Whether you're just visiting or live in Vancouver full time, spring break is a great time to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and plethora of events offered in the city each March and April. From weekend camping trips to visiting the city's museums, galleries, and special events, there's plenty to keep you entertained on your spring break vacation to this southwestern seaport city in British Columbia, Canada.
When you're looking for things to do on spring break in Vancouver, sometimes the best place to look is outside the city—though you won't need to go too far away because Vancouver is perfectly situated for a wide range of day trips and weekend getaways.
Some of the best Vancouver day trips allow you to see the breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Northwest, while others offer some of North America's top ski and snowboard resorts. From picturesque villages and historic cities for shopping to the best spots for outdoor recreation—including camping, hiking, kayaking, and skiing—Canada offers plenty of places to explore the great outdoors. While some day trips are family-friendly, others offer a way for adults to get away for the weekend.
For families looking for a quick day-trip getaway, consider visiting Lynn Canyon Park—which is just a few miles north of the city and features hiking trails and a free-suspension bridge crossing through the canopies—or head a little farther south to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, just across the U.S.-Canada border.
Alternatively, if you're traveling alone or with a group of adults, you may want to plan a camping trip to the backcountry of British Columbia instead. Popular destinations include the Garibaldi Provincial Park near Whistler, where you can hike to Black Tusk and camp on a pristine mountain lake, and the Indian Arm Provincial Park near Deep Cove in North Vancouver, which features kayaking, hiking, and plenty of other outdoor activities in addition to overnight camping spots.
Vancouver is home to a number of great attractions that are open year-round, but they're especially great to explore during spring break when many of them offer special deals for students and visitors. Vancouver attractions offer something for everyone, from history and architecture to sports and outdoor recreation. While some attractions are for kids, most appeal to kids of all ages who are fascinated by science, nature, and human engineering.
- Stanley Park: The largest urban park in Vancouver, Stanley Park features trails, beaches, gardens, and historic totems as well as the Vancouver Aquarium and the scenic Seawall.
- Grouse Mountain: Located north of downtown Vancouver, this ski and snowboard destination may be closed for winter sports by spring break, but it still offers unparalleled views of the city skyline as well as access to unique restaurants and hotels.
- Davie Street Village: This neighborhood in the West End of Vancouver is the hub of the city's LGBT nightlife and community.
- Chinatown: Considered one of the largest Chinese neighborhoods in North America, Vancouver's Chinatown is located near Downtown and features restaurants, shops, and antique stores as well as the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden and the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver.
When it comes to finding fun things to do in Vancouver for spring break, you don't need to spend a lot of money—or any money at all. If you're looking for family fun, time to yourself, or a unique way to spend the day, you'll find something to do for free in the city. You could bike the Seawall at Stanley Park, visit historic Chinatown sites, explore Granville Island, or enjoy one of the many free monthly events in Vancouver—depending on when your spring break is observed.
- Vancouver International Dance Festival: For most of March, the city celebrates the art of dance with a variety of free and ticketed events, performances, and exhibitions.
- Chaharshanbe Suri: This annual fire festival celebrates the Persian New Year in West Vancouver's Ambleside Park on March 12 each year.
- Saint Patrick's Day: On March 17 each year, the city celebrates its Irish heritage with a parade and several free events across the city.
- Vaisakhi Day Celebrations: This mid-April tradition celebrates the Sikh community of Vancouver with a day of parades and free events across the city in honor of the New Year in Sikhism.
- Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival: For the entire month of April, this colorful festival celebrates Japanese culture and the arrival of spring in Vancouver with a series of free events.
Spring break isn't always sunny, but that doesn't mean there aren't fun things to do in Vancouver—even on a rainy day. Indoor activities for kids include swimming, climbing, and ice skating, as well as catching a show at one of the city's numerous children's theatres like the Arts Club Theatre and The Clutch. Alternatively, visit any number of museums and galleries in the city like the Bloedel Conservatory. For a special treat, head to the landmark Canada Place to experience the country from above at the thrilling Flyover Canada 4D theatrical experience, which takes guests on a simulated flight over Canada from Vancouver to eastern Newfoundland's Cape Spear.
Over spring break each year, the Vancouver Art Gallery features a free event for kids (with a small admission for adults) during its annual Spring Break Family Fuse Week. Taking place Monday–Friday during the last week of March each year, this event features tours of the gallery in addition to hands-on activities like painting, collage-making, and sculpting. Guests of the event can also meet with in-gallery experts who bring the exhibitions to life with conversations and demonstrations about the artwork on display.
Celebrate Knowledge at Science World
Science World is a non-profit science center located at TELUS World of Science that features many permanent interactive exhibits and displays as well as a rotating series of galleries dedicated to different sciences throughout the year. For spring break, Science World hosts its annual Spring Lab event, which invites families to learn about various aspects of scientific research and information through hands-on activities and events.
Over the last half of March each year, the Vancouver Aquarium hosts daily events in honor of spring break and each adheres to an annual theme, which changes year to year. Guests are invited to join special family programs and shows like "Meet a Penguin," "Shark: A 4D Experience," and the Aquarium Puppet Show that introduce kids of all ages to the fascinating world of aquatic life. Admission to this series of annual events is included with admission to the aquarium throughout the second half of the month.
The University of British Columbia celebrates spring break during the last half of March each year at the on-campus Beaty Biodiversity Museum. During the event, join the museum daily at noon for various hands-on activities that introduce students of all ages to the vast biodiversity of British Columbia—and the world. Events include the Focus on Colour workshop, Talkative Trees lectures, and Terrific Tectonics demonstrations. All events are included with admission to the museum and are available on a drop-in basis.
All year long, the Burnaby Village Museum brings 1920s Vancouver to life with period costumed townfolk and live demonstrations in the homes, businesses, and shops of the sprawling Heritage Village. During spring break, join the team of Burnaby Village on a scavenger hunt complete with print shop displays, blacksmith demonstrations, and rides on the 1912 CW Parker Carousel.
Each year, the Kids Market on Granville Island celebrates spring break with arts and crafts events over the last two weeks of March. This popular, kid-friendly attraction features two levels of retail, entertainment, and a children's-only hair salon as well as a nearby children's water park and picturesque duck pond.