10 Free Things to Do in Vancouver, Canada
Are the best things in life free? Well, in Vancouver they very well might be.
The west coast seaport city of Vancouver is a vibrant and beautiful place to visit, but when it comes to food and beverage it can be on the pricey side. In fact, Success Story, ranked Vancouver the most expensive city to live in all of North America. So, this list of free activities should help you keep a tight hold on your purse strings.
Free Activity #1: Explore Stanley Park
The 400 hectares of Stanley Park provide many great activities for the whole family to enjoy, especially along the famous 8.8km sea-wall. You can walk, bike, run or roller-skate along the paved pathway which loops the urban park. The park includes a totem garden, rose garden and epic views of the city, northern mountains, and Lion’s Gate Bridge. You can easily spend the day exploring Stanley Parks wonders.
Free Activity #2: Relax at the Beach
Weather permitting, schedule some fun beach time. Vancouver has many soft sandy beaches that offer safe access to the Pacific Ocean, whilst providing generous scenic views. Our favourite beach is English Bay, as the beach to laden with large tree trunks, just perfect when admiring the sunset.
Free Activity #3: Visit Canada’s Largest Chinatown
The attractions to check off your Vancouver to-do list, while walking around Chinatown are:
- the unmissable landmark, Millennium Gate
- the world’s narrowest building, the Sam Kee Building, its only 6 feet wide
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden & Park.
Free Activity #4: Take a Vancouver Hike
Perhaps, the absolute best thing about visiting Vancouver, is the wilderness that surrounds it. There are many great hiking trails close to the city, for both beginners and advanced hikers. A day or two in the mountains is ideal for breaking in a new pair hiking boots, stretching your legs and filling your lungs with fresh air.
Top trails include:
- Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, perfect for beginners, and families with younger children.
- Capilano Pacific Trail to Cleveland Dam is a semi-steep trail
- Mount Seymour has a 9 km hiking loop in the summer. During the winter it’s a ski slope.
If you love the outdoors then New Zealand will be a great and memorable adventure. Read Epic New Zealand Bucket List Challenge for inspiration.
Free Activity #5: Let your Senses Run Wild at The Queen Elizabeth Park
The beautiful quarry gardens of the Queen Elizabeth Park offers many horticultural pleasures. As you admire the pathways, bridges and mini waterfalls, be sure to save some time to learn about the intriguing plants and flowers around you.
Free Activity #6: Explore Granville Island
A great way to spend an afternoon or evening without spending a single dollar is by visiting Granville Island. There is always lots of things to see and do, from sampling fresh local produce at the market, to watching live music to window shopping through the boutiques. If you are travelling with children, check out the free Kids’ Water Park, and is open May 31 – September 6.
Free Activity #7: Cross the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
Have you heard about Capilano Suspension Bridge? Well, the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge is the free alternative. It was built in 1912 and is 50 feet above the Lynn Valley. In addition to crossing the bridge you can admire waterfalls, take a stroll through the 617 acre forest and take a dip in one of its many swimming holes.
Free Activity #8: Attend a Free Festival
Like any great major city there are plenty of free food festivals, music concerts and beach events organised throughout the year, with food trucks, beer gardens, parades and more. For example:
- Canada Day: City wide events on July 1st
- Vancouver International Jazz Festival, throughout August
- Eastside Culture Crawl: a visual art, design and craft festival held in November
- Sunset Beach Festival, 4th August
For more information visit TourismVancouver.com
Free Activity #9: See the Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Many museums and galleries require an entrance fee. However, The Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) has exhibits which are free every Tuesday, from 5pm – 9pm. Check out their website to see if anything strikes your fancy.
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Free Activity #10: Be Amazed by a Steam Clock
Located in the area of Gastown, you can visit the world’s first steam clock. Every 15 minutes the steam clock plays a delightful tune as it expels steam. Be sure to witness the extended chiming’s on the hour. Along with this cute entertainment, it makes for a unique photograph and its very interesting to see the inner workings of the clock on show through the towers glass sides.
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For more ‘Things to Do’ guides check out:
- 10 Free Things to Do in Rome, Italy
- 10 Free Things to Do in Washington D.C.
- 10 Free Things to Do in Madrid, Spain