25 Free Things to Do in Vancouver

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We love this city, and we love free stuff, so it seemed logical to combine the two and compile this list of 25 free things to do in Vancouver. Think of it as the ultimate checklist for year-round activities - all free of charge. Some are indoor, some outdoor. Some are exciting, others relaxing. Take your pick. We know you have plenty to choose from, and at $0, you can do them over and over again.

  • Granville Island, Vancouver BC

    1. Visit Granville Island

    Once home to some serious industry (hence its former name, Industrial Island), Granville Island is now one of the best places for families to experience Vancouver. Read more about it here
  • Stanley Park, Vancouver BC

    2. Hang out in Stanley Park

    Stroll along the sea wall, picnic on the greens, smell the roses...it doesn't get much better than Vancouver's pride and joy.
  • Gastown, Vancouver BC

    3. People-watch in Vancouver neighbourhoods

    How do visitors really get to know the city? By hanging out in neighbourhoods and soaking in the vibes. Get the dish on all of Vancity's 'hoods.
  • Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver BC

    4. Hike the Grouse Grind

    The famous Grouse Grind hike is a must-do for outdoor enthusiasts. Your legs might hate you afterward, but the views at the top are incredible. Walking is free, though many hikers like to pay the $10 for the gondola ride down. Get more info about Grouse Mountain.
  • Vancouver BC

    5. Go Celeb-spotting

    Where, oh where do the stars hang out? Playing celeb-spotting is totally free and surprisingly easy. Hint: get the inside scoop by reading our article on the North Hollywood scene.
  • Vancouver BC

    6. Visit the Christ Church Cathedral

    Designed in Gothic Revival style, the church features ceiling beams of Douglas fir, intricately designed interior arches and a number of stained glass windows - no wonder it's declared a Class A Heritage site.
  • Mountain Biking, North Vancouver BC

    7. Mountain biking in the North Shore

    Nothing like getting air and getting dirty to experience the best of Vancouver's North Shore. Find the best mountain biking trails.
  • Canada Place, Vancouver BC

    8. Walk around Canada Place

    This is simply a great place to relax and watch the cruise ships glide into the city. Plus, the photo-ops are fantastic.
  • Art Galleries, Vancouver BC

    9. Tour Vancouver's Art

    Vancouver's art galleries never cease showcasing some of the most cutting-edge art in the country. Cost of perusing: free.
  • Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver BC

    10. Visit the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

    Staying here might cost a pretty penny, but it doesn't cost a cent to check out "the Grand Lady," which has become a verifiable tourist destination for its distinctive history and architecture.
  • Robson Street, Vancouver BC

    11. Window shop at Vancouver's best shopping areas

    Robson Street, Yaletown, Commercial Drive...the city's shopping neighbourhoods give new meaning to "shop 'til you drop."
  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC

    12. Hang out at UBC

    Is someone in the family getting ready to apply to college? Take a tour of the University of British Columbia - it's one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.
  • The Observatory, Vancouver BC

    13. Gaze at the stars at MacMillan Observatory

    Right next to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, the observatory is admission by donation and offers public viewings on Friday and Saturday evenings (July 1 to Labour Day), and Saturday evenings (Labour Day to July 1).
  • Sea to Sky Highway, Vancouver BC

    14. Take a Scenic Drive

    There's no cost for admission to enjoy gorgeous Vancouver scenery. Take the legendary Sea-to-Sky Highway to get to Whistler and experience glimmering turquoise inlets, old-growth rainforests and craggy cliffs.
  • Athletes Village

    15. Explore Athletes Village

    Vancouver's newest neighbourhood is at the Southeast corner of False Creek, just steps from Science World. Grab a snack, explore the nearby habitat island, and check out some interesting public art installations.
  • Richmond Night Market, Richmond BC

    16. Richmond Night Market

    During the summer, this Chinese night market is free and definitely worth the trip to scope out (and dig into) fried squid, fish balls and Chinese knick-knacks.
  • Disc Golf, Vancouver BC

    17. Play disc golf at Queen Elizabeth Park

    Get some friends together and play a round of disc golf, free at Queen Elizabeth Park, one of Vancouver's most popular recreation areas. The course is located near the Pitch & Putt Golf Course. If Frisbees aren’t your thing, pick up a tennis racquet and smack the ball around at any of the 18 free courts.
  • Capilano Salmon Hachery, North Vancouver BC

    18. Visit Capilano Salmon Hatchery

    It may sound strange, but viewing the salmon runs at the free Capilano Salmon Hatchery taps you into the majesty of nature and pulls you into the wonderful life cycle of the salmon that come through here.
  • Dr Sun Yat-Sen Park, Vancouver BC

    19. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park

    Not to be confused with the adjacent Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens, which charges $10 admission, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park provides the public with an opportunity to experience elements of a traditional Chinese garden — all free of charge.
  • Lynn Ecology Centre, Vancouver BC

    20. Visit Vancouver's free museums

    The city's handful of free museums (BC Golf Museum) and learning centres (Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre) offer a great way to spend the day without spending money.
  • Lynn Ecology Centre, Vancouver BC

    21. Watch the water at Lonsdale Quay

    Perfect for those that want a relaxing afternoon, the quay offers seaside breezes that make this a perfect picnic spot.
  • Lynn Ecology Centre, Vancouver BC

    22. Wander around Lynn Canyon

    This is one of Vancouver's most popular free activities. Hit the hiking trail, and be sure to brave the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge for epic views.
  • Wreck Beach, Vancouver BC

    23. Visit the beach (and go skinny-dipping at Wreck Beach)

    Vancouver's quintessential beach experience presents views of the mountain, water, downtown core and forest - all absolutely free of charge. If you're up for it, don your birthday suit and lounge at Wreck Beach, the city's official nude beach.
  • Dundrave Pier, West Vancouver BC

    24. Watch the cruise ships go by at Dundarave Pier

    Located in West Vancouver, Dundarave Pier is a prime spot to take in iconic views - Lion's Gate and Stanley Park.
  • Olympic Venues, Vancouver BC

    25. Tour Vancouver's Olympic venues

    For future Olympians and Olympic fans alike, a look at Vancouver's venues from the 2010 Winter Games is a fun way to commemorate these incredible events.

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