On the lookout for what to do in Vancouver in the fall?
Luckily, even with summer in the rearview mirror, Vancouver’s breathtaking beauty is still on full display.
Vancouver’s stunning Autumn colours are great in any weather, even when the rains come – so let’s take a look at top Vancouver autumn activities and get a good plan going.
Vancouver Fall Activities & What to Do in Autumn 2023
Traverse the Capilano Suspension Bridge
If you’re visiting Vancouver in fall you’ll find a fraction of the crowds found in summer. This means those thousand Instagrammable shots won’t include dozens of shot-ruining guests.
This 460-foot (140 m) long simple suspension bridge sways gently in the wind. It’s something akin to an amusement park ride but strung throughout the old-growth British Columbia forest.
They’ve also got additional activities like the Cliff Walk and Treetops Adventure attractions.
Take in the Vancouver International Film Festival
After being forced online for two years due to COVID restrictions, the Vancouver International Film Festival marks its triumphant return in 2023 with its 42nd edition.
The VIFF presents around 120 feature films and 100 short films from Canada and around the world. The event also hosts talks, conferences, performances and other unique events that celebrate all things film.
This annual celebration of cinema takes place from September 29 to October 9, 2023 – coinciding nicely with the start of Vancouver’s rainy season.
Related: Things to Do in Vancouver in October
Hop on to Your Own Customized Vancouver Itinerary
Visiting Vancouver in the fall and want to see as many attractions in as little time as possible?
You can have the cool autumn breeze blowing through your hair, and even some shelter from the rain seeing the city with Vancouver Hop on Hop Off Tour.
This is easily one of the top Vancouver sightseeing tours and will take you to see Granville Island, Stanley Park, Chinatown, Queen Elizabeth Park, Robson Street, Canada Place and more.
Here you can create your itinerary and spend as long, or as little time as you like at each stop.
The bus tour includes live commentary from enthusiastic guides.
Hit Up Vancouver’s Best Museums
Vancouver in autumn means one thing: you’re bound to encounter a rainy day or two. Luckily, you can stay dry indoors by visiting any of the best museums in Vancouver.
Rainy day in the forecast? Book Science World or the H.R MacMillan Space Centre if you’re visiting Vancouver with kids. New to the city? Hit the Museum of Vancouver or Maritime Museum to get a degree in Vancouver.
UBC’s Museum of Anthropology is also arguably the best place to view Coastal First Nation art.
Enjoy a Halloween Parade
Vancouver is home to two exciting Halloween parades that provide ample opportunity for kids to experience Halloween in Vancouver.
In 2023, the free Vancouver Halloween Parade meanders through the heart of downtown Vancouver beginning at 11:00 am on Sunday, October 9th.
The city’s biggest cosplay event is also accompanied by a performing arts expo at the north plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery (noon to 7:00 pm on October 7th and 8th).
Take the Lost Souls of Gastown Walking Tour
The unique Lost Souls of Gastown walking tour is designed with adult audiences in mind. Just imagine your standard walking tour amplified by a theatre production. And toss in some ghost tales for that Halloween feel.
This gothic theatre adventure involves your costumed guide transporting you through the back streets, alleyways and secret spaces of historic Gastown.
You’ll hear authentic tales of Vancouver’s rough and tumble murderous past all the while visiting the neighbourhood’s most famous sights.
Check out the Fall Blooms at VanDusen Botanical Gardens
You can make the argument that fall is the best time to visit Vancouver’s VanDusen Gardens.
The soothing fall tones of red, orange and yellow are at their vibrant peak from October into early November. Also, Vancouver’s mild weather means flowers such as Autumn Crocus, Fatsia, Rudbeckia, Asters and Hydrangeas are still in peak bloom.
The gardens also host the popular Glow in the Garden event in the weeks leading up to Halloween. You’re encouraged to dress up and check out the glowing lights, jack ‘o lanterns and other Halloween décor.
Get spooked at PNE’s Frights Nights
Nothing says autumn in Vancouver like the PNE’s legendary Fright Night.
Aimed more at young adults than children, this event typically runs from early October until Halloween night. In the first half of the month, it only operates from Friday to Sunday.
Fright Night involves Vancouver’s largest amusement park getting dressed up for Halloween.
Not only will you have access to over 20 rides, including favourites such as the Hellevator, The Beast and Hell’s Gate. But you’ll have your pick of the litter from 8 distinct haunted houses.
Taste Some Amazing Local Wines
Fall is BC’s prime grape harvesting season – and believe it or not, the Vancouver area is home to dozens of vineyards that are quickly growing in global acclaim.
This makes wine tasting one of the top fall activities for adults in Vancouver.
To make things easier, we’re able to offer a variety of package tours that include transportation from Downtown to the wineries East of town. You’ll also receive samples at each stop, and in some cases lunch.
Visit Stanley Park
Landscape architects barely laid a hand on the local coastal rainforest to create what has been dubbed the best park in the world.
Stanley Park is the best place in Vancouver to escape the urban grind. And there are few better places to catch a glimpse of the city’s dazzling fall colours.
Meanwhile, in Vancouver in fall the park’s popular mini-train is adorned in spooky décor and re-christened “The Ghost Train“, a great ride for kids. The train runs from October 7th-31st in 2023.
Consider taking Stanley Park tours to learn the history of the city – and unlock the beauty.
Go For a Bike Ride
Vancouver is one of North America’s most bikeable cities.
When you combine the city’s stunning natural beauty with a massive network of greenways, trails and dedicated bike lanes – you have all the makings of a two-wheeled paradise.
Naturally, the Vancouver Seawall is far and away the most popular bike route, the Stanley Park section in particular. However, the entire path stretches 28 km from the Convention Centre to Spanish Banks Park.
You can also use it as a transportation corridor to connect attractions like Science World, Granville Island, the Museum of Vancouver and much more.
You can rent a bike for as little as $10.50 CAD using the link below:
Hike Vancouver’s North Shore
One of the best fall places in Vancouver: is the exceptional hiking trails in North Vancouver.
The Lighthouse Park Trail is relatively short and flat, yet still rewards hikers with spectacular views of Point Atkinson Lighthouse, the Salish Sea, and the Coast Mountains.
Deep Cove’s Quarry Rock hike also provides breathtaking views of the Indian Arm with an extremely moderate effort level.
Visit Grouse Mountain
Look at that view: Vancouver’s North Shore, downtown Vancouver, and the Lions Gate Bridge. Grouse Mountain offers stunning panoramic views of the entire city, all attractions aside.
Whether you hike up using the Grouse Grind or take the gondola, the view is still the same.
As the seasons change Grouse Mountain transitions from one of Vancouver’s top summer activities into one of Vancouver’s best skiing areas. While fall is usually too early to ski, it’s still a great time to enjoy activities like zip-lining, lumberjack shows, paragliding, and even a wildlife refuge.
You can also hit up the chalet for fine dining a quick drink on their stunning panorama deck, or take in a flick at the Theater in the Sky.
Catch a Live Sporting Event
Fall is the busiest time in Vancouver’s sporting calendar, with all three of the city’s major league teams in action.
At BC Place, the MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps and the CFL’s BC Lions‘ respective seasons will be drawing to a close. Whether you’re a fan of football of the American or European variety, you’re spoiled for choice here.
Meanwhile, across the street at Roger’s Arena, the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks are just getting started – but dear god don’t ask us how the last 50 years have gone. This year is the year!
Kill a Rainy Day at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Can you think of a better rainy day activity than a visit to Western Canada’s largest art gallery?
The Vancouver Art Gallery is the city’s, undisputed cultural heart. Situated in the city’s former courthouse, its very confines are iconic. While its outer plaza hosts protests and celebrations of virtually every shape and stripe.
Oh yeah, it has some amazing art as well. Its over 12,000 permanent works are comprised mostly of Canadian art, with some international works thrown in for good measure.
Of particular interest is the large collection of post-impressionist Canadian painter Emily Carr.
Go Whale Watching
How many major cities can offer you the chance to see the world’s most majestic sea life up close and personal? Vancouver whale watching tours are a rare urban breed.
If you’re visiting Vancouver in autumn you’ve got the best chance of seeing humpback whales as they migrate South to Mexico for the winter. You’ll also have the opportunity to see majestic grey and minke whales,
You can also still see killer whales in late September/early October.
Half-day and full-day packages roll from Granville Island or the fishing village of Steveston (hotel shuttle included).
Watch the Salmon Run at Capilano Hatchery
Every fall millions of salmon complete their protracted journey from the gulf of Alaska to BC’s creeks and rivers.
Here, they will eventually spawn before ending their life cycle in one of the great marvels of nature. Most streams see peak returns in October, but you can also see salmon in the Lower Mainland in September and November.
North Vancouver’s Capilano Hatchery is one of the best places to view this miracle in person. Its unique underwater viewing windows attract well over 200,000 visitors a year.
Visit Granville Island Public Market
If you’re hungry, looking for local souvenirs, or want to take in a show or two then head to Granville Island.
This commercial district alongside False Creek isn’t actually an island but it’s definitely the city’s true hub of deliciousness.
In fall you get all of the same amazing food, shopping and culture without having to deal with the stress of summer’s crowds!
Other great things to do in Vancouver in the fall include grabbing craft beer flights on the patio at Granville Island Brewing, comedy shows at the Improv Theatre, and checking out Indigenous art at the Wickaninnish Gallery.
? Big on beer? Check out the best brewery tours in Vancouver.
Vancouver in Fall FAQ
What is there to do in Vancouver in the fall?
Even with Summer behind us, there is still a full menu of Autumn activities to do in Vancouver including:
- Hitting up the Vancouver International Film Festival
- Biking the famous Seawall
- Partaking in Halloween events (Stanley Park’s Ghost Train, the Halloween Parade, PNE Fright Nights etc.)
- Hiking the Grouse Grind
- Visiting the Granville Island Public Market
- Going whale watching
- Checking out the Fall blooms at VanDusen Gardens
- Visiting a local museum
- Taking a local wine tour
Is Vancouver worth visiting in the Fall?
Yes, the relatively mild West Coast weather still allows Vancouver to showcase its natural beauty via a whole host of outdoor activities. It’s a great time for hiking the trails, mountain biking, or even just taking a stroll or ride on the city’s famed Seawall without worrying about the Summer heat.
Nevertheless, cooling temperatures and increased precipitation mean you should be prepared to add a few indoor activities to your itinerary. The city is home to a variety of museums and art galleries that are a perfect way to kill a rainy day. While the Vancouver International Film Festival is a great option for film buffs.
Sports fans can watch the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks make their return to the ice in October. While it’s still football season (in both senses of the word) as the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps continue to compete for CFL and MLS glory respectively.
What is Vancouver like in the Fall?
If you’re visiting Vancouver in the Fall expect to see the local foliage awaken into vivid tones of yellow, orange and red. If you’re fortunate enough to find yourself in town during a Fall warm stretch you may be blessed with the best time of year to enjoy the parks, go for a hike or visit some local gardens.
What are the best fall things to do in Vancouver?
It’s a time when you can still tour vineyards, go golfing, rent a boat to cruise local waters, or spend long days cycling the Seawall while breaking to enjoy craft beer, ice cream, and epic local eats. Though you should be prepared to spend some time indoors during one of the city’s infamous fall storms.
What’s the weather like in Fall in Vancouver?
While Vancouver’s Fall weather is mild by Canadian standards, beach days are likely well behind us. Moreover, the Autumn climate varies considerably between late September and late November/December. So your experience may differ depending on the time of your visit.
You can expect the following average high temperatures by month on the West Coast:
- September: 19° C (66.2°F) with 8 days of precipitation
- October: 14° C (57.2°F) with 15 days of precipitation
- November: 9° C (48.2°F) with 20 days of precipitation
- December: 4° C (39.2°F) with 20 days of precipitation
As you can see, while September is quite dry and mild, Vancouver begins to earn its wet weather rep as we move through Fall. Having said that, unlike in other parts of Canada, Fall snow remains quite rare.
What are the best things to do during Halloween in Vancouver?
Like most North American cities, Vancouver comes alive with a whole host of activities for both children and the young at heart. Downtown’s popular Halloween Parade and Commercial Drive’s Parade of the Lost Souls each draw thousands of revellers per year.
Many of the city’s most popular attractions also host Halloween-themed events as well. VanDusen Garden’s Glow in the Dark and the Ghost Train at Stanley Park are good options for young children. While the PNE’s Fright Night and Vancouver Aquarium’s After Hours are targeted at teenagers and adults.
Leave Vancouver in Fall Activities to Us
As you can see, there are plenty of fall activities in Vancouver to keep you occupied.
But maybe you’ve still got some additional questions, comments or advice for other travellers? Drop me a line in the comments below. You can always fall back on us (sorry, really) for some custom advice.
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