorations that illuminate Stanley Park during the holiday season.To enjoy the Bright Nights 2020 Virtual Experience anytime, click hereNeighbourhood Strolls Nothing says “holiday cheer” quite like Christmas lights and decorated homes! If you’re playing it extra safe this year, take a walk through your neighbourhood and check out the beautiful light displays put on by some of our most colourful neighbours. A self-guided tour of the neighbourhood lights is one safe and super affordable family-friendly activity—just make sure you’ve packed a thermos full of hot chocolate! If you want a guide to the best light displays near you, the Vancouver Sun’s annual Christmas lights map is up now! Stay Safe and Have FunWe may not be able to travel this year, but the Lower Mainland’s got plenty of holiday joy in our backyard! Between the events we’ve listed and so many others around Metro Vancouver, you’ve still got plenty of opportunities to experience something special this holiday season. Here’s to a healthy and happy holiday, and fingers crossed for a wonderful 2021!