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Vancouver is one of the most spectacular cities in Canada and a favorite of mine! It’s filled with great food, diverse culture, stunning beauty, and plenty of amazing things to do. However, Vancouver does have some downsides – with the frequent rain being one of the biggest.
The wet weather often soaks this coastal city. Vancouver is a city that receives around 180 days of rain per year. That’s 50% of the time!
That means that during your visit you’re likely to encounter some rain. Luckily, Vancouver offers a huge range of things to do when it raining. From exploring museums to eating great food here are the 31 best things to do in Vancouver when it’s raining!
Things to do in Vancouver when it’s Raining
1. Wander Lynn Canyon
When in Vancouver, do as the locals do and get outside – even if it’s raining!
Hiking is a popular outdoor activity in and around Vancouver, and the best part is, some of the hiking trails are just as beautiful in the rain. One of those is Lynn Canyon.
I first visited Lynn Canyon during a light drizzle and loved it. Because the views are down below the canyon, the clouds don’t obstruct the amazing views. On top of that, most of the trails are covered by huge trees, which give you plenty of protection from the rain.
You will start at the parking lot of the Regional Park, and walk past the yellow gate towards Lynn Creek. You’ll then walk over the suspension bridge, so make sure to snap some pics and enjoy the water rushing under your feet. Most people spend around 1.5 hours hiking Baden Powell Trail, however, there are plenty more trails in Lynn Canyon to explore.
If you don’t have your own transport (or are worried about getting parking), consider this guided tour to Lynn Canyon! It includes pick-up/drop-off as well as a guide to show you around the trails at Lynn Canyon.
During light rain, don’t just retreat inside. Places such as Lynn Canyon are just waiting to be explored! Plus, as a popular tourist attraction, you’ll have much fewer people around on a rainy day.
Related read: Check out more easy hikes in Vancouver.
2. Go Whale Watching
Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Vancouver during the rain is to go on a whale-watching tour. The whales are around even in the rain, so suit up and get out on the water (you’ll probably get wet anyway!)
Out on the open water, you’ll have to opportunity to spot various types of whales including Humpback whales and Orcas. But besides whales, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot other wildlife including seabirds and otters.
You’ll cruise around the Gulf and San Juan Islands, taking in the picturesque scenery while keeping a close lookout for whales. With so many around, it’s very likely you’ll see a few!
The best time of year to go whale watching in Vancouver is from May to October. You can expect to pay about $165 CAD for a half-day whale watching tour.
3. Watch a hockey game
Hockey is one of the most popular sports in Canada! When in Vancouver, you simply must watch the Vancouver Canucks in action at the Rogers Arena. The best part is, you can enjoy a hockey game in any weather and especially in the rain.
The Vancouver Canucks usually play a few times a week throughout the season when they are in town. Prices can vary depending on the day of the week and the location of your seat. But whether you are up close to the ice or way at the back of the arena, grab a beer and hot dog and enjoy the game!
Getting tickets to an NHL game can be difficult (we Canadians just love hockey that much.) You can try on the official website, however, if not available, try Stub Hub for second-hand tickets. If there are two Canadian teams playing such as the Oilers (my team) vs Canucks, tickets are very hard to get. Look for games against USA teams instead.
The NHL hockey season runs from October until May, which just so happens to be the wettest time of year in Vancouver!
4. Go on a Brewery Tour
The craft beer scene in Vancouver has exploded recently. Around the city, there are many different breweries that you can visit and try some of their locally made craft beer. They all have indoor tasting rooms so you can comfortably escape the rain.
I personally love Granville Island Brewing. Not only do they have great beer and are located on Granville Island (a must-visit place in Vancouver) and they also offer brewery tours. Tours run every day throughout the day and cost $12 per person. This fee covers not only your guided tour of the brewery, but also a tasting flight of beer at the end!
Of course, the heart of Vancouver’s brewery scene is in Mt Pleasant, the area behind Olympic Village. Make your way there and just take a walk. You’ll find breweries such as Faculty Brewing Co., Brewhall, Tree Brewing Co., 33 Acres Brewing Company, and Main Street Brewing Co., just to name a few. Seriously, there are too many to try – even for a local!
Another popular area to visit breweries in Vancouver is Port Moody. Here you’ll find 5 breweries on one street promptly nicknamed Brewers Road. It’s the best place to tour multiple breweries without paying for a tour.
For those who want to dive deeper into the craft beer scene, an organized tour is a perfect option. This behind the scenes craft beer tour will take you to a handful of different breweries around the city where you can try tons of local beer. At each brewery, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at how the beer is made – a super cool tour if you ask me! Plus, it includes transport so you can drink as much as you want without having to worry about a designated driver.
5. Explore Granville Island
No trip to Vancouver is complete without checking out Granville Island. For those who don’t know, Granville Island is a small island accessed by either boat or car right in the downtown area. On Granville Island, there are a few different things to do and explore, my personal favorite though is the markets.
The markets offer fresh produce, meat and fish, souvenirs, as well as many stalls where you can have a tasty meal. There is literally so much food at the Granville Island Markets; it’s a great place to go for lunch or get some fresh BC fruit! Oh, and the markets are indoors so it is easily one of the best things to do when its rains in Vancouver.
Other things to do on Granville Island include shopping, going to the Kid’s Markets, or even checking out the brewery – all of which can be done in the rain.
You can get to Granville Island by taxi or bus, but the most popular (and most fun) way to get to Granville is riding the Aqua Bus Ferry from the city center.
The ferry runs continually throughout the day and will pick you up from a couple of different stops in the city and take you right to Granville Island. The ferry costs around $5 and only accepts cash. Not only is it a method of public transport – it’s a fun thing to do on its own!
6. Chase waterfalls
The best way to enjoy the rain? Go see waterfalls, of course! In the rain, waterfalls become more powerful and impressive. Luckily, there are tons of waterfalls to explore near Vancouver. Some of the most popular and mt personal favorites include:
Granite Falls – For those who don’t know, Granite Falls is a large waterfall located so deep in Deep Cove that it is only accessible by boat or kayak. It’s likely the reason you’ve never heard of it before. The best way to visit Granite Falls is on this fun, 3-hour adventure. You’ll hop in what’s known as a zodiac boat to explore False Creek, Lion’s Gate Bridge, and Stanley Park before making the epic adventure down Deep Cove to visit Granite Falls.
Shannon Falls – Shannon Falls is a popular attraction on the Sea to Sky Highway (more on that below.) This waterfall is super easy to access, with a huge parking lot. It only takes a few minutes to walk to the base of the falls.
Norvan Falls – These falls are accessed by a 5km hike that starts in Lynn Canyon. They are one of the lesser-known waterfalls in the area but well worth it if you don’t mind a hike in the rain.
Bridal Viel Falls – Located on the drive from Vancouver to Hope, about 1.5 hrs from the city center, this is one huge waterfall! The walk to the falls only takes a few minutes and is very easy. The location is very close to the small city of Hope.
7. Drive to Whistler
Whistler is one of the most popular mountain towns in Canada and a great place to visit. With that said, the drive to Whistler is just as much a highlight as Whistler itself.
The Sea to Sky Highway is filled with amazing places to stop, including the gorgeous Brandywine Falls which is just as pretty in the rain. On top of that, you can enjoy the Sea to Sky Gondola, Shannon Falls, the town of Squamish, and Alice Lake Provincial Park.
Once in Whistler, there are plenty of amazing things to do. Of course, if you are visiting Whistler in winter be sure to go skiing or snowboarding. If it’s summer and it’s raining, hide out at Whistler Brewing, go white water rafting, or visit one of the many museums in town.
Where to stay in Whistler
Visiting Whistler for the day is a great idea, however, if you can be sure to spend a few nights there.
For budget travelers, Pangea Pod Hotel is a great option. It’s a basic hotel with pod-style rooms with clean, well looked after facilities.
If you can spend a little more (my typical category) then you can certainly get privacy in a good location. The Pinnacle Hotel Whistler is my personal choice when I visit Whistler (unless there’s a crazy deal somewhere else.)
8. Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a totally iconic landmark in Vancouver and is always recommended as one of the top places to visit.
It’s a great place to visit when it’s raining because there are usually fewer tourists and visitors, so you can explore at your own pace and have some time there by yourself. You might even be able to get a solo picture on the suspension bridge (a rare opportunity.)
On top of that, Capilano Suspension Bridge is similar to Lynn Canyon so your views below are never covered in cloud.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge also offers the Canyon Lights show in winter, which makes for a really special evening out. The price to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge is $59 CAD. This is a highlight in Vancouver and must in my opinion!
Related Read: Visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge is so popular that even if you only have one day in Vancouver, you should ad it to your itinerary!
9. Go skiing or snowboarding
If it’s raining down in Vancouver, then it’s likely snowing in the mountains (during winter.) Better yet, low clouds can mean you’ll enjoy a bluebird day while the rest suffer through the rain. The best part is Vancouver has no shortage of awesome places to go skiing or snowboarding.
If you don’t want to travel too far outside the city, check out the local North Shore mountains – Grouse (accessible by transit), Seymour, and Cypress. These three mountains are within 30 minutes of downtown Vancouver. A day of skiing or snowboarding costs around $70 CAD for adults and $25 for children depending on which resort you visit – that’s some of the cheapest skiing in Canada!
If you’re okay to drive a bit further, Whistler Blackcomb is an internationally renowned ski resort. It’s one of the biggest ski resorts in Canada with over 4,757 acres / 1,925 hectares of skiable terrain, 36 lifts, and over 200 runs! Whistler Blackcomb is suited to the novice skier all the way up to the pro.
It takes about two hours to drive from Vancouver along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway. Prices at Whistler Blackcomb aren’t cheap with lift tickets starting at $190 CAD for adults, $160 for teenagers 12 to 18, and $95 for kids ages 7 to 12. These prices do not include any early bird discount so if you know you’re skiing Whistler Blackcomb, book in advance to save money!
The ski season in Vancouver typically runs from December to April.
10. Vancouver Science Center
The Science Centre in Vancouver is highly rated and really interesting. To me, it’s the perfect thing to do in Vancouver on a rainy day!
Located right in the city, the Science Center offers a range of different exhibits, shows, and interactive displays guaranteed to keep you busy for a couple of hours.
Entrance costs $27.15CAD for an adult, but if you want to watch an IMAX film it’ll be an additional $6.50. They also offer discounted rates for seniors, children, and students (with ID).
Hours of operation vary seasonally so be sure to check out the Science Center website before you go for their opening hours and what’s on that day!
2022 Update: You must book your ticket in advance at Science World. They only allow a select number of people per time slot, so reserve your ticket on their website in advance if you want to go. The IMAX is also currently closed.
11. Day/overnight trip to Victoria and the Gardens
Vancouver gets lots of rain as low clouds hit the mountains along the coast. However, Vancouver Island can avoid much of that rain making Victoria the perfect place to explore on a rainy day in Vancouver.
The ferry to Victoria is around 90 minutes long and leaves from the Tsawwassen terminal around 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver arriving in Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. The ferry leaves every two hours and costs $17.50 CAD for adults each way with BC Ferries.
Once in Victoria, this historic city will take your breath away. Be sure to ride in a pickle boat through Victoria Harbor, visit the Royal BC Museum, or walk the inner harbor.
Without a doubt, one of the best attractions on the island is the famous Butchart Gardens!
The Butchart Gardens are nothing short of phenomenal and will likely be the most beautiful gardens you’ve ever seen. There are over 55 acres of gardens and 900 bedding plant varieties, and 26 greenhouses. In fact, it takes over 50 full-time gardeners to maintain them all!
You can go on your own, or you can book a tour. Tours are the better option since transport is all organized for you. One of the most popular tours in Vancouver is actually this Victoria and Butchart Gardens day tour. At 13 hours long, it’s certainly filled with fantastic stops, including the scenic ferry to Vancouver Island, a tour of downtown Victoria, and a visit to the gardens.
If 13 hours sounds too long for you, there are some tours that actually fly there! The flight tours are more expensive, but the scenic ride over to the island is an experience in itself, not to mention it is way quicker!
12. Explore Chinatown
Vancouver has a very vibrant Chinatown right in the city! Why? Well, there is a huge Chinese population in Vancouver! In fact, approximately 27% of Vancouver’s population is Chinese.
In Chinatown, you’ll be able to visit a variety of shops and also eat some tasty Chinese food! If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry, there is a day tour in Chinatown that promises to show you some of the local’s favorite places!
Chinatown is located right in the city (next to Gastown) and can be reached by walking from most Vancouver city hotels.
Located on the outskirts of Chinatown in Vancouver city center, there is a beautiful Chinese Garden well worth a wander. The gardens are relatively small and only take a couple of minutes to walk around, but they make for a great photo opportunity.
The entrance to the main gardens is free, but don’t get confused by the admission desk! There is a private section to the gardens that you must pay $16 CAD per person to enter. To me, the free section is nice enough, so I don’t recommend paying to check out the other section.
The gardens are located at 578 Carrall Street in downtown Vancouver. You can also find the location on Google Maps.
13. Vancouver Seaplane Tour
Vancouver is a beautiful city, with great views of the ocean and mountains from everywhere. But, it’s a whole other experience getting a birds-eye view over the city from up in the air! This Vancouver seaplane tour is guaranteed to be an epic, once-in-a-lifetime adventure!
Plus, it’s inside, so you’ll be sheltered from the rain!
The tour is about 30 minutes and will take you soaring up above the city of Vancouver, with epic views of the harbor, downtown city, and mountain peaks. The take-off and landing on the water are also pretty fun, and if you haven’t done it before, be prepared to get the heart racing!
The price for this tour is $145 CAD and is totally worth the splurge. You’ll be talking for days about this unique experience. And yes, this tour is totally doable in the winter months too!
Related Read: For more info, check out our complete guide to Vancouver seaplane tours!
14. Go ice skating
Ice skating is a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon or night in Vancouver. Indoor skating rinks are located throughout Vancouver, mostly at community and recreation centers. It usually costs under $10 CAD to rent some skates and enjoy the rink.
Robson Square in downtown Vancouver also has a fun outdoor skating rink set up temporarily during the winter months. It’s always decked out in holiday decorations and has a fun, festive environment. After, you can go to Robson Street for a hot chocolate and some shopping.
The Robson Square rink is open from December to February and is one of the best free activities in Vancouver during the winter months. If you don’t have your own skates, you can rent them there for around $5 CAD. The outdoor rink is covered, so even in the rain you’ll stay dry!
15. Cozy up inside with a drink
If you need a break from being outside, head indoors to one of Vancouver’s epic restaurants or cafes for a drink.
If you are a cocktail lover (like me!), there are some really epic cocktail bars around Vancouver. The Keefer Bar has been rated as one of Canada’s top 3 bars for many years now! Here, you can indulge in one of their many craft cocktails. They have a beautifully-decorated indoor seating area too – cozy for escaping the rain.
In Gastown, The Diamond is another great cocktail bar! From the outside, this venue doesn’t look like much, but on the inside, it is gorgeous!
If coffee is more of your drink of choice, then you’re in luck! There are so many beautiful cafes around Vancouver serving up delicious coffee! In Gastown, I love going to the Twisted Fork. Here, they will bring you your very own french press of coffee, so you can have as much as you want! It’s also one of my very favorite brunch restaurants in Gastown, so be sure to check it out.
In Olympic Village, you can’t pass up Terra Bread. Their coffee is amazing, and so are their pastries.
In Mount Pleasant, hit up 49th Parallel Coffee & Lucky’s Doughnuts. Besides coffee, they serve Lucky’s donuts here which are some of the bests you can try – my favorite is the peanut butter and jelly donut! They have a great $5 CAD coffee and donut deal here.
16. Visit the Vancouver Aquarium
Being on the coast, Vancouver sees its fair share of sea life. But it isn’t always easy to find these guys in the wild – that’s where an aquarium comes in!
The Vancouver Aquarium has been a mainstay attraction in Vancouver since 1956. Today, it houses over 65,000 different animals, with everything from fish, octopus, alligators, sea urchins, otters, seals, and even sea lions!
The Aquarium is committed to education and conservation, so they have an extensive marine mammal rescue program. It’s a family-friendly destination with tons of programs aimed towards children and adults alike to learn and explore all the amazing marine life. A visit to the Aquarium is $42 CAD per adult or $26.25 CAD per child.
What I like most about the Vancouver Aquarium is that they are a conservation project. It’s actually a non-profit so your entrance fee goes towards a few really neat projects to help protect sea life!
And, of course, the Aquarium is the perfect place to go on a rainy day, as it’s warm and dry and offers hours of entertainment.
17. Go on a food tour
Foodies will love Vancouver because there is so much amazing food to try! However, it can be hard to know where to even start. A food tour will let you in on all of the best local spots for amazing food.
When we went on a food tour in Vancouver we tried everything from sushi to poutine to ice cream (and more!) Our guide was a Vancouver local who had a passion for food and was excited to show us all of his favorite restaurants that took him years to discover.
We went on our tour with Secret Food Tours. Overall, we really enjoyed the tour and it was pretty cheap compared to other food tours we’ve done around the world (we personally recommend these guys.) We ate so much food that we were stuffed for days (well, not really – but pretty close!)
18. Get cheap Japanese food at Shabusen Japanese Restaurant
This one is another one for foodies (or even those who just like to eat!) Often, all-you-can-eat-restaurants sacrifice quality for quantity. But not this diamond in the rough.
Shabusen Japanese restaurant offers extremely high-quality food in its all-you-can-eat selection. It is a local “secret” as not only is the food amazing, but you only pay around $25 CAD for lunch!
What I particularly like about this all-you-can-eat Japanese is that it isn’t a buffet. You actually order everything you want from a menu, and if you didn’t order enough the first time around then you can just keep ordering more!
The food on offer is a selection of sushi, sashimi, meats, traditional Japanese dishes like dumplings and gyros, salad, noodles, and BBQ! They also have a BBQ in the middle of your table so you actually cook your own BBQ meats exactly how you want.
This unique little feature makes this restaurant more of an activity or experience rather than just a place to eat. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things to do in Vancouver, BC!
19. Wander the Vancouver Art Gallery
If you’re into art then the Vancouver Art Gallery is a must! Now, I have to be honest, this isn’t my favorite thing to do in Vancouver. Neither Daniel nor I really “get” art. However, for some, this gallery will blow you away – especially if you’re trying to avoid the rain.
First of all, the Vancouver Art Gallery is in a historic and beautiful building. Many people take photos on the steps, and actually many movies are also filmed there. And then inside there is a collection of international and local art. There are actually over 11,600 pieces of artwork in the gallery – so give yourself lots of time to explore.
The art gallery costs $24 CAD for an adult and is easily reached right in the city. They’re open every day from 10 am to 5 pm except for Tuesdays, when they are open until 9 pm.
20. Museum of Anthropology
One of the best indoor activities in Vancouver is the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), located out on the campus of the University of British Columbia (or UBC, a gorgeous campus to walk around itself!). It’s about a 20-minute drive or bus ride from downtown.
The museum’s goal is to promote awareness and understanding of cultural diversity and have many partnerships with Indigenous and global communities. They have a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples of British Columbia and offers rotating exhibits throughout the year.
The MOA is $15 CAD per adult or $35 CAD per family; it is free for Indigenous peoples.
21. Go for brunch
If you’re on vacation, you want to sleep in, we totally get it. There are some days where you just don’t want to rush out first thing in the morning – especially if it’s raining. So, why not relax a little and then go get brunch? There are some amazing restaurants in downtown Vancouver to choose from.
Here are some of our top choices:
- Café Medina – This is one of the most popular brunch places, and for good reason! Their signature is the Belgian waffles! Café Medina is located in the downtown core on Richards Street.
