Best time to visit Vancouver: weather, events and festivals by month

Vancouver is one of the few cities you can visit at any time of year. Ski slopes, cherry blossoms, summer festivals, colourful warm autumn…

And yet, in winter and summer prices and demand for hotels, tickets, planes are higher. March and November are not the best times in terms of weather. The best time to visit Vancouver is from mid-April to mid-October, for ski resorts – January, and February. The optimal price/weather/entertainment/tourists ratio is in late April-May, September to mid-October.


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best time to visit vancouver

Vancouver In Winter

Vancouver has Canada’s warmest winter. The air temperature stays at 6-8 degrees and it often rains. Snow falls very rarely and for a short time (sometimes once every few years). Still, Vancouver is one of the best winter destinations in North America.

From December to March, the local Cypress, Grouse and Seymour mountains are stormed by local skiers and snowboarders. And just two hours away by car is the world-famous resort of Whistler and Blackcomb, where the 2010 Olympic Games were held. To the east are the equally popular Sun Peak and Big White. And on the border with USA, there is Mount Baker, with trails at an altitude of 1.5 km. More to go! For a full map of places to stretch your skis, snowboards and snowshoes in Vancouver, check out this link.

Vancouver in winter

The city itself is also interesting. Christmas fairs, sales, Christmas trees, holiday concerts and light shows open in December. The hockey season is in full swing. And restaurants are preparing a special menu for Dine Out festival gourmands.

Events and Holidays

Cultural:

Sports:

  • Ski season: late November to mid-April
  • Hockey season in Vancouver: October to early April. In December, for many years, there has been a Teddy Bear Toss for charity. All spectators on this day bring soft toys and throw them into the ice after the first goal. Then they are collected and given to children from needy families for Christmas
  • Polar Bear Swim: Jan. 1. The traditional swim of Vancouver’s hardened Vancouverites in English Bay. Celebrated since 1920!

Tasty:

  • Dine out festival: last two weeks of January. A great opportunity to try tasting dishes from the best restaurants in the city at special prices
  • International Wine Festival: end of February – beginning of March. VanWineFest is Canada’s premier wine show and one of the best in North America. Every year about 25,000 connoisseurs taste about 1,500 wines from more than 15 countries

Others:

Holidays:

  • Catholic Christmas: December 25. Most museums and stores are closed. It is customary to celebrate at home with the family. 26 is also a day off – Boxing Day – time to give presents
  • New Year: January 1. In the evening of December 31, fireworks are held throughout the city. The most beautiful and large-scale is at Canada Place. There are a lot of people
  • Chinese New Year: end of January – beginning of February. Since about 30% of the population of Vancouver are ethnic Chinese, this holiday is celebrated in a special way. The main colorful parade takes place in Chinatown, with traditional dragon dances and performances in national costumes
  • Valentine’s Day at the Aquarium: February 14. Program 19+

Vancouver in Spring

Vancouver is especially beautiful in spring. Temperatures rise to 14 degrees, lots of sunny days, whale and bear season begins. There are not many tourists.

In the 1930s, the Japanese government gave the city different varieties of sakura trees, which bloom lushly and extensively (over 40,000 trees!) throughout April. Magnolias, rhododendrons, crocuses and fields of tulips are fragrant with them.

vancouver in spring

In addition to flowers, you can catch modern dances, the largest car show in North America, the scandalous marijuana festival, and run one of the most scenic marathons in the world – BMO Vancouver Marathon (according to Forbes, CNN, USA Today)

Events and Holidays

Cultural:

Sports:

  • Sun Run: mid-April. Canada’s largest 10-km run. In 2007 54,000 participants were registered
  • BMO Marathon: first week of May. The only marathon (42 km) in Vancouver has been held since 1972. Runners from more than 65 countries take part each year. The route runs through scenic terrain and is considered one of the “most exotic,” according to CNN
  • Ski season: late November to mid-April
  • Vancouver hockey season: October to early April

Others:

  • Cherry Blossom Festival: mid-April. Free concerts and cherry trees all over the city
  • Tulip Festival in Abbotsford and Chilliwack: mid-April to mid-May
  • Whale season: April to October
  • 420 Vancouver Cannabis Festival: April 20. The event began 25 years ago as a protest. Now that Canada has legalized marijuana, just one of the city’s free festivals with thousands of participants

Holidays:

