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Frugal Fun in Our City: What are the best things to do in Vancouver for free?

Frugal Fun in Our City What are the best things to do in Vancouver for free

Whoever said the best things in life are free must have had Vancouver in mind! Finding joy doesn’t have to come with a price tag in a city framed by snow-dusted mountains and whispering pines. 

Our wallets often whimper at the thought of city adventures, but hold onto your loonies and toonies because we’re about to dive into Vancouver’s vortex of $0-priced pleasures! Not kidding – you won’t have to spend a dime.

Explore Stanley Park’s Seawall

– Media from soniamop

Location: Stanley Park Seawall Path, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Contact: +1 604-873-7000

Opening hours: Open 24 hours


Stanley Park is a journey through diverse realms of urban and natural beauty. Spanning about 22 kilometres, this masterpiece is the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. Here’s a secret, though: it’s not just the length that’s impressive but what you encounter along the way.

You start with the bustling Coal Harbour, a picturesque marina where the city’s modernity is fully displayed. But Seawall isn’t just a feast for the senses. It’s a historian’s delight too. Brockton Point with its totem poles tells the story of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. 

But let’s not forget the artistry of the Seawall. The Siwash Rock is standing resilient against the tides and is a sculptural masterpiece crafted by time itself.

Relax at English Bay Beach

– Media from englishbaybeach

Location: Beach Ave, Vancouver, BC V6C 3C1, Canada

Contact: +1 604-873-7000

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM


At English Bay Beach, you’re at the heart of Vancouver’s most beautiful downtown waterfront. It’s basically a canvas painted with the softest sands, set against a backdrop of towering skyscrapers and lush, green parks. 

And for those with a spirit of adventure, this place doesn’t disappoint. Want to explore the bay differently? Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are at your service, offering a unique vantage point of the city’s stunning skyline. 

The beach is also a stone’s throw away from trendy Denman Street. It’s a culinary and shopping haven where the flavours and treasures of the world converge. 

Stroll through Gastown and see the Steam Clock

– Media from lizi0903

Location: 305 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B9, Canada

Contact: +1 604-873-7000

Opening hours: Open 24 hours


Built in 1977 by the renowned Canadian horologist Raymond Saunders, the Steam Clock is a blend of Victorian design and modern technology. While its gears are electrically powered, the steam adds a touch of antique charm. 

Every quarter hour, the lock whistles and puffs – turning heads and sparkling conversations. 

But the Steam Clock isn’t the only star of Gastown. The neighbourhood itself is a mosaic of history, fashion, and gastronomy. Cobblestone streets lead to chic boutiques, galleries, and sparking conversations. 

Discover the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

– Media from jeftesanchez

Location: 3663 Park Road, North Vancouver, BC V7J 3K2, Canada

Contact: +1 604-990-3755

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM 


Built in 1912, this 40-meter-long bridge isn’t just a pathway but a journey through time, connecting you to the rich tapestry of Vancouver’s natural history. 

The park spans over 600 acres, a living mosaic of forest trails, crystal-clear swimming holes, and breathtaking waterfalls. 

The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge also serves as a vantage point for the park’s stunning landscapes. Whether it’s the rustle of leaves, the chorus of birds, or the dance of sunlight through the canopy, every element here conspired to create a symphony of nature.

Visit the Capilano Salmon Hatchery

– Media from claire.hh_

Location: 4500 Capilano Park Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4L3, Canada

Contact: +1 604-666-1790

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM 


This government-run fish farm plays a crucial role in preserving salmon species like coho, chinook, and steelhead. The best time to visit? From July to November, when adult salmon can be seen making their heroic swim upstream through fish ladders to reach their spawning grounds.

Established in 1971, the Capilano River Hatchery is responsible for raising and releasing over 1 million salmon annually. Here, you get the opportunity to learn about the salmon’s life cycle and the hatchery’s role in supporting it. 

The hatchery offers a chance to view salmon up close in their natural habitat, especially during the fall months from September to November, which is the best time to witness the salmon run.

Walk around the Olympic Village

– Media from philchangprec

Location: Salt St, Vancouver, BC V5Y 0E4, Canada


Originally constructed as the Athlete’s Village for the 2010 Winter Olympics, this place has transformed into a sustainable community and must-visit destination. 

One of the main attractions is its commitment to sustainability. Recognized as one of the greenest communities in North America, it sets a high standard for sustainable development. 

Anyway, if you’re interested in arts and culture, this place does not disappoint. The area is dotted with public art installations, including the eye-catching giant bird sculptures at Olympic Village Square.

Gaze at the Stars at GMS Observatory

– Media from spacecentreyvr

Location: 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9, Canada

Contact: +1 604-738-7827

Opening hours: 

  • Wednesday & Friday – 6:30 PM to 11:30 PM


Part of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, the GMS Observatory offers a unique and educational experience for stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts in Vancouver. Equipped with a half-meter Cassegrain telescope, the observatory allows you to gaze deep into the cosmos.

Just keep in mind that the observatory is open to the public for free viewings on Friday and Saturday evenings from July 1 to Labour Day, and on Saturday evenings from Labour Day to July 1 (so mark your calendars!).

Watch a street performance in Robson Square

– Media from downtownvan

Location: 800 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1A7, Canada

Contact:  +1 604-822-3333

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9:00 PM to 9:00 PM


Designed by the famous Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, Robson Square serves as a cultural and social hub that offers an array of free entertainment options that attract both locals and tourists. 

The square frequently hosts diverse performances ranging from street musicians to dance troupes. One notable event here is the Vancouver Street Dance Festival. It’s the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest that celebrates street dance culture with performances and battles.

Visit the Christ Church Cathedral

– Media from vancouver_cathedral

Location: 690 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2L1, Canada

Contact: +1 604-682-3848

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Friday – 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Sunday – 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM


Completed in 1895, this impressive heritage building is not only one of Vancouver’s largest and most important places of worship but it also stands as a beautiful example of Gothic-style architecture that’s open to the public for exploration and reflection.

Located at 690 Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver, this venue is the cathedral church for the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster. It provides church services throughout the week and occasionally serves as a venue for public performances.

In addition to its regular church services, Christ Church Cathedral also hosts various special events and concerts. These events are often part of larger festivals or concert series taking place in Vancouver, such as the Vancouver Summer Festival.

Play disc golf at Queen Elizabeth Park

– Media from stephen_hillier

Location: 4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2Z1, Canada

Contact: +1 604-873-7000

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM


Playing disc golf at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver is a delightful and cost-free way to spend time outdoors. Located on the east side of the park, the Little Mountain Disc Gold Course is a compact and popular 9-hole course that caters to players on sunny days. 

The course also features 18 concrete tee pads, with both octagonal pads for short tees and rectangular pads for long tees. And with 13 baskets in total, players can enjoy a variety of layouts and challenges. 

Watch the water at Lonsdale Quay

– Media from lonsdalequay

Location: 123 Carrie Cates Ct, North Vancouver, BC V7M 3K7, Canada

Contact: +1 604-985-6261

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM


Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver provides a serene and picturesque setting for watching the water and soaking in the beautiful vistas. This waterfront location offers stunning views of Vancouver’s skyline both during the day and night. 

Here, you can enjoy a stroll along the pier, and couples or those celebrating special occasions might want to leave a lock on the famous Love Lock Fence. 

For those looking for a more interactive experience, the Shipyards Splash Park at Lonsdale Quay offers a fun and refreshing way to cool off during the summer months.

Wander through Pacific Spirit Park

– Media from jorgerod2000

Location: 5495 Chancellor Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1E4, Canada

Contact: +1 604-224-5739

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM


Pacific Spirit Park offers a serene escape with over 750 hectares of forest and a network of trails that’s perfect for walkers, joggers, and nature enthusiasts. 

With over 70 kilometres of trails, including seven kilometres of shoreline trails on the Georgia Strait, Pacific Spirit Park is a paradise for outdoor lovers. The trails range in difficulty and scenery, offering everything from strolls to more challenging hikes. 

The park’s trails are well-maintained and accessible all year round. Whether you’re seeking solitude, a place to exercise, or simply a beautiful setting to enjoy with friends and family, Pacific Spirit Park caters to all.

Climb St. Mark’s summit

– Media from vancitywild

Location: Greater Vancouver A, BC, Canada


St. Mark’s Summit is conveniently located within Cypress Provincial Park, just a short drive from downtown Vancouver. This accessibility makes it an attractive option for both locals and tourists looking for a cost-effective outdoor adventure.

The trail itself is a moderate 11-kilometer round trip, which typically takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete. It offers a fantastic opportunity for hikers of various skill levels to immerse themselves in the lush Pacific Northwest rainforest. 

Along the way, you’ll encounter towering Douglas fir and cedar trees, bubbling streams, and if you’re lucky, perhaps even some local wildlife!

Visit Lighthouse Park

– Media from specialgen

Location: 4902 Beacon Ln, West Vancouver, BC V7W 1K5, Canada

Contact: +1 604-925-7275

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM


The main draw of Lighthouse Park is, of course, its rugged and captivating coastal scenery. As you meander through the park’s well-maintained trails, you’ll be immersed in a lush and temperate forest.

A visit to this park is not complete without a hike to the park’s namesake, the Point Atkinson Lighthouse. The hike is relatively short and manageable, taking about 30 minutes to reach the lighthouse from the parking area.

For those who are more adventurous, there are also opportunities for rock climbing along the park’s cliffs, although this requires a permit from the District of West Vancouver. 

Check out Wreck Beach

– Media from its_pa_vi_thra

Location: SW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada


Wreck Beach is renowned for being one of the largest clothing-optional beaches in North America. While some may initially be drawn to the liberating experience of shedding inhibitions, there’s much more to this beach than its clothing-optional status. 

One of the striking features of this beach is its natural setting. The coastline is framed by lush forests, rugged cliffs, and stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a haven for nature lovers and photographers that offers a scenic escape from the urban hustle and bustle.