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Family-Friendly Activities in Vancouver

Family-Friendly Activities in Vancouver

Planning a family vacation to Vancouver in 2023? That’s a fantastic choice! Vancouver offers a wide range of activities that are perfect for families. Let’s delve into some pros and cons and explore the things you can do to make your trip memorable.

One of the pros of visiting Vancouver with your family is the abundance of natural beauty. From breathtaking parks and gardens to picturesque beaches, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak in the stunning landscapes. Additionally, the city boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with museums, galleries, and theaters that cater to all ages. On the downside, it’s worth noting that Vancouver can get quite crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. However, a little planning ahead can help you avoid the crowds and fully enjoy your family time. When it comes to things to do for families in Vancouver, options are aplenty! You can explore the famous Vancouver Aquarium, visit the kid-friendly Science World, or embark on a bike ride around the beautiful Stanley Park. And for those seeking outdoor adventures, Grouse Mountain offers thrilling activities like ziplining and bear encounters. Vancouver truly is a destination that will keep both children and adults entertained. So, start envisioning your family’s unforgettable experience in Vancouver and get ready for a fantastic adventure in 2023!

Family-Friendly Activities in Vancouver

Family-Friendly Activities in Vancouver

Vancouver, known for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant city life, offers a wide range of family-friendly activities that are sure to keep everyone entertained. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, indoor fun, parks and playgrounds, museums and galleries, family-friendly attractions, festivals and events, family-friendly restaurants, shopping for families, day trips from Vancouver, or local parks and recreation centers, this city has it all. Let’s explore some of the best options that Vancouver has to offer for an unforgettable family experience.

Outdoor Activities

Stanley Park

Stanley Park, a 1,001-acre urban oasis, is a must-visit destination for families in Vancouver. With its lush forests, scenic walking and biking trails, and stunning waterfront views, it provides endless opportunities for outdoor fun. The park is also home to several attractions, including the Vancouver Aquarium, a miniature railway, playgrounds, and the famous seawall, where you can enjoy a leisurely bike ride or stroll along the shoreline.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

For a thrilling adventure, take your family to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. This iconic bridge is suspended 230 feet above the Capilano River and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding temperate rainforest. Explore the park’s treetop walkways, cliffwalk, and various exhibits to learn about the rich history and ecology of the area. It’s an exhilarating experience that will create lasting memories for both kids and adults.

Grouse Mountain

If you’re looking for outdoor activities with a touch of adrenaline, Grouse Mountain is the place to be. Just a short drive from downtown Vancouver, this mountain offers a range of activities for all ages and skill levels. From hiking and ziplining to ice skating and watching the famous Lumberjack Show, there’s something for everyone. The Skyride, a scenic gondola ride, provides panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains.

Vancouver Aquarium

Located within Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is a haven for marine life enthusiasts. With over 50,000 animals and countless interactive exhibits, it’s an educational and entertaining experience for the whole family. Watch mesmerizing dolphin and beluga whale shows, get up close and personal with sea otters, and learn about the importance of marine conservation. The aquarium’s mission to inspire ocean conservation resonates with visitors of all ages.

Indoor Activities

Science World

Science World, a world-class science center, is a perfect destination for a fun and educational family outing. Its interactive exhibits and hands-on activities make learning about science and technology enjoyable for all ages. From exploring the human body to experiencing the wonder of physics, there’s no shortage of things to do here. The center also hosts special events and live shows, making every visit unique.

Vancouver Maritime Museum

For a glimpse into Vancouver’s maritime history, head to the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Located in Kitsilano, this museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, models, and artwork related to maritime exploration and Canadian naval history. Kids can explore the featured exhibits, participate in educational programs, and even go on guided boat tours. It’s a great opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time.

Vancouver Public Library

The Vancouver Public Library is not just a place for book lovers; it’s also a family-friendly destination filled with activities for kids of all ages. The library regularly hosts storytelling sessions, arts and crafts workshops, and interactive exhibits. The children’s section is a treasure trove of books, puzzles, and games that will keep young minds engaged and entertained. It’s the perfect spot for a quiet afternoon or a rainy day activity.

Kids Market at Granville Island

Granville Island is known for its vibrant arts scene and delicious food, but it’s also home to the Kids Market, a paradise for children and parents alike. This giant, multi-level indoor playground offers a variety of shops, activities, and attractions specifically designed for kids. From toy stores and clothing boutiques to a giant indoor adventure zone, there’s something for every little one. Parents can relax and enjoy a coffee while their kids explore and play to their heart’s content.

Parks and Playgrounds

Granville Island Water Park

For a splashing good time, head to the Granville Island Water Park. This colorful water park is the perfect place for kids to cool off on a hot day. With water slides, climbing structures, and water cannons, children can enjoy hours of fun and make new friends. The park is conveniently located on Granville Island, making it easy to combine with a visit to the Kids Market or the Granville Island Public Market.

Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park, located in the heart of Vancouver, offers a beautiful green space for families to relax and enjoy outdoor activities. With its meticulously maintained gardens, sparkling fountains, and breathtaking views of the city skyline, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic or a game of frisbee. The park also features a children’s playground, a pitch and putt golf course, and tennis courts, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Kitsilano Beach Park

Kitsilano Beach Park, popularly known as “Kits Beach,” is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Its sandy beaches, stunning mountain views, and calm waters make it an ideal place for families to swim, build sandcastles, or simply soak up the sun. The park also boasts a children’s playground, beach volleyball courts, and picnic areas. Don’t miss the Kitsilano Pool, the longest outdoor saltwater swimming pool in Canada, perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot summer day.

Trout Lake Park

Trout Lake Park, located in East Vancouver, offers a serene escape from the bustling city life. The park features a beautiful lake where families can rent paddle boats, go fishing, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll along the water’s edge. There are also plenty of picnic areas, a children’s playground, and grassy fields for playing sports or flying kites. The park is a popular spot for picnics, family gatherings, and community events throughout the year.

Family-Friendly Activities in Vancouver

Museums and Galleries

Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art Gallery is a must-visit attraction for art enthusiasts and families alike. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, it houses an extensive collection of Canadian and international art, showcasing a diverse range of styles and periods. The gallery offers several family-friendly programs, such as art-making workshops and guided tours designed specifically for children. It’s a great opportunity to expose young minds to the world of art and spark their creativity.

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

If your family has a fascination with space, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is the place to be. This unique facility combines educational exhibits, live planetarium shows, and interactive displays to provide an out-of-this-world experience. Kids can explore the wonders of the universe, learn about astronauts, and even touch a real moon rock. The center also offers stargazing nights and special events for an even more immersive experience.

Museum of Anthropology

The Museum of Anthropology, located at the University of British Columbia, offers a fascinating look into the cultures and heritage of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia and around the world. The museum’s impressive collection includes art, artifacts, and archaeological treasures that tell compelling stories of civilizations past and present. Children can participate in hands-on workshops, listen to captivating storytelling sessions, and engage with interactive exhibits. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about diverse cultures and foster an appreciation for global heritage.

Science World

Science World, mentioned earlier in the indoor activities section, also deserves a spot in the museums and galleries category. Its engaging exhibits, interactive displays, and educational programs make it a favorite among families. From exploring the marvels of the human body to witnessing captivating science demonstrations, Science World offers a hands-on experience that will leave both kids and adults in awe of the wonders of science.

Family-Friendly Attractions

FlyOver Canada

FlyOver Canada is a thrilling virtual flight experience that takes visitors on an unforgettable journey across Canada’s most iconic landscapes. Using state-of-the-art technology, this immersive attraction allows you to soar over snow-capped mountains, picturesque coastlines, and bustling cityscapes. The multisensory effects, including wind, mist, and scents, make it feel like you’re really there. It’s a unique way to explore Canada’s diverse geography without leaving Vancouver.

Vancouver Lookout

For a bird’s-eye view of the city, head to the Vancouver Lookout. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this observation deck offers panoramic views of the cityscape, mountains, and the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean. Kids can use the visitor-friendly telescopes to spot famous landmarks and learn about the history and geography of the region. The Vancouver Lookout provides a fantastic photo opportunity and a chance to gain a new perspective on the city.

Vancouver Trolley Tour

Discover the highlights of Vancouver on a charming trolley tour that combines sightseeing with informative commentary. The hop-on hop-off tour allows you to explore the city at your own pace, hopping off at various attractions and hopping back on when you’re ready to move on. The friendly guides provide interesting anecdotes and fun facts about the city’s history and culture, making it an entertaining and educational experience for the whole family.

Vancouver Water Adventures

For water-based adventures, Vancouver Water Adventures offers a variety of activities that cater to all ages. From jet skiing and paddleboarding to kayaking and boat tours, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Explore the stunning coastline, spot wildlife, and learn about the local marine ecosystem. Whether you’re seeking a thrilling experience or a relaxing day on the water, Vancouver Water Adventures has you covered.

Family-Friendly Activities in Vancouver

Festivals and Events

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Every spring, Vancouver comes alive with the breathtaking beauty of cherry blossoms. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the arrival of these delicate pink flowers with a variety of cultural events and activities. From guided cherry blossom tours to Japanese tea ceremonies and traditional performances, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the city’s streets and parks transform into a floral wonderland.

Vancouver International Children’s Festival

The Vancouver International Children’s Festival is a must-attend event for families in Vancouver. This annual festival showcases a diverse lineup of world-class performances, workshops, and interactive exhibits aimed at children of all ages. Kids can immerse themselves in the magic of theater, dance, music, and storytelling from around the globe. The festival also offers hands-on arts and crafts activities, creating a truly enchanting experience for the whole family.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is a celebration of music, arts, and community. Held in beautiful Jericho Beach Park, this three-day event features a stellar lineup of local and international folk, roots, and world music artists. Families can relax on the grassy slopes, listen to live performances, and participate in workshops and activities. The festival’s laid-back atmosphere and stunning natural setting make it an ideal place to introduce children to the joy of live music.

Honda Celebration of Light

The Honda Celebration of Light is an annual fireworks competition that illuminates Vancouver’s sky with spectacular displays of light and color. Over three nights, international teams compete to create the most awe-inspiring fireworks show, synchronized to music. The event takes place at English Bay Beach, where families can gather to watch the magical display and enjoy an evening picnic. It’s a thrilling experience that will leave everyone in awe.

Family-Friendly Restaurants

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. is a family-friendly restaurant that specializes in delicious organic pizzas and pastas. With a focus on locally sourced, sustainable ingredients, the menu offers a variety of options for both kids and adults. Kids can get creative with the “make-your-own” pizza option, while adults can choose from an array of gourmet flatbreads. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make it a great spot for a relaxed, family-friendly meal.

White Spot

A Vancouver institution, White Spot has been serving up delicious burgers, fresh salads, and hearty comfort food for decades. Its extensive kid’s menu features classic favorites such as burgers, macaroni and cheese, and fish and chips. The legendary Pirate Pak, complete with a burger, fries, a drink, a dessert, and a toy, has been a hit with children of all ages for generations. White Spot’s nostalgic atmosphere and friendly service make it a beloved choice for families.


For a cozy and comforting dining experience, head to Burgoo. This family-friendly restaurant specializes in hearty soups, stews, and comfort food classics. The menu features a variety of options to suit all tastes and dietary preferences, including vegetarian and gluten-free choices. Kids will love the mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and freshly baked cookies. Burgoo’s warm and inviting atmosphere makes it the perfect place for a relaxed family meal.

The Old Spaghetti Factory

The Old Spaghetti Factory is a family-friendly favorite that offers delicious Italian fare in a unique setting. Located in a historic Gastown building, the restaurant features vintage décor and a charming atmosphere. The menu includes a wide range of pasta dishes, complete with soup or salad, bread, and ice cream for dessert. Kids will love the whimsical tram car seating area and the special menu designed just for them. It’s a delightful spot to enjoy a fun and tasty meal with the whole family.

Family-Friendly Activities in Vancouver

Shopping for Families

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market is a bustling hub of food, arts, and culture. With its vibrant atmosphere and diverse array of vendors, it’s the perfect place to explore with the whole family. Browse through the market’s stalls to discover fresh produce, artisanal bread, cheese, and a variety of international foods. Kids will love sampling tasty treats and watching artisans create their unique crafts. It’s a sensory experience that offers a taste of Vancouver’s vibrant culinary scene.

Kids Market at Granville Island

As mentioned earlier, the Kids Market at Granville Island deserves a spot in the shopping for families category as well. With its wide selection of stores and activities, it’s a paradise for children. From toy stores and clothing boutiques to a giant indoor adventure zone, there’s something for every little one. Parents can relax and enjoy a coffee while their kids explore and play to their heart’s content.

Oakridge Centre

Oakridge Centre is a premier shopping destination that offers a variety of stores catering to families. From designer boutiques to popular department stores, the mall has something for everyone. Kids can enjoy dedicated play areas and interactive exhibits, ensuring they have a fun shopping experience too. The mall also hosts special events and family-friendly activities throughout the year.

Pacific Centre

Pacific Centre, located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, is another excellent shopping destination for families. The mall features a mix of high-end retailers, iconic department stores, and popular brands. With its central location and convenient access to public transportation, it’s a great place to explore during a day of sightseeing in the city. The mall’s food court offers a variety of dining options, perfect for refueling before continuing your shopping adventure.

Day Trips from Vancouver

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain, mentioned earlier as an outdoor activity, also deserves a spot in the day trips from Vancouver category. This mountain offers a range of activities that are perfect for a day trip. From hiking to zip-lining, there’s no shortage of adventure. The Skyride provides breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains, offering an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park, located in North Vancouver, is a hidden gem that’s worth exploring. With its stunning waterfalls, suspension bridge, and scenic hiking trails, it offers a tranquil escape from the city. The park’s ecology center provides educational programs and exhibits about the local flora and fauna. Don’t forget to take a dip in the natural swimming holes for a refreshing experience during the summer months.

Britannia Mine Museum

Take a trip back in time and explore the Britannia Mine Museum, located along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway. This historic site offers a captivating look into the region’s mining history and the lives of the miners who once worked there. Kids can go on an underground tour, learn about mining techniques, and even try their hand at gold panning. The museum’s interactive exhibits and immersive experiences make it a memorable day trip for the whole family.

Cultas Lake Waterpark

For a day of wet and wild fun, head to Cultas Lake Waterpark, located just outside of Vancouver. This waterpark is the largest of its kind in British Columbia and offers a variety of water slides, pools, and attractions suitable for all ages. Kids can splash around in the children’s play area, zip down thrilling water slides, or relax on the lazy river. It’s the perfect place to cool off and have a blast on a hot summer day.

Family-Friendly Activities in Vancouver

Local Parks and Recreation Centers

Hillcrest Centre

Hillcrest Centre, located in the heart of Vancouver, is a state-of-the-art recreation facility that offers a wide range of activities for all ages. The center features a pool, fitness center, ice rink, and various program rooms for classes and workshops. Kids can enjoy swimming lessons, ice skating sessions, or participate in the center’s summer camps. It’s a great place to stay active and have fun as a family.

Vancouver Aquatic Centre

Vancouver Aquatic Centre, located near Sunset Beach, is a popular destination for swimming and aquatic activities. The center offers a variety of swimming pools, including a leisure pool, lap pool, and a large water slide. Kids can take swimming lessons, enjoy a family swim, or have a birthday party at the center. The Vancouver Aquatic Centre also hosts special events and water sports competitions throughout the year.

Trout Lake Community Centre

Trout Lake Community Centre, located in East Vancouver, is a vibrant community hub that offers a range of activities for families. The center features a large indoor playground, fitness facilities, and multipurpose rooms for classes and workshops. Kids can join sports teams, participate in arts and crafts programs, or spend time in the outdoor playground and splash pad. The center’s friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere make it a favorite among locals.

Sunset Community Centre

Sunset Community Centre, located in South Vancouver, provides a welcoming space for families to engage in recreational activities. The center offers a variety of programs, including sports leagues, art classes, and dance workshops. Kids can enjoy indoor and outdoor playgrounds, participate in organized sports activities, or have fun in the spray park during the summer months. It’s a great place to connect with the local community and make lasting memories.

With an abundance of family-friendly activities, Vancouver is the perfect destination for a fun-filled getaway. From outdoor adventures to indoor attractions, parks and playgrounds to museums and galleries, this city offers something for everyone. Explore the stunning natural landscapes, immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage, and create lifelong memories with your loved ones. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Vancouver’s family-friendly offerings are sure to leave you wanting to come back for more.

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