Cherry blooms at Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver BC

The 20 Best Things to Do in Vancouver in Spring 2023

Spring in Vancouver means a joyful awakening from our dark, wet winter slumber.

The warming temperatures bring cherry blossom blooms and a ton of spring activities to see the city in all its glory.

Let’s slap on those shades (oh god, here come the rains again!) and break down the best things to do in Vancouver in spring.

The Top Things to Do in Vancouver in Spring

A bed of tulips at VanDusen Garden, Vancouver BC
Courtesy: VanDusen Garden

Marvel at VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Vivid Spring Blooms 

There is nothing more emblematic of this wonderful season of rebirth than the Vancouver’s lush spring blooms.

For my money, there is no better place to enjoy their exquisite splendour than Vancouver’s VanDusen Garden

Vancouver’s most popular botanical garden bursts with colour, particularly in the late spring. You’ll encounter dozens of species of rhododendrons, beautiful magnolias and the ever-popular cherry blossoms –  and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Garden also offers several exciting events to kick up the fun factor another notch. One of the best things to do in spring in Vancouver for children is the Eggciting Easter Hop, which takes place on Easter weekend. While everyone will enjoy the Sakura Days Festival, which celebrates the peak of cherry blossom season in mid-April.

Get My Vandusen Tickets Now 

A pod of orcas swims in front of a whale watching boat, Victoria BC

Take a Vancouver Whale Watching Tour

As winter storms subside visitors can again experience the majesty of the nearby Salish Sea. And what better way to do so than to embark on a Vancouver whale watching tour?

Starting in April, you can roll out with half day tours from Richmond’s historic Steveston Village (downtown shuttle included). You’ll set sail on a partially enclosed luxury purpose-built catamaran, or fly away on a heart-pounding Zodiac adventure – your choice.

Either way, you’ll explore the Salish Sea in search of orcas, grey, minke and humpback whales. And if you don’t find one, your next journey is free!

Tickets start at $165.75 CAD – more info clicking the button below:

Book Your Whale Watching Tour Now

A woman completes the Grouse Grind
Instagram: @grousemountain

Hike Vancouver’s North Shore

As the snow melts on the city’s mountainous North Shore, the area transforms from a skiing destination into a veritable hiker’s paradise.

The Grouse Grind is easily the most popular option. Mother Nature’s Stairmaster ascends 2.9 km up Grouse Mountain and rewards hikers with unbelievable panoramic views of the city. The Grind typically opens in April or early May – stay tuned for the 2023 opening dates.

Back at sea level, the Lighthouse Park Trail is relatively short and flat – making it more popular with beginners. However, the trail still offers hikers 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 – though you’ll likely need a set of wheels.

Cherry blossoms behind the Captain George Vancouver statue, Vancouver BC

Check out the Vibrant Cherry Blossoms

At last report, Vancouver has over 40,000 cherry trees throughout the city. No matter where you go, the entire city is seemingly awash in the trees’ stunning white and pink fluffy flowers – whose arrival marks the end of the city’s rainy season.  

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of this annual event. It includes VanDusen Garden’s Sakura Days Japan Fair and The Big Picnic – a free event at David Lam Park where families can picnic under the blossoms.  

Many of the city’s parks provide an excellent viewing opportunity, as do quiet residential areas like Kitsilano and East Vancouver. While the VCBF map updates bloom locations throughout the spring for those looking to pad their Instagram with cherry blossom snaps.

riders looking up at skyscrapers in downtown vancouver from the hop on hop off bus

Hop on to Your Own Customized Vancouver Itinerary

Are you visiting Vancouver in the spring and want to see as many attractions in as little time as possible?

Well, the Vancouver Hop on Hop Off Tour allows you to design your custom itinerary via a number of pre-selected stops. You can then choose to sit up top and feel the cool spring breeze blowing through your hair. Or seek shelter from the rain down below – either way, a HoHo tour is one of Vancouver’s best spring activities.

A great way to learn the city’s layout, this is easily one of the top Vancouver sightseeing tours. You’ll get to see Granville Island, Stanley Park, Chinatown, Queen Elizabeth Park, Robson Street, Canada Place and more.

Grab HoHo Bus Tickets Now

The Empress Hotel, in Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Take a Side trip to Victoria

The British Columbia capital of Victoria is just a short 2-hour ferry ride from Vancouver. Canada’s most British city currently attracts over 4 million visitors per year to enjoy its quaint colonial architecture.

Most of Victoria’s top attractions can be found in the famed Inner Harbour, just steps from Victoria’s best hotels. While the city’s highly rated food and craft beer scenes can satisfy even the most sophisticated palette.

