42 free things to do in Vancouver this May

Apr 30 2018, 8:44 am

Save your wallet while having fun! Check out our list of fun free events happening in Vancouver this month!

From BC CacheCon 2018 to Rhododendron Festival, Youth Week to Farmers’ Markets and everything in between, here are 42 free things to do around the city this May.

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

Explore the city

Surrey Youth Week

  • What: Celebrate Surrey’s Youth Week with free, fun activities at various recreation centres and parks. Sports, cooking classes, and more.
  • When: Tuesday, May 1 to Monday, May 7, 2018
  • Time: Various times
  • Where: Various locations
  • Admission: Free

Fleurs De Villes at Metropolis at Metrotown


Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby (DeymosHR / Shutterstock)

  • What: Fleurs De Villes Mannequin Series combines high fashion and fresh florals through inventive and artful displays showcased at Metropolis at Metrotown. Each exhibit features a collection of floral-dressed mannequins, in a gallery-like setting, which grows from a partnership between a local florist and a leading brand.
  • When: Wednesday, May 2 to Sunday, May 6, 2018
  • Time: Regular Mall Hours
  • Where: Metropolis at Metrotown – 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby
  • Admission: Free

Tiny Stories Workshop

  • What: Looking for ideas? Or wondering how to craft your ideas into a paragraph-sized story? Local writer Rebecca Wood Barrett will lead you through a series of playful writing exercises that will help spark ideas, and lead you to create bite-sized stories, complete with captivating characters and pithy plots – all in 420 characters or less.
  • When: Thursday, May 3, 2018
  • Time: 7 to 8 pm
  • Where: City Centre Branch, Room 136 – 1169 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
  • Admission: Free, space is limited. Register online or call the HelpDesk at 604-554-7323.

So you want to be an Entrepreneur

  • What: This workshop explores the characteristics of entrepreneurs and analyzes participants potential to consider small business ownership as a viable career option. Free and open to all, but space is limited.
  • When: Thursday, May 3, 2018
  • Time: 1 to 2 pm
  • Where: Burnaby Public Library – Bob Prittie Branch – 6100 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby
  • Register: Online, by phone at 604-436-5400, or in person. Free

May Day Festival

  • What: The 95th annual May Day Festival features activities for the whole family. Plus enjoy the Opening Ceremony on May 4 and the Rotary May Day Parade and Leigh Square Block party on May 12.
  • When: Friday, May 4 to Sunday, May 13
  • Time: Various times
  • Where: Various locations
  • Admission: Free

Cinco de Mayo at VENUE

  • What: VENUE celebrates Cinco de Mayo all night long with resident DJs Rashad Rawkus, J-traxx and Downlowe at Embrace Saturdays.
  • When: Saturday, May 5, 2018
  • Time: Doors 10 pm
  • Where: VENUE – 881 Granville Street, Vancouver
  • Tickets: Online, Free RSVP until 11:30 pm

The Pull of the Net: A Multicultural Celebration

  • What: Enjoy the cultural displays and performances from a variety of multicultural community groups who have been historically involved in the building of our west coast fishing industry.
  • When: Saturday, May 5, 2018
  • Time: 11 am start
  • Where: Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site – 12138 Fourth Avenue, Richmond
  • Admission: Free

Burnaby Festival of Learning

  • What: The Burnaby Festival of Learning celebrates lifelong learning in creative, unconventional ways, and features a week-long series of free events for everyone that will inspire, engage and spark creativity. Enjoy a variety of events happening throughout Burnaby, including performances, lectures, discussions, tours, and more.
  • When: Sunday, May 6 to Saturday, May 12, 2018
  • Time: Various times
  • Where: Various venues
  • Admission: Free

Spring Bazaar

  • What: One person’s junk is another person’s treasure. This bazaar has two components. One is an outdoor flea market in Spirit Square. The other a Showcase in the Great Room featuring collections (dolls, comics, coins, stamps, sporting cards, etc.), art, antiques, and memorabilia.
  • When: Sunday, May 6, 2018
  • Time: 9 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Glen Pine Pavillion – 1200 Glen Pine Court,
  • Admission: Free

BC CacheCon 2018

  • What: A free family fun day for everything geocaching and outdoor exploration related. Run in partnership with British Columbia Geocaching Association and the Metro Vancouver Geocachers. BC CacheCon 2018 is suitable for all ages.
  • When: Sunday, May 6, 2018
  • Times: 9 am to 3:30 pm
  • Where: Richmond Nature Park – 11851 Westminster Hwy, Richmond
  • Admission: Free

Stop Overdose Surrey: Connection Saves Lives

  • What: Stop Overdose Surrey: Connection Saves Lives is a series of events happening across Surrey that will provide information for the general public on how to be a part of the solution to the opioid overdose crisis. Attendees will learn how to reduce the stigma and isolation that are driving the overdose crisis and how to have compassionate conversations related to substance use with family, friends and colleagues. Attendees will also hear Kajan Johnson’s story of perseverance and how he became a mixed martial arts star. Take Home Naloxone kits and training will also be available.
  • When: Monday, May 7, Wednesday, May 23, 2018
  • Time: 5:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Where: Shannon Hall, Cloverdale Rodeo Grounds – 6050a 176 Street (May 7), White Rock Community Centre – 15154 Russell Avenue (May 23)
  • Admission: Free, seating is limited, no registration required

Move for Health Day

  • What: Free activities are taking place all over Burnaby and everyone is invited. Enjoy the outdoors with an introductory kayak or tennis lesson. Stay indoors and challenge yourself with a TRX class or shake and shimmy your way through a fun belly dancing class. Being active begins with learning how to move and live well, and if you aren’t sure of where or how to start, Dr. Davidcus Wong will be leading an inspirational talk on the benefits of exercise and living an active, healthy lifestyle. Check out the schedule of events calendar.
  • When: Thursday, May 10, 2018
  • Time: Various times
  • Where: Various venues
  • Admission: Free

Surrey Intercultural Showcase

  • What: Experience culture, food, dance and music from diverse communities across Surrey. Visit resource booths and cultural booths, enter for door prizes and enjoy tasty food. Presented by the Surrey Seniors’ Planning Table.
  • When: Saturday, May 12, 2018
  • Time: 11 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Guildford Recreation Centre – 15105 105 Ave, Surrey
  • TicketsAdmission, Free

Vancouver Design Week Open Studio

Design class/RED Academy

  • What: RED Academy presents interactive workshops where you can put yourself in the driver’s seat of the design process. They will be running activities on UX/UI (user experience/user interface), throughout the day, so pop in and out to get a taste of what RED has to offer.
  • When: Sunday, May 13, 2018
  • Time: 11 am
  • Where: RED Academy -#200 1490 West Broadway, Vancouver
  • Tickets: Online, Free

Free CPR/AED Awareness Session

  • What: Increase your knowledge on how you could save a life. In this two hour session, you will learn some basic CPR skills as well as how to operate an Automatic External Defibulator (AED). This basic awareness session is geared to help increase your confidence in these crucial lifesaving skills.
  • When: Wednesday, May 16
  • Time: 1 to 3 pm
  • Where: Inlet Centre Fire Hall – 150 Newport Drive, Port Moody
  • Admission: Free – advanced registration is required

Paris Blohm

  • What: Los Angeles-based electronic music producer / DJ Paris Blohm brings his anthemic sound to Celebrities Nightclub for #StereotypeFridays.
  • When: Friday, May 18, 2018
  • Time: Doors 10 pm
  • Where: Celebrities – 1022 Davie Street, Vancouver
  • Tickets: Online, Free RSVP until 11:30 pm

Port Coquitlam’s Public Works Community Open House

  • What: Get an insider’s look at Port Coquitlam’s Public Works services – from water to waste, roads to parks – at a free Community Open House.
  • When: Saturday, May 26, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Public Works Yard – 1737 Broadway St., Port Coquitlam
  • Admission: Free

Richmond Carvers Society Wood Carving Show

  • What: Western Canada’s largest carving show, featuring wildlife competitions, including birds, fish, First Nations carving styles, wood turning, auctions, and raffles. Learn all there is to know about carving and see art created before your eyes as carvers showcase their skills at this free event. Food Bank donations are appreciated.
  • When: Saturday, May 26 to Sunday, May 27, 2018
  • Time: Various times
  • WhereHugh McRoberts Senior Secondary School – 8980 Williams Road, Richmond
  • Admission: Free

Art After Dark at PdA

  • What: Join Place des Arts 2017/18 Youth Arts Council for a free night of the arts. Take part in a variety of activities just for teens in a fun, social setting. Dance teacher Emily Mustard will lead hip-hop dance, while the Youth Arts Council will lead visual art activities, designed for and by teens. Some of these include painting with glow-in-the-dark paints, making a faux neon sign, and creating animated flipbooks using post-it notes. In addition to making art, teens can hang out in a chill room and enjoy other activities, snacks, and music. All this and a prize draw to close the evening.
  • When: Saturday, May 26, 2018
  • Time: 7 pm
  • Where: Place des Arts – 1120 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam
  • Tickets: Online, Free

Ben Nicky

  • What: With multiple sold out worldwide shows, Ben Nicky is one of the scene’s most in-demand trance DJs and music producers.
  • When: Saturday, May 26, 2018
  • Time: Doors 10 pm
  • Where: Harbour Event Centre – 750 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver
  • Tickets: Online, Free

Screening & Talk with Ho Tam and Kegan McFadden

  • What: Richmond Art Gallery presents a special screening of exhibiting artist Ho Tam’s Confessions of a Salesman and The Visit. Prior to the screening, guest presenter Kegan McFadden, executive director of Open Space Arts Society in Victoria, will focus on Tam’s photo series, Ghost Image, through which the artist collects photographs and documents of his lover Kirby who died of an AIDS-related illness in the mid-90s.
  • When: Saturday, May 26, 2018
  • Time: 2 to 5 pm
  • Where: Richmond Art Gallery – 180 – 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond
  • Admission: Free

Live Music at the Shadbolt

  • What: A Little Lunch Music for the lunch crowd, and then a Jazz Jam with musician Cory Weeds in the evening.
  • When: Tuesday, May 29, 2018
  • Time: 12 to 1 pm, 6 to 8 pm
  • Where: Shadbolt Centre for the Arts – 6450 Deer Lake Avenue Burnaby, BC
  • Admission: Free

Enjoy the great outdoors

Curious by Nature: Bears

  • What: Curious about bears? Wondering how to share the park with them or how to avoid them? Ask a park interpreter at the pop-up displays.
  • When: Saturday, May 5, 2018
  • Time: 9:30 am to 11 am
  • Where: Minnekhada Regional Park – Meet at Quarry Rd parking lot, Coquitlam
  • Admission: Free

Rhododendron Festival

  • What: The City of Burnaby in collaboration with the Burnaby Rhododendron & Gardens promotes the long-term sustainable, ecological health of our communities. It presents a unique venue for both horticulture and arts groups. Events will be held at Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and Burnaby Art Gallery.
  • When: Sunday, May 6, 2018
  • When: 11 am to 3 pm (Shadbolt Centre for the Arts), 1 to 3 pm (Burnaby Art Gallery)
  • Where: Shadbolt Centre for the Arts –  6450 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby; Burnaby Art Gallery – 6344 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby
  • Admission: Free (Shadbolt Centre for the Arts), by donation (Burnaby Art Gallery)

Salmon Send-Off

wild salmon

Wild Salmon/Shutterstock

  • What: Release salmon into the Serpentine River, discover how salmon are raised in the hatchery and have fun with family activities. Concession and fundraising activities support hatchery operation.
  • When: Saturday, May 12, 2018
  • Time: 11 am to 3:30 pm
  • Where: Tynehead Regional Park – Meet at 96th Ave entrance by Tynehead Hatchery, Surrey
  • Admission: Free

Mother’s Day Tea with the Birds

  • What: Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. Enjoy interactive displays and birding walks as well as tea and cookies.
  • When: Saturday, May 12, 2018
  • Time: 12:30 to 3:30 pm
  • Where: Boundary Bay Regional Park – Meet at Cammidge House via Centennial Beach entrance on Boundary Bay Road, Tsawwassen
  • Admission: Free

Tweeting with Songbirds

  • What: A bird expert and others will be on hand to introduce the many different species, their calls that liven up the forest, and natural attractants to bring them into your backyard.
  • When: Sunday, May 13, 2018
  • Time: 1 to 4 pm
  • Where: Kanaka Creek Regional Park – Meet at 11450 256th St, Maple Ridge
  • Admission: Free

Forest Fairy Gathering

  • What:  Visit the “Gnome Depot” to get construction material for your fairy home. Enjoy free face painting and be prepared for a magical time. Fairy attire welcome.
  • When: Saturday, May 19, 2018
  • Time: 11 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Burnaby Lake Regional Park – Meet at Burnaby Lake Nature House, 4519 Piper Ave, Burnaby
  • Admission: Free

Wilderness at your Doorstep

  • What: Nature and history live together in this beautiful wilderness park. Join BC Mills Hosts to find out more about some of its secrets.
  • When: Sunday, May 20, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park – Meet at BC Mills House, north end of Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Nature Walk: The Wonderful World of Trees

  • What: Shake hands with a spruce, sniff a fir needle, and admire the mossy gardens on maple trunks. Attendees will discover amazing stories that the park’s trees have to tell, how to identify them, and how they help to support wildlife. With veteran naturalist Al Grass, formerly with BC Parks.
  • When: Monday, May 21, 2018
  • Time: 1 to 2:30  pm
  • Where: Campbell Valley Regional Park – South Valley park entrance, 20285 8th Ave, Langley
  • Admission: Free

Eat fresh with winter farmers’ markets

Downtown Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Thursday from Thursday, June 7 to Thursday, October 4, 2018
  • Time: 3 to 7 pm
  • Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 650 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Kitsilano Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Sunday from Sunday, May 6 to Sunday, October 21, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Parking lot of Kits Community Centre – 2690 Larch Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Trout Lake Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Saturday from Saturday, May 5 to Saturday, October 20, 2018
  • Time: 9 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Lakewood Drive and 13th Avenue, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

West End Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Saturday from Saturday, May 26 to Saturday, October 20, 2018
  • Time: 9 am to 2 pm
  • Where: West End Farmers Market – 1100 Comox Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Main Street Station Farmers’ Market


Image: Vancouver Farmers Market

  • When: Every Wednesday from Wednesday, June 6 to Wednesday, October 3, 2018
  • Time: 2 to 6 pm
  • Where: Main Street Station – 1100 Station Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Sunday from Sunday, May 27 to Sunday, October 7, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Dude Chilling Park – 2390 Brunswick Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Riley Park Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Saturday from now to Saturday, October 27, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Riley Park – 50 East 30th Avenue, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

River District Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Saturday from Saturday, May 13 to Saturday, October 14, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Kerr Street Plaza – 8683 Street, Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Ambleside Farmers’ Market

  • When: Every Sunday from Sunday, May 6 to Sunday, October 28, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Ambleside Park – 1000 Argyle AveWest Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Lonsdale Quay Farmers’ Market

farmers market

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

  • When: Every Saturday from May to Saturday, October 27, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: East Plaza of the Lonsdale Quay Market – 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
  • Admission: Free

Clayton Community Farmers’ Market

  • When: Select Sundays starting on May 13 until September 30, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Clayton Heights Secondary School, 7003 188 St, Surrey
  • Admission: Free

Steveston Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market

  • When: Alternate Sundays starting Sunday, May 6 to September 16, 2018
  • Time: 10:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Where: Easthope Parking Lot (across the street from the Steveston Community Centre) – 4111 Moncton Street, Richmond
  • Admission: Free
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