How To Enjoy The Celebration Of Lights When Taking Transit With Kids

Celebration of Lights Image Credit Jonathan Evans (Honda Celebration of Lights)

The Celebration of Lights is back again in Vancouver and that means there are going to be thousands of people swarming Vancouver’s beaches to get a glimpse of our most anticipated Summer fireworks show. Celebration of lights brings out everyone in Vancouver and with so many people it makes it almost impossible to drive in and out from the fireworks in a timely fashion. This is one evening you will want to think about taking transit, even with its long lines it is still the faster way to get out of the downtown core.

Our downtown core is lovely but it isn’t made for lots of drivers anxious to get home. 

Living a car free lifestyle myself, my family and I have always taken transit to the fireworks and over the years we have learned a thing or two on how to make it as painless as possible.

Compass Card or Day Pass

Travelling from your home to the downtown core can be a large task and the easiest ways to get around without having to worry about counting change is to use one of their Compass Cards (something you avid users will already have) or opt for a day pass. A day pass is great especially if you want to save money and are travelling through multiple zones before 6pm. It also makes it possible for you to use the same card to get back home at the end of the night. No need to wait in lines to buy tickets at the end of the night at all. For an adult this is $7 so do the math and think about this as a great stress free way for your family to travel back and forth.

Park and Ride

A very common option for families here in Vancouver is a park and ride. Parking nearby a skytrain station close to home is a great way to lessen your transit trip if you know you might be getting off the train too late to catch your local bus. Not all buses will run after a certain time so make sure you figure out your best route from the Celebration of Lights to see if you will need to keep this option in mind. The last thing you want to do is end up missing your last bus and trying to find a cab on a fireworks night. With no Uber in Vancouver cab wait times can sometimes hit over an hour on busy nights like the Celebration of Lights.

Prepare For Crowds And No Seats

On the way there and on the way back the trains can feel more like moving sardine cans and you will very likely face the reality that your kids and you will not be sitting anytime soon. This can be a hard thing to juggle with little ones, especially with strollers are faced with jam packed full trains. Depending on your situation you might want to consider no stroller at all to help you squeeze in and get there and home on time. The trains on the way home will be especially full so leaving the Celebration of Lights early, if you do have a stroller, is key – especially when you are walking from the beach. One year I made the stroller mistake and didn’t make it home till 2:30am… fireworks end at 11pm.

Image Credit Honda Celebration of Lights

Keep Their Tummies Happy

If you know you have little ones who get hangrier than most you will want to make sure you are keeping enough snacks on hand. When faced with long waits and lines it can be hard to keep your cool so make sure you aren’t giving them another reason to be sad by not having something to snack on in your purse. If you know you have little ones who get motion sickness the frequent stops and winding roads from the trains and buses might not be ideal. Make sure you have taken the right precautions before hand to make the ride easier on their tummies.

Arrive Early, Leave Early

For families this is my best piece of advice. If you want to avoid the most stressful part of the fireworks, the crowds, as much as humanly possible then you will want to arrive early and leave early. The earlier you get down there the less people on transit and the better spot you can find on the beach. When you sneak out early you hopefully manage to get your way out of the downtown core before the majority of the crowd. Leaving early is hard but with kids sometimes it is the best option.

With these tips you and your family will be ready to skip the car for this years Celebration of Lights!

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