• Menu
  • Menu
people watching fireworks from english bay beach in vancouver canada

The Best Vancouver Festivals and Events to Celebrate in 2023

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.

a chef preparing a starter during dine out vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Dine Out Vancouver Festival

Dine Out Vancouver Festival

Vancouver’s best food festival by a mile, you’ll thank your taste buds and your wallet for the opportunity to try set menus at Vancouver’s best restaurants for a fraction of the price.

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.

This is the top event of our best things to do in January.

2023 dates: January 20th to February 5th.

Related: The Best Food Tours in Vancouver

cherry blossom trees in east vancouver with a hindu temple
Courtesy: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

If you’re visiting Vancouver in spring there’s one way to know winter is gone for good – 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.

2023 festival dates: April to May.

Related: Best Sightseeing Tours in Vancouver

first nations dancers performing at the international children's festival in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Vancouver International Children’s Festival

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.

2023 dates: May 30th to June 4th.

Related: Things to Do in June in Vancouver

people dancing at the vancouver folk festival
Courtesy: Vancouver Folk Festival

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is sadly one of the few music festivals in Vancouver.

It takes place in Vancouver in July at historic Jericho Beach Park, one of the best beaches in Vancouver with stunning views of the mountains, ocean, and city skyline.

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.

2023 festival dates: This year’s festival has been cancelled.

people watching the celebration of light fireworks from english bay in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Celebration of Light

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.

2023 festival dates: July 22 (Japan), July 26 (Canada), July 29 (Spain).

Related: Best Time to Visit Vancouver

a huge crowd gathered to watch a performance at the jazz festival in downtown vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Vancouver Jazz Festival

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.

2023 festival dates: TBA.

capoeira fighters doing a demonstration at the carnaval del sol in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Carnaval del Sol

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.

2023 festival dates: TBA.

pedestrians take over a street in downtown vancouver for car free day
Courtesy: Car Free Day

Car Free Day Vancouver

Vancouver proudly celebrates Car Free Day every September in Vancouver.

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.

2023 festival dates: TBA.

a woman in traditional italian dress singing on commercial drive during italian day in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Italian Day

Italian Day on Commercial Drive

For over 40 years, the Commercial Drive neighbourhood (aka Little Italy) has come together to celebrate Italian Day, one of the top ethnic festivals in Vancouver.

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.

2023 festival dates: TBA.

wine and appetizers at the vancouver international wine festival
Courtesy: Vancouver International Wine Festival

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.

2023 festival dates: April 22nd to 30th.

Related: The Best Bars in Vancouver

a band performing at the khatsahlano festival in vancouver
Courtesy: Khatsahlano Festival

Khatsahlano! Music + Art Festival

One of Vancouver’s most popular festivals is Khatsahlano! Music & Art Festival, which takes place every July in the bohemian Kitsilano neighbourhood.

This Vancouver street party (their words, not mine!) features eclectic concerts from talented local musicians. There are also food trucks, crafts stalls, and activities in Vancouver for kids.

The best part of the festival is that it’s completely free!

2023 festival dates: TBA.

Related: How to Spend One Day in Vancouver

a performance at vancouver's bard on the beach
Courtesy: Bard on the Beach

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.

2023 festival dates: June 8th to September 30th.

parade goers holding the pride flag at the pride parade in vancouver canada
Courtesy: Vancouver Pride

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.

2023 festival dates: July 31st (12:00 pm to 3:00 pm).

traditional greek dancers performing at greek days in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Greek Heritage Month

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.

2023 festival dates: Sunday, June 26th.

riders ride the wooden roller coaster at the pne in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: PNE

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.

2023 festival dates: August 20th to September 5th.

Related: Visiting Vancouver in August

the entrance to the fringe festival at granville island
Courtesy: Fringe Festival

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.

2023 festival dates: September 7th to 17th.

people attending a screening at the vancouver film festival
Courtesy: VFF

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.

2023 festival dates: September 28th to October 8th.

Related: Visiting Vancouver in October

people celebrating diwali fest in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Diwali Fest

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 Roundhouse in Yaletown.

The Vancouver Art Gallery and Museum of Anthropology also hold Diwali Celebrations, featuring henna painting, dance performances, and traditional Indian cuisine.

2023 festival dates: TBA.

santa claus riding a float in the snow during the vancouver santa claus day parade
Courtesy: Santa Claus Parade Vancouver

Santa Claus Parade Vancouver

If you’re visiting Vancouver in winter then the most anticipated festival is the Vancouver Santa Claus Parade.

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.

2023 festival dates: TBA.

Related: New Year’s Eve in Vancouver

an assortment of waffles and crepes at the vancouver christmas market
Courtesy: Vancouver Christmas Market

Vancouver Christmas Market

If you’ve ever been to a German Christmas market you’ll be happy to find that festival culture right here during Christmas in Vancouver.

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.

2023 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 2023, 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 🙂


I've lived in 5 countries and created content for travel websites like eDreams and Amex Essentials, but here I finally get to work my passion project - my hometown, Vancouver!

View stories

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *