Vancouver is, for the most part, a very wet city. One of the first things you notice when you arrive is that Vancouverites are so used to the rain, they don’t even bother with umbrellas. There’s also a hell of a lot of raincoats for sale. Most of Vancouver’s showstopping sights are easy to explore if you’ve got the right clothing, but there will inevitably be days when you might not be so lucky. To help keep your spirits up when things get soggy, we’ve rounded up seven of the best rainy day activities in Vancouver.
What are the best rainy day activities in Vancouver?
1. Brewery crawl
Billed as Canada’s “best beer town”, Vancouver’s craft beer scene has exploded over the past few years. Today, there are over 45 independent craft breweries peppered across the city, most with tasting rooms and table service. Hole yourself up with some good conversation or a good book at one of its most popular breweries. 33 Acres, Main Street Brewing Company and Steamworks are all excellent. Or, make the most of a rainy afternoon and head on a brewery bar crawl. This BC Ale Trail is the perfect place to start.
True, Stanley Park is very much an “outdoors” activity, but for the most part, it actually offers pretty decent coverage thanks to its sprawling canopy. It’s one of North America’s largest urban green spaces, encompassing more than 400 forested hectares of old-growth, nature trails and family-friendly landmarks, monuments and sculptures. From coniferous forests to boggy wetlands, the park is packed with wildlife with an estimated 500 species known to live in the park.
3. Museum and gallery hop
Vancouver might not have Toronto’s reputation for blockbuster museums and galleries, but it does have a few things to say for itself when it comes to arts and culture. From hiding undercover at Science World’s iconic geodesic dome to digging deep into the history of indigenous totem poles and carvings at the Museum of Anthropology, there’s something for every taste and budget. Don’t miss Vancouver Art Gallery, which combines an impressive rotary of temporary exhibitions with a blockbuster permanent contemporary collection.
4. Peruse Granville Island
Until the early ‘90s, Granville Island was all factories, plants and sawmills. It’s now a major hub of activity and one of the city’s most important cultural districts. Home to theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios, it’s one of the best places to get a flavour of the city’s creative spirit. But the crowning jewel of this island (technically a sandpit) is the market, which ranks as one of the best in BC. There are dozens of specialist meat, cheese, fish and pastry specialists, as well as a whole section serving up hot meals. It’s covered too.
5. Attempt an Escape Room
If it’s really hammering it down and there’s no question of spending any time outdoors, an Escape Room is an excellent way to while away a few hours. They’re popular in Vancouver too, which means there are lots to choose from. Lockdown in Richmond is one of the largest-scale escape rooms in the city, with four different rooms filled with high-spec puzzles and ultra-realistic interiors. SmartyPantz and G.U.E.S.S. HQ are two of the more centrally located Escape Rooms, both in Gastown. I-Exit, in Granville Entertainment District, is also popular too.
6. Retail therapy
In Chinatown, the largest of its kind in Canada, you can pick up speciality ingredients and whip up a feast for dinner, or peruse some of the more hipster boutiques that now line its roads. In Downtown, you’ll find most high-end fashion retailers, as well as high street staples. Kitsilano is a haven for outdoorsy types, the home of global yoga-wear brand Lululemon and practically every outdoor and adventure gear supplier under the sun. There’s something for every budget and taste.
7. Dumpling trail
For seriously good Chinese food, Richmond is unrivalled. Technically a suburb of Greater Vancouver, more than half of its 200,000 residents are of Asian descent. It’s home to a staggering number of Asian restaurants, from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Japan and more. So proud are they of this unparalleled wealth of Asian cuisine, that the tourist board has released an easy-to-read, downloadable “Dumpling Trail” map. The route features 15 of the finest eateries for steamed, fried and boiled dumplings – all of them delectable. It also highlights transportation options and suggested routes.