Vancouver is one of the warmest parts of Canada (yay warm!) but it’s also one of the rainiest. Vancouver experiences rainfall for around 192 days a year – wow! Even in the summer months there’s always a chance of a rainy day. There are plenty of Vancouver rainy day activities and while I love a sunny day, sometimes seeing Vancouver in the rain is the best way to see it – the city is beautiful in the evenings after a rainfall!
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Vancouver Rainy Day Activities
There are tons of activities to do in Vancouver whether they be indoor or outdoors. Don’t let the rain stop you from enjoying this city, save those days for indoor attractions. Even Vancouver’s iconic attractions, such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, can be done in the rain if you remember to bring a raincoat and umbrella! For those who want to stay inside or a wet day, these are the best things to do in Vancouver if it rains.
1) Vancouver Art Museum
The Vancouver Art Gallery is a beautiful old building that exhibits works of art by local British Columbian and international artists. Establish in 1931 the gallery now houses more than 11,000 works of art and is a great resource to learn about British Columbia’s history. You can find an array of works from print to sculpture including first nations works and art by the famous British Columbian artist Emily Carr.
2) Bloedel Conservatory
Located at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park, the Bloedel Conservatory is a beautiful glass dome that houses a tropical paradise of flora and fauna. The conservatory is home to over 500 species of plants from around the world and 100 species of beautiful exotic birds.
3) Vancouver Lookout
For some of the best views of Vancouver take a ride to the top of the Harbour Centre building. The Vancouver Lookout is situated at the top and is one of Vancouver’s biggest icons, you can see it’s spaceship like structure from almost anywhere in the city.
Depending on the time of day you may want to wait for the rain to subside before heading up. Or make a reservation at the Top of Vancouver restaurant where you can witness 360 views.
4) Fly Over Vancouver
One of the top attractions in Vancouver is the Fly Over Canada experience, which transports you on a flying simulation journey over Canada from coast to coast. The experience is completely indoors so can be done rain or shine!
The whole experience last 25-minutes including pre-show, pre-flight boarding and the 8-minutes that you are on the simulation. Tickets can be booked in advance via the website with a check-in time.
5) Museum of Anthropology At UBC
One of Vancouver’s best museums, the Museum of Anthropology showcases works by local First Nations people in the Pacific Northwest. It’s also a research and teaching facility offering class in conservation and archaeology. Some of the most popular works in the museum are naturally the totem poles that British Columbia is known for.
6) Vancouver Public Library
The Vancouver Public Library is the third-largest public library system in Canada with around 7million visits per year.
The library is housed inside one of Vancouver’s most unique buildings making it instantly recognisable. The building alone is worth a visit due it’s unique circular shape. The architecture is a nice mix between traditional and modern and features a glass covered concourse.
7) Grab Coffee Or Lunch At Gastown
I love visiting Gastown in the rain, it’s so pretty to wander down it’s cobblestone streets while the twinkly lights hanging from the trees reflect off the puddles.
Gastown is home to home to some cute, cosy coffee shops and cafés making this area a perfect place to stop on a rainy day in Vancouver. Stop in at Timbertrain Coffee Roasters for an espresso to warm you up! Alternatively book onto a food tour and experience several of Gastowns best restaurants in one.
8) Go To A Brewery
Vancouver is a haven for craft beer enthusiasts – and for those who simply enjoy trying local pubs and breweries! You can find local beers all over Vancouver but the best are located East of the downtown core. Steamworks and Granville Island Brewing are easily accessible from downtown Vancouver. Other local favourites include Parallel 49, 33 Acres, Main Street and East Van Brewing Company.
The best way to expereicne Vancouver’s breweries is through a brewery tour.
9) Afternoon Tea
There are many options for afternoon tea in Vancouver, one of the most popular is offered by the Fairmont Vancouver. The Notch 8 restaurant hosts the hotels Afternoon Tea experience and the theme changes with each season. They even host a special period throughout the year where you’ll get a chance to have afternoon in the window of the hotels entrance!
10) Watch a Hockey Game
What could be better than watching one of Canada’s favourite sports events? Attending a hockey is not only a must when in Canada but it’s one of the best things to do when it rains in Vancouver!
There’s never a bad time to watch Hockey (ask any Canadian) but since the Hockey season runs from October to April, it’s a great activity to do in Vancouver during the rainy season. Grab your favourite snacks and enjoy 2 hours of Canadians having it out on the rink (sometimes literally)
11) Granville Island Market
Granville Island is one of my favourite places in Vancouver. The main attraction is of course the public market offering fresh fruit and veg, artisan cheese, the freshest donuts and independent coffee shops. Add amazing views of the cities skyline and harbour, along with a craft brewery – what’s not to love?
Granville Island has something for everyone for all ages, it’s a great place to visit in Vancouver when it rains as you can spend hours here.
12) Science World
For a great indoor activity in Vancouver head to Science World. This attraction is great for people of all ages and families and houses several permanent and temporary exhibitions.
The building is one of Vancouver’s most Instagrammable buildings and there’s no mistaking the silver dome that sits atop the building. This structure was originally built for the Expo 86 World’s Fair before being given to Science World, which is a not-for-profit organisation.
The building also houses the OMNIMAX Imax theatre which sits inside the famous dome (currently closed)
13) Go Shopping
A rainy day in Vancouver is the perfect excuse to go shopping! Vancouver has many shopping options in the downtown area. The Pacific Centre houses all your standard chain stores including Canada’s biggest department store, Hudson’s Bay and Holt Renfrew. Granville Street has more unique independent shops scattered throughout.
14) Hop On Hop Off Bus
The Hop on Hop off Bus is one of the best things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day, and a great way to see the city and it’s biggest attractions.
This is a good option for a rainy day in Vancouver as you can get off the bus at any stop, so if the rain does subside you can get off! And then back on again when it starts to rain… (because it’s probably going to rain again)
I love tour buses as well because they come with commentary so you can learn lots about a particular area or landmark in the city.
15) Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is home to over 70,000 animals including seals, sea lions and see otters and features 30 unique exhibits. The aquarium rescues and rehabilitates local wildlife too. You can even watch live webcams rescued baby sea otters among others on the website!
16) Eat Chinese Food In China Town
China Town Vancouver hosts a myriad of food experiences from traditional take-out menus to all-day dim sum.
Take shelter from the rain in one of China Town’s many dining establishments. I usually head out this way when I’m craving Dim Sum as we don’t have any Chinese restaurants where I live. Most restaurants will also offer family style dining – yum!
17) Take The Seabus To Lonsdale Quay
If you want to try and escape the downtown core and the rain, hop on a Seabus and head to North Vancouver – weather permitting! (not every rainy day in Vancouver is a storm!)
This area of Vancouver is less frequented by tourists and not only offers a different experience but you’ll get amazing views of the cities main skyline.
Lonsdale Quay is home to many bars and eateries as well as a public market so you’ll have plenty of things to keep you busy.
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