August in Vancouver is a time for outdoor movies, live music at the park, and sun-soaked days before the rain returns to ring in the next season. And while there’s plenty of fun things to splurge on, some of the best summer memories can be made at very minimal cost to your wallet. So with that in mind, here are 15 of the best free and cheap things to do in Vancouver this August.

Check out Vancouver Mural Festival

 

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Fans of the beloved Vancouver Mural Festival are in for a treat this year! Not only will visitors get to check out an open-air gallery of new murals across the city, but they’ll get to enjoy a 10-day festival that goes beyond the iconic City Centre Artist Lodge.

From guided walking tours to food trucks to block parties – there will be a little something for everyone. At the top of the list is the free Mount Pleasant Street Party from August 10th to 13th!

When: August 4th to August 13th
Where: Mount Pleasant
Cost: Free and ticketed events

Vancouver Pride Festival & Parade

 

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Get ready for this year’s exciting Pride festivities, which include ticketed events as well as the free Vancouver Pride Festival and Parade, which occur on August 5th and 6th. This year, Concord Pacific Place will be transformed into a two-day outdoor festival with DJs, drag and more – including performances by Haus Bukuru, RiceCake, and Normie Corp!

Also new this year is the adjusted route for the Pride Parade – which will begin at the intersection of Davie and Denman Streets, and will move down Beach Avenue and Pacific Street, reaching its end at the festival site at Concord Community Park.

When: Saturday, August 5th and Sunday, August 6th
Where: Concord Pacific Place and False Creek, and locations around Vancouver

Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival

Fans of blues likely need no reminding, but the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival always brings the best local talent to the stage every summer. Great music, a couple of brews, and a sunny day on the lake? That’s a no-brainer. And the 2023 festival will take place on Saturday, August 12th – so mark your calendars, because this year, you get to enjoy a full day of free music.

When: Saturday, August 12th
Where: Deer Lake Park

Music on Main

From August 14th to 16th and 21st to 23rd, Music on Main is slated to make its return to Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant Park. So why not bring your picnic blankets and spend some quality summer evenings surrounded by friends and live music?

When: August 14th to 16th and 21st to 23rd
Where: West 16th Avenue at Ontario Street

Sunset Cinema

Starting Wednesday, August 2nd, Sunset Cinema will be back with weekly family-friendly screenings of nostalgic classics like E.T. and newer faves like Encanto. So no matter what you’re into, there’s something on the list for your inner child to enjoy.

Here are all the movies you can watch from 9 to 11 pm at The Shipyards:

  • August 2nd: Jumanji (1995)
  • August 9th: Mama Mia 2 – Here We Go Again 
  • August 16th: Encanto 
  • August 23rd: E.T.

When: Wednesday, August 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd
Where: The Shipyards Commons, North Vancouver
Cost: Free admission

Deckchair Cinema

Ready for even more outdoor movies? Deckchair Cinema is in full swing on Cates Deck in North Van, and there are several August dates if you haven’t gotten the chance to check it out yet!

Here are the Thursday night movies still to come:

August 3rd – Xanadu, 9 pm – Celebrating North Shore Pride Week
August 10th – Lovers Rock, 8:45 pm
August 17th – Moonstruck, 8:45 pm
August 24th – No Bears, 8:30 pm
August 31st – Bullitt, 8:30 pm

When: August 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st
Where: Cates Deck, North Vancouver
Cost: Free admission

Free Latin dance classes

 

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Yup, you read that right. You can take free dance classes courtesy of Sunday Afternoon Salsa at Robson Square on August 13th and 20th. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a salsa beginner, this is a great way to get groovin’ and meet new people.

When: August 13th and 20th
Where: Robson Square
Cost: Free

Check out a Sunflower Fest 

With the warm summer air by your side, picturesque garden displays, and plenty of u-pick opportunities, it’s no wonder that sunflower season in BC comes highly anticipated. And if you’re ready to stroll through a sea of golden yellow, you won’t have long to wait to attend the region’s largest sunflower festivals.

When: Mid-August to early September
Where: See locations above

Free nights at Vancouver Art Gallery 

Thanks to a new partnership with BMO, the Vancouver Art Gallery has launched free admission to the public on the first Friday of every month, from 4 pm to 8 pm. The next free Friday night will be on July 7th  so mark your calendars and get ready to enjoy some after-work art!

When: Friday, August 4th and every first Friday of the month
Where: 750 Hornby Street

Powell Street Festival

And to round out the street fests, we’ve got Powell Street Festival! It’s similar to Sakura Days, in that it’s Japanese-focused, but expect some incredible food vendors alongside the events and activities going down.

When: August 5th and 6th
Where: Powell Street

Monstercat Compound

Ready for another iconic block party, Vancouver? The independent record label Monstercat is back with its sixth annual instalment of Monstercat Compound, a free, all-ages block party celebrating the best artists on the label and beyond.

When: August 26th
Where: Railway Street

Fridays on Front

Now we come to Fridays on Front in New West, which just kicked off its first community-wide block party last week. Best of all? Each festival will have its own theme, from ‘Bollywood Bash’ to celebrating Pride! Each date will feature a different lineup of food and drink vendors, as well as libations from the fully-licensed Steel & Oak beer + Pacific Breeze Wine.

Each night market will take place from 5 to 9 pm.

When: July 14th and 21st; August 11th, 18th, and 25th
Where: Front Street Mews, New Westminster

Go on a waterfall hike

It goes without saying that BC is home to some of the most scenic hikes in the country – but there happen to be some particularly striking waterfalls you can check out on many of them!

Where: Click the link above for more info

Discover a hidden beach 

Whether you’re looking for a quieter alternative to Kits Beach or Ambleside – or just want to check out a lesser-known spot in BC, there are lots of beautiful hidden beaches scattered across Metro Vancouver to discover.

Where: See our picks above

Play Disc Golf at Queen Elizabeth Park

If you’re looking for a way to hang with your friends outdoors in a socially distanced manner then disc golf might just be for you. And what’s even better is that the course at Queen Elizabeth Park is completely free! So grab a frisbee and your friends and try it out.

Where: 33rd Avenue and Cambie Street

So there you have it, Vancouver! Enjoy the last full month of summer – and take advantage of some budget-friendly activities while you’re at it!