Sun’s out, funds out? If you’re looking for a Vancouver summer on a shoestring, here’s a list of free or cheap activities that will get you out and about without breaking the bank.
If you’re seeking a calorie burn plus a soujourn from the concrete jungle, strap on your runners and hike up one of the many mountains readily available to Vancouverites. Lighthouse Park is a beginner-level walk in the woods, while the Grouse Grind will get your heart racing. Other free excursions include the Stawamus Chief and Capilano Canyon. Word to the wise: do a little research to discover the hike right for your cardio level, bring water and snacks, and always inform someone of your plans.
Wreck Beach is as well-known for its clothing-optional policy as it is for its pristine sands. Stretching 7.8 km and just minutes away from downtown Vancouver, it’s both an easy and free day trip. Other beaching options include English Bay, Kitsilano, Spanish Banks and Jericho. But no matter your choice, they all showcase the sparkling Pacific, trendy sunbathers, and tranquility in the midst of the urban rush, free of charge.
Cycling along the Seawall and through Stanley Park is a leisurely way to spend an afternoon. Bicycle rental shops are abound throughout the area, with rates starting at around $6 for an hour and going up to $30 for the day. Check out Bayshore Bicycle Rentals, Spokes or Stanley Park Cycle, to name a few.
For a nominal, annual fee, purchase a crabbing or fishing license that will take you through the summer season. Then spend your days sittin’ on the dock of the bay, perhaps with something in a brown bag, and definitely with your fishin’ pole or crab trap. It’s relaxing, communal and dinner is served depending on the catch.
Granville Island can be done for free, especially if you’re into window shopping or people watching. Take a ferry ride with False Creek Ferries, explore the Public Market for unique, handmade wares, sample from a plethora of food vendors, or simply sit on the pier with an ice cream cone and tune into a busker or two.
A degree in botany is not required to appreciate the greenery on display in Queen Elizabeth Park, Stanley Park Gardens or Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park. Surrounded by manicured shrubbery and bright flowers, you may feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland. Admission to these parks is free and a garden stroll is perfect for a low-key summer day.
Hitting up one of Vancouver’s many farmer’s markets is usually free and always cheap, and is a good chance to find fresh, local food while enjoying a festive ambiance. Check out Vancouver Farmers Markets for one near you. If nighttime is more your specialty, Richmond Night Market is an affordable evening out. For the price of admission, at $2.25, there’s food, games and vendors that add up to a little slice of Asia right here in Metro Vancouver.