No-Fun City? Yeah right!
Forget our former reputation, these days there’s so much going on in Vancouver that you’d struggle to fit it all into a single lifetime. From stunning natural beauty to iconic landmarks, live shows, and world-famous events, there’s simply so much to see and do in this city.
So if you want to call yourself a true Vancouverite, here are 101 things you need to do in our city before you die.
1. Get zen at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Journey back in time to 15th Century China and enjoy this oasis in the city. Wander the garden, take a guided tour, or just reflect by one of the many beautiful settings.
2. Come together at the Vancouver Pride Parade
Each year the LGBTQ+ community gathers to celebrate with the Vancouver Pride Parade, and everyone is welcome to join the party. The 2016 Pride Season theme is “Better Together”, with events throughout the summer culminating in the annual Vancouver Pride Parade on July 31.
3. Bust a gut with A-maze-ing Laughter
Also known as the Giant Laughing Statues, A-maze-ing Laughter is an irresistibly happy sculpture in Morton Park (Davie Street and Denman Street). The legacy artwork from the 2009-2011 Vancouver Biennale was nominated in the Great Places in Canada Contest 2013 and was the only work of public art to receive a nomination.
4. Bare it all in the World Naked Bike Ride
Hundreds of cyclists ride naked through the streets of Vancouver each year to celebrate creativity and individuality, and also protest against car culture and oil spills. The World Naked Bike Ride happens rain or shine, so come prepared with waterproof body paint.
5. Go plane spotting at Larry Berg Flight Path Park at YVR
One of the best spots in the region to watch planes land and take off. Located directly across the street from BCIT Aerospace, the park is directly in line with the end of the south runway, perfect for watching planes soar overhead.
6. Hunt for literary treasures at Little Free Libraries
Looking for a new bedtime story? Need a novel for the bus ride? Check out one of Vancouver’s Little Free Libraries. These handcrafted book exchanges can be found in many neighbourhoods around the city, and are filled with books looking for a good home. Bring your old books and keep the literacy giving alive.
7. Step it up at the Grouse Grind
“Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” is Vancouver’s most used trail, and is a favourite destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The 2.9 km trail up the face of Grouse Mountain is not for the faint of fitness, so bring plenty of water and good hiking shoes.
8. Get high (part 1) at Vancouver Lookout
A 360º aerial view of Vancouver, with fascinating facts about the city’s history, infrastructure, neighbourhoods and more.
9. Tread the dead with Zombie Walk
The Zombie Walk is Vancouver’s largest flash mob, with hundreds of walking dead and thousands of spectators gathering in bloody costumes and gory makeup. The annual apocalypse begins at the Vancouver Art Gallery and winds its way down to English Bay.
10. Go undercover at the Vancouver Police Museum
North America’s oldest police museum. Located in a heritage building that was once the Coroner’s Court, the City’s morgue and autopsy facilities, and the City crime laboratory, the Vancouver Police Museum houses over 20,000 artifacts, photos, and archival documents.
11. Walk through the sky at Capilano Suspension Bridge and Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
Vancouver is home to two suspension bridges, both ready to show you a day of adventure. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is perfect for family trips and exploring the cliffs above Capilano Canyon with Cliffwalk. Lynn Canyon Park is a great venue for picnics and photo shoots, and has many trails for leisurely hikes.
12. Spot a celebrity in Hollywood North
The stars are out in Vancouver thanks to BC’s booming film industry. TV series like Prison Break, The Flash and Arrow alongside blockbusters like Power Rangers bring big names to our city; if you’re lucky, you can see them grabbing coffee on Robson Street or going for a jog in Yaletown.
13. Get funky at The Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley Shrine
Learn about the Jim Hendrix’s connection to Vancouver, view old pictures and memorabilia of the legendary musician, and more.The Shrine also recently added an exhibition honoring Bob Marley.
14. Fly through the air on the Sea to Sky Gondola
The 10 minute gondola ride to 885 m above sea level provides sweeping views of the Howe Sound and surrounding mountains.
15. Dive into the Vancouver Aquarium
Get up close and personal with stingrays, dolphins, frogs, and more.
Also learn how the Aquarium helps the conservation of aquatic life and what you can do to help.
16. Go underground with Britannia Mine Museum
Explore a historic underground tunnel and learn how miners used to live and work. Plus pan for gold – you find it, you keep it!
17. Share your story
18. Expand your brain at Science World
How loud does your heart beat? What does it take to be a super spy? Explore hundreds of interactive exhibits in Science World’s five galleries.
19. Nearly bare-it-all in the No Pants Skytrain Ride
Your mission is simple: get on the Skytrain, take your pants off, and keep a straight face about it.
20. Be Italian and Get Greek for a Day
The Italian and Greek communities of Vancouver throw massive block parties each June to celebrate their culture. Try some cannoli on Commercial Drive and enjoy some baklava on Broadway in Kitsilano.
21. Hit the trails at Lighthouse Park
A large network of trails wind their way to the historic lighthouse on the water’s edge. Amazing views of English Bay, Howe Sound, and Vancouver Island await you and your picnic lunch.
22. Ride the N19 from Vancouver to Surrey
You meet the most interesting people on public transit, and that is most true on a late night ride on the N19. Until we get 24-hour Skytrain, this is your best bet to get home on a budget.
23. Namaste with Standup Paddleboard Yoga
Combining two of Vancouver’s favourite things – Om and the Ocean – into one of the hottest fitness trends. You can spot SUP Yoga near the shores of Kits Beach, English Bay, Deep Cove and White Rock.
24. Enjoy a Nooner at The Nat
Sneaking away from the office to catch a Vancouver Canadians’ game at Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium is a timeless tradition. Better yet, invite the boss for peanuts and cracker jack.
25. Tee off at Queen Elizabeth Park Pitch & Putt
Enjoy the natural beauty of Queen Elizabeth Park while teeing off of the highest point in Vancouver. There are no hazards in play on the 18 short, contoured holes, making this a great course for all skill levels.
26. Bare it all at Wreck Beach
Wreck Beach has been named the best nude beach in Canada. Bring enough sun block to cover all your soft bits.
27. Host an International Traveller
28. Have a glass of No. 5 Orange
Vancouver’s infamous strip club got a lot more famous after its appearance in the Hollywood smash Deadpool.
29. Take a hike
Vancouver is blessed with a bounty of beautiful hikes right here on our doorstep. From shaded forests to mountain top strolls there’s something for everyone to enjoy in and around the city.
30. Be entertained at Theatre Under The Stars and Bard on the Beach
Outdoor theatre at its finest. Theatre Under The Stars and Bard on the Beach delivers a summer song and Shakespeare combo in Stanley Park and Vanier Park respectively.
31. Paddle a Dragon Boat
Being part of a dragon boat team is equal parts invigorating and inspiring. The Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival takes place each June in False Creek and is one of the oldest and largest dragon boat festivals outside of Asia. Grab a paddle.
32. Get high (part 2) at FlyOver Canada
An amazing virtual flight over the second largest country in the world. FlyOver Canada at Canada Place takes you to both coasts, to the north, and many places in between.
33. Dip it at the Polar Bear Swim
The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club is one of the largest and oldest Polar Bear Clubs in the world. Start off the new year with an exhilarating dip at English Bay.
34. Hideaway in The Cambie Climbing Tree
A sanctuary nestled in the heart of Cambie Street. There is a hammock at the top where you can see out to the North Shore and beyond. But it’s a secret, so shhh.
35. Jam with Terminal City Roller Girls and Vancouver Murder
Roller Derby offers Booty Blocks, Rink Rash, and all the action you’d ever want on roller skates. Join the jam with Terminal City Roller Girls and Vancouver Murder.
36. Paddle on Deer Lake Park
Deer Lake is home to an array of wildlife, including blue herons, ducks, and rainbow trout. Heed the call of the wild by taking out a canoe, kayak or pedal boat.
Vancouver is one of the world’s most incredible cities when it comes to food and drink. So why not get out there and get a taste of our great city?
38. Have a whale of a time
Vancouver’s waters are a favourite port of call for thousands of whales each year. With luck you can spot them near English Bay or Stanley Park. You can also get closer with a whale watching tour.
39. Fluff it up at International Pillow Fight Day
Knock the stuffing out of your friends at the annual Vancouver Pillow Fight. Held on the first Saturday of April, the massive Pillow Fight is a fun way to let the feathers fly.
40. Treasure hunt at Vancouver Flea Market
Hockey Cards, antique lamps, and many more things you didn’t know you were missing from your life. The Vancouver Flea Market is the largest covered market in the Lower Mainland, and makes for an ever-changing yard sale. Specialty shows are also featured throughout the year.
41. Drive In Movie and Chill
Twilight Drive-In in Langley is a retro cinema experience that’s worth the drive. Recline your seats and watch Hollywood blockbusters from the comfort and privacy of your car.
42. Stroll down Granville Street on a Friday night
Granville Street is the heart of Vancouver’s entertainment district. With numerous bars and nightclubs, Granville is a favourite place to strut and be seen. Head down on a Friday night to catch the full effect.
