Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities, entertainment, a sense of community, or even just some pretty sights, Vancouver has something to offer. An increasingly popular destination in British Columbia, it’s the kind of place a lot of travelers fall in love with in just one trip.
If that sounds good to you, we have a few recommendations for events and activities to enjoy when you go.
1.) The Honda Celebration Of Light
The Honda Celebration Of Light is Vancouver’s annual festival of fireworks and music. Also considered a competition, this event was formerly known as the Benson and Hedges Symphony Of Fire, and was first held in 1990. It’s now one of Vancouver’s largest and most well-known festivals, and is also the world’s largest offshore fireworks competition! The action takes place over English Bay (and Burrard Inlet), where onlookers can picnic, secure bleacher space, or even rent private cabanas to take it all in. This year’s pyrotechnic competitors include performers from India, Canada, and Croatia, and a free community concert will precede the main event each night at the picturesque Sunset Beach.
2.) Explore Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain towers over North Vancouver and is a favorite local hub for outdoor adventure. The mountain offers year-round activities such as the legendary Grouse Grind hike, a nearly two-mile upward trail with incredible views. Hiking Grouse Mountain is a must-do for outdoor enthusiasts and is also a lovely option for those who would like to admire British Columbia’s native wildlife, flora, and fauna. In winter, meanwhile, the mountain turns into an ideal skiing and snowboarding venue with over 33 runs and six terrain parks – not to mention four snowshoeing trails and a skating pond! The mountain also has year-round features such as a zip line, helicopter rides, a gondola ride up to the summit (and back down), and a wildlife refuge.
3.) Play At River Rock Casino Resort
Near the Vancouver National Airport, River Rock Casino Resort is British Columbia’s largest casino, and a nice alternative to all the outdoor attractions. These days, it’s the digital casinos of Canada that get the most attention for those looking to gamble. Online gaming sites offering free slots appeal to those who are taking a just-for-fun approach, while competitive online poker tournaments can scratch a more daring itch. As much popularity as these sites have gained though, travelers can still prefer the real thing – particularly when there’s a resort component. On the gaming side of things, the River Rock offers over 1,000 slots, a poker room (where the World Series of Poker actually made stops in 2012 and 2013), and other table games. But the resort also has all kinds of cozy and luxurious amenities to enjoy if you’re looking to pamper yourself a bit while you’re win town.
4.) Visit Stanley Park
Vancouver’s Stanley Park is not to be missed; some would even say it’s the city’s pride and joy. At 1,000 acres, it’s among the largest urban parks in North America, and is thus full of interesting things for tourists to see and do. For starters, there’s the Seawall path, which may ultimately be the most noteworthy attraction within Stanley Park. It runs for almost 20 miles along Vancouver’s waterfront and around the perimeter of the park, making for an excellent hiking or cycling area. Additionally, the park offers 17 miles’ worth of forest trails, bike rentals, guided tours and trolley rides, picnic areas, a waterpark, and even an aquarium. Altogether, it’s really a destination unto itself.
5.) Dine Out Vancouver Festival
The Dine Out Vancouver Festival is a citywide food festival held over 17 days across countless dining venues. It’s a great opportunity to treat your pallet with unique culinary experiences, all celebrating the renowned Vancouver dining scene. The festival offers various activities including master classes, international guest chef dinners, guided dining experiences, and authentic neighborhood food tours. Dine Out Vancouver is Canada’s largest culinary festival, and one of the city’s truly special cultural events. And though it naturally requires that you plan for specific dates in Vancouver, you can actually book a package that allows you to enjoy the festivities with included lodging.