Things to do in Vancouver

Top Things to Do in Vancouver With Kids

Take your Canadian family vacation to the next level with these exciting, kid-friendly adventures.

For a dense urban jungle, Vancouver is remarkably family-friendly. It boasts abundant green spaces, excellent public transit, and fun activities that interest teens and toddlers alike. Whether your children are like indoor cats or outdoor explorers, there's no shortage of things to do in Vancouver with kids.

Dive Into Sea-Themed Adventures

Everywhere you turn in Vancouver, a new inlet or river awaits. It's no surprise that local families flock to the banks to enjoy the fresh air and cool breeze. Join in the fun at these popular spots.

1. Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is widely regarded as one of the top aquariums in the world. It's also one of the best activities for kids in Vancouver. Little ones — and adults — are mesmerized by the colorful fish, massive sharks, and the incredible giant Pacific octopus.

Allow a full afternoon to wander through the indoor exhibits. It's easy to lose track of time as you gaze at jellyfish floating gracefully on invisible currents. They always remind us of our gravity-defying aerialists.

Head outdoors to marvel at a second collection of creatures and critters when the weather allows. Kids love the hilarious sea lions and the cute, unhurried sloth. Need to burn off a little energy? Take a walk or bike ride through the massive Stanley Park.

Photographer: Dmitry Spravko

2. Kitsilano Beach

If you're lucky enough to visit Vancouver on a hot summer day, head down to Kitsilano Beach. Spread a towel in the sand, and watch the kids swim while you take in the views of the harbor and North Shore Mountains. The adjacent park also has a playground and a massive outdoor pool with a few small slides.

When the temperatures are cooler, the area bustles with people who come to play volleyball, basketball, and tennis. There's plenty of parking at the beach, but plan to arrive early on weekends and warm days. If you prefer not to deal with traffic, hop on the ferry and get off at the nearby Maritime Museum stop.

3. SeaBus

There's no shortage of boat tours in the Vancouver area, but we prefer the SeaBus ferry. It's a fraction of the price, which is convenient for families with kids, and it offers exceptional views. The boat runs between Downtown and North Vancouver, and it takes just 12 minutes to travel.

As you sail, watch for the city's famous landmarks. Watch the cruise ships pull into Canada Place, and look for Brockton Point Lighthouse. At Lonsdale Quay, you can spend hours ice skating, snacking, and watching the yachts and military ships.

Photographer: davysontheroad

Visit Museums and Art Galleries

The weather in Vancouver can be unpredictable, thanks to the nearby mountains and ocean. Don't despair if there's snow or rain in the forecast during your vacation. Indoor activities in Vancouver can ward off cabin fever and keep the entire family busy.

4. Science World

With its larger-than-life exhibits, Science World is one of our favorite places to visit with kids.

You can walk through a herd of dinosaurs, come face-to-face with a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach, or experiment with psychology in the hands-on Living Lab. The museum also hosts a regular lineup of live science shows, and your children might even get called up on stage.

Getting to Science World is a breeze. There's a metro stop nearby. You can't miss the museum. It's set inside a giant geodesic dome at the eastern end of False Creek. Stick around when the sun goes down to see the dome come to life with brilliant LED lights.

5. H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

If you have an aspiring astronaut in the family, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre will surely be the highlight of your Vancouver stay.

A series of interactive exhibits take you on a journey through the universe, from a Mars habitat to the deepest parts of the galaxy. Check the calendar for one of the live demonstrations. We can't resist the Rocket Lab and the Day in Space presentations.

The highlight of the Space Centre is the Planetarium Star Theatre. Movies play on a huge screen that stretches high overhead, giving the impression you're hurtling through the cosmos. The presentations are so colorful and immersive, in fact, that you might feel a little discombobulated as you step out into Vanier Park.

6. Vancouver Art Gallery

Located in the heart of downtown, the Vancouver Art Gallery is the ideal place for a quiet escape. Don't worry if your kids aren't art aficionados. This fantastic museum always has something wild and a little weird on display. From funky fashion to abstract modern sculptures, the museum thoughtfully curates each exhibit, making exploring them easy.

As you can probably guess, this expansive gallery is best for older kids. Take time to explore the building's exterior, which features towering sculptures and a grand entrance.

7. Chinese Cultural Centre Museum

Get a deeper insight into Vancouver's thriving Chinese community at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum.

A large collection of historic photos and artifacts introduces you to the Chinese immigrants who settled in western Canada throughout the centuries. It's a wonderful way to begin exploring the city's Chinatown neighborhood. On your way out, head next door to the spectacular Sun Yat-Sen Park.

If you're arriving via public transit, hop off the train at the Expo Line station and walk about 10 minutes to the museum. Admission is free for adults and children.

8. Museum of Vancouver

The Museum of Vancouver takes you back in time, providing an engaging glimpse at the cultures, industries, and people who shaped the city's history. The permanent collection includes everything from clothes worn by 1800s-era immigrants to the snowshoes that early inhabitants used to navigate the mountains.

Look for the ever-changing exhibitions, which range from ancestral tattooing practices to neon light installations. Compact and easy to navigate, the Museum of Vancouver is the ