15 Exciting Things to Do in Vancouver in the Fall (2024)

vancouver in the fall
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As a Seattle local, I visit Vancouver all throughout the year, but get so excited to go during the stunning fall season. There is an indescribable magic in this Canadian city when the leaves begin to change color. However, with so many attractions and activities going on, it’s hard to know what to prioritize, which is why I created this helpful guide all about where to stay and what to do in Vancouver in the fall.

I’ve lived in Seattle for most of my life, but I’ve visited Vancouver enough times to know the city pretty well. Granville Island is where I’ve had some of the city’s greatest farm-to-table cuisine, and Stanley Park is where I’ve seen the most spectacular fall foliage and learned about some great new community events. It’s a lot of fun to escape Seattle for the occasional dose of Vancouver’s individual allure.

Whether you want to stroll through fall-covered trails, attend a local festive event, or go kayaking around the calm waters, there’s something for everyone to do. I’ll tell you everything you need to know, from what to expect from the weather to where you should call home base for the weekend. Here are the best things to do in Vancouver in the fall.

14 Fun Things to Do in Vancouver in the Fall

With such a wide array of things to do in Vancouver, I’ve narrowed it down to just a handful of activities that truly embrace the essence of fall in the city. If you only have three days in Vancouver, I’d recommend choosing a water and land-based activity from the lists below. 

1. Picnic in Stanley Park

stanley park vancouver

As one of Vancouver’s most beloved green spaces, Stanley Park is a luscious park with scenic trails and beautiful mountain views. You’ll see Vancouver’s majestic fall colors in full force from here. If you enjoy outdoor activities, Stanley Park is the perfect place for some cycling, jogging, fishing, and bird watching. 

On the day you visit Stanley Park, pack a delicious picnic, enjoy a leisurely walk, and marvel at the serene waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. Many convenient picnic areas are located throughout the park; some are even equipped with running water, electricity, and kitchens. Sit down, relax, and enjoy your lunch in the serenity of this urban escape.

Visiting later in the season? You’ll love all the hikes to do in Vancouver in the winter.

2. Kayak Through False Creek 

False Creek Vancouver

Kayaking through False Creek in the heart of Vancouver is one of the most delightful outdoor adventures you can do in the city. Viewing Vancouver from the water will offer you a unique perspective of the city and an unforgettable adventure on the water. Similar to things to do in Seattle in the fall, this is one of the more scenic outdoor ones you can do here.

Paddle past Vancouver’s top attractions, including Granville Island, Science World, and the Olympic Village. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an experienced kayaker or a beginner; paddling through False Creek is open to everyone. Consider booking a kayaking tour with Creekside Kayaks at Dragon Zone.

3. Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge Vancouver

Only a 15-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the city’s most iconic attractions in Vancouver in the fall. The bridge spans 137 meters across the Capilano River, immersing you in lush rainforests as you walk along the narrow, swaying pathway. 

Apart from the suspension bridge, the area’s treetop walkways and cliffside platforms allow you to explore the forest from various vantage points. If you appreciate natural beauty, take advantage of this fantastic adventure when looking for things to do in the fall in Vancouver.

Book your ticket in advance to ensure you get the spot you want.

Feel like going on a drive? You’ll love heading up on a drive to Whistler to see the fall foliage.

4. Go on a Whale Watching Excursion

Whale Watching In Vancouver

While whale watching is a popular spring activity in Vancouver, that’s not the only time to go. If you’re in Vancouver in September or October, you’re in luck! These two fall months are ideal for whale watching in Vancouver. Spot an array of orcas, humpback whales, porpoises, seals, and even eagles as you venture out on a guided boat tour. You’ll also get to enjoy beautiful views of the Gulf Islands, the San Juan Islands, and Howe Sound. 

Accompanying you on the tour will be experts who’ll provide a fascinating insight into these magnificent creatures and their surrounding habitats. I’d highly recommend this half-day whale-watching adventure that leaves from Granville Island. You can stay warm and toasty in the boat’s heated cabin or venture to the open-air decks for a better view.

Want more whales? Take a one day trip to Victoria to take a tour.

5. Have Lunch at the Granville Island Public Market 

Granville Island Public Market Vancouver

This busy indoor market offers a lovely array of both local and international cuisine, making it perfect for fall activities in Vancouver if you’re hungry. The market is warm and cozy, perfect for a visit on a rainy Vancouver day. Sample an impressive variety of foods ranging from fresh seafood, gourmet cheeses, decadent desserts, and an impressive collection of local craft beers.

