Vancouver's Fall Highlights
The city’s theatre calendar comes to life in the fall! Catch Pulitzer Prize-winner The Flick on the Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island Stage, the election-themed Fight Night at The Cultch, or the saucy Miss Shakespeare at Fire Hall Arts Centre.
For the musically-inclined, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s season kicks off in late September, with highlights including “The Music of David Bowie” (Oct 5), the China Philharmonic North American Tour (Nov 30), and the popular VSO Pops series. Vancouver Opera’s 2016/2017 seasons launches in late November with a production of Hansel & Gretel.
Vancouver’s fall festival schedule offers lots of arts-focused options, including the acclaimed Vancouver International Film Festival (Sep 29 – Oct 14), the literary minded Vancouver Writers Fest (Oct 17 – 23), and the Eastside Culture Crawl (Nov 17 – 20)—an opportunity to explore the studios of the city’s independent artists and craftspeople.
Fall signals the beginning of hockey season for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, playing at downtown’s Rogers Arena, as well as the WHL’s Vancouver Giants doing battle out at in Langley. But you can also still catch a late season Vancouver Whitecaps soccer match, or BC Lions Canadian football game – their seasons wrap in October and November respectively.
For a full calendar of fall events, visit our events page, or head over to Tickets Tonight to purchase tickets. Stop by their booth in the Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre for day-of, half-price tickets!
Top Sightseeing Options
Even with a couple of hours of free time during your stay, you’ll have plenty of time to get an authentic Vancouver experience. The city’s seawall starts at the Vancouver Convention Centre and travels 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) around Stanley Park and then further around the waterfront. On a sunny fall day, a stroll or bike-ride along the route makes for a great way to spend a few hours. Or grab an Aquabus mini-ferry over False Creek to Granville Island. The spot is famous for its public market, but you’ll also find plenty of tempting cafes, artisan studios and other souvenir-worthy diversions.
Most of Vancouver’s attractions are open year round, but fall can be an especially lovely time to visit them. Rise high above the city at Vancouver Lookout to get your bearings as well as a great view of leaves turning colour. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is also a great rainy-day option (yes, a garden in the rain!) as it’s designed to be enjoyed throughout all 12 months. Capilano Suspension Bridge will give you a glimpse into our temperate rainforest – while there, thrill seekers should check out the attraction’s Cliffwalk feature!
Organized sightseeing tours can be a great way to take in as much as possible in a limited amount of time. Hop-on, hop-off buses such as the Vancouver Trolley Company have stops at most of Vancouver’s top attractions, and you get some entertaining commentary on your way. Day-long or half-day trips during the fall include Landsea Tours’ City Highlights excursion, through to Westcoast Sightseeing’s tour of the North Shore’s Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. Or incorporate a bit of exercise into your sightseeing with a City Cycle bike tour or Rockwood Adventures’ interpretive rainforest walk.
The city’s galleries range from the acclaimed Vancouver Art Gallery right on Robson, through to smaller, independent spaces such as Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery and Uno Langmann, where you can pick up museum-quality pieces to take home. Delve into the region’s First Nations culture with a visit to the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art or the Museum of Anthropology at UBC.
Whether you need to pick up souvenirs for those at home, or treat yourself to something special, Vancouver’s shopping scene will not disappoint. Downtown shopping is centred around Robson Street, with Pacific Centre mall (home to both Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom department stores) anchoring one end. Stroll nearby neighbourhoods like Yaletown and Gastown for independent boutiques and shops, or hit McArthurGlen Designer Outlet (just two train stops from the airport) to fill your suitcase with deals.
Exploring Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods is a great way to spend the afternoon, hanging out with the locals. Grab a coffee and wander downtown areas such as hip Yaletown, the beach-side West End, or historic Gastown. If you’ve got some extra time to head further afield, check out our neighbourhood guide for other suggestions.
Vancouver makes a great starting point for exploring British Columbia. So you might want to extend your stay by a couple of days to see more of our province. The world-class ski resort of Whistler is just two hours from downtown Vancouver. The mountain usually opens in November for skiing, but day trips to take in the amazing mountain scenery and lively village are always recommended. The province’s capital city, Victoria makes a charming day trip, especially if accessed via a scenic 35-minute float plane ride. And fall in the Okanagan Valley, B.C.’s wine country, is a beautiful (and delicious) way to experience the harvest season.
Looking for more ideas? Visit our Itineraries page for a suggested two-day schedule for getting the most out of Vancouver during your stay.
Vancouver On Your Plate (And In Your Glass)
Vancouver is a city that is very passionate about what’s on its plate and in its glass. From fresh West Coast seafood (look for the sustainable Ocean Wise symbol on menus), through to seasonal delicacies, and fusion cuisine that represents the multi-cultural diversity of our city. Critics say we have some of the best Asian food in the world, but you’ll find that our chefs have put their own stamp on it, combining local ingredients (like Pacific salmon, foraged mushrooms and berries) with traditional techniques. Here are 10 must-visit restaurants for your fall visit to Vancouver:
- Nightingale – The casual sister to legendary Hawksworth Restaurant.
- Miku – Unique sushi, with a lovely patio for sunny fall lunches.
- Blue Water Café – Splash out on an awe-inspiring seafood tower.
- Tap & Barrel – Excellent place to try BC craft beer and local wines.
- Cactus Club Coal Harbour – Casual fine dining and an inspiring view.
- Mahony & Sons Public House – Pints and pub-inspired comfort food.
- Cardero’s – Relaxed waterfront spot known for cedar-plank salmon.
- Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar – Great place to grab drinks and a bite post-meeting.
- Coast Restaurant – Seafood menu within a stunning room with lots of atmosphere.
- LIFT – A beautiful rooftop patio for cocktails on a sunny day with a view of Stanley Park
Whether you’re a wine lover, cocktail hound or beer fan, you’ll never find yourself thirsty in Vancouver! British Columbia produces its own wine, and you’ll find it on the menu at most local restaurants. The city also boasts a thriving craft brewing scene –Gastown’s Steamworks Brewing Company, Railtown’s The Belgard Kitchen and Mount Pleasant’s Big Rock Urban Brewery are all great places to sample the local wares. Cocktail bars such as Clough Club, The Cascade Room and UVA often use spirits from Vancouver’s own distilleries, putting a local twist on your G&T, gimlet or greyhound.
If you’re interested in exploring the culinary scene outside of the bar or restaurant, consider signing up for a tour! Crawl the city’s beer scene with Vancouver Brewery Tours, a tour of a tasty neighbourhood on foot with Off the Eaten Track, or taste your way around Granville Island Public Market with Vancouver Foodie Tours
Need More Information?
We’re looking forward to seeing you in Vancouver really soon, following your adventure and hearing about the memories you make while you’re in our city. We know there’s a lot of information to absorb here, but perhaps you’re looking for something more specific. In that case, check out Inside Vancouver – Tourism Vancouver’s blog dedicated to what’s going on the city and tips from locals. Follow us on social media for further trip inspiration or to ask a questions or two: