We might be jumping the gun a bit on this one, but it never hurts to plan ahead for the upcoming season. And Vancouver summers are the reason so many decide to weather through those gloomy, wet winters and high costs of living. So you better believe we’re making the most of it! From delicious food fests to natural wonders, to some of the most thrilling outdoor adventures around, here are 30 things to add to your summer bucket list in BC this year.

Outdoors

Hit the beach

Let’s start off with a classic summertime option. Vancouver has no shortage of incredible beaches, and there’s no better time to enjoy them than in the summer. So whether you enjoy the hustle and bustle of Kits Beach or prefer to corner your own spot of Spanish Banks, we truly believe there’s a beach for everyone.

Where: Click the link above for our picks

Do the Grouse Grind

Of course, we couldn’t forget the Grouse Grind in this roundup. Not so easy that you’ll cruise through it, but not so hard that you’ll be wondering if heading there was a good idea in the first place. Plus, the need to purchase a download ticket assures some rest and relaxation once your climb is complete.

When: Open throughout summer
Where: Grouse Mountain
Cost: $20 (for the download ticket)

Plan a camping trip

Without a doubt, a camping trip pretty much anywhere in BC is always a must for outdoors enthusiasts. Whether you’re sticking close to home or exploring our province’s wild side, there are tons of options waiting out there for you, including the iconic Joffre Lakes campsite.

When: Available pending travel restrictions
Where: Click the link above for our picks!

Hop on a ferry 

Did you know that there are more than 40,000 islands in BC? And while you can’t visit all of them, there are around 40 Gulf Islands that are accessible by ferry from Vancouver, and they’re home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the country. So why not hop on a ferry and get exploring?

Where: See our picks above

Go on an adrenaline-inducing adventure

Don’t get us wrong, we love a casual beach day and picnic at the park. But nothing gets the summer season going in BC like ziplining through Whistler or diving head-first into Lions Bay. Of course, caution is paramount with extreme sports & activities – but a little risk-taking never hurt anyone!

Where: Click the link above for our picks

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

Check out a public pool or splash park

Vancouver’s public pools are some of the prettiest in Canada. After all, where else can you take a dip mere feet away from the ocean? Plus, the new booking system in place means you won’t have to deal with massive crowds once you actually do visit. While all the pools are open, the Kits location is our must-visit pick.

When: Open throughout June
Where: Click the link above for more info
Cost: $4.22 and up

Picnic at a park

We all love a good beach BBQ (before wildfire season, that is), but if you’re trying to avoid the possibility of sand mixed in with your food, you’ll probably want to opt for one of Vancouver’s many parks instead. Thankfully, there are plenty of prime picnic spots in and around Vancouver that boast stunning views, and large, grassy areas to sprawl out on.

Want to make it a boozy picnic? Check out these alcohol-friendly spots around Vancouver – including these year-round public plazas.

Where: Click the link above for our picks

Explore the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

While it’s a bucket list option for any tourist, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is also a must-visit for Vancouverites. Yes, Canyon Lights are amazing, but there’s something so fun about a summer visit to this woodland wonderland. Not to mention that a photo on the bridge is practically an ID in the city.

When: Open daily
Where: 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
Cost: $54.95 (same price as an annual pass)

Food and Drink

Try some new ice cream spots

Nothing sums up summer more than a scoop of delicious ice cream, and Vancouver is absolutely filled to the brim with options. From plant-based treats to some truly zany flavours, you can have a scoop a week and still have stuff left on your list when summer ends.

Where: Click the link above for our picks

Hit up a brewery in Mount Pleasant

It’s no secret that Mount Pleasant is home to some of the biggest names in local craft brews in Metro Van. Why not get the gang together for a couple of pints? It is peak patio season, after all.

Where: See our picks above

Hang out at a rooftop patio 

While Vancouver’s rooftop scene isn’t as bustling as Toronto’s or New York’s – we’ve got a handful of top-notch options to toss your way if you’re craving a rooftop patio experience this spring and summer. And with such gorgeous, sunny weather, we doubt you’ll need much convincing!

Where: See our picks above

Brewery and the Beast

 

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This one-day festival sells out year after year, and we’re sure that 2023 will be no exception. Tickets are now on sale for just under $200 each, so snag some while you can! Participating restaurants include Anh and Chi, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Paella Guys, Two River Meats, and much more – with even more to come!

When: Sunday, July 9th
Where: 811 Carrall Street
Cost: $195.74

Richmond Night Market

Get your forks ready, Vancouver. The Richmond Night Market is coming back even bigger and better than ever, and the wait is finally over! Filled with hundreds of incredible vendors (and now including cuisine from Turkey and Mexico), it’s considered one of the world’s leading food markets for good reason. From candy sticks to boba, to customizable noodles and hot pot — it’s easy to see why the market attracts over one million visitors each year.

When: Friday, April 28th to October 9th
Where: 8351 River Road, Richmond

Head to a Farmers’ Market

Something about a trip to the farmers’ market before a backyard BBQ or patio hangout just screams the quintessential Vancouver option. Skip the trips to your local grocery store this summer, and instead, go straight to the source for your fruits and veggies. You won’t regret it!

Where: See our picks above

Major attractions & events

Have some fun at Playland

A trip to the amusement park is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face. Especially when the alternative is screaming in fear as you enjoy some downright thrilling rides. Playland has hinted that it’s bringing back the PNE Fair this year, but even a regular visit is a great idea.

When: Now open
Where: 2901 East Hastings Street
Tickets: $39.50 for GA

Check out the Malahat SkyWalk 

 

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If you love soaking up summer views and are good with heights, you’ve no doubt heard of BC’s stunning Malahat SkyWalk. And if you haven’t, there’s never been a better time to take to the skies. Best of all? The attraction just launched a new Tower Plaza at the base of the iconic Spiral Tower where visitors can gather to enjoy the best of Vancouver Island’s food, drink, and live music scenes.

When: Now open seven days a week
Where: Malahat Highway, 30 mins north of Victoria

Check out Vancouver Mural Festival

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.

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

Summer Night Concerts at the PNE

Speaking of, the PNE is absolutely buzzing with live music options this year. When the sun goes down at the PNE Fair, the lights come on at the Chevrolet Stage, and this year? You can check out everyone from Billy Idol to Jason Derulo, to Yung Gravy & bbno$.

When: August 19th to September 4th
Where: 2601 East Hastings Street
Cost: Tickets on sale on Friday, May 26th

Catch an outdoor movie 

Love outdoor movies? You can catch one for free at locations across the city throughout the summer, and we’ve rounded them up so that you know what’s playing near you.

When: Dates throughout the summer
Where: See locations above
Cost: Free

Get back on the Sea to Sky Gondola

The Sea to Sky Gondola is a classic summertime destination for many reasons – the main being the mountain and ocean views. There are also some great options by way of eats & drinks to check out – and even Mountain Music performances by the fiery Whiskeydicks. Talk about a headliner!

When: Now open
Where: 36800 BC-99, Squamish
Tickets: $55.95 for GA, $14.29 for Ride-Down Only

Italian Day on the Drive

One of the city’s most beloved food and culture festivals is making a grand return this year. So grab your forks and summer hats and get ready to enjoy the best of Vancouver’s Italian scene, because Italian Day on the Drive is officially back to its full annual programming.

Visitors can lounge on summer patios with fresh gelato and cannolis, sample a wide variety of pizza and pasta, and even try their hand at making a couple of dishes themselves during live cooking demos and competitions.

When: Sunday, June 11th
Where: Commercial Drive

Free nights at Vancouver Art Gallery 

Thanks to a new partnership with BMO, the Vancouver Art Gallery is set to launch 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 June 2nd – so mark your calendars and get ready to enjoy some after-work art!

When: Friday, June 2nd
Where: 750 Hornby Street

Car Free Day Surrey

If you’re looking to make some weekend plans that involve bikes and tasty eats, consider stopping by the first-ever Car-Free Day Surrey, a free community festival presented by Translink and the Newton BIA. Come hungry and expect a ton of food trucks, artisan vendors, and multiple stages for live performances

When: Saturday, June 10th
Where: 137th Street, between 72A and 74th Avenue, Surrey

So there you have it, Vancouver. If you’re looking for a master list of things to do in the area this summer, you’ve just found it.