43. Bite into the UBC Apple Festival
Over 60 varieties of apples are served up at the annual UBC Botanical Garden Apple Festival. Red Delicious? Golden Delicious? They’re all delicious. Make your way through the Apple Tasting tent, or take home a tree to grow your own.
44. Ooh and aah at the Honda Celebration of Light
A summertime tradition. Stake out your favourite beach spot early in the day, then enjoy the longest running off-shore fireworks competitions in the world with hundreds of thousands of Vancouverites each night.
45. Dance with lions at Chinese New Year Parade
The Chinese New Year Parade is one of Vancouver’s longest running parades. The signature Chinatown event features lion dances, cultural dance, marching bands, martial arts and more. Grab your lucky red packet.
46. Back to nature at Capilano Fish Hatchery
The circle of life in our own backyard. Depending on the time of year, you might see juvenile salmon and trout testing out their fins, or returning salmon climbing the fish ladder.
47. Get high (part 3) at 4/20 Celebration
Music festival, educational seminar, and political protest all rolled into one. Vancouver’s 4/20 Celebration has grown from hundreds of attendees in Victory Park to tens of thousands gathered on Sunset Beach.
48. Theatre for all at Vancouver Fringe Festival
The Vancouver Fringe is a celebration of theatre featuring more than 800 performances by over 90 artists over 11 days. The Fringe employs an “everyone welcome” selection technique; Mainstage shows are literally drawn out of a hat, and unique site-specific performances can be found in the nooks and crannies of Granville Island.
49. Travel back in time at Burnaby Village Museum
History comes to life at Burnaby Village Museum. Stroll down the streets of the 1920’s tram-stop community, where period-costumed townsfolk give demonstrations in the homes, businesses and shops.
50. Ring in the New Year with NYE Vancouver
Vancouver’s biggest and best New Year’s Eve party. Tens of thousands will pack the waterfront area near Canada Place for live music, street animation and fireworks. Perfect place to make your new year’s resolutions.
51. Get wild at a drag show
Drag queens and kings know how to have a good time. Drag events features singing, dancing, and a whole lot of sass for all audiences. Check out The Barron Gurl Show and Bratpack at The Junction, Man Up at The Cobalt, and many more around Vancouver.
52. Cuddle up with movies in the park
Watch some of your favourite films surrounded by the beauty of Stanley Park. Each summer Fresh Air Cinema sets up a giant screen at Second Beach for thousands of moviegoers. Stake out your spot early as the field fills up fast.
53. Spend a day on Granville Island
Granville Island has something for everyone, from art galleries to fine dining to a bustling Kids Market. Enjoy lunch by the water, splash in the waterpark, then wrap up the day with a show at Vancouver TheatreSports League.
54. Geek out at Storm Crow and EXP
Storm Crow and EXP just may be the geekiest places in Vancouver. Fans of Game of Thrones pack out Storm Crow Tavern and Alehouse for screenings, with a wall of board games to play during a round of drinks. Over at EXP Restaurant + Bar, video game fans can geek out over a massive Super Mario mural before taking in a night of gaming trivia.
55. Explore the Night Markets
Night markets are filled with vendors, live music, and dozens of food trucks featuring cuisine from around the world. Wander the aisles of Richmond Night Market, the International Summer Night Market, and Shipyards Night Market.
56. Stop and smell the flowers
Vancouver is home to a number of beautiful gardens. VanDusen Botanical Garden offers self-guided tours and a hedge maze. Bloedel Conservatory is home to more than 100 free-flying birds including macaws, parrots and canaries. UBC Botanical Garden features the David C. Lam Asian Garden, the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden, and the BC Rainforest Garden.
57. Get exploring with Forbidden Vancouver and Vancouver Mysteries
The most exciting way to explore Vancouver. Take a walking tour with Forbidden Vancouver, like Lost Souls of Gastown or Prohibition City. Then go undercover with Vancouver Mysteries and their trio of interactive adventures: Crime in Downtown, Secret Mission, and Heroes & Villains.
58. Off the top rope with ECCW
Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling brings high-flying, body-slamming action to crowds around Metro Vancouver. Some of the world’s best pro-wrestlers have come through ECCW, including WWE’s Tyson Kidd and Natalya, and Gurv Sihra and Harv Sihra aka The Bollywood Boyz.
59. Take a mini cruise with SeaBus
A relaxing and scenic way to get to and from the North Shore. The 400 passenger ferry between Canada Place and Lonsdale Quay offers Instagram-worthy views of the cities, mountains and Burrard Inlet.
60. Ride fast with BC Superweek
Featuring eight races over nine days, BC Superweek is one of North America’s most prestigious pro-cycling events. With a total prize purse of more than $120,000, BC Superweek consists of the Tour de Delta, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, Giro di Burnaby, PoCo Grand Prix, and Tour de White Rock.
61. Place your bids at the Vancouver Police Auction
Luxury watches, comic books, and hundreds of bicycles go up for bid each year at Vancouver Police Department’s Recovered Goods Auction. Attend the public preview to plan your auction strategy.
62. Lock it up at Love Locks Sculpture
A sculpture dedicated to eternal love is coming to the lookout above the Quarry Garden in Queen Elizabeth Park. Bring a padlock and your sweetheart to celebrate your unbreakable bond.
63. Roll the dice at the Terminal City TableTop Convention
Vancouver’s biggest tabletop board game convention. Try out a new game, meet some local tabletop creatoris, or submit your own game prototype to win the Golden Inukshuk Award.
64. Feel the spirit at the Vancouver Olympic Cauldron
The Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza is occasionally lit for special events, private functions held inside the convention centre and public holidays of significance, such as Canada Day and Remembrance Day.
65. Enjoy a sunset at English Bay
One of the best places to watch the sun go down in Vancouver. Rent a beach chair and umbrella for extra relaxation.
66. Breakaway with the Vancouver Giants and Vancouver Stealth
Catch some of the best hockey and lacrosse action at the Langley Events Centre, home to the Vancouver Giants and Vancouver Stealth.
67. Birdwatch at The George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Grab your binoculars and head to The George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary, located on Westham Island in Delta. Nearly 300 species of birds have been recorded at the Sanctuary, with the highest diversity and numbers usually from fall to spring.
68. Fly to the moon at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
Fulfill all your space dreams at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. There are live science demonstrations in the GroundStation Canada Theatre, exhibits and games in the Cosmic Courtyard, and astronomy shows in the Planetarium Star Theatre.
69. Feel the beat at Third Beach Drum Circle
Every Tuesday evening during the summer, hundreds of drummers gather at Third Beach to play the night away. Bring bongos, a bucket, and your dancing shoes to join this exhilarating community performance.
70. Hit the floor at the Commodore Ballroom
A favourite venue for musicians and bands of all sizes. The Commodore is famous for its Art Deco style and sprung dance floor, perfect for dancing the night away to your favourite songs.
71. Sail on False Creek in a water taxi
72. Look way up at Shannon Falls
Rising 335 metres above Highway 99 near Squamish, Shannon Falls is one of the tallest falls in BC. Pack a picnic and hike the trails of the Provincial Park to complete the adventure.
73. Park the car and party at Car Free Days
Car Free Day Vancouver is an annual event celebrating healthy communities, authentic cultural celebrations, and car-free streets. Four unique Car-Free Festivals are held in Kitsilano, West End, Main Street, and Commercial Drive, complete with live music, food trucks, and bike valets.
74. Strike up the band at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
BC’s largest music and arts presentation, with 1800 artists, 300 concerts and 35 venues. Produced by Coastal Jazz and presented by TD, the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival offers many free events to enjoy, including Downtown Jazz at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Robson Square during opening weekend, Canada Day on Granville Island, and David Lam Park on closing weekend.
75. Laugh it up at a comedy show
Veteran comics and rising stars bring the laughs to Vancouver every night of the week. Whether you enjoy stand-up, improv, or sketch, there’s a show ready to entertain you and your funny bone.
76. Create at the Inspiration Lab at Vancouver Public Library
Digital heaven can be found at the Central Branch of Vancouver Public Library. Inspiration Lab offers hands-on creativity for all interests, including high-performance computers, analog-to-digital conversion, sound studios, and self-publishing and editing software. Take a free workshop and let your imagination run wild.
77. Stay up late at the Rio Theatre
An experience you can’t download. The Rio Theatre in East Vancouver offers a variety of live events and films, including weekly Friday Late Night movies. Take in classics like Dazed and Confused and Robocop while enjoying a big bag of popcorn.
78. Go for gold at the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
Our province’s rich sports history comes to life at the BC Sports Hall Of Fame. Revisit the amazing journeys of Terry Fox and Rick Hansen, go for gold in the Vancouver 2010 gallery, and test your skills in the many interactive exhibits.
79. Get sassy at a burlesque show
Vancouver is home to a wide variety of burlesque, including Nerdlesque with Geekenders, Live Band Burlesque with Kitty Nights, and gorgeous group numbers with Screaming Chicken. Bring sexy back by dressing up in your finest outfits.
80. Sparkle at Bright Nights at Stanley Park
During the holiday season, the Bright Nights Train and Plaza at Stanley Park sparkles with three million twinkling lights, decorating the darkness that comes early at that time of year. Donations and a portion of ticket sales go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. $1.4 million has been raised to help burn survivors and their families since 1998
81. Get scenic on the Sea to Sky Highway
The Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler offers breathtaking views galore. Go for a drive and count how many times your mouth drops at the beauty.
82. Art out at the Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery goes bigger and better all the time. The gallery recently presented its largest exhibition ever, MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, and is showcasing Picasso this summer. Lectures, concerts, and FUSE round out Vancouver Art Gallery’s exciting lineup of events.
83. Tip a busker
Talented buskers around Vancouver entertain crowds by singing, juggling, or performing magic. Stop and enjoy a performance, and thank them for their time with a donation into their hat. You just may be supporting the next big thing.
84. Explore history at Roedde House Museum
A uniquely restored heritage house initially constructed in 1893. Each room is filled with artifacts and period items that show a slice of life from a bygone era.
Free outdoor salsa dances and lessons are offered at Robson Square every Sunday during the summer. Then lace up the skates during the winter for ice skating.
86. Slide the slopes in a tube
87. Take a selfie at the Steam Clock
Be a hometown tourist in Gastown by snapping a photo of the steam clock in action. Created by Canadian clockmaker Raymond Saunders, the Steam Clock is a favourite of visitors from around the world.
88. Press Start at the Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo
VRGE is a treasure trove of childhood gaming memories. Classic consoles are set up during the day, along with a dealer’s hall filled with rare games. In the evening, check out a live concert or a comedy show all about video games.
89. Celebrate Vaisakhi Day with Vancouver and Surrey parades
Vaisahki celebrates the Punjabi new year through celebration, food, and dance, and is especially important for the Sikh community. Hundreds of thousands turn out in Vancouver and Surrey for colourful and musical parades.
90. Lace up in the Vancouver Sun Run
One of the largest road races in North America. Thousands of runners take part in the Vancouver Sun Run each year to raise funds for Raise-a-Reader, a national literacy campaign. To date the run has raised over $10 million.
91. Walk on water at the Cleveland Dam
Built in 1954, the Cleveland Dam provides much of Metro Vancouver’s drinking water. Trails around the dam leads to amazing views of the spillway from the walkway above.
92. Ride the Wooden Roller Coaster at Playland
Playland’s signature attraction. The Wooden Roller Coaster is an amusement park classic, and is ready to ride during the PNE, Fright Nights, and Playland’s operating season.
93. Bring your appetite to Steveston Salmon Festival
One of the largest Canada Day celebrations in the country, with over 70,000 people from Richmond, Metro Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest enjoying over 1200 pounds of fire-grilled salmon filets. Take in cultural displays, join the parade through historic Steveston village, and witness a citizenship ceremony.
94. Shred the slopes
Vancouver is blessed with some great local mountains. From the city views of Grouse to the epic array of terrain at Whistler Blackcomb, skiers and snowboarders are simply spoiled for choice in and around our city.
95. Stroll through Mountain View Cemetary
Vancouver’s only cemetary is opened in 1886, and is the final resting place of almost 150,000 people. Learn more on a guided walking tour, or during the All Souls events in October and November.
96. Cycle or run the seawall through Stanley Park
Stanley Park is routinely named one of the best parks in the world. A great way to enjoy its natural beauty is by cycling or running the seawall.
97. Celebrate Aboriginal art at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
The only public gallery in Canada devoted to contemporary aboriginal art of the Northwest Coast. It is home to the Simon Fraser University Bill Reid Collection, housing artwork and sculptures by the acclaimed Haida artist, along with a full-scale totem pole carved by James Hart of Haida Gwaii.
98. Get wet at Vancouver’s Largest Water Fight
Hundreds of Vancouverites flood the waterpark at Lumberman’s Arch each summer to have a water fight with total strangers. Fill your water balloons, pump your super soakers, and wrap your smartphone in a double ziplock bag.
99. Be inspired at the East Side Culture Crawl
A four-day visual arts, design and crafts festival where nearly 500 artists across 78 buildings welcome visitors to their studios. Painters, crafters, sculpters and more are ready to answer your questions, and help you on your artistic path.
100. Get wild at Sin City
Happening once a month at The Odyssey on West Hastings, Sin City is Vancouver’s longest-running, boundary-breaking fetish party.
101. Smile at a stranger
After making a new friend, start checking items off of this bucket list. Have fun!