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37 free things to do in Vancouver this July

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Daniel Chai Jul 01, 2017 2:26 am 1,334

Enjoying summer on a budget? We’ve got your hookup to great free events happening in Vancouver! From Canada Day to Khatsahlano Street Party and Surrey Fusion Festival, here are 37 free things to do around the city this July.

For more things happening around town, check out our events section.

Celebrate Canada 150

@pastryboi337/Instagram

@pastryboi337/Instagram

Canada Day fireworks

  • What: The city’s only two-barge, simultaneous fireworks show is set to light up the night sky in celebration of our nation’s birthday.
  • Where: Coal Harbour and Dundarave in West Vancouver
  • When: July 1 at 10:30 pm

Canada Day Parade

  • What: Once the Canada Day celebrations are over on July 1, the party continues as the Canada150 Parade hits the streets of downtown the next day.
  • Where: Downtown Vancouver along West Georgia Street from Broughton to Burrard, and along Burrard to West Pender
  • When: July 2 at 5 pm

O Canada Day on Granville Island

  • What: Head to Granville Island for their annual Canada Day Parade, as well as jazz concerts, live shows, festival food and more.
  • Where: Granville Island
  • When: July 1 from 8 am to 8 pm
  • Cost: Free

True North Strong and Free at John Lawson Park

  • What: The festivities start with a citizenship ceremony at 2 pm followed by live entertainment, kids activities and a variety of food vendors. Be sure to stay and enjoy the fireworks show from the beach.
  • Where: John Lawson Park, 17th Street and Bellevue Avenue
  • When: July 1 from 2 to 10:30 pm
  • Cost: Free

Squamish #Canada150 Day Community Celebrations

  • What: Kick off your Squamish Canada Day with a parade on Cleveland Avenue and flag raising and cake cutting at Stan Clarke Park. Then spend the day enjoying the market and entertainment at Junction Park, followed by fireworks.
  • Where: Downtown Squamish
  • When: July 1 from 10:30 am to 10 pm
  • Cost: Free

Castle Park Celebrations

  • What: The event features children’s activities, local talent showcase, food vendors and salmon BBQ, community marketplace music by Jordan Klassen and more. Then grab a blanket and top the day off with fireworks at dusk.
  • Where: Castle Crescent at Citadel Drive, Port Coquitlam
  • When: July 1 from noon to dusk
  • Cost: Free

City of Chilliwack Canada Day 150 Celebrations

  • What: Start your Canada Day off with the Kiwanis Club Annual Pancake Breakfast at Evergreen Hall (9291 Corbould St.) at 8 am. Then enjoy a full day of family-friendly activities at Townsend Park, followed by musical performances and fireworks in the evening.
  • Where: Townsend Park – 45130 Wolfe Road, Chilliwack
  • When:  July 1 from 11 am to 10:30 pm
  • Cost: Free

Check out a festival

2017 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Coastal Jazz / Facebook

  • What: Whether you’re a huge jazz fan or just getting into it, there’s something for everyone at the 32nd annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. This year’s highlights include a new initiative called Spotlight on Italy, as well as the festival’s first-ever collaboration with the VSO, courtesy of Branford Marsalis. More than 1,800 artists are slated to perform across 35 venues.
  • Where: Various venues across Vancouver
  • When: Now to July 2, 2017
  • Tickets: coastaljazz.ca. Many free shows to enjoy.

Free Outdoor Movies in Stanley Park

Open Air Cinema

Open Air Cinema/Fresh Air Cinema

  • What: One of the most popular summertime events in the city is back as free outdoor movies return to Stanley Park this summer! The Evo Summer Cinema Series features a four-story inflatable movie screen showing favourites such as The LEGO Batman Movie, Toy Story, The Goonies and Jaws. Please bring your own blankets and/or lawn chairs and, since it’s a family-friendly event, smoking or alcohol is not permitted. Movie goers are encouraged to walk, take transit, or bike to Stanley Park for the shows  – there will be a bike valet service offered on site each night too.
  • Where: Ceperley Meadows near Second Beach, Stanley Park
  • When: Every Tuesday from July 4 to August 22
  • Cost: Free

Starlight Theatre at Lansdowne Centre

  • What: Take a trip back to the days of poodle-skirts, greased hair, and doo wop music – the Drive-In Movie Series returns to Lansdowne Centre for third year, presented by Fresh Air Cinema. Enjoy classic, family-friendly, and even some of the latest hits on an outdoor screen. Take a drive and cuddle up, or bring a blanket and lawn chair and settle in. Parking is on a first-come first-served basis (first 200 vehicles), with movie audio will be broadcast over FM radio. And keep in mind that this is a family-friendly event, so smoking and alcohol are strictly prohibited.
  • Where: Lansdowne Centre, west parking lot – 5300 No. 3 Road, Richmond
  • When: Every Wednesday from July 5 to August 30
  • Cost: Free

Indian Summer Festival 2017

  • What: The Indian Summer Arts Society organizes the Indian Summer Festival every July, to showcase provocative artists and visionaries from Canada, South Asia and beyond. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Tales of War and Peace’, and includes an array of award-winning artists, musicians, and authors.
  • Where: Various venues throughout the city
  • When: July 6 to 15, 2017
  • Tickets: Available online

Carnaval Del Sol 2017

  • What: Carnaval de Sol is the biggest Latin festival in the Pacific Northwest. It will be 2 days of live music, art, dance, sports, and poetry in celebration of Latin American Culture. For 2017, Carnaval del Sol will bring together more than 350 artists from different Latin American countries.
  • Where: Concord Pacific Place, Vancouver
  • When: July 8 and 9, 2017
  • Cost: Free

Uptown Live

  • What: New West’s favourite outdoors festival is coming back this summer, and residents from all over the Lower Mainland can see bands including Coco Jafro, Lion Bear Fox, Echo Nebraska, and others. Multiple stages, food trucks, and art installations make this one a can’t-miss.
  • Where: 6th Avenue and 6th Street, New Westminster
  • When: Saturday, July 22; noon to 9 pm
  • Cost: Free

Canada 150+ Vancouver: The Drum Is Calling Festival

First Nations celebration in Vancouver / Shutterstock

  • What: Each day of the festival zone will carry a unique theme with varying programming and events to provide attendees with a new experience daily. There will be carving and weaving exhibitions, dance, sports tournaments in adjacent streets, workshops, crafts, vendors and food, and live music performances on stages, including headliners Chantal Kreviazuk, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Crystal Shawanda, William Prince, Shane Koyczan, DJ Shub, and George Leach.
  • Where: Larwill Park – 688 Cambie Street, Vancouver
  • When: July 22 to 30, 2017; 1 to 10 pm (with some exceptions)
  • Cost: Free

Honda Celebration of Light 2017

  • What:  A blaze of fireworks will shower over English Bay in downtown Vancouver this summer over a trio of nights for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks competition. The participating countries for the festival’s 27th year are Japan (Saturday, July 29), United Kingdom (Wednesday, August 2), and Canada (Saturday, August 5).
  • Where: English Bay, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, July 29: Japan, represented by AKARIYA Fireworks; Wednesday, August 2: United Kingdom, represented by Jubilee Fireworks; Saturday, August 5: Canada, represented by Royal Pyrotechnie
  • Time: 10 to 10:28 pm (28-minute duration each night). Rain or shine. Music simulcast on radio station LG 104.3 FM.
  • Cost: Free

Explore the city

A Week of Free Screenings to Celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday!

  • What: As the centrepiece of the year-long Canada on Screen program, The Cinematheque celebrates Canada Day and Canada’s 150th birthday with a week of free screenings, featuring many of Canada’s greatest film (and television) works, from Anne of Green Gables to Jesus Of Montreal.
  • Where: The Cinematheque – 6810 Main Street, Vancouver
  • When: Now to July 7 at various times
  • Cost: Free and available on a first-come, first-served basis from The Cinematheque box office on the day of the screening.

