October in Vancouver: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

A view of pretty fall colors in Vancouver's Stanley Park
Richard Gillard / Getty Images

Canada's West Coast enjoys a rather different climate than the rest of the country, so weather in Vancouver is hardly comparable to other popular destinations in the country like Toronto or Montreal. Vancouver is easily the warmest of Canada's major metropolitan centers. Even in winter, the city rarely gets snow or temperatures below freezing.

The downside is rain, especially in winter. Vancouver's foggy, wet weather begins to take grip in October, peaks December through March, and starts to taper off in April. From October to March, it rains twice as much as it does from April to September in Vancouver. 

Part of the city's charm is the laid back people who live there and their resilience to crummy weather (helped in part by the proper clothing). Also, visitors can find an abundance of rainy day activities and cultural events from the Vancouver International Film Festival to Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. 

If you don't mind some precipitation and gray days, October is a great month to travel to Vancouver without the summer crowds. If not, summer may be your better choice. 

October Weather in Vancouver 

October, much like September, has the potential to show visitors great Vancouver weather—mild and clear; however, dull and grey is another possibility.

The average October temperature is mild, with an average high of 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius) and an average low of 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius). It rains about half the days of the month. Humidity is fairly low thanks to ocean breezes and on occasional sunny days in early October the ocean might be warm enough for brave swimmers but generally, it's a chilly 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) in the water.

What to Pack 

Bring layers and pack wisely for a comfortable October vacation in Vancouver. There's no such thing as bad weather in this city—just wrong clothing choices. Vancouverites are notoriously casual dressers and you don't need to bring formal wear, even for high-end restaurants. Most residents wander around in weather-appropriate workout gear, even if they are not going anywhere near a gym or yoga studio. Some helpful items to bring include:

  • Warm, waterproof clothing including sweaters, hoodies, light jackets, a hat, and a heavier jacket
  • Closed-toe shoes or boots if heading out of the city
  • An umbrella
  • A sunhat and sunglasses

October Events in Vancouver

In Vancouver, October is a magical time with the end of summer giving way to fall foliage and autumn celebrations, such as pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and more. Note some of these events are canceled or altered for 2020; check event websites for updates.

  • Vancouver International Film Festival: In 2020, the 39th annual festival is virtual with over 100 feature films and events from September 24 through October 7. One of the largest such events in North America, the Vancouver International Film Festival screens movies from around the globe, including documentaries, fiction, and more. 
  • Vancouver Fringe FestivalLive and remote events will happen from September through November or December of 2020. Over 700 uncensored performances usually take place at various venues in Vancouver. Mainstage shows range from beginners to experienced artists, and the performers receive all the box office income made at the festival.
  • Bard on the Beach Shakespeare FestivalIn 2020, look for the virtual Bard Beyond the Beach event, with performances, educational activities, and more from the end of August through mid-October. The Shakespearean show includes a gorgeous Vancouver landscape with views of the ocean, sky, and mountains. 
  • The Vancouver Writers Fest: This event is online from October 19-25, 2020, featuring live-streamed events as well as pre-recorded podcasts and video. The festival caters to both adults and children.
  • Okanagan Fall Wine Festival: The festival has been canceled for 2020. This bash lasts 10 days and includes local wines, vineyard tours, food, and fun. One of Canada's biggest wine-producing areas, the Okanagan Valley is 312 miles (502 kilometers) east of Vancouver.

Travel Tips

  • Since there are fewer tourists, there will likely be travel bargains through airlines and hotels.
  • The second Monday of October is Thanksgiving in Canada. Banks and most stores will be closed. Expect crowds that weekend.
  • All of Canada celebrates Halloween on October 31. Kids trick or treat and costume parties abound.
  • If you would like to escape Vancouver's rain, there are museums, libraries, and other indoor venues where you can stay dry. Also, weather conditions can be quite different even just half an hour away. If you want to get out of town on a rainy day, the surrounding region is full of interest and natural beauty.