Vancouver

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Free or Almost Free

Looking for low-to-no cost activities in Vancouver? We have a few suggestions that are great whether  you’re travelling with the family, friends or on your own.

Capilano Salmon Hatchery

Observe one of nature’s greatest life-cycle stories at the Capilano Salmon Hatchery in North Vancouver. Witness the life and death cycle from juvenile Pacific salmon in the ponds to returning adult salmon struggling up fish ladders to spawn. Run by the federal government, the hatchery is open year round, but late August through to November provides good opportunities to view returning salmon, leaping up the river for spawning.

Central Park

Central Park is a significant wooded area with plenty of trails and facilities located on the border between Burnaby and Vancouver. It is one of the oldest parks in the city, and includes an outdoor pool, small pitch ‘n putt golf course, a track and field stadium, and playground designed for children with disabilities.

The Grouse Grind

If you want a real challenge (or at least a serious workout) try the Grouse Grind, a 2.9-kilometre (1.8- mile) trail straight up to the top of Grouse Mountain. And when we say straight up, we mean it! When you do the Grind, it's recommended you wear hiking boots and carry water. For those in good shape it takes about an hour, but the average for the rest of us is 90 minutes. Novice hikers should allow two hours. The world record for doing the Grind is 25 minutes! It's free to hike up, but it's not wise (or advised) for you to hike back down so you'll need $10 to pay for the gondola ride back down to the base. The Grind is open from late spring to early fall, dependent on weather and trail conditions.

Lighthouse Park

A perfect place to hold hands, saunter through wooded trails and admire spectacular views of the Pacific. Located just off of Marine Drive in West Vancouver, the 75 hectare (185 acre) Lighthouse Park is a spectacular display of virgin temperate rainforest and home to some of the largest Douglas Firs in Vancouver. There are numerous, well-marked trails to discover - take an hour to explore or bring lunch and make it a full afternoon!

Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre

This centre is a wonderful place for kids or to nurture the nature-lover in anyone. Situated in North Vancouver, the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre offers nature films to view, hands-on displays, models about the environment, a puzzle table, a puppet theatre and summertime nature programs. Make sure you traverse the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge for a stunning view of the canyon below.

Movie Star-Spotting

Jeff Goldblum, Ryan Reynolds, Gwyneth Paltrow, Barbara Streisand, John Travolta - they've all been here. Some more than once. Vancouver has the largest film industry in Canada, which injects more than $1 billion dollars into the local economy; feature films, TV series, made-for-TV movies—it all happens here. Keep your eyes peeled for the requisite big white trailers parked on city streets with a lot of busy folks running around working morning, noon and night. Or you could stake out the lobby of any chic downtown hotel and perhaps catch a glimpse of your favourite star. To see what movies or TV shows are in production in Vancouver visit the Creative BC Film List.

Festival Fever

Vancouver's vibrant festival scene is a thrill to discover. Through all four seasons, you’ll find festivals and special events that celebrate everything from the city’s multicultural fabric through to our love for the performing arts. Many of these festivals off a free or low-cost component, such as Vancouver International Jazz Festival's free stages, cheering on the races during the Dragon Boat Festival, or neighbourhood celebrations like the Khatsahlano Festival and Greek Days.

Stanley Park

A huge green space smack-dab in the middle of the third largest city in Canada, Stanley Park offers plenty of cheap fun! Walk the seawall - all 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) of it, grab some fish and chips from a beachside kiosk, choose a seaside bench and watch the sun go down. For sporting types, visit the park’s pitch ‘n putt course for 18-holes, or take a dip in the heated, outdoor Second Beach Pool overlooking English Bay.

Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve

Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve is one of the best-kept secrets on Vancouver's North Shore. Hikers, cyclists and inline skaters are drawn to the 50 kilometres (31 miles) of paved and gravel roads and trails, as well as access to the Seymour River, and the 22 kilometre (13.7 mile) round trip to massive the Seymour Dam. Pack a picnic; there are swimming holes (but keep an eye out for bears) and beautiful views of the Seymour River.  
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