Things To Do in Chinatown: A Moon Festival Itinerary

By Kathy Gibler

Sep 21
Chinatown Millennium Gate on Pender Street

A Moon Festival Itinerary – Things To Do at the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival presents a wonderful opportunity for family fun. Gardens BC has put together a list of ‘things to do’ to assist in making your choice. The actual festival date is September 24; most of the events take place on the previous week-end, September 21 and September 22. If you are lucky, you may be able to fit two events into your fun schedule.

If you are in Vancouver/Lower Mainland, there are several choices. 

Friday

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden celebrates Music Under the Moon on Friday evening, September 21 from 5:30 — 9:30pm. In addition to musical performances,enjoy a Music Under the Moon contest where you will vote for the winner, tea tasting, mooncake making and more. Be sure to visit the Chinese Musical Instrument Petting Zoo from 6:30–7:00 pm. Ticketed.

There are numerous restaurants and shops in and near Chinatown for a bite to eat before the event.

Join the Vancouver Learning City at Oakridge for a Chinese Harp Music concert  Friday Sept 21 from 6:00 to 7:00pm. Free

Saturday

Moon Cake Demonstration: Coquitlam Heritage Centre,  Ages 12+

Learn about the history and traditions of Mid-Autumn Moon festival, how to make ice mooncakes and the how to make baked mooncakes.  Sampling included!  Spaces is limited. 10:30am to 12:00pm. Reservations and ticketed

If you are on Vancouver Island:

Saturday 

 Saanich Moon Lantern Festival 5:00pm -8:00pm.

A family friendly event that welcomes people of all ages and cultures. Enjoy traditional Asian dance and musical performances by community groups; lantern making for children and a sampling of mooncakes and traditional green teas. The event culminates with outdoor lantern installations, an illuminated community lantern procession through the park followed by an outdoor musical performance.   Free.

Light Up the Hills Lantern Festival   7:30 – 9:30pm, Westhills community in Langford.

The festival features illuminated artworks that create an intriguing glowing effect. Participants will stroll along a path passing performances and artworks.  Get ready for the evening by attending one of several lantern-making workshops on different dates.

Event: free.  Lantern-making workshops: registration fee.

Portland Oregon

A major Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is held at the LanSu Chinese Garden in Portland Oregon. If you will be in Portland on Sept 22, be sure to visit; their impressive list of events includes performances, games, tea, crafts, story-telling and more. 

Where to buy mooncakes:

Vancouver /Lower Mainland:

Buy mooncakes in Vancouver.  Most Chinese bakeries features mooncakes in the lead up to the festival. Other mooncake bakeries of note are Saint Germain Bakery with stores through Lower Mainland. If you’re looking for mooncakes with an exciting fusion flair, visit Soirette Bakery for flavours such as Pineapple Marmalade & Kaffir Lime Leaf and Black Sesame & Yuzu

Victoria area 

You’ll find mooncakes at Fairway Markets. It’s also worth a peek in other Chinese bakeries and where Chinese food is sold..

Prince George

If you are wondering if you can buy mooncakes in Prince George. You’re in luck.

If you are unable to visit any of the celebrations, you don’t have to miss out on the stories, legends and traditions of Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The British Council’s Schools Online offers a Mid-Autumn Moon educational kit to do with the family.

Whatever you choose to do for the event, keep your friends and family in your thoughts. Pass this Moon Festival Itinerary to friends and look for updates to it next year. Looking for a different itinerary, try our Single Day Cultural Garden Experience Trip in Vancouver.

Download a pdf of the Moon Festival Itinerary

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About the Author

Director of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver from 2006 to 2016, Kathy Gibler Kathy believes the Chinese Garden is a vital cultural connector between Asian and other cultures and has spearheaded a vibrant program of horticultural exhibitions, concerts, education, festivals, interactive theatre and recently developed the first Master Gardener Course about Classical Chinese Gardens.