  • Easter: mid-April. A weekend of different performances and activities throughout the city
  • Victoria Day: end of May (last Monday before the 25th). An official celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday and the beginning of summer. Parades, shows and other events

Vancouver Summer

Vancouver and summer are made for each other. Beaches, hikes, water sports, fields of strawberries… The air warms up to an average of 20 degrees, and rain is quite rare. Residents are transferring to bicycles, cafes are moving to summer patios. On weekends everyone goes to the mountains, has barbecues on the beaches and in the evenings admire the infinitely beautiful sunsets.

vancouver in summer

And in the summer, Vancouver hosts a record number of festivals with different themes practically every week. 90% of these events are free. Among the largest, most colorful and long-awaited are the International Jazz Festival, Pride Parade, Fireworks and Murals Festival.

Tourists increase accordingly, accommodation and tickets should be booked well in advance.

Events and Holidays

Cultural:

  • Jazz Festival: end of July. For two whole weeks, the city is immersed in music. Many free and paid venues, musicians from all over the world
  • Folk Music Festival: middle of July. Every year gathers about 40 thousand folk music lovers on the picturesque Jericho Beach for more than 40 years
  • Mural Festival: beginning of August

READ MORE: Mural Festival, breweries, and coffee shops in Mount Pleasant


  • Latin American Festival: early July. Latin Dance, Music and Food Week
  • Bards on the Beach: June-September. Shakespeare’s Theatrical Productions on the Beach
  • Cinema in the Open Air: July – August. Free summer film screenings at Stanley Park, Canada Place, Art Gallery and other venues

Sports:

  • Dragonbot Festival: mid-June. The largest dragon boat competition in North America
  • SeaWheeze Half Marathon: Mid-August. Organized by the Canadian company Lululemon and along with registration for the run participants receive free yoga classes and a party

READ MORE: Vancouver: hikes with stunning views (medium difficulty)


Tasty:

  • Craft Beer Week: early June. Live music, food and over 300 beers and ales from local breweries
  • Breakfast with the Bear: Weekends from June to mid-October.
  • Richmond Night Market: Friday through Sunday from 7 p.m., mid-May through mid-October. An unusual place to spend an evening in the Asian style and taste the cuisine of different countries (China, Japan, Brazil, Philippines, etc.)
  • U-pick farms: strawberries – June, blueberries, raspberries – July

Others:

  • Pride Parade: First week of August. For this event, many central stores and streets are decorated with colorful flags and rainbows. Throughout the week, members of the LGBTQ community hold events throughout the city, culminating in a large, colorful parade (one of the largest in North America)
  • Honda Celebration of Light Fireworks Festival: late July to early August. For several days, different countries compete and launch fireworks into the Vancouver night sky.
  • Whale season: April to October

Holidays:

  • Canada Day: July 1. Live music, shows, food, parades and fireworks
  • British Columbia Day: first Monday in August. Music, events, usually the Pride parade is held this weekend

Vancouver in the Fall

Early fall is one of Vancouver’s most beautiful seasons. Clouds of yellow and red leaves swirl through the city. The sun heats the air to 13-18 degrees and some still have time to wear summer shorts.

The rivers are filled with salmon, hunted bears, fishermen and curious onlookers.

vancouver in autumn

In October, skeletons are set up in stores and superheroes, beasts, aliens and witches walk around the streets. Over the weekend, residents rush to the fields for pumpkins and corn. And then everyone celebrates Halloween for a long time and eats Thanksgiving turkey.

The rainy season, along with sales and Christmas fairs, begins in late October

Events and Holidays

Cultural:

Sports:

Tasty:

  • Richmond Night Market: Friday to Sunday from 7 p.m., mid-May to mid-October
  • EAT Food Festival!: early November. A three-day food and cookery festival with the city’s best chefs and cookbook authors

Others:

  • Whale season: April to October
  • Salmon jumping season: September to October
  • Halloween parade and exhibit: mid-October. Vancouver’s version of the Thanksgiving Day parade in funny costumes
  • Pumpkin-patch fields: October
  • Yaletown CandyTown Festival: Last Saturday in November. Free Christmas Festival with costumed musical performances, Christmas gifts and food trucks

Holidays:

  • Thanksgiving Day: second Monday in October. Traditional turkey is served in restaurants
  • Memorial Day: November 11. A day when fallen soldiers are remembered. Poppy brooches are handed out all over the city, donations are collected, and parades take place.

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