If you're planning on a trip to the Vancouver area during the fall months, there are lots of reasons to be excited. What's waiting for you in this lively and beautiful Canadian city: outdoor adventures; two holidays, Thanksgiving and Halloween (Halloween is a big deal in Vancouver); film festivals, including the celebrated Vancouver International Film Festival; and gorgeous fall foliage.
With mild weather in the fall season, and fewer tourists than in the busy summer, Vancouver is an ideal shoulder season destination. While you might encounter a few rainy days, it just adds to the atmosphere of the spooky and celebratory seasons.
Here's a guide to some of the best events and activities in September, October, and November in Vancouver.
Although Vancouver's forests are dominated by evergreen trees, there are still plenty of incredible spots to take in the changing colors of fall foliage in Vancouver. Two of the best places to see fall's stunning colors are VanDusen Botanical Garden and Stanley Park.
Go 'leaf peeping' in the park to see the changing colors and pick up some fallen leaves to dry out at home as a memento (check border regulations about carrying plants first).
Take a trip to the nearby Gulf Islands to see more fall foliage from the ferry and as you drive around the islands. Head to the Sunshine Coast (part of the mainland but a short ferry ride away from Horseshoe Bay) for a spectacular show of fall colors.
Fall in Vancouver is one of the best times for outdoor adventures. September is especially fine, with its still relatively warm weather. But October and November still offer plenty of days that are comfortable for being outdoors.
Go kayaking or for zip-lining for some adventure, or take a hike, go biking, or on a motorcycle ride through beautiful fall scenery. Expect some rain and pack accordingly with lots of layers and waterproof clothing.
Fall in Vancouver is the season for cinephiles (or anyone who even casually loves movies) because it's jam-packed with film festivals.
The biggest and best film festival is, of course, the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), which grows more acclaimed every year. VIFF screens more than 300 films from more than 60 countries and attracts industry insiders and celebrities as well as movie-lovers from across British Columbia. In 2018, VIFF runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 12. If you're really into the movies, check out Vancouver's other film festivals.
Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October, and that means it lands at the very heart of fall in Vancouver. While there aren't a lot of huge Thanksgiving events in the city, though there are often great meal deals for dining out on the big day, it's still a special time to get together with friends and family. Head out to a pumpkin patch just outside of the city at UBC, Langley or Abbotsford to get in the spirit of the season. Shopaholics can hit the sales to bag some bargains. Sales are not as extreme as US Thanksgiving ones are but it's still a good time to get a great deal.
The biggest event of the fall season in Vancouver has to be Halloween, celebrated on Oct. 31. Wander around the West End of Vancouver and Kitsilano to see heritage houses decked out with spooky decorations.
Halloween is second only to Christmas in the sheer number of events and activities happening around the city to celebrate this most spooky and fun holiday. Leading up to the big night throughout October, there are parties and haunted houses, attractions like Fright Nights at the PNE and the Stanley Park Ghost Train, among many others.
Every month in Vancouver holds the promise of special events, festivals, and cultural happenings, and fall in Vancouver is no exception. Some highlights of the fall season are the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, opening night of the Vancouver Symphony, several night markets, Taste of Yaletown, the UBC Apple Festival, Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown, and the Vancouver Christmas Market. Check out these links for more details: