24 Hours in Vancouver – Alternative Rainy Day Things To Do

Rainy Day Itinerary – 24 Hours in Vancouver for Travellers, Tourist, and Cruise Ship Passengers

I love Vancouver. And on a clear blue-sky day, it is the most beautiful place on Earth. However, it does rain. We’ve had some grey Novembers and some Februarys with 28 days of rain. How do we cope?

We’ve got a two pronged strategy for things to do when it rains in Vancouver, depending on tolerance to wet stuff, which may vary from day to day, or hour to hour. Get wet and carry on, or find interests indoors. Besides the usual  suspects of indoor tourist attractions, here are some alternative Vancouver rainy day things to do that give you another flavour to our fair (weather) city. Enjoy!

It Rains, Get Over It

We just ignore it, and carry on.  And not in the London-hide-under-an-umbrella style. No, we get the clothing gear to jog, bike, stroll, and play around in the rain. Or we just get wet. When it’s not cold, it’s just a bit of water, it dries.

Don’t run away from the rain, run in the rain. Try one of the ‘Running’ Meetups in Vancouver. Its a great way to get out, meet some people and see some sites!  One group, VanRun, The Vancouver Running and Jogging Club, does some evening seawall group runs and a chance to have beers after. What a great way to experience Vancouver!

If you haven’t come packed with rain gear, MEC or Mountain Equipement Co-op is a local outdoor institution. They have a huge selection of outdoor clothing and gear for rain, snow, and sport. Makes a great practical souvenir you can wear proudly well after the drops dry.  They also host outdoor trips, bike rides, clinics and rides, and events like MEC Big Chop Summer Paddle Series from April-August 2015. The Big Chop is an incredibly fun night of paddling on the waters of Vancouver harbour. Line up on the start line under the Burrard Street Bridge with the setting sun in your face and the warm summer breeze on your back. Paddle the scenic course as fast as you want and in no time you’ll be crossing the finish line with a big smile on your face. Be sure to stay for a cold drink, a tasty hotdog and for your chance to win some amazing draw prizes!

Museums You Could Spend the Day At

If you want to learn more about the history, ecology and culture of Vancouver and British Columbia, there are a few Museums I’d recommend that  you could spend the whole rainy day at.

The Museum of Anthropology has a vast collection of Pacific Northwest and First Nations artifacts that are priceless and unique. They’re located at the University of British Columbia, about a 45 bus ride from downtown. But once you’re there, the view is spectacular, lots to learn, there’s a cafe, or the University’s Student Union basement has some decent and cheap eats.

If you want to stay downtown-ish, The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park is amazing. They’ve got some huge galleries with local sea life that are serine and fascinating. They also have otters, and whales. Their jellyfish aquariums are stunning, in a good way.

Catch an Indy Film! or a Blockbuster

Vancouver Scotiabank Theatre
Vancouver Scotiabank Theatre

Vancity Theatre right downtown is a great indy film treasure!  Pretty much every day they offer some excellent films that you might not ever see elsewhere. Its a new-ish modern and clean theatre, with a great snackbar.  They also host the annual Vancouver International Film Festival in Sept/Oct, and a number of other smaller festivals throughout the year. If you like film, check them out.

If you”re more inclined to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster in 3-D and surround sound, then you might like Scotiabank Theatre  on Burrard Street, downtown.  Plenty of comfy seats, and a good variety of movie snack food.  (Also you can enjoy a JapaDog before or after the movie – at the cart right across the street!)

Take in some Vancouver Coffee Culture

Caffe Artigiano
Caffè Artigiano – Granville St, Downtown

Downtown excellent coffee can be found at  Caffè Artigiano on Granville or on  W. Hastings at Howe. If you’d prefer a luxurious coco or the decadent  S’Mores fondu try Mink Chocolates on West Hastings/Hornby.

Revolver Coffee - Cambie St, Vancouver
Revolver Coffee – Cambie St, Vancouver

In Gastown, try the sophisticated and fine tuned  Revolver Coffee for some primo brew personalized for you. And if you prefer spending the rainy day ducking in and out of funky shops, try the popular Kafka’s on Main Street, or the ‘dead classy’ Italian Cafe Calabria on the Drive (Commercial drive).


Enjoy Vancouver in the Rain!


Please let me know how you enjoyed the itinerary, by posting a comment below.


Getting Around

Long Stopover at Vancouver YVR Airport?

Why not venture into downtown using the super fast Canada line SkyTrian. Just 26 minutes from Vancouver YVR to Waterfront station. See public transport below for more details.

Walk. Vancouver is walkable.

In fact Vancouver was just named The Most Walking City in Canada! From Canada Place to Chinatown is a 2K walk. The longest walk,  Stanley Park to Chinatown is a moderate 6-9K walk. From Stanley Park Lighthouse through Downtown to Granville Island  is around a 5K walk.
Download a map from the Tourism Vancouver website, and just enjoy walking the city.

Public Transportation

During your 24 hours in Vancouver the One Day Transit Pass is outstanding value – Translink DayPass $9.75 Adult Fare, Children 5yrs – 13yr qualify for Concession Fare prices ($7.50). Children 4 years and younger ride for free. Unrestricted travel in All 3 Zones, via the by Bus, Skytrain, or SeaBus from the first to the last transit service of the day.  Buy at any Skytrain station, Canada Place, Pacific Centre, or at most convenient shops (7-Eleven, London Drugs).

Additional Information

For more specialized tours, contact or visit the official Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre a block from Canada Place at 999 Canada Place (temporary location) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6C 3L6.
Tel: 604.683.2000
January – March 10am- 2pm daily (Sunday – Saturday).
April – October 10am-6pm daily (Sunday – Saturday)

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Miranda

    One of my favorite things to do while its raining in Vancouver is to visit the Bloedel Conservatory. Its full of plants and birds, you almost forget its raining.

    1. Hi Miranda,
      That’s a good tip! Its been a while since I visited, I think I’m going to have to spend a day there and at Queen Elizabeth Park – and bring a picnic. I love summer in Vancouver. Thanks for the comment!

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