Vancouver in October is a stressful time for us locals.
The warmth of summer disappears, giving way to indoor activities and gallons of steamy coffee as the rains make their inevitable return.
That said, in our list of best things to do in Vancouver in October there’s still some amazing stuff to do! Let’s take a look.
Vancouver in October 2023
- Things to do in Vancouver in October
- Vancouver October events
- October concerts
- October weather
- What to pack for October
Things to Do in Vancouver in October
See the Fall Foliage in Stanley Park
I’ve already complained about the October rains, but if Vancouver didn’t have a rain or shine policy for its major attractions nothing would ever be open – not that Stanley Park needs it.
October is a great time to see the leaves change here. Renting a bike and riding the famous Vancouver Seawall while temperatures are reasonably warm is always a good idea.
Wanna go even deeper? Consider taking one of the top Stanley Park tours.
Take a Gastown Walking Tour
The dramatic retelling of some of the city’s most famous murders, fatal protests, and even a Great Fire as you walk through Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhood is optimal for tourists, and endlessly compelling for locals.
The Lost Souls of Gastown Tour also runs a special Halloween-themed tour in October.
Related: Best Walking Tours in Vancouver
Take in Some Local Theater
If you didn’t have the theater on your list of best things to do in Vancouver we don’t blame you – but as the weather changes and people head indoors October is peak theater season.
Looking for local talent? A great jumping off point is the Arts Club Theater, Western Canada’s largest theater production company. They run shows at three different stages: Olympic Village, downtown Vancouver, and Granville Island.
October 2023 shows include Someone Like You and Little Shop of Horrors.
Take One Last Hop on Hop Off Bus Trip
If you’re visiting Vancouver during October this is the last chance to dance (or at least hop) with these Vancouver sightseeing bus tours.
Especially in early October, you can still take advantage of some great weather to sit up top, though it’s covered on rainy days.
What we love here is the four stops in Stanley Park: the Totem Poles, Prospect Point, Ferguson Point, and the Vancouver Aquarium. This is the best way to take in the fall scenery in the city with little effort.
Related: Best Vancouver tours
Head Indoors to Vancouver’s Many Museums
Vancouverites have all summer to go hiking and get a tan at the beach – but when we switch gears to fall it’s never a bad idea to get cultured up at Vancouver’s best museums.
Especially on rainy days, there’s really no better way to spend the time getting educated at:
- The Bill Reid Gallery (dedicated to the legendary Northwest Coast art pioneer)
- The Museum of Anthropology (one of the greatest collections of local indigenous artifacts)
- The Museum of Vancouver (a great jumping off point for learning Vancouver history)
Hockey Season Starts
October in Vancouver officially marks the start of the NHL season, with our beloved Vancouver Canucks taking the ice for another stab at Stanley Cup glory.
Looking to catch a game in person? Tickets start at around $40.00 each. Home games in October 2023 include Edmonton (Oct 11th), St Louis (Oct 27th), New York Rangers (Oct 28th), and Nashville (Oct 31st).
VanDusen Botanical Garden
October brings Gingko trees, the Autumn Crocus, asters, hydrangeas and much more to the legendary Vandusen Botanical Garden.
Also, in October there’s a certain Goldilocks ‘not too cold not too hot‘ element still in play here, allowing you to see the dramatic seasonal colour changes in complete comfort.
What really sticks out here are the yellows of the black eyed Susan flowers. Even better? October is the beginning of autumn rates: it’s 20% cheaper than if you’re visiting Vancouver in summer.
Related: Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park
Go Whale Watching
October is a sweet spot in the Vancouver whale watching calendar.
It’s still warm enough to get out into the open air, and it’s the last month to catch the area’s biggest whales (the orca and the humpback whale) before they migrate away for the winter.
Half day tours run from both Granville Island and Steveston and start at $177.25. All companies have a whale spotting guarantee.
Vancouver Events in October
Fright Nights at Playland
After a two year hiatus for COVID-19 restrictions, Fright Nights at Playland finally gets its resurrection in October 2023.
Here, Vancouver’s biggest amusement park adds seven haunted houses to the mix as well Halloween-themed rides, creepy decor, and even an ‘opening scaremony’ to kick off the festivities.
Highlights include the Bloodshed haunted cabin, as well as the Carn-Evil Scare Zone (pictured above).
2023 dates: October 6th to October 31st.
Vancouver International Film Festival
If you’re visiting Vancouver in early October then a trip to the Vancouver International Film Festival, only fitting since we’re nicknamed ‘Hollywood North‘, is definitely in order.
The 2023 version brings 120 feature films as well as 100 shorts, with various conferences and other performances celebrating everything film.
Specific October screenings have not yet been announced, though you can check out the VIFF event calender for more up to date info.
2023 dates: September 29th to October 9th.
Vancouver Diwali Fest
This Hindu festival of lights was once a protection ritual against spiritual darkness – but today it’s a time of prayers, feasts, and gift exchanges.
With tens of thousands of Hindus in the area, over the years it has evolved into one of Vancouver’s best festivals for citizens of all backgrounds.
The most prominent celebrations go down at the Museum of Anthropology and the Vancouver Art Gallery, where you’ll typically find dance performances, traditional cuisine, and henna painting.
2023 festival date: October 23rd.
Vancouver October 2023 Concerts
- Morgan Wallen: October 3rd, Rogers Arena
- Queens of the Stoneage: October 3rd, Pacific Coliseum
- 54-40: October 7th and 8th, Commodore Ballroom
- ZZ Top: October 14th, Abbotsford Centre
- Guns N’ Roses: October 16th, Rogers Arena
- Pink: October 20th, Rogers Arena
- Tool: October 23rd, Rogers Arena
Need more information on Vancouver October concerts? Check out Ticketmaster.
Related: best cheap things to do in Vancouver
October Weather in Vancouver
Vancouver weather in October can have warm spells well into the teens, with average highs fluctuating between 8° to 14° degrees celsius (47° to 57° fahrenheit).
That said, beach weather is long gone and it’s not uncommon for low temperatures to flirt with freezing in late October.
Also, make sure you’re prepared for wet weather as there are typically 15 days of rain in October ?
What to Pack for Visiting Vancouver in October
If you’re visiting Vancouver in early October it’s not out of line pack a t-shirt and shorts just in case, but you’re definitely going to need a sweater and jacket in the evenings at the very least.
You can probably skip the sunglasses, sun cream or anything else you might use in Vancouver in September (this is never going to be Miami!).
But, do make sure you’re packing some activewear and a good pair of walking shoes because there’s still plenty of good weather to get you out and about in our nature.
Visiting Vancouver in October FAQ
What’s happening in Vancouver in October 2023?
In October 2023 in Vancouver you can check out Playland Fright Nights, the Vancouver Film Festival, the Diwali Festival, and two different shows from the Arts Club Theater. Some top concerts also include Guns n’ Roses, Pink, Queens of the Stoneage, and Tool.
What is there to do in Vancouver in October?
With mild weather continuing in October it’s still a great time to cycle the Seawall in Stanley Park, check out VanDusen Gardens, or go on a Gastown Walking Tour. October also brings the NHL back to town, the beginning of the theater season, and events like the TIFF and Diwali Festival.
Can you ski in October in Vancouver?
Unfortunately the weather in Vancouver isn’t cold enough in October to allow for enough snowfall on the local mountains. You’ll need to wait until at least late November to be able to go skiing.
What to wear in Vancouver in October?
Vancouver October weather is generally overcast and wet, if relatively mild from a temperature standpoint. Expect moderate sunshine, though there are 15 days of rain in October so you’re going to need a jacket, a sweater, and some good walking shoes. T-shirts and shorts may be possible early in the month, but don’t count on it.
What time does it get dark in Vancouver in October?
In Vancouver the sun sets at 6:50 pm on October 1st and 5:52 pm on October 30th. Expect an average of around 10.5 hours of daylight every day.
How hot is October in Vancouver?
In Vancouver the average high temperature is 14°C with the average at low 8°C (47° F to 57° F) in October. Temperatures can occasionally push 17°C to 19°C but these days are rare, and usually only occur in the beginning of October.
Visiting Vancouver in October?
If after all this you’re still wondering what to do in Vancouver in October, by all means get in touch with me in the comments below.
I’m on a quest to answer every question about your Vancouver October vacation, or the city in general so don’t be shy!