We get 192.4 days of rainfall a year (good lord, is it really that high?) so finding the best indoor activities in Vancouver is essential.
That said, this won’t be some half-assed list of any public space with a roof – my list of best things to do on rainy days is going to be educational, entertaining, and even keep you well fed.
Here’s my list of fun things to do indoors in Vancouver.
Rainy Day Activities in Vancouver: Top Indoor Activities in Vancouver BC
You can’t get wet if you’re flying over the clouds, especially if it’s via a 4D flight simulator that’ll zip you across the country in just 8 minutes.
The FlyOver Canada Simulated Flight Ride replicates a cross country plane journey using a 20 foot dome screen, complete with mist, wind, and scents.
You’ll see all of Canada’s most iconic sites along the way, including the 25 minute educational Uplift experience.
Take a Food Walking Tour of Granville Island Public Market
Being a restaurant city, one of the top things to do indoors in Vancouver naturally involves sampling some of the city’s finest cuisine.
Sampling an endless array of local market treats from maple cured salmon to artisanal chocolates is the best way to spend a rainy day afternoon.
Related: The Best Restaurants in Vancouver
The Vancouver Aquarium is one of those Vancouver indoor activities that bring locals back to their childhood. It’s actually the biggest aquarium in Canada, and the 166 aquatic displays offer something for visitors of all ages.
The Pacific Canada Pavilion is the best way to explore the British Columbia coast without going outside. Other highlights include Helen the Pacific White Sided Dolphin, the sealions, and green sea turtles.
If you’re visiting Vancouver in winter head straight for the Amazon Rainforest display: it’s like a sauna in there!
Bloedel Conservatory Indoor Tropical Garden
This is one of the best indoor activities in Vancouver for those looking for an outdoor experience, if that makes any sense at all.
The Bloedel Conservatory is a tropical, sub-tropical, and desert microclimate dome that also functions as an aviary. Inside you’ll find over 500 varieties of plants and 120 free flying birds.
Found in Queen Elizabeth Park, this is a great spot to hang out with parrots and see coffee plants, cacti, and orchids.
Visit One of the Lower Mainland’s Best Casinos
I’m guilty of this more than I’d like to admit, but arguably the most fun indoor activities Vancouver involve pushing buttons, rolling dice, or playing cards at Vancouver’s best casinos.
The new Parq Casino in downtown’s Stadium District is the piece de resistance. Here, you’ve got an elegant 72,000 square-foot casino, lounges with handcrafted cocktails, and stunning restaurants like Honey and Salt.
Visit the Museum of Anthropology
Growing up just minutes from UBC this was my go-to when it came to what to do in Vancouver when it rains, as it wasn’t just a shelter – it was an educational trip around the world.
Of course, the Museum of Anthropology is the world’s premier collection of Northwest Coast Indigenous art and antiquities, making it the best place to learn about Vancouver’s original inhabitants.
Beyond this, there are great exhibitions on European ceramics, resistance art, Asian calligraphy, and more.
Related: Best Museums in Vancouver
Vancouver Art Gallery
Excuse the cliched painting, but is there anything more fitting than umbrellas and neon lights in downtown Vancouver? Western Canada’s largest art gallery is home to 11,000 works, and acts as a depository for some of the area’s most brilliant artists.
Highlights at the Vancouver Art Gallery include a large gallery of post-impressionist painter Emily Carr, Baroque paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, and an amazing list of temporary exhibitions.
One of my favourite things to do on a rainy day is grab a fortified wine (try the Odd Society Bittersweet Vermouth) in their 1931 Gallery Cafe.
Again, with 192.5 rainy days a year a little retail therapy is always welcome, and the best shopping in Vancouver is never far away – especially if you’re heading to one of the area’s best shopping centres.
The best option is Metropolis at Metrotown as it’s a treasure trove of indoor activities: 330 stores, a cineplex, world class restaurants, and all sorts of exhibitions and events.
A good second option is Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver.
Museum of Vancouver
For Vancouver indoor activities that add the most value, the Museum of Vancouver and its civic history collection is the perfect choice for visitors and curious locals.
Before visiting I had very little perspective on Vancouver’s neo sign revolution, the local counterculture movement of the 1960’s, or rainforest fauna of the area.
Exhibitions are broken down by decade, and there’s also the compelling Ćəsnaʔəm exhibit on the area’s pre-contact settlers.
Take a Craft Brewery Tour
But our list of Vancouver rainy day activities is all about growth, knowledge, and experience. That’s why a three hour craft beer tour of East Vancouver’s most famous four breweries is in order.
You’ll pile in a bus, get tasting flights at each location, and a PhD in Vancouver craft beer while you’re at it.
Take in a Vancouver Sporting Event
Whether you’re visiting Vancouver in July or stuck in a snow storm in the middle of winter, there’s always a professional sporting event on offer:
- Vancouver Canucks (NHL) hockey: October to June (if we’re lucky)
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS) soccer: February to October
- BC Lions (CFL) Canadian football: June to November
- Vancouver Canadians (NWL) single-A baseball: May to August
Looking for a budget option? The Vancouver Giants of the WHL (junior hockey) are great entertainment value.
Vancouver Theater Sports
This is one of the best indoor activities in Vancouver for those looking to laugh the rain away.
The Improve Centre in Vancouver’s Granville Island hosts theatre sports shows every Friday and Saturday, as well as the Lab (Thursdays), Date Night (Wednesdays), and various standup comedy nights.
Tickets start at just $23.00 for the 90 minute shows.
Related: How to Spend One Day in Vancouver
Take in the Bill Reid Gallery
This Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is primarily focused on legendary jeweler and sculptor Bill Reid.
Here you’ll find a great gold jewelry collection, traditional masks, wire sculptures, and the epic Mythic Messengers frieze.
Related: Plan the Best Vancouver Itinerary
Indoor Activities in Vancouver Runners Up
OK, so I’ve gone through all the Vancouver indoor activities that I’ve personally done, but maybe you’re built different – and maybe you’ve got rainboots and don’t mind getting out there!
Here’s a quick list of secondary options in case you’re still on the fence:
- Vancouver Lookout: If it’s more misty than overcast, you may get some amazing views from Vancouver’s tallest observation deck.
- Vancouver Maritime Museum: Learning Vancouver’s history through this compelling marine-themed museum is a great secondary option.
- Grouse Mountain: You may be able get above the clouds at Vancouver’s mountain playground. Their Theater in the Sky is a great shout too.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge: Crowds are extremely thin on rainy days to you’ll have this stunning bridge all to yourself.
Indoor Kids Activities in Vancouver
Finally, if you’re visiting Vancouver with kids you may want to keep the following indoor things to do in Vancouver well in mind:
- Castle Fun Park: Go kart track, laser tag, bowling alley, and arcade all in one – I need not say more.
- HR MacMillan Space Centre: Lovers of space will love this observatory with astronomical exhibits.
- Science World: The best place to have fun and learn at the same time + a 5 story high Imax theater.
- Chuck E. Cheese: The legendary arcade chain has its one location in the suburb of Langley.
Best Activities for a Rainy Day in Vancouver FAQ
When is the rainy season in Vancouver BC?
The rainy season in Vancouver is between October and March, though do expect a fair amount of precipitation even outside of these months.
What can I do on a rainy day in Vancouver?
The best rainy day activities in Vancouver are riding the Flyover Canada 4D flight simulator, taking a Granville Island food tour, heading to museums like the Museum of Anthropology, taking an East Van craft beer tour, going to Parq Casino, or visiting the Bloedel Conservatory.
Is it worth visiting Vancouver BC in the rain?
Yes! In fact, it would almost be impossible to see the city otherwise given the sheer amount of rain Vancouver receives (192.5 days a year). There are plenty of things to do inside in Vancouver like museums, sporting events, casinos, and tours to keep you busy.
Ready for Some Vancouver Indoor Activities?
I’ve listed most of the things to do indoors in Vancouver but it’s very possible I’ve missed out on something.
Don’t be afraid to get in touch using the comments below if you’re looking for something a little more custom. I get back to everybody!