50 things to do in Vancouver this summer

Dec 19 2017, 11:02 am

Ah summer, it’s the time of the year where Vancouverites are out and about with smiles on faces while soaking up all the sunshine they can.

We’ve compiled a list for you to make the most of your summer: consider this your bucket list!

50 things to do in Vancouver Summer 2014

FREE Things to do in the summer Vancouver 2014

Free Outdoor Movies Vancouver 2014

Free Outdoor Movies at Stanley Park

On average more than 5,000 people attend the weekly outdoor movie night at Stanley Park. “In the park after dark” free outdoor movies return every Tuesday from July 8 to September 2.

  • When: Every Tuesday from July 8 to September 2
  • Cost: FREE for all to attend
  • Start times: At Dusk. Check sunset times as that will be your best indication of when the movie will start. Of course, this is also weather dependent.
  • Location: Stanley Park – Ceperley Meadows (Second Beach)
  • Movie schedule

Free Outdoor Movies elsewhere in Vancouver and rest of Metro Vancouver 

Vancouver isn’t the only city where one can watch free outdoor movies. The rest of Metro Vancouver is getting in on the action. Here is our guide to Free Outdoor Movies in Metro Vancouver. More info to come…

Celebration of Light Fireworks

Fireworks, bleacher seats, food, music and other performances and activities will also be back to add to the city’s largest and most anticipated summer festival.

  • Saturday, July 26: UNITED STATES by Pyrotecnico, 10 p.m. to 10:25 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 30: FRANCE by F.C. Pyro, 10 p.m. to 10:25 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 2:  JAPAN by Akariya Fireworks, 10 p.m. to 10:25 p.m.

Vancouver Pride Parade

Attracting crowds of more than 650,000, the annual Pride Parade is the city’s largest parade and is renowned on the international stage as on of the largest and most successful events in the world, in support of LGBTQ communities.

  • Date: August 3
  • Time: Noon to 3 p.m.

Canada Day Fireworks, Celebrations and Parade in Vancouver

Western Canada’s largest Canada Day Celebration is a jam packed day filled with fun for the whole family and is capped off by an impressive Burrard Inlet Fireworks display. 

  • Date: July 1
  • Time: All day, fireworks at around 10 p.m.
  • Location: Canada Place, Jack Poole Plaza and the seawall near the Convention Centre

Free Salsa Dancing at Robson Square

Sunday Afternoon Salsa at Robson Square is an annual series of free, outdoor salsa dances held at Robson Square during the summer months of July and August. The 2014 Sunday Afternoon Salsa season runs for nine Sundays.

  • Dates: June 29; July 6, 13, 20, 27; August 3, 10, 17, 24
  • Try the free lessons at 3 p.m., watch the performances at 5 p.m., or just check out the social dancing throughout the afternoon and see how much fun it is!

Gastown Grand Prix

For one day, the charming cobblestone streets of Gastown are transformed into one of the fastest, best-loved and most challenging cycling race courses in North America. This event is free for spectators and is guaranteed to be a fun afternoon/evening out.

  • Date: Wednesday, July 9
  • Time: TBA

FREE PNE Admission Day

You may think The Fair is overpriced and far too small for a metro region of 2.5 million but it’s hard to say no when admission is free. Expect long lineups if the weather cooperates. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

  • Date: Tuesday, August 19
  • Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – FREE gate admission for all guests.
  • Cost: Re-entrance hand stamps will only be given after 1 p.m. Guests are welcome to re-enter the gates prior to 1 p.m. without hand stamp.

Food, Beer and Patios

Food Cart Fest 2

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ markets are a great way to spend a morning or afternoon in the city. Check out the numerous Farmers’ Markets in and around Vancouver: Farmers Market Guide.

Night Markets

The one in Chinatown may be cancelled, but Surrey added their own and then there are still the returning three night markets – two in Richmond and one in North Vancouver. Check out our guide to Night Markets.

Food Cart Festival at Olympic Village

Vancouver’s original food cart festival returns. 20 vendors, DJ and much more. For more information check out our post on Food Cart Fest Vancouver 2014.

  • Dates: Every Sunday in the summer starting June 22
  • Time: Noon to 5 p.m.
  • Location: 215 West 1st Avenue (Between the Cambie Bridge and Olympic Village)

Food Cart Fest Sunset Beach Party 

For three evenings Sunset Beach in Vancouver will be transformed into something you would normally see on a Calfornia beach. Food carts, art, music and more at the new Sunset Beach Socials this summer.

  • Dates: Friday June 27, Friday July 11, and Friday August 15
  • Time: 5 p.m. until sundown
  • Cost: Free admission
  • Location: Sunset Beach (Beach Avenue between Bute and Thurlow) Google Map Link

Check out the Hawker’s Market

They have some good stuff planned this summer. Food trucks and outdoors. That’s all we can say right now. Once we’re allowed to divulge more information we will.

Grab some of the World’s Best Gelato

Vancouver is no slouch when it comes to great gelato spots. One of the world’s best gelato shops is right here in our fair city. You’ll find it and other shops in our best gelato in Vancouver guide.

Check out Vancouver’s newest patio at Craft Beer Market

Craft beer, hot summer day and a patio: the three combined make for a great relaxing summer day.

The patio will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. It seats about 50 people and is the perfect chance to try out their new spring/summer menu. Enjoy a pint in the hot summer sun.

Go on a Craft Beer Crawl in Vancouver’s Brewery District in East Van

The craft beer scene is in full swing in Vancouver and there is no better spot than in East Vancouver’s Brewery District. Catch all the beer news in the city in our beer & wine section

Brewery and the Beast Festival

Chefs from an outstanding lineup of more than 35 restaurants will be showcasing their culinary vision through tasty meat-centric creations. Guests can expect whole animal roasts, charcuterie, classic BBQ, traditional, ethnic, modern, and exotic dishes using conventional and rare cuts from a wide variety of proteins.

  • Date: Sunday, July 27
  • Time: 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Location: Concord Pacific Place – 88 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver
  • Cost: $89 plus tax, available through www.BreweryAndTheBeast.com

Don’t have a lot of money? Discover Cheap Eats in Vancouver

From all day breakfast places to a cheap eaters guide to dining at the local night markets, we have you covered. You don’t have to break the bank to have a delicious meal.

Diner En Blanc

The date for this year’s event has been set Thursday, August 21. However, as with every annual event around the world, the location is announced at the last minute. Last year over 2,000 people attend the annual white dinner party. Expect just as many this year.

Drink some East Van Vodka at Odd Spirit Society

The distillery scene in Vancouver may not be as talked about as the brewery scene, however, it shouldn’t be ignored. East Van Vodka is a must try.

Music Festivals and Block Parties Galore

Squamish Festival

Squamish Music Festival (August 8, 9 and 10)

Arguably the biggest festival to hit the Vancouver area: Eminem, Bruno Mars and Arcade Fire headline the annual music festival, which is quickly becoming a summertime tradition for Vancouverites.

For more information on Squamish Valley Music Festival 2014, visit the official event website: http://www.squamishfestival.com/

Pemberton Music Festival (July 18, 19 and 20)

After a long hiatus, Pemberton Music Festival is back and it is coming out swinging. With good headliners, it’s the mid-level artists that steal the show. Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar alone are also worth the price of admission.

For more information, visit www.pembertonmusicfestival.com/.

Mad Decent Block Party 

Diplo, Dillon Francis, Fatboy Slim, Flosstradamus and more. The block party to end an amazing summer of music in Vancouver.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival

The 37th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival presents some of the world’s finest traditional and contemporary folk, world and roots music artists in the urban seaside beauty of Jericho Beach Park. Around 60 music acts will perform on multiple day and evening stages, including Joan Baez, Amos Lee and more. See the full Vancouver Folk Music Festival Lineup 2014.

Dates: July 18 – 20, 2014; Friday, July 18 – 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, July 19 – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, July 20 – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Location: Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver
Website: www.thefestival.bc.ca

Khatsahlano Block Party

Over 100,000 people are expected to attend the city’s largest block party. West 4th in Kits will be shut down for a day of music, food, beer and lots more.

Victory Square Block Party

Vancouver’s favourite free community concert returns August 31 at Victory Square at the edge of Gastown.

  • Date: August 31, 2014
  • Time: 12 p.m. and into the night
  • Location: Victory Square, 150 West Hastings

East Van Summer Jam

A day of live bands, soccer and basketball tournaments, a skate demonstration, and some of the cities finest food trucks.  The East Van Summer Jam is a celebration of East Vancouver community, music, and culture.

  • Date: July 5, 2014
  • Time: 1 p.m.
  • Location: Stratchona Park
  • Cost: $20 – get them here.

Davie Street Block Party for Vancouver Pride Week

Play games or dance with Pride to the hottest DJs of the summer! This is now an all ages community focused event for Vancouver’s LGBTQ community, families, and allies. Come at 4 pm to participate in carnival games in 2 community blocks (Thurlow-Jervis), listen to music, and participate in games by donation hosted by community groups and local non-profits. Held in partnership with the West End BIA.

The beer garden is 19+ and opens up at 6 pm, be sure to bring your ID, the beer garden is ticketed be sure to purchase your tickets in advance from the Vancouver Pride Society Website.

  • Date: August 1, 2014
  • Time: 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Location: Davie Street (between Thurlow and Jervis)

PNE FREE Summer Concert Series

This year’s Summer Night Concerts features an exciting array of artists that are sure to please fans of all genres.

The Concerts will run every evening from August 16 to September 1 (except Mondays August 18 and August 25) at 8 p.m. at the PNE Amphitheatre.

Check out the Vancouver Jazz Festival

Vancouver’s signature musical event of the year takes place from June 20 to July 1 with over 300 shows (free and ticketed) and 1,800 artists performing.

For more information, visit www.coastaljazz.ca.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors


Hiker via shutterstock

Go swimming at one of Vancouver’s Outdoor Pools

Vancouver’s outdoor pools operate through the Labour Day weekend: Kitsilano Pool is typically open until mid-September; Maple Grove Pool opens June 21 and closes September 1; and Hillcrest Centre’s outdoor pool will open in July after annual maintenance and repairs are complete. You also have Second Beach Pool and New Brighton Pool in East Van.

For full operating hours, check the pool schedules.

Bike ride along the seawall

Whether you rent or own, you have to do this route at least once. If you’re looking for another, be on the lookout for best biking routes in Vancouver article shortly.

Go for a hike

The Chief is one of the more popular hikes, but there are plenty of other hikes in Metro Vancouver for you to attempt. Slap on some sunscreen, get on your shorts and grab some water and prepare to take on mother nature.

Hit up a Patio

Whether you’re looking for a secluded patio, a rooftop escape or just want to watch the beautiful people of the city as you sip a latte or other beverage of choice, we have you covered. Our patio guide is the most extensive guide in the city.

Do the Grouse Grind

The Grouse Grind is one of those Vancouver things you have to try at least once in the summer. Attempt to beat your time or just make it to the top without stopping (unless a tourist gets in your way).

Spend a Day at the Beach

Vancouver is known for our beautiful beaches. Whether it’s a grassy field, areas for water sports, or dog parks, each Vancouver beach has something slightly different to offer.  Check out our guide to Vancouver Beaches.

Go Camping

There is an abundance of camping option within a short drive outside the city. Here’s a rundown of some of our favourite camping places within an hour or two’s drive of Vancouver.

Go For a Run Along the Entire Stanley Park Seawall

There is no doubt that the seawall along Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver is the most scenic and active running route in the city, and one of the most beautiful in the world.

The run is flat for the most part, making it the perfect spot for runners of all skill levels.

Get Your Outdoor Yoga On

Vancouverites love yoga! Sign up at a local yoga studio and see what outdoor options they have. Also, the annual Lululemon Seawheeze has a post-race Sunset Festival at Brockton Oval, where both runners and the general public are welcome to participate in a 10,000+ person yoga class.

Sites and Attractions to Visit this Summer in Vancouver

Vancouver Aquarium

Visit the Newly Expanded Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium went through a significant expansion.This is the first of three planned phases of revitalization for the Aquarium. Totalling approximately $45 million, this first phase includes new aquatic habitats featuring a diverse array of animals from around the world and much more.

Go to a Vancouver Canadians Game

Summertime calls for a visit to “The Nat” to catch some baseball action. A Vancouver Canadians game is family affordable fun.

Game of Thrones Exhibition at PNE

HBO Canada brings the Game of Thrones Exhibition, a free event celebrating the craftsmanship that brings the epic series to life. A must-see for any fan of the series.

  • Dates: August 16 to September 1 (closed August 18 and 25)
  • Location: The Fair at the PNE – 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

Watch the World Cup on Commercial Drive

Most of the world will be glued to their television’s watching the greatest tournament in all of sports. In Vancouver, there is no better place to watch than Commercial Drive.

Bard on the Beach

Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare Festivals. Presented in a magnificent setting on the waterfront in Vancouver’s Vanier Park, the Festival offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas, and several special events in two performance tents from June through September.

Theatre Under The Stars

Every year during July and August, T.U.T.S. presents musical productions at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl. This summer season includes two fantastic shows: Shrek: The Musical and Legally Blonde.

Random Weird Events in Vancouver this summer

Vancouver Zombie Walk 2013

Stick a Piece of a Gum to the new Gumhead Public Art Piece

The Vancouver Art Gallery installed a commissioned public sculpture on the grassy mound just outside the museum building on Howe Street.

Art enthusiasts and pedestrians passing by will be encouraged to stick their chewed gum to the giant 7 foot tall Gumhead sculpture. Over the next few months, the head and its face will eventually be concealed as more gum is sticked onto the sculpture.

Relax and unwind at Robson Square’s newest public plaza the Urban Reef

Installation of Urban Reef will take place in the early part of summer at Robson Square. It will be accessible from Canada Day (July 1) through the Labour Day long weekend (September 1).

Join the Zombie Apocolypse at the Annual Vancouver Zombie Walk

The date for the 2014 Zombiewalk has been pushed three weeks to September 6 to shift it away from peak tourist season, to cut down on the overload of tourist photographers who have grown hugely in size of the last few Zombie walks.

  • Date: September 6
  • Time: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Location: Meet at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Georgia Street side)

Take Part in Vancouver’s Largest Water Fight

The annual event draws hundreds of participants ready to get wet. Make sure you follow the code of conduct, which can be viewed here.

  • Date: August 9
  • Time: 1:00 pm
  • Location: Lumberman’s Arch, Stanley Park

Go Topless, Why Not? 

Whether it be at Wreck Beach or you want to bare it all on annual go topless day, why not let loose and let it all hang out. Go Topless Day is a 24-hour period where ladies are encouraged to show their breasts as a protest against hypocritical laws that allow guys to walk around shirtless while women must remain clothed.


 Feature Image: Summertime selfies via Shutterstock