Last week we spent the ‘Canada day’ long weekend exploring a whole load of BC, and boy is it a different world from Alberta. From Kelowna to Kamloops to Whistler to Vancouver, the west coast of Canada and Okanagan really have everything you could ever need.
Of all the cities in B.C., Vancouver has to be our favourite. There are few cities on earth that can boast mountain views and beaches, and the food (and seafood in particular) is out of this world. Coming from two people that generally prefer the outdoors and the wilderness to city life, you can believe us when we say that there’s something special about Vancouver.
After our most recent visit, we decided it was time to put together our very own Vancouver highlight reel and share some of the awesome things that make the city so unique.
7 great things to do in Vancouver in summer:
1. Richmond Night Market
This is something we like to do every time we visit Vancouver during the summer months, and if you’re a foodie you’ll love this. Generally speaking, the majority of the food stands serve Asian cuisine, and you’ll find some incredible things like Takoyaki, hot pot, Cambodian Chicken wings, Thai food, Dim sum, bubble waffles etc etc.
You can also buy novelty dishes like smoking cocktails, light up drinks, or even rolled up ice cream, and there are more varieties of bubble tea in one place than you can possibly imagine.
And let’s not forget the endless number of socks, iphone wires, phone cases, and fidget spinners you can buy. There are also various fairground attractions and an animatronic dinosaur exhibit.
The night market runs on weekends between May 12th and October 9th, and is open Friday to Sunday, 7pm to midnight (11pm on Sundays).
FYI, the line up to get in to the parking is a joke and we definitely recommend using public transport to get there (Richmond Skytrain). If you do want to drive then give yourself an additional hour to get in!
Skydine isn’t exclusively a Vancouver thing, but for the month of July 2017 only, it’s here in North Vancouver!
The idea is pretty simple; incredible food served on a dinner table 150ft up in the air.
Yes, you heard that right, a crane will hoist you and your dinner table 150ft up in the air for one of the most insane meals of your life.
We decided to give it a try last week and were absolutely blown away by the experience and really can’t recommend it more. It’s honestly one of the most memorable experiences we’ve ever had.
Once we’d got over the dizzying heights, we realized that we probably had one of the best views in the entire city; panoramic views of the mountains, the sea and the city skyline all from the dinner table.
Check this out!
It almost goes without saying that the views were unparalleled, but we can’t mention Skydine without talking about the equally spectacular meal as well. The reason we heard about Skydine was actually because a buddy of ours, Travis Peterson (AKA “The Nomad Cook“), is the lucky chef that gets to cater the event! As soon as he mentioned it, we knew we had to experience it for ourselves.
Just like the rest of his cooking, his seafood menu was unbelievable and if you decide to go we highly recommend picking that option!
Tickets are fairly pricey and start from $296 for lunch, going all the way up to $919 for the whole VIP dinner experience. Yes, very expensive, but hey, the Canadian dollar is weak right now and boy, what a once in a lifetime experience. (By the way, if you’re reading this and are thinking, “YES, I need to do this!” shoot me an email and we can hook you up with mates rates 😀 ).
3. Bike the Sea wall / Movie in Stanley Park
This is one of our favourite summer activities in Vancouver. It’s a 9.5km loop around the stunning Stanley Park seawall. The bike path loops around the entire island with plenty of places to stop to take in the incredible views of the sea and the city. As an added bonus, you can stop off at the Stanley Park aquarium on the way around and check out some of the awesome conservation and rehabilitation work that the aquarium does (not to mention see some of the amazing native wildlife).
We’ve rented bikes from Spokes Bicycle rentals on Georgia St W. Not plugging them in particular but the rates were reasonable and they’re conveniently located right at the edge of the park – i.e. it’s a great place to start and end your loop.
You could also be brave and rent roller blades and go for a lap on them instead. Renting is possible, but you might want to think twice about putting them before you get to the park unless you’re an expert. It’s a steep downhill to the park with a busy intersection in between!
4.Head up to Cypress Ski resort for a hike
This is one of our favourite things to do (in Summer or Winter actually) when we visit Vancouver. It’s hard to believe that somewhere so close to the city can be so peaceful and for such a short hike, the views here are astonishing.
Aside from the great views of the city as you’re driving up there, the best hike/walk we’ve found is the Bowen lookout hike
Within about 30 minutes to an hour, you’ll have stunning panoramic views of the ocean and Bowen Island. Hold out your hand and a Whiskeyjack might just come over and say hi!
Top tip: Stop into the back country hut by the parking lot and pick up a free backcountry pass. The staff at the ski resort tend not to let people through without one (especially in Winter).
Check out our post on hiking Bowen Lookout in Winter for more information and photos!
5. Head to Golden Ears park
This one is a bit of a drive out of the city, but well worth it if you like Lakes and waterfalls. Some of our favourite spots include; Buntzen Lake, Alouette Lake and the Gold Creek Falls hike.
Alouette Lake is a great spot for a summer BBQ and canoe rentals are also possible. Watch out for wind in this one because an hour passes very quickly when you’re paddling against it! We were a sweaty mess trying to fight it to get back to shore!
Buntzen Lake is also another popular spot for hiking, picnicking, fishing and swimming. Gets very busy so don’t be afraid of going early to avoid the crowds!
6. Lynn Canyon
This one is very accessible, free and has a great boardwalk across some pretty stunning waterfalls. We’ve even found ourselves swimming here on a hot summer day but bear in mind that it does get quite busy during the summer.
I have to say that we prefer this to the Capilano Suspension bridge nearby. This one is very definitely a tourist trap and gets insanely busy. It’s on the tourist bus route and there are a lot of buses. Think you’re going to get a photo of yourself on the bridge with nobody else in it? Think again.
It’s pretty expensive for what is essentially a slightly larger version of the Lynn Canyon Bridge, and a treetop boardwalk. Kids seem to love this thing but we kind of felt like it was overpriced.
7. Outdoor Movie in Stanley Park
Heading back into the city again, one of my fondest Vancouver memories is of watching the movie “SpaceBalls” in Stanley Park on a warm summer evening. Once again, the Movies are back every Tuesday night through to August 22nd, 2017, and the line up is set to be just as awesome as in previous years. Check here for more info
This year’s lineup is as follows:
- Tuesday, July 4– LEGO Batman Movie
- Tuesday, July 11– The Goonies
- Tuesday, July 18– Toy Story
- Tuesday, July 25– National Lampoon’s Vacation
- Tuesday, August 1– Beauty and the Beast Sing-a-long
- Tuesday, August 8– Jaws
- Tuesday, August 15– Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Tuesday, August 22– Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Get down there, bring a blanket or chairs and snacks and settle in for an awesome experience you won’t find elsewhere. The movie is free for everyone, but you can reserve one of 100 VIP Adirondack chairs for a price.
Oh, and don’t forget your bug spray!
So that was our short but definitely not exhaustive list of some great things to do in Vancouver in the summer! Let us know how you get on and feel free to get in touch for more information!