Vancouver has a lot to brag about. Situated on a rather idyllic spot on the globe, it’s surrounded by mountains and forests and ocean to the point that you can barely look up without seeing something beautiful. But it isn’t just lovely to look at. Vancouver also has a vibrant and exciting cultural calendar, with interesting attractions, events, and festivals all year round. Have a look!
Celebrate Vancouver’s food scene with over 250 restaurants offering set menus at $20, $30, and $40. The festival includes 80+ culinary events such as street food celebrations, tasting tours, cooking lessons, and themed dinners. Early reservation is advised as spots fill quickly, and tickets for special events go on sale in early December.
Each January in Vancouver, this performing arts festival presents 20 innovative live performances spanning theatre, dance, music, and more, blending international, Canadian, and local talent to inspire and rejuvenate.
The Vancouver International Wine Festival is one of the oldest and largest of its kind. Unlike other wine-focused festivals, it opens most events to the public, featuring a 3-day International Festival Tasting Room with over 700 wines from across the globe. Each year, it highlights a specific wine region, alongside a strong presence of British Columbia’s wines.
Everyone needs a laugh in February, right? 10 days of stand-up, podcasts, improv, and sketch comedy featuring both big names and emerging talents in venues ranging from arenas to intimate underground settings should do it.
Rugby teams are split into pools for initial matches, with outcomes determining their path to either the Challenge Trophy or Cup competitions. The series gained fame after the sport’s electrifying Olympic debut in Rio 2016
This three-day extravaganza celebrates sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming with family-friendly events, celebrity guests, and a myriad of pop culture activities.
This festival in Maillardville, Coquitlam, celebrates all things franco with a vibrant mix of music, dance. Enjoy the Métis Village Experience and children’s shows, too
European cars, luxury cars, electric cars, the newest of the new and the fanciest of the fancy will all be display at this five-day event in March. Plus, if you’re over 21 with a valid license, you can even test drive a few.
Like most festivals, this one has live music and performances and food and drink, but Celtic fest boasts a Celtic-themed market (even been to one of those?!) and actual Irish Wolfhounds: those are big, big dogs.
Western Canada’s largest photo fest showcases exhibits, public art, and educational programs across Metro Vancouver every April, aiming to enhance visual literacy, represent underrepresented communities, and foster dialogue.
Kicking off in April and celebrating over 40,000 cherry trees, this fest features arts, bike rides, viewing tours. Highlights include the #BigPicnic at Queen Elizabeth Park, Bike The Blossoms tours, Sakura Night in Stanley Park. The festival also hosts a Haiku Invitational and a photo contest.
A two-day celebration of Japanese culture, including food, performances, arts, and more, with both outdoor activities and select indoor experiences like taiko drumming, theatre, woodworking, and a Japanese Garden display.
The BMO Vancouver Marathon, Canada’s largest, attracts runners from over 65 countries to its marathon, half-marathon, 8km, and kids’ run, featuring a scenic route (lots of water views!) The event includes entertainment and race day block parties with family activities and live music.
The Vancouver International Children’s Festival is a pioneering event in North America and Europe, showcasing top global talent in music, theatre, dance, puppetry, acrobatics, and storytelling for young audiences.
Spanning 12 days in late June to early July, the fest draw stars like Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, and Erykah Badu. Offering a blend of jazz, funk, Latin, and world music and numerous free concerts at places like the Vancouver Art Gallery and Granville Island.
Since 1990, the Vancouver Francophone Summer Festival has been a major cultural and musical event in Western Canada, welcoming thousands in a friendly atmosphere with performances by renowned artists like Daniel Bélanger and Cœur de Pirate.
The 92nd annual British Columbia Highland Games starts with a free bagpipe concert and a canon blast and it only gets better from there. Don’t miss professional pipers, a “Whisky & Oysters” event, competitions in piping, drumming, and highland dancing among other things.
Bard on the Beach, Western Canada’s largest professional Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver’s Sen̓ákw/Vanier Park, offers Shakespeare plays and related events from June through September. The festival features performances in modern tents against a breathtaking backdrop, complemented by educational programs year-round.
Evolving from an annual art show to a multidisciplinary festival and Canada’s only queer-mandated gallery, QAF is celebrated globally for its innovative programming, including Canada’s first lesbian opera and groundbreaking exhibitions.
For over 10 years the folks from Kitsilano’s BIA have been hosting this 10 block street party replete with street patios and beer gardens. It’s just one day in July, so mark your calendar.
Despite what the name suggests, this is a one-day beer festival, and tickets include samples. Beer samples! It’s a beer fest. There’s music too. Beer!
Every July at Jericho Beach sees a broad spectrum of world folk and roots music. This community-centric festival celebrates diverse global musical styles, offering performances from artists across the globe, alongside dance, food, and children’s activities.
This annual horse racing event is as much about betting as it is about seeing and being seen.
A summertime favourite: three countries compete in a fireworks display choreographed to music from a barge in English Bay. Spectators enjoy the show from the beach with picnics or from VIP areas.
Taking place over two weeks, this LGBTQ+ festival sees concerts, tea parties, and youth dances, all culminating in the Pride Parade, a vibrant event with floats and costumes and over half a million spectators.
The PNE is BC’s most attended annual ticketed event, offering a rich mix of entertainment: from shows and exhibits to sports, concerts, and cultural activities. Hosting iconic moments like the Beatles’ live performance and the Miracle Mile, the PNE has been celebrating the best of Vancouver for over a century.
Since its inception in 1962, the Abbotsford Airshow, a collaboration between the Abbotsford Flying Club and Rotary Club, has evolved into one of the Fraser Valley’s premier annual events. See aircraft displays and demos and exciting aerial performers.
This free, one day pet party – called Petpalooza – takes place in August in Yaletown. Woof!
One of North America’s largest film festivals, VIFF draws over 140,000 attendees to view 380 movies over 16 days every September. Focused on film enthusiasts rather than celebrity glamour, VIFF showcases a vast array of Canadian and international films from over 70 countries, with a significant selection of East Asian cinema and documentaries.
The fest hosts year-round events but the flagship happens in October when writers of all stripes, including poets, journalists and authors, come to Granville Island for readings, talks and Q&As.
Beginning mid November through to mid-January, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is aglow (literally: the bridge is lit up, the rainforest is glowing, and there’s lighttunnels). The event includes live music, hot chocolate, a scavenger hunt, and unique gifts, with tickets available online in advance.
Open daily mid-November through December, explore over 90 cute-as-a-button artisan huts for handcrafted gifts, indulge in German and Austrian beers, ride the Christmas Carousel, and join a scavenger hunt.
This annual, family-friendly holiday event takes place in the Shipyards in North Van and promises ornament decorating, dance and musical performances, ice skating and free hot chocolate.