13 Things to Do in Vancouver, Canada on a Rainy Day

Bloedel Conservatory, fountain, and Henry Moore sculpture 'Knife edge', Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
Michael Wheatley/Getty Images

No one enjoys an unexpected rainstorm, especially not during a family vacation, but fortunately, parents and children can find lots of things to do on a rainy day when visiting Vancouver.

Depending on when you plan your trip to this west coast Canadian city, there are some seasonal events and indoor activities that families can enjoy. While some exhibits and attractions like the Vancouver Aquarium and the Bloedel Conservatory are open year-round, some features like the Capilano Salmon Hatchery are only enjoyable certain times of the year.

There are also plenty of activities for toddlers and babies if you're traveling with younger children, but be sure to check attractions before you go to make sure they can accommodate infants. Keep in mind that winter and spring are the wettest seasons, and the weather is unpredictable from November through mid-May.

01 of 13

Experience the Vancouver Aquarium

Beluga whale and girl at Vancouver Aquarium
Grant Faint/The Image Bank/Getty Images
845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada
Phone +1 604-659-3474

Admire more than 50,000 aquatic creatures at the famous Vancouver Aquarium; it is one of the most popular things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day, whether you have kids or not. It's a perfect mix of fun and education, and there are discounts for children.

02 of 13

Visit a Museum or Art Gallery

Exterior of Science World

 TripSavvy / Naimul Alam

6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada
Phone +1 604-822-5087

Vancouver is home to some of British Columbia's best museums and art galleries, including the UBC Museum of Anthropology, which features large-scale sculptures and totems from around the world.

Launch balls and parachutes in the Eureka! physics gallery at Science World British Columbia (the best museum for young kids in Vancouver), or play pirate aboard the RCMP schooner St. Roch at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

03 of 13

Warm Up in the Bloedel Conservatory

Bloedel Conservatory

Kyle Pearce / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Y 2M4, Canada
Phone +1 604-257-8584

When it's cold and rainy outside, visit the Bloedel Conservatory where it's always balmy and tropical inside. Situated atop Queen Elizabeth Park, the iconic Conservatory is small. Families will likely spend about 45 minutes there, but it offers an excellent opportunity for bird watching, exploring, and learning about ecology.

04 of 13

Go Shipping at Granville Island

Kid's Market at Granville Island
Courtesy of Kid's Market at Granville Island
Public Market, 1689 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada
Phone +1 604-666-6655

Often called the best venue for kids' shopping in Vancouver, the Kid's Market at Granville Island is also a perfect rainy day destination: It offers families lots of things to see and play with, plus an indoor Adventure Zone for letting the kids exercise.

Additional Granville Island activities include exploring the landmark Granville Island Public Market, riding in the covered AquaBus, dining, or seeing a show.

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05 of 13

Visit a Fish Hatchery

Capilano Salmon Hatchery

Ruth Hartnup/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

4500 Capilano Park Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4L3, Canada
Phone +1 604-666-1790

The free Capilano River Hatchery provides one of a few unique things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day. Located just past the Capilano Suspension Bridge (one of Vancouver's top 10 attractions) in North Vancouver, the Hatchery is minutes from downtown Vancouver and gives visitors a chance to see salmon hatching in action.

The best time to visit the Capilano Salmon Hatchery varies by species: See Chinook adults in October to November, Coho adults June through November, and Steelhead adults from March through April. Watch juvenile Cohos all year and juvenile Chinooks March through May.

06 of 13

Glide Across the Ice—Indoors

Robson Square ice rink, lit up at night.
Ian Cook / Getty Images
800 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7, Canada
Phone +1 604-646-3554

Indoor ice skating is one of the easiest things to do on a rainy day in Vancouver because there are three public indoor ice rinks open year-round and five additional indoor ice rinks open September through March. All rinks offer skating lessons and public skates, with skate and helmet rentals available on-site. (Robson Square is among the most popular.)

07 of 13

Go for a Dip in Vancouver's Indoor Pools

Hillcrest Aquatic Centre in Vancouver, BC
Courtesy of Vancouver Park Board
6260 Killarney St, Vancouver, BC V5S 2X7, Canada
Phone +1 604-718-8280

You may not want to get wet outside, but why not dive into the water indoors? Like Vancouver's public ice rinks, Vancouver public pools are ideal indoor activities for kids when the weather is bleak. The Killarney Pool, Britannia Pool, and the popular heated bayside Kitsilano Pool are all within Vancouver city limits.

08 of 13

Climb an Indoor Rock Wall

Indoor rock gym woman
Ty Allison/Getty Images
670 Industrial Ave, Vancouver, BC V6A 2P3, Canada
Phone +1 604-874-2400

When it comes to exciting, different things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day, an indoor climbing center is a perfect activity for adolescent children and adults. Open to kids aged five and older, Metro Vancouver's indoor climbing centers include Cliffhanger ClimbingThe Edge Climbing Centre in North Vancouver, and The Rock Wall in Maple Ridge.

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09 of 13

Catch a Play at a Children's Theatre

Ballet BC Nutcracker
Paul McGrath / Ballet BC
1411 Cartwright St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R7, Canada
Phone +1 604-669-3410

Theatre doesn't have to be a special-occasion outing; it's also one of the best things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day. There are lots of options for last-minute theatre in Vancouver—check out Tourism Vancouver's Tickets Tonight for discounts on last-minute seats—or make a date for one of Vancouver's children's theatre events.

When it comes to choices, Vancouver has many children's theatres including the Carousel Theatre for KidsThe Cultch in East Vancouver, the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island, and the OriginO Kids' Koncerts Series at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

10 of 13

Listen to Story Time at the Vancouver Public Library

Exterior of the Vancouver Public Library

 TripSavvy / Leopoldine Bauer

350 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6B 6B1, Canada
Phone +1 604-331-3603

The local branches of the Vancouver Public Library offer a fun, free outing for little kids, toddlers, and literary enthusiasts of all ages. The libraries also offer family story time programs, which are a great way to meet local parents.

11 of 13

Savor Traditional Italian Gelato

La Casa Gelato vancouver
Courtesy of La Casa Gelato
1033 Venables St, Vancouver, BC V6A 3R9, Canada
Phone +1 604-251-3211

For a sweet treat on a dreary day, take your family to La Casa Gelato, which offers over 238 flavors of this Italian dessert and has been a staple of Vancouver for over 35 years. All the gelato is made in-house. Perfect for a quick stopover on the way to a museum, La Casa Gelato is a one-of-a-kind Vancouver attraction.

12 of 13

Watch a Movie at a Film Festival

Courtesy of The Cinematheque

Not only does Vancouver have a number of large-screen movie theaters for all the latest blockbusters, the city also hosts a number of local and international film festivals. The Vancouver International Film Festival usually takes place between September and October while the "Essential Cinema" series at the Cinematheque plays a curated lineup of independent and classic films year-round.

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FlyOver Canada

Flyover Canada
Courtesy of Pursuit
1010 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 0B9, Canada
Phone +1 604-620-8455

FlyOver Canada is an immersive "4D" theatrical experience that takes audiences on a ride through the peaks and valleys of Canada's vibrant landscape. Before you get on the ride, you can also spend some time watching an immersive pre-show by Moment Factory that offers a close-up view of Canadians and their environment. See dawn over Churchill in Manitoba and fly alongside the Rocky Mountain Train in Alberta's Rocky Mountains, all while strapped into moving seats.

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Fun Activities To Do In Vancouver, Canada on a Rainy Day