20 Things to Do in Vancouver for Under $5

Published Jan 15, 2020

Living in Vancouver is expensive. On days that you don't want to break the bank, here are some fun and cheap activities to do with your kids.

Whether you enjoy indoor or outdoor activities, Vancouver is the ultimate place for fun activities all year round. From simply enjoying a nearby beach or going tobogganing at Mt. Seymour, there's endless ways to enjoy the city. All the activities on this list are either free or $5 and under.

 

1. A Visit to Granville Island

Granville Island is a gem in Vancouver with a magic touch for all of its visitors, no matter what type of adventure you're looking for. The public market is open daily, which alone is worth the trip! There's also the Kids Market with over 25 stores to wander through, tailored to all ages. 

 

2. Free Ice Skating at Robson Square

Image Source: Grout McTavish Architects

This winter, renew a classic Vancouver tradition and enjoy some old-fashioned fun. Robson Square’s outdoor skating rink is open until February 28th, so celebrate winter in style with free skating in the heart of downtown Vancouver. 


3. Stroll, Bike, or Scoot Around the Seawall

At Stanley Park, the scenic paths will put you in the mood to get active, no doubt! Try this with your family and enjoy the calmness at Vancouver's Stanley Park at no cost at all—maybe you will even find some cool tree carvings! If you're there in the summer, plan for a pit stop at the splash park to keep the kids happy.


4. Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery By Donation

Every Tuesday evening, you can experience the Vancouver Art Gallery and pay only what you can (by donation)! At the Vancouver Art Gallery, you'll always see major exhibitions of works by the world's leading contemporary artists and history's greatest masters.  


5. Warm Up With the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival

The sweetest event of the year! If you have a family of chocolate lovers then this is the event for you. The 10th annual Hot Chocolate Festival will run from January 18 to February 14th for 2020. The festival takes place at various locations around Vancouver, and each drink is usually $5 or more. This year, 44 vendors will make their unique and amazingly delicious recipes for chocolate lovers to try.


6. A mini road trip up to the Cypress Mountain viewpoint

Photo Credit: Vancouver's North Shore Tourism

We love the outdoors, and so we discovered a beautiful viewpoint just before the cypress mountain. It is the most amazing thing for your entire family. The kids will enjoy the scenery, as well as the cool breeze of the mountain. Just before you hit the very top, there is a stunning viewpoint right off the highway at Cypress Bowl Rd.


7. Catch a Cheap Movie at Cineplex Odeon for $2.99 Family Favourites

Did you know that every Saturday at 11 a.m. at select Cineplex theatres is a family-favourite movie screening that's only $2.99? It's a fun and affordable way to enjoy time with your family and friends! A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting WE Charity. Here's the upcoming movies.

 

8. Stargazing from the Observatory

Stay up late and watch the night sky with your kids at the Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. Every night you can enjoy a great evening staring at the Vancouver night sky using the latest astronomical equipment. To be admitted into the observatory you will have to make a small donation.

Summer hours are 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. (from Victoria Day to Labour Day). Fall, winter, and spring hours are 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m (Labour Day to Victoria Day).


9. Clothes shopping at the Rag Machine

Another fun activity we discovered is shopping at the Rag Machine, at the 2425 Main Street, where you can get a pound of clothes at $4.97. It's an activity you might enjoy with the kids as they pick whatever they like without you hesitating to say 'yes'. You never know what you'll find here, which just adds to the fun!

 

10. A Tour to Vancouver's Olympic Sites

Photo Credit: North Shore News

It's an inexpensive and worthwhile trip to make with the kids. Visit the various Olympic sites of the 2010 winter games, including the Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza in Coal Harbour, beside the Vancouver Convention Centre.


11. Do the "Winter Wander"

This is a great opportunity to visit some of Vancouver's top attractions! Winter Wander takes place on Saturday, February 8, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and for only $5 per person, visitors get access to all participating attractions, including the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Maritime Museum, Vancouver Academy of Music, and the City of Vancouver Archives. Outdoors there are a couple of food trucks, and roving entertainment is provided by Bard on the Beach and the Academy of Music at specific times.

Admission on regular days costs between $14 and $21 per adult for each venue, which means the Winter Wander pass is a fantastic deal! What’s more, children ages five and under are free. Expect the place to be busy!

12. Play Disc Golf at Queen Elizabeth Park

Another activity I recently discovered, one that my whole family loves, is disc golf at Queen Elizabeth Park. You can play a round of disc golf for free! All you need is to go with a few friends and have a fun-filled day.


13. Watch the Chinese New Year Parade


The Chinese New Year Parade will return for the 47th time on Sunday, January 26, 2020. This signature event of Vancouver's Chinatown will feature lion dances, cultural dance troupes, marching bands, martial arts performances, and much more. This is an annual cultural extravaganza not to be missed. The parade begins at 11 a.m. sharp.


14. Tour Vancouver's Art

If art is your thing, then Vancouver has the best art galleries and street art to sample. You can plan a visit to the Contemporary Art Gallery and enjoy the wide variety of art available. Or for free you can check out the mural and street art on Main. 


15. Celebrity hunting

This might not be of interest to every kid, but my kids suggested that we go to spots where celebrities are often spotted, or sometimes there are meet and greets for fans. There are plenty of hit TV shows and blockbuster movies filmed in Vancouver, so it's not always a long shot to spot a celebrity you know! 


16. Go Tobogganing at Mt. Seymour

Every kid (and adult) loves the adrenaline rush of sliding down fresh snow! Most Canadian cities enjoy totally free snow hills throughout winter, but in Vancouver we can't always rely on the snow coming to us. We have to go to the snow. Luckily for us, the mountains are nearby. Mt Seymour has designated tobogganing hills, which are perfect for kids and families, but it does come at a cost. If you can make it on a weekday, it's $40 for a family of 5. 

17. A Picnic at the Beach

Photo Credit: Tourism Vancouver

Thanks to our mild climate, a day at the beach can happen any time of year. Whether it's summer and you're seeking the sun or winter are you seeking a fresh sea breeze, you can count on packing a picnic and hitting up a beach to be a hit regardless of the season.


18. Window Shopping

Vancouver has the best shopping districts at Robson Street, Yaletown, and Commercial Drive. Here you can shop till you drop, especially with the numerous offers in the different stores. You can visit and window shop with the kids as you have fun.

 

19. Check Out a Vancouver Public Library

With a Vancouver Public Library branch in every community, visiting the library is the perfect afternoon indoor activity to do with you kids. Let them pick out a new bedtime story. If you visit your local library's website, you're likely to find some free events like story times, crafts, movies, and more. 

 

20. Play at the Terra Nova Adventure Playground


On top of the impressive play equipment is the fact that you're surrounded by beautiful scenery and views of the Fraser River. Bigger kids will love the zipline and 10-metre-tall tree house with a rope ladder and spiral slide, but there's still lots to do for younger kids too—there's swings, smaller slides, and ponds.

  


Now that you know of some cost-friendly activities in Vancouver, why don't you give yourself a treat this weekend?

Looking for more fun things to do with your kids in Vancouver? Check out our Events Page for fun, free, and fabulous activities. 



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