59 things you need to do in Vancouver before summer ends

Jun 15 2016, 7:39 pm

With summer here, you’re probably wondering about all the cool things you can do in and around Vancouver while the weather is warm. Well, lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of all of the best ways to soak up the sun in our city this summer.

Don’t miss out on these 59 things to do before summer ends.


Get outside

Do the Grouse Grind

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

Swim in one of Vancouver’s outdoor pools

Take a dip in one of the city’s outdoor pools, including Vancouver’s largest salt water pool at Kitsilano Beach. Click here for our complete guide.

Make a splash at Slide The City

Slide The City returns to North Vancouver for another year – and this time, it’s two days long. Release your inner child by sliding down the longest water slide the city has to offer on August 13 and 14.

Get your outdoor yoga on at Dude Chilling Park

Yoga instructor Solomon Montijo, along with ten other teachers, hosts free classes daily at 10 am and 6 pm in Dude Chilling Park.

Run or bike ride along the seawall

Whether you rent or own, you have to do this route at least once. With views of the ocean, North Shore mountains, and the Lions Gate Bridge, it’s enough to take your breath away.

Get your nude on at Wreck Beach

Vancouver’s best and only nude beach is, well, an experience. Even if you don’t feel comfortable stripping down (you won’t know until you try it), Wreck offers a variety of fun things, interesting people, and cool vendors.

Visit the markets

Visit a Farmers’ Market

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 quick list of a few – for full details check our guide to Vancouver farmers’ markets.

Visit the 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. Here’s a shortlist of a few – for full details check our guide to night markets in Vancouver.

Find some nicknacks at the Eastside Flea

Whatever you’re looking for, the Eastside Flea probably has it. With over 50 vendors, five artisan showrooms, DJs, and even a pinball machine, it’s a great way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon. It’s now open for the season.

Visit the Il Mercato Italian Market

  • What: Vancouver’s only Italian Market returns, bringing together the tastes of Italy with the produce grown in local farms. Enjoy a vibrant assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables, and handmade products from local artisans.
  • Where: Italian Cultural Centre – 3075 Slocan Street, Vancouver
  • When: July 15 and August 19 from 4 to 8 pm

Eat, drink, be merry

Diner en Blanc 2016

The popular ticketed annual event that brings together hundreds of strangers for an elegant outdoor all-white dinner party at a top-secret location will take place on Thursday, August 18, 2016. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Diner en Blanc Vancouver.

Dine al fresco on one of Vancouver’s patios

We’ve compiled several patio guides for your eating and drinking pleasure whether you want to dine based on your neighbourhood, or the best new patios around town, we’ve got you covered.

Grab some gelato or ice cream

Nothing screams summer like delicious ice cream. Check out our guide to Metro Vancouver’s best ice cream shops to help you beat the heat this summer.

Go to a craft beer festival

It’s no secret that Vancouverites are obsessed with craft beer, so why not visit one of the city’s many festivals? There’s a new one for 2016 called CANcity, which is all about BC’s best canned beers and ciders.

Stuff yourself at the Eat Rich Food Truck Festival

With only three dates this summer (one has already passed!), this food truck festival is a limited time engagement. Featuring food trucks like Rocky Point Ice Cream, Zee’s Grilled Cheese, and This Little Piggy, you won’t want to miss the next dates on July 30 and August 27.

Hop on the liquid nitrogen ice cream trend

The newest trend in ice cream is using the extreme cold of liquid nitrogen to create fresh ice cream right on the spot. Check out one of the latest spots, Mister in Yaletown or LIK on Robson.

Free Slurpee Day

Every year on July 11 (get it 7/11?) you can enjoy a free Slurpee from participating locations.

Check out the music scene

FVDED in the Park - Image: Blueprint

FVDED in the Park – Image: Blueprint

Go to Pemberton Music Festival

  • What: Pemberton Music Festival has announced their full daily lineup, and tickets are still available. Click here for more.
  • When: July 14 to 17
  • Where: 1835 Highway 99, Pemberton

Symphony in the Park

  • What: The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will play popular classics from a host of composers including Gershwin and Tchaikovsky, plus the themes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Trek: Into Darkness – all for free.
  • Where: Deer Lake Park – 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
  • When: Sunday, July 10 at 7 pm
  • More info: vancouversymphony.ca

Visit the Vancouver International Jazz Fest

  • What: With Sarah McLachlan headlining the event, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival is a great spot to listen to some smooth music from amazing local, national, and international jazz musicians.
  • Where: Various venues. Click here for more.
  • When: Friday, June 24 to Sunday, July 3

FVDED in The Park

  • What: FVDED in The Park returns for another year on July 2 and 3. Around 34 artists will be performing over a period of two days in Holland Park, and the lineup is not to be missed.
  • Where: Holland Park – 13428 Old Yale Road, Surrey
  • When: Saturday, July 2, and Sunday, July 3; 1 to 11 pm

 Run your heart out and party on at lululemon’s Seawheeze

  • What: Seawheeze is one of Vancouver’s biggest parties. Whether or not you compete in the half-marathon portion of the program, there’s always the giant Sunset Festival afterwards, with headlining bands Chromeo, Dear Rouge, and Young Blood set to perform.
  • Where: Brockton Field, Stanley Park, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, August 13

Rock The Shores

  • What: A lesser known BC festival, Rock The Shores had a great line up of bands in 2015 which included the Black Keys and Jane’s Addiction. The festival is attracting bigger names, and is at a fraction of the cost of other festivals in the province. If alternative rock is your jam, check out this year’s Rock The Shores. Line ups are still not announced, but passes are on sale.
  • When: July 22 to 24
  • Where: West Shore Parks & Recreation, Colwood, BC
  • Tickets: Early Bird passes available from $125

Shambhala Music Festival

  • What: The world-known Shambhala Music Festival continues to be one of BC’s must-attend summer festivals. The corporate-free celebration of music, arts, and life has been delivering unforgettable experiences to its beloved attendees (its family) since 1998. Tickets for its 19th year are already on sale, but line ups will be announced later this year. 
  • When: August 5 to 8
  • Where: Salmo River Ranch, Salmo, BC
  • Tickets: Passes available from $365

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2016

  • What: Mark your calendars for July 15 to 17 at Jericho Beach in Kits, as crowds of 40,000 are expected to see 60+ international, national, and local acts. From blues to bluegrass, Celtic to banjos, Hawaiian, electro-trad, acoustic and spoken word, the legendary diversity of VFMF is sure to get Vancouverites moving to old favourites and new discoveries.
  • Where: Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver
  • When: July 15 to 17
  • Tickets: Tickets are on sale now.

Laugh out loud at a comedy show

Jokes Please!

  • What: Check out this tiny, cramped Mount Pleasant black box theatre for some of the best stand-up in the city. Hosts Andy Kallstrom, Ross Dauk and Ivan Decker are some of the best crowd warmers out there, and local heavy hitters (think: Dino Archie, Sophie Buddle, Graham Clark) often dot the lineup as they perfect their sets. For five bucks, it’s almost stupid not to give it a shot.
  • Price: $5
  • Time: Thursdays at 9 pm
  • Address: Little Mountain Gallery – 195 E 26th Avenue

Kings Head Comedy

  • What: Another $5 comedy night regularly featuring Vancouver’s best, as well as the occasional big name who happens to be touring through Vancouver. Hosts Colin Sharp and James Kennedy have clearly been doing this a while, in a good way – the unanimous five star rating on Facebook speaks for itself. Plus, $3.50 beers don’t hurt either.
  • Price: $5
  • Time: Tuesdays at 9 pm
  • Address: 1618 Yew Street

The Laugh Gallery

  • What: Vancouver comedian Graham Clark (of CBC’s The Debaters fame) hosts one of the longest-running shows in town at The Havana Theatre. How long-running? BeforeThe Hangover, Zach Galifianakis did weekly sets here. Aside from big names and legendary Vancouver acts like Charlie Demers, the best part of the show may very well be the oddball audience prizes that Clark himself finds at flea markets and garage sales around the city.
  • Price: $5
  • Time: Mondays at 9 pm
  • Address: 1212 Commercial Drive

Vancouver TheatreSports League

  • What: Situated on beautiful Granville Island, this is the most popular place for improv in Vancouver. Keep in mind that improv is, well, improvised – shows can be a little hit or miss, but they’re always good for some laughs. Choice shows include Throne and Games – A Chance of Snow, a Game of Thrones-inspired improv show; The Big Picture, a stew of “all your favourite movies in one hilarious mashup” and Firecracker!, an all-ladies performance of some of the best female improvisers in Canada.
  • Price: $8 to $22
  • Time: Varies
  • Address: 1502 Duranleau Street, Granville Island

Yuk Yuk’s

  • What: A Canadian comedy club chain with locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and more, Yuk Yuk’s is the most “establishment-y” comedy club in Vancouver – which is not necessarily a bad thing. Here you’ll see (mostly) polished routines from the top-tier Canadian talent like Byron Bertram, Tommy Campbell and Kathleen McGee, and if you don’t know who they are, don’t worry, they’re don’t know you either.
  • Price: $7 to $19
  • Time: Varies
  • Address: 2837 Cambie Street

The Sunday Service

  • What: Whereas other successful improv troupes in Vancouver are comprised of dozens of performers, these guys opt to keep it simple – the Sunday Service is five top-notch performers that have been nationally recognized so many times they’ve lost count (just kidding, it’s 21). They perform every Sunday at the Fox Cabaret in Mount Pleasant and never fail to bring down the house, making it a popular spot for comedians and regular folk alike to take in a night of guaranteed laughs.
  • Price: $7
  • Time: Sundays at 9 pm
  • Address: The Fox Cabaret – 2321 Main Street

The Comedy mix

  • What: A cozy lounge featuring actual waiters serving food from a menu, the Mix is another comedy lounge that feels “legit.” The venue hosts local and touring comedians, so check their lineup for your favourites if you’re planning a night out. Go early in the week for the best deal – tickets start at $8 on Tuesday and increase as the week goes on.
  • Price: $8 to $20
  • Times: Tuesday to Thursday at 8:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10:30 pm
  • Address: 1015 Burrard Street

UBC Improv

  • What: UBC improv is – you guessed it – the University of British Columbia’s improv team. Billing themselves as “a power-packed comedy juggernaut that assaults all that is dreary” might be a tad optimistic, but the high-energy group never fails to get auditoriums full of students going. Catch them at the Scarfe 100 lecture hall every two weeks for a $5 performance, or pretend you’re a student and slip into a free residence show. Bonus: it’s pretty easy to sneak in your own drinks.
  • Price: Free to $5
  • Time: Varies
  • Address: Varies – usually at UBC

Check out a festival or a parade

Powell Street Festival

  • What: Vancouver’s annual celebration of Japanese culture and the largest event of its kind in Canada. Headliners include Australian koto virtuoso Miyama McQueen-Tokita and Tutchone-Japanese Tlinget-Scottish folk singer Diyet – all totally free.
  • Where: Oppenheimer Park and surrounding streets and venues – Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, from 11:30 am to 7 pm

Carnaval del Sol

  • What: The festival celebrating everything Latin returns to Vancouver, hosting a mix of events from free salsa dancing lessons to a street soccer game. And everything is free.
  • Where: Concord Pacific Place – 88 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver
  • When: July 9 and 10

Check out the Pride Parade

  • What: Show your true colours at Vancouver’s 38th annual Pride Parade. The family-friendly event is fun for everyone and is an important way to show diversity and love.
  • When: Sunday, July 31; noon

Check out Surrey’s first ever Pride parade

  • What: The City of Surrey is hosting its first ever Pride parade to show solidarity to the city’s LGBTQ community.
  • When: Sunday, June 26; 11:30 am
  • Parade Route: Starts at Surrey City Hall, goes along University Boulevard, and finishes at Holland Park

Khatsahlano Street Party

  • What: One of the city’s biggest street parties returns, taking over 10 blocks along Kitsilano’s 4th Avenue. There will be main stages at both Burrard Street and MacDonald Street, with performances by Hannah Georgas, Mounties, We Are The City, Jordan Klassen, and more.
  • Where: Along 4th Avenue between Burrard and MacDonald
  • When: Saturday, July 9 from 11 am to 9 pm

Canada Day

  • What: 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.
  • Where: Canada Place, Jack Poole Plaza and the seawall near the Convention Centre
  • When: Friday, July 1, all day, fireworks at around 10 pm

Indian Summer Festival

  • What: The Indian Summer Arts Society brings back the annual Indian Summer Festival, showcasing provocative artists and visionaries from Canada, South Asian, and beyond.
  • When: July 7 to 16

Caribbean Days

  • What: A weekend of tropical rhythms and cuisine of everything Caribbean. The huge outdoor party includes a multicultural street parade, an island and international food fair, and a sound stage to get you grooving to calypso beats.
  • Where: Waterfront Park at Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver
  • When: July 23 and 24

Watch some sports

Watch a Whitecaps game

Vancouver’s soccer team needs your support. Get out and show it this season. For a full game schedule, click here.

Check out a BC Lions game

Our home CFL team is ready to kick butt for another season as they gear up for 2016. Click here for a full game schedule.

Take yourself out to a ball game

The minor league team and Northwest League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays are back in action at The Nat, and you can get in for as low as $14. Click here for the full season schedule.

Spend a day at the races

Bring out your fascinators and bowties and head to Hastings Racecourse to take in a day at the track. With a view of the North  Shore mountains and Burrard Inlet, your day is sure to be a win, even if your ticket says the opposite.

Gastown Grand Prix

Canada’s most famous annual criterium bike race – a multi-lap race held on a short closed course – will take place on Wednesday, July 13. The challenging 1.2-kilometre course starts and finishes next to Gastown’s famous steamclock – and with riders speeding past at 50 km/h, spectators should expect a few crashes.

Odds and ends

Open Air Cinema

Open Air Cinema

Go to Playland

  • What: Playland has officially opened for the season, so connect with your inner child and hop aboard the famous wooden roller coaster for a little throwback fun.
  • Where: 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

Watch a free outdoor movie in Stanley Park

One of the most popular summertime events in Vancouver is back. The Evo Summer Cinema Series at Stanley Park – “in the park after dark” free outdoor movies – returns every Tuesday from July 5 to August 23. Movies playing this summer include The Outsiders, Napoleon Dynamite, The Little Mermaid, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Here’s the full schedule.

Watch the Celebration of Light

Vancouver’s pinnacle summer fireworks celebration that attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the shores of English Bay every year kicks off on Saturday, July 23. Participating countries are The Netherlands, Australia, and the United States. For more information, click here.

Learn to dance for free at Robson Square

It’s back! Dance the night away for free as DanceSport BC brings back the Robson Square Summer Dance Series. Free lessons, shows, and social dancing will happen every Friday from 7:30 to 11:30 pm. No partner or experience required – just show up and have some fun. It launches on Friday, June 24.

Explore Vancouver’s street art

Vancouver’s street art scene has evolved over the years. Take a tour through Gastown, Chinatown, Railtown and other East Vancouver neighbourhoods to find some amazing art.

Go to the PNE

Playland’s annual fair is set to hit the city on August 20, so get ready for some fun. Among things to do at the fair are the Donut Dash 5k run and the Craft Beer Fest.

Say “namaste” with 400 people at a mass yoga event

  • What: What’s more quintessentially Vancouver than a giant yoga event? Say “ohhhmmmm” with 400 other people on Canada Day at McArthurGlen Outlet Mall
  • Where: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet – 7899 Templeton Station Road #1000, Richmond
  • When: Friday, July 1; 10 to 11:15 am

Go salsa dancing at Robson Square

  • What: Salsa dancing returns to Robson Square for the summer, offering free lessons, performances, and social dancing.
  • Where: Robson Square – 800  Robson Street, Vancouver
  • When: Every Sunday in July and August; lessons at 3 pm, performances at 5 pm, social dancing all afternoon

Dress up for the Deighton Cup

  • What: Vancouver’s most stylish day at the races returns as some 4,000 revellers are expected at the annual all-day horse racing festival.
  • Where: Hastings Racecourse – 188 N Renfrew Street, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, July 16 from 11 am to 6pm

View some strange collections at the Museum of Vancouver

  • What: Corsets, vintage prosthetic limbs, pinball machines – these are just a few of the wacky collections curated by Vancouverites on display at the Museum of Vancouver. All of the collections have an interactive component.
  • Where: Museum of Vancouver – 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver
  • When: On display from June 23, 2016 to January 8, 2017

Get soaked at Vancouver’s largest water fight

  • What: Vancouver’s largest water fight returns for another year on August 6. Bring your water guns, and if you use water balloons, remember to pick up after yourself.
  • Where: Lumberman’s Arch, Stanley Park, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, August 6; 1 pm

Learn to play an instrument for free

You can now borrow instruments from the Vancouver Public Library for free thanks to a new lending program. All you need is a library card and you’re set!

Watch The Book of Mormon

  • What: This hilarious Broadway musical from the creators of South Park returns to Vancouver for another run this summer.
  • Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 650 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
  • When: August 24 to September 4
  • Tickets: On sale on June 20. Visit ticketmaster.ca for more information.

See also
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