72 Rain-Filled Hours in Vancouver

 In Canada

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.

Bronwen’s daughter takes a peek at the jellyfish in the Vancouver Aquarium

  • 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.
  • Gastown steam clock

    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.

The Bloedel Conservatory housed hundreds of plants for a family to explore

For more details, hotel info and restaurant recommendations head over to our Vancouver, BC page.

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Showing 10 comments
  • hikebiketravel

    Moved from Vancouver to Calgary about 6 months ago and as much as I love Vancouver I am really not missing that winter rain.

    A great run down of activities for the whole family. Going across to the north shore and exploring all that Grouse mountain has to offer is also a great activity. Ditto walking the trails in the Lynn Valley Parks.

  • cravesadventure

    That is a whole lot of rain! Have a Great Weekend:)

  • Lisa

    I don’t think I’ve ever been to Vancouver when it hasn’t rained – just have to deal with it! You found some great activities for keeping busy. Do you not have 5 pin bowling in the U.S.? – it’s much more fun!

    • Reply

      I’m sure we do somewhere, but my friend Bronwen is a HUGE fan of it. Honestly I never heard of it till she told me. Then again, I’m not a big bowler. It’s fun, we just don’t get out to do it often. Seems the only time the mood strikes is when I am almost 9 months pregnant and have no balance whatsoever. Hmmm…could be cause I have a bowling ball in my stomach that I crave the need to play? Who knows 🙂

  • Country Skipper

    I was smiling when I saw your first picture. Marco and I hung out one rain-filled afternoon in Paris last year with our little niece and it looked so similar – except that we actually wrapped her little legs in a plastic bag (from a store nearby) on top of everything 🙂

  • Steve

    I laughed when you said you figured it would rain less in Vancouver than in Seattle. When we lived in Vancouver, we always thought the opposite, that we wouldn’t have to deal with as much rain if we went to Seattle. Sorry that it rained that much on you though. Vancouver is so much more fun on those one or two days that it doesn’t rain each year.

    • Reply

      I’d like to introduce the term “PacNW Denial.” We all think every other town must get more sun. Heck, I’d think Portland would have to be sunnier than Seattle if it wasn’t for the fact that the only time I have been there it was dreary the whole time (it was also February.) But I will take rain and 40-50 degrees any day of the week instead of -10 degrees and snowing or ice.

  • Sonja

    I’d like to see Vancouver some day, rain or shine.

    • Reply

      I’ve seen it in June when the sun was shining and weather was great and also in winter with the rain. I’d still go back for more no matter the weather.

  • darling729

    I would never have thought of rain in Vancouver like I do Seattle. I visited Vancouver as a child and have such fantastic memories but it has been YEARS since I have been there – would love to go again.

    Thanks for linking up this week!!!

    Have a super weekend!


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