We know life in Vancouver doesn’t come cheap. And since housing and bills make up most of our own monthly spending, we thought we’d share some fun things to do around the city that give your wallet a little break. From free art classes and museum visits to pop-up Latin dance classes, here are 15 of the best free and cheap things to do around the city this month.

 As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic

cheap and free things to do
Photo via Jamel Shabazz

This month, the Polygon Gallery is hosting a curated exhibit by Elliott Ramsey celebrating the Black community and identities in Canada. The As We Rise exhibit features more than 100 photographs from the Wedge Collection – the largest privately owned collection championing Black artists in the country.

From African diasporic culture to the civil rights movement, the new exhibit (organized by Aperture) will feature powerful photography by a number of talented artists.

When: February 24th to May 14th
Where: 101 Carrie Cates Court
Cost: By donation

Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival 

 

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Luckily for chocolate lovers, there’s still time to enjoy this year’s Hot Chocolate Festival. From Viva Cafe in Kits to Trafiq bakery on Main, here are all the participating cups of cocoa you can sip this month.

When: January 14th to February 14th
Where: Participating locations across Vancouver

Pop-up Latin dance classes 

This month, Vancouver Civic Theatres is hosting a $10 pop-up Latin dance class at their Annex downtown. If you’ve been looking to connect with other dance enthusiasts or learn some new steps, this is a great opportunity to do both.

When: February 17th
Where: Annex 823 Seymour Street
Cost: $10

BC Culture Days 

From uncovering Vancouver’s lost architectural legacy to exploring the politics of the body, BC Culture Days always has an array of free (and by-donation) offerings. Check out some live events going on this month, or tune in at home digitally.

Where: See locations at the link above

Check out a free museum

By the same token, there are plenty of museums and art galleries in Vancouver offering free admission to their exhibits year-round. And while the list is by no means complete, we think this is a solid place to start this month.

Where: See our picks above

See an improv show

From Date Night improv to monthly standup sessions, House Team showcases, and more – there’s always something exciting going on at The Improv Centre on Granville Island. And if you’re ready for even more fun this season, you’ll want to check out their Kiss & Tell show on Valentine’s Day, and their Single, Not Single show on Fridays and Saturdays this month.

Where: 1502 Duranleau Street

Take a free class at VPL

In addition to online and in-person educational courses, VPL offers guests all kinds of free workshops, career services, family-friendly activities, book clubs, film screenings, and more. From sound editing to STEAM (science, technology, art, engineering, and math) courses for kids, there are plenty of options to fit any age or skill set. Best of all? All of them are free to attend!

Where: See our picks above

Vancouver Giants

Switching gears a bit, the month wouldn’t be complete without a little action from the Vancouver Giants. Head to the Arena Bowl at the Langley Events Centre to watch them face off against the Raiders, Blazers, Americans, Royals, Blades, Chiefs, and more this month. Tickets start at just over $20 a pop, and you can view the full list of home games scheduled for this season here.

When: Several dates in February
Where: 7888 200 Street Langley
Cost: $23.70+

Thrift some vintage fits

From Community Thrift to Mintage Mall, to all the hidden gems in between, here are some fantastic places to peruse if you’re looking to spruce up your wardrobe with some cool vintage finds this month.

Where: See our picks above

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Snowshoeing at Cypress Mountain

 

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Ok, emphasis on the ‘around’ Vancouver part here. But, if you’re ready to take a day trip this month, know that Cypress Mountain has got a serious amount of snowshoe trails for you to explore. Our advice? Check in with your more outdoorsy friends and family to secure a pair, and eliminate half the cost of a trip out!

When: Open throughout January
Where: 6000 Cypress Bowl Road, West Vancouver
Cost: $18 for GA

Enjoy some covered patios

Whether it’s just drizzly or full-out storming, there are (thankfully) plenty of covered patios in Vancouver to choose from. Why not make the most of them and sip on a couple of happy hour bevies this month?

Where: See our picks above

Weekly specials at Lunch Bar by Kafka’s 

Warm up with a bowl of stew or a hot sandwich at Lunch Bar, Kafka Gastown’s newest venture. And to sweeten the pot, the new Lunch Bar is serving up weekly stew specials for $13.50 – one vegan and one meat. And what’s more, both are served with a slice of fresh-baked focaccia.

Where: 151 West Hastings Street

Robson Square Ice Rink

For just $5 per skate rental, you can skate to your heart’s content at Robson’s Square. Stop by on a spontaneous trip downtown, or plan a special pre-dinner visit on your next date night.

When: Open until February 28th
Where: 800 Robson Street
Cost: $5 for skate rentals

Shipyards Skate Plaza

By the same token, there’s no denying that the Shipyards Skate Plaza is one of the most festive places to hit the ice – even after the holiday season.

When: Open throughout February
Where: 125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Free, rental costs vary

Save it for a rainy day

On the bright side, a rainy day in Vancouver is an excuse to don your favourite cozy sweater and treat yourself to some quality self-care time in the form of cafe visits, and all the eats your heart desires.

Where: See our picks above

And that’s a wrap on some fun things to do around Vancouver this February that won’t put a dent in your wallet.