Vancouver is one of Canada’s most exciting cities with plenty to do during a holiday. Whether you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors or you prefer to explore the cultural aspects of an area, Vancouver won’t disappoint. Even though you’re on vacation, you may not want to splurge on every adventure. Travelling doesn’t have to break the bank, and holidays can be cost efficient. Luckily, Vancouver is a city full of opportunities boasting plenty to do for very little cost or even for free!
Free Activities to Do in Vancouver on Vacation
Vancouver Art Gallery
On Tuesday nights from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. you can explore the exhibits at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Tuesday evenings are “donation nights,” which means you can pay whatever you want or can afford. Even just spare change.
Reviews & Directions: Vancouver Art Gallery Google Page
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Outdoor lovers will love the freedom of the Grouse Grind. Not only is it free to experience, you can a get chance spend sometime in nature. The Grouse Grind is an almost 3 kilometre hiking trail that delivers stunning views from the top. A word of warning: This is not for the faint of heart. Grouse Grind is better for experienced hikers due to the 853 metre elevation gain. It’s a great way to get in some physical activity and enjoy beautiful natural scenery along the way.
Reviews & Directions: Grouse Grind Google Page
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Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory
If you’re fascinated by space or enjoy watching the sky, you’ll love checking out the MacMillan Observatory. Located next to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, the observatory accepts donations for admission and provides public viewings on Friday and Saturday nights. Enjoy a lovely meal somewhere in town then head to the observatory for some romantic star gazing. Get a closeup view of space through a Cassegrain telescope and look for different constellations like the Big Dipper and Orion's Belt.
Reviews & Directions: Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory Google Page
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Richmond Night Market
Between May and October you can check out the free Richmond Night Market. This Chinese market is a great place to experience some delicious traditional Asian food like Har Gow or BBQ Pork Skewers and wander around perusing crafts, enjoying carnival rides and watching cultural events.
Reviews & Directions: Richmond Night Market Google Page
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Visit a Beach
When the weather is good and the temperatures are warm, going to the beach is the perfect free activity. Choose from any of Vancouver’s exciting beaches for a chance to work on your tan, build an epic sand castle, splash around in the waves and maybe even enjoy a beach picnic. From the beaches you’ll be treated to views of the mountains, forests and city skyline. Some of the best options are Kitsilano Beach which holds a grassy area for playing sports or throwing a frisbee, Jericho Beach with a pier where you can fish and Spanish Banks, which is one of the least crowded. If you’re feeling super adventurous, you can check out Wreck Beach, Canada’s largest nude beach. If you’re vacationing with the kids, you might want to avoid this one.
Reviews & Directions: Beaches in Vancouver Google Map
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Granville Island Water Park
Another option for aquatic fun is a trip to Granville Island Water Park, North America’s largest free water park. Located in the False Creek Community Centre, there’s even designated areas for children of all ages, so the entire family can enjoy a special day together. Grab your suit and towel and have fun shooting down waterslides, swimming in the pool and getting sprayed by fire hydrants. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Reviews & Directions: Granville Island Water Park Google Page
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Attend a Festival
Throughout the year, Vancouver hosts a variety of different festivals celebrating music, holidays and other exciting events. You can hear great music and enjoy some entertaining people watching all for free. Some favorites include the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Celtic Festival, Heart of the City Festival and Canada Day festivities.
Reviews & Directions: Vancouver Festivals Google Map
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One of Vancouver’s most popular free attractions is Lynn Canyon. Another terrific place to take an exhilarating hike and, if you’re feeling brave, walk across the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge for some unbeatable views.
Reviews & Directions: Lynn Canyon Google Page
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Visit a Free Museum
In addition to the art museum, Vancouver has a bevy of spots with free admission. The BC Golf Museum, the Burnaby Village Museum and Carousel and the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre are all places you can spend the day with the whole family or your significant other learning about different aspects of the city, free of charge.
Reviews & Directions: Burnaby Village Museum Google Page
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Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Find some peace and tranquility in Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park, a traditional Chinese Garden. You’ll almost feel as if you’ve been transported to China as you meander through and take time to stop and smell the beautiful, fragrant flowers.
Reviews & Directions: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden Google Page
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