Spring Meetings in Vancouver - Know Before You Go!
Spring is a great time to visit Vancouver as the city awakens from winter and starts to head outside to tree-lined streets and parks that are quite literally awash in blossoms! Even if you have just a couple of hours between sessions to do some sightseeing, you’ll want to make the most of your time, and we’re happy to help you do just that with this guide we’ve put together.
- Travel Pre-Planning
- What To Wear
- Getting Around
- Grab A Deal
- Vancouver's Spring Highlights
- Top Sightseeing Options
- Vancouver On Your Plate (And In Your Glass)
- More Information
- Before your trip, make sure you have the right travel documents for entering Canada. You’ll need a valid passport, and in some cases, a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization which you can apply for online. Please check entry requirements here.
- You might also need to check out customs requirements, especially if you’re bringing equipment and materials into Canada for your meeting. More details on Canadian Border Services Agency restrictions can be found here.
- Don’t forget that most US and international cell phone and data plans don’t automatically cover Canada. To avoid roaming charges, purchase a Canadian data roaming and calling plan from your provider, or plan on switching to Wi-Fi only. Did you know that Vancouver has one of the biggest free Wi-Fi networks in North America?
- Looking for more helpful tips? Visit our website here.
Vancouver’s temperatures begin to warm up over the spring months of March, April and May but they’re still quite cool. Temperatures hover between 7˚C – 19˚C (45˚F – 66˚F) during the day, dipping by about 5˚C (10˚F) overnight. If you’re heading up to Vancouver’s local mountains, expect snowy conditions into April: what might be a sunny spring day in downtown can still feel like winter up on the mountain. Check Vancouver’s current and historical weather conditions online here.
Because the temperature is quite mild, it’s best to dress in light layers. Make sure to pack a rain jacket and an umbrella, and if you’re thinking of heading up to the local mountains (especially in March or April), make sure you bring warmer items you can layer on. Bring some good walking shoes – Vancouver is a great place to explore on foot!
- You’ll most likely be flying into Vancouver International Airport, and you’ll find that the easiest way to get to downtown is by hopping on the Canada Line light-rail service – just look for the “Trains to the City” signs! The 30-minute trip is CAD $9.25, and tickets can be purchased by credit card on the platform. Alternatively, taxis are available and charge a flat fee from $31 - $35 for downtown zones.
- Once you’re downtown, walking is often the best option in our compact, very walkable city. Most hotels are within a 10-minute stroll of the Vancouver Convention Centre, and you can easily walk to many downtown attractions including those in Gastown, Stanley Park and Robson Street. Just ask your concierge for a map (and possibly an umbrella!).
- Taxis are plentiful; you can ask your bell desk to call one for you, or hail one on the street.
Your delegate badge comes with perks! When you’re out exploring the city, shopping and dining, remember to bring it with you to enjoy exclusive discounts and offers. See a list of offers here.
- In March and April, Vancouver’s streets and parks burst with blossoms! The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (April 4-28, 2019) celebrates the 40,000 cherry trees in the city, but visit VanDusen Botanical Garden, Queen Elizabeth Park or wander the neighbourhoods throughout spring to be rewarded with sightings of blooming magnolias, apple trees and rhododendrons as well.
- As the weather warms up, Vancouver is a great place to lace up your sneakers for a run, whether you want to get out there and pound the pavement on your own, or register for a race. From the Vancouver Sun Run 10K (Apr 14, 2019), through to the BMO Vancouver Marathon (May 5, 2019), the city offers a number of runs to push your physical limits.
- The city’s spring festival calendar offers lots of options for arts lovers, from the Vancouver International Dance Festival (Mar 8 – 30, 2019) and the Vancouver Opera Festival (Apr 27 – May 5, 2019), through to the DOXA Documentary Film Festival (May 2 – 12, 2019).
- You won't want to miss out on some great eats at Italian Day on the Drive (June 9, 2019), and creative dance performances at 5X Fest formerly The City of Bhangra Festival (June 12 – 16, 2019)
- Catch a performance on-stage while you’re in Vancouver. There are plenty of performances to choose from including Matilda the Musical at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (May 16 – July 12, 2019), Co.ERASGA presents Undivided Colours at the Dance Centre (June 6 – 7, 2019), and Lauren Yee’s, The Great Leap at the BMO Theatre Centre (May 10 – May 19, 2019)
- On March 9 and 10, Vancouver will be the centre of the rugby universe when it hosts a round of the World Rugby Sevens tournament down at BC Place Stadium! Visitors looking for other sporting action might be lucky enough to catch one of the last Vancouver Canucks games – their regular season ends mid-April. But filling that void is the kick-off of a new MLS soccer season for the Vancouver Whitecaps(starting Mar 2, 2019). If you’re not able to score tickets, the next best thing is to catch a game on the big screen, surrounded by local diehard fans. Try the The Sports Bar LIVE! At Rogers Area, or The Blackbird.
- Even with a couple of hours of free time during your stay, you’ll have plenty of time to get an authentic Vancouver experience. Grab a False Creek Ferries mini-tugboat over False Creek to Granville Island, stroll around Stanley Park, or hop on board a hop-on, hop-off bus.
- Most of Vancouver’s attractions are open year-round, but there are some spots that top our list during spring. Chinatown’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden combines spring blooms with a healthy dose of culture. It’s also a great time of year to head out to the University of British Columbia’s campus for some sightseeing; along with the UBC Botanical Garden, make sure you visit the stunning First Nations collections at the Museum of Anthropology, and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.
- Organized sightseeing tours can be a great way to take in as much as possible in a limited amount of time. Hop-on, hop-off tours such the one offered by Westcoast Sightseeing have stops at most of the city’s top attractions. Explore the North Shore with Landsea Tours day tour which includes Grouse Mountain, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and more. Or take to the skies on a Harbour Air flightseeing tour, cruising over downtown, the mountains and the ocean.
- This spring, Vancouver Art Gallery presents French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950 (Feb 21 – May 20, 2019). Or delve into the region’s First Nations culture with a visit to the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art or smaller, independent spaces such as Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery in Gastown.
- Vancouver’s shopping scene will not disappoint. Downtown shopping is centered around Robson Street, with Pacific Centre mall (home to both Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom department stores) anchoring one end. Stroll nearby neighbourhoods like Yaletown and Gastown for independent boutiques and shops, or hit McArthurGlen Designer Outlet (just two train stops from the airport) to fill your suitcase with deals.
- Exploring Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods is a great way to spend the afternoon, hanging out with the locals. Grab a coffee and wander downtown areas such as hip Yaletown, the beach-side West End, or historic Gastown. If you’ve got some extra time to head further afield, check out our neighbourhood guide for other suggestions.
- Vancouver makes a great starting point for exploring British Columbia, so you might want to extend your stay by a couple of days to see more of our province. The world-class ski resort of Whistler is just two hours from downtown Vancouver, and the season usually runs through to April, with Blackcomb Mountain offering spring skiing through mid-May. Even if you don’t ski, attractions like the Peak2Peak gondola linking the two mountains, and the lively, walkable village make it worth a visit. The province’s capital city, Victoria makes a charming day trip at this time of year, especially if accessed via a scenic 35-minute float plane ride.
- Looking for more ideas? Visit our Itineraries page for a suggested two-day schedule for getting the most out of Vancouver during your stay.
- Vancouver is a city that is very passionate about what’s on its plate and in its glass. Here are our restaurant picks for your spring visit to Vancouver, all downtown and most within a 15-minute walk of the Vancouver Convention Centre.
- Wildebeest: Locally-sourced, nose-to-tail eating in Gastown.
- Pourhouse Restaurant: Classic comfort food and an impressive bar for a proper drink.
- Giovane Café + Eatery: Excellent coffee and tasty café fare in the Fairmont Pacific Rim.
- Miku: Aburi-style sushi and other Japanese delicacies on the waterfront at Canada Place.
- Nightingale: Lively space serving dishes packed with natural flavor.
- COAST Restaurant: Where everyone wants to be. A true west coast dining experience.
- Tableau: A west coast take on classic French bistro food.
- Hy’s Encore: A classic, high-end Canadian steakhouse with a private club atmosphere.
- Reflections: Tapas-inspired dishes in a sophisticated outdoor lounge setting.
- Tacofino Taco Bar: A unique take on Mexican favourites in a modern room.
- You’ll never find yourself thirsty in Vancouver! British Columbia produces its own wine, and you’ll find it on the menu at most local restaurants. The city also boasts a thriving craft brewing scene–Railtown’s The Belgard Kitchen, Mount Pleasant’s Main Street Brewing and Yaletown’s Yaletown Brewing Co. are all great places to sample the local wares. Restaurants and cocktail bars such as The Union and Prohibition often use spirits from Vancouver’s own distilleries, putting a local twist on your G&T, gimlet or greyhound.
- If you’re interested in exploring the culinary scene outside of the bar or restaurant, consider signing up for a tour! Crawl the city’s beer scene with Vancouver Brewery Tours, take a tasty tour of a local neighbourhood on foot with Off the Eaten Track, or nibble your way through Granville Island Public Market with Vancouver Foodie Tours.
- Vancouver’s farmers markets kick off in May for the summer season – a great place to get a taste of the city and pick up souvenirs (check their site for dates and locations). And if raising a glass is your thing, check out BC Distilled (Apr 6, 2019), the ale-loving Vancouver Craft Beer Week (May 31 – Jun 9, 2019), or Richmond Night Market (May 10 – Oct 4, 2019).
There’s a lot of information to process here, but perhaps we missed something that’s close to your heart. In that case, check out Inside Vancouver – Tourism Vancouver’s blog dedicated to what’s going on the city and tips from locals. We’re looking forward to seeing you in our city soon, so follow us on social media for further trip inspiration or to ask a questions or two:
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