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31 free things to do this spring in Vancouver

Daniel Chai Mar 14, 2018 11:20 am 4,519

Experience Spring in Vancouver without busting your wallet! Here are 31 free things to do in the city this season, from hiking to Car Free Festivals and more!

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

Enjoy the great outdoors

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from North Shore Rescue and AdventureSmart.

The Grouse Grind

  • What: Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, a gruelling climb up 2,830 steps on the side of Grouse Mountain. In less than 2.9km, the trail climbs more than 853m. Why do it? Well, the glory obviously. And the free entry to Grouse Mountain attractions at the top.
  • Where: Parking lot at the base of Grouse Mountain on the North Shore
  • When: Spring to fall depending on weather, check Grouse Mountain for conditions/opening.

The Stawamus Chief

  • What: Thought to be the second largest granite monolith in the world. Hike or rock climb your way to The Chief’s three peaks for spectacular views of Howe Sound and Garibaldi Provincial Park.
  • Where: Next to Shannon Falls off the Sea To Sky Highway, Squamish
  • When: Spring to fall, check BC Parks for conditions/opening

Stanley Park

  • What: Walk, run, bike, skateboard, rollerblade, swim, picnic – or even enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride – in the gorgeous Stanley Park, our favourite Vancouver oasis of green. (Note bikes, boards and blades should always go around the park in an anti-clockwise direction!)
  • Where: Stanley Park, Vancouver
  • When: All year round

Capilano Suspension Bridge

  • What: A suspension bridge hanging 70 m above the Capilano River on the North Shore. Entry is $38 – but includes access to seven treetop footbridges and a Cliffwalk along a granite precipice overhanging the river – and BC residents get unlimited admission for one year after their first visit.
  • Where: 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
  • When: All year round

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

  • What: The budget version of Capilano’s bridge, this suspension bridge stretches across a beautiful canyon, 50 m above raging waters and waterfalls. It may not be as high as Capilano but it’s certainly narrower – and it’s completely free.
  • Where: Lynn Canyon Park – 3663 Park Road, North Vancouver
  • When: All year round

Spring Break at Sea-to-Sky Gondola


The Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish. (Josef Hanus)

  • What: For families looking take their spring break to new heights this year, the Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish is the place to be. From March 17 to 29, the scenic attraction is offering free day tickets for children 12-years-old and younger. Up to three children can ride the gondola for free – accompanied by at least one adult – to enjoy the activities and outdoor adventure at the summit.
  • When: Saturday, March 17 to Thursday, March 29, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 5 pm, with the last ride down at 6 pm
  • Where: Sea-to-Sky Gondola – 36800 BC-99, Squamish
  • Tickets: Free day tickets for children 12-years-old and younger. Adult day tickets are $39.95 when purchased online and $41.95 at the ticket window.

Spring Fling

  • What: ​Celebrate the first day of spring at the Surrey Nature Centre, with face painting, guided walks, nature stories, eco crafts and more.
  • When: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
  • Where: Surrey Nature Centre – 14225 Green Timbers Way, Surrey
  • Admission: Free

Let’s Hear It! Live – Vancouver

music festival

Image: Jeremiah Vandermeer/Flickr

  • What: “Let’s Hear It! Live – Vancouver” will showcase various artists from different music scenes across the province. The festival will take place in the North Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and includes The Funk Hunters, Desi Subculture, Peach Pit, MusiCounts StarBand with Dear Rouge, and many more acts.
  • When: 
  • Time: 12 to 9 pm
  • Where: Vancouver Art Gallery, North Plaza – 850 W Georgia St, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free to attend

Ready Player One Vancouver Takeover

  • What: In celebration of Steven Spielberg’s new movie “Ready Player One,” a massive downtown Vancouver takeover will go down at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The transformation will allow visitors to step inside the film and enter “the Oasis,” showcasing the stage of Spielberg’s new movie. The exhibit takes place at the stackable housing apartments and will show off 25 ft. tall artwork, massive lights, and special effects, as well as actors dressed in the part of the movie. The inside of the exhibit will continue to amaze with eye-catching special effects, VR demos, a retro arcade, and chances to win film-related prizes.
  • When: Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 9 pm, daily
  • Where: 750 Hornby St, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

International Day Against Racism & Bigotry March

  • What: Witness and be a part of a march against all forms of racism, bigotry, and oppression in Metro Vancouver, taking place later this month. The rally is being held as part of the United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which was made as a proclamation by the UN back in 1966. All are welcome to attend.
  • When: Saturday, March 24, 2018
  • Time: 1 to 5 pm
  • Where: Thornton Park – 1166 Main Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Biggest Dog Meet-up Vancouver #2

  • What: What’s better than a dog? Hundreds and hundreds of dogs. Biggest dog meet-up Vancouver is returning for a second event at Trout Lake Park. The event is hosted by Dogs of Vancity, so expect a lot of photos. If you have a furry friend who plays nice with others, bring them along and introduce them to other canines.
  • When: Sunday, March 25, 2018
  • Time: 12:30 pm to 3 pm
  • Where: Trout Lake Park
  • Admission: Free

PlayDome at BC Place

PlayDome/ (BC Place)

  • What: For families looking take their spring break to new heights this year, the Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish is the place to be. From March 17 to 29, the scenic attraction is offering free day tickets for children 12-years-old and younger. Up to three children can ride the gondola for free – accompanied by at least one adult – to enjoy the activities and outdoor adventure at the summit.
  • When: Wednesday, March 28 to Monday, April 2, 2018
  • Time: The event is open daily at 10 am or 11 am, (depending on date) and runs until 5 pm or 6 pm (depending on date.) See PlayDome’s website for specific, daily schedules.
  • Where: BC Place – 777 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver
  • Tickets: Online

Vancouver Bike Rave – UBC Edition

  • What: Vancouver Bike Raves explores the “dance party” capabilities of the city – without the use of alcohol or drugs. The ride will be pumped up with a sound system strong enough to support over 1000 riders. In addition to the bright lights and heart-pumping music, there will also be bike limbo and a bike fashion show. Presented by Party4Health.
  • When: Thursday, March 29, 2018
  • Time: 8 pm to 11 pm
  • Where: Start at the UBC Bookstore – 6200 University Blvd
  • Tickets: Register Online for free

Enchanted Forest

  • What: Find out how trees talk to each other through their roots and look for forest sprites and rock trolls on this one hour nature quest.
  • When: Thursday, March 29, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 1:30 pm
  • Where: Aldergrove Regional Park – Meet at Blacktail Picnic Shelter by main park entrance on 8th Ave
  • Admission: Free

Old Fashioned Easter at the Historic Stewart Farm

  • What: Meet the Easter bunny, make your own DIY rabbit ears, and decorate egg shaped cookies. Plus take part in scavenger hunts and enjoy face painting.
  • When: Saturday, March 31, 2018
  • Time: 11 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Historic Stewart Farm – 13723 Crescent Rd, Surrey
  • Admission: Free


  • What: Dutch mega duo Bassjackers are performing a free show on Easter Long Weekend.
  • When: Saturday, March 31, 2018
  • Time: 10 pm
  • Where: Harbour Event Centre – 750 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver
  • Tickets: Online, Free

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

  • What: The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) is Vancouver’s signature springtime event, waking the city up from winter hibernation to an explosion of some 41,000 blossoming cherry trees. Originally gifted from Japan in the 1930’s, the cherry blossom now inspires a month of arts and cultural community events. Presented by Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation and Coromandel Properties.
  • When: Tuesday, April 3 to Sunday, April 29, 2018
  • Where: Streets and venues all over Vancouver
  • Admission: Free to enjoy cherry blossoms all over the city. Tickets for events can be found online

International Pillow Fight Day

  • What: Get ready to relive the glory days of childhood slumber parties as the largest pillow fight in Vancouver returns. In past years, hundreds of Vancouverites have flocked to Vancouver’s downtown core, armed with goose-down and ready to take on fellow pillow-wielding assailants. For everyone’s safety, make sure to use soft pillows only, and swing them lightly. As with any pillow fight, PJs are welcome.
  • When: Saturday, April 7, 2018
  • Time: 3 pm
  • Where: Vancouver Art Gallery – 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Whistler World Ski and Snowboard Festival

World Ski and Snowboard Festival

Image: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler

  • What: The main events taking place on the mountain include the Saudan Couloir Ski Race Extreme, the Monster Energy Boarderstyle World Championships, and Big Air events in both skiing and snowboarding. A 72-hour filmmakers and photographer showdown will run during the course of the week, and apres-ski and late-night parties will be held on a regular basis around the city, with live music constantly being played at the Skiers Plaza. A number of clubs around Whistler will also be holding evening events.
  • When: Tuesday, April 10 to Sunday, April 15, 2018
  • Time: Various times
  • Where: Various venues in Whistler
  • Admission: Free. Tickets for evening events can be purchased online.

West End Car Free Festival

  • What: The West End brings together business owners, community organizations, artists and volunteers to seed the idea of building a better, more livable city. There are music stages and jam sessions to listen to, art being exhibited and created live on the street and plenty of places to grab a bite to eat or something to drink.
  • When: Saturday, June 16, 2018
  • Time: 12 to 7 pm
  • Where: On Denman from Davie to Robson
  • Admission: Free

Main Street Car Free Festival

  • What: The biggest of Vancouver’s Car Free Day festivals spanning 21 blocks, Main Street has 15 stages and mini-festivals along the entire street. This is a fun, family-friendly event with kid-zones, skateboarders, funky artisan shops, and popular food vendors. You can really taste the flavour of Main Street with extended patios from many restaurants.
  • When: Sunday, June 17, 2018
  • Time: 12 to 7 pm
  • Where: On Main Street from Broadway to 30th
  • Admission: Free

Get fresh at farmers’ markets

Catch the last of the farmers’ markets at Hastings Park (Sundays 10 am to 2 pm until April 29) and Nat Bailey Stadium (Saturdays 10 am to 2 pm until April 21), then head to these spring sellers:

Downtown Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Thursday from Thursday, June 7 to Thursday, October 4, 2018
  • Time: 3 to 7 pm
  • Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 650 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Kitsilano Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Sunday from Sunday, May 6 to Sunday, October 21, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Parking lot of Kits Community Centre – 2690 Larch Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Trout Lake Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Saturday from Saturday, May 5 to Saturday, October 20, 2018
  • Time: 9 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Lakewood Drive and 13th Avenue, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

West End Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Saturday from Saturday, May 26 to Saturday, October 20, 2018
  • Time: 9 am to 2 pm
  • Where: West End Farmers Market – 1100 Comox Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Main Street Station Farmers’ Market


Image: Vancouver Farmers Market

  • When: Every Wednesday from Wednesday, June 6 to Wednesday, October 3, 2018
  • Time: 2 to 6 pm
  • Where: Main Street Station – 1100 Station Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Sunday from Sunday, May 27 to Sunday, October 7, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Dude Chilling Park – 2390 Brunswick Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Riley Park Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Saturday from Saturday, April 28 to Saturday, October 27, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Riley Park – 50 East 30th Avenue, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

River District Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Saturday from Saturday, May 13 to Saturday, October 14, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Kerr Street Plaza – 8683 Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Ambleside Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Sunday from Sunday, May 6 to Sunday, October 28, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Ambleside Park – 1000 Argyle Ave, West Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Lonsdale Quay Farmers’ Market

farmers market

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

  • When: Every Saturday from May to Saturday October 27, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: East Plaza of the Lonsdale Quay Market – 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

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

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