With summer here, you’re probably wondering about all the cool things you can do in and around Vancouver while the weather is warm. Well, lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of all of the best ways to soak up the sun in our city this summer.
Don’t miss out on these 59 things to do before summer ends.
Slide The City returns to North Vancouver for another year – and this time, it’s two days long. Release your inner child by sliding down the longest water slide the city has to offer on August 13 and 14.
Yoga instructor Solomon Montijo, along with ten other teachers, hosts free classes daily at 10 am and 6 pm in Dude Chilling Park.
Run or bike ride along the seawall
Whether you rent or own, you have to do this route at least once. With views of the ocean, North Shore mountains, and the Lions Gate Bridge, it’s enough to take your breath away.
Get your nude on at Wreck Beach
Vancouver’s best and only nude beach is, well, an experience. Even if you don’t feel comfortable stripping down (you won’t know until you try it), Wreck offers a variety of fun things, interesting people, and cool vendors.
Popular among chefs, home cooks, and local gastronomes, farmers’ markets have become an integral part of Vancouver’s food landscape. Not only do these community events grant local farmers, growers, and bakers the opportunity to connect with urban folk but they also provide them with a space to show off their seasonal favourites. Here’s a quick list of a few – for full details check our guide to Vancouver farmers’ markets.
In addition to a variety of farmers’ markets, the city and surrounding areas boast a collection of night markets that showcase the city’s best food trucks, bakers, and artisans. These night markets bring together communities for entertainment, shopping, and wonderful food. Here’s a shortlist of a few – for full details check our guide to night markets in Vancouver.
Whatever you’re looking for, the Eastside Flea probably has it. With over 50 vendors, five artisan showrooms, DJs, and even a pinball machine, it’s a great way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon. It’s now open for the season.
What: Vancouver’s only Italian Market returns, bringing together the tastes of Italy with the produce grown in local farms. Enjoy a vibrant assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables, and handmade products from local artisans.
Where: Italian Cultural Centre – 3075 Slocan Street, Vancouver
The popular ticketed annual event that brings together hundreds of strangers for an elegant outdoor all-white dinner party at a top-secret location will take place on Thursday, August 18, 2016. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Diner en Blanc Vancouver.
It’s no secret that Vancouverites are obsessed with craft beer, so why not visit one of the city’s many festivals? There’s a new one for 2016 called CANcity, which is all about BC’s best canned beers and ciders.
With only three dates this summer (one has already passed!), this food truck festival is a limited time engagement. Featuring food trucks like Rocky Point Ice Cream, Zee’s Grilled Cheese, and This Little Piggy, you won’t want to miss the next dates on July 30 and August 27.
What: The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will play popular classics from a host of composers including Gershwin and Tchaikovsky, plus the themes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Trek: Into Darkness – all for free.
Where: Deer Lake Park – 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
What: With Sarah McLachlan headlining the event, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival is a great spot to listen to some smooth music from amazing local, national, and international jazz musicians.
What: Seawheeze is one of Vancouver’s biggest parties. Whether or not you compete in the half-marathon portion of the program, there’s always the giant Sunset Festival afterwards, with headlining bands Chromeo, Dear Rouge, and Young Blood set to perform.
What: A lesser known BC festival, Rock The Shores had a great line up of bands in 2015 which included the Black Keys and Jane’s Addiction. The festival is attracting bigger names, and is at a fraction of the cost of other festivals in the province. If alternative rock is your jam, check out this year’s Rock The Shores. Line ups are still not announced, but passes are on sale.
What: The world-known Shambhala Music Festival continues to be one of BC’s must-attend summer festivals. The corporate-free celebration of music, arts, and life has been delivering unforgettable experiences to its beloved attendees (its family) since 1998. Tickets for its 19th year are already on sale, but line ups will be announced later this year.
What: Mark your calendars for July 15 to 17 at Jericho Beach in Kits, as crowds of 40,000 are expected to see 60+ international, national, and local acts. From blues to bluegrass, Celtic to banjos, Hawaiian, electro-trad, acoustic and spoken word, the legendary diversity of VFMF is sure to get Vancouverites moving to old favourites and new discoveries.
What: Check out this tiny, cramped Mount Pleasant black box theatre for some of the best stand-up in the city. Hosts Andy Kallstrom, Ross Dauk and Ivan Decker are some of the best crowd warmers out there, and local heavy hitters (think: Dino Archie, Sophie Buddle, Graham Clark) often dot the lineup as they perfect their sets. For five bucks, it’s almost stupid not to give it a shot.
Time: Thursdays at 9 pm
Address: Little Mountain Gallery – 195 E 26th Avenue
What: Another $5 comedy night regularly featuring Vancouver’s best, as well as the occasional big name who happens to be touring through Vancouver. Hosts Colin Sharp and James Kennedy have clearly been doing this a while, in a good way – the unanimous five star rating on Facebook speaks for itself. Plus, $3.50 beers don’t hurt either.
What: Vancouver comedian Graham Clark (of CBC’s The Debaters fame) hosts one of the longest-running shows in town at The Havana Theatre. How long-running? BeforeThe Hangover, Zach Galifianakis did weekly sets here. Aside from big names and legendary Vancouver acts like Charlie Demers, the best part of the show may very well be the oddball audience prizes that Clark himself finds at flea markets and garage sales around the city.
What: Situated on beautiful Granville Island, this is the most popular place for improv in Vancouver. Keep in mind that improv is, well, improvised – shows can be a little hit or miss, but they’re always good for some laughs. Choice shows include Throne and Games – A Chance of Snow, a Game of Thrones-inspired improv show; The Big Picture, a stew of “all your favourite movies in one hilarious mashup” and Firecracker!, an all-ladies performance of some of the best female improvisers in Canada.
What: A Canadian comedy club chain with locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and more, Yuk Yuk’s is the most “establishment-y” comedy club in Vancouver – which is not necessarily a bad thing. Here you’ll see (mostly) polished routines from the top-tier Canadian talent like Byron Bertram, Tommy Campbell and Kathleen McGee, and if you don’t know who they are, don’t worry, they’re don’t know you either.
What: Whereas other successful improv troupes in Vancouver are comprised of dozens of performers, these guys opt to keep it simple – the Sunday Service is five top-notch performers that have been nationally recognized so many times they’ve lost count (just kidding, it’s 21). They perform every Sunday at the Fox Cabaret in Mount Pleasant and never fail to bring down the house, making it a popular spot for comedians and regular folk alike to take in a night of guaranteed laughs.
What: A cozy lounge featuring actual waiters serving food from a menu, the Mix is another comedy lounge that feels “legit.” The venue hosts local and touring comedians, so check their lineup for your favourites if you’re planning a night out. Go early in the week for the best deal – tickets start at $8 on Tuesday and increase as the week goes on.
Price: $8 to $20
Times: Tuesday to Thursday at 8:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10:30 pm
What: UBC improv is – you guessed it – the University of British Columbia’s improv team. Billing themselves as “a power-packed comedy juggernaut that assaults all that is dreary” might be a tad optimistic, but the high-energy group never fails to get auditoriums full of students going. Catch them at the Scarfe 100 lecture hall every two weeks for a $5 performance, or pretend you’re a student and slip into a free residence show. Bonus: it’s pretty easy to sneak in your own drinks.
What: Vancouver’s annual celebration of Japanese culture and the largest event of its kind in Canada. Headliners include Australian koto virtuoso Miyama McQueen-Tokita and Tutchone-Japanese Tlinget-Scottish folk singer Diyet – all totally free.
Where: Oppenheimer Park and surrounding streets and venues – Vancouver
When:Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, from 11:30 am to 7 pm
What: One of the city’s biggest street parties returns, taking over 10 blocks along Kitsilano’s 4th Avenue. There will be main stages at both Burrard Street and MacDonald Street, with performances by Hannah Georgas, Mounties, We Are The City, Jordan Klassen, and more.
Where: Along 4th Avenue between Burrard and MacDonald
What: A weekend of tropical rhythms and cuisine of everything Caribbean. The huge outdoor party includes a multicultural street parade, an island and international food fair, and a sound stage to get you grooving to calypso beats.
Where: Waterfront Park at Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver
Bring out your fascinators and bowties and head to Hastings Racecourse to take in a day at the track. With a view of the North Shore mountains and Burrard Inlet, your day is sure to be a win, even if your ticket says the opposite.
Canada’s most famous annual criterium bike race – a multi-lap race held on a short closed course – will take place on Wednesday, July 13. The challenging 1.2-kilometre course starts and finishes next to Gastown’s famous steamclock – and with riders speeding past at 50 km/h, spectators should expect a few crashes.
One of the most popular summertime events in Vancouver is back. The Evo Summer Cinema Series at Stanley Park – “in the park after dark” free outdoor movies – returns every Tuesday from July 5 to August 23. Movies playing this summer include The Outsiders, Napoleon Dynamite, The Little Mermaid, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Here’s the full schedule.
Vancouver’s pinnacle summer fireworks celebration that attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the shores of English Bay every year kicks off on Saturday, July 23. Participating countries are The Netherlands, Australia, and the United States. For more information, click here.
It’s back! Dance the night away for free as DanceSport BC brings back the Robson Square Summer Dance Series. Free lessons, shows, and social dancing will happen every Friday from 7:30 to 11:30 pm. No partner or experience required – just show up and have some fun. It launches on Friday, June 24.
Explore Vancouver’s street art
Vancouver’s street art scene has evolved over the years. Take a tour through Gastown, Chinatown, Railtown and other East Vancouver neighbourhoods to find some amazing art.
What: Corsets, vintage prosthetic limbs, pinball machines – these are just a few of the wacky collections curated by Vancouverites on display at the Museum of Vancouver. All of the collections have an interactive component.
Where: Museum of Vancouver – 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver
When: On display from June 23, 2016 to January 8, 2017