Vancouver, the bustling seaport with amazing nature, surrounded by mountains, thriving art, theater and music scenes, and … record breaker of rainy days (October ‘16). In fact, as Canada’s third most rainy city, it’s estimated to rain in Vancouver 161 days per year. That’s more than a third of the year! Thankfully, a reputation for rain also means that there are tonnes of things readily available for locals and tourists alike to do, even if you happen to be there on rainy day #156 of 161.
1. Keep warm in the 'garden under glass': Queen Elizabeth Park’s Bloedel Conservatory
Even if it’s raining outdoors, being at Queen Elizabeth Park’s Bloedel Conservatory will keep you dry while feeling like you’re actually outdoors. Sheltered by the second largest dome greenhouse in the world is a tropical garden with more than 500 varities of plants and 120 colourful, exotic birds flying freely. On a chilly, rainy day, this safe haven keeps the whole family thrilled and tropical warm.
Queen Elizabeth Park's Bloedel Conservatory
Address: 4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Y, Canada
Price: from 3.15 USD for children and 6.50 USD for adults.
Opening Hours: 10am–5pm, 7 days a week.
Duration: About 1 hour.
Access: The main entrance to the Bloedel Conservatory is located off 33rd Avenue between Cambie and Main Streets.
Contact: 604 8737000
2. Be mesmerised by the water creatures at Vancouver Aquarium
A Vancouver highlight that’s not to be missed, the Vancouver Aquarium features a myriad of aquariums of stingrays, fish, jellyfish, octopus, sharks, otters and penguins, and even live dolphins. There are also a number of exciting shows starring dolphins, porpoises, and penguins among others, and a 4D theatre for an immersive underwater experience. It’s easy for visitors of all ages to spend a whole day here admiring the beautiful creatures.
Address: 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada
Price: From 21 USD
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm In winter, the quietest hours to visit are on weekdays, and in summer, try to come before 11 am or after 4 pm to avoid the crowds.
Duration: Around 3 hours required.
Access: A short 15-20 minute walk from downtown. Follow the green signs leading into Stanley Park on the north side of Georgia Street or walk/bike along the Seawall. Take a bus. The most common routes are:Take the #19 Bus to Stanley Park, which runs along West Pender Street. Take the Skytrain to Burrard Station and connect to the #19 bus on West Pender at Burrard Street. Take the Canada Line or the Seabus to Waterfront and connect to the #19 bus on West Pender
Contact: 604 6593474
Website: Vancouver Aquarium
3. Match the rainy mood with chills at Vancouver Police Museum
If you’re a fan of detective mysteries or always thought it would be cool to do what those guys on CSI do, the Vancouver Police Museum is the place for you. The museum is literally an old city morgue and autopsy facility, with more than 20000 artefacts including real confiscated weapons and counterfeit money. At the True Crime gallery, staring at the photos and real evidence from some of Vancouver’s most notorious and unsolved historical crimes, including the Milkshake Murder, Babes in the Woods, and the Kosberg Murder, might just give you the chills. And if that isn’t enough, you can visit the authentic autopsy suite, barely changed since the last autopsy was performed there in 1980.
Vancouver Police Museum
Address: 240 E Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1L3, Canada
Price: from 8 USD
Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Duration: Around 3 hours required.
Access: The #4 Powell and the #7 Nanaimo bus routes operate from Granville Street or Waterfront Skytrain Stations and both stop half a block from the museum.
Contact: +1 604 6653346
Website: Vancouver Police Museum
4. Fascinate your inner geek at Science World
Science World looks impressive enough from the outside, but step inside to be fascinated by all things Science, including many hands-on experiments and activities that are especially a hit with the kids. Both fun and educational, Science World gives you a chance to explore everything in the physical world that we often take for granted. While you’re here, make sure not to miss the especially popular BodyWorks exhibit, where you can power a drum with your heartbeat, see your face at age 70, squish yourself inside a small box and find out how high you can jump. Here are all the answers to questions you (or your kids) have always had like - What do I look like? What can I do? What’s inside of me? Where did I come from?
Address: 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC V6A 3Z7, Canada
Price: from $15.25 USD for children and $23.25 for adults.
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.
Duration: Around 3 hours required.
Access: Across the street from Main Street-Science World SkyTrain Station. Aquabus and False Creek Ferries make stops near TELUS World of Science. Five minutes away from downtown Vancouver along the beautiful False Creek seawall walking and biking path.
Contact: +1 604 4437440
Website: Science World
5. Savour the view at Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant
The best part of Top of Vancouver is the spectacular sweeping views of the mountains, the ocean and the cityscape, with a side of fine dining. Located 553 feet high, the chilled out ambience of this upscale restaurant is perfect for a unique Vancouver-style date with the loved ones. You may not want to expect too much when it comes to the food, though it’s on the pricier end with pasta and meat priced between 20-40 USD and seafood between 30 - 60 USD, but the scenery almost makes up for it.
Top of Vancouver
Address: 555 Hastings St E, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Seymour Street)
Price: from 20 USD
Opening Hours: Lunch - Monday - Saturday : 11:30am - 3:00pm. Brunch - Sunday: 11:00am - 3:00pm. Snacks & Dessert - Monday -Saturday: 3:00pm - 5:00pm. Dinner - Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
Access: Top of the Harbour Centre Tower Downtown Vancouver. 2 Blocks southeast of Canada Place and the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.
Contact: 604 6692220
Website: Top of Vancouver
6. Get trippy at the Vancouver Laser Show
For a slightly more quirky activity, try out the Vancouver Laser Show…because we’ve all watched films on a large flat screen, but have you ever watched astronomy images and laser lights on a huge 360-degree dome? The Laser Show has been a hit with the people of Vancouver for the past 33 years, and the videos projected on the dome have been paired with music from Rachmaninoff to Radiohead, from the Beatles to the Beastie Boys, and from the Poppy Family to Pink Floyd. For those who like space and music.
Vancouver Laser Show
Address: 3700 Willingdon Avenue, Building SW3, in Burnaby
Price: from 11 USD
Opening Hours: 7.00pm -11.00 pm, Fridays and Saturdays.
Duration: Around 1 hour
Website: Laser Show
7. Laugh the gloom away at one of Vancouver’s fine comedy shows
One thing that won’t get dampened by a rainy day is a sense of humour, and Vancouver has loads of that to offer with its thriving comedy scene. There are stand-up acts, improv performances and shows suitable for all ages. If comedy is your thing, two popular comedy clubs you should check out here are the Comedy MIX and Yuk Yuk’s. They have shows every night with a host of different comedians bound to make you laugh any gloomy day away.
Address: 1015 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y5, Canada
Price: from 8 USD
Opening Hours: 7pm–12:30am daily.
Duration: Around 2 hours required.
Contact: 604 6845050
Website: The Comedy MIX
Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club Vancouver
Address: 2837 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3Y8, Canada
Opening Hours: 7pm –11pm daily
Duration: around 2 hours required.
Website: Yuk Yuk’s Stand Up Comedy
8. Enjoy a matinee at Arts Club Theatre Company
If you could catch one theatre show while you’re in Vancouver, make it one from the Arts Club Theatre Company. Founded in 1964, they are the biggest theatre company in Western Canada and offer the best in the professional live theatre all year round at one of their three locations.
Arts Club Theatre Company
Address: Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, 2750 Granville Street (@ 12th Avenue) Vancouver, BC, V6H 3J3. Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnston Street (next to the Public Market) Vancouver, BC, V6H 3R9. Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre, 162 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Y 0H6
Contact: 604 6871644
Website: Arts Club Theatre Company
9. Visit one of Vancouver’s microbreweries
Something’s brewing in the neighbourhoods of Vancouver, and you’re welcome to have a taste of it. Craft and microbreweries have been popping up in Vancouver’s neighbourhoods, often with enticing taste rooms where you can sample unique local crafts. Some favourites for craft-tasting are the Brassneck Brewery on Main Street, Main Street Brewing, and 33 Acres Brewing.
Address: 2148 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3C5, Canada
Opening Hours: 12 pm - 11 pm.
Contact: +1 604 2597686
Website: Brassneck Brewery
10. Grab coffee and browse books
And as always, rainy days are perfect days to curl up with a book. Here, you can take your pick of cosy little bookstores. On Main, drop by at the renowned Pulpfiction Books, which hosts one of the best collections of new and used books. From there, you may want to head on to Macleod’s Books or the charming Paper Hound. If you feel like it, you could sit down for coffee at Gene Cafe. Or go to Regional Assembly of Text, a stationary store with quirky journals and writing tools. If you happen to drop by on the first Thursday of the month, you could even join in their socials - a time to write postcards and letters home to loved ones together.
Address: 2422 Main Street (on the east side of Main Street, halfway between Broadway and 8th), Vancouver, Canada.
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 10am-8pm, Thu-Sat 10am-9pm, Sunday 11am-7pm, Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day; open all other stat holidays.
Contact: 604 8764311
Website: Pulpfiction books
Address: 455 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1V2, Canada
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-6pm, Holidays 12noon-5pm
Entertaining, potentially educational
Vancouver does seem pretty self-aware to the fact that it rains a lot there, and more than makes up for it with its countless entertaining activities that may end up being educational too. It’s almost as if these activities and the rain go hand in hand as part of the whole Vancouver experience - and why not?
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