All of the Lights at Bright Nights in Stanley Park

All of the Lights at Bright Nights in Stanley Park

Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver
Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

Riding past homes and gawking at beautiful Christmas lights and decorations is one of my favorite holiday traditions. So when Jave and I were in Vancouver last December, we couldn’t pass up the chance to check out the Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park, an event that gives visitors the chance to view Christmas decorations in a small section of the park by foot or from the comfort of a choo-choo train.

Covering 1,001 acres, Stanley Park is a public area that’s bordered by downtown Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean. Being that it’s a quintessential part of any Vancouver visit, a stop at Stanley Park was already on our agenda. We figured that munching on snacks and sipping hot cocoa while viewing vibrant Christmas lights in an already beautiful setting would be an added bonus.

We arrived at Stanley Park about an hour or so ahead of our scheduled train departure time, so we decided to take a leisurely stroll through the park which offers views of Vancouver’s beautiful skyline and Lions Gate Bridge, a suspension bridge that connects the City of Vancouver to the North Shore municipalities.

We also passed by the Vancouver Aquarium and the First Nations totem poles.

By the time we returned to the Bright Nights Stanley Park event area, any semblance of daylight in the overcast Vancouver sky had been replaced with darkness punctuated by colorful, shimmering Christmas lights.

Once onboard our train, it moved slightly faster than a snail’s pace to give us the chance to take photos and more importantly, to take in the scenery. Chipper holiday music blared from the train’s speakers as we passed by scene after scene of different displays depicting Christmas winter wonderlands. All-in-all, our Christmas train ride lasted about twenty minutes, and then we were off for refills of hot cocoa.

Bright Nights is definitely a great annual event for families with kids and kid-free couples or singles like us looking for a lighthearted way to welcome the holiday season in beautiful Vancouver.

Know Before You Go

  • A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Bright Nights tickets benefit the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund which assists burn survivors and their families. Over the past 14 years, the organization has successfully raised over $1.4 million.
  • Tickets aren’t required to enter the Bright Nights Train Plaza where you can view the holiday lights by foot although a minimum $4 donation is suggested.
  • For more event details and to purchase tickets for the Bright Nights Train, click here.



Have you visited Vancouver during the holiday season? 

  • I love sparkling lights around Christmas, this seems so be the perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit. Beautiful !

    • Dana Carmel

      Stanley Park is perfect without Christmas lights, so the Bright Nights event is just the icing on the cake!

  • Oh wow very pretty lights, looks so atmospheric!

    • Dana Carmel

      Yes – it’s a gorgeous setting. A winter wonderland sans snow!

  • There’s a light display near here that I never go to because I can’t enjoy it while I’m driving through – I wish they had a train option! Plus, really, anything is more fun with a train.

    • Dana Carmel

      So true, Jess. The choo-choo train factor definitely brought out the kids in us!

  • Oh my gosh my face lit up seeing it was Stanley Park, Dana! I’ve waited almost 20 years for a story like this. Because my (ex) wife and I were there that long ago and had the most awesome time in Vancouver. But, we got LOCKED inside the park because we were screwing off! (no not that kind). I mean just being mischievous 30 year olds and not paying attention to the warnings that the park was closing! We were there in January and I soooo wish we had been there a month earlier to see goreous Christmas lights like this! The picture of Jave epitomizes perfectly what the weather was like too. Thanks for this post…it made me smile 🙂

    • Dana Carmel

      Well, since you missed the lights the first time around, that’s all the more reason to go back. Phoenix would go wild in Stanley Park chasing geese and whatnot! 😉

  • Oh wow, those lights are so pretty! I’ve never been to Vancouver even though I’m Canadian but would love to one day! (and maybe live there!)

    • Dana Carmel

      Oh, you definitely have to get to Vancouver, Michelle! I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love Vancouver.

  • The Christmas trees look so lovely and charming!! Wish I was there with you guys. All the best for 2014!!

    • Dana Carmel

      Thanks, Agness. Same to you! 😉

  • Any Christmas lights are joy. The Bright Nights Stanley Park is definitely a place to visit during Christmas.

    • Dana Carmel

      I definitely agree – the brightness of Christmas lights completely uplifts my holiday mood!

  • This would so be one of my favorite traditions if I lived there, too! And love that a portion goes to the Burn Fund, what a great way to give back!

    • Dana Carmel

      I love that too, Jess! I didn’t realize that at the time we went last year, but glad to know that a portion of our ticket cost went to such a great cause.

  • This is the best way to celebrate Christmas; the lovely colours, amazing Christmas lights, family cohesion. Oh! Can’t wait to celebrate this Christmas.

    • Dana Carmel

      Me either, Jeff. I can’t believe it’s next week!

  • I also love Christmas lights and decorations. The Christmas season (with the lights, decorations, glitz and all) was always a bright spot in my stay in England in an otherwise dreary winter.

    • Dana Carmel

      I wish we’d have a dreary winter here in L.A. every now and then! The grass is always greener I guess…

  • That’s one of the things I love about Christmas: all the Christmas lights! The streets and parks here in the Philippines are well lighted up these days. Love it!

    • Dana Carmel

      I’d love to see the Christmas lights in the Philippines – I bet it’s beautiful!


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