Free or Almost Free

Looking for low-to-no cost activities in Vancouver? We have a few suggestions that are great for families, friends or on your own:


Capilano Salmon Hatchery

Observe one of the great life-cycle stories in nature at this federal government 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. Open year round, but late August through to November provides good opportunities to view returning salmon, leaping up the river for spawning. (604.666.1790)

Central Park

Central Park is a significant wooded area with plenty of trails and facilities located at the boundary between Burnaby and Vancouver. It is one of the oldest parks in the city, and includes an outdoor pool, small Pitch & Putt, a track and field stadium and playground designed for children with disabilities. (604.294.7450)

Chinatown at Dusk

Explore the cultural richness of Historic Chinatown at the open-air night market. Strollers will find the area pedestrian-friendly as several blocks are closed to traffic, transforming the streetscape into a psychedelic neon-lit scene. With vendors selling everything from dried seafood to exotic fruits and vegetables to life-sized stuffed animals, the Chinatown Night Market is a must-see. May 16 - September 7. Friday to Sunday from 6:30pm to 11:00pm.

The Grouse Grind

If you want a real challenge - or at least a serious workout - try the Grouse Grind. A 2.9-kilometre (3700 ft) 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. An average time would be between one and a half to two hours. The world record for doing the Grind is under 27 minutes!

It's free to hike up, but it's not wise (or advised) for you to hike back down so you'll need $10.00 to pay for the gondola ride to the bottom. The Grind is open from late Spring to early Fall, dependant on weather and trail conditions.

Call 604.984.0661 or the Grouse Grind information line at 604-432-6200.

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 (at Beacon Lane) in West Vancouver near Horseshoe Bay. Seventy-five hectares of virgin temperate rainforest, Lighthouse Park is home to some of the largest Douglas Firs in Vancouver. Numerous, well marked trails to explore - 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, it offers nature films to view, hands-on displays, models about the environment, a puzzle table, puppet theatre and summertime nature programs. If you're daring, you can take a free stroll over the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge for a stunning view of the canyon. (604.990.3755)

Movie Stars

Jeff Goldblum has been spotted playing the piano at a downtown lounge. Robin Williams frequented a Chinese restaurant on Burrard Street. 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. Movies. 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, call the Main Line (604.736.7997) or visit the Creative BC Film List.

New Works - Dance Allsorts

Vancouver's vibrant multicultural heritage comes alive in our two dance series, "Dance Allsorts" and "All Over the Map on Granville Island," not to mention other special presentations. From hip hop to classical Chinese dance, our accessible, family-oriented shows are sure to entertain everyone! Call us to see what's up next - 604.893.8807.

Stanley Park

A huge green space smack in the middle of the 3rd largest city in Canada! Walk the seawall - all 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) of it. Say hello to the beluga whales at the aquarium or grab a hotdog from one of the street vendors, choose a seaside bench and watch the sun go down. General Information Line 604.257.8400.

Seymour Conservation Reserve

Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR) Experience the dramatic beauty of the North Shore firsthand!

Off-limits since 1928 as part of Vancouver's vital watershed, the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve only opened to visitors in 1987. It's still one of the best-kept secrets on Vancouver's North Shore.

Hikers, cyclists and inline skaters are drawn by 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 Seymour Dam. Pack a picnic; there are swimming holes (but keep an eye out for bears) and beautiful views of the Seymour River. It's an exhilarating and memorable experience!

Don't miss the side trip to the nearby fish hatchery, or the pleasant Forest Ecology Loop Trail around pretty Rice Lake, one of few freshwater lakes on the North Shore. (Pick up a provincial fishing license from any tackle shop before you fish for trout from small docks). Many of the huge Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Amabilis Fir and Sitka Spruce here are only 75 years old, which is quite surprising given their impressive size. The LSCR is an example of how a forest can be managed to provide an important public resource (water utilities), while still ensuring the long term sustainability of fish, wildlife, recreation, interpretation, and forestry research and demonstration.

Public hours are dawn to dusk. No dogs or cars allowed on the recreation pathway. Sunday summer walking and bus tours, weekend workshops, lecture series, children's programs, and volunteer opportunities. (March- November: 604.987.1273 for programs and tour info).

Getting There

Take the Lions Gate Bridge into North Vancouver. Turn left at the first exit at Capilano Road and Marine Drive. Take Highway 1 east until you reach the Capilano University exit. Follow Lillooet Road north, past Capilano University, and the cemetery onto the gravel road towards the parking and information area. Friendly staff will help match your ability to an appropriate trail.

Plan Your Trip


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