You will never be short of things to do in Vancouver, whatever your budget or location. Whether you want to stay in the city or venture further afield, the range of opportunities, amenities and natural beauty in and around the city will make sure you always have a long ‘To Do’ list of things to do in Vancouver. This page covers entertainment and cultural options in the city itself.
Things to do in Vancouver: Ice Skating
Robson Square ice rink opens up to the public once again on December 1. Ice skaters can enjoy the rink from 9 a.m. to 9.pm., Sunday to Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Though the rink is open-air, it’s covered by a clear dome so you can enjoy the downtown lights while still being protected from the rain. Skating is free. Skate rentals are $4, helmets and ice cleats are $2. Skate your heart out at downtown Vancouver’s free Robson Square Ice Rink.
Vancouver also has many other ice rinks that have public skate time. Use the link below to view skate times for a rink near you. Lessons are also available, so don’t be shy!
Vancouver Park Board – Ice Skating
Located in Stanley Park, Vancouver aquarium is a superb way to spend a rainy day. It’s home to belugas, dolphins, tropical birds, alligators, sea otters, and lots of interesting fish. Admission is $18 for students and $25 for adults.
Museums & Culture
If you are looking for museums and a spot of culture, then Vancouver is a great location. Museums and art galleries are plentiful in Vancouver and cover a variety of themes, styles and genres.
Highlights of Vancouver’s art scene include the wonderful Vancouver Art Gallery, with its collection of nearly 8,000 pieces of art, while among the most notable of museums in Vancouver is the Telus World of Science, an entertaining and educational experience. Here is a rundown of Vancouver’s main museums and art galleries.
Vancouver Museum - 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), Canada
Tel: +1 604 736 4431
The Vancouver Museum is the city’s premier natural history facility and it is home to a massive collection of exhibits of both local and global importance. The museum is split into categorized sections comprised of the Vancouver Collections, First Nations Collections, Pacific Rim Collections and the World Heritage Collections.
Vancouver museum open: Tuesday to Sunday – 10:00 to 17:00, Thursday – 10:00 to 21:00
Vancouver museum admission: charge, discounts available for children and seniors
Science World - 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), V6A 3Z7, Canada
Tel: +1 604 443 7440
Vancouver’s eye-catching Telus World of Science is home to a variety of interactive exhibits and displays aimed at demonstrating some of the many interesting aspects of science present in the world around us. Also housed here is the giant screen OMNIMAX theater, which shows fun, educational programs throughout the day.
Vancouver museum open: Monday to Friday – 10:00 to 17:00, weekends – 10:00 to 18:00
Vancouver museum admission: charge, discounts for groups
Museum of Anthropology – University of Columbia, 6393 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), V6T 1Z2, Canada
Tel: +1 604 822 5087
The Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver is a fascinating facility containing a magnificent collection of cultural works, including ethnic carvings and sculptures, as well as artifacts from the Northwest Coast’s past and present. Visiting exhibitions feature throughout the year.
Vancouver museum open: Wednesday to Sunday – 11:00 to 17:00
Vancouver museum admission: charge, discounts available for children, students and seniors
Vancouver Art Gallery - 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), Canada
Tel: +1 604 662 4719
The Vancouver Art Gallery is Vancouver’s finest facility for modern and classical art. Besides a permanent gallery featuring works by historically famous artists, there are visiting exhibitions by modern artists. The art gallery has a total of 7,900 pieces of art available for permanent viewing.
Vancouver art gallery open: Friday to Monday and Wednesday – 10:00 to 17:30, Tuesday and Thursday – 10:00 to 21:00
Vancouver art gallery admission: charge, discounts available for children, students and seniors
Inuit Gallery of Vancouver - 206 Cambie Street, Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), V6B 2M9, Canada
Tel: +1 604 688 7323
Claiming to house Canada’s leading collection of Inuit and northwest coast native art, the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver features works of jewelry, sculpture, drawing, etching, silk screen print and serigraph. All pieces of work are originals and are available for purchase.
Vancouver art gallery open: call for details
Vancouver art gallery admission: call for details
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre - 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, BC, V6J 3J9
Tel: +1 604 688 7323
One of Vancouver’s best-known attractions, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is part space and science museum, part planetarium, and part observatory. The Space Centre shares its home – the iconic domed building in Vanier Park that’s become a Vancouver landmark – with the Museum of Vancouver.
Overlooking Vancouver, this mountain offers winter sports (skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing and ice skating) by winter and many attractions including two live grizzly bears and a lumberjack show by summer. You can choose to take the gondola or else take the “Grouse Grind” to reach the summit.
If you want a real challenge – or at least a serious workout – try the Grouse Grind. A 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain (850m elevation), commonly referred to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.
Visit scenic Granville Island and take in the atmosphere while strolling through the busy markets. The area offers excellent local produce, great restaurants and lots of family entertainment by day.
Stanley Park is recognized around the globe as one of the great parks of the world! Vancouver’s first park and one of the city’s main tourist attractions, Stanley Park is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) close to the downtown core. Its natural west coast atmosphere offering a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees embraces visitors and transports them to an environment rich in tranquility. The park abounds in wildlife and its features appeal to the naturalist, the plant lover or one who would do nothing more than relax in beautiful surroundings. There is always something happening in the park – check Events Calendar for listings.
All the outer boundary of Stanley Park is marked by the Seal Wall which also continues along Coal Harbour on the North side or Downtown and English Bay / False Creek on the South Side of downtown.
Vancouverites love to get outdoors so join them by walking, rollerblading, cycling or long-boarding along this route!
Lynn Canyon National Park
Accessible by pubic transport, Lynn Canyon offers a great day trip away from the city. Choose to walk/bike the various trails, walk across the suspension bridge or cliff jump into the freezing glacier water!
Living in Vancouver means you are lucky enough to be able to enjoy the luxury of having beautiful beaches. One of the natural amenities which makes Vancouver city among the most livable in the world is this public access to the waterfront. Almost 18 km (11 mi) of beaches surround Vancouver!
English Bay (First Beach) is a hive of activity in summer months due to its close proximity to the Downtown area. It also host the “Celebration of Light” fireworks exhibition each year!
Kitsilano (Kits) Beach
Kits Beach is the busiest of the Kitsilano area beaches. Sit on the green area which is packed on a sunny day or else find a spot along the beach. Picnic areas on the grass at North end of the beach.
Second Beach is a little further along the Sea Wall into Stanley Park and therefore a little quieter and more family oriented. It offers a swimming pool, playground and picnic areas. It is also one of the locations that hosts free outdoor movies during the summer months!
A little further west of Kitsilano Beach is a quiet more relaxed Jericho Beach. This beach attracts a lot of young people and families by day and by night and is the location for the Vancouver Folk Festival
For the more open-minded, Wreck Beach is an ‘interesting’ experience. This ‘clothing optional’ beach is frequented by more liberal-minded hippies and nudists and offers breath-taking sunsets to those willing to make the trek out towards the South side of UBC campus.
Spanish Banks & Locarno
These beaches are a slightly quieter alternative to Jericho. Popular with volleyball players and young families.
A little further around the Sea Wall you can find Third Beach which is a very peaceful beach that attracts a very open-minded crowd. While there is car parking available, most people arrive by bicycle along the Sea Wall.
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