Vancouver is a Canadian west coast city known for scenic mountains, lush forests, and an abundance of wildlife. You might think that with all this natural beauty that the city is lacking in the nightlife department. This couldn't be farther from the truth and the things to do in Vancouver at night are certainly plentiful. This British Columbia major city thrives at night and offers both tourists and locals tons of bars, restaurants, and clubs in terms of conventional nightlife. Known for its hipster vibe and quirkiness, Vancouver nightlife is also famous for craft beer, board games, trivia nights, and even night skiing.
During the day there are tons of things to do in Vancouver from museums to hiking trails to shopping, and in some cases, you can even do these activities at night, too. You'll want to plan your trip accordingly to make sure you have enough energy left from the abundance of daytime activities to fully experience Vancouver at night. And, no matter what you get up to at night, you don't want to be lugging your bags around. Before you head out for the evening, make sure your luggage is safely tucked away at a Bounce baggage storage in Vancouver.
In the winter, Vancouver is known for untouched snow on the three mountains that are easily accessible from the lower mainland - Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain, and Cypress Mountain. When it's cold and rainy in the city, Vancouver's North Shore mountains get a perfect dusting of fresh powder. Head up to the mountain of your choice for some evening night skiing. It's a wholesome family-friendly activity and much cheaper at night. The mountains offer rentals if you haven't traveled with your gear, and this is one of the best outdoor activities to do in Vancouver at night.
Home to the iconic Granville Island Market, this peninsula is found across from downtown over scenic False Creek. This is a popular tourist spot during the day for the market itself and other family-friendly activities but at night, the area is full of people from all age groups enjoying dinner and a few drinks with picturesque views. The smallish 40-acre location boasts over 20 bars, restaurants, and lounges, so if you're not enamored with the first place you visit, just continue on and you're sure to find your ideal evening spot. If you don't want to sit and have a meal, just strolling around the island makes the trip here worthwhile.
Not to be confused with Granville Island, Granville Street is a corridor of pubs, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. This area of the city skews young when it comes to nightlife and the street really comes alive when the sun goes down. You'll have your pick of things to do in Vancouver at night here and this street is your one-stop shop for a vibrant party atmosphere. During the day, Granville Street is a lunching and shopping destination as well. With its excellent public transport hubs, this nighttime destination is not to be missed.
See a hockey game
Set at one of the boundaries to downtown Vancouver, Rogers Arena is the home to the Vancouver Canucks. If you're a fan of Canada's national pastime and the country's official national winter sport, taking in a Canucks game is a Vancouver must. Tickets are pricy and somewhat hard to come by, but if you can swing it, an iconic game is one of the best things to do in Vancouver at night. And, since you're already downtown you can get a few drinks or some of the best street food options in town.
Tour the bars of Commercial Drive
Home to countless independent restaurants, bars, and boutiques, Commercial Drive, known simply as "The Drive" by locals, is heaven for unique Vancouver nightlife. It's also one of the more fun Vancouver neighborhoods to call your home base. Most establishments can easily fit into the definition of quirky and a few of the highlights include:
Fets Whisky Kitchen - Fets serves tasty southern-style food alongside an extensive whisky list and other intriguing cocktails. You can sit inside or out, but the murals inside provide the perfect backdrop for a fun night out with friends.
The Charlatan - If comfort food like burgers and craft beer is your scene, then The Charlatan should be one of your stops on The Drive. The bar also hosts open mic nights on Mondays, so for the price of a meal or a few drinks, you can also be entertained.
The Dime - For a budget-conscious evening out, The Dime might fit the bill. This classic yet modern tavern prices all their food from $5.95 to $7.95, and the drinks are also reasonable. You'll be able to mingle with the locals while enjoying some authentic Vancouver nightlife. It's a great spot for an early dinner before heading to more party-centric Granville Street.
The Rio Theatre on Commercial Drive is an iconic location in the city's history and is worth a trip, especially if you're already in the area. Maybe do this before you've had too many drinks?
Dinner Cruise in English Bay
Vancouver is blessed with an incredible setting, and one of the many highlights is English Bay. Part of the West End neighborhood, English Bay is your gateway to Stanley Park. The seawall is ideal for a light walk and the shops that line Denman Street will help you find a perfect gift for your friends and family.
Multiple companies offer to take you on a relaxing dinner cruise around English Bay and the Vancouver Harbour. You're rewarded with stunning sunset views of the West Vancouver skyline and most tour operators combine the cruise with a delicious meal. Although the cost is somewhat expensive, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Hey, you have to eat anyway, right?
The area around English Bay is also home to tons of restaurants and bars, and everyone should grab a brew and a bite and the popular Craft Beer Market Restaurant. The restaurant offers lots of shareable food and perfect pints. Make sure you try this place out either before or after your dinner cruise. A few words of caution: the food and drink at Craft Beer Market Restaurant are so good, just make sure you don't eat too much!
Take a night tour
Many Vancouver companies offer nighttime walking tours in various areas of the city, predominantly downtown. The pick of the crop is the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour run by Forbidden Vancouver. Your guide will navigate through the cobblestone streets of Gastown using only lamplight to guide you. It's an experience of performance theater that tells the story of Victorian-era happenings like murder, smallpox, and devastating fires. This Gastown tour really makes the history come alive and is something everyone should do. This may not be the most family-friendly activity, but older kids are sure to enjoy it.
Richmond Night Market
Although not technically in Vancouver, Richmond is home to the international airport, so it's possible you'll be in this city anyway. If you aren't, a trip to Richmond doesn't go unrewarded. The lower mainland city is home to the largest night market in North America and it's full of tasty treats, unique gifts, and entertainment. The Richmond Night Market is held near the Bridgeport Station, so getting here via public transport is simple. Admission is under $5 and it's open on the weekends starting at the end of April from 7 pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday and closes at 11 pm on Sunday. A visit to the Richmond Night Market pairs well with a visit to the River Rock Casino.
River Rock Casino
Are you feeling lucky? If so, head immediately to the River Rock Casino, also in Richmond. The River Rock Casino is surrounded by a world-class resort set right on the water. If you really like gambling, you might consider staying here during your trip. As with most gambling establishments, the River Rock Casino is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result, you can literally stop in anytime. They have all the table games and slot machines you need to turn your trip into a winning one.
Shopping on Robson Street
Shopping on Robson Street is a great way to spend a day or night. Considered one of the more upmarket shopping areas in the city, you'll find high-end designers alongside more affordable favorites. The street spans all the way from BC Place to Stanley Park, so the shopping is dense. Robson Street is so much fun during the festive season, so if you're in town in December and need to do your holiday shopping, this is the place for you. The area is well-decorated and lit up with the Robson Christmas Market and ice skating in Robson Square. The Christmas lights will get you in the holiday spirit instantly if you're not already.
Vancouver Art Gallery
While the Vancouver Art Gallery may not be something you think of for Vancouver nightlife, on Tuesday nights and Friday nights, the gallery stays open until 8 pm. If your trip coincides with a Tuesday evening, they waive the normal admission fee, and it becomes entry by donation. This is a great way to save a little cash in an otherwise expensive city.
Another awesome feature at the Vancouver Art Gallery in the summer is the outdoor movies they show in the Plaza, usually shown on a Wednesday night. This is certainly one of the best things to do in Vancouver at night with kids.
Although Grouse Mountain is popular for night skiing, the North Vancouver mountain also offers many more outdoor activities. The skating rink is a great idea for a family outing, and if you're up to it, there are night-accessible snowshoeing trails. You can also head to the sliding zone for some amped-up tobogganing on a magic carpet. The mountain offers spectacular views of the Vancouver skyline and you're bound to see plenty of stars on a clear night. The gondola ride up the mountain is also one of the fun things to do in Vancouver at night, even if you're not planning on night skiing.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is usually on people's lists of things to do, but have you considered waiting until the evening to go? Once again, if your trip coincides with the holiday season, a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a must. Although they close at 6 pm, it will be dark enough for you to take in the gorgeous canyon lights that illuminate the natural beauty of the area. The canyon lights tend to stay on until the end of February, but you can check their website to confirm before you go.
Anytime you visit Vancouver, both your days and nights will be full of fun things to do. In fact, there's something to do in Vancouver at night for everyone. The dining is world-class and you'll find quirky bars and pubs around every corner. Dinner cruises are great for young and old, and if you want a party, just head to Granville Street. A trip to nearby Richmond rewards you with both the River Rock Casino and Richmond Night Market. For kids, there are outdoor activities like movies and skating, and even NHL hockey games.
If you can make it to Vancouver during the festive season, you'll be treated to special markets, Christmas lights, and even more winter-centric activities. The weather can be unpredictable with high amounts of rain at this time of year, so luckily there are also plenty of nighttime indoor activities like the Vancouver Art Gallery and the bars on Commercial Drive. All in all, there are tons of things to do in Vancouver at night, and before you set out to enjoy this west coast city at night, just make sure you've stored your bags safely with Bounce.