72 Rain-Filled Hours in Vancouver
It wasn’t a drizzle. There was no fine mist hanging in the air. This was a torrential downpour. And we were walking in it. Welcome to a winter in Vancouver folks.
Now I cannot complain about the rain. We have lived in Seattle for over 5 years now. Supposedly I am used to the rain. After 2 years I even invested in a good pair of rain boots. Somehow driving 3 hours north I just figured I wouldn’t have to deal with it. Stubborn to a fault, I was not going to let a little (or on some days buckets) of rain ruin my perfectly nice holiday weekend this past February. We would just work our schedule around the dryer periods, which we did have, and find entertainment indoors when it was too wet to venture into the elements.
Thankfully Vancouver knows how to entertain you no matter what Mother Nature throws down. My slowing pregnant body didn’t let us see a lot, but what we saw made us want to come back for more. To help with a few more suggestions of what you can cram into a 72-hour trip, I asked a photographer friend Bronwen to send me her list of must-see spots. She happened to go up to Vancouver to explore with her 1-year-old daughter the weekend after we did.
- Vancouver Aquarium. The perfect rainy day activity for all ages. Dek was 5 months old when he first visited an aquarium. He was captivated. You are never too young to marvel at a tank full of fish swimming by. Parking is cheap although the tickets are not. Save this as your splurge activity. It is worth it especially when the weather doesn’t allow some much-needed outdoor exploration.
- Stanley Park. This city park is just bursting with things to do. A mini train ride for the kids should be your first stop. After that hit the playground or just take a stroll by the water or through the woods.
- Walk along the Seawall. Every time we mentioned to people that we were going to the aquarium they told us to walk along the seawall. Unfortunately it was too rainy to make the walk up from our hotel. We could see the walkway from our room and did dream about a nice leisurely stroll down past the seaplanes, city buildings and then into Stanley Park. We will just have to try again on our next visit.
- Robson Street. If you have your heart set on a little shopping there is no better place to do it than Robson Street. It will bring you past mid-range and high-end shops, along with restaurants for every taste and budget. Take a stroll around the Vancouver Art Gallery before you head up to explore.
The fountains at Christ Church Cathedral. The first time I walked by the water feature outside of this historic church I knew Dek would love it. We got to marvel at the architecture while he tried to get as wet as possible.
- Gastown Stroll. Hand your kids a camera and let them start to explore this old neighborhood just east of downtown. The entire area is being revitalized. Tasty new restaurants are setting up shop while boutique designers are taking advantage of the lower rents. Stop by the steam clock to give your kids a smile. Stick around for a few minutes and you should hear it sound off.
- Family Eats in Vancouver. Sampling the foods of a new town is always a fun-filled activity in my book. Whether you are just grabbing a snack or sitting down for brunch it can take up a few hours and leave you with a true sense (and taste) of a city.
- Granville Island. Even on a rainy day you can explore the maze of old factories on the island. The public market overflows with delicious goodies to take home or eat as you roam. The Kid’s Market may just make your children never want to go home again.
- Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park. This was a go-to spot for Bronwen’s family and one I wish we had made it too. A huge doom enclosed hundreds of plants, orchids and even wild birds. This mini jungle enthralled her daughter to no end. A fountain and outdoor flowerbeds promised a very colorful spring to come.
- Commedore Lanes. If you love Canadian 5 pin bowling this place can’t be beat. A little grimy in that bowling alley sort of way but still a whole lot of fun. It was not the most entertaining activity for a toddler, but it would have been great with older kids. Bronwen’s daughter still managed to hold her own though.
For more details, hotel info and restaurant recommendations head over to our Vancouver, BC page.