Top 10 things to do in Vancouver in summer

Top 10 things to do in Vancouver in summer
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(This post about things to do in Vancouver in summer was updated in March 2019)

 

The beautiful coastal city of Vancouver on the west coast of Canada, is nestled between the North Shore Mountains and the waters of the Burrard Inlet to the north and the Fraser River to the south. Although not the capital of British Colombia (Victoria on Vancouver Island takes that title) Vancouver is the most populated city in the province. Consistently voted in the top 5 cities worldwide for liveability and quality of life Vancouver has lots to keep visitors busy.

 

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TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN VANCOUVER IN SUMMER!

  • Stanley Park and the Seawall
  • Granville Island
  • Gastown
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Richmond Night Markets
  • Whale Watching
  • Visit Chinatown
  • Vancouver Lookout
  • Museum of Vancouver/ Science World

PLUS

  • Top tips for visiting Vancouver (including how to get around Vancouver)
  • Recommended tours of Vancouver
  • Further reading about Vancouver
  • A recommended 3 day itinerary for Vancouver
  • Essential links and websites

 

 

SUNEST OVER VANCOUVER

 


 STANLEY PARK AND THE SEAWALL


 

Hiring a bicycle and cycling around Stanley Park is the absolute top of my list of things to do in Vancouver. The park is is a 400 hectare oasis with lots to offer the visitor including natural beauty, wildlife, and arts and culture.

The seawall is the world’s longest sea path and is worth walking or cycling around. There are clearly delineated markers on the path with one side for walkers and joggers and the other for cyclists. (Note – It is really important to stick to the right lane and there can be a lot of cyclists on the path).

The Stanley Park section of the seawall is 9km long and takes about an hour to cycle and around 2/3 hours to walk depending on how often you stop to admire the views.

There are loads of things to see and do on your way around the park including numerous types of wildlife, cultural heritage such as the totem poles, natural and manmade structures such as Beaver Lake, Siwash Rock or the Lion’s Gate Bridge.

TRACY’S TOP TIP – I would highly recommend that you make a day of it. The summer months are perfect for taking a picnic, hiring a bicycle and spending the entire day in the park. There are loads of places to rent bikes and if you catch the bus from downtown you will probably find that half the bus passengers are heading there to rent a bike! We rented from Spokes Bicycle Rentals which are right next to the park and has been hiring bicycles since 1938. Take a credit card with you as you will need this to secure the bicycle.

 

Siwash Rock Vancouver

 


GRANVILLE ISLAND


Granville Island is a peninsula in False Creek which separates downtown Vancouver from the rest of the city. There is loads to do there with lots of shops as well as the market to wander around. There plenty of places to eat at Granville Island too with lots of options to suit everyone’s tastes!

It is easy to get to by bus, road, bicycle, on foot or as we did it by aquabus.

 

Map of Granville Island

 


GASTOWN


Gastown is the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver and our favourite part of town to grab a drink, a bite to eat and sit and people watch.   Named after John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton who opened a pub in the area in 1867 it is a charming part of town.

Gastown has lots of old buildings, vintage lampposts and is where you will find the Steam Clock! Built in 1977 the clock is powered by steam. Make sure to be there on the hour to listen to its chimes!

There are numerous bars and restaurants to choose from in Gastown including my recommendations of the Flying Pig, the Blarney Stone, and the Cambie.

 

GASSY JACK IN GASTOWN

 


CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE


If you have no issue with heights why not take a stroll over the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The bridge is located in North Vancouver and attracts over 800,000 visitors and year. The bridge is 140 metres long and is suspended 70 metres above the Capilano River.

Top Tours available

Explore, learn, and be amazed by Vancouver’s soaring skyscrapers, architectural masterpieces, urban beaches, and coastal rainforests.

 

CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE

 


RICHMOND NIGHT MARKETS


Head to Richmond for the night market which run annually on weekend and holiday evenings from May 10 to October 14th 2019. It is the largest night market in North America with over 100 different food stalls selling everything you could wish to eat! It is a really fun night out and definitely worth visiting if you are in Vancouver.

 

RICHMOND NIGHT MARKET VANCOUVER

 


WHALE WATCHING


An absolute must for any animal lover is to head out on one of the numerous whale watching boat trips from Vancouver. Spot killer whales, humpback whales, dophins and more in the waters between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Truly an unforgettable experience.

In the waters around Vancouver Island there are resident pods of orcas which number around 100 animals as well as a number of transient pods. Between March and  October there are many other species of whales to spot on their annual migration north including humpback, gray and minke.

 

A killer whale

 


VISIT CHINATOWN


The largest Chinatown in Canada and one of the biggest in North America this is the place to try some great Asian food. Visit the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden which has tranquil paths and beautiful pavilions.

 

ENTRANCE TO CHINATOWN IN VANCOUVER

 


VANCOUVER LOOKOUT


For a great view of the city head to the Vancouver Lookout. From a height of 168 metres you will get a great 360 degree panoramic view of the entire city and beyond.

View of the aquabus and view from the Vancouver Lookout


VISIT THE MUSEUM OF VANCOUVER OR SCIENCE WORLD


If you have a rainy day head to the Museum of Vancouver the largest civic museum in Canada (and the oldest in Vancouver) Find out more about the First Nations through the arts and artefacts displayed at the museum.

If science is more your thing Vancouver’s Science World with its many interactive displays is the perfect option!

 

SCIENCE WORLD VANCOUVER

 


EVENTS IN VANCOUVER IN JUNE/JULY/AUGUST


THINGS TO DO IN VANCOUVER IN JUNE

 

JUNE 21 st – JULY 1st  – Vancouver International Jazz Festival with 300 concerts at various venues held over a 2 week period.

ALL MONTH – Richmond Night Markets

THINGS TO DO IN VANCOUVER IN JULY

JULY  1st – Celebrate Canada Day! With street parties, fireworks and parades there are loads of free activities throughout the city.

JULY 3rd – Free Outdoor Movie Nights at Second Beach in Stanley Park every Tuesday after sunset until August 21st

JULY 27th – The Honda Celebration of Light  held in English Bayis a week-long festival based in Vancouver, British Columbia, featuring the world’s largest offshore fireworks competition.

JULY 31st – Honda Celebration of Light

ALL MONTH – Richmond Night Markets

THINGS TO DO IN VANCOUVER IN AUGUST

AUGUST 3rd – Honda Celebration of Light

AUGUST 4th – Vancouver Pride Parade

ALL MONTH – Richmond Night Markets

 


WHAT IS SUMMER LIKE IN VANCOUVER?


Vancouver is famed for its year long mild weather. In summer expect temperatures ranging from highs of 20 to 30 degrees. Summers are generally dry with August the hottest month. You can check the weather forecast here!

Vancouver city Canada

 


TOP TIPS FOR VANCOUVER


  • The transport system is excellent in Vancouver with regular Skytrains, buses, ferries and boats to get you from A to B in the city.

 

  • Take drinks/food with you when you go to Stanley Park – you can rent a bicycle with a basket attached to hold all the goodies. There are lots of places to sit and relax and enjoy the scenery on the way around too.

 

  • As the public transport system is so great if you are on a budget then staying in a hotel further out of downtown Vancouver is recommended. We had stayed in Richmond on our arrival (near the airport so we could rest and recover from jet lag) but moved closer after 2 nights. We chose to stay at  the Douglas Guest House a great B&B close to the Vancouver City Hall Skytrain station (a 3 minute walk away)

 

  • If you have time head over to  Vancouver Island! You can catch a seaplane across, fly or take the ferry to get to the island where there are loads of great things to see and do.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE – AN INSIDER GUIDE TO VANCOUVER ISLAND

VANCOUVER ISLAND AND SOME CANOES

 


CREATING AN ITINERARY FOR A 3 DAY VISIT TO VANCOUVER


If you are heading to Vancouver for a few days check out my itinerary for a 3 day trip to see how you can see the best of the city during your stay.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE – A 3 DAY ITINERARY FOR VANCOUVER 


MORE READING!


Lonely Planet Vancouver (Travel Guide)

 

If you are spending 2 days in Vancouver check out this great itinerary and sightseeing guide to Vancouver to help with your planning!


LINKS TO RECOMMENDED WEBSITES MENTIONED IN THIS POST


Stanley Park

Bicycle Hire – Spokes Bicycle Rentals

Granville Market

Aquabus

Translink

Richmond Night Markets

Vancouver Lookout

Science World

Museum of Vancouver

 


FURTHER INFORMATION FOR VISITING CANADA


If you are heading to Canada soon I have some great posts to check out to help with your planning. At the moment the focus is on Vancouver and Vancouver Island but keep an eye out for new posts coming soon! Why not subscribe below to receive tips, updates and more from me in my monthly newsletter? No spam just great information! Subscribes also gain free access to my resource library which includes book lists and fact files and other useful resources to help plan your trip!

  • Visiting Vancouver in summer? Check out my guide of all the great things the city has to offer during the warmer months.

 

 

 

PIN FOR LATER! TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN VANCOUVER IN SUMMER

 


Best things to do in Vancouver Canada in summer | Tracy's Travels in TimeBest things to do in Vancouver in summer | Tracy's Travels in time

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Author: Tracy

Tracy has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!

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90 Comments

  1. February 28, 2017 / 6:01 pm

    I love Vancouver too, would like to go back again some day #MondayEscapes

  2. February 28, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    Wow looks like there is so much to do in Vancouver! Would love this visit and head to Granville Island 🙂 Looks beautiful!

  3. February 28, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    I loved Canada when I went backpacking. Really want to take our boys back so they can see how beautiful it is.

    • February 28, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      it is a stunning country isn’t it!

  4. March 1, 2017 / 8:32 am

    I’m living in Canada at the moment but only briefly visited Vancouver and I so want to go back and try all these things you suggested! It’s such a cool city

    • March 1, 2017 / 9:54 pm

      I lived in Toronto for a while and never made it to the West Coast – I wish I had as I love it!

  5. March 1, 2017 / 8:49 am

    Awesome article, very informative and complete! 🙂 Thank you for writing it. I would love to get to Vancouver as soon as I have the money for the plane ticket. I live in Italy and the flight it’s pretty expensive from here.

    • March 1, 2017 / 9:53 pm

      Thanks Chiara – I am lucky to have friends over there (on Vancouver Island) – the flight is expensive from Europe but so worth it 🙂

  6. March 1, 2017 / 11:39 am

    So incredible that the park service is offering free entry for their anniversary! I haven’t been to Vancouver in at least a decade (and didn’t do much sightseeing back then) so hope to go back soon! Granville Island looks beautiful 🙂

    • March 1, 2017 / 9:52 pm

      I know it is great – wish we could return to take advantage of it!

  7. March 1, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    Heard so many great things about Vancouver, I have to make sure I visit one of these days. I’m interested in the Stanley Park and Seawall, sounds amazing.

    • March 1, 2017 / 9:51 pm

      It is a brilliant city to visit! Stanley Park and the Seawall are great places to visit!

  8. March 1, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    Granville Island looks super cool! I love the idea of taking the aquabus too, travelling down the Thames in London is one of my fave ways to get about. I’ve also heard good things about Gastown from someone that lives in Vancouver so glad to see it mentioned. I’m hoping one day to visit!

    • March 1, 2017 / 9:50 pm

      We loved Granville Island – it is definitely worth a visit! Then chill out in Gastown afterwards!

  9. March 1, 2017 / 4:43 pm

    Vancouver looks beautiful! I’d love to explore Canada more, and am glad to hear that the public transport system is excellent. Great tips! #citytripping

  10. March 1, 2017 / 9:55 pm

    It really has doesn’t it – we really loved it!

  11. March 1, 2017 / 11:04 pm

    I would love to see one of the floating homes in Granville Island. I think I saw a TV show about it which is very interesting. The first photo you posted of the Granville island looks like a miniature, I thought it was kinda like a theme park where you see a model of different houses around the world. Lol.

    • March 2, 2017 / 3:13 pm

      They are quite lovely – very expensive though I believe!

  12. March 1, 2017 / 11:25 pm

    I am hopefully going to Vancouver for the first time this year! Thanks for the tips!

  13. March 1, 2017 / 11:25 pm

    I am hopefully going to Vancouver for the first time this year! Thanks for the tips! 🙂

    • March 2, 2017 / 3:12 pm

      It is a lovely place and the artwork on the silos looks great!

  14. March 2, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    Vancouver has never been on my radar, not for any partial reason. But wow you post has made me really want to visit it look so very beautiful. Thanks so much for linking up #MondayEscapes

  15. Nicole
    March 2, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    I heard it is a lovely place to bike around. Looks really beautiful. Great post.

    • March 3, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      It is – really great place to go! Thank-you Nicole

  16. March 3, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    I loved Vancouver too, Tracy. It’s a great city to visit and I hope to return there someday. Great photos! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  17. March 3, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    We unfortunately transmitted through Vancouver, though from the little we saw it is a place we will return to. Greta information.

  18. March 4, 2017 / 1:26 am

    I love Vancouver – there is so much to do. I think my favorite thing was the Grouse Grind though. It was such a challenging hike and I just felt so accomplished once I finished it. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

  19. jenn
    March 4, 2017 / 3:07 am

    We are hoping to get up to Vancouver sometime soon and spend some time there. We don’t know much about this great city, so your post will definitely come in handy! Thanks for all the great tips.

  20. March 4, 2017 / 5:38 am

    Vancouver is one of those places that fill my imagination. I visited several years ago and stayed there an entire week. We had a wonderful time and would love to discover more of the area. Stanley Park was the best (we rented bikes). #wkendtravelinspiration

    • March 4, 2017 / 2:10 pm

      We love it too – would love to go back soon!

  21. March 4, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Thanks so much for linking up to #MondayEscapes I really enjoyed this post. I looked at Vancouver for us this year actually but we have ended up visiting Rwanda – maybe another year. The tour information is really handy too. Thanks

  22. March 4, 2017 / 11:45 am

    Vancouver is one of my favourite cities. I agree that a bicycle ride through Stanley Park is an ideal way to spend an afternoon. I found excellent sushi in Gastown last time I visited.

  23. March 4, 2017 / 12:51 pm

    Canada is one of the countries I wish to visit soon. Stanley Park looks like so much fun, and a great way to spend the day. Great article and great tips!

    • March 4, 2017 / 2:08 pm

      It is an amazing country – would love to spend a good 6 months exploring at least!

  24. March 4, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    Can’t wait to visit Vancouver! I’ve read so many post about this beautiful city! thanks for the tips

  25. March 4, 2017 / 6:26 pm

    I would love to visit! Thanks for these tips!

  26. March 4, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    I went to Vancouver last year and loved it, now after your reading your post I wish I could’ve explored more! Thanks for sharing all these, I will def check them out next time.

  27. March 4, 2017 / 7:45 pm

    Yes! We just got our Canada parks pass, and we can’t wait for Vancouver. Fortunately, it is only a 5-hour drive from our house so we will be able to experience a lot on this list over the summer. Pinning and saving your adventure for later 🙂

    • March 4, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      Oh wow I am so jealous! You are going have an amazing time!

      • September 26, 2017 / 1:57 pm

        I remembered this post and just read through all your BC posts for our trip this week. Thanks again for the recommendations 🙂

        • September 26, 2017 / 9:47 pm

          Thanks Scarlett – have a great trip to Canada!

