Leaves turning red, orange, and yellow signal that fall is in full swing and summer is over for another year. But this doesn’t mean Vancouverites or visitors have to stay indoors. Even though the days may be cloudy and the weather cooler, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the great outdoors—even if there’s a little drizzle. So wrap your hands around a steaming beverage, slip on a cozy sweater and enjoy a perfect autumn adventure this weekend.
Begin the day with a horse-drawn carriage ride through Stanley Park. Listen to the clacking of Clydesdale hooves while cozying up under a warm blanket on a one-hour tour through Vancouver’s first and largest urban park. Riding through the 400-hectare park showcases all the reasons why people fall in love with the city – the mountain and ocean views combined with beautiful trees and trails are spectacular.
Taste of the Tropics
Following a morning in the crisp, cool air take a step into the warm indoors among the tropical flora and fauna at the Bloedel Conservatory. The eye-catching geodesic dome is home to over 230 free-flying birds including parrots, exotic finches and Chinese pheasants, as well as more than 500 exotic plants and flowers. The heritage building sits at the highest point in the city, Queen Elizabeth Park – another venue perfect for enjoying the fall leaves.
After a long day enjoying the mist and mountain views, warm up with a little comfort food at Burgoo. They have five locations throughout the city, but it’s no surprise that our favourite is their downtown location, conveniently located at the base of The Burrard. Enjoying a hearty bowl of bisque or decadent French onion soup while the rain pitter-patters on the pavement has never been more appealing.
Wintery Whale Watching
Hearty locals know that just because there’s rain overhead it shouldn’t stop them from enjoying a day out on the water. Tour operators like Prince of Whales offer half day whale watching tours departing from downtown Vancouver on vessels with heated indoor cabins, with tours running through until the first week of November. They also offer extra hats, gloves, and jackets for those who want to view from the open-air decks, as well as complimentary coffee and tea to help you warm up afterwards. Whale watching guarantees mean that if you don’t see whales when you head out, you can come back any time for a free tour.
Grouse Mountain is a popular destination no matter the season. In the summer, visitors can hike the famous Grouse Grind, known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” while in the winter, skiing or snowboarding is the game. But over the fall months, the mountain continues to draw in visitors with its Eye of the Wind wind turbine, owl interpretive sessions, lumberjack show and the spectacular views that dazzle every day of the year. At sunset, unwind with dinner and a glass of wine as you take in the twinkling lights of the city below.
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Fall Foliage (feature photo): Max Chesnut
Colours from the Stanley Park Seawall: Tourism Vancouver / Hubert Kang Taste of the Tropics: Tourism Vancouver / Andrew Chin Photography
Burgoo Crab Bisque and Grilled Cheese: Burgoo Facebook Page
Wintery Whale Watching: Tourism Vancouver / Prince of Whales Whale Watching
Sunset from the Grouse Mountain: Tourism Vancouver / Dave Delnea Images