The best Vancouver festivals make it hard to believe that Vancouver once had the nickname ‘No Fun City’.
That said, if you’re coming for arts festivals from another big city I may have my work cut for me to convince you – us Vancouverites are a bit shy on things that aren’t nature-heavy.
Let’s explore the top Vancouver events whether they’re music festivals, art events, food and wine tastings, street parties and more.
Dine Out Vancouver Festival
Last year over 300 restaurants participated, including some amazing places to try local Vancouver food like Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro and the mighty Seasons in the Park restaurant in Queen Elizabeth Park.
This Vancouver food festival is divided into four price ranges: $20.00-$29.00, $30.00-$39.00, $40.00-$49.00, and $50.00-$59.00.
2022 dates: January 14th-21st.
Related: The Best Food Tours in Vancouver
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
In Vancouver we’ve got one way to tell whether spring has arrived – and it’s looking up and seeing that pretty pink, thanks to our over 90,000 cherry blossom trees.
This Vancouver festival is actually inspired by the Japanese pastime of hanami (flower viewing).
If you’re up for this free festival all you have to do is download a Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival map and head on your way – I suggest going to Stanley Park as the contrast to the city skyline is amazing for photos.
2022 festival dates: April to May.
Vancouver International Children’s Festival
The Vancouver International Children’s Festival has a goal: inspire young children to develop creative minds through artistic experience.
This week long Vancouver arts festival includes concerts, art workshops, games, circus, face painting, scavenger hunts and much more.
One day passes for this family-friendly Vancouver festival start at $12.50 per child.
2022 dates: May 21st to June 12th.
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is sadly one of the few music festivals in Vancouver.
With a focus on acoustic and traditional music, the festival offers a wide range of performances, workshops, and activities for all ages.
This year you can see the New Pornographers, Lennie Gallant, Five Alarm Funk, Clerel and more.
2022 festival dates: July 15-17.
Honda Celebration of Light
Summer in Vancouver means long nights and the amazing festivals that take advantage.
One of these celebrations is the Celebration of Light, which features spectacular fireworks displays with syncronized music.
Held over three nights in late July or early August, the event attracts huge crowds of spectators in Vancouver’s West End. Prepare to see Vancouver skies lit up with a dazzling array of colors.
I recommend avoiding all the foot traffic of downtown Vancouver and watching them from a West side beach like Jericho or Locarno.
2022 festival dates: July 23 (Japan), July 25 (Canada), July 27 (Spain).
Vancouver International Jazz Festival
The Vancouver International Jazz Festival is one of the most popular Vancouver festivals, hands down.
Naturally, the festival features a wide range of jazz performers from up-and-comers to world-renowned legends. The 2022 Vancouver Jazz Festival features Buddy Guy, GoGo Penguin, Adria Kain, and many more.
Whether you’re a fan of jazz or just looking for the best things to do in Vancouver, you can’t go wrong – tickets start at just $29.00.
2022 festival dates: June 23rd to July 4th.
Carnaval del Sol
Be sure to check out Carnaval del Sol if you’re looking for special events in Vancouver with a bit of outdoor Latin fire.
This two-day extravaganza celebrates Latin American culture with food vendors, live music, dancing, and more.
Expect all sorts of compelling activities like salsa making classes (really!), Tango & Wine Night, flamenco workshops, and much more.
2022 festival dates: July 8-10.
Car Free Day Vancouver
Vancouver proudly celebrates Car Free Day every September.
Since 2008 many major streets in some of Vancouver’s best neighbourhoods are closed, and left to the pedestrians, cyclists, and skaters.
Naturally, live performances, markets, food stalls, and all sorts of street activities take place. This is a unique chance to enjoy the city without the noise and pollution of traffic.
Unfortunately, they’ve still yet to announce anything post-pandemic. I’ll update as soon as they do.
2022 festival dates: TBA.
Italian Day on Commercial Drive
The streets are lined with food vendors offering everything from pizza and pasta to gelato and cannoli, and there’s live music and entertainment throughout the day.
There are also special events like an exotic Italian car display, spaghetti eating contests, and jewelry workshops.
2022 festival dates: Second Sunday of June (June 12th).
Vancouver International Wine Festival
The Vancouver International Wine Festival is Canada’s premier food and wine event and is a great marketing opportunity for over 100 wineries, many of which are local standouts from British Columbia’s top wine region: the Okanagan.
The can’t miss event here naturally are the tastings held at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Single day tasting tickets start at $109.00.
There are also food pairings and a BC Liquor Store right on site for bottle purchases.
2022 festival dates: May 16th to 22nd.
Related: The Best Bars in Vancouver
Khatsahlano! Music + Art Festival
This Vancouver street party (their words, not mine!) features eclectic concerts from talented local musicians. There are also food trucks, crafts stalls, and activities for kids.
The best part of the festival is that it’s completely free!
2022 festival dates: July 9th (11:00 am and 9:00 pm).
Bard on the Beach
Bard on the Beach is an award-winning Shakespeare festival dating back over 25 years.
Naturally, if you’re planning on attending this Vancouver festival expect tons of world class theater, workshops, and events.
What makes this festival unique is its setting in Vanier Park, where two large tents are erected to house the stage and seating – with mountain, sea, and skyline views.
Past productions have included classics such as Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
2022 festival dates: June to September.
Vancouver Pride Parade
Pride festivals are always a great opportunity to celebrate diversity and show support for the LGBTQ community – and Vancouver’s Pride Parade is arguably the best in the country.
Every year, the streets of Vancouver’s West End (in particular, along Denman Street) are filled with colourful costumes, floats and marching bands.
The atmosphere is always electric – grab a seat on a patio like The Score and watch the world go by.
2022 festival dates: July 31st (12:00 pm to 3:00 pm).
Vancouver Greek Day
Greek Day in Vancouver actually began in 1977 as a small event to mark the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.
Since then, this Westside festival has grown into one of Vancouver’s largest and most popular ethnic festivals, attracting over 100,000 people each year.
Naturally, Greek Day features a wide variety of traditional Greek food, music, and dancing. I always grab a seat at one of the patio bars along Broadway and watch the festival unfold – Nostos Taverna is a fantastic place for authentic Greek food.
2022 festival dates: Sunday, June 26th.
The Pacific National Exhibition
It wouldn’t be summer in Vancouver without a stop at the biggest Vancouver festival of all: the PNE is a 15 day annual fair that welcomes almost 1,000,000 annual visitors.
Expect a massive fair ground including the amusement park Playland, concerts from big international artists, food stands, and all sorts of exhibits.
You must try the antique wooden roller coaster, but also shouldn’t miss out on playing the legendary PNE Prize Home Lottery – for a chance to win a 3,408 square foot, Tuscan-inspired Vancouver home.
2022 festival dates: August 20th to September 5th.
Vancouver Fringe Festival
The Vancouver Fringe Festival was voted the city’s best arts festival due to its eclectic range of 700+ performances from plays to modern dance.
What separates this Vancouver festival that from others of its kind is that the main stage performances are literally drawn from a hat. This allows theater players big and small not only a shot at the big time, but the chance to collect 100% of the box office revenues.
With many tickets being below industry average, this is a great chance to see quality entertainment on the cheap. As an extra bonus, all the venues are at legendary Granville Island.
2022 festival dates: September, TBA.
Vancouver International Film Festival
The Vancouver International Film Festival attracts film lovers from all over the world.
Every year, the festival showcases hundreds of films from a wide range of genres, from indie cinema underdogs to Hollywood blockbusters.
In addition to screenings, the festival also features interactive events, workshops, conferences, and performances celebrating the art of film.
2022 festival dates: September 29th to October 9th, 2022.
Vancouver Diwali Fest
Diwali is one of the most important holidays in Hinduism. This festival of lights was originally a ritual to protect people from spiritual darkness, and on this side of the pond it has become one of Vancouver’s best cultural festivals.
It is traditionally commemorated with prayers, feasts, and the exchange of gifts. The main downtown Vancouver Diwali celebration is usually celebrated at the Yaletown Roundhouse.
2022 festival dates: October 23rd.
Santa Claus Parade Vancouver
You can look forward to gigantic floats decked out in lights, costumed characters handing out candy to excited children, and of course: Santa Claus. The parade starts out downtown on W. Georgia street and hooks a left on Burrard ultimately ending near the water.
I recommend grabbing a spot at the beginning or end of the route (preferably the end, if you’re a tourist looking for sights in nearby Gastown) to avoid crowds.
2022 festival dates: TBA.
Vancouver Christmas Market
If you’ve ever been to a German Christmas market you’ll be happy to find that festival culture right here in Vancity.
Vancouver’s Christmas Market keeps the German spirit alive with schnitzel, pretzels, chimney cakes, and glühwein – but you’ll also find locally smoked salmon, Vancouver-made spirits, and Asian-style street food as well.
This is also the perfect place to grab a British Columbia souvenir, from handmade ornaments to candles to jewelry.
2022 festival dates: November 13th to December 24th.
Festivals in Vancouver FAQ
What’s the best Vancouver summer festival?
For the best summer festival in Vancouver I love the Khatsahlano arts festival – it perfectly combines the street party vibe with food, music, and other modern cultural phenomena without being pretentious or inaccesible.
What’s the best Vancouver festival in spring?
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is the city’s most iconic spring event. Exploring the city and experiencing this beautiful pink blooms is also a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors, and it’s free.
What’s the best Vancouver festival in winter?
The Vancouver Christmas Market has a long 6 week season and gives Vancouverites an excuse to get outdoors in colder weather, with plenty of food and drink to warm them up.
What’s the best Vancouver festival in fall?
The Vancouver Diwali Festival is one of the most vibrant Vancouver festivals, and it does a great way of uniting the city’s many cultures through South Asian food, music, and dance.
Still Looking for the Best Vancouver Events?
I’ve listed the top Vancouver festivals for 2022, but it’s very possible a few have slipped through the cracks.
If you’re looking for a festival that’s a little more specific, don’t be afraid to get in touch in the comments below. We answer every question 🙂