When you’re visiting a city like Vancouver, so known for rain that its nickname is “Raincouver”, you need to be prepared for indoor activities on your trip. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Having been to Vancouver several times now, I can honestly say there was never a visit without at least a little bit of rain. It taught me a thing or two about things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day.
Whether you don’t mind the rain or want to stay dry inside, here’s a list of things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day. But, before we get into that, let’s go over a few things you need to know to make your visit the most enjoyable.
What makes Vancouver special?
Its natural beauty and wide array of activities is what makes Vancouver such an ideal place to visit in Canada. In fact, Vancouver has been featured on many lists’ top cities to live again and again for its mix of nature and urban elements. With its beaches, mountains, forests history, food, culture and art, you won’t find anything that’s not to love about this city, maybe with the exception of its rain of course.
See also: Best Things to do in Vancouver, Canada
When is the best time to visit Vancouver?
The Summer brings Vancouver’s warmest and sunniest weather. It’s also most people’s favorite time to visit hence the crowds and price increases. If you want to avoid this, another great time to visit is during Vancouver’s “shoulder season” which is the period before or after Summer. But, be prepared for rain.
When does it rain the most in Vancouver?
Vancouver’s rainiest time of year is November, December and January. However, the rain season is typically from October to June.
How to get around Vancouver when it’s raining
When it’s not the weather for a bike or boat ride, you can catch a Taxi, Uber or Lyft which Vancouver just introduced into the city in 2020. There’s also the sea bus, bus or rapid transit. See here for public transit.
What to wear in Vancouver on a rainy day
Vancouver’s weather can be quite unpredictable. One day, you could walk out of your hotel on a sunny, warm day. The next, you might need a raincoat and umbrella. Dress knowing that it could rain at any moment. Rather than walking around in clunky rainboots, opt for vinyl boots with rubber soles or leather boots. Wear a waterproof coat or, pack a light, foldable poncho which you can throw in your bag.
Things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day
Here are a few things to get you out the house/your hotel room during the rainy days in Vancouver. You’ll find both outdoor and indoor things to do in Vancouver in the rain.
Where to spend the afternoon outside in the rain in Vancouver
If you don’t mind the rain…
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park | North Vancouver
With its history, various restaurants, shops, breathtaking sights and adventures, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a destination which you could easily spend the entire day at. At the beginning of your visit, you’ll be given a map which acts as a passport.
It’s fun to see how many stamps you can collect at all the different stops. Walk the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge or Cliff Walk which is suspended over canyons. You can also learn about BC nation’s first people at Kia’palano or, have a treehouse adventure in the rainforest amidst 1,300 year old Douglas-firs. Then, grab a bite to eat or sip at one of the park’s coffeehouses, restaurant or bars.
Just make sure to wear waterproof shoes, a decent rain jacket and have a waterproof cover for any bags.
Grouse Mountain | North Vancouver
If you want to take “adventure” to new heights, spend the day at Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain and explore the scenary, animals and activities that await you. You’ll start off riding Grouse Grind, a gondola that takes you up the mountain.
Up there, you can do fun things like go on a beautiful hike, ziplining, a rope course, see grizzly bears, ride in the sky on Eye of the Wind, play disc golf, catch an indoor show, or outdoor shows like the lumberjack show or “Birds in Motion”. You can even take a chairlift or hike up the mountain which overlooks all of Vancouver and is beautiful at sunset.
Spend the afternoon in Stanley Park | Downtown
Back on sea level, take in the fresh air and beautiful views that Vancouver has to offer at Stanley Park, North America’s third largest park and Vancouver’s first and largest park. This gives you an opportunity to experience mountains, water and a rain forest all at once.
Enjoy the park’s sights with a relaxing bike ride or skate along the Seawall, a 5.5 mile waterfront path along English Bay and Vancouver Harbour. You’ll pass popular spots like Lion’s Gate Bridge, beaches, monuments like “Siwash Rock”, Lumbermen’s Arch, Prospect Point and the First Nations peoples’ totem poles, which are BC’s most visited tourist attraction. Check out Stanley Park’s maps to see where you want to start first.
Lunch at Teahouse Restaurant | Stanley Park at Ferguson Point
Located at Ferguson Point, this quaint restaurant with idyllic views is the perfect reprieve after a day of exploring in Stanley Park. Enjoy lovely views of English Bay from the dining room while enjoying West Coast cuisine.
Take a day trip from Vancouver to Seattle
Looking for another place to visit on your Vancouver trip? Check out Seattle, Washington, a city rich in history, delicious food, adventure, fun activities, and stunning scenery. It’s easy to get to with a relaxing train ride just over 3 hours!
Check out my guide to Seattle for foodie finds, places to see, things to do and where to stay!
Where to spend the afternoon inside on a rainy day in Vancouver
If you want to stay dry, here are a few indoor activities in Vancouver:
Vancouver Aquarium | Stanley Park, Downtown
While you’re in Stanley Park, take a break and head to the aquarium located inside. With over 60,000 animals like sea otters, penguins, bears, frogs, turtles and sharks as well as over 30 unique exhibits, you can experience environments and animals that range from the Arctic to the Tropics. The best part? You’ll be entertained for hours while staying dry.
Spa | Downtown
Give those tired feet a rest and book a treatment at JW Parq Vancouver. Then, enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the Aqua Lounge on the 17th floor.
Canada Place | Downtown
An iconic landmark on Vancouver’s waterfront, Canada Place stands out in the distance. Built to look like a sailing ship with sails reminiscent of Sydney’s Opera House, this building houses a Welcome Center, IMAX theater, convention center, hotel, numerous art exhibits, as well as Vancouver World Trade Center. It’s also a cruise ship terminal! I docked here for my Alaskan cruise.
At night, it’s unmistakable with its lit up and colorful sails. See it from Vancouver Lookout! Then, listen for the Heritage Horns that have been playing “O Canada” every day at noon for over 20 years.
Getting here: Come and go by riding the Skytrain via Waterfront Station or, take the the Seabus which is a ferry connecting North and Downtown Vancouver. They’re both located near Canada Place’s building.
FlyOver Canada | Canada Place, Downtown
What better way to spend a rainy day than with a virtual flight ride flying over Canada? Inspired by Disney’s Soarin’ Over California, FlyOver Canada, (located in Canada Place) takes you 62’ (19 m) into the air as the air is sprayed with mist, scents and wind to make the make you feel like you’re really flying! Not for those scared of heights.f
You can book below:
Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant | Downtown
I took my boyfriend to Top of Vancouver for his birthday and he loved it. But, you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy this beautiful lookout point and fine dining experience 553 feet (167m) above Vancouver. Enjoy a nice meal during the day when the sun is still out to catch stunning views of the mountains, rugged coastline and ocean then, watch the city light up the night sky as you enjoy your cocktail and dessert. Make a reservation in advance, dress your best and get ready to be impressed.
Granville Island Public Market | Granville Island
At Granville Public Market, you’ll find boutique shops, restaurants, food shops that sell organic baked goods, fresh seafood, spices, wine & spirits as well as patisseries, butchers and farmers markets with fresh, locally grown produce.
Vancouver Public Library | Downtown
Resembling the Roman Colosseum, Vancouver’s Public Library is a work of art and the perfect place to hideaway on a rainy day/ Relax with a book as you enjoy the natural light brought in from the floor to ceiling windows and the almost 360 degree views of the city. You’ll find reading and study areas that are accessible through skylit bridge walkways as well as a greenroof on the 9th floor.
Watch a Soccer game at BC Place | Downtown
Brunch at Honey Salt | Downtown
Head inside the beautiful and sweet smelling JW Parq Vancouver Hotel for some brunch, lunch or rose all day at Honey Salt. There you can have custom made crepes made right at your table.
Bill Reid Gallery | Downtown
Take some time out of your rainy day in Vancouver to experience the culture of the Pacific Northwest at Bill Reid Gallery which displays art at its museum and gallery beautifully. In fact, the Bill Reid Gallery is Canada’s only public gallery dedicated to contemporary art showcasing the Indigenous Northwest Coast and its people. The gallery’s goal is to bridge the gap between cultures including the indigenous and others who have settled here.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden | Chinatown
Head to Chinatown and visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Here, you’ll learn about Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and the history of ancient Chinese culture. You’ll feel as though you’re stepping back into time and the era of the Ming Dynasty as you stroll the idyllic garden, which is the first authentic, full scale Chinese garden build outside of China. It’s become a way to honor the culture of the Chinese Canadian community.
Yaletown Brewing Company | Yaletown
This is Vancouver’s original brewpub and many argue, it’s best. To make a birthday celebration extra special, they’ll even shoot confetti at you. But, if it’s not your birthday, you can still enjoy brew bites like wings, pizza, fries, burgers and of course, beer.
Shop at CF Pacific Centre | Downtown
Take time for some retail therapy at Downtown Vancouver’s largest mall. With over 100 stores on 3 floors, you’re sure to walk out of CF Pacific Centre with something you like.
Catch a show at Orpheum Theatre | Downtown
A designated National Heritage site, Orpheum Theatre seats 2,688 guests and houses The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Vancouver Bach Choir, and Vancouver Cantata Singers. If you’ve heard of “Orpheum Theatre” before it’s because their theaters can be found worldwide. In addition to choir and orchestra performances, you can also catch concerts from your favorite artists.
Stroll the Gastown District
Vancouver’s Gastown district has lots of charm and character but also, history. This is the city’s original settlement and the core of Vancouver. Try one of the many delicious foodie finds in the area, shop at one of the boutique stores, enjoy the architecture covering 12 city blocks and don’t forget to stop by and take a pic of the steam clock and other monuments you’re sure to pass by.
Where to enjoy nightlife in Vancouver in the rain
Casino | Downtown
Feelin’ lucky? Head to Parq Vancouver’s swanky casino and put your money where your mouth is. Play at one of their tables, slots or high limit salons.
Have a laugh at a comedy club
For something different than the typical night life scene, step inside one of Vancouver’s comedy clubs and have a laugh. Try The Comedy Mix, a club that’s been around for years and currently trying to find a new home in the city. It has hysterical stand up acts and reasonably priced apps and drinks.
Unwind at a Hookah Lounge
For a fun night out, try Kayan Shisha Café, a hookah lounge in Burnaby, B.C. You can also dine there or have a drink.
Don’t get the Vancouver rain hold you back
And there you have it… Things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day, whether you don’t mind the rain or would rather stay dry, inside. We hope you got some great ideas! Don’t let the weather stop you from having a great time in this wonderful city.