The market is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. I recommend getting there earlier than lunchtime to secure a lovely lunch spot at one of the many indoor and outdoor seating areas. I’ve gone here multiple times on my Seattle to Vancouver, BC, drive in the past.

A fun road trip to go on is the Seattle to Banff drive.

6. Book a Lost Souls of Gastown Walking Tour 

Gastown Vancouver

Experience the darker side of Vancouver on this guided evening walking tour. My advice? Dress warm and prepare to get a little spooked. This tour is perfect for those seeking an engaging experience involving history, suspense, and the supernatural, so you’ll want to add it to a 3 day Vancouver trip.

The lost souls of Gastown walking tour will take you through Vancouver’s old cobbled alleyways, where you’ll discover more about the city’s haunting past. You’ll learn about the mystery of the 1886 Great Fire and the smallpox outbreak. You’ll also gain insight into what life was like for thieves, vagabonds, and the restless spirits that still haunt certain corners of Vancouver. 

7. Meander Through the Museum of Anthropology 

Vancouver Museum of Anthropology
Image Credit: Museum of Anthropology

If ancient art, artifacts, and archeological gems pique your interest, stop by Vancouver’s world-renowned Museum of Anthropology. Prepare to learn about the intriguing history of indigenous peoples through a range of ethnographic exhibits, including one of the world’s largest displays of ancient Mexican art. 

The museum’s coastal grounds and architecture are just as breathtaking as its interior treasures. Located at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the MOA is a must-visit for anyone looking to learn more about the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples. 

8. Watch an Ice Hockey Game 

Rogers Stadium Vancouver

Ice hockey is Canada’s official winter sport, and there’s no winter activity in Vancouver that locals love more than watching a game. If you’re lucky enough to be in Vancouver in the fall, your stay may just coincide with one of these epic events. The NHL season runs from October through June. 

The Vancouver Canucks play at Rogers Stadium, and the Vancouver Giants WHL team plays at the Pacific Colosseum. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or more of a casual observer, the thrill and energy of an ice hockey game is sure to entertain you during this Vancouver in autumn activity.

Check out all the things to do during the winter on Vancouver Island.

9. Visit the Vancouver International Film Festival 

Vancouver International Film Festival
Image Credit: Vancouver International Film Festival

The VIFF is the perfect opportunity to get dressed up and spend an evening appreciating the cinema. The festival occurs annually from the end of September through the first week of October and has long provided an important platform for artistic freedom and cultural conversations.

The film festival is open to the public, making it a highly anticipated event where you’re likely to rub shoulders with a mix of filmmakers, actors, and fellow film enthusiasts. With so many Canadian and international screenings to choose from, here’s a list of what’s on during the event.  

10. Get Spooked at Fright Nights

Keen on some spooky fun during autumn in Vancouver? Fright Nights is a hair-raising, spine-chilling Halloween event at Playland. Lose yourself in a world you didn’t even know existed. The array of haunted houses, chilling mazes, and thrilling attractions will take your breath away and leave your heart beating slightly faster than normal. 

Fright Nights run most evenings from early October until the 31st of the month. You can buy tickets on their official website. From optical illusions, eerie encounters, and surging roller coaster rides, Fright Nights will immerse you in a world of fright and fun. It’s a fun activity to do with older kids on a Canadian family vacation.

Looking for more spookiness? You’ll love all the Halloween activities in Seattle.

11. Visit Vancouver’s North Shore Craft Beer Week 

Local breweries from around Vancouver and Canada will come together to showcase their craft brews for a week in November. The event takes place in the historic Shipyard’s District, where you can enjoy live music, brewery tours, and beer specials. 

If you’re craving a snack after that second beer, there’s a wide range of food stalls where you can get a delicious meal. Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or simply a curious taster, Vancouver’s North Shore Craft Beer Week is a must-attend for all hops-lovers in Vancouver.

There are also many amazing places to try out beer on a drive around Vancouver Island when looking for things to do in Vancouver in the fall.

12. Gawk at the VanDusen Festival of Lights 

Van Dusen Festival of Lights Vancouver
Image Credit: VanDusen Botanical Gardens

Christmas in Vancouver came early with this event – if you’re in Vancouver in late November, stop at the VanDusen Botanical Garden to witness an impressive Christmas lights show. 

In the evening, the botanical gardens become an enchanting winter wonderland packed with marvelous light shows, live entertainment, delicious treats, and cozy fire pits. You’ll see thousands of twinkling lights as you wander through the colorful, lit-up walkways. VanDusen Festival of Lights truly is a beloved holiday tradition in Vancouver. 

13. Catch a Cirque du Soleil Show

Prepare to be captivated and awe-struck at this world-renowned human circus and acrobatics show. From breathtaking aerial displays to mind-bending contortionists to sheer all-around artistry, Cirque du Soleil will exceed your expectations and blow your mind. 

The shows in Vancouver usually take place between October and November. They will transport you to a world of wonder and enchantment, ensuring that you leave amazed and inspired. 

14. Celebrate Salmon at the Coho Festival 

This is a one-day event that usually takes place on September 11th. The festival honors the Coho salmon as they return from the ocean to spawn in the Capilano River. Spend the afternoon in the beautiful Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, surrounded by great energy and live music performances. 

The event usually starts at 11 am and finishes at 6 pm. Join the queue of people lining up for delicious barbecued salmon for lunch. The festival is also one of the few occasions where you can drink in the park – so enjoy the array of craft beer stalls that pop up for the day.  

15. Watch a Shakespeare Performance at Bard on the Beach

Bard on the Beach Vancouver
Image Credit: Bard On The Beach

Who doesn’t love a modern rendition of Shakespeare? Bard on the Beach is a well-known Shakespeare festival that happens annually along Vancouver’s stunning waterfront. It usually runs from June until the end of September. 

Watch classic Shakespeare plays such as As You Like It, Julius Caesar, Goblin: Macbeth, and Henry V. Each show is a brilliant production of romance, music, comedy, and drama. Take advantage of this opportunity to witness the amazing work of some of Canada’s most acclaimed theater producers.

During this fall festive season in Vancouver, there’s no shortage of remarkable events to immerse yourself in. 

Map of Things to Do in Vancouver in the Fall

Fall Weather in Vancouver 

The summer-to-fall transition in Vancouver brings a fresh and cozy opportunity to explore all the city offers. In the fall, Vancouver experiences a mix of mildly chilly temperatures and striking colors as the leaves change, making a wide availability of fall things to do in Vancouver.

In September, the average high temperature is around 66°F, while the average low temperature is roughly 53°F, making for a fairly warm Vancouver autumn. Vancouver in October sees average highs of 57°F and lows of 46°F. November is the coldest fall month in Vancouver, with typical highs of 48°F and lows of 41°F. 

Vancouver has a reputation for rain, and fall is no exception. September tends to be the driest month, with an average of 2.2 inches of rainfall. October sees this amount increase to an average of 4.3 inches. November is the wettest fall month, with an average rainfall of 6.5 inches. 

Although summertime in Vancouver is a popular time to travel, most people view September as the best time to visit Vancouver due to the month’s pleasant temperatures and little rain. 

What to Pack for Fall in Vancouver 

  1. Bring a lot of layered clothing. Vancouver’s weather can range from pleasantly warm to pretty chilly during fall. Scarves, hats, and gloves are also smart packing choices.
  1. In the fall, Vancouver can see a bit of rain, so pack a raincoat, umbrella, and waterproof shoes
  1. On that note, pack a couple of comfy shoe options – getting around on foot is one of the best ways to explore the city, and you don’t want to struggle with blisters. 
  1. Wim Hof fans, bring a swimsuit if you want to take a refreshing Pacific Ocean dip at one of the city’s many beaches. If you’re not into cold water torture, I mean swimming, bring one anyways. Some of Vancouver’s hotels and accommodations will have gloriously heated indoor swimming pools and hot tubs – perfect for a warm soak after your daily excursions. 
  1. Bring a day pack or backpack to carry all your daily adventure essentials comfortably. 
  1. Keeping in line with Vancouver’s sustainable culture, bring a sturdy water bottle you can refill at one of the city’s many water fountains. 

Where to Stay in Vancouver

3 days in vancouver waterfront

Below are three great accommodation options to consider when booking a hotel in Vancouver. If you’re in town long enough, I’d highly recommend a weekend vacation away from Vancouver

  • The Ivy on Parker Guest House – Built in 1908, this historic guest house is beautifully homey and cozy. Its proximity to restaurants, bars, and buses is unmatched, as the guesthouse is most highly rated for its location and comfort. (rates start at $183) 
  • Carmana Hotel and Suites – This clean and spacious hotel is modern yet comfortable. Situated in the West End of Vancouver, all suites in the hotel have fantastic views over the city. It’s a popular choice for solo travelers due to its convenient proximity to nearby attractions. (rates start at $204) 
  • Level Yaletown – Seymour – If you’re after accommodation with fantastic facilities, this hotel will be perfect for you. Each room comes with a full kitchen, as well as a washer and dryer. There’s also a communal barbeque area and an outdoor swimming pool. (rates start at $168)

Leave a comment below and let me know which of these things to do in Vancouver in the fall you’re most excited about!

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