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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 time in Vancouver you’re likely to encounter some rain. Luckily, Vancouver offers a huge range of things to do when it’s raining. From exploring museums to eating great food here are the 32 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!
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 – making it among our favorite Vancouver city tours. At the end, you’ll enjoy a complimentary tea or coffee. The cost per person is $155 CAD.
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, orcas, porpoises, and otters. We loved this experience – it easily ranks among the top tours in Vancouver for us!
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 $177 CAD for a half-day whale watching tour like this one. The company that runs this tour guarantees around a 90% success rate of spotting whales.
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 and brewery tours to try 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 does this brewery on Grandville Island (a must-visit place in Vancouver) have great beer but they were also one of Canada’s original microbreweries founded back in 1984!
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 3 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. This experience costs $110 CAD.
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, fish, and 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, checking out some of the best Granville Island tours, going to the Kids’ Markets, or even checking out the brewery – all of which can be done in the rain.
You can get to Granville Island by tax, bus, or tour, 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 CAD and only accepts cash. Not only is it a method of public transport – it’s a fun thing to do on its own!
A more expensive alternative for getting to Granville Island is to pick one of the many exciting tour options leaving from Vancouver City. They’re a good option if it’s your first time in Vancouver because they include several different stops and you’ll often learn some history from your assigned guide.
The tour I recommend the most is this sightseeing tour where we got to explore both Granville Island and Stanley Park, along with the cool neighborhoods of Chinatown and Gastown.
You can arrange to be picked up at your hotel, where you’ll be whisked away by a coach to see the city’s top sights. The 3.5-hour tour also includes a friendly local guide who will tell you about the historical and cultural significance of each place you visit.
Prices start at $73 CAD for adults and $42 CAD for kids, so it’s a rather affordable way to get to Grandville Island and see a bit more of Vancouver City. However, it’s a popular tour, and tickets do sell out. So check availability and book your tour online here!
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 my personal favorites include:
Granite Falls – For those who don’t know, Granite Falls is a large waterfall located so deep in the Indian Arm inlet 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, Vancouver Harbour, and Stanley Park before making the epic adventure down the Indian Arm to visit Granite Falls and Silver Falls. While on the water your guide will also share with you some geology about the sights you are seeing. This is easily one of the best boat tours in Vancouver, and you can book it easily online here!
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. It is actually the 3rd tallest waterfall in BC and it spews down 335 meters (1,099 ft) over the rocks.
Norvan Falls – These falls are accessed by a 14 km (8.7 miles) 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 relatively easy but long hike in the rain. A positive though is that the trail is absolutely stunning, but make sure to get to the parking lot early becuase spots are very limited.
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. Once you are able to see these impressive falls you can actually climb a little bit more to get closer to them.
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, here are some other ideas below:
- Go on a distillery tour – Deep in one of Whistler’s hidden neighborhoods you can head inside and take a tour of Montis Distilling for $88 CAD and taste all of their available products! There’s the option to upgrade your tour to include a curated charcuterie box from another local company Picnic Whistler that will pair well with all of your samples. How could you say no? I know I couldn’t! At the end, you can be dropped off at one of the best cocktail bars in Whistler, The Raven Room.
- Whitewater rafting – If it’s going to rain you may as well do an activity that involves water! Even if you have never gone whitewater rafting before this would be an opportune time to do so because the rapids on Green River are either a class II or class III so it won’t be too intense. The company that runs this particular tour is called The Adventure Group and they have been in business for over two decades so they are clearly reputable! For a 2-hour ride, you can expect to pay $180 CAD per person.
- Go ziplining – If you enjoy ziplining then you have to check out this particular zipline called the Sasquatch! This huge zipline will have you reaching speeds of well over 100 km/hr (62 mph) – the speed will make you forget that it’s raining! This zipline experience starts at $147 CAD per person and can even be done in Spring, Summer, and Fall (until mid-October.) It is only one zipline but is well worth it if you ask me. You should book this ziplining tour in advance as it is one of the most popular activities in Whistler and often books up.
Where to stay in Whistler:
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. The location is also really good and you are within walking distance to the ski lifts in Whistler Upper Village. We also love that it’s super easy to book on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.com.
For luxury travelers, I obviously love the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, they nail every detail including the accommodating staff, beautiful rooms, and a list of amenities to take advantage of but another option slightly cheaper is the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. Its location is perfect for luxury skiers because it’s only 250 meters from the closest gondola.
8. Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge
The 70-meter tall (230 ft) Capilano Suspension Bridge is a totally iconic landmark in Vancouver, with over 1.2 million annual visitors it is always being 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.) There’s also a pretty cool (and scary if you’re afraid of heights) glass-floor lookout.
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 $73 CAD but there is a free shuttle from town that you can take to get there. This is a highlight in Vancouver and a must-visit 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 add 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 CAD 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 $169 CAD for adults, $144 CAD for teenagers 12 to 18, and $85 CAD 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 $33.20 CAD for an adult, but if you want to watch an IMAX film it’ll be an additional $6.50 CAD. 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!
2023 Update: You no longer need to book your ticket in advance at Science World and they are now operating at full capacity. However, the OMNIMAX® is 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 $18.50 CAD for adults each way with BC Ferries. Or you can always book a tour from Vancouver to Victoria as another option.
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. There are plenty of fun things to do in Victoria to keep you busy.
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 one of the tours to Butchart Gardens. 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. The price might seem expensive at $264 CAD but it is a 13-hour long tour that is 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!
Related Read: Stop into Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island while you’re there – with giant Douglas Firs, this place looks (and smells!) amazing in the rain.
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 with a chef that promises to show you some of the local’s favorite places! You’ll try plenty of sweet and savory dishes and enjoy a dim sum lunch. Just do your part by coming hungry!
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 your heart racing!
The price for this tour is $160 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.
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!
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, octopuses, 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 costs between $39.95 to $51.95 CAD per adult and between $25.20 to $37.20 CAD per child (depending on the day) – tickets should be bought online in advance to secure an entry time.
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.
If you would prefer a private tour, this specific tour takes you to the Aquarium and the famous Bloedel Conservatory. It also explores Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park. It’s really ideal if you have a large group or want to learn some deeper information on the different fish and animal species, flowers and plants, and areas.
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 Taste Vancouver 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 $29 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 and Fridays when they are open from 12 pm to 8 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 offer rotating exhibits throughout the year.
The MOA is $15 CAD per adult or $35 CAD per family; it is free for Indigenous peoples.
2023 Update: The MOA is temporarily closed for upgrades to the Great Hall but is expected to re-open towards the end of 2023.
21. Go for brunch
If you’re on vacation and 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 has locations in Chinatown and Kitsilano (one of the best restaurants in Kitsilano, if you ask me!)
- 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, a light lunch of a charcuterie board is included – the most perfect wine pairing!
The tour will depart from the street over from Canada Place on Cordova Street so all you have to worry about is getting to the meeting point and they will handle the rest!
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 169 m (554 feet) 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 only open from 11 am to 6 pm daily with the last elevator up being at 5:30 pm. It costs $18.25 CAD 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 $19.99 CAD for adults and $9.99 CAD for youth with kids free (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.
Related Read: 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 in Vancouver 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 and beautiful, 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.
Another way to go about exploring Stanley Park without getting soaked is this Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour because the top of the wagon is fully enclosed you can enjoy hearing the sound of the rain and seeing the sights rain-free! This experience is on the more affordable side at just $60 CAD per person and ranks among my favorite tours of Stanley Park.
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 for times and bookings before you go.
The cost for adults and children is $19.75 CAD.
2023 Update: At the moment of writing this there is currently a technical issue with their Planetarium Star Theatre so tickets will instead include a live science demonstration in the GroundStation Canada Theatre, a tour of the Observatory, and time to explore the Cosmic Courtyard. Because of this, you can use the code 43A3A94F at checkout for a 25% discount. Check the website for further updates on this.
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 called the Willow Stream Spa that has 9 treatment areas a nail spa, three lounges, a full fitness center as well as a sauna, heated outdoor pool, and hot tub that you can soak in. With any spa treatment booking you are welcome to use any of these amenities 2 hours before your service.
In 2023 Willow Stream Spa won the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award! Because of how popular and well-loved they are their website recommends booking at least 4 weeks in advance.
Many spas also offer couples services, a perfect activity if you’re visiting Vancouver on your honeymoon!
31. Sunset Dinner Cruise
For a romantic rainy day dinner that is a little bit more exciting than eating at an indoor restaurant, you can head down to the marina to enjoy a sunset dinner cruise from the stunning waterfront of Devonian Harbour!
You can choose at what point during the 2.5-hour cruise you’d like to eat since the food is served buffet-style. And for anyone who is worried about low-quality food when you think about buffets, this is not the case with Harbor Cruises! You’ll find entrees like tender beef bordelaise and fresh British Columbia salmon that can be paired with some of the regional sides on offer.
Head back to your seat to dine and enjoy live local music as you pass by the Lion’s Gate Bridge and Stanley Park and watch as the sun begins to set over the ocean and mountains. Then, see lit-up views of Vancouver’s skyline including Canada Place! The main cabin of the boat has wrap-around windows so even if the weather never lets up to venture onto the outdoor decks you’ll still have great views.
You can book this Vancouver Harbor dinner cruise online for $209 CAD per person. It is a pricier activity but the ambiance and views will make up for it!
Important Info: This cruise only runs between the months of May through Mid-October.
32. Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park
I’ve saved one of the most unique activities to do in Vancouver when it’s raining for 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, and 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 $7.77 CAD for adults and $5.47 CAD for children and if you’d like you can book your tickets online right here.
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. The 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. Easily book a stay here through Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.
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. The fully equipped kitchens and gas fireplaces are a nice touch in all of the rooms and the suites have living rooms and a washer and dryer! For being affordable it has a lot of amenities.
Hyatt Regency Vancouver – For those wanting the perfect location halfway between Stanley Park and Gastown, the Hyatt Regency is a perfect choice. The floor-to-ceiling windows help to bring in light and there is a small fridge, work desk, and toiletries in the bathroom. Conveniently enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Mosaic Bar and Grill off the lobby. 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!
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 CAD, 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 CAD.
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 CAD for a full day pass or round trip tickets start at $3.85 CAD 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 isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars 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 $37 CAD 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 $25 CAD and they serve my basic needs without any issues!
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
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: