Vancouver attracts sports and outdoor enthusiasts from all around the world because the city is blessed with many great geographical features that encourage activities. Besides being surrounded by water on three sides, Vancouver is bordered to the north by the Coast Mountains and three local ski areas.
There are hundreds of miles of trails for both hikers and mountain bikes, and for those who don’t get as far as the mountain trails, there are more that 200 parks and over 130,000 street trees.
There are eight golf courses in Vancouver, three of them public, two golf courses in West Vancouver and two in North Vancouver. There are also three pitch and putt golf courses in Vancouver and one in West Vancouver.
There are 24 Community Centres, many with gyms and other fitness facilities, nine indoor pools, five outdoor pools, 10 beaches and one lake.
Vancouver may well be the most active city in the world, and it’s hardly surprising given its mild climate and proximity to a huge natural playground of forests, mountains, trails, rivers, creeks and the Pacific Ocean.
Vancouverites ski, snow board, snowshoe, sail, boat, swim, paddle, run, cycle, climb, hike and walk during at least part of the year. Many of these activities are popular year round.
During the winter you’ll find three mountain ski areas, all within a half hour of the city and only minutes from the North Shore: Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour Provincial Park.
If you are facing the North Shore Mountains from Vancouver, Cypress is to the left, Grouse is in the middle and Seymour is to the right.
Mild winter days provide the perfect hiking, walking, cycling, running and paddling climate. Sewell’s Marina is open all year round if you want to rent a boat, and so is Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre at Granville Island. Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak is open all summer and in the winter for special paddles.
Of course if it’s raining or if you happen to be lucky enough to arrive during a Vancouver winter snowfall (it happens about once a winter), you may prefer one of Vancouver’s 9 indoor pools or one of the 5 on the North Shore. Most public pools also have saunas, whirlpools, and/or steam rooms.
Whatever time of year you visit, you can include outdoor activities in your itinerary. We guarantee that your outdoor activities will be among the happiest memories you take home. For more information about outdoor activities in Vancouver see the Rec Centre website.
Indoor adventures include not only learning and entertainment spaces like museums, art galleries, movie theatres, clubs and bars, but activity centres like rock climbing gyms and badminton courts. Vancouverites like going places and doing things.
When they can’t get outside to climb or swim or exercise, they opt for the next best thing, doing those things inside. As a result, you’ll find that much of what you can do outside around Vancouver, you can do inside as well.
While you’re in town, catch the Vancouver spirit and do as many active things as you can, whether it’s climbing, exercising in one of the many indoor recreation facilities or dancing until the place closes in one or more of Vancouver’s exciting night spots.
If you’re looking for entertainment, Vancouver has a varied, sophisticated theatre and music scene. You can attend the opera, theatre, ballet or symphony. You can listen to chamber music, early music and baroque music. You can listen to jazz, blues and popular music. It is literally the case that Vancouver has something for everyone.
If you like to dance, you’ll find plenty of places to dance, no matter what kind of dance you prefer. You’ll even find a wonderful restaurant where you can dine and dance the night away.
Vancouver is a great place to bring children any time of the year. In the winter they can spend days exploring Science World, the Aquarium, The Space Centre and local museums. Outside, they can go for beach or forest walks. Even in the rain, walking in the woods is fun.
If they prefer snow, they can build snowmen, ski, board or snow tube at Mt. Seymour Provincial Park, Grouse Mountain or Cypress Mountain. If they prefer water, they can swim in one of the many local indoor swimming pools.
In Spring, they can visit the parks, go for beach or forest walks, skateboard at a local skateboard park, attend the International Children’s Festival, ride the SkyRide to Grouse Mountain or visit one of the indoor kids’ amusement centres.
In Summer they can enjoy the giant outdoor pools at Second Beach in Stanley Park or Kitsilano Beach, go to ballgames at Nat Bailey Stadium, watch spectacular fireworks, ride the tiny ferries that ply the waters of False Creek, play golf at a local pitch and putt or swim in the Pacific Ocean.
In Fall, they can watch movies being made and enjoy the magnificent show the trees put on as their leaves turn from green to red, yellow and orange. Trees in Vancouver in the fall often look like permanent fireworks.
Any time of the year kids can do most of these things as well as ride the SeaBus and the SkyTrain, hang out at KidsBooks or the public library, visit the Children’s Market on Granville Island, walk across Capilano Suspension Bridge or Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge on the North Shore or throw rocks into the many North Shore creeks and rivers.