Best Places to See Santa in Vancouver
Christmas is a time of wonder. The lights, the presents, and the music all add up to a season that fills our minds with memories and our hearts with delight. None of this is more evident than through the eyes of a child. Many of us have memories of leaving out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve and then waking up to gifts under the tree in the morning. Visiting Santa is a highlight of the season for many children as they sit on his lap and verbalize their gift list. Even though we as adults know that it’s just a kind soul donning a big belly and red suit, we still love seeing the awe in the eyes of the kids as they visit Santa himself.
If seeing Santa is on your list of things to do this holiday season, then we have suggestions for you on the best places to see Santa in Vancouver. From attractions to stores, prepare that holiday list and get the kiddos ready to visit good ole’ Saint Nick.
If you are looking for a Christmas market, light show, and live entertainment, then Christmas Glow is the place to go! Not only do they have visits with Santa, but their holiday theme this year is all about the jolly guy in red. Children can help elves find “Santa’s Lost Presents” and earn a surprise if they manage to find all of the gifts. Not only can kids whisper their Christmas wishes to Santa, but they can also play on playgrounds, stroll through a light tunnel, and ride on Glen the Glow-comotive.
Adults can peruse the market filled with local artisans and enjoy seasonal beverages. Christmas Glow truly has something for everyone, no matter his or her age. The best part? The entire thing is indoors, so you can enjoy all of the activities regardless of the weather outside.
Vancouver Santa Claus Parade
Want to spend a whole day with Santa? The Vancouver Santa Claus Parade is an annual event that centers on the red-suited guy himself. Start the day by having breakfast with Santa at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, and then enjoy pre-parade festivities such as face painting, crafts, and writing letters to Santa. View the parade at noon, and then have a photo with Santa in the TELUS Garden Laneway as you have hot cocoa and listen to holiday stories. For kids who are obsessed with Santa, this is a great way to spend the day!
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Not only does the VanDusen Botanical Garden have beautiful plantings, bird walk tours, and storytime for preschoolers; but also at Christmas, the gardens are decked out as the holidays go into full swing. Visit their Festival of Lights where over 1 million lights decorate trees and pathways, and children can tell their Christmas wishes to Santa himself. Their Dancing Lights show takes place on Livingstone Lake, and you can also enjoy a holiday snack as you peruse the decorated gardens.
The Peak of Christmas
For kids who have always wanted to visit the North Pole, this is the place! A real winter wonderland, Grouse Mountain is known as The Peak of Vancouver and offers activities year-round. In the snowy season, guests can ski, snowboard, and ice skate. When the holidays hit, Santa arrives in his workshop. Children can see real reindeer, make crafts, go on sleigh rides, and enjoy other Christmas activities up on the mountain during The Peak of Christmas.
Santa ditches sliding down chimneys and goes for a scuba dive instead! Visitors to the Vancouver Aquarium can watch Scuba Claus as he trades the ice and snow for a dive with the fish. Other water-centric activities include viewing a jelly snow globe display, seeing an eel powered Christmas tree, and watching a 4-D holiday-themed movie.
Kids Market, Granville Island
As its name indicates, Kids Market is all about the little ones. Since 1984 their 2-story building has been a family fun destination. Filled with over 25 shops and services, they offer toys, clothing, activities, and a hair salon that are all geared towards kids. However, things truly get festive at Christmas where children can tell Santa what is on their list this year. Visitors can do double duty in shopping for the kids on their list while fitting in a visit with St. Nick.
Vancouver Christmas Market
Don’t have time to head to Europe’s famous Christmas markets? Well, you’re in luck! Experience the ambiance and activities that European markets offer at Vancouver Christmas Market. Stroll through a Christmas village, ride the Christmas Carousel, go inside a walk-in Christmas tree, and experience German-style food and drinks. The first Saturday in December is designated as Kids Day with child-friendly activities such as live entertainment, craft activities, a treasure hunt, and visits with Santa himself.
Mall Santas shouldn’t be left out. Seeing one is a great way to sneak in a Santa visit while adults are already at the shopping centre picking out Christmas gifts. Children can see Santa and have their photo taken at Richmond Centre, but the best part is that instead of standing in line, reservations can be made for a particular time slot. Of course, Santa still tries to see walk-up visitors as he wants to keep the holiday spirit alive in the hearts of each little one.