It’s winter in Vancouver, and while other cities in Canada (and much of the US) are getting a ton of snow, we’re lucky enough to have the heavens open and drench us with glorious rain. Lucky? Well, we think so. The thing about rain is that once it stops, it’s gone—no shoveling, no icy footpaths, no scary driving. It’s just back to pleasant, mild temperatures and we can get on with our business.
But while that downpour is happening, you might want to look for a few Vancouver rainy day activities to make the most of your time indoors. The obvious choices are the city’s museums, galleries and indoor attractions like the Vancouver Aquarium. But if you’re looking for something beyond that, we’ve got you covered. (See what we just did?) Click here for a list of our favourite Vancouver rainy day activities.
There’s no shortage of amazing restaurants to be found in Vancouver. From casual fare to 5-star dining experiences, here’s but a few of our local favourites.
Come enjoy an unpretentious fling with fine dining in Chambar's new space, just down from the old one on the edge of Gastown. Chef Nico Schuermans offers up an innovative and fresh menu in a room that positively glows. After being open for 10 years, this is still one of Vancouver’s coolest restaurants.
Given it was named Vancouver magazine’s Restaurant of the Year, this is a surprisingly relaxed place just over the bridge in the South Granville area, where the focus is on quality ingredients and unique flavour combos, not some sort of pretentious power-dining scene.
We know, you’ve had Indian food before, and you’re not about to wait in line for it. We suggest you suspend your disbelief when we say this is one of Vancouver’s most sought-after culinary experiences, and just get in the queue. Arrive early, wait, drink, wait some more, enjoy dinner and then thank us.
This Yaletown hotspot features a stylishly laidback atmosphere, innovative cocktails, craft-brewed beer and quality wines on tap. A creative menu featuring hand-crafted pizza and a modern twist on classic comfort cuisine guarantees a great time.
Just blocks from the hotel, this tiny space is home to a "plant-forward" menu, with lots of ingredients foraged by the staff. (Does is get any more “west-coasty” than that?) Those harbouring meaty tendencies can add wild game to some of the dishes.
One of our favourites for tasty, tasty comfort food! With locations in Yaletown, Gastown and the Olympic Village neighbourhood, this is a really comfortable place for well-made bistro classics and one of the city’s best brunches.
Tucked in Gastown’s historic Dominion Building, Nuba captures the traditional Lebanese style of sharing with a menu of new and innovative dishes. There’s also a smaller location in Yaletown, close to The Burrard.
To be honest, this concept blows our mind a little – indoor golf meets quality pub food and craft brews. Right on Granville Street, it’s an excellent way to pass a rainy afternoon with friends under the guise of “getting exercise.”
Awesome pizza comes to Robson Street with this new restaurant. Cool space, great 'za and leave room for the cute desserts in jars.
Bella has been scooping out some of the world’s best gelato from their Coal Harbour location for a few years, but now that gelato is joined by a full Italian-influenced menu and boozy “gelatini” cocktails at their new Yaletown restaurant.
This Yaletown spot is highly recommended by The Burrard’s general manager, who has developed an inappropriate obsession with their admittedly awesome Vietnamese subs (banh mi). An excellent place to grab a sandwich to take on your bike ride or for a picnic lunch.
This is where organic meets old school! This little diner is just a couple of blocks from the hotel. They serve breakfast until 3pm and we can’t get enough of their 777 burger or, in a bipolar twist, their vegan lentil meatloaf!
With amazing craft beers, great wines, a huge club scene and bartenders who rock it all night, you might just wake up to a crushing headache every morning. Looking for more ideas? Some of the spots in the EAT section are also swell places for a cocktail or two!
Simply put, the Alibi Room is heaven for craft beer enthusiasts. Here, you’ll find great food, an eclectic crowd and the best selection of taps anywhere.
Yaletown’s newest addition, this craft distillery brews their own herbal-infused gins and vodkas and features Paulie’s Kitchen serving authentic Italian fare to completment your cocktail.
Nestled in historic Gastown, the Pourhouse is reminiscent of an early 1900s speakeasy. The food and drink here is so good, you’ll swear it’s illegal.
A pillar of the indie music scene, the Railway Club is one of the most relaxed, friendly and eclectic spots you’ll ever find; a favourite for locals young and old.
Thanks to Vancouver’s recent craft beer explosion you can easily bounce between four of the city’s coolest microbreweries surrounding a short stretch of Main Street. Check out Brassneck Brewery, Main Street Brewing Company, 33 Acres and Steel Toad Brewery, although by the time you read this, there will likely be others.
We love the gin from Odd Society, but even better is bellying up to their tasting room bar and trying one of the cocktails that some of the city’s best bartenders have created for them. This is pretty deep in East Van, but worth the trek.
This tiny Gastown spot offers food, but for us, the craft cocktail program is the highlight. You know the drinks are going to be good when the guy who designed the program is just known as “H.” The fact that he was Vancouver magazine’s 2013 Bartender of the Year is further proof.
Sometimes you find yourself in the financial district and you need a drink. Actually, most of the time we’re in the financial district we need a beverage. This two-level spot features a handsome bar, live music on some nights, and a scotch bar that wins our vote.
Apparently we have a thing for birds. The Electric Owl is a fun little spot with an excellent line-up of live music and special events right on the edge of Chinatown. Grab a drink and watch the cool kids get down on the dancefloor.
There’s no shortage of great clubs in Vancouver, but Bar Non’s distinct New York style and roster of internationally-renowned DJs makes it stand out.
Gay or straight, Celebrities has been voted the #1 dance club for five consecutive years by the city’s most popular publication, the Georgia Straight.
Looking for some high-end merchandise? We’ve got plenty. Looking for rare bohemian finds? We’ve got those, too. You just have to know where to look. Luckily, we do.
One of our more “bohemian” shopping districts, the Drive features one-of-a-kind shops, colourful locals and an expressive edge unlike anything else.
Located in the West End, Davie Street is home to our vibrant gay community and colourful shops with everything from home furnishings to adult curios.
Gastown might be the city's oldest neighbourhood, but it has its eyes firmly looking to the future. Here you'll find Vancouver's hottest boutiques, cutting-edge furniture and design stores and the coolest restaurants. Oh, and tacky tourist trinkets - you'll still find those too.
An island in the city with an amazing public market, skilled local artisans and stunning waterfront views, G.I. is just a short water-taxi ride from The Burrard.
West 4th Avenue is beach-centric Kitsilano's main drag - expect to find wholesome boutiques, cafes and restaurants along this ex-hippy strip. Further east, head down Broadway and the city's Greek neighbourhood.
From its vintage fashions and rare vinyl, to attitude-heavy coffee shops, abundant craft breweries, and fixies galore – if hipsters took over the world, Main Street would be city hall.
In the heart of downtown, Pacific Centre is the city’s go-to shopping mall with Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen, MaxMara, Hugo Boss, and Apple, along with all the usual mall suspects.
Vancouver’s best-known shopping street, Robson is lined with upscale fashion boutiques, one-of-a-kind stores and a sidewalk full of shopping addicts intoxicated with over-indulgent credit card use.
Mere minutes from downtown, the South Granville area is home to many upscale clothing stores, eateries, art galleries and high-end home décor.
Once a warehouse district, Yaletown now belongs to the young and upwardly mobile. Browse its top fashion and design shops, and soak up the ego!
Chances are, you’ve read up on all the usual tourist spots (and a few traps). With that in mind, we’ve left out the usual suspects for something less ordinary.
Rain or shine, take an exclusive peak behind the curtain of life in a Vancouver brewery and explore some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Take in the smell of fermenting beer, meet the brewery staff, learn how beer is made and experience the magic that is the craft beer making process.
Vancouver’s art scene goes beyond the VAG (although it’s pretty cool too). For something a little less mainstream, check out the Contemporary Art Gallery downtown, The Belkin Gallery out at UBC, Bau-xi on South Granville, and Hot Art Wet City on Main.
Get discovered at one of Vancouver’s many karaoke bars. Or maybe not. Our pick is Fantacity, where the private rooms shield others from our lack of prowess with the mic.
Even in the middle of winter, a visit to Vancouver is nothing without taking in Stanley Park. If the weather’s mild, grab one of our bikes and cruise around the sea wall. If it’s wet, check in to the Vancouver Aquarium, recognized around the world for its leadership in marine research and its crazy-cute otters.
Technically, Granville Island is a sandbar, not an actual island. But semantics aside, this area is home to theatres, artisan studios, restaurants, and an over-Instagrammed-but-excellent public market. Just a quick water-taxi ride from The Burrard, and a great place to start the day.
We know you know that Vancouver has mountains. But even if you’re more “après-ski” than “ski,” a trip to Grouse Mountain is worthwhile. Snowshoeing is pretty entry-level as far as snow activities go, and their sunset “Snowshoe Fondue” tour offers the perfect incentive to get out there.
Despite sounding like an early-90s Jodie Foster movie, escape rooms are totally the hot thing right now, and they’re perfect when you’ve given up on the weather. Get locked in a themed room with your friends and puzzle your way out against the clock. Most of them are in Richmond – a short ride on the Canada Line.
Cadence Cycling Studio has been created by a group of individuals passionate about getting a great sweat from fun cardio classes. Cadence is Vancouver’s first Spinning-only facility that is dedicated to bringing this unique, rhythm-based indoor cycling experience to Vancouver.
YYoga offers a large variety of Yoga classes including Power, Yin & a Hot Yoga (Moksha) class that will warm even the coldest of bodies on a cool, wet day.
"The Ride" is a 55-minute bike-based workout with a killer soundtrack, followed by a short meditation. Yes, this sounds a lot like a spin class to us as well, but our butt has never looked better, so we're not going to quibble.
It might be winter, but on a dry day, there’s nothing like grabbing one of The Burrard’s free bikes and going for a spin along Vancouver’s seawall. If you’ve just got a couple of hours, tackle the 10 km loop around Stanley Park. Have longer? Head around False Creek, stopping at Granville Island and Kits Beach.
They say that if you can walk, you can snowshoe, and it’s the perfect way to get out in that winter wonderland-y, fluffy white stuff without investing in ski lessons and broken bones. Vancouver’s three local mountains (Cypress, Grouse and Seymour) all offer trails, tours and equipment rentals.
If knocking out laps is your thing, you’ll be happy to hear that the City of Vancouver maintains some excellent, Speedo-worthy indoor pools. The closest to The Burrard is the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, about a five-minute walk away.
We know, it’s not a “ballet class,” but a workout that uses a ballet barre. But admit it; you want to look like a ballet dancer. Well, you don’t have to give up on your dream while you’re at The Burrard - Barre Fitness has a studio in neighbouring Yaletown.