Known as the gateway to the Pacific Rim, Vancouver is an ideal spot to enjoy beautiful mountains, world-class attractions, and great weather. If your family loves to explore nature, you couldn’t pick a better spot, with waterways, beaches, hiking spots, and beautiful parks just about everywhere you look.
Vancouver is like a playground, with hundreds of activities both indoors and out. It’s not hard to find fun things to do as a family – especially with our list of 21 things to do with kids in Vancouver!
- The exchange rate in Vancouver is quite favorable, so you’ll get more for your money, wherever you may be traveling from. If you’re traveling from the United States, you’ll find that many shops and attractions will accept U.S currency.
- Public transportation is easy to navigate, and is the most extensive in Canada. You can travel to just about any attraction, so a car isn’t necessary. If you’re staying in the downtown area, your transportation options are even greater. Visit the Translink website to learn more about the SeaBus ferry, SkyTrain, and bus lines. If you prefer using a rideshare, Vancouver offers services from both Uber and Lyft.
- If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, you’ll want to plan your trip during the winter months, from December through March. The lights are often so bright that they can be seen from the city, despite the light pollution.
- For the best travel deals, avoid Summer when tourism is at its peak. Instead, visit in Spring or Fall when the weather is still optimal and the hotel rates are low.
What to Pack
- Summertime offers the best weather by far. The average Summer temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Pack light layers and plenty of sunscreen.
- Rainy weather stretches across three seasons, from Fall to Spring. So be sure to pack umbrellas or ponchos in case you’re caught out in the rain.
- The downtown area is very compact, which makes it easy for walking. Pack comfy shoes that are weather appropriate. If you have young kids, be sure to bring along a lightweight stroller or baby carrier to make walking even easier.
- Wintertime is a great time for those who want to enjoy Winter sports. Average temperatures are low, in the 30s and 40s. You’ll want to pack warm layers along with rain gear as showers are frequent.
5 Kid-Approved Places to Shop & Eat
- Robson Street – Visit this popular shopping and dining spot which offers plenty of family-friendly restaurants. You can enjoy fresh seafood year round or discover new flavors at one of the many food trucks. The Outdoor Summer Market has local vendors and live entertainment.
- Gastown – This neighborhood is known for its art galleries, souvenir shops, decor stores, and beautiful Victorian buildings. Indulge in local seafood and gourmet sandwiches. You don’t want to miss the Whistling Steam Clock. Kids will love to watch the dramatic steam release. Walk the cobblestone streets and stop into unique boutiques and art galleries.
- Granville Island – This epic public marketplace is packed with plenty of options for food, shopping, and activities. There’s also a kids market with more than 25 stores which cater specifically to kids and families, making it a great spot to shop and eat. Grab some fresh fruit and veggies, yummy baked goods, artisanal cheeses, or candies and chocolates. During the summer months, you can enjoy the free sprinkler park, playground, and water slide.
- Chinatown – This vibrant and historic neighborhood is the oldest Chinatown in Canada. There are plenty of markets and restaurants to choose from. Enjoy beautiful buildings, eclectic shops, and trendy eateries.
- Richmond Night Market – Take a 15-minute SkyTrain ride to a food-lover’s paradise. It takes place on weekends during the Summer months. This colorful Asian night market has live entertainment and over 100 different food stalls. Kids of all ages will love the performers and carnival rides.
16 Things To Do with Kids in Vancouver
- Stanley Park – This isn’t your average park. Larger than Central Park in New York City, it’s the perfect spot for a day trip. Explore 1000 acres of ancient forests, take in beautiful beaches, or bike along the seawall which offers views of the city, the mountains, and of course, the sea.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – This iconic attraction is 450 feet long and hangs 230 above the beautiful Capilano River. There is no end to the fun you can have, including the Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, The Living Forest, and the Birds of Raptors Ridge. Cap Kids offers storytimes and interactive programs just for the little ones.
- Vancouver Aquarium – Located within Stanley Park, this aquarium features more than 50,000 different sea creatures native to the area including walruses, sharks, and penguins. Kids will love watching jellyfish and sea otters and getting hands-on at the touch pool.
- Grouse Mountain – This incredible resort offers activities year round, and almost all of them are included with your ticket! Soar high on the Skyride, fly down the zipline, challenge yourself on the ropes course, take in the world-famous lumberjack show, or get up close and personal with their resident Grizzly bears.
- Aquabus – This colorful ferry offers sweeping views of the Vancouver skyline. It’s a fantastic (and fun!) way to get around the city. Hop off the ferry at one of eight different stops. It’s super affordable, and you never have to wait too long to catch a ride.
- Sunset Beach – Less populated than other local beaches, this spot offers a quiet place to soak in the sun. Play on the sandy beach, stroll along the Seawall, or cool off with a swim during the Summer. If you stay late enough, you can take in a spectacular sunset.
- Vancouver Lookout – There’s no better place to take in 360 degree views of the city than from this observation deck. Take a thrilling ride in the glass elevator which lifts you 550 feet above the ground. The tower is especially beautiful when it’s all lit up for the holidays.
- Vancouver Maritime Museum – This family-friendly museum is dedicated to sharing stories and the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic. Your kids will love exploring exhibits and artifacts, including real ships! Be sure to check their calendar before visiting to find out about any events that may be happening.
- Playland Amusement Park – This amusement park opens in May and stays open until Labor Day. The whole family will love the thrilling rides and carnival games, including Canada’s oldest wooden roller coaster. Every summer is different with a variety of attractions and live entertainment.
- Queen Elizabeth Park – Explore 130 acres of park land located on top of Little Mountain. It’s the perfect spot for flower enthusiasts or anyone that loves to take in the beauty of nature. Roam the grounds, visit an indoor tropical garden at the Bloedel Conservatory, or challenge yourself to a game of lawn bowling.
- VanDusen Botanical Gardens – These stunning gardens offer more than 7500 different plant species spread across 55 acres. Discover unique sculptures or get lost exploring the hedge maze. Tours are available year round, and during the Christmas season you can take in the Festival of Lights.
- Whale Watching Tours – There is no shortage of companies offering whale watching tours. Your whole family can catch a glimpse of all the sealife Vancouver has to offer, including whales, seals, and dolphins.
- Science World – Your kids will never get bored with all of the displays and interactive activities to explore. See a movie at the Omnimax Theatre, toss balls into the multi-level water feature, or climb in the play areas. Little ones will love the Wonder Gallery with soft crawling spaces, a lab truck, and a tall rope-climbing structure.
- Museum of Anthropology at UBC – This museum is located right on the University of British Columbia campus. There is indigenous art as well as art from around the world on display. Learn about different cultures, explore totem poles in the Great Hall, or enjoy a story time.
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – Take your kids to this garden to explore amazing plant life, historical objects, and even some mythical creatures! The best way to view the gardens is through a guided tour. Many events happen here throughout the year, so be sure to check their calendar.
- National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks – No one is more serious about hockey than Canadians. If you plan on taking in a game while you’re in town, you’ll want to purchase your tickets ahead of time, as they will most likely sell out. If you forgot to purchase tickets but still want to enjoy a hockey match, you’re guaranteed to find the game playing on a big screen at a local restaurant or sports bar.
This coastal city offers so many exciting options, you’re guaranteed to find something for everyone.
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