The must-see Butchart Gardens are a group of floral display gardens in nearby Brentwood Bay. They typically attract over 1 million visitors per year – making them one of the most popular attractions in Canada. 

Related: How to Get to Victoria from Vancouver

Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre
Instagram: @vancouverlookout

Climb the Vancouver Lookout’s Urban Grind 

Are spring showers keeping you off the hiking trails? Well, every Tuesday in March the Harbour Centre invites sun-starved Vancouverites to climb the 633 steps to its summit viewing point – also known as the Vancouver Lookout. 

Once you’re at the top you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree panoramic views of Canada’s most beautiful city – as well as DJ entertainment and an ice-cold beer. You’ll have 2 hours to complete the circuit as many times as you can for the $5 entry fee.

Sound like too much effort? Don’t fret, the Vancouver Lookout has an elevator as well. And a visit to the top of this exciting attraction is one of the best things to do in Vancouver in spring – regardless of how you get there.

Take Me to the Top of the Lookout

a group of people sitting on muskoka chairs at the top of grouse mountain vancouver bc canada

Visit Grouse Mountain’s Summit

Looking for an even better view? Just look up – Vancouver’s North Shore, Downtown Vancouver, and the Lions Gate Bridge.

Grouse Mountain offers stunning panoramic views of the entire city. And whether you hike up the Grouse Grind or take the gondola, the view is still the same.

As you’d expect, springtime is a period of transition on Grouse Mountain. The Peak of Vancouver shifts from one of Vancouver’s best skiing areas to offering many of Vancouver’s top summer activities.

The mountain typically remains a winter wonderland well into April, offering activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, tubing and more. While a May or June visit can involve zip-lining, lumberjack shows, paragliding, or even hitting up the wildlife refuge.

You can also hit up the chalet for fine dining, enjoy a quick drink on their stunning panorama deck, or take in a flick at the Theater in the Sky.

Buy Grouse Mountain Tickets Now

A skier jumps on Grouse Mountain in front of the Vancouver skyline

Carve up Powder on the Local Mountains

Vancouver’s North Shore is home to the hat-trick of hills that Vancouverites refer to as “the Local Mountains” – Grouse Mountain, Seymour Mountain and Cypress Bowl.

Located as little as 45 minutes from your Downtown hotel, this terrific trio offers a fantastic skiing experience well into the spring – as late as the third week of April in recent years. And they’re so close they can even be reached using public transit.

Here later in the year? Well, why not plan a side trip to Whistler-Blackcomb? A world-class destination in its own right, BC’s most popular resort is typically open for skiing well into the second half of May.

Grab Your Lift Tickets Now

An aerial view of Vancouver's 4/20 Festival

Spark up at 4/20 Vancouver

Vancouver has been one of the world’s foremost destinations for all things marijuana long before the substance was legalized in 2018. Let’s just say that the nickname “Vansterdam” didn’t come about for nothing.

So it should come as no surprise that every April 20th Vancouverites join together for the largest cannabis protest and celebration anywhere on the planet.  From its humble beginnings in 1995, the 4/20 Festival has grown to include over 150,000 attendees and 500 vendors.

The festive atmosphere now includes performers, food and concerts from international artists. All the while you can enjoy the very best in cannabis products, including flowers, edibles and concentrates. 

A free guided tour in the Bill Reid Rotunda at the MOA

Hit Up one of Vancouver’s Best Museums 

Vancouver does have a little more to offer in the culture category. You can start with a stop at one of the city’s best museums  –  one of Vancouver’s best rainy day activities. 

You should consider booking a trip to Science World or the H.R MacMillan Space Centre if you’re travelling with kids. And if you’re new to the city, the Museum of Vancouver or Maritime Museum will grant you a quick bachelor’s degree in civic history.

However, if you’re looking for a uniquely British Columbian experience – I’d recommend going to a museum dedicated to the province’s Indigenous peoples. The fantastic Bill Reid Gallery is located right in the heart of downtown.

Finally, UBC’s Museum of Anthropology is arguably the best place to view Coastal First Nation art.

Celebrate the Indian Holiday of Vaisakhi

Update (08/02/22): The parade didn’t run in 2022 but we’re hearing it’ll be back in 2023!

Vaisakhi is an important harvest and religious festival celebrated in Northern India. Usually falling on April 13th or 14th, the event celebrates the beginning of the spring harvest – or the solar new year, based on the Hindu Vikram Samvat calendar. What does this have to with Vancouver you ask?

Well, the Vancouver area is home to almost 300,000 people of South Asian descent, the majority of whom are Punjabi Sikhs – from Northern India. As a result, you’ll find two of the largest Vaisakhi celebrations outside of India – in South Vancouver and the suburb of Surrey.