- Jam Café – This breakfast restaurant serves comfort food and generous portions! One of their most popular dishes is the Charlie Bowl, with biscuits, bacon, hash browns, and ham. Jam Café located in Chinatown and Kitsilano.
- Yolks – If you love eggs for brunch, this is the spot for you! They serve mostly egg dishes with pairings of maple-smoked ham, pork belly, or hash browns made in truffle oil. Yolks has two locations, on Hastings in East Vancouver and on West Broadway Street.
Some of these get really busy, so just make sure you make a reservation! Or, put your name in and then take a walk around the neighborhood while you’re waiting.
22. Go wine tasting in the Fraser Valley
This is one of my personal favorite activities to do in Vancouver! And the best part? All of the wineries have beautiful (indoor!) cellar doors where you can escape the wet weather.
The Fraser Valley, just outside of Vancouver, is a beautiful wine region producing some really tasty wine. A wine tour to the Fraser Valley will take you around to some of the best wineries, and you get to sample all of the wine for yourself! Sounds like a good day if you ask me!
This Fraser Valley Wine tour is a five-hour tour that takes you to three different wineries where you get to try a minimum of 4 wines at each place. On top of that, lunch is included or if you’re not hungry, choose a charcuterie board instead!
The tour will pick you up and drop you off at your Vancouver hotel, so all you have to worry about is having a brilliant day!
Related Read: Love wine? Be sure to head to Kelowna and check out the amazing wineries there!
23. Vancouver Lookout
Vancouver Lookout is one of the best places to enjoy views of Vancouver’s skyline. Go up into the clouds 169m above Vancouver and enjoy the panoramic views during the day, night, or at sunset from the indoor viewing deck.
To get to the top, you’ll jump into a glass elevator and take a 40-second ride up to the top viewing deck where you can see Vancouver from up above!
The Lookout is open from 9 am to 9 pm in the winter and from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm in the summer. It costs $18.25 for an adult. If you’re planning a special event you can also rent the space for weddings or events.
24. Go shopping at Metro Town
Are you ready to shop? Then you have to head to Metropolis at Metrotown, one of the largest indoor malls in the area, with over 400 stores. This is the place to stock up on some souvenirs or just pick out a new outfit! They have some popular and trendy stores like Uniqlo, Muji, Lululemon, Herschel, and Oak+Fort.
After a day of shopping, you’ll need to regain some energy. Luckily, the Metrotown area is home to so many amazing Chinese restaurants. We highly recommend checking out Dinesty Dumpling House for Dim Sum, which are small shareable servings of food. They’re known for their dumplings, so try the steamed pork soup dumplings – delicious!
25. Eat fresh seafood
As a coastal city, there are so many good seafood restaurants in Vancouver. It’s definitely worth prioritizing while in the city because it’s pretty hard to beat! Even just sushi – which you can find on every street corner – is fresh, cheap, and delicious.
If you want to really experience some amazing seafood, you can check out some of the popular restaurants such as Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House, an upscale oyster bar and seafood bar, or the Captain’s Boil, for lobster and shellfish!
If you want to see where all these amazing fresh fish is caught, Steveston (Richmond) is a cool area located along the water. You can walk down Fisherman’s wharf and actually see all the daily catches!
26. Vancouver Christmas Market
Ready for a little taste of Germany in the middle of Vancouver? The Vancouver Christmas Market is inspired by the classic Christmas markets in Germany and Europe, with delicious food, festive music, and shopping. It’s one of the most popular events in Vancouver in the month of December leading up to Christmas.
The Christmas Market is located at the Jack Poole Plaza and starts at $13 CAD for adults and $7 for kids (online only, prices at the gate are more expensive) to enter. Once inside, you can explore the many different stalls with treats and handicrafts. I highly recommend treating yourself to some Glühwein (mulled wine) and schnitzel!
The market typically opens on November 20 until December 24 between 11:30 am and 9:30 pm except on Christmas eve it’s only open until 6 pm. However, you should check the event’s specific dates every year.
Visiting Vancouver in Summer and missing the Christmas Markets? Check out the Richmond Night Market for an epic foodie experience!
27. Explore Stanley Park
The first time I visited Stanley Park was during a rainy day in Vancouver. I only had three days to do some exploring that visit, so I really had no choice.
However, what I found was with an umbrella in hand I got to wander the trails through the park without the crowds. It was quiet, beautiful, and I loved it.
Within Stanley Park there are lots of different things to see and do, however, I recommend heading to the interior trails of the park on a rainy day. The huge trees provide some relief from the rain and it’s so quiet. Of course, you can also walk the Seawall.
28. Explore Canada on a simulated flight ride
You might be in Vancouver, but did you know there’s a way to actually explore the whole country? FlyOver Canada is a simulated flight ride that gives you epic birds-eye views of Canada’s diverse and dramatic landscapes. The ride is eight minutes long and totally immersive. You are sitting in a seat that moves slightly over the screen, so you truly feel like you are flying.
From this “flight” you will see everything from the west to north to the east coast of Canada, including the plains of the Prairies, rivers, and lakes, and all the cities along the way. If Vancouver is your first stop in Canada, then this flight might be the perfect activity to help curate your Canada bucket list!
It costs $35 CAD for this epic experience.
29. H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
Want to learn about the mysteries of space in a fun and interactive way. The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is one of the best indoor activities in Vancouver, especially for kids.
You can wander exhibits in the Cosmic Courtyard gallery, visit the Observatory, see a show in the Planetarium Star Theatre, experience a science demonstration, or take part in other special activities.
Visiting the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is by bookings at specific times so be sure to check their website form times and bookings before you go.
30. Relax at a day spa
After a few days of exploring Vancouver, you need a place to relax. So, get yourself to a spa in the city and chill out in a hot tub. The Fairmont Pacific Rim is an upscale hotel that has a large day spa as well as a heated outdoor pool and hot tub that you can soak in.
Many spas also offer couples services, a perfect activity if you’re visiting Vancouver on your honeymoon!
31. Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park
I’ve saved one of the most unique activities to do in Vancouver when it’s raining to last. The Bloedel Conservatory is a domed tropical paradise that’s temperature-controlled.
Within the forest, you’ll find over 100 exotic birds including Macaws, African parrots, exotic Finches as well as over 500 exotic plants and flowers. It’s a tropical paradise in the heart of Vancouver.
You can wander the inside of the forest and spot the rare birds and plants getting yourself some stunning photos along the way.
The entrance fee is only $7 for adults and $3.50 for children.
Where to Stay in Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is one of the most popular cities in Canada. The fact is that in the summer and winter the city books up in advance very fast! Booking your hotel or hostel well in advance is the only way to secure the best place to stay for you!
Some great hotels and hostels in Vancouver that we love are:
The Cambie Hostel Gastown – This budget hostel is an overall good budget choice. The location is in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants and attached to the hostel is a very lively bar too. Rooms are clean but the bathrooms are a little cramped. It’s perfect for backpackers on a budget and is considerably cheaper than others offering comparable quality.
Times Square Suites – For a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park you can’t go past the Times Square Hotel. It’s very hard to fault this hotel and the location is perfect. It is a good mix between being affordable as well as a very nice hotel.
Hyatt Regency Vancouver – For those wanting the perfect location halfway between Stanley Park and Gastown, the Hyatt Regency is a perfect choice. As you can imagine, it’s a luxury stay in a large hotel chain that is highly reviewed!
For more info on the best areas and hotels, check out my complete guide on where to stay in Vancouver. It breaks down everything you need to know before choosing the right hotel!
For more detailed info, read our blog about where to stay in Vancouver that outlines all of the different areas you can choose from as a visitor to Vancouver.
Getting Around Vancouver
Transportation and ease of navigating a new city are super important to consider when planning a trip. It will help you determine where to stay and what you’ll be able to visit while in the city. In Vancouver, there are a few different options for transportation in and around the city.
This is probably the best form of transportation if you want to explore anywhere outside of downtown Vancouver and participate in activities like hiking or skiing, which require getting a bit further away. Traffic in downtown Vancouver can be fairly busy, just like any city center.
There is ample parking available both on the streets and in parkades, though it can be expensive. Some hotels provide parking, so check ahead of time.
