Summer is finally here, kids are out of school and you may be scratching your head, while clinging to your wallet, thinking of fun things to do in Vancouver. Actually, let me rephrase that, fun free things to do. You don’t have to stretch your imagination paper thin to conjure up lofty ideas that won’t make a dent in your budget; just look around you.
The shady forests of the North Shore draw locals and tourists like bees to flowers. The free things to do there are endless and can easily occupy an entire afternoon. There are plenty of trails to hike, ranging from advanced paths that will get your heart pumping, to beginner trails that have a few ups and downs. On a hot summer day, the canopy the forest creates is the perfect way to stay out of the sun, while you still enjoy the fresh air. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a solid attraction and definitely high on my list of places to take visitors. The atmosphere, views and things to do there appeal to all ages and can be accessed by public transportation, if need be. However, there is a price to pay to get into Capilano Suspension Bridge and if you’re watching your pennies, there’s another suspension bridge in North Vancouver that’s almost as good. The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is free and a pleasant hike is part of the journey to get to the bridge. Once there, soak up the beautiful views and sounds of rushing water and either continue on your hike, or head back.
During the summer heat, take advantage of the cool waters and hot beaches that surround Vancouver’s shores. Jericho, Spanish Banks, Kits Beach and Lacarno are all good choices, depending on the type of atmosphere you’re looking for. If you don’t want to leave downtown, English Bay, Sunset Beach, Third and Second Beach are easily accessible by foot, bike, bus and car. While at the beach, toss around a Frisbee, get in on a game of volleyball or simply soak up the sun.
If you’re the type that doesn’t like tan lines, Wreck Beach is Vancouver’s nude beach that attracts all sorts of folk. The only stipulation is that it’s a bit of a trek down (and up!), so it’s not for those that have trouble with a lot of stairs. Best of all, a hot day at the beach is totally free!
The Vancouver Art Gallery has a revolving series of exhibitions that change quite often and an annual pass is the best way to take advantage of viewing the ever-changing artwork. If you’re not in the market to purchase a one day ticket, or annual pass, don’t skip out on doing your own tour around Vancouver’s other galleries. There are plenty of them scattered around downtown, Yaletown, Gastown and Chinatown (two are located inside of the International Villages shopping mall). The beauty of going to galleries, rather than the VAG is that you can custom your visits by the type of art you’re interested in. Who knows, the money you save doing all these free things may leave a bit of room to buy a print!
After all this walking around, your sure to have worked up an appetite and there’s a little saying that says “there is no free lunch.” But, if you’re friends with someone that has a Costco membership, go there around noon and you can defy the old saying by filling up on samples galore! I kid. Sort of.