Summer Meetings in Vancouver - Know Before You Go!
Summer is peak season for a visit to Vancouver, with the city alive with festivals, outdoor adventure and activities! 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 Summer 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 wifi only and connecting with your friends and colleagues via email, What’s App or Facebook.
- Looking for more helpful tips? Visit our website here.
Vancouver’s summer months of June, July and August are the city’s hottest, but they’re still very mild compared to many other destinations. In June, you can expect a mix of lovely blue skies and rain, but June and July are usually fairly sunny. Temperatures hover between 19˚C – 23˚C (66˚F – 73˚F) during the day, dipping by about 5˚C (10˚F) overnight, and even further up on the mountains or out on the water. Check Vancouver’s current and historical weather conditions online here.
Because Vancouver’s climate is quite mild even in the middle of the summer, it’s best to dress in light layers, so you can easily adjust. Make sure to pack your sunglasses and sunscreen, as well as an umbrella to deal with any summer showers. At night, remember to bring a light sweater with you as it can still feel quite cool down by the water. And you’ll want to 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 $9.10, 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, especially during the summer. 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.
- Taxis are plentiful; you can ask your bell desk to call one for you, or hail one on the street. Or try a service like Ripe Rides for on-call luxury sedans.
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. You’ll save on admission to some of our top attractions, enjoy special offers at some of our favourite restaurants, as well as savings at spas, boutiques and on tours. See a list of offers here.
- For a dining experience that soars above all others, try Dinner in the Sky! Get lifted over 150 feet off the ground by a giant 200 foot crane to see the city in a way that you've never seen it before. The 360 degree unobstructed view will be worth the extra cash you’ll be throwing down for the most exclusive dinner reservations in the city (July 1-31).
- With sunny, days and mild temperatures, summer is perfect for exploring Vancouver’s outdoor adventure options. Go for a run through Stanley Park, take a stand-up paddleboarding lesson on English Bay, kayak up Indian Arm, rent a bicycle to pedal the seawall, hike a trail, or play 18-holes at one of Vancouver’s spectacular golf courses.
- During summer, it can seem like every week brings a new musical festival to enjoy! Vancouver International Jazz Festival (Jun 23 – Jul 2, 2018) is one of North America’s largest, and it’s hard to beat the waterfront location of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival (Jul 14 – 16) down at Jericho Beach.And fans of classical music will want to catch a performance or two during the Vancouver Bach Festival (August 1 – 11).
- Summer is also when Vancouver celebrates the city’s diverse population with a series of festivals ranging from City of Bhangra dance celebration (June 11 - 17), Greek Summerfest (July 6-16), the Japanese-focused Powell Street Festival (Aug 5 & 6), and the Vancouver Chinatown Festival (August 12 - 13), through to the Vancouver Pride Parade (Aug 6) and Vancouver Queer Film Festival (Aug 10 – 20).
- During the summer, Vancouver’s arts and culture scene steps outside for a series of al fresco performances. Over in Vanier Park, catch a performance at Bard on the Beach (Jun 1 – Sep 23), the city’s annual Shakespeare festival, or head to Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park to see one of two classic musicals at Theatre Under the Stars (Jul 7 – Aug 20). But for many, the highlight of the city’s summer events is Honda Celebration of Light, a fireworks festival held over three nights (Jul 29, Aug 2 & 5) with locals and visitors flocking to the shores of English Bay to watch.
- Even if you’re not a baseball fan, an afternoon spent at our old-fashioned ballpark, Nat Bailey Stadium, cheering on the city’s “Single A” team, the Vancouver Canadians, is a treat (season runs Jun 15 – Sep 3). Vancouver’s Canadian Football League team, the BC Lions, also kick off their season at the beginning of June and running through to November 4, playing at downtown’s BC Place Stadium - also home to the Vancouver Whitecaps MLS soccer team playing through the summer (March 5 – October 22). If you’re not able to score tickets, the next best thing is to catch a Whitecaps or Lions game on the big screen, surrounded by local diehard fans. Try the Shark Club, The Charles Bar or The Blackbird.
- For a full calendar of events as well as purchasing tickets, head over to Tickets Tonight. Or stop by their booth in the Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre for day-of, half-price tickets!
- 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. The spot is famous for its public market, but you’ll also find plenty of tempting cafes, artisan studios and other souvenir-worthy diversions. It’s the ideal time of year to stroll Stanley Park, but if you’re pressed for time, make sure that you at least take a drive around the perimeter or board a hop-on, hop-off bus to catch a glimpse of this huge, green space right downtown.
- While many of Vancouver’s top attractions can be visited at any time of the year, there are certain sightseeing highlights that you can only catch during the summer. Grouse Mountain’s famous orphaned grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, can be spied playing, swimming and relaxing in their habitat at this time of year, or a book a “Breakfast with the Bears” experience to learn about them from the mountain’s conservation officers. This is also the prime time for whale watching – companies such as Steveston Seabreeze Adventures and Vancouver Whale Watch can pick you up at your hotel before taking you out on the ocean to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. If you’re keen on some seafaring thrills but short on time, a Sea Vancouver adventure will take you cruising around the harbour in a Zodiac in just 90 minutes.
- 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, and you get some entertaining commentary on your way. But with the lovely summer weather, perhaps you want to explore by foot or cycle instead. Cycle City and Vancouver Bike Tours offer a range of sightseeing options from general overviews of Stanley Park, around False Creek and Granville Island, through to a beer tasting tour. And there are lots of walking tours on offer, from exploring the city’s skyline with the Architectural Institute of BC, through to brushing up on your camera skills as you tour our neighbourhoods with Vancouver Photowalks, and discovering the city’s past with Forbidden Vancouver.
- Whether you need to pick up souvenirs for those at home, or treat yourself to something special, Vancouver’s shopping scene will not disappoint. Downtown shopping is centred 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. Head north on Landsea Tours’ Sea to Sky day trip to experience the waterfront village of Horseshoe Bay, the historic Britannia Mine Museum and the new Sea to Sky Gondola. A little further along the highway is the world-class ski resort of Whistler, just two hours from downtown Vancouver. Although known for its winter activities, Whistler is a true four-season destination, with lakes, trails, mountain biking and golf courses waiting for the summer visitor, not to mention the charming, walkable village. The province’s capital city, Victoria makes an excellent day trip at this time of year, especially if accessed via a scenic 35-minute float plane ride. For a unique way to make the trip, consider Prince of Whales’ “Ultimate Day Tour” which combines a whale watching excursion over to Victoria, time to explore, and then a bus/ferry transfer back to Vancouver at the end of the day.
- 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. From fresh West Coast seafood (look for the sustainable Ocean Wise symbol on menus), through to seasonal delicacies, and fusion cuisine that represents the multi-cultural diversity of our city. Critics say we have some of the best Asian food in the world, but you’ll find that our chefs have put their own stamp on it, combining local ingredients (like Pacific salmon, foraged mushrooms and berries) with traditional techniques. Here are our restaurant picks for your summer visit to Vancouver, all downtown and most within a 15-minute walk of the Vancouver Convention Centre, with a special focus on spots that have great al fresco dining and drinking options.
- Chill Winston: Sprawling patio in Gastown is perfect for a local beer and people-watching.
- Provence Marinaside: Right on Yaletown’s sea wall with excellent French-inspired seafood.
- Black + Blue: Hard to beat the chic rooftop terrace of this high-end, modern steakhouse.
- Tap & Barrel: Right at the convention centre, lots of local wine & beer on tap, along with solid pub fare.
- Reflections: Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s elegant rooftop terrace is the place for cocktails and tapas.
- Cardero's: Right on the Coal Harbour waterfront, make sure you try the classic cedar-plank salmon!
- The Keg - Yaletown: A steakhouse with Yaletown’s best rooftop patio and a great cocktail list.
- Joe Fortes: Known for oysters, this rooftop garden terrace is right above Robson’s hustle and bustle.
- Beach Bay Cafe: A high-end, modern menu with a lovely patio overlooking English Bay.
- Cactus Club Coal Harbour: Casual fine dining right opposite the convention centre.
- Whether you’re a wine lover, cocktail hound or beer fan, 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–Gastown’s Steamworks Brewing, as well as Mount Pleasant’s Main Street Brewing and Steel Toad Brewpub are all great places to sample the local wares. Restaurants and cocktail bars such as YEW in the Four Seasons, Brix & Mortar and Boulevard Kitchen 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, score a sampling of the city’s best ice cream with Off the Eaten Track, taste your way around Granville Island Public Market with Vancouver Foodie Tours, or tour Metro Vancouver’s wineries with Swallow Tail Culinary Adventures.
- Vancouver’s farmers markets are great spots to explore what’s in season. The Saturday market in the West End neighbourhood is a short walk from most downtown hotels. And if markets are your thing, be sure to catch the Illumination Night Market in Richmond (Fri –Sun, all summer) – an Asian-style night market full of things to eat and drink, as well as booths selling knick knacks. Similarly, YVR Food Fest (June 27 – July 3) includes a three-day food truck event that brings together the city’s best street food in one place.
We know that there’s a lot of information here, but there’s so much more than we could fit in this guide. So if we’ve missed something that you’re especially interested in, 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: