Last Updated on April 20, 2023 by admin
Vancouver BC is famous for a lot of things, including its architecture, parks, culinary scene, and of course, its rain! Vancouver receives approximately 146 centimeters of rain annually. (North Vancouver, which is closer to the mountains, receives an estimated 252 centimeters!) Vancouver receives even more rain than Seattle (also famous for its rain), which receives about 94 centimeters each year. In the year 2022, it rained 150 days of the year in Vancouver. Most of this rain falls during the rainy season, which is typically October through March. To make the most of your trip to Vancouver, it’s important to have a plan for rainy days. In this post, we share 31 things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day (both indoors and outdoors!). We also provide recommendations for rain gear.
If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver BC, it’s very likely that you will encounter the rain. And that’s okay! Don’t let rain stop you from enjoying the city. If you’re prepared, there’s no reason why you can’t have an amazing trip to Vancouver. If you set your expectations for rain during your trip, you’ll be prepared to enjoy every minute.
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Indoor Activities in Vancouver BC for a Rainy Day
555 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 4N6, Canada
The Vancouver Lookout is perched on top of the Harbor Centre skyscraper. It’s one of the tallest buildings in Vancouver. When you go to the top, you’ll get an almost aerial view of the city (553 feet/168 meters high up). The observation deck will give you 360 degree views of the city. Visibility distance will depend on how much it is raining, but it’s the perfect place to go if there’s a light drizzle.
845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada
Head to Stanley Park to visit the Vancouver Aquarium. The aquarium has over 30 exhibits with 65,000 animals. While you’re there, you’ll learn all about local marine wildlife. There is a portion that is outdoors to see the larger mammals. Bring a rain jacket so you can head outside too. We really enjoyed the Vancouver Aquarium, and you can read all about our recent trip to the Vancouver Aquarium.
Fly Over Canada
201 – 999 Canada Place, Canada, Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1, Canada
At Canada Place, you can find the Fly Over Canada experience. It will feel as if you are flying when you are suspended with your feet dangling in front of a giant film screen. The experience is 8 minutes long and features footage of scenes from Canada. This experience also includes special effects, such as water, air, and smell.
1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC V6A 3Z7, Canada
Science World is located inside a giant spherical-shaped building. (You might have been wondering what that building was if you have seen the Vancouver skyline!) Science World was built in 1986 for the World’s Fair and contains a number of science exhibits that will keep you informed and entertained.
Granville Island Public Market
Public Market, 1689 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada
Make sure you include Granville Island Public Market on your itinerary. The market contains over 50 vendors and is the place to go to try a variety of quintessential Vancouver foods. You’ll want to be sure to stop at Lee’s Donuts, ChocolaTas, A La Mode Pie, and Popina Canteen for a Puff Cream. We wrote about our favorite places to eat at Granville Island Public Market.
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7, Canada
A great way to learn about a city is to see its art. The Vancouver Art Gallery has a number of visual arts exhibitions. There are specific exhibitions by First Nations artists as well as artists from Asia. (The gallery contains the Institute of Asian Art.)
Museum of Anthropology
6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada
The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is located at the University of British Columbia. Currently they are offering tickets for timed entry. If you are a traveler that enjoys learning about different cultures (isn’t that why we travel?), then this is a great place to learn about cultures from around the world, including those local to British Columbia. The MOA is currently closed on Mondays.
Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
639 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2G3, Canada
Bill Reid is a famous local Vancouver artist that was born to a Haida mother. He began exploring his cultural heritage through his art. The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coastal Art is the only public gallery in Canada that is focused on contemporary Indigenous Northwest Coast Artists. Currently the gallery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Y 2M4, Canada
You can pretend that you are in a tropical paradise while it is cold and raining outside while you’re at the Bloedel Conservatory. The giant dome contains a warm and tropical environment for a variety of plants and birds.
Museum of Vancouver
1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9, Canada
The Museum of Vancouver (MOV) features collections and exhibitions related to indigenous stories, the history of Vancouver, and much more. This is a great place to start your visit to Vancouver to get better acquainted with the city’s history and cultures.
Vancouver Maritime Museum
1905 Ogden Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1A3, Canada
Vancouver has a rich maritime history and the Vancouver Maritime Museum shares that history with its visitors. It’s located in Kitsilano, which is a beautiful beach with views of the Vancouver skyline across the water. Some of the permanent exhibitions share the history related to local lighthouses, tugboats, and fireboats.
HR MacMillan Space Centre
1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9, Canada
Located near the Museum of Vancouver is the HR MacMillan Space Centre. Many locals simply call it “the planetarium.” The space features the Planetarium Star Theatre, GroundStation Canada Theatre, Cosmic Courtyard Exhibit Space, and the Gordon Southam Observatory. If you like outer space, this is the place to go.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2, Canada
A walk in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is beautiful whether it rains or shines. The park is located in Chinatown, so there’s tons to see within walking distance of the park. We recently visited the garden on a rainy day, and we discovered it’s the perfect rainy day activity! Most of the walkways are completely covered, so we were able to stroll through the gardens while staying dry. This was also the perfect activity for us during the pandemic, because we were able to do an outdoor activity with our daughter while still staying dry. We wrote all about our experience at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
Pacific Centre Shopping Mall
701 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V7Y 1G5, Canada
Spend a day shopping at the Pacific Centre Shopping Mall. This mall contains over 100 stores. A full list of their store are linked here.
Vancouver Public Library
350 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6B 6B1, Canada
Whether or not you intend to sit down and read a book, be sure to head over to the Vancouver Public Library just to see the building itself. It reminds me of the Roman Colosseum the way the walls curve around. This is a great place to take some unique photos. And if you want to read some books about Vancouver BC, check out City of Glass by Douglas Coupland or Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor.
Roedde House Museum
1415 Barclay St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1J6, Canada
Several days a week for limited hours, the Roedde House Museum is open to the public. The house is a picturesque Late Victorian era home.
800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver, BC V6B 6G1, Canada
If it aligns with your schedule, check out the Cancucks play at Rogers Arena. It’s an authentic Canadian experience that you won’t want to miss! You can see their schedule here.
BC Sports Hall of Fame
Gate A of BC Place, Vancouver, BC V6B 4Y8, Canada
And if you are a big sports fan, you might appreciate visiting the BC Sports Hall of Fame. There are many ongoing exhibitions that showcase Canadian sports, and there’s a special exhibit on the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Steamworks Brewpub 375 Water St, Vancouver, BC | Brewhall 97 E 2nd Ave, Vancouver, BC
There are a number of craft breweries in Vancouver. Many of them offer tours in addition to beer flights. Steamworks Brewpub has famous craft beers, and Brewhall is an extremely large beer hall that’s perfect for waiting out the rain.
801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 3L2, Canada
On a rainy day you can retreat for a day at the spa. We recommend Sense, a Rosewood Spa, at Hotel Georgia. They have an elegant pool and a luxurious treatment menu.
1502 Duranleau St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3S4, Canada
Head to Granville Island and watch a comedy show at the Improv Centre (previously known as Vancouver Theatresports).
1129 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1M1, Canada
There are a few different escape rooms in Vancouver BC. One such escape room is i-Exit, where you’ll work as a team to try to solve puzzles to escape the room within 60 minutes. Currently they have the following themes: Pirates on the Rocks, Doomed to Win in Las Vegas Nevada, Party at the Studio, and The Matrix.
Vancouver is a couple of miles away from the Fraser Valley, which is a location filled with award-winning wineries. Some wineries you might want to visit include Chaberton Estate Winery, Glass House Estate Winery, and Township 7 Vineyards & Winery.
Activities for Kids in Vancouver for a Rainy Day
If you’re bringing children on your trip to Vancouver, there’s plenty to do for them too!
1496 Cartwright St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3Y5, Canada
Located on Granville Island, the Kids Market is filled with children’s toy stores, clothing stores, and unique shops. They also have bumper cars, an arcade, and a large indoor play area. You can even make the trip to the market fun by taking the Aquabus.
Castle Fun Park
36165 N Parallel Rd, Abbotsford, BC V3G 2K8, Canada
An hour or so east of Vancouver is Castle Fun Park. Castle Fun Park has indoor mini-golf, go karts, bumper cars, batting cases, a laser maze, and a large arcade with over 200 games.
14300 Entertainment Blvd, Richmond, BC V6W 1K3, Canada
Need a place for your kids to burn off some energy? Take them to Watermania in the nearby town of Richmond, which is about 35 minutes south of Vancouver. This indoor aquatics center has a wave pool, water slides, a tipping bucket, and a steam room.
110-5940 No 2 Rd, Richmond, BC V7C 4R9, Canada
Also located in Richmond (near Vancouver) is Kidtropolis. Kidtropolis is a giant indoor play-space designed for kids. It contains a pretend city street with storefronts and a gas station that looks like the real thing.
Food and Drink Recommendations for Vancouver
Vancouver is known for its culinary scene, so there’s no shortage of places to go and eat (or drink!) while it rains. Here’s some recommendations…
- Fritz European Fry House: When you’re in Canada, you have to try the poutine (french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds). We think Fritz has some of the best poutine in Canada. The shop is located near Yaletown, so it has a very convenient location. Be sure to stop by here for a snack!
- Nemesis Coffee Gastown: Vancouver is famous for its coffee, and one of the best places to go is Nemesis Coffee Gastown. Their cups of coffees are beautiful… definitely a place to go for latte art!
- Sashimiya: Grab’n’go sushi and sashimi. This is where to go for some high quality sushi.
- Revolver: Ever try an espresso flight? No? Get one here. It’s like a beer flight, but with more caffeine!
- Blue Water Cafe: This restaurant is located in Yaletown and features sustainable seafood.
- Fortune Terrace Chinese Cuisine: Head to Richmond to get dim sum.
- Japadog: Hot dog meets Japanese cuisine. You have to try it! It was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations.
- Pidgin Restaurant: Experience fare that combines Asian flavors with Pacific Northwest ingredients at this Gastown restaurant. They have a prix-fixe tasting menu which is a fun way to sample their menu.
- La Casa Gelato: You will feel like you are in Italy when you walk into La Casa Gelato. Currently they have 238 flavors in their store! It will be hard to choose… be sure to get a unique flavor you can’t get anywhere else! As of 2019, they hold the Guinness World Record for “Most Commercially Available Flavors.”
¿Cómo? Taperia: After having studied abroad in Spain, I have a deep appreciation for authentic Spanish tapas. This restaurant even has incorporated some of the cultural elements of Spanish life, including one free tapas with a drink purchase during happy hour.
Braving the Rain in Vancouver BC
Just because it rains doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! You’ll really get the “full experience” of Vancouver when you venture out in the rain. Bring your rain gear and have fun! If nothing else, you’ll have some incredible memories of galavanting in the rain. Plus, you can take some really good photos on a moody rainy day.
Here’s some ideas for places to visit…
Capilano Suspension Bridge
I have been here in the rain and it is a lot of fun. And when you’re in the forest area, the forest canopy really protects you from a lot of the rain. There’s a lot to do here, including walking across the suspension bridge, completing the Treetop Adventure, and make it across the Cliffwalk. We wrote a full post about what to do at the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
You can’t leave Vancouver without visiting Stanley Park. It’s basically Vancouver’s version of Central Park. It’s a large urban park that is easily accessible from downtown Vancouver. It also contains the Seawall, which is the longest uninterrupted waterfront path in the world. You might also be interested in seeing the Hollow Tree (a giant hollow tree stump), Siwash Rock, or the Lighthouse. We wrote all about things to do in Stanley Park.
Taking the gondola up to Grouse Mountain is a really fun experience. You’ll probably have limited visibility at the top of the mountain due to rain, but the gondola ride itself is fun, and there’s some really cool restaurants and lounges at the top of the mountain. (And if you’re lucky to see a break in the rain clouds, it could be a pretty magnificent sight with the sun shining through.)
Hotels in Vancouver BC
In previous trips, we’ve stayed at the Residence Inn Vancouver Downtown (by Marriott). We really liked this hotel because it was centrally located and walkable to everything. We also were glad to have our own kitchenettes to store food and heat up leftovers.
Another hotel to consider is the Opus Vancouver, which is a trendy boutique hotel with brightly colored rooms. (Perfect for an Instagram shot!) It’s located in the Yaletown neighborhood.
If you have the budget, one of the best hotels in Vancouver BC is the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The hotel has the nickname “castle in the city”, so you know it’s fancy. The hotel recently completed a $75 million renovation, so it is nothing short of spectacular.
The Pan Pacific Vancouver is a luxury hotel located near Canada Place. The hotel has waterfront views and is still walkable to downtown attractions.
We also recommend that you look into the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver. This hotel has a rooftop hot tub with views of the city, a casino, and lots of dining options. We stayed there during our last trip to Vancouver, and the views from our room were absolutely spectacular!
For a full list of hotels in Vancouver BC, click here.
Recommended Rain Gear for Vancouver BC
I’ve heard it said that there’s no bad weather, just bad gear. As a Seattleite, that’s a saying I have to live by! I’ve found it to really hold true though. As long as you have good rain gear, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the great outdoors any day of the year.
- Rain boots (Hunter Rain Boots are an excellent brand for a comfortable waterproof boot. I really recommend good rain boots because soggy, cold feet make it hard to enjoy a day in the city.)
- High-quality rain jacket (This one is waterproof, breathable, and has an adjustable storm hood. If you think you have a good rain jacket, check out the reviews online. A lot of rain jackets just don’t hold out for heavy rainfall. You’ll want to make sure you have a good one to keep you dry all day.)
- Ponchos (If you’re not expecting rain for your trip, you can easily pack a poncho in your daypack just in case.)
- Waterproof Pants (If you really plan on being outside all day in the rain, then it’s worth it to get some waterproof pants.)
Notice we didn’t mention an umbrella? Most locals don’t use them. The rain is either too much of a drizzle to bother (in which case a hooded rain jacket does just fine), or it’s too windy and the rain is falling sideways. We live in Seattle and I don’t even know if we own an umbrella. Save yourself the hassle and just invest in some high-quality rain gear.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the rainy season in Vancouver BC?
The rainy season is typically October through March. The driest month is July. However, it’s still possible for it to rain in the summer, so be prepared just in case.
What are some free activities in Vancouver BC?
If you’re on a budget, we recommend visiting Stanley Park. There’s no admission and you’ll be able to see two of Vancouver’s most iconic sites: the Seawall and the Brockton Point Totem Poles. The Vancouver Public Library is also free, and its central location has beautiful architecture. It’s also free to enter Granville Island Public Market, although you’ll need to purchase any food you’d like to try.
What is the wettest month in Vancouver BC?
November tends to be the wettest month in Vancouver BC. Last year, Vancouver received 113 mm of rain in November.
What is the coldest month in Vancouver BC?
January tends to be the coldest month of the year in Vancouver BC. The average high is 44 degrees F, and the average low is 37 degrees F.
Is it worth visiting Vancouver BC in the rain?
It’s definitely worth visiting Vancouver BC in the rain. There are a lot of beautiful indoor attractions, such as the Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver Art Gallery, and Granville Island Public Market. And if you plan ahead and bring appropriate rain gear, then you can still enjoy being outside in the rain. (We recommend visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park rain-or-shine.)
Summary: Rainy Day Activities for Vancouver BC
It rains a lot in Vancouver, so don’t let a rainy day ruin your trip. There are plenty of indoor activities in Vancouver BC. We hope this post on things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day was helpful in planning your trip!
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If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in the following posts:
- How to Spend a Weekend in Vancouver BC (2 Day Itinerary)
- Best Places to Eat in Vancouver
- Vancouver’s Most Instagrammable Photo Spots
- What to See at the Vancouver Aquarium
- Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Guide
- Complete Guide to Stanley Park
- Our Guide to Granville Island Public Market
- How to Travel from Seattle to Vancouver (and Vice Versa!)
- Our Experience at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information.
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