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32 BEST Things to do in Vancouver When it Rains

32 BEST Things to do in Vancouver When it Rains

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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!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Our favorite rainy day activities in Vancouver are:

  1. Going on a whale watching tour
  2. Exploring Granville Island
  3. Visiting craft breweries on this behind the scenes brewery tour
  4. Checking out the Vancouver Aquarium
  5. Eating at all the best restaurants or even joining this amazing food tour

Things to do in Vancouver When it’s Raining

1. Wander Lynn Canyon

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

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 best 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 – 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 and you can book it easily online here!

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

Orcas swim through the waters near Vancouver, Canada
Orcas are beautiful creatures!

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 $190 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.

Honestly, seeing an Orca in the wild is a dream come true!

3. Watch a hockey game

Vancouver Canucks in action at Rogers Arena
Watching the Vancouver Canucks

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.) My best advice is to buy tickets online here through the trusted booking system Viator. You can easily choose seats within your budget and know that you are purchasing legit 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

Drinking craft beer at Port Moody, Vancouver
Drinking craft beer in Port Moody

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 $125 CAD and lasts for about three hours. You can book your spot on this small group tour online here.

5. Explore Granville Island

Having beer on Granville Island
Drinks with a view on Granville!

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 $78 CAD for adults and $46 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

View of Granite Falls on a zodiac tour from Vancouver
Explore the Indian Arm! Photo credit: Vancouver Water Adventures

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 zodiac 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.

Shannon Falls is located 1 hour from Vancouver, so if you don’t have your own wheels, it’s best to go on a tour. This day trip includes a stop at Shannon Falls on the way to Whistler.

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 Veil 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. Day trip to Whistler

At Whistler Brewing drinking a beer
Drinking beer at Whistler Brewing!

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 here as it is one of the most popular activities in Whistler and often books up.

Getting to Whistler:

You can either drive yourself to Whistler, take a shuttle, or go on an organized day trip from Vancouver.

If you don’t have your own car already but want the freedom of your own wheels, you can easily rent a car.

Alternatively, book this shuttle transport from Vancouver to Whistler. It’s important to note that the shuttles do take longer, so they are better for multi-day trips in Whistler as opposed to just a one-day trip.

A organized tour is likely your best option if you’re short on time. This particular full-day tour combines your trip to Whistler with the Sea to Sky Gondola ride. It costs $214 CAD and includes your Sea to Sky Gondola ticket, as well as all of your transportation, with live commentary on board which I always think is great for first-time visitors.

You’ll also have several hours of free time in Whistler so that you can explore independently and check out the cafes, boutiques, and attractions that most interest you. If you’re not all gondola-ed out, then we highly recommend the Peak 2 Peak gondola as well!

What we also love about this tour is the fact that it includes a stop at Shannon Falls to check out this awesome feat of nature. Plus, it has a maximum group size of 30 so it doesn’t feel like you’re part of a massive herd. It’s also very well organized and everything runs super smoothly, so you don’t waste time hanging around when you could be exploring! You can book this day trip from Vancouver to Whistler easily online here!

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 Fairmont Chateau Whistler, they nail every detail including the accommodating staff, beautiful rooms, and a list of amenities to take advantage of. 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

Capilano Suspension Bridge
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. If you still aren’t sure if you’d like to visit, you can read our honest review of the Capilano Suspension Bridge to see if it’s worth it.

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. There is a limit to the number of visitors who can enter at one time, so you should reserve your timeslot online in advance here to avoid missing out!

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!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

9. Go skiing or snowboarding

person skiing in the backcountry in Whistler, BC
Skier on a snowy mountain, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

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

A animal display at Science World, Vancouver
Hide from the rain and learn!

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

Stunning gardens and paths at The Butchart Gardens in Vancouver Island, BC
The beautiful Butchart 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 from Vancouver. 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 $275 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

The beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen traditional chinese gardens in downtown Vancouver
The beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen traditional Chinese gardens in downtown Vancouver

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 this 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!

Not keen on a tour? You can’t go wrong with either Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie or Chinatown BBQ. Try the dumplings at Bao Bei, and at Chinatown BBQ, go for the Peking Duck – you won’t be disappointed!

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

view from a float plane looking over west vancouver on a cloudy day
Even on a rainy day, the views are spectacular!

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! You can read all about it and book online here.

Related Read: For more info, check out our complete guide to Vancouver seaplane tours!

14. Go ice skating

Ice skating at Robson Square in Vancouver
The outdoor rink at Robson Square! Photo credit: Depositphotos edb3_16

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

A coffee at Cafe Medina, Vancouver, BC
Coffee on a rainy day? Yes, please!
Bailey drinks a beer at Granville Island Brewing
You had me at craft beer!

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!

16. Visit the Vancouver Aquarium

Penguins at the Vancouver Aquarium
Penguins at the Vancouver Aquarium
A frog at the Vancouver Aquarium
The aquarium has a lot more than just fish!

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

Bailey poses wit her ice cream on our Vancouver foodie tour
Bailey poses with her ice cream on our Vancouver foodie 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 this specific tour and loved every minute of it! It was pretty cheap compared to other food tours we’ve done around the world. We also ate a ton – we were stuffed for days (well, not really – but pretty close!)

The thing that we loved the most about this tour is that it is also a history tour, so between eating, you’ll have short breaks to learn about Gastown, Vancouver’s most historic neighborhood. The guide is super knowledgeable and friendly, too.

The tour includes 6 food tastings and 2 drink tastings (alcoholic options are included, too!) It lasts for 3 hours and costs only $110 CAD – what a steal! It is a small group, though, so you should book well in advance to secure your spot. You can read more details an book easily online here!

18. Warm up with the best bowl of Ramen

Bailey at Danbo in Vancouver
Bailey at Danbo in Vancouver
Ramen from Ramen Danbo in Vancouver, BC
The famous Ramen from Danbo!

This one is another one for foodies. Do yourself a favor and escape the cold rain with a warm bowl of ramen. Honestly, the best ramen we’ve ever had was right here in Vancouver at a place called Danbo.

Danbo is easily one of the best restaurants in Vancouver, and not for it’s fancy ambience or anything (in fact this place is very simple) but for their tasty ramen!

Ramen Danbo has become our go-to spot and we have returned dozens of times since our first visit. It is so tasty and affordable, and a convenient 15-minute walk from one of Vancouver’s best beaches, Kits Beach. There is also a second location on Robson Street.

There are also some great vegan options that are just as tasty as the classic ramen flavors!

Danbo is first come first serve, and it definitely gets busy. We always try to get there before 5:30 pm to have a shorter wait time (about 30 min).

If you’re a ramen connoisseur, trust us when we say that Danbo is worth a visit. Check out the menu here to see what I’m talking about!

19. Wander the Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver Art Gallery
You’ll forget it’s raining in 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

Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver
Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology! It literally rained just after we go inside!

One of the best indoor activities in Vancouver is the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), located 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

Two breakfast meals at Cafe Medina, Vancouver, BC
How good does that look?
Eggs benedict at Jam Cafe, Vancouver
Jam cafe!

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

Bailey tastes wine at Backyard vineyards near Vancouver
More wine please!
wine tasting at Backyard wineyards near Vancouver Canada
wine tasting at Backyard vineyards near Vancouver Canada

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! You can read about all the tour details and nook the tour online here!

Related Read: Love wine? Be sure to head to Kelowna and check out the amazing wineries there!

23. Vancouver Lookout

Vancouver Lookout
Vancouver Lookout on a cloudy, rainy day!

The 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. You can purchase your ticket easily online here.

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

Lobster roll from Granville Island on a food tour
The lobster roll from the Lobster Man.
Close up of Lobster Roll from The Lobster Man, Granville Island
Yum!

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! 

For something a little less fancy, grab a lobster roll from the Lobster Man on Granville Island! Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

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

Wandering Stanley Park while its raining in Vancouver
What great memories!

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 $68 CAD per person and ranks among my favorite tours of Stanley Park.

28. Explore Canada on a simulated flight ride 

the outside of Flyover Canada in Vancouver
Ready to fly?! Photo Credit: FlyOver Canada

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 $30 CAD for this epic experience. You can book your ticket online here.

29. H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

Sculpture out the front of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
The front of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre! Photo credit: 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.

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.

Other options for a relaxing spa day include CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, or Sense, A Rosewood Spa. Many of the large hotels have spa services, so check them out and enjoy some peaceful R&R!  

Many spas also offer couples services, a perfect activity if you’re visiting Vancouver on your honeymoon!

31. Sunset Dinner Cruise

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie on a sunset cruise in Vancouver
Enjoyin the sunset, sheltered from the rain!

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 here 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

The gardens at the Bloedel Conservatory
Aren’t they beautiful!

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 city skyline
Vancouver skyline

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:

Hyatt Regency Vancouver – $$$

Can’t decide whether you’d prefer to stay near Stanley Park or Gastown? Well, the Hyatt Regency might just be right for you, as it’s located right between them! Rooms here enjoy gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows that help to bring in light and there is a small fridge, work desk, and toiletries in the bathroom too.

You can also conveniently enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at their beautiful Mosaic Bar and Grill just off the lobby. As you can imagine, it’s a luxury stay in a large hotel chain that is highly reviewed! So if you’re looking to celebrate something special, or just fancy taking your vacation to a whole new level, then staying here will definitely do the trick.

I’ve seen a one-night stay at the Hyatt Regency going as low as $232 CAD per night, although the rooms here on average are more around the $300-$500 CAD mark. So, for the best price, don’t forget to reserve your room in advance.

Times Square Suites – $$

For a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park, the Times Square Hotel is a fantastic choice! It’s very hard to fault this hotel, and the location really is perfect. The fully equipped kitchens and gas fireplaces are a nice touch in all of the rooms, plus the suites have living rooms and a washer and dryer.

For being pretty affordable, it has a lot of amenities, which is just one of the reasons we love staying here! You can book a room here from $232 CAD per night, but as this is a popular stay, I recommend checking your dates and booking ahead of time to secure your preferred room type!

The Cambie Hostel Gastown – $

The Cambie Hostel is a great budget-friendly hostel that’s located right 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, although the bathrooms are a little on the small side (part of the fun when you’re staying cheap, though!).

It’s perfect for backpackers on a budget and is considerably cheaper than others offering comparable quality. A bed in a dorm here starts at around $50 CAD, and you can book a stay here through Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.

Didn’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Click here to browse all hotels in Vancouver!

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 

Aquabus or Water Taxi to Granville Island in Downtown Vancouver
This is a unique way to get 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.

Driving

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.

Car share

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. 

Public transportation

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.

Aquabus

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

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

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. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

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!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey at Lynn Canyon, Vancouver
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?! Vancouver is truly worth visiting no matter what the weather forecast says!

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:

Things to do in Vancouver in winter

Things to do in Whistler

How to spend one day in Vancouver