Many people hunker down during winter in Vancouver, as it can be cold and a bit dreary out. However, March in Vancouver is a hopeful month, as spring is just around the corner. This is such a beautiful time of year, with more sunny days and flowers blooming everywhere during spring in Vancouver.
I always love all the things to do in Vancouver in April, as this is when my family stops here on the way to and from our annual long weekend in Whistler. Stanley Park is a big favorite with us, as it’s the perfect chance for my kids to stretch out their legs on the weekend trip from Seattle. We also love the Aquarium on a rainy day when we don’t feel like getting wet.
However, there are many more fun things to do in Vancouver in spring, so let’s dive into this article to find out what to expect weather-wise and what spring events in Vancouver are going on.
Weather in Spring in Vancouver
Whether you’re visiting Vancouver for two days or a week, it’s important to know what you can expect from the spring weather. Here’s a breakdown of the month-to-month spring weather in Vancouver.
Vancouver in March
March in Vancouver is still pretty rainy and cool, with average temperatures ranging between 40°F–50°F. There may even be some snowfall on higher-elevation mountains, so you can still expect an icy chill and great skiing conditions. March is also an excellent time of year to visit for whale watching.
Vancouver in April
By April, Vancouver starts to warm up slightly, with less rain falling and average temperatures hovering around 44°F–56°F. April is peak bloom season. You can enjoy the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival or head to Chilliwack to see millions of tulips in bloom.
Vancouver in May
Vancouver’s spring temperatures in May range around a comfortable 49°F–62°F. There are even fewer rainy days, and outdoor markets are abuzz. May sees the start of the Spot Prawn Festival and the Richmond Night Market.
Where to Stay in Vancouver in Spring
Below are a few excellent options for where to stay in the spring in Vancouver if you’re coming up on a drive from Seattle to Vancouver.
You’ll love The Burrard for its vibrant, spacious rooms and absolute convenience. With on-site bike rentals, a coffee shop, and a lovely outdoor lounge, this spot is equipped with everything you need to enjoy spring.
Hilton Vancouver Downtown
With a large, heated pool, on-site gym, and an excellent location in downtown Vancouver, I can’t recommend Hilton Vancouver enough. Rooms are bright and spacious and offer excellent city views. You’ll also only be a few minutes away from Stanley Park and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
The Westin Bayshore
The epitome of luxury, The Westin Bayshore is the perfect place for a lavish getaway. Enjoy a swim in the heated pools, or unwind with a yoga class or massage at the spa. When you want to explore, the complimentary BikeWESTIN rentals have you covered.
14 Things to Do in Vancouver in Spring
Whether you’re enjoying the gorgeous outdoors or staying warm indoors, here are 14 spring activities in Vancouver you’ll love.
1. Wander Along the Vancouver Seawall
Vancouver has the longest uninterrupted waterfront path in the world, stretching for 17 miles. This path includes the Stanley Park Seawall and stretches from the Vancouver Convention Centre, passing Stanley Park, English Bay, False Creek, Science World, and many more attractions.
Spring in Vancouver is the perfect time to take a stroll along the seawall to take in the scenery and enjoy the fresh air. Bring your camera along to snap some scenic shots, or rent a bike to cycle along the entire promenade.
2. Enjoy Nature in Stanley Park
This lush city oasis is a must-visit location for anyone visiting Vancouver, and my family stops here every time we’re in Vancouver. Stretching over 400 hectares, this coastal rainforest offers stunning views and plenty of activities for all ages. I love the flowers in bloom during Vancouver in the spring especially.
If you want to stay indoors, visit the Vancouver Aquarium to view over 30 marine exhibits. This is perfect if you’re on a Pacific Northwest family vacation.
For lunch, my favorite place is Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant & Brewpub, which will likely be one of the most scenic breweries you’ve ever been to before.
On a sunny day during a 3 day Vancouver itinerary, you can take a guided bicycle tour to learn more about Vancouver’s history while seeing attractions like the totem poles, Siwash Rock, and the vast wildlife in this park. This park is also perfect for picnics if you want to grab food to go from somewhere nearby.
Tip: Settle down at Second or Third Beach for a stunning sunset during spring in Vancouver, BC.
3. Attend the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
Date: April 1-23, 2023
While spring in Seattle is one of my favorites, Vancouver is a close second. The city has over 40,000 cherry trees that come to life with shades of pink and white around April of each year, and the annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is the place to immerse yourself in the spring spirit.
The festival includes everything from a picnic with live music and mini-events like the Sakura Days Japan Fair. There’s also a Pop Up Pavilion which gets moved around to various neighborhoods in the city and facilitates yoga events, Tree Talks, and performances.
So if you’re looking for the best time to visit Vancouver in spring, you may want to visit during this festival period.
4. Take a Trip up Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain is the perfect playground all year round and offers activities like zip lining, aerial-rope adventures, hikes, and skiing.
You can usually find snow on Grouse Mountain during winter in Vancouver until mid-spring, so you may still be able to fit in some skiing around the beginning of the season.
With snow dwindling by the end of the season, activities like hiking become more enticing. Try the 1.8-mile Grouse Grind — also known as Mother Nature’s StairMaster — for a two-hour steep climb that’s sure to test your calves, whether you do this as a Vancouver winter hike or in the spring.
You’ll have to access the mountain via the Skyride. The scenic cable car takes you to the peak of the mountain while offering incredible mountain and city views. On the mountain, you’ll find restaurants like Altitudes Bistro, The Observatory, and a few cafés and coffee spots for a scenic lunch or coffee break.
Fun Fact: The Grouse Mountain Wildlife Refuge is home to two cute Grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola. Be sure to visit this informative sanctuary to see them after their period of hibernation.
5. Admire Spring Blossoms at Vancouver’s Gardens
Vancouver is home to many spectacular gardens that are especially beautiful during springtime in Vancouver, and many of them are free to visit.
To see stunning cherry blossoms in a serene setting, make your way to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. This Ming Dynasty-style garden is one of the first to be built outside of China and serves as a venue for many cultural events and programs, so it’s perfect for visiting any time of the year. You’ll find the garden filled with cherry blossoms around April.
You can also head to the Stanley Park Rose Garden between late March and April to see budding blooms. Or head to the Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden, also in Stanley Park, to marvel at floral bushes bursting with color.
There are also the lush Quarry Gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park and the VanDusen Botanical Garden, both of which are verdant wonderlands and are perfect outdoor spring break activities in Vancouver.
If you’re in the mood to explore beyond Vancouver, you can make a day trip to Victoria and its iconic Butchart Gardens for more splendid blooms when looking for what to do in Vancouver in April.
6. Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
No spring visit to Vancouver would be complete without spending a few hours at Capilano Bridge Park. The highlight of this 27-acre park is the 460-foot-long suspension bridge over the Capilano River. The lightly swaying bridge has been providing stunning views of the old-growth forest and river since 1889.
There’s also a walkway known as the Cliff Walk that follows along a granite precipice and overlooks the trees, which you’ll want to go on for stunning views.
Tip: Take the stress out of arranging transport with this park entry ticket that includes a shuttle transfer from downtown Vancouver.
7. Visit Deep Cove
Deep Cove is one of the most scenic attractions in Vancouver and is only about a 20-minute drive from downtown. You’ll see wildlife like eagles, seals, and sea lions among stunning forests. There are also a few activities to enjoy depending on your time of visit.
If you’re visiting later in the spring, you can enjoy a warm day of kayaking. Otherwise, you can stroll along the Cates Park gravel paths, which take you through the forest and along the water. This path leads to an area with First Nation totems.
If you’re up for a more strenuous hike, you can take on the 25-mile Baden Powell nature trail, which kicks off at Burrard Inlet and ends at Horseshoe Bay.
Once you’ve had your share of outdoor exploration, you can visit the little bay neighborhood of the same name to refuel at one of the local restaurants. There’s also a theater, boutique stores, and galleries.
8. Try Some Spot Prawns
Spring in Vancouver is spot prawn season! The short-lived season kicks off around May, and you’ll usually spot them appearing on restaurant menus. These tasty little treats are only available fresh for about six weeks, so if you’re in Vancouver during this time, you definitely don’t want to miss out.
The best place to sample these prawns is at Granville Island, where the annual Spot Prawn Festival is held around late May. Here, you can purchase prawns straight from fishing boats or sample creative, freshly prepared prawn dishes from the market stalls.
The festival also offers live demonstrations on preparing some tasty meals, so you can stick around for some inspiration if you’ve never cooked prawns before.
9. Drive Along the Sea-to-Sky Highway
Admire the majestic scenery of Vancouver with a drive along Highway 99, also known as the Sea-to-Sky Highway. This Vancouver to Whistler drive leads to the ski town of Whistler and takes about an hour and a half. I would argue there aren’t many more scenic drives on the West Coast (Big Sur is probably a close tie!), and I absolutely love driving on this every year to Whistler.
Besides the stunning mountain and sea views, there are a few Cultural Journey Interpretive kiosks along the highway. These kiosks highlight sites of importance to the Indigenous Squamish and Lil’wat tribes.
If you have more time, be sure to explore the town of Whistler or make a day of it by joining a guided tour.
10. Hit the Slopes
Spring is still very much ski season in Vancouver, so if you’re looking to hit the slopes, you’ll have a variety of spring skiing options.
Cypress Mountain also has a large ski resort, while mountains like Mount Seymor and Grouse Mountain may still have snow until mid-spring. These mountains are fairly close to town (with Grouse being only 15 minutes north of the city), so they’re convenient as a day trip (you can even do a Seattle day trip if you don’t mind a long day!).
Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is further north (about two hours, depending on traffic) but has one of North America’s longest-running ski seasons and is usually open until late May. This is a perfect weekend getaway from Vancouver.
Alternatively, you can check out some of the summer activities in Whistler if you come up in late spring. I love visiting Whistler no matter what time of year it is, as there’s always something going on.
Of course, you won’t get much fresh powder by the end of the season. However, the combination of snow and clear skies make skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing some of the best spring activities in Vancouver.
11. Try a Whale Watching Excursion
Date: March through October
If you’re fascinated by marine life, you won’t want to miss a whale-watching trip. Spring is the best time to spot killer, gray, humpback, and minke whales as they migrate to Vancouver’s Salish Sea to feed.
Many whale-spotting tours depart from Coal Harbor or Granville Island from the beginning of March. Besides the stunning whales, you’ll get to spot magnificent eagles and even brown bears along the coast.
12. Explore Granville Island
So, unlike Vancouver Island, it’s not really an island, but this little inlet is a must-visit attraction in Vancouver. With about 300 businesses calling this area home, you’ll have plenty to see, buy, and taste during a Vancouver spring.
The highlight of Granville Island is its Public Market, a foodie paradise where some of the best fresh produce, artisanal cheese, and local seafood are on display. You’ll also find food vendors selling local cuisines and a few restaurants, shops, galleries, and theaters.
Stop at the Improv Theatre for a good laugh, or visit the Wickaninnish Gallery to admire Indigenous art. You can also sample some excellent craft beer at Granville Island Brewing’s taproom.
Tip: Take a guided tour of Granville Island to sample some of the best treats at the market while learning about Vancouver’s food culture.
13. Admire the Tulips in Chilliwack
Date: Around early April
Similar to the Skagit Valley Tulips being popular during spring in Washington and the tulips in Oregon in the spring, Vancouver has its own festival. Situated just over an hour’s drive from Vancouver, Chilliwack is home to the annual tulip festival — an absolute must for things to do in Vancouver in the spring.
Each year, millions of tulips of over 25 varieties bloom, painting the 20-acre landscape in vibrant hues. There are also Hyacinths and 16 kinds of Double Daffodils to admire. The Festival usually starts around the end of March or early April, once the first blooms show up, and lasts about 3–5 weeks.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Vancouver around this time, be sure to grab your camera and take a trip to this beautiful city. The festival also offers kids’ contests and crafts, as well as a store with freshly cut blooms. You may also find food trucks parked there over the weekend.
14. Explore the Outdoor Markets
With the icy Vancouver winter weather fading away, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine at Vancouver’s outdoor markets. Many open-air markets spring back to life after winter, offering farm-fresh produce, vintage and antique items, and plenty of street food delights.
The market moves around throughout the week, popping up at locations like Kitsilano and Riley Park. Or visit the Shipyards Night Market to sample bites from various food trucks.
There’s also the seasonal Richmond Night Market. It kicks off yearly around the end of April and offers an array of street food treats and all sorts of entertainment. If you’re seeking some thrifty finds, you can visit the biweekly Eastside Flea for handmade goods, plans, artisan bites, and vintage clothing.
You’ll love finding all these things to do in spring in Vancouver, whether you’re a local or a visitor!