With upwards of 300,000 attendees, the event is Vancouver’s largest single-day festival. You can enjoy its vibrant dance, music and traditional clothing. And take advantage of the traditional free food offered up by local businesses to mark the occasion – from Indian sweets, ice cream and even curry dishes!

Celebrations go down at the Ross Street Temple at 8000 Ross Street in East Vancouver.

The Stanley Park Railway at Easter
Instagram: @stanleyparkrailway

Visit Legendary Stanley Park

Landscape architects barely had to lay a hand on the local coastal rainforest to create what has been dubbed the best park in the world – although the addition of thousands of vivid spring flowers certainly didn’t hurt. 

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 vivid spring blooms. Here you can see massive collections of tulips, hybrid rhododendrons, and of course – cherry blossoms.

Children looking for an egg-citing experience will enjoy a ride aboard the Easter train – where the popular Stanley Park Railway is given an Easter-themed makeover. Kids will travel through the forest in pursuit of bunnies and various other furry friends – before meeting the Easter bunny!

Stanley Park is also home to the popular Vancouver Aquarium, as well as other historic landmarks like the Stanley Park Totem Poles, Brockton Point Lighthouse, and the Prospect Point Lookout

The Playdome children's carnival, Vancouver BC

Enjoy a Children’s Spring Soiree at BC Place’s Playdome

To the delight of local children, Western Canada’s largest indoor carnival takes over BC Place every year during spring break. You’ll find over 45 different rides and attractions under the dome’s retractable roof – so surely there’s something for everyone.

Try your luck at carnival games, enjoy the rides or enjoy the food – which includes typical carnival fare like mini-donuts, cotton candy, hot dogs and more. Playdome is easily one of the best things to do in Vancouver in spring with children.

This annual tradition typically runs for around 10 days, with extended hours on the weekends.

The Inukshuk at the top of Whistler Mountain

Check out for a Couple of Days With a Trip to Whistler Village

The trip from Vancouver to Whistler only takes about 90 minutes – but you’ll feel like you entered another world. Not to mention, the drive on the picturesque Sea to Sky Highway cuts through some of the most beautiful terrain on earth.

Whistler-Blackcomb is easily one of North America’s most renowned ski resorts – and it typically offers world-class skiing until late May. If you’re in town in April, the week-long Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival offers ski and snowboarding competitions, music, art and more – while locals apres like Beyonce in Whistler’s best bars.

But the area is much more than just a ski hill. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors or live it up in the area’s best restaurants –  Whistler offers visitors a myriad of activities just steps from Whistler’s best hotels.

The entrance to the Vancouver Art Gallery

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 undisputedly the city’s cultural heart. Situated in Vancouver’s former courthouse, even its very confines are iconic. While its outer plaza hosts protests and celebrations of virtually every shape and stripe.

And oh yeah, it has some fantastic 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.

Book Fast Track Entry to Vancouver Art Gallery 

Produce stands at Granville Island, Vancouver

Visit Granville Island Public Market

If you’re hungry, looking for local souvenirs, or want to take in a show or two –  then a trip to Granville Island should be at the top of your Vancouver spring itinerary.

While this commercial district alongside False Creek isn’t actually an island, it’s definitely the city’s true hub of deliciousness. Plus spring brings all of the same amazing food, shopping and culture of summer – without the crowds!

Locally smoked salmon is at the top of our public market shopping list, regardless of the season. But Lee’s Donuts is also an obligatory stop for handmade donuts (try the maple glaze). While across the street,  Alimentaria Mexicana is a great option for Mexican food.

Other great things to do in Vancouver in the spring 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 – but don’t forget to bring your little ones to Kid’s Market, which has 25 shops all dedicated to children.

Instagram @capilanosuspensionbridge

Traverse the Iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge

Visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is easily one of the best things to do in Vancouver in spring. This can’t miss attraction has been welcoming visitors since its construction 130 years ago – so be sure to catch a glimpse.

If you’re fortunate enough to visit this popular Vancouver attraction in spring you’ll encounter just a fraction of summer’s crowds. This means those crucial 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 – only strung throughout the old-growth British Columbia forest.

They’ve also got additional activities like the Cliff Walk and Treetops Adventure attractions to up the fun factor even higher.

Grab Your Suspension Bridge Tickets Now

an aerial view of the Richmond Night Market near Vancouver BC

Sample the Delicious Asian Flavours at the Richmond Night Market

The Vancouver area is fortunate to host what is likely the best location in North America to sample all types of exotic Asian street food.

The Richmond Night Market has taken inspiration from Asia’s vibrant night market scene to offer visitors a seemingly endless selection of exciting live performances, fascinating vendor stalls and sumptuous street food. 

Since its inception in 2000, the event has grown to become the largest of its kind in North America – attracting over one million visitors per year. It starts in Vancouver in spring in late April, Friday-Sunday in the suburb of Richmond, near Vancouver International Airport.

A building at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden
Instagram: @vancouverchinesegarden

Relax at the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Chinese Classical Garden

Located in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Garden is the first Chinese garden to be built outside of China. It was constructed to “build a bridge of understanding between Chinese and Western cultures”.

The gardens uniquely juxtapose the contrasting features of rocks and foliage, as well as water and structures – thus maintaining balance in accordance with the philosophical principles of Taoism. Sounds complicated, but to the eye test – they’re just downright beautiful.

Plants are carefully chosen with their blossom schedules in mind. This serves to emphasize seasonal changes, particularly what is called the “awakening” in springtime. So there is no better time to schedule your visit!

Grab Your Sun Yat Sen Tickets Now

Best Things to Do in Vancouver in Spring FAQ

What is there to do in Vancouver in the spring?

Even though summer is still a ways away, there is still a full menu of spring activities to do in Vancouver including:

  • Checking out the numerous cherry blossoms
  • Skiing the North Shore
  • Hitting a spring festival  (Vaisakhi, 420 Vancouver, Spot Prawn Festival, Richmond Night Market)
  • Hiking the Grouse Grind (or the Vancouver Lookout’s Urban Grind)
  • Visiting the Granville Island Public Market
  • Going whale watching
  • Checking out the spring blooms at VanDusen or Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens
  • Visiting a local museum or art gallery
  • Relaxing at Stanley Park
  • Taking a side trip to Victoria, Whistler or Tofino

Is Vancouver worth visiting in the Spring?

Yes, the relatively mild West Coast weather 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 enjoying the city’s famed Seawall – and you won’t have to worry about the Summer heat.

Sports fans can watch the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks who are hopefully still competing in the NHL playoffs. While the MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps are just getting started.

Spring is also the perfect time to explore many day trips from Vancouver, including Victoria, Whistler and Squamish.

What to do if it’s raining in spring in Vancouver?

Cool temperatures and high levels of precipitation mean you should be prepared to add a few indoor activities to your itinerary, particularly in March and April. The city is home to a variety of museums and art galleries (the Museum of Athropology and Vancouver Art Gallery are tops) that provide a perfect way to kill a rainy day. Pptions like the Aquarium and Playdome are great for families.

What is Vancouver like in the Spring?

If you’re visiting Vancouver in the spring expect to see the city coming into bloom – particularly its 40,000+ cherry trees. But while mild by Canadian standards, the city can still be quite wet – though snow is rare. So if you’re in town in March or early April be prepared to spend some time indoors.

However, if you’re in town in late May or June it can be a very different story. Summer-like weather becomes a very real possibility –  making it a perfect time to enjoy the city’s parks, beaches or patios. 

What are the best spring things to do in Vancouver?

Spring is a time where you can begin to enjoy the outdoors – check out the blooms, tour vineyards, go golfing, rent a boat to cruise local waters or spend long days cycling the Seawall. Just make sure to break to enjoy the city’s craft beer, ice cream, and epic local eats.

However, you should still be prepared to spend some time indoors during the city’s infamous wet weather. So in addition to spring outdoor activities, you’ll typically find locals socializing with friends at downtown Vancouver’s best restaurants, the city’s best bars or even tossing in a museum or two.

What’s the weather like in Spring in Vancouver?

Vancouver’s spring weather is mild by Canadian standards. It may still feel like winter to visitors from warm climates, but you may be able to sneak in a beach day or two.

You can expect the following average high temperatures and days of precipitation by month on the West Coast:

  • March: 10.3° C (50.5°F) with 17 days of precipitation
  • April: 13.2° C (55.8°F) with 15 days of precipitation
  • May: 16.7° C (62.1°F) with 13 days of precipitation
  • June: 19.6° C (67.3°F) with 11 days of precipitation

Still Looking for the Top Things to Do in Vancouver in Spring?

As you can see, there are plenty of spring activities in Vancouver to keep you occupied – whether you want to soak up some culture or enjoy the great outdoors.

But maybe you’ve got some additional questions, comments or advice for other travellers? Drop me a line in the comments below. Let this article be your springboard for some custom advice.

Also, don’t forget to follow us on the Vancouver Planner Facebook page for up-to-date travel information.

Julian

I've used online guides on five continents to find the world's greatest travel spots and this is my chance to give back - with insider info on my home, the mighty Vancouver BC!

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