Vancouver and the surrounding Metro Vancouver area has hundreds of things to do for families. If you are looking for things to do in Vancouver with kids (or without kids), have a read below and I am sure you will find at least a few things that suit you!
Situated in British Columbia, on the West Coast of Canada, Vancouver is world-renowned for its livability and constantly ranks in the Top 10 best cities to live in. Whether you call Vancouver home, or are just visiting for a few days, there are countless activities to do with your family in Vancouver! Known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, its many beaches and mountains keep the outdoor lovers happy, while its cosmopolitan amenities from fine dining to shopping have something for the urban explorer!
40 Things to do in Vancouver with Kids
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Here are 40 Fun Things to do in Vancouver with Kids:
1. Spend the morning at the Vancouver Aquarium. We love that this can be done in half a day, just in time to have lunch and give the little ones a nap! It can get busy so going early is your best bet to experience this popular Vancouver attraction without the crowds!
2. Wander Granville Island and check out the local shops (the kids market is a favourite), fresh food and even the water park for the kids! This is one of the popular tourist spots in Vancouver and is also flooded with locals looking to browse the Granville Island Public Market. This is also one of the best places to find Vancouver souvenirs.
3. Capilano Suspension Bridge is another one of the popular Vancouver sights. Completed in 1889, the bridge has seen millions of visitors over the years. The Capitano Suspension Bridge Park now boasts a variety of activities including a cliff walk, treetop platforms and also has self-guided programs for kids!
4. If relaxing, or people watching is your thing, grab your beach essentials and head over to Kits Beach for the afternoon! No trip to Canada is complete without enjoying some of the West Coast beaches that are right in the city of Vancouver!
5. When visiting Vancouver with kids, walk Stanley Park’s SeaWall or enjoy everything the park has to offer. With beautiful beaches and views of Deep Cove it is a stop you do not want to miss!
6. Grouse Mountain is an amazing summer or winter activity in Vancouver! With the hill covered in snow in the winter and amazing hiking and entertainment in the summer, it is well worth a visit! Did you know they have daily shows, a grizzly bear habitat and wolves! Grouse Mountain (and the other local mountains) also offer night skiing, making it one of the popular things to do in Vancouver at night with the locals!
7. Explore Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge and experience North Vancouver’s amazing parks.
8. Explore British Columbia’s origins at Fort Langley, a Parks Canada National Historic Site, on the bank of the Fraser River. You can also find some great pumpkin patches in Langley while you are there for a fall visit!
9. Hike the Stawamus Chief (or take the new Sea to Sky Gondola!) to experience stunning views of Howe Sound and Garibaldi Provincial Park. This hike is a few hours long, with a large elevation gain and would not be suitable for young children. There are a few small ladders and chains to help navigate the steep sections, but this is a hike that can be done in good running shoes. If hiking is not your thing, you can still access the top of the chief with the Sea to Sky Gondola.
10. Spend the day exploring Science World and make sure to catch a movie on the giant IMAX screen! Kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens can explore the interactive exhibits at the Telus World of Science.
11. HR MacMillan Space Centre is a great way to spend the day for the little astronomy lover in your life!
12. Biking the Seawall on a Sunny Day is one of the top things to do in Vancouver for visitors and locals! Don’t have a bike? No Problem. There are plenty of rental shops and the city now runs a bike share program!
13. Get the kids out on the water and ride the Aquabus around False Creek. These little ferries travel around False Creek as a bus system for residents and visitors. Go from one stop to the other, or take a round trip around Vancouver’s waterfront.
14. Blodel Conservatory offers beautiful flowers and exotic birds inside a giant dome in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park. Escape Vancouver’s often inclement weather for a taste of the tropics and view over 500 species of flowers and over 200 species of birds. How can they do this? Well with an assortment of indoor grow lights!
15. White Rock and Crescent Beach in Surrey are great ideas if you are looking for a new beach to check out! They do require you to have a car though!
16. Take in a Vancouver Whitecaps Game at BC Place Stadium. We love the camaraderie of sports and like to get our children involved! When we travel, we always try and take in a local sports event! You can read more about our love of sports here.
17. Hockey Fan? Watch the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena while you are in Vancouver.
18. Go Shopping on Robson Street. Mom and Dad need some “fun” time too!
19. If you have children over 40″ tall, take a ride on Fly over Canada, a thrilling view of my beautiful country awaits you. From the maker’s of Fly over California, soar over Canada from Coast to Coast
20. Hop on Hop of Sightseeing Tours offer a convenient way to get aquatinted with Vancouver’s downtown. It is one of our favourite things to do when we visit a new city, gives us an idea of where we want o spend more of our time and the easiest ways to get from our hotel to the local attractions!
21. River Raft on the Chilliwack River. Fancy a thrill? Take a zodiac down the Chilliwack river! Guaranteed fun will be had by all!
22. Want to know how the food gets to the table for Vanocuverites? Go Berry Picking at Krause Berry Farms in Langley in the spring and summer months! They also have a yummy waffle breakfast!
23. Take a day trip (or overnighter) to Whistler. The Host Mountain for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Whister is a great spot to visit, summer or winter. In the summer, hike or mountain bike in the alpine trails, or relax at the spa, golf or spend the afternoon shopping. There are beautiful alpine lakes to explore and there is something for kids of every age! In the Winter, hit the slopes for world class skiing and boarding, then heat up with an afternoon hot tub! There are lots of winter activities in Whister from dog sledding, to snow mobile tours to cross country skiing for those of you who do not want to hit the slopes!
24. Kayak in Deep Cove. What better way to spend a few hours when you visit Vancouver is to get out on the water! There are so many things to do in Vancouver, but some of the beautiful skylines can only be witnessed from the water. There are several rental companies in Deep Cove where you can rent kayaks.
25. Watch the Canadians at Nat Bailey Stadium. A Vancouver Pastime is to take in a nooner at the Nat! Enjoy some popcorn as this is one of the top things to do in Vancouver with the locals.
26. Maplewood Farm is great for little ones. If you have a car, head out and enjoy the plethora of activities that Maplewood farm has to offer. Located about 20 minutes from Vancouver, kids can interact with the farm animals, go for a ride, and learn about farming in Vancouver.
27. One of the popular things to do in Vancouver for sports enthusiasts is the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Learn about British Columbia’s best athletes at this interactive museum.
28. Whale Watching tours depart from Vancouver seasonally. Want to see whales and other wildlife? This is a fun activity for kids, the boats are large, there are tables for coloring for the little ones and hot chocolate and snacks on certain operators. If you really want a thrill, take a zodiac! If you would rather stay warm and dry while whale watching in Vancouver, opt for one of the larger boats with indoor seating! They have plenty of outdoor deck space once the boats get out on the water and find the whales! Even in summer, bring a jacket and touque for the outer deck!
29. Ride the SkyTrain from the Valley into Vancouver’s downtown. The kids love sitting up front as the driverless train races high above the round!
30. Wine Tour the Fraser Valley. Who says you can’t bring the kids on a wine tour? Many of the Fraser Valley Wineries offer amazing cheese plates and snacks that he kids can enjoy while you sample some of BC’s local wineries.
31. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a must for the garden enthusiast. Take your camera and enjoy!
32. Snowshoe at one of the local mountains. Visiting in the winter? Head up to one of the local mountains, Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain or Cypress Bowl and strap on a pair of snowshoes!
33. Explore Vancouver’s Chinatown and learn about the Chinese Community’s history in Vancouver.
34. Hike the Grouse Grind. Vancouver’s natural stair master, a 2.9km trail up Grouse Mountain with 2800 feet of elevation gain. This is not for your little ones. It is a WORK OUT! Bring water and your camera. Don’t bother packing too much more because you are going to be climbing, and climbing and climbing. There are some great summertime actives at Grouse including the Lumberjack show. The Grind is one way only and you have to pay to take gondola down. It costs $10 per person.
35. Stave Falls Powerhouse is great for the outdoor enthusiast. Various hiking trails and gorgeous views can be found at this Vancouver attraction.
37. The Britannia Mine Museum, one of Canada’s National Historic Sites, is located on the way to Whistler. It is worth a visit if you have a vehicle. Featuring authentic underground mining tunnels, kids of all ages will get a thrill as they ride underground at the museum.
38. If you are visiting with older kids, golf one of the many golf courses around the Lower Mainland. From Par 3 courses to world class championship courses, there is something for every skill level and ability.
39. Visiting Vancouver in the Winter? Skiing and Snowboarding are among the popular winter activities in Vancouver. Visit Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour, Cypress Mountain or Hemlock Resort for a day on the slopes! If you have more time, spend some time in Whistler!
40. Hit one of the many lakes for a beach day in Vancouver with toddlers or teens! There are many beautiful lakes within about an hour’s drive. They do get popular with the locals if you are visiting in the summer, so try and get there early! Beaches like Buntzen Lake and White Pine Beach often close the parking lot by early afternoon because they are full!
WHAT TO DO IN THE RAIN IN VANCOUVER
Do not let the Rain get your down, Vancouver is as beautiful as it is, partly due to its climate! Here are some ideas for What to Do with Kids in Vancouver in the Rain!
Where to Stay in Vancouver?
If your stay is short or you have an early morning flight out of the City, consider this option which is attached to the airport! You can even send one parent down to check the luggage in before you have to wake the kids for the security line up! Click on the Hotel below, enter your travel dates and voila!
5 Things to Bring with You to Vancouver
A good rain jacket is always a good idea, even in the summer. While you are not likely to get wet in July and August, late august almost always sees a wet day, and May, June and September will also get rain. If you want to read about average rainfall, I have more information on weather in Vancouver. Even if you are coming in the winter, unless you plan on skiing, you can get away with a rain jacket and some good base layers for most of the winter in and around Vancouver.
A good power bank to charge phones and other devices is always a good idea. After a day of videoing, GPS and taking photos, the last thing you want is a dead cell phone. These are inexpensive and come in handy during the day. If you are flying to Vancouver, make sure you keep any power banks in your hand luggage, as security will often remove them from checked bags (I have found that out the hard way before).
A Universal Adapter is going to be handy for International Visitors. Canada uses the same plugs as the USA but if you are coming from somewhere else abroad, grab yourself one before you arrive.
A good guidebook is something I always get when I am researching a new location. Lonely Planet is the usual go-to, but also check out these.
Reusable shopping bags are available to buy everywhere, but if you want to get a compact one before you arrive, it is a good idea.
Reusable water bottles are also a good idea. You can buy bottled water anywhere that you can get drinks, but Canada does pride itself on recycling as much as possible, and why shell out wasteful dollars when you can drink the tap water all over British Columbia.
Travel Insurance for Canada
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to international travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday. Canada is a very expensive country for medical care and a doctors visit in an Emergency Room is over $800 to just see the doctor.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.
Renting a Car in British Columbia
Rental Cars are very popular in British Columbia. There is just so much to see and there is not a train or bus network outside of Metro Vancouver or Victoria. If you plan on leaving Vancouver and want to see even the local ski hills, I suggest a rental car. You can get a rental car before you arrive.
If you have more time and are looking for some weekend getaways from Vancouver, check out our post on Weekend Getaways from Vancouver!
If you happy to travel with grandparents (we do it often) or can hire a babysitter at your hotel, check out this Vancouver Nightlife Guide.
Visiting Toronto? Check out 50 Things to do this Summer in Toronto from Solo Mom Takes Flight.
Photo Credit: Vancouver Skyline – Tourism Vancouver Clayton Pelly, JellyFish – Vancouver Aquarium – HR Macmillan Space Centre by HR Macmillan Space Centre,
Lindsay Nieminen hails from Vancouver, Canada and shares her love of travel on this website. She is passionate about showing others that they should not put off traveling the world just because they have young children or are single parents. She aims to encourage them to seek out adventure, whether it is at home or abroad by providing information on how just about everywhere can be a destination to explore as a family.