Things to do in Vancouver

Top Indoor Activities in Vancouver

Embrace the rainy season with Vancouver’s best indoor activities for people of all ages.

Rain, rain, don’t go away—we’ve got plans indoors today! This beautiful city might have some of the mildest winters in Canada, but it gets plenty of rain. In the warmer months, getting into the great outdoors reigns supreme.

But when the weather is a bit colder or wetter than you want, there are still plenty of things to do in Vancouver indoors. Take your children to explore a science center, or gather with your friends and learn to cook a brand-new dinner.

Of course, you can always come to see us when the skies are gray. We don’t let a little dreary weather prevent us from putting on a grand performance.

Museums and Galleries

As a cultural hub, Vancouver offers all sorts of fun indoor activities, from the artistic displays at the Vancouver Art Gallery to the hands-on exhibits of Science World. You don’t have to let the weather rain on your parade.

1. Vancouver Art Gallery

Step on up to the Vancouver Art Gallery. The outside may look like a typical neoclassical courthouse, but inside, it’s rippling with artistry. Here, you’ll find over 12,000 pieces, from works by local modern artists to paintings from the 17th century.

Housed within this gallery’s astute walls, you’ll also find a collection of work by Emily Carr. This innovative Canadian modernist drew inspiration from local Indigenous art and added her own touch with bold colors. Alongside her innovative paintings, you’ll find works by Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

2. Science World

Visiting Science World is one of the best things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day if you have kids who need to get out and explore. It’s just as fun for adults — you’re never too old to learn something new.

Inspire curiosity and evoke your inner scientist as you learn through interactive exhibits. If you have aspiring engineers with you, Science World is sure to please with its myriad of indoor activities.

The Tinkering Space is the place to be for a hands-on adventure. Each day, you find something new to do, especially if you join a Maker Workshop or participate in one of the challenges. The Wonder Gallery provides a 3,300-square-foot interactive play area for children of all ages, from crawlers to climbers.

Photographer: Tommy Nguyen

3. BC Sports Hall of Fame

Vancouver is home to many sports teams, as well as the BC Sports Hall of Fame. If you’re passionate about sports, this stop will have your heart soaring higher than the soccer ball when the Vancouver Whitecaps are playing.

This attraction is loaded with sports memorabilia, often autographed, within glass display cases. It celebrates British Columbia’s rich sports history, showcasing the best athletes in their field and inspiring the next generation.

As athletes and dreamers, we're especially inspired by the permanent exhibit featuring Canadian distance runner Terry Fox. After a jarring cancer diagnosis at 18, his right leg was amputated. Unwilling to let his prosthetic or diagnosis deter him, he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He called it his Marathon of Hope.

Fox started his run in Newfoundland, where he dipped his toe in the Atlantic Ocean. His goal was to reach British Columbia on foot. He made it an astonishing 143 days and 3,339 miles before his health faltered, forcing him to stop.

To this day, many Canadians and people around the world participate in the annual Terry Fox Run. Over the years, This event has raised over $850 million for cancer research, keeping Fox's dream and mission alive.

4. Vancouver Maritime Museum

As a neighbor to the sea, Vancouver’s history goes hand in hand with ships. Standing tall with its distinctive triangular shape over Vanier Park, the Vancouver Maritime Museum is a gateway into the stories of maritime traditions and adventures that helped transform the city — and Canada — into what it is today.

Catch a glimpse of historic vessels sitting in Heritage Harbor, or jump aboard the St. Roch, an RCMP schooner. At the Children’s Maritime Discovery Centre, kids can learn about operating submersibles and participate in hands-on activities. It’s one of the most educational and eventful things to do in Vancouver with kids.

Viewing Nature and Animals

Even when there’s a lot of rain, there are still ways to get out and connect with nature. Spending a few hours exploring these indoor natural areas is a surefire way to shake off the rainy-day blues.

5. Vancouver Aquarium

Who says you can’t get up close and personal with nature indoors? At the Vancouver Aquarium, you'll encounter aquatic and semiaquatic animals from British Columbia and beyond.

Watch jellyfish drift aimlessly through their tanks, and observe over 20 amphibians as they hop, swim, and crawl through their native environments. At The Tropics gallery, you can look a shark in the eye or watch the tropical fish as they dart from place to place.

In the Wet Lab, you can see invertebrates like starfish and sea cucumbers up close — and even touch them! These animals look like they’re from a completely different world.

Photographer: Leif Christoph Gottwald

6. Bloedel Conservatory

If you’re looking for rainy-day activities in Vancouver, look no further. At Bloedel Conservatory, the outdoors is brought inside for you to explore. This domed greenhouse sits in Queen Elizabeth Park at Vancouver’s highest point.

Canadian weather might be on the cooler side, but in the conservatory, temperature control allows for a whole tropical paradise to blossom before your eyes. Walk through lush greenery and meet the resident exotic birds, such as vibrantly colored parrots, macaws, and Chinese pheasants.

If you’re lucky, you might even glimpse Uncle Fester, a titan arum (corpse flower). These plants are known for their distinctive, rotting scent. They rarely bloom, and they’re downright weird. We’re all for defying conformity, and you can’t get much more conformity-defying than being a big, stinky flower.

Theatre and Music Venues

With a good show on stage, it’s easy to forget the weather. These venues will delight you with beautiful settings and even more stellar performers.

If you're in the mood for something a little more humorous, check out the comedy clubs in Vancouver.

7. Orpheum

Opulence exudes from Vancouver’s Orpheum theater, where historic elegance sets the backdrop for classical music and occasional silent movies. This venue is home to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and hosts some of the best performers in the region and even the world.

Would you prefer to explore without disturbing the show? With views like these, we don’t blame you! Take a tour of this National Heritage Site to marvel at its antique decor and the glimmering crystal chandelier high above the auditorium.

Walk along the sweeping staircases and discover the stunning stage up close. You’ll have an excellent photo opportunity or two here, so don’t forget your camera.

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8. Queen Elizabeth Theatre

As soon as you enter the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, you’ll be inundated with a royal ambiance. After all, the venue was named for its most famous patron, Queen Elizabeth II. She graced the halls at the venue’s grand opening in 1959, and it’s been a treasure in the city ever since.

With seats for up to 2,929 people and a convenient location in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, it’s become a city icon and a beloved place to enjoy a show. The interior combines bold colors, whimsical chandeliers, and bright, light-reflective surfaces to craft an air of playful elegance fit for the shows it hosts.

9. The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts

Visiting the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the UBC campus brings you into a stunning auditorium for an intimate yet magnificent experience. Its tiered design with stacked balconies means that you’re never more than 100 ft. from the performance when you take your seat.

The Chan Shun Concert Hall is spectacular and unique. Rather than emphasizing the audience’s experience, it takes the opposite approach. As artists walk on stage, warm, inviting accents greet them. The concert hall is cello-shaped for acoustics, and stainless steel cables represent the strings of an instrument.

Even the exterior of the building is worth visiting just to see the musical influence on the architecture. Concrete cylinders resembling stones tower overhead, draped with vines and surrounded by greenery.

10. Vancouver Opera

If you're fond of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, you’ll want to go back to catch a Vancouver Opera performance. Experience theatrical music like never before as the second-largest performing arts organization in British Columbia carries on the tradition of opera.

With stellar costumes, unforgettable voices, and moving stories, these performances are a vibrant part of the city’s artistic side. The Vancouver Opera debuted its first production, Carmen, in 1960. While you probably won’t see its performers doing flips and tricks like ours, their artistry and passion are present every moment they’re on stage.

Cooking Classes

When the weather outside is less than desirable, nothing beats chowing down on delicious food. Even if you aren't a culinary genius, you can get in on the action with cooking classes.

11. Dirty Apron

Over 10,000 students approach the counters at the Dirty Apron Cooking School every year. They’re bright-eyed and eager to learn, but they’re even more excited to taste their delectable creations. Here, you get hands-on experience under the guidance of culinary masters, who teach you the nuances of creating a delicious dish.

When you’re done, you’ll gather around the table with your peers to savor the amazing food you created with a glass of wine. Even better, when you finish your meal, you leave the mess behind for the staff.

12. Pasta Boy Peter

Italian cuisine warms the heart and delights the senses. Forget the canned sauces and dried pasta on the supermarket shelves. At Pasta Boy Peter, you learn to make it yourself from scratch.

Classes bring you together with others who want to learn to craft a homemade meal. But you don't have to miss out if you’re not in the Vancouver area. You can join virtually from home.

Before you know it, you'll be a pro at making all sorts of Italian foods, from sourdough bread and mozzarella cheese to fresh pasta and gnocchi. The head chef guides you through creating a meal fit for a king. Then, you can dig into your culinary creation. Bon appétit!

Photographer: Jorge Zapata

Aerial Arts

We certainly know our way around aerial arts — and you can, too. These indoor activities give you an inside look at the athletic artistry our performers display every day.

13. Dance Co

Young or old, it’s never too late to embrace a new art form. At Dance Co, you undergo high-quality training in structured dance classes. Expert teachers guide even complete novices through the ins and outs of dance at any level and for any purpose, whether you want to compete or take up a new hobby.

You can learn any number of dance styles, but our personal favorite is acro. You’ll combine classical dance with acrobatics. They might not be as intense as ours, but you’ll get a taste for flipping and flying through the air all the same.

14. Tantra Fitness Aerial Classes

Tantra Fitness' aerial classes teach you how to suspend yourself with silks, hammocks, and hoops. The introductory class is the perfect starting point if you’ve never hung in the air. You'll learn the basics that each of our performers once practiced diligently.

Progress your way through classes, and discover just how fun it can be to see the world when hanging upside down.

Mixology Classes

Sure, heading to the bar can be a fun way to spend time with friends. But what’s even more impressive is hanging with friends while you’re the bartender. After these mixology classes, you’ll be itching to show off your new skills.

15. Brandywine Bartending School

Brandywine Bartending School might primarily help aspiring bartenders gain the certifications and skills necessary for the job, but that’s not all. When it’s not full of professional students, it’s open to the general public for bartending lessons. By the end of class, you’ll be prepared to make cocktails all your own.

In the basic Modern Classics class, you’ll discover new bartending techniques and learn how cocktails have changed over time. The World of Bitters class guides you through creating syrups to take your drinks to the next level.

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16. Long Table Distillery

At Long Table Distillery, interactive cocktail-making classes attract all sorts of people, from couples looking for a date night to friends looking for a bit of fun. Immerse yourself in the world of bartending for two hours in classes of six to 12 people.

In each class, you'll learn to make three new cocktails using unique combinations. Once you’re ready to make your own drinks, your taste buds will jump for joy.

Unlocking Vancouver’s Indoor Gems: A Final Reflection

Don’t let bad weather bring you down. In the bustling and vibrant coastal city of Vancouver, you’ll find plenty of indoor activities for all ages, groups, and interests. Dare to dream big and bold as you take the city on, even if it’s a little wet outside. We never let a little rain get in our way—neither should you.

After all, our shows in Vancouver must go on, rain or shine. We’re ready to dazzle you with our stunning acrobatics, aerial performances, and expert choreography. Our characters will grab hold of your heart as they take you on a journey through our world.

Grab your tickets, and get ready for a whirlwind adventure you'll never forget.

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