After spending 6 – 8 months in the rain, Vancouver sure does turn on an incredible summer. A Vancouver summer consists of long sunny days in the outdoors, beer drinking on patios, and all round good times. There is no shortage of things to do to keep yourself occupied during the summer months, the challenge will be, what to do and what not to miss out on. Here is my summer guide to life in Vancouver.
Biking around the Seawall
On a summer day I enjoy nothing more than a leisurely bike ride around Stanley Park or the seawall exploring one of the many Vancouver neighbourhoods on two wheels. Spot seals frolicking off the shore of Stanley Park, or stop for an ice cream in Kitsilano, or “Kits” to the locals while walking along 4th Avenue.
Spend the day at the beach
Vancouver has many beaches for basking in the sunshine. Play beach volleyball at Kits Beach, enjoy West End’s 1st, 2nd or 3rd beaches, around UBC try Jericho or Spanish Banks. There is also Wreck Beach, which I should mention is a nudist beach.
You could spend a good part of the day exploring Stanley Park, whether it’s discovering the local marine life at the Vancouver Aquarium, getting up close to the First Nation totem poles, or just walking around the seawall or one of the many trails through the park. Stanley Park has something for everyone.
Granville Island Public Market
Granville Island is a fun day out anytime of year, but particularly in the summer. During the warmer months, Granville Island is bustling with tourists, buskers and big fat sea gulls. Wander through the Granville Island Public Market taking in the smells of fresh berries, aromatic cheeses, locally made chocolate and pastries.
See a sporting game
Vancouver is the home to a number of sporting teams. Watch the Vancouver Whitecaps, play a game of soccer, or the BC Lions in a CFL (Canadian Football League) game.
Grab a beer on a patio
Get out early in the day to score a spot in the sun on a patio. A few of my favourites include Chill Winston, The Keg, and the Pirate Pub.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens are located in Vancouver’s Chinatown, and they truly are a little Oasis in the urban jungle. Every time I visit the gardens I feel like I am back in China, a glimpse of the modern Vancouver skyline always brings me back to reality.
Chinatown Night Market
Walk through the streets of Chinatown and sample street food and purchase trinkets and other collectables at the Chinatown Night Market.
Richmond Night Market
Another Vancouver market, the Richmond Night Market has a large food selection and again lots of trinkets and entertainment. Catch the sky train to Bridgeport Station and stop off at the Casino on your way home.
Kayaking or Stand Up Paddle boarding
Take advantage of Vancouver’s waterfront lifestyle and grab a kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and explore Vancouver via the water. Grab a kayak from English Bay and paddle to Granville Island, False Creek or Kits. Try out SUP working your way towards Stanley Park.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Walk above the tree line at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, along the 140 metre long bridge, suspended 70 metres above the Capilano River. Take your BC ID to receive unlimited admission for a year after your first entry.
Instead of paying admission to the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the first place, head to Lynn Canyon, a free mini suspension bridge within the forests of North Vancouver. Enjoy the hikes surrounding Lynn Canyon.
From the top of Grouse Mountain, see the stunning views of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and UBC. While you are up there check out the lumberjack and bird of prey show or the grizzly bears living on top of the mountain. Travel up the Eye of the Wind turbine, to get 360 degree views of the city, ocean and mountains.
Pacific National Exhibition (PNE)
The PNE is what we would call a show in Australia, similar to the Sydney Royal Easter show or the EKKA in Brisbane. The PNE has rides, a petty zoo, food stalls and lots of trinkets to purchase. The PNE runs for a few weeks every August.
Vancouver is jammed packed with hikes, the only trouble you’ll have is choosing which one to do. Vancouver trails is a great resource to find hundreds of hikes in the Lower Mainland of BC.
West End is a beautiful little neighbourhood, nestled on the banks of the English Bay. Enjoy a stroll around the shops of West End, grab an ice cream and sit on the beach and take in the view. Or head down to West End at sunset to catch a gorgeous view.
One of the many reasons I love Vancouver, in the summer there are many farmers markets across the city. New farmers markets are popping up and extending their hours so check out the Vancouver Farmers Markets website for more details.
Take the seabus to North Vancouver or North ‘Van’ to the locals and walk around the Lonsdale Quay Market and take in the gorgeous Vancouver skyline.
University of British Columbia (UBC)
UBC is a picturesque campus located on 933 acres at Point Grey. Take a trip out to UBC and check out the historic sandstone buildings of the UBC grounds, the large collection of First Nation totem poles and art at the Museum of Anthropology, UBC Botanical Gardens and the Japanese gardens at the Nitobe Memorial Garden.
What are your favourite Vancouver summer activities?