60 free things to do in Vancouver in September

Aug 29 2016, 6:46 pm

Somehow it’s already September and summer will soon be just a fond memory as we await hopefully a huge dump of snow on the mountains and powder days galore.

And while we still want to get out and party, we also need to be saving up for those ski passes. So some free stuff would be good eh?

Never fear, Daily Hive is here! Here’s a carefully curated list of fun, free activities that will keep your September cheap and cheerful – enjoy!


Cosmic Sea

  • What: When your mind has gone deep space fishing, what creatures will it encounter? Cosmic Sea showcases new works from Jenn Brisson, Kristian Adam and Phresha, featuring invisible sea creatures, jellypurrrs and octophants, to name a few.
  • Where: Hot Art Wet City – 2206 Main Street, Vancouver
  • When: From September 8 to September 30, open Wednesday to Saturday, from noon to 5 pm; opening reception on Friday, September 9, from 7 to 11 pm
  • Register: No need to register, just turn up.

Robson Square Summer Dance Series

  • What: Dance the night away for free as DanceSport BC brings you the Robson Square Summer Dance Series. Free lessons, shows, and social dancing. No partner or experience required – just show up and have some fun.
  • Where: Robson Square – 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
  • When: Friday, September 2, between 7:30 and 11:30 pm

Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House

  • What: This annual Open House offers a chance to experience a host of different dance styles in a day of free classes, workshops, studio showings and events. All classes are open level and suitable for beginners. Pre-registration is not required.
  • Where: Scotiabank Dance Centre – Level 6, 677 Davie Street, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, September 10, from 11 am to 5 pm

Eastside Murals

Vancouver Mural Festival (Daily Hive)

Vancouver Mural Festival (Daily Hive)

Vancouver’s first mural festival has left 41 new amazing, permanent examples of street art along and around Main Street. Check out our map showing all 41 murals, then go for a stroll and take them all in.

Vancouver Art Gallery

  • What: Visit the largest art gallery in Western Canada and admire the collections that include pieces by Jeff Wall, Emily Carr and Marc Chagall for free on Tuesday nights.
  • Where: Robson Square – 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver
  • When: Tuesday nights from 5 to 9 pm

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang

  • What: Visit one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Canada in one of Vancouver’s most treasured heritage sites, which also has a schoolroom and rooftop garden. Owner Bob Rennie has spent more than $10 million to restore the building.
  • Where: Wing Sang Building – 51 East Pender Street, Vancouver
  • When: Various dates throughout September
  • Book: renniecollection.org

Artful Sundays

  • What: Britannia Community Services Centre is hosting an outdoor, visual arts market, featuring the work of local artists, live music, artist workshops and demonstrations, and more.
  • Where: Napier Greenway – Napier Street and Commercial Drive, Vancouver
  • When: September 4, noon to 5 pm

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

  • What: An exhibition of watercolour drawings by Mark Hall-Patch, exploring anarchistic art movements, depictions of alienation, and grave existential danger. The delicate nature of the works make stunning representations of failed utopian societies.
  • Where: grunt gallery – #116 – 350 East 2 Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: From Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 5 pm, closed Monday and Sunday

Garden of Paradise

  • What: The exhibition of a body of work by Joseph Staples, featuring six video loops, each consisting of two GIFs juxtaposed onto each other, drawn from the Japanese anime, “Kotonoha no Niwa” and the singer, Lana Del Ray.
  • Where: Unit/Pitt Projects – 236 East Pender Street, Vancouver
  • When: From September 9, 7:30 pm opening reception to October 22

Open Art Studios

  • What: 100 Braid St Studios is throwing open its doors to visitors as part of the monthly Open Art Studios, allowing guests to visit their studio in a former winery and check out their artists’ working studios, ask questions, and learn about techniques.
  • Where: 100 Braid St Studios – 200-100 Braid St, New Westminster
  • When: September 3, noon to 5 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free

Love at Second Sight

  • What: Watch the world premiere of the short film Love at Second Sight, a film that transforms attitudes about appearance and encourages self-acceptance, by sharing the story of facially different David Roche and his lovely wife Marlena Blavin.
  • Where: Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (SFU Woodwards) – 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • When: Thursday, September 8, from 7 to 10 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free

Meet The Artists

  • What: Meet the artists that created the work for Science World’s art exhibition ‘Science Collides’. The event is free to attend but only the main atrium at Science World will be open.
  • Where: Science World at TELUS World of Science – 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver
  • When: Wednesday, September 7, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free

MIRAGE art installation

  • What: The virtual experience coined MIRAGE is an art installation that offers a two minute walk through experience for customers. It uses digital, audio, and state of the art projection technology with a mirrored ceiling to help visitors create lasting memories.
  • Where: Metropolis at Metrotown – Grand Court, Lower Level
  • When: Running until September 5


Farmers’ Markets

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

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 list of all those markets still open in September – for full details check our guide to Vancouver farmers’ markets.

Night 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:

Granville Island

  • What: One of the biggest attractions in Vancouver, Granville Island is a great place to go for free. Enjoy the hustle, bustle and bounty of the Public Market and marvel at the island’s unique arts and crafts, while enjoying the spectacle of street buskers.
  • When: Granville Island Public Market is open seven days a week, from 9 am to 7 pm, most other retail stores are open seven days a week, from 10 am to 7 pm

Hawkers Wharf

  • What: An open-air market boasting more than 40 vendors in converted shipping containers, many working from an onsite 4,000-square-foot co-working kitchen, to showcase vendors selling whole foods, akin to a farmers’ market experience.
  • Where: Hawkers Wharf – 925 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver
  • When: Opening date not yet confirmed. As of September 17, it is still not open.

West End Food Festival

  • What: There are tons of events happening at this annual food festival aimed at bringing attention to food as a means of social inclusion and community building, and developing the public’s skills in areas like urban gardening and food prep.
  • Where: Gordon Neighbourhood House – 1019 Broughton Street, Vancouver
  • When: From September 15 to September 20; various times
  • Schedule: Check Eventbrite, totally free

Greek Food Festival

Greek Food / Shutterstock

Greek Food / Shutterstock

  • What: Foodies take note: The Vancouver Greek Food Festival, one of the city’s longest running annual cultural events, returns to the city for its 39th year. Priding itself on being the “Original Greek Food Festival” the free event will feature live entertainment, dancing, a kids zone, a market place with artisan crafts, and of course authentic Greek food.
  • Where: Hellenic Community Centre – 4500 Arbutus Street, Vancouver
  • When: September 9 to 11 and 16 to 18  (for times please check the event’s Facebook page)

Heirloom Tomato Fest

  • What: A farm fresh foodie festival! Enjoy more than 20 heirloom tomato varieties, a chef cooking demo, tomato tastings, live music, cob oven pizza, a tomato fermentation workshop, market vendors, a certified organic farm store, garden and farm tour.
  • Where: Earthwise Society Demonstration Garden and Farm – 6400 3 Ave, Delta
  • When: Saturday, September 3, from 10 am to 3 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free


Hastings Racecourse

  • What: Cheer on those jockeys and their steeds at the horse racing track in Hastings – entry is always totally free. The race schedule runs through October.
  • Where: Hastings Racecourse – 188 N Renfrew St, Vancouver
  • When: Saturdays and Sundays at 1:50 pm; also Friday, September 2, at 7 pm, Monday, September 5 at 1:50 pm.
  • More info: hastingsracecourse.com

Grouse Grind

Get your hiking legs ready, there’s still time to tackle Mother Nature’s Stairmaster before it closes for winter. The Grouse Grind trail at Grouse Mountain is open for hiking from 6:15 am to 7 pm.

My First Fondo

  • What: Free Thursday night group rides for beginner and intermediate cyclists, part of the My-First-Fondo Clinics to learn basic road riding skills and follow a personalized training plan to finish the 122km of the RBC GranFondo Whistler on September 10.
  • Where: Vanier Bike Park Parking Lot – Whyte Avenue 1695, Vancouver
  • When: September 1, and September 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, completely free

Bicicletta Tuesday Night Social Ride

  • What: Join this leisurely community bike ride around Stanley Park, where all levels of experience welcome. All you need are a road bike and a helmet!
  • Where: Meet at the Information Booth in Stanley Park, Vancouver
  • When: Every Tuesday, meet at 6:30 pm, ride from 7 to 8:30 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, participation is free

Curling Open House

Canada's Lisa Weagle slides through the rings on a stone delivery at the Ford World Women's Curling Championship March 19, 2014 in Saint John, Canada (Jamie Roach/Shutterstock)

Learn to curl like Canada’s Lisa Weagle. (Jamie Roach/Shutterstock)

  • What: This pre-season open house gives you a chance to try curling with qualified instructors. Participants will get 45 minutes of free on-ice instruction covering the basics of curling, including delivery, etiquette, plus a chance to throw rocks.
  • Where: Hillcrest Centre, Vancouver Curling Club – 4575 Clancy Loranger Way, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, September 11, from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Book: On Eventbrite, it’s recommended to reserve your 45-minute slot

Big Yoga For Big Sisters

  • What: Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland is launching its first ever Big Yoga event, a team-based 10-hour relay, consisting of 10 one-hour yoga sessions. It’s open to all ages and all levels, and includes a range of yoga styles and classes.
  • Where: Jonathan Rogers Park – 110 W 7th Ave, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, September 10, from 9 am to 7 pm
  • Register: Online, totally free, but you must fundraise at least $100

Yoga at Jack Poole Plaza

  • What: More free yoga, this time in celebration of “Sport Without Limits” and the Americas Masters Games. Arrive 15 minutes early and bring your own mat.
  • Where: Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver
  • When: Thursday, September 1, from noon to 1 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free

Summerset Yoga

  • What: An outdoor yoga experience in Richmond, reflecting back on summer, and set intentions for the fall. Anila Lacroix and Carine Young will lead the session, and there will be live music to help guide you.
  • Where: London Heritage Farm – 6511 Dyke Road, Richmond
  • When: Thursday, September 1, from 6 to 9 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free

Yoga at Woodwards

  • What: Join YYoga at the Woodwards Atrium in Gastown for an all levels lunchtime yoga class. Limited spots available. Don’t forget your mat. Led by Hiiro Prince.
  • Where: Woodwards Atrium – 333 Abbott Street, Vancouver
  • When: First Friday of every month, from noon to 12:45 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free

Qi Gong in Kits

  • What: Join this free Qi Gong, gentle flowing movement class with Hing Tse, who will show you how to move your body for greater flexibility, balance and well-being. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and flat shoes. All levels welcome.
  • Where: Vital Health Medical Clinic Kitsilano – 1855 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday, from 9 to 10 am
  • Register: On Eventbrite, first class free, ongoing classes by donation


Vancouver Convention Centre

Vancouver Convention Centre (androver/Shutterstock)

Vancouver Convention Centre (androver/Shutterstock)

  • What: Get a free tour of the Vancouver Convention Centre. It was the International Broadcast Centre during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and boasts some of the most advanced green building technology available.
  • Where: 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver
  • When: Friday, September 16, 11 am – or request a tour on a different date
  • Book: vancouverconventioncentre.com

Tour Guys

  • What: Seriously? More free tours? YES! Tour Guys’ tours will teach you more about the buildings you know and love. Tours include: Downtown & Waterfront, Granville Street & Gastown, Chinatown and Granville Island.
  • Where: Different meeting locations depending on tour.
  • When: Various days, depending on the desired tour.
  • Book: tourguys.ca

Blast from the Radical Past

  • What: Visit some places in East Vancouver that you might not have encountered before. Led and organized by youth guides, this tour on a school bus will explore themes of diversity, equality and inclusion in Vancouver’s past, present and future.
  • Where: Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society – 1607 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, September 10, from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free, plus free bagged lunch provided

Mountain View Cemetery Tour

  • What: Join local culture and heritage enthusiast Maurice Guibord to visit the final resting place of some noted local Francophones in Mountain View Cemetery, the only cemetery in the city of Vancouver.
  • Where: Mountain View Cemetery – 5455 Fraser St, Vancouver
  • When: Tuesday, September 13, from 6 to 8 pm; more dates throughout the month


Zero Waste Fashion

Vintage sewing machine (Vastram/Shutterstock)


  • What: Zero Waste Club Vancouver is teaming up with Repair Matters for a hands-on workshop on mending and sewing machine maintenance. Bring an item of clothing for repair and and get some expert advice from Repair Matters volunteer seamstresses.
  • Where: The Hub – 251 East 11th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Wednesday, September 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, by donation

Winter Gardening Workshop

  • What: Learn how to get your garden ready for cold weather, including staggering plant cycles, protecting your soil and various structures you can use to maximize your harvest. Take home seeds from the Seed Sharing Library or bring your own to donate.
  • Where: Vancouver Public Library – 1428 Cedar Cottage Mews, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, September 24, from 11 am to 1 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free

Canadian Cannabis Diversity Summit

  • What: This town hall style event aims to educate members of the local communities, the general public and the press about legislation, regulation, law enforcement, economic opportunities in the cannabis industry, advocacy and more from leaders in the industry.
  • Where: Cannabis Culture Lounge – 307 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • When: Friday, September 16; 5 to 9 pm



  • What: TaiwanFest returns to Vancouver this September. Taking place over three consecutive days, this celebration of Taiwanese culture features live performances, folk music, workshops, a delicious street buffet (which should not be missed), Chinese medicine, and much more.
  • Where: Multiple locations (please check website)
  • When: Saturday, September 3 through to Monday, September 5

Mardi Gras for Elephants and Rhinos

  • What: This free event aims to raise awareness of the poaching of elephants and rhinos around the world. Come down to enjoy live music and speakers, get your face painted like a rhino or just compete in the best dressed elephant competition!
  • Where: Creek Side Park – 1455 Quebec Street (beside Science World), Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, September 24, from noon to 1:30 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free

Vancouver Fringe

  • What: Although most of the shows featured in this year’s Fringe are ticketed, if you head to the Barefoot Wine & Bubbly Free Stage at the Big Rock Brewery Fringe Bar, you’ll find plenty of musical acts performing for free.
  • Where: Big Rock Brewery Fringe Bar – Ocean Art Works, 1531 Johnston St, Vancouver
  • When: Various dates and times, from September 8 to September 18
  • Tickets: From Vancouver Fringe Festival

West End Fest

  • What: A free all-ages event featuring arts and crafts, carnival games, community booths, face painting, inflatables, live entertainment, a photo booth and a youth BBQ fundraiser.
  • Where: West End Community Centre – 870 Denman St, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, September 10, from 11 am to 3 pm

Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival

  • What: The theme of the 14th annual Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival is Songs for the Salmon. This year, the festival includes a Harvest Fair, a Twilight Lantern Walk, lantern art, live music and a fireworks finale.
  • Where: Starts at Slocan Park (at 29th and Slocan) before heading to Renfrew Park (at 22nd and Renfrew), Vancouver
  • When: September 17, from 4 to 9:15 pm

Façade Fest

Facebook / Burrard Arts Foundation

Facebook / Burrard Arts Foundation

  • What: Façade Festival is back for another year to transform the Robson Street side of the Vancouver Art Gallery into a piece of projection mapping art with the help of five local artists.
  • Where: Vancouver Art Gallery – 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver (Robson side)
  • When: Tuesday, August 30 to Monday, September 5; façades light up at sundown.

Spanish Party

  • What: Whether you speak Spanish or not, everyone is welcome at the Spanish Party. Enjoy Spanish songs, dances, live music and cheap drinks, with free admission for those arriving early.
  • Where: Relish GastroPub & Bar – 888 Nelson Street, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, September 3, at 7 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, totally free

Word Vancouver

  • What: This free festival is Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading, and promotes books and authors with free exhibits, performances, and hands-on activities for a wide range of ages and interests.
  • Where: Various locations around Vancouver
  • When: Wednesday, September 21 to Sunday, September 25
  • Schedule: wordvancouver.ca

Odds and Ends

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

Lynn Canyon suspension bridge (Xuanlu Wang/Shutterstock)

Lynn Canyon suspension bridge (Xuanlu Wang/Shutterstock)

  • What: The Lynn Canyon Suspension bridge is one of Lynn Valley’s best kept secrets. The 50-metre high bridge stretches across a beautiful canyon boasting raging waters, waterfalls and deep pools below. And the best part is – it’s free of charge for all to see.
  • Where: 3993 Peters Road, North Vancouver
  • When: Open daily in September, from 10 am to 5 pm

Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory

  • What: Go stargazing at the Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory, located next to the Space Centre and featuring a half-metre Cassegrain telescope to explore the skies around Vancouver. The 10-metre diameter observatory dome was built in 1979.
  • Where: 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver
  • When: Fridays and Saturdays 8 pm to midnight

Engine 374 Pavilion

  • What: In 1887, the CPR Engine 374 arrived as the first transcontinental train into the city. Now Vancouver’s historic steam locomotive can be viewed fully restored for free.
  • Where: Roundhouse Community Centre – 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver
  • When: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 10 pm, Saturday and Sunday, from 9 am to 5 pm

Recycle your old electronics

  • What: Recycle your electronics, small appliances, and power tools for free at this City of Vancouver/ElectroRecycle/Encorp event. Household battery drop-off will also be available.
  • Where: Kitsilano Community Centre Parking Lot – 2690 Larch St, Vancouver
  • When: September 17, 10 am to 1 pm

Tell the City what you really think

  • What: There are tons of consultations and open houses going on in September, on everything from parks and dogs to new developments – and more rezoning than you can shake a stick at. It sounds boring, but go along and make your voice heard!
  • Where: Various locations across Vancouver
  • When: Throughout September
  • Schedule: Check vancouver.ca for a calendar of events

Zombiewalk Vancouver 2016

Zombiewalk Vancouver (Sergei Bachlakov/Shutterstock)

Zombiewalk Vancouver (Sergei Bachlakov/Shutterstock)

  • What: The ghoulish stroll around downtown is the city’s largest annual flashmob. Organizers say the Zombiewalk grows larger every year, and costumes continue to get gorier and grosser. Join the zombie apocalypse – or just take photos.
  • Where: Meet at Vancouver Art Gallery – 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver; walk goes West along Robson from Howe/Hornby and south along Denman up to English Bay
  • When: Saturday, September 10, meet at 3 pm, walk at 4 pm