13 Free Things to do in Vancouver

I fell deeply in love with Vancouver ever since I visit the city for the first time in 2007. But as you might know the third most liveable city in the world is kind of expensive. Luckily Vancouver offers some pretty cool activities that you can enjoy on a low budget all year-around — a lot of them even for free. My favorites free activities? Here you go …

Your ultimate checklist for (almost) free activities in Vancouver

1. Have a picnic at Stanley Park
Fill your picnic basket with homemade food and vine. Get together with all your friends and enjoy sharing your delights. Bring some games, take a walk enjoy the sunset — Vancouver won’t get any better than this.

2. People watch in Vancouver
Get a cup of coffee at your favorite café spot (our favorite “Nelson and the Seagull”)and stroll around downtown. Get to know the neighborhood and soak in the vibes.

3. Art for everyone!
Be on time, when you plan to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery on Tuesday nights. From 5 pm to 9 pm you can donate whatever you want/ you can afford to explore the art exhibitions. The line usually becomes quite long during that time. 

4. Richmond Night Market
Make sure not to miss the Chinese night market in Richmond during summer. The entrance fee is about 3 Dollars. And get there hungry. You will have plenty of opportunities to try some real Chinese food.

5. Visit Greenville Island
In the early 90s, the island was known for its flourishing industry and home to some serious factories. Nowadays the island is known for artisan shopping opportunities and cultural events. Make sure to check out the public farmers market and grab some snacks before taking a break from the waterfront. You will have a wonderful view.

6. Hike to Grouse Grind
The local mountain in North Vancouver offers a marvelous view from above. The hike takes around 2 hours and is pretty steep. Spoil yourself at the summit with some self-brought picnic or get some healthy food to refuel in the café and restaurant. In case you don’t feel like hiking back down you can take the cable car.

7. Enjoy breathtaking views from Lynn Suspension Bridge
You basically can’t leave Vancouver without visiting the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. What most people don’t know is that the 50-meter high bridge is for free! It might be not as long as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, but it is also fewer crowded. And you might get the chance to enjoy the view all by yourself. The bridge stretches across a beautiful canyon and continues to some fun nature attractions like waterfalls, swimming in crystal clear water and wonderful hiking trails. Bring your camera!

8. Visit the Capilano Salmon Hatchery
About 20 minutes outside of downtown Vancouver you’ll find the Salmon Hatchery. Here, Juvenile salmon are raised and visitors are invited to see them before they return to the river. Afterwards, go for a hike in the Capitano River Regional Park.

9. Explore Vancouver’s beaches
Around the city, you’ll find several beaches. Perfect for outdoor activities like beach volleyball and great to watch the sunset! Put these on your list: Kitsilano Beach, West End Beaches, Spanish Banks.

10. Get to know Canadian heritage by free walking tours
I personally love free walking tours, because you get to know so much inside knowledge about the culture and the history of the city. It is also a great opportunity to get in touch with other visitors. In Vancouver, I can recommend you the Guides of Free Tours. They offer strolls through different kind of neighborhoods – from Kitsilano to Chinatown. Choose your favorite. And make sure to give some tip (:

11. Change your point of view
… and get to know Vancouver from a unique vantage point. Take the Aquabus from Granville island and hang out at the ferry for the whole circuit. It takes about 30 minutes. Or choose your destination: Yaletown, Science World and five more locations. The trip is only a few dollars

12. Explore the Eastside Fleamarket
The bi-weekly market takes place in the Ellis Building every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. You’ll find handmade craftsmen items, vintage accessories, antiques and some great food trucks outside. Support the local business and take a souvenir back home. The entrance fee is three dollars.

13. Enjoy Vancouver’s Celebration of Light
Another highlight and free activity during summer: The annual event “Celebration of Light“ takes place late July – August. Its an international fireworks competition that lights the sky three days in a row — its magic!

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