BC Superweek

  • What: Featuring nine pro races over the course of 10 days, BC Superweek has fast become one of the most prestigious pro-cycling events in North America with a total prize purse of more than $120,000! Featuring 6 separate events as part of the series, BC Superweek consists of the Tour de Delta, New West Grand Prix, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, Giro di Burnaby, PoCo Grand Prix, and Tour de White Rock.
  • Where: Delta, New Westminster, Vancouver, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam and White Rock
  • When: July 7 to 16, 2017
  • Cost: Free to watch

Khatsahlano Street Party

  • What: This free annual festival will take over 10 blocks along Kitsilano’s 4th Avenue, with main stages at both Burrard Street and MacDonald Street. The Zolas, The Courtneys, D.O.A. and Lousie Burns are among a massive lineup.
  • When: July 8
  • Time: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Where: Along 4th Avenue between Burrard Street and MacDonald Street
  • Cost: Free

Car Free Day on the Drive

  • What: The festival stretches across 15 blocks featuring local artisans, musicians, community activities, delicious food, tons of entertainment and activities for all ages. As the place that Car Free Day began, Commercial Drive stays true to its grassroots beginnings and the story behind the festival.
  • When: July 9
  • Time: Noon to 7 pm
  • Where: Venables to North Grandview on Commercial Drive
  • Cost: Free

Bastille Day Festival

  • What: Bastille Day brings a piece of Paris to Vancouver. The French Community invites the Vancouverites to enjoy a day of French food, culture and entertainment!
  • When: July 14
  • Time: 11 am
  • Where: Roundhouse Community Centre – 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver
  • Cost: Free

Aldergrove Fair Days

  • What: Aldergrove Fair Days have been running for more than 100 years. Highlights include a Show ‘n Shine, a parade, midway rides and games, beer garden and food vendors, and more.
  • When: July 14 to 16
  • Time: 6 to 9 pm (July 14), 10 am to 9 pm (July 15), 10 am to 4 pm (July 16)
  • Where: Aldergrove Athletic Park and the Aldergrove Kinsmen Community Centre – 26770 29 Avenue, Langley
  • Cost: Free

Surrey Fusion Festival

  • What: The ultimate celebration of music, food and culture, right in the heart of Surrey, with musical performances across six different stages, and 40 cultural pavilions offering culinary delights from all over the world. Headliners include Nelly Furtado, Classified, The Zolas and Alx Veliz.
  • When: July 22 and 23
  • Time: 11 am to 10 pm
  • Where: Holland Park – 13428 Old Yale Road, Surrey
  • Cost: Free

Caribbean Days

  • What: A weekend of tropical rhythms and cuisine organized by the Trinidad & Tobago Cultural Society of BC. The north side of Waterfront Park has a food concession area and a large beverage garden. Enjoy spicy Caribbean food as well as other international fare, then relax with an ice-cold drink in the hot sun. On the south side, there is an outdoor music festival. Dancers and other performers entertain while bands play Reggae, Calypso, Latin and other international sounds to a large crowd. There is a Family Zone with face painting, a children’s playground and other activities.
  • When: July 29 and 30
  • Time: 11 am to 7 pm. Parade on Saturday starts at 10 am
  • Where: Waterfront Park – Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver
  • Cost: Free

Mat Collective Free Yoga

Woman doing yoga outdoors (lkoimages/Shutterstock)

Woman doing yoga outdoors (lkoimages/Shutterstock)

  • What: Returning for its second year, Mat Collective started as a yoga mat recycling program. Now, the program will offer free yoga indoor and outdoor classes every day all summer long. Mat Collective offers five classes: Hatha, Flow, Power, Kundalini, and Yin. The classes are designed for all levels.
  • Where: Classes take place at Kitsilano Beach Park 1499 Arbutus Street and 95 East 32nd Avenue in Vancouver. Check the full schedule here. 
  • When: Now to August 31; times vary. Check schedule for details.
  • Cost: Free

Uninterrupted

  • What: High-tech artwork along the entire undersurface of the Cambie Street Bridge meant to represent the “life blood” of the West Coast will be officially unveiled to the public on June 28. Uninterrupted by director Nettie Wild, producers Betsy Carson and Rae Hull and editor Michael Brockington it is meant to tell the the story of Wild Pacific Salmon’s life journey.
  • Where: Viewed from North Side of Cambie Street Bridge at Coopers Park
  • When: 25 minute shows nightly from Tuesdays to Saturdays; June 28 to August 14 at 10 pm (Note: no shows on Celebration of Light fireworks nights); August 15 to September 24 at 9 pm
  • Cost: Free

Robson Square Salsa 2017

  • What: Whether you’re a beginner or Salsa pro, these afternoons will definitely spice up your summer. Enjoy a free dance lesson taught by some of Vancouver’s best salsa instructors. Following the lessons, there is a dance show that features some of Vancouver’s most talented dancers.
  • Where: Robson Square – 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Sunday from July 9 to August 13; lessons run from 3 to 3:30 pm. Dance show starts at 5 pm. After party begins at 7 pm.
  • Cost: Free

Eat fresh with farmers’ markets

Downtown Farmers’ Market

  • What: This local food destination is situated on the corner of Georgia & Hamilton at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza. Shop fresh weekly to enjoy quality fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs and poultry, baked goods, artisan food and craft, fresh fish, and local craft beer, wine and spirits.
  • Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 650 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Thursday to October 5 from 11 am to 3 pm

Granville Island Farmers’ Market

  • What: The Granville Island Farmers Market is the oldest of its kind in Vancouver offering customers fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. This market also has local craft beer and wine vendors too.
  • Where: Triangle Square (between the Net Loft and the Public Market), Granville Island
  • When: Every Thursday to September 28 from 10 am to 3 pm

Kitsilano Farmers’ Market

  • What: Tempt yourself with a myriad of vegetables, meat, cheese, seafood and music in Kitsilano.
  • Where: Parking lot of Kits Community Centre – 2690 Larch Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Sunday to October 22 from 10 am – 2 pm

Trout Lake Farmers’ Market

  • What: The market where it all began. Come meet your friends and neighbours, pick up supplies for a picnic by the lake, or just rub shoulders with farmers who care about the future of the land as much as the food they put on your plate.
  • Where: Lakewood Drive and 13th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday to October 21 to 9 am – 2 pm

West End Farmers’ Market

  • What: Located in the heart of Vancouver’s West End, this laid-back Saturday market looks onto beautiful Nelson Park and adjacent community gardens. Take the dog for a walk and enjoy the best in local produce, prepared foods and crafts.
  • Where: West End Farmers Market – 1100 Comox Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday to October 21 from 9 am to 2 pm

Main Street Station Farmers’ Market

Main-Street-Farmers-Market

Image: Vancouver Farmers Market

  • What: Located just steps from the Skytrain, this convenient Wednesday farmers’ market is ideal for local food fans seeking an easy shop on their commute. Over 85% of the vendors at Main Street Station are primary producers offering an excellent mix of fresh and organic produce, meat, eggs, handmade cheeses, and more.
  • Where: Main Street Station – 1100 Station Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Wednesday to October 4 from 2 to 6 pm

Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market

  • What: You’ll find familiar faces like Applebarn Pumpkin Farm, Blue Comet Seafoods and Goldwing as well as new ones like Honest Food Farms, Rai Produce and Urban Digs Farm. You won’t have to elbow your way through lines to get at the cauliflower and there’s plenty of adjacent street parking. It’s also only a couple blocks from the 99 B-line.
  • Where: Dude Chilling Park – 2390 Brunswick Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Sunday to October 8 from 10 am to 2 pm

Riley Park Farmers’ Market

  • What: Tempt yourself with a myriad of vegetables, meat, cheese, seafood and music in Riley Park neighbourhood.
  • Where: Riley Park – 50 East 30th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday to October 7 from 10 am to 2 pm

River District Farmers’ Market

  • What: This one-of-a-kind market is the only riverfront market in Vancouver. Come shop for fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, and handmade products produced by farmers and artisans. Stay for live music, a delicious meal and enjoy the waterfront, playground and pier.
  • Where: Kerr Street Plaza – 8683 Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday to October 14 from 10 am to 3 pm

Ambleside Farmers’ Market

  • What: The Ambleside Farmers’ Market has a wide selection of organic and conventional produce. Prepared food vendors include baking, jams, honey, syrups, salsas and much more. The Ambleside Market has a games table, kids play area, and live music.
  • Where: Ambleside Farmers Market – 1500 block of Bellevue Street, West Vancouver
  • When: Every Sunday to October 30 from 10 am to 4 pm

Lonsdale Quay Farmers’ Market

  • What: The Lonsdale Quay Farmers’ Market has a great selection of conventional and organic produce. You also will find local artisans with jewellery, pottery, photography, kids clothing, soaps & much more. The market also has a book exchange, newspaper reading area, and live music.
  • Where: East Plaza of the Lonsdale Quay Market – 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday to October 29 from 10 am to 3 pm

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Daniel Chai
Daniel is a writer and comedian based in Vancouver, BC.

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