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Best Major Festivals and Events in Vancouver

Best Major Festivals and Events in Vancouver

With all of the festivals going on in Vancouver, you may be thinking, “Should I start planning my events of the year?” Our answer is a big fat YES!

Vancouver has a lot of festivals that can take up the whole year. But which one to attend is the question, and we’ve answered it with a curated list of events that are as eclectic as Canada is diverse.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival

– Media credit: dineoutvanfest



  • Annually: January and February
  • 2024: January 17 to February 4

The secret to understanding the culture of a place is through its food, just like the way to our hearts is through good eats! Now, Dine Out Vancouver is a 17-day celebration, held annually in January. 

It showcases street food like no other by displaying various culinary scenes, cooking workshops, tastings, classes, and menus. 

The festival began with just 53 restaurants offering fixed-price 3-course meals. Now, it features 250 restaurants with items ranging from $20 to $40. 

Pro Tip:
Tickets sell out quickly, so act fast to secure yours.

Vancouver Pride Festival

– Media credit: vancouverpride



  • Annually: Late July to early August
  • 2024: July 26 to August 4

Bring out your rainbow flags, glitter, or leather gear, or just be your fabulous self! At the Vancouver Pride Festival, you’ll experience one of Western Canada’s largest LGBTQ+ celebrations, attracting thousands of participants worldwide. 

The festival includes a parade, community events, parties, and performances that celebrate diversity, inclusion, and equality. It’s a platform for advocacy, visibility, and solidarity within the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

The festival route usually winds through Robson Street, Denman Street, and Beach Avenue. It also usually ends at Sunset Beach, drawing millions of visitors along the way to join in the grand celebration. 

But for 2024, you’ll notice a change in route. Floats, dancers, and participants will start from the intersection of Denman and Davie Streets, near English Bay. 

They’ll then proceed approximately four kilometers down Beach Avenue and Pacific Street. This now gives them a different perspective on the festivities.

With 20 official events spanning the weekend, attendees can enjoy parades, parties, concerts, block parties, and more. Time to sashay and partay!

Pro Tip:
Pack your Pride essentials: charged phone and portable charger, wallet with ID and cash, refillable water bottle, snacks, and extra shirt.

Vancouver International Jazz Festival

– Media credit: coastaljazz



  • Annually: Late June to early July
  • 2024: June 21 to 30

At the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, you’ll find yourself diving into world-class music. It features performances by jazz, blues, funk, and world music artists at various indoor and outdoor venues across the city. 

Naturally, the festival boasts a wide range of jazz performers, from up-and-comers to world-renowned legends. Whether you’re a fan of jazz or simply looking for the best things to do in Vancouver, you won’t be disappointed. 

Pro Tip:
Tickets start at just $15, but make sure to get yours in advance to get the best seats in the house.

Bard on the Beach

– Media credit: bardonthebeach



  • Annually: June to September
  • 2024: June 11 to September 21

Bard on the Beach is Western Canada’s largest Shakespeare festival. Here, you’ll lose yourself in classic theatre productions against a backdrop of stunning waterfront views at Vanier Park.

2024’s lineup includes Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Comedy of Errors, and Measure for Measure. On the BMO Mainstage, director Diana Donnelly brings to life the topsy-turvy world of Twelfth Night. 

Be prepared complete with romance, laughs, adventure, and self-discovery. Plus, it’s all set to original music by a soon-to-be-revealed beloved Vancouver singer-songwriter. 

It plays in repertory with Shakespeare’s classic tale of vengeance, love, and loss, Hamlet, adapted and directed by Stephen Drover.

On the Howard Family Stage, two productions play in repertory. First is The Comedy of Errors, directed by Rebecca Northan, who conceived and directed this year’s smash-hit Goblin: Macbeth. 

The second is an irreverent, footloose Measure for Measure, adapted and directed by Governor General’s Award nominee Jivesh Parasram. You’ll be laughing and crying, so bring some tissues along with your imagination!

Pro Tip:
Regular ticket prices start at $30, but if you plan to view repeat performances for the year, you’d do good to check their pack passes.

Honda Celebration of Light

– Media credit: celeboflight



  • Annually: Late July to early August
  • 2024: July 20, 24, and 27

The Honda Celebration of Light is one of the largest fireworks competitions globally that’s held annually over English Bay. 

Teams from different countries compete by showcasing their spectacular fireworks displays synchronized to music. It’s been delighting millions of spectators lining the shores of Vancouver for years! 

The event brings together community spirit, cultural exchange, and celebration, making it a highlight of Vancouver’s summer festival season. Every year by the end of July, the festival takes place for three consecutive nights. 

People come from all over the country to witness this spectacular view over English Bay. The breathtaking display as Chrysanthemums, peonies, and horsetails explode above the city to the applause of the crowd. 

Pro Tip:
For a more exclusive experience, consider reserving a spot in the VIP viewing area, offering private cabanas and family-friendly bleachers. To avoid downtown foot traffic, watch the fireworks from a west-side beach like Jericho or Locarno.

Vancouver International Film Festival

– Media credit: viffest



  • Annually: September to October
  • 2024: September 26 to October 6

The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America. Here, you’ll be privy to a diverse selection of international and Canadian films, documentaries, and shorts. 

Filmmakers, industry professionals, and cinephiles from around the world converge here. This provides everyone, including you, opportunities for networking, discovery, and appreciation of cinematic artistry. 

VIFF also features panel discussions, workshops, and special events that enrich the cultural landscape of Vancouver.

In 2024, VIFF will present approximately 130 features and 100 shorts. You can expect participants to expand the frame with talks, creative development opportunities, performances, and other unique events that celebrate film and film culture.

Pro Tip:
If you’re invited, women often wear evening gowns or cocktail dresses, while men typically opt for tuxedos or formal suits.

Cherry Blossom Festival

– Media credit: vancherryblossomfest



  • Annually: March to April
  • 2024: March 29 to April 25

When visiting Vancouver in spring, there’s one sure sign that winter is over. How?

Just look up and see the pretty pink blooms of over 90,000 cherry blossom trees. You can take this as your cue to get ready for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Inspired by the Japanese tradition of hanami (flower viewing), this festival celebrates the arrival of spring and the blooming cherry blossoms that dot the city’s streets and parks.

The festival features cultural events, cherry blossom viewing tours, art installations, and community activities. By the time you’re done, you’ll be more in love with the sakura blossoms!

Pro Tip:
To experience this free festival, simply download a Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival map and head on your way. Stanley Park is a recommended destination, offering amazing photo opportunities with its contrasting skyline.

Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival

– Media credit: dragonboatbc



  • Annually: June
  • 2024: June 22 to 23

If you’re a fan of boating sports, attending the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival in June while holidaying in British Columbia is a must!

Celebrating Canada’s rich and diverse culture, this flagship event draws teams from around the world to compete in exhilarating races on False Creek. 

Alongside the dragon boat competitions, you’ll find cultural performances, food vendors, artisan markets, and family-friendly activities. All of them are pretty vital in creating a colorful celebration of sport, culture, and community spirit. 

Be ready to clap until your hands hurt as you witness thrilling paddling and dragon-boating sports, cheer on the participants as they race across the water, and take in the sights, culinary offerings, and performing arts at the venue.

Pro Tip:
When outdoors, always bring sunblock. At the very least, wear protective clothing.

Carnaval del Sol

– Media credit:



  • Annually: July
  • 2024: July 5 to 18

When you’re at the Carnaval del Sol, you’ll find yourself immersed in the largest Latin American festival in the Pacific Northwest. 

Celebrating the rich diversity of Latin American culture, this event offers energetic parades, live performances, culinary demonstrations, artisan markets, and interactive workshops.

Looking for events and festivals in Vancouver with a touch of outdoor Latin fire? You’ll enjoy engaging activities like salsa-making classes, Tango & Wine Night, flamenco workshops, and much more. 

Pro Tip:
If you have a delicate stomach, we suggest taking things a bit easy, especially the food. If not, then let the spicy eats light you up!

Powell Street Festival

– Media credit: powellstfest



  • Annually: Early August
  • 2024: August 3 to 4

If you get yourself to the Powell Street Festival, you can easily lose track of time diving into Japanese-Canadian arts and culture. Here, you can experience everything from martial arts and sumo wrestling to traditional music and contemporary film. 

Pro Tip:
Don’t miss sampling authentic Japanese cuisine from one of the many food vendors. We’re partial to katsu sandwiches and mochi as we take home a jar of Japanese chili sauce.⁠

FAN EXPO Vancouver

– Media credit: fanexpovancouver



  • Annually: November
  • 2024: February 17 to 19

At Fan Expo Vancouver, you’ll find the largest comic book, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming event in British Columbia. It’s pretty obvious that this expo is an expert in drawing fans of pop culture from across the region. 

If you’re into all things pop and geek and everything in between, this is your event of the year. It’s a must-attend event for fans of comics, movies, television, gaming, and cosplay.

Fan Expo Vancouver, held yearly at the Vancouver Convention Centre, is a three-day pop culture convention. It’s also where you get to meet your favorite celebrities, comic book creators, voice actors, cosplayers, and gamers. 

Pro Tip:
If you’re going in costume to the expo, remember that nudity or costumes simulating nudity are not allowed. Costumed attendees must have complete coverage of sensitive body areas with opaque fabric.

Richmond Night Market


– Media credit: richmondnightmarket



  • Annually: May to October
  • 2024: April (date to be advised)

Richmond Night Market is where you’ll find food stalls, merchandise vendors, carnival games, and live entertainment. Here, you can sample a wide variety of Asian street food, shop for unique goods, and enjoy cultural performances and musical acts. 

The market draws in locals and tourists alike, making it one of Vancouver’s most interesting melting pots. Paying homage to the massive markets found throughout Asia, it offers mouth-watering food. 

Like what, you ask? Curly potatoes on a stick, spicy squid rings, barbecued skewers, bubble waffles, mango desserts, and much more are just waiting for you!

Do you have hyperactive kids? Have them enjoy the massive 60-foot bouncy castle and the candy-colored forest. 

If you’re a foodie, just explore and indulge in over 110 booths and trucks! 

Pro Tip:
Remember to arrive early, bring plenty of cash, as many vendors don’t accept credit cards, and get ready to feast and have fun.

Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival

– Media credit: squamishdaysfestival



  • Annually: August
  • 2024: August 5

If you’re into family-friendly events in Vancouver, head on to the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival. Held annually in August, this event celebrates Squamish’s rich logging heritage with a variety of activities. 

From colorful parades to children’s activities and loggers sports shows, there’s something for everyone. The festival typically takes place over five days, culminating on the first Monday of August. 

The main venue is the Al McIntosh Loggers Sports Grounds Stadium. This is where traditional logging sports like axe throwing, log rolling, and pole climbing take center stage.

Not enough? You can find more modern attractions like a pancake breakfast and beer garden. 

Bleacher seats can get uncomfortable, so bring a sweatshirt for cushioning. Other than that, prepare to cheer your heart out for your favorite competitor!

Pro Tip:
Food on-site is typical festival fare so you can bring your own healthier options and water. It’s also cash only, so withdraw beforehand to avoid fees.

Theatre Under The Stars Musical Society

– Media credit: tutsvancouver



  • Annually: July to August
  • 2024: To be advised

Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is a beloved Vancouver tradition presenting musical theatre productions at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. 

Here, you’ll get to enjoy classic Broadway musicals and family-friendly shows under the stars, providing magical evenings of entertainment. 

It’s known for professional performances, stunning scenery, and community engagement, making it a favorite for all ages during the summer.

Held at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, the event features two full-length musicals from the first half of July to mid-August, drawing hundreds of attendees. 

Pro Tip:
While public transport is available, consider booking a limo for convenience, especially for large groups.

Vancouver Biennale

– Media credit: van_biennale



  • Annually: Anytime within the year
  • 2024: April 20 to November 24 (pre-opening on April 17, 18, and 19)

Into free artistic installations? With the Vancouver Biennale, you’ll experience public art exhibitions that transform the urban landscape with contemporary art installations and sculptures. 

You’ll see featured works by renowned international artists and follow their thoughts as they explore social, cultural, and environmental themes. 

You can be sure that soon you’ll be sharing thought-provoking dialogue and reflection among residents and other visitors. The Biennale celebrates public space, bringing new media, performances, and installations to public parks, urban plazas, and beaches. 

Now what’s not to love more than enjoying great art for free out in the open?

Pro Tip:
Your trusty phone camera is your best friend when viewing art installations. Make sure they’re fully charged!

Canada Day

– Media credit: pavementendsnow


  • Annually: July 1
  • 2024: July 1

Canada Day, the national holiday of Canada, is celebrated annually on July 1st to commemorate the country’s Confederation. In Vancouver, you can expect parades, concerts, fireworks displays, cultural performances, and family-friendly attractions. 

That’s because it’s a time for Canadians to come together and celebrate their national pride, heritage, and identity. Best of all, these events are free. 

While most locations are easily accessible by transit, they can get crowded, so plan accordingly. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider hiring a limo car service for a more comfortable experience.

Pro Tip:
Aside from Canada Place, you’ll get a great view from Harbour Green Park, Coal Harbour, West Vancouver Seawall, Crab Park, and Stanley Park.

Khatsahlano Street Party

– Media credit: khatsahlano



  • Annually: Typically July
  • 2024: July 6

You can rock along with your favorite artists at the Khatsahlano Street Party! It’s Vancouver’s largest free music and arts festival, usually along West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano. 

Since the festival has multiple stages hosting live music performances by local bands and artists, you’re bound to find new ones aside from your current choices. You’ll also find artisan markets, food vendors, beer gardens, and interactive activities. 

Khatsahlano Street Party celebrates Kitsilano’s creative arts and cool culture scene, drawing thousands of attendees annually. It packs in over 50 bands, beer gardens, food vendors, and tons of fun in a single day. 

Pro Tip:
Check the 10-block street party fully for local shops and restaurants spilling onto the sidewalk, offering sales, samples, giveaways, and games.

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

– Media credit: pushfestival



  • Annually: January to February
  • 2024: January 19 to February 4

At the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, you’ll discover an annual showcase of innovative and cutting-edge performing arts from local and international artists. If you’re into new forms of expressionism, then this is for you.

The festival features a diverse program of theatre, dance, music, and multimedia performances at various venues across Vancouver.

Renowned for pushing boundaries and creativity, the PuSh Festival challenges you to explore new artistic experiences. Held over three weeks every January, it presents some of the best work in the live performing arts industry.

The event is an open invitation to everyone, from industry insiders to art enthusiasts, offering an opportunity to engage with diverse artistic expressions and connect with like-minded individuals. By the end of it all, your mind will be filled with inspiration!

Pro Tip:
This is the event where you can network with like-minded individuals and even those with opposing ideas to keep your perspectives balanced and sharp. Make sure to get their contact details!

The PNE Fair

– Media credit: pne_playland



  • Annually: Late August to early September
  • 2024: August 17 (opening day)

The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) Fair is an iconic summer event in Vancouver, offering a wide array of attractions and entertainment for all ages. You’ll awaken your inner child with various activities lined up at this event!

Into amusement rides, games, agricultural exhibits, live music concerts, culinary competitions, and nightly fireworks displays? At the fair, you get a memorable experience out of this summer spot. 

With over 35 new nightly concert acts and local favorites like the Super Dogs and The Wooden Coaster, there’s something for everyone. 

You can choose to come early and bring your own food to save money or arrive hungry to sample all the delicious options available. Ride and dine, we say!

Pro Tip:
Plan your schedule carefully to catch all the different events as the fair schedule varies slightly each year and is always jam-packed.

Vancouver Christmas Market

– Media credit: vanchristmas



  • Annually: Late November to December
  • 2024: To be announced

It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays! At the Vancouver Christmas Market, enjoy the charming holiday tradition inspired by traditional German Christmas markets. 

Located at Jack Poole Plaza near the Vancouver Convention Centre, the market offers an enchanting fairyland. You’ll see twinkling lights, festive decorations, and wooden vendor stalls selling artisan gifts, crafts, and holiday treats. 

You’ll also find live entertainment, seasonal food and beverages, carousel rides, and activities for children. It’s simply a magical destination for Christmas shopping and celebrations!

If you’ve been missing those German Christmas markets or have always wanted to experience one, the Vancouver Christmas Market brings the charms and festivities of old-time Christmas festivals to the West Coast. Ho ho ho!

Pro Tip:
There’s usually an admission fee of around $12 but you can always get the season pass for about $36, which includes unlimited entries throughout the season.

Abbotsford International Airshow

– Media credit: abbyairshow



  • Annually: Typically August
  • 2024: August 9 to 11

You can live out your Top Gun fantasies and check out the Abbotsford International Show. It’s a dynamic and exhilarating experience that celebrates the history, technology, and excitement of aviation.

It’s known as one of Canada’s largest airshows, offering visitors thrilling aerobatic performances, static aircraft displays, and aerial demonstrations by military and civilian aircraft. 

It’s the perfect show for aviation enthusiasts, families, and spectators of all ages. Now, even if you’re not one, you can always give someone you know the chance to witness jaw-dropping stunts, flybys, and aircraft showcases!

Pro Tip:
The Family Pass with 2 Adults, 2 Youths, and parking costs $70 if you get it online compared to the $80 rate at the gate.

Brigade Days At Fort Langley

– Media credit: tourismlangley



  • Annually: Typically July
  • 2024: August 3 to 5

When you go for the Brigade Days in Fort Langley, you get an annual heritage event commemorating the fur trade era and the role of Fort Langley as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. 

Here, you’ll get to step back in time and experience the sights, sounds, and stories of early Canadian history at this engaging cultural event. 

You can travel back in time to B.C.’s early history with re-enactments depicting the Hudson’s Bay Company era. How’s that possible, you ask?

You’ll get to hear performers swap stories, play music, and show off traditional skills. It’s one way to appreciate the present when you listen to the past.

Pro Tip:
Daily admission to Fort Langley National Historic Site is $8.50 for adults, $7 for seniors, and free for youth 17 and under and for annual pass holders.


– Media credit: kitsfest



  • Annually: Typically August
  • 2024: August 9 to 11

KitsFest awaits you at Kitsilano Beach Park. It’s a weekend of athletic competitions, fitness activities, and community engagement. 

The festival offers tournaments in beach volleyball, basketball, tennis, and other sports. Get ready to get your game on! 

Not so much into sports? You can enjoy the sports as a cheering spectator while you dance and sing to the live entertainment and maybe chill with some beachside lounging. 

Pro Tip:
Are active sports not your thing? There’s a Lululemon sunset yoga session, Zumba classes, and onsite DJs playing throughout the day.