If you can rent a car so you can explore Vancouver with ease! Just be prepared to pay for parking unless your hotel includes it.
A great option besides renting a car is using a car share service like Modo or Evo. These services allow you to rent a car and pay based on the time it’s used (i.e., pay for 30 minutes, two hours, or the full day, depending on how long you drive for).
You can pick up and drop off the car at specific checkpoints around the city and the best part is they get lots of free parking. This makes it super easy to use a car for just the time that you need it.
Vancouver’s public transit system is not as extensive as many other major cities, but it is still a good way to get around to main attractions. The SkyTrain provides excellent access to some of the neighboring cities, such as Burnaby, New Westminster, or Surrey, so it offers a good option if you plan on exploring outside of downtown. It also runs from the airport, so again, a good option to get into the city from the airport.
There are also many buses in the city that run frequently. Note that public transportation options are extremely limited overnight, with only a couple of night buses and no SkyTrian options after around 1:00 am. All public transportation is run by the company TransLink and is fairly affordable; a single trip costs $3.05, and a day pass costs $10.75 CAD.
Taxis and rideshares
Taxis are available throughout the city, as are Uber and Lyft. These are good options in the downtown core but can get pricey if you are going further outside of that region. For example, the taxi cost from YVR to Vancouver is about $30-50.
The Aquabus is one of the more unique ways to get around Vancouver. These small boats visit 8 locations in the harbor all the way from The Village to Granville Island. The Aquabus costs $17 for a full day pass or round trip tickets start at $3.85 but prices vary depending on the route you take. You can check out all their routes and prices here.
Walking and biking
Vancouver is a very walkable city, and it is possible to walk just about anywhere in the downtown core.
Biking is also a good option, as there are dedicated bike lanes throughout most of the city. You can rent bikes all over the city and pretty much ride everywhere you want to downtown. I love doing this, especially on a beautiful day!
Renting a Car in British Columbia
If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Car rental in Canada is relatively cheap, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $70 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Rental Cars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Rental Cars.com all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Canada Travel Essentials
Before you decide to head off and explore the gorgeous mountains, lakes, towns, and cities around Canada it’s important to have the right equipment. Of course, it’s likely you’ll have most of the basics already but there are some common items people forget that I never travel without.
Crampons: In winter, crampons are super handy, but what people don’t realize is that they come in handy in summer too. In fact, up until mid-July, you can still expect icy conditions in the mountains. The pair I use is only $28 USD and they have lasted me 3 seasons so far!
Waterproof shell: Most people will have this item but I thought I’d include it anyway since it’s so handy in Canada. The Columbia waterproof jacket is a lightweight windproof jacket that will seriously save you in many situations. The best part, though? It comes in pink!
Scent-proof bag (for bears): Most people think you only need to keep the smell of food away from you when you’re overnight camping. However, bears can smell the food in your bag while you’re hiking and the best way to avoid an encounter is to use a scent-proof bear bag. Basically, you put your food in the bag and the bear cannot smell it while you’re hiking. This is one item most people never have (I never hike without it) but it could save you and the bear.
Buff: I love my buff! Seriously, I go nowhere without it both in winter and summer. There are a few brands around but I always buy the original Buff (you know, the one from Survivor!) They’re a little more expensive but the material is good quality and both breathable and quick drying.
Dry bag: I have expensive camera equipment, so I always travel with a dry bag large enough to fit some of my equipment. It can be a camera, book, binoculars, or even my keys. Regardless, a dry bag gives me peace of mind! The MARCHWAY bag is really good quality, and when not in use, takes up only a small amount of room.
Binoculars: I love my binoculars! Seriously they have come in handy so many times, especially when I’m looking for wildlife. The best part is, I use a set that only costs $19 USD and they serve my basic needs without any issues!
Thanks for reading!
Regardless of the weather in Vancouver, there really are plenty of amazing things to do. I mean who would have thought you’d have so many great activities to do when it’s raining?!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this blog has helped plan your upcoming trip to Vancouver! If it has, then be sure to check out more of our blogs such as: