But, let's be real: When you're over 40, the type of nightlife you want often differs from the nightlife you sought out in your twenties and thirties. Gross bathrooms and large crowds of drunk youngsters trying to get laid may no longer be your thing. Or, maybe it is, but you also want options for a more sophisticated style of revelry.
Vancouver, BC has such a diverse nightlife that there are loads of options for all age ranges. In this Guide, we highlight the best nightlife options for people over 40 who want to feel like they fit in with the crowd while still enjoying a vibrant night on the town.
Vancouver Cocktail Bars
Vancouver's cocktail scene has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, driven by both Vancouver's high-end food culture and by rising stars in bartending / mixology who have created world-renowned original cocktails.
Vancouver's best cocktail bars attract a diverse crowd, with ages ranging from mid-twenties to over 70. Not only are the bars chic and exciting, but the cocktails--especially the original cocktails--will also appeal to even the most discerning palate.
Gastown--Vancouver's oldest neighborhood--has an incredibly diverse nightlife. While there are nightclubs that skew younger (35 and under), most of the bars, pubs, and restaurants here cater to a diverse crowd of all ages. Gastown is small enough, too, that you can easily bar-hop.
Stand-outs for over-40s are:
Super Chic Vancouver Bars & Lounges
Many Vancouver hotspots cater to diverse age-ranges and work beautifully for both general nightlife and special occasions (birthdays, ladies' nights, celebrations).
Vancouver Breweries & Taprooms
Local beer tours--either organized or do-it-yourself--are very popular in the Pacific Northwest amongst people of all ages, from 21 to 75. Vancouver, like Seattle and Portland, is a choice destination for craft brew lovers; there are over a dozen local breweries within the City of Vancouver, and even more around the Lower Mainland. Most Vancouver breweries have taprooms, so you can sample the beers, and are generally open until 11 pm, so you can make a night of it.
There's always a diverse crowd at Vancouver's best beer pubs, too, which are open later (until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays). Vancouver beer pubs--essentially, bars specializing in beer--offer both local brews and wide-ranging imports.
If you only know burlesque by its old-school reputation (say, Gypsy Rose Lee), then you don't know today's burlesque. Burlesque in Vancouver is a little risqué and naughty, but mostly it's tongue-in-cheek, woman- and feminist-friendly, LGBT-friendly, inclusive, sexy, and hilarious. It's perfect for an over-40 night out.
Vancouver burlesque stand-outs include:
Vancouver Salsa Dancing
If you want to get out and dance, one option that knows no age limits--and truly attracts a diverse crowd--is salsa dancing. Not only is Vancouver's salsa-dancing community extremely welcoming to newcomers (many salsa events include an introductory dance lesson), it's also perfect for couples and singles (you don't need a partner; everyone dances with everyone).
In summer, there are Vancouver Salsa Cruises, too!
Vancouver Opera & Symphony
The Vancouver Opera performs both classics (e.g., Rigoletto by Verdi) and popular works (e.g., Evita by Andrew Lord Webber). The VSO similarly spans genres, performing both classical and popular music with world-famous guest artists.
Vancouver, being a Pacific Northwest city, is a casually-dressed town. While people do dress sexy for Vancouver's top nightclubs and cocktail bars, they don't necessarily dress up. At the opera and symphony, they dress up!
Vancouver Theatre - Seasonal & Year-Round
Vancouver's theatre scene is thriving and spans every imaginable genre, from Shakespeare to improv to cutting edge.
- Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival (May - September) - Canada's largest Shakespeare festival has nightly plays in Vanier Park, with open-backed tents that show off Vancouver's natural beauty.
- PuSh: Vancouver International Performing Arts Festival (January) - experimental theatre
- Vancouver International Fringe Festival (September / October) - Vancouver's biggest theatre festival, with 500+ performances
- Vancouver International Improv Festival (September / October)
Vancouver Dinner Cruises - Summer Only
From mid-May through early-October, most of Vancouver's sightseeing cruise companies offer sunset dinner cruises that are perfect for a romantic night out.
Vancouver Harbour Cruises' sunset dinner cruise package is a two-and-a-half hour cruise around Downtown Vancouver, with incredible views of Stanley Park, the downtown skyline, and the northern mountains, plus a buffet dinner and live music.