26 free things to do in Vancouver this May

May 4 2017, 6:07 pm

May is in full swing in Vancouver, but you don’t have to break the bank to have fun! From tall ships to dance classes and so much more, here are 26 free things to do this May.

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

Free Health & Sports Expo

  • What:  The Health & Sports Expo is a free three-day event to kick off BMO Vancouver Marathon week! Checkout all the latest health and sports products at Vancouver Convention Centre West, plus chances to win amazing prizes including Whitecaps tickets from BMO, Seahawks Training Camp VIP passes, Saucony Shoes, Air France flights to Paris and more. Open to the general public.
  • Where: Vancouver Convention Centre West – 1055 Canada Place
  • When: May 4 from 5 to 8 pm, May 5 from 11 am to 8 pm, May 6 from 10 am to 6 pm
  • Admission: Free

Ships to Shore – King of the Sea

  • What: The Ships to Shore King of the Sea festival in Garry Point Park features the Kaiwo Maru, a massive naval training vessel from Japan. The free, family event features ship viewing and boarding on the dock, fireworks, live entertainment and more.
  • Where: Garry Point Park – 12011 Seventh Ave, Richmond
  • When: May 5 to 7
  • Admission: Free

A.R.C. Gloria Tall Ship Tours 2017 in North Vancouver

(Aerovista Luchtfotografie / Shutterstock)

  • What: The A.R.C. Gloria, a sailing vessel owned and operated by the Colombian Navy, has made its return to Vancouver. The public will be able to board and tour the A.R.C. Gloria during select times on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. No passes are required. A.R.C. Gloria’s visit also coincides with Sunday’s Battle of the Atlantic Memorial Parade at the Sailors’ Memorial at Waterfront Park in North Vancouver. The parade is scheduled from 10 to 11:30 am.
  • Where: Burrard Dock (15 Wallace Mews Road, North Vancouver) next to Lonsdale Quay
  • When: May 5 to 8
  • Admission: Free

Free Comic Book Day

  • What: Best described as Christmas for comic book fans, the annual event sees stores give away a selection of 50 free comics up ranging from Animal Jam to Zelda and just about everything else in-between. In Vancouver, a number of shops will be celebrating with free books, special events, and guest appearances by creators.
  • Where: Various Comic Shops across Metro Vancouver
  • When: May 6
  • More Info and List of Participating Shops: Here

Free dragon boating at Community Paddling Day

  • What: Try out dragon boat, canoe, and kayak paddling with Dragon Boat BC. All instruction and equipment is provided.
  • Where: Dragon Boat BC at Creekside Community Centre – 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver
  • When: May 7 from 12:30 to 3 pm
  • Registration: Online, Free

In It Together: An Emergency Preparedness Week Event

  • What:  The City of Vancouver and Science World British Columbia are collaborating on an event for all ages to spark interest and promote awareness and action toward emergency preparedness. In addition to City displays and activities, a number of our emergency preparedness partners will also be present.
  • Where: TELUS World of Science – 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver
  • When: May 7 from 10 am to 6 pm
  • Admission: Free

Indigenous Leaders’ Panel on Career Progression

  • What: Join executives from the Vancouver offices of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Labour Canada (ESDC), and the Canada Revenue Agency for a panel discussion on career progression advice. The panel will be discussing questions related to career advancement, resiliency, work-life balance, and more. There will also be a Q&A session.
  • Where: UBC Robson Square – 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
  • When: May 10 from 9:45 t0 10:45 am
  • Tickets: Online, Free

#HootupYVR: Social Ads

  • What: From turning Facebook fans into customers, to giving your content a boost, social media advertising is a key component of any social strategy. Join Hootsuite for an expert session on paid advertising for the first #HootupYVR of 2017.
  • Where: Hootsuite Media Inc – 5 East 8th Ave, Vancouver
  • When: May 11 from 5:45 to 8:30 pm
  • Tickets: Online, free

Celebrate BC Water Week – Coquitlam Watershed Tour

  • What: ​To celebrate BC Water Week, sign up for a free Coquitlam Watershed Tour and learn about our local water from source to tap. Learn about the drinking water infrastructure and enjoy the views of the old growth forests and the Coquitlam Watershed.
  • Where: Coquitlam Watershed
  • When: May 13 from 9 am to noon
  • Cost: Free, call 604-432-6359 to register

Artisan Jewellery Show & Sale

  • What: The 4th Annual Mother’s Day Artisan Jewellery Show & Sale, hosted by the Creative Jewellers Guild of BC. Come browse, shop and meet the 18 artisans selling one of a kind pieces.
  • Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden – 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
  • When: May 14 from 10 am to 6 pm
  • Admission: Free

Board Game Nights at Starlit Citadel

  • What: Open board gaming night at Starlit Citadel. Bring your own games or borrow a game from the game library.
  • Where: Starlit Citadel – 187 East 11th Avenue
  • When: Every Tuesday night from 6 to 8:30 pm
  • Admission: Free

G Ceramic And Co. Studio Launch and Open House

G Ceramic And Co.

Image: G Ceramic And Co. / Facebook

  • What: Stop by the Beaumont Studios to check out the new G Ceramic And Co. digs. Check out some new work, grab a glass of bubbles, and prepare to get dirty. The wheels will be open if you want to try your hand at throwing.
  • Where: Beaumont Studios – 316 and 326 West 5th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: May 18 from 7 to 10 pm
  • Cost: Free

Alternatives to the Housing Crisis: Case Study Vienna

  • What: Using Vienna as a case study, this lecture explores the relationship of affordable housing to urban planning politics and will discuss historic and current housing policies. Touching upon the re-articulated model function of 1920s Red Vienna, Gabu Heindl will present her approach to combining strong claims (Setzungen) in public planning with a critique of paternalistic governance and with maintaining zones of contact with popular agency.
  • Where: Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre – Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St.
  • When: May 19 from 7 to 10 pm
  • Cost: Free

Dance In Transit

  • What: Dance in Transit by Sam’s Dance provides free outdoor dance events around Downtown Vancouver during the summer. Young or old, shy or outgoing, new or longtime dancers – everyone is welcome.
  • Where: Robson Square, Jim Deva Plaza, Queen Elizabeth Plaza, and Plaza of Nations
  • When: Various Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting May 20
  • Cost: Free

Victoria Day at Burnaby Village Museum

  • What: The Burnaby Village Museum site is set in the 1920s – a place where pictures of the King George V and Queen Mary are hung in the school house, where the Union Jack flies over the site and Victoria Day is celebrated in grand style.
  • Where: Burnaby Village Museum – 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
  • When: May 22 from 11 am to 4 pm
  • Admission: Free

Summer’s Here Group Ride

  • What: Our Community Bikes’ first group ride of the season is to Jericho Beach. This is a slow, all-skill-levels, all-kinds-of-bikes ride, so it promises to be fun for everyone. Bring a drink and a snack for the beach.
  • Where: Our Community Bikes – 2429 Main Street, Vancouver
  • When: May 25 at 6 pm
  • Cost: Free

Cool Eats: The City Slicker’s Diet for a Warming Planet

  • What:  Drawing on current research in sustainable agriculture and food systems, this talk presents practical personal choices and government policy changes to help promote a just, resilient, ecologically-integrated food system.
  • Where: TELUS World of Science – 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver
  • When: May 30 at 7 pm
  • Admission: Free but seating is limited. Register Online.

KidsMove session

Fortius Sport & Health

Image: Fortius Sport & Health / Facebook

  • What: Kidsmove is a two-hour physical literacy session for ages 9 -12 that combines purposeful play with a variety of games and challenges led by experts to stimulate participants physically, cognitively and creatively. And above all, it’s fun!
  • Where: Fortius Sport & Health – 3713 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby
  • When: May 31 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm
  • Register: Online, Free

Kitsilano Farmers’ Market

  • What: Tempt yourself with a myriad of vegetables, meat, cheese, seafood and music in Kitsilano.
  • Where: Parking lot of Kits Community Centre – 2690 Larch Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Sunday, 10 am – 2 pm, May 7 to October 22

Trout Lake Farmers’ Market

  • What: The market where it all began. Come meet your friends and neighbours, pick up supplies for a picnic by the lake, or just rub shoulders with farmers who care about the future of the land as much as the food they put on your plate.
  • Where: Lakewood Drive and 13th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday, 9 am – 2 pm, May 6 to October 21

West End Farmers’ Market

  • What: Located in the heart of Vancouver’s West End, this laid-back Saturday market looks onto beautiful Nelson Park and adjacent community gardens. Take the dog for a walk and enjoy the best in local produce, prepared foods and crafts.
  • Where: West End Farmers Market – 1100 Comox Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm, May 27 to October 21

Main Street Station Farmers’ Market

  • What: Located just steps from the Skytrain, this convenient Wednesday farmers’ market is ideal for local food fans seeking an easy shop on their commute. Over 85% of the vendors at Main Street Station are primary producers offering an excellent mix of fresh and organic produce, meat, eggs, handmade cheeses, and more.
  • Where: Main Street Station – 1100 Station Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Wednesday from 2 to 6 pm, May 31 to October 4

Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market

  • What: You’ll find familiar faces like Applebarn Pumpkin Farm, Blue Comet Seafoods and Goldwing as well as new ones like Honest Food Farms, Rai Produce and Urban Digs Farm. You won’t have to elbow your way through lines to get at the cauliflower and there’s plenty of adjacent street parking. It’s also only a couple blocks from the 99 B-line.
  • Where: Dude Chilling Park – 2390 Brunswick Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm, May 28 to October 8

River District Farmers’ Market

  • What: This one-of-a-kind market is the only riverfront market in Vancouver. Come shop for fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, and handmade products produced by farmers and artisans. Stay for live music, a delicious meal and enjoy the waterfront, playground and pier.
  • Where: Kerr Street Plaza – 8683 Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm, May 13 to October 14

Ambleside Farmers’ Market

  • What: The Ambleside Farmers’ Market has a wide selection of organic and conventional produce. Prepared food vendors include baking, jams, honey, syrups, salsas and much more. The Ambleside Market has a games table, kids play area, and live music.
  • Where: Ambleside Farmers Market – 1500 block of Bellevue Street, West Vancouver
  • When: Every Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm, May 8 to October 30

Lonsdale Quay Farmers’ Market

  • What: The Lonsdale Quay Farmers’ Market has a great selection of conventional and organic produce. You also will find local artisans with jewellery, pottery, photography, kids clothing, soaps and much more. The market also has a book exchange, newspaper reading area, and live music.
  • Where: East Plaza of the Lonsdale Quay Market – 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm, May 7 to October 29
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