  28. March 4, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    Vancouver always sounds such a tempting city – between yours and the previous post on the linky, I am so tempted to start planning a trip this year… #citytripping

  29. March 5, 2017 / 8:40 am

    We met someone from Canada who had moved to British Columbia and he loved it so we have a brilliant reason to visit! I would definitely hire a bike and make a day out of Stanley Park and next on my agenda would be the Gastown – I love having a drink and people watching! Thanks for sharing so much brilliant information, pinned for when we visit our friend! #feetdotravel

    • March 7, 2017 / 4:14 pm

      Thanks Angie – hope you get to BC – so much to see and do!

  30. March 5, 2017 / 2:07 pm

    We generally try to avoid cities when traveling, but we loved Vancouver! Your post just reminded me what a great trip it was! Hope we can visit again, keeping those tips for later.

  31. March 5, 2017 / 6:45 pm

    What a wonderful travel guide for Vancouver. Stunning photos, great information and links for more information. I will pin this for later use. Thanks for sharing 🙂 #feetdotravel

  32. March 5, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    I have heard many great things about Vancouver from friends who live there as well as other travellers. Stanley Park keeps coming up as a must-do and I would love to explore it when I do eventually make it over there. I would definitely rent a bike and cycle around for a few hours!

    • March 7, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      Definitely rent a bike it is a great day out!

  33. March 6, 2017 / 6:20 am

    What remarkable city! It is full very inspiring. Interesting post and nice pictures

  34. March 6, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    Vancouver is high on my list of places to visit that are too close not to visit! Thanks for linking up! #wkendtravelinspiration

  35. March 6, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    That’s a great tip for Stanley Park, take food. I was surprised how big the park was, I should have taken something to eat with me! I think it’s the same size as downtown Vancouver?

    • March 7, 2017 / 4:12 pm

      I think it probably is – my daughter had already been twice so she was the one who suggested we take food. Good thing as we were pretty hungry after cycling it!

  36. March 7, 2017 / 11:16 pm

    Stanley park looks beautiful! I would love to go cycling around the seawall. It’s been years since I was last on a bicycle, kind of want to go for a ride now! I would totally make a day out of it too, seems perfect. The tours you listed below, did you do any of them? The seaplane ride is a dream and not as expensive as I thought! Will keep this in mind for sure!

    • March 8, 2017 / 8:12 pm

      I would definitely go cycling around Stanley Park Kreete I am sure you would enjoy it!

  37. March 8, 2017 / 5:19 pm

    I loved each one. And if I do get a chance I would definitely try them all in Vancouver. At least cycling through the park, I will do it someday. Thanks for sharing this article, it gave me some major travel goals to look forward to.

  38. March 9, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! I’m hoping to visit Vancouver this year. Looks like such a great place. 🙂

  39. March 10, 2017 / 2:12 am

    We hope to visit Canada this year, perhaps Vancouver because we’ve heard so many great things about it like this post! I already ordered my free Canada Park Pass for this year so I’m ready. Just need the plane tickets, so I’m keeping an eye out for a good deal. I want to visit Stanley Park! It’s in the top 3 places to visit for a reason, looks great!

    • March 10, 2017 / 1:22 pm

      I would love to go back – especially with a free park pass! Unfortunately not in our travel plans this year 🙁 Enjoy it!

  40. March 13, 2017 / 10:23 am

    The more I see and read about Vancouver, the more interested I am in visiting. These seem to be a little different than the usual lists which is nice and it really appears to be a pleasant, liveable city.

  41. March 31, 2017 / 10:25 am

    Happy Birthday Canada! Vancouver looks like such a fun city with loads of outdoors activities. Cant wait to visit.. one day! Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  42. April 3, 2017 / 4:50 pm

    I’m so sure I would love Vancouver , Tracy! I fell in love with Seattle over 20 years ago and have always thought that Vancouver probably has that same fun, laid-back vibe. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • April 4, 2017 / 6:35 pm

      It is a fantastic city! One of our favourites!

  43. Vancouver is an amazing town – so international and so much to do! We visited many times when we went to school in Seattle. Need to take the kids back and tour the town again. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • April 6, 2017 / 7:04 pm

      It is one of my favourite cities! I would go again in a heartbeat!