Cheap and Free Things to Do in Vancouver

Woman at the top of the Grouse Grind, Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
••• Rich Wheater/Getty Images

With its gorgeous scenery and access to nature, finding cheap things to do in Vancouver is not difficult. In fact, mixing in some of these activities into your travel itinerary will help you have a more authentic experience of the city. You will not be disappointed!

  • 01 of 08
    West side of Granville Island in Vancouver, including the Granville Island Public Market.
    ••• Zhatt/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

    Located at the edge of downtown Vancouver, this 37-acre island was once an industrial area but today is a charming destination for shoppers and culture seekers. Granville Island features a wonderful public market, many artsy shops and galleries, a theater, restaurants, a brewery and hotel.

    Granville Island is free to visit, but there are many things that will tempt you to open up your wallet.

  • 02 of 08
    Stanley Park
    ••• InSapphoWeTrust/Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/CC-BY-SA-2.0

    Covering 1000 acres, Vancouver's Stanley Park is a downtown sanctuary that offers city dwellers and visitors a multitude of indoor and outdoor activities. The park features an 8.8 km (5.5 miles) seawall that runs the perimeter and provides a perfect flat, paved path for rollerblading, biking, jogging, and hiking. In addition, a petting farm, the Vancouver Aquarium and oodles of other recreational facilities are in Stanley Park.

    There is no admission to Stanley Park and much to do there that is free; however, some activities will cost money.

  • 03 of 08
    Capilano Salmon Hatchery
    ••• Ruth Hartnup/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Observe one of the greatest life cycle stories in nature at North Vancouver's Capilano Salmon Hatchery (about 20 mins outside of downtown Vancouver). Juvenile salmon are raised on site, and visitors are invited to see them before they return to the river, free of

  • 04 of 08
    Horses at Maplewood Farm, Vancouver
    ••• Walter Lim/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Just 10 minutes from downtown Vancouver, take a close-up look at 200 farm animals and birds and pet bunnies, horses and goats. Maplewood is a working farm, so visitors are treated to milking demonstrations, sheep shearing and more. Admission is minimal, parking is free and families can easily enjoy two to three hours at the farm.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Public art in Vancouver
    ••• Andrew Raun/Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/CC-BY-SA-2.0

    Vancouver's waterfront public art installations add a lot to the city's character. Get yourself a coffee, and take a self-guided tour of these local treasures and monuments.

  • 06 of 08
    Ferry on False Creek
    ••• [[User:]]/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

    Take a spin around False Creek on an Aquabus ferry. Start or end at Granville Island, Yaletown, Science World, and five other locations. Hang out on the Aquabus for the whole circuit, which takes about half an hour, or head straight for your destination. Each trip is only a few bucks and you get to see Vancouver from a unique vantage point.

  • 07 of 08
    Woman at the top of the Grouse Grind, Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
    ••• Rich Wheater/Getty Images

    Earn yourself bragging rights by tackling the Grouse Grind, a 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain - a popular local ski hill in winter. If you reach the top, you will have gained 853 meters (2,800 feet) from the start. Mucky and steep but gorgeous, the Grouse Grind is a difficult hike/climb that will give you not just a sense of accomplishment, but a stunning view of Vancouver and its surrounding area.

    The hike up is free, but the suggested return trip is by gondola, which will cost you about $10. Depending on where you park, your may have to pay for parking, which is about $8 for the day.

    Novices should expect to take 1.5 to 2 hours to complete Grind.

  • 08 of 08
    Vancouver Public Library inside
    ••• jwb-photography/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Vancouver and the surrounding area is one of the biggest film production places in North America. Futuristic productions such as TV's Battlestar Galactica and X-Men: The Last Stand is especially popular due in part to the architecturally innovative Vancouver Public Library (pictured left).

    At almost any given time, a potential Hollywood hit is in the making somewhere in the city. Just check out Creative BC for the latest scuttlebutt.

    If you happen to be exploring the city, you may see signs of a film production by way of large, temporary neon signs tacked to posts with arrows, lines of large white trucks, or bright movie lighting.