Located on the West Coast of British Columbia, Vancouver is one of the biggest cities in Canada, and yet it's surrounded by seemingly endless wilderness. With the Pacific Ocean right on the edge of the city and the snowcapped mountains of North Vancouver towering over the downtown core, the natural world is never far away even in the middle of downtown Vancouver. In fact, Stanley Park is a 1000-acre forest park right in the middle of the city, so you don't even need to leave Vancouver to get a taste of the Canadian wilderness.
However, all this outdoor recreation has one major weakness. Vancouver receives over 92 inches of rainfall each year. And while the majority of rainy days happen in fall and winter, it can rain just about any time in Vancouver, so you need to be prepared.
Luckily, there are some great rainy day activities you can enjoy in the city. Drop off your bags at a luggage storage in Vancouver so that your belongings can stay nice and dry while you enjoy some indoor activities in this rainy city.
Vancouver Art Gallery
An excellent place to enjoy some art while the rain pours down, the Vancouver Art Gallery is a must-visit destination on any trip to the city. With over 10,000 pieces of art in its collection and regular rotating exhibits, there's always something new to see at this gallery.
Vancouver Art Gallery focuses on West Coast art and contains major works by famous Canadian artists like the Group of Seven along with Vancouver painter Emily Carr. It also has an excellent collection of art and cultural artifacts by the indigenous First Nations of British Columbia, making this a fascinating place to learn more about the province while appreciating incredible art.
Vancouver Art Gallery is free to visit on Tuesday evenings, but it also offers a great place to escape bad weather on a rainy day. Spend a rainy afternoon wandering through the galleries here, and you'll almost be glad for the wet weather.
A popular spot with both locals and tourists, Science World is a great place to spend an hour or two on a rainy day. With over 100 interactive exhibits, there's plenty to see and do at this science museum.
Science World is divided into several sections, each with its own theme. The Explore section has exhibits on human biology and the environment, while the Wonder Gallery focuses on interactive displays about light and sound. There's also an Early Childhood gallery for younger children, as well as a section on local First Nations culture.
No matter what your interests are, you're sure to find something fascinating at Science World. And the best part is that this attraction is indoors, so you don't need to worry about getting wet while exploring!
Vancouver Maritime Museum
If you're interested in learning more about Vancouver's maritime history, the Vancouver Maritime Museum is a great place to visit on a rainy day. With exhibits and displays about local shipwrecks, famous ships like the Bluenose and Halibut Fisherman, and even seafaring legends like Captain Cook, this museum is an excellent way to learn more about the city while keeping dry.
The museum also has an extensive collection of models and artifacts detailing Vancouver's role in the maritime world, from trade to exploration. And if you're feeling inspired by all this nautical adventure, you can even take a look at a real ship that's been turned into a floating museum: the St Roch, a ship that was the first to sail through the Northwest Passage in both directions.
Whether you're interested in nautical history or just love exploring museums, Vancouver Maritime Museum is an excellent choice for a rainy day activity. The history of this coastal city is intimately tied to seafaring and the ocean, so this interesting museum will give you a much deeper understanding of the forces that have shaped the city of Vancouver over the centuries. Just a short journey from downtown and close to Granville Island, this is an excellent museum to check out when visiting Vancouver whether it rains or not.
Located in Stanley Park, Vancouver Aquarium is a hugely popular tourist attraction and a great place to spend some time on one of the city's many rainy days. The aquarium has over 50,000 marine animals and plants on display in its collection, including everything from jellyfish to sharks to sea otters.
The aquarium also hosts animal shows throughout the day, so you can watch as sea lions playfully interact with trainers or enjoy a lecture detailing the lives of whales and dolphins. The aquarium also has an excellent conservation and research focus, so you can learn about important issues like the effects of pollution on marine life or how to help protect endangered animals.
Whether you're a longtime resident of Vancouver or just visiting for the first time, Vancouver Aquarium is a great place to spend a rainy day. With amazing marine animals and fascinating educational programs, there's something here for everyone to enjoy. So don't let the weather keep you from exploring all that Vancouver has to offer!
You can reach Granville Island by public transit from the downtown core. A bridge over False Creek makes it easy to get to, or for a more fun way to travel, you could take the False Creek Ferry to the island.
If you're looking for a break from the rain, Granville Island is a great place to head. It's home to the Granville Island Brewery, one of the biggest microbrew companies in the city, as well as many art galleries, theaters, restaurants, and souvenir stores.
But one of the biggest attractions of Granville Island is the famous Granville Island Public Market. This vibrant market is located in an old industrial area and is now home to over 200 businesses, including craft shops, art galleries, cafés, and restaurants.
The public market itself is a bustling hub of activity and is a great place to find local produce, artisan cheese and meats, fresh seafood, baked goods, and more. There are also ample opportunities to sample tasty treats like gourmet chocolates or freshly-made fudge.
Whether you're looking for a place to eat, shop, or just take in the sights and sounds of Vancouver, Granville Island is definitely worth a visit on a rainy day. With its unique blend of arts, culture, and food, it's no wonder this popular tourist destination is such a beloved part of Vancouver.
Vancouver Police Museum
If you're looking for a tourist attraction that's a little bit on the darker side, don't miss the opportunity to visit Vancouver Police Museum. Located in the city's former morgue, this unusual museum chronicles the history of crime and law enforcement in Vancouver.
The museum has a wide variety of exhibits on topics like organized crime, police forensics, and famous cases from Vancouver's past. You can also learn about the city's dark history of vice and prostitution or see a recreation of a typical jail cell from the early 1900s.
With a variety of intriguing exhibitions and an educational focus, Vancouver Police Museum is a unique place to spend a rainy day in the city. Whether you've lived here your whole life or are just visiting for the first time, there's something here that will interest everyone!
Macmillan Space Centre
Located in Queen Elizabeth Park, which on a sunny day gives a stunning view of Grouse Mountain and the rest of the North Sure mountains, Macmillan Space Centre provides a great place to spend some time when the weather won't cooperate.
The main attractions of the Space Centre are the many interactive exhibits and displays, which let you get up close with a variety of meteorites, learn about space exploration and astronomy, and even take a simulated ride into outer space.
Whether you're interested in learning more about the world beyond our own or just want to see what it's like to float in zero gravity, the Macmillan Space Centre is a great place to spend a rainy day in Vancouver.
Another great attraction in Queen Elizabeth Park, the domed tropical paradise of Bloedel Conservatory is the ideal place to escape the rain. This unique conservatory is home to over 500 species of plants and flowers, as well as a variety of birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
As you stroll through the lush gardens, you'll feel like you've been transported to a far-off tropical destination. With its beautiful plant life and tranquil atmosphere, Bloedel Conservatory is a great place to relax and take a break from the rain.
Take a Food Tour
As Canada's largest Pacific port, Vancouver has been a multicultural city practically from its founding. In particular, the city has seen a huge amount of immigration from Asia, and this has given Vancouver a culinary scene unlike any other in Canada. The varied cuisines of the world are all represented here in British Columbia, and they all influence one another to create something uniquely Canadian.
You can visit some of the best restaurants in Vancouver with a food tour. There are several companies offering tours, focusing on Chinese dim sum, vegetarian options, Indian food, Japanese flavors, or just about any other type of food you could imagine. Tours operate in downtown Vancouver and in the more working-class neighborhood of East Vancouver, but wherever you go you're guaranteed an insight into how the city eats.
So, if you're looking for something to do on a rainy day in Vancouver, consider taking a food tour. You'll get to sample some of the best cuisine the city has to offer and learn about the diverse cultures that make Vancouver such a special place.
This unusual attraction lets you see more of Canada without leaving downtown Vancouver. Flyover Canada is a flight simulation ride that takes you from coast to coast in just under 20 minutes. You'll start by flying over Vancouver's harbor and then fly north to the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
Next, you'll head east across the Great Plains and boreal forests of central Canada before arriving at Niagara Falls. The final leg of the journey takes you down over Eastern Canada and back to Vancouver. It's a great way to see more of the country without ever leaving the city, making it an ideal attraction for a rainy day in Vancouver.
Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Located at the University of British Columbia to the west of downtown Vancouver, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is a great place to spend a rainy day. The museum is home to over 26 million specimens, making it the largest collection of natural history specimens in Canada.
The museum's main gallery is devoted to the theme of biodiversity, and there are also exhibits on evolution, birds, and mammals. In addition to the exhibits, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum also has a number of hands-on displays and activities that let you learn more about nature. So if you're looking for an educational activity on a rainy day in Vancouver, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is sure to impress.
Museum of Anthropology
Also located on the UBC campus, the Museum of anthropology may be one of Vancouver's best museums and is an unbeatable place to enjoy on one of Vancouver's many rainy days.
The museum has an impressive collection of artifacts from a variety of cultures, with numerous items from the Northwest Coast. These include totem poles and other pieces carved by indigenous artists as well as potlatch gifts bequeathed to the museum by UBC faculty members who were given them in their lifetimes.
However, you'll also find artifacts from around the world here. The MOA is unique in that it combines a permanent collection with revolving exhibitions, so there's always something new to see at this museum.
Vancouver has so many things going for it. From the urban wilderness of Stanley Park to the incredible mountain scenery of Grouse Mountain to the gorgeous coastal terrain of Vancouver Island or the countercultural vibe of East Vancouver, there's so much to do here that it can feel like you'll never have enough time to see it all. Luckily, a rainy day gives you a chance to enjoy some of the city's best indoor attractions. And rainy days are never in short supply here.
Check out some of these activities to brighten up a rainy day, and you'll never be bored in Vancouver.