No matter the time of year, no matter the state of your bank account, we all love to save a little cash. Getting out for a fun day with the family can often get expensive, making a dent in your savings and putting a lot of pressure on all of you to have fun and make it worthwhile.
Vancouver is full of activities that are not only inexpensive but offer up a great time for the whole family. Add to that the beautiful landscape, scenery, and history of this city and it’s a win-win for all. Try one – or all – of these 6 inexpensive options for fun family activities in and around Vancouver.
Play More Without Paying More: Cheap Things To Do As a Family Around Vancouver
1. Granville Island
Offering a treat for the senses, this list wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to Granville Island. A wonderful way to spend a day with the family, Granville Island is chock-full of all kinds of entertainment. Street performers will delight you with music, puppet shows will offer kids a theatrical twist, and local artisans will satisfy you with food and trinkets. You can wander the island surrounded by some of Vancouver’s best sea views, peruse the market and grab some treats, visit the shops and have lunch outside while watching boats drift by Last stop? The Kid’s Market – a treasure trove of childlike wonders for kids of any age. Visit granvilleisland.com and kidsmarket.ca for details.
2. A picnic or walk on Kitsilano Beach
Vancouver is home to some amazing beaches, but Kitsilano beach – known affectionately as Kits Beach – is one of our faves. Pack some snacks and a blanket and pick a spot on the golden sand for a meal together complete with spectacular water views. In the colder months, grab a seat at one of the local cafes for a warm drink and some conversation. Walk along the coastline, people watch, play and prepare to fall in love with Vancouver all over again. Visit vancouver.ca for directions and features.
3. False Creek Aquabus
Featuring 8 dock locations and cheap tickets, the False Creek Aquabus is a favourite way to spend some inexpensive family time. A perfect way to see Vancouver by sea, families will love the exhilaration of a boat ride combined with the convenience of arriving at some of Vancouver’s best destinations without the hassle of traffic or parking! The Aquabus is pet-friendly, bike-friendly, large-group friendly and wheelchair accessible. Bring some snacks along for the ride and you won’t even need to get off the boat! Visit theaquabus.com for locations and details.
4. Free walking tours
Yes – this is totally a real thing. Most locals don’t even know about the Vancouver Tour Guys, a wonderful – and free – way to get to know Vancouver by foot! A great way to get the family out for some exercise, explorations and together time, these free walking tours are both educational and fun. Offering free tours of Granville Island, around the Waterfront, through Chinatown and other culturally rich neighbourhoods, the Vancouver Tour Guys offer high-quality tours with no fee. Keep in mind that tips are greatly appreciated, so put a little aside for a token of appreciation for your knowledgeable (and often entertaining) tour guide. Visit tourguys.ca for tour information and meeting times.
5. Steveston Village
Located about 30 minutes south of Vancouver is the lovely little fishing village of Steveston. Full of quaint shops, mouth-watering food-stops, restaurants and antiquity, this historic village will inspire you to slow down and breath in the fresh salt air. Walk the docks and take in the fishing boats where you can purchase some fresh seafood directly from the fisherman; visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic site nearby for some added historical context or check out the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site and finish your day happy and content, having spent next to nothing. Visit visitrichmondbc.com for more info about Steveston Village.
6. A Skytrain adventure
Although this may sound a little less appealing than some of the other recommendations, don’t knock it ‘til you try it! Your kids, (especially younger ones), will love the excitement of the speeding skytrain as it zooms overtop the city, providing a fun sightseeing tour at well below prices of a standard tour. Add to that your option to exit at any time to enjoy the local flavour, and you’ll have a day of family fun you’ll never forget. Exit at Commercial Street for eclectic east side charm; Canada Place for stunning water views, and a glimpse of the spectacular city centre; or the New Westminster Quay or Port Moody’s Suterbrook Village for a touch of beautiful charm. An array of city delights just waiting to be explored. Visit translink.ca for stops and schedules.
However you decide to spend time with your family, we all know that the most important part is just being together. That being said, Vancouver has so many exciting and pleasurable ways to venture out of your living room, away from the screens and into new experiences. Give your kids the gift of quality time together, enjoying the sights and sounds of our city – and with the peace of mind that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune – just choose your own adventure!