25 free things to do in Vancouver


Vancouver routinely lands on lists of the most expensive cities in Canada, but that shouldn’t put budget-conscious travelers off. Here are many ways to enjoy Western Canada’s biggest metropolis for no cost at all.

Take a spin around Stanley Park

The magnificent 404-hectare (998-acre) Stanley Park combines excellent free attractions with the powerful, almost mystical, draw of nature. Don’t miss a stroll around the 8.8km (5.5-mile) seawall – fringed by a 150,000-tree temperate rainforest, the route will take you past the park’s popular totem poles and alongside the coast of the shimmering Pacific Ocean.

We also recommend Stanley Park’s admission-free Nature House for the lowdown on the region’s plants and animals. Aside from its wildlife exhibits, the facility also hosts low-cost guided park walks, often illuminating resident critters, from herons to raccoons.

People laying on the sand at Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver Kitsilano Beach offers one of the region’s signature panoramas © Kevin Miller / Getty Images

Take some sun at Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach is one of Vancouver’s favorite summertime hangouts. The wide, sandy expanse attracts buff Frisbee tossers, giggling volleyball players and preening sunbathers, with the ocean offering choice opportunities for a dip. 

Perch on a log on a summer afternoon to see one of the region’s signature panoramas: the shimmering seafront backed by the twinkling glass towers of downtown and the North Shore mountains beyond. It’s one of those vistas that might leave you considering your emigration options.

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Stop and listen to the Steam Clock 

Halfway along Water St, the oddly popular Steam Clock is a tourist magnet with a tooting whistle that sounds every 15 minutes, and which marks each hour with little whistling symphonies. Built in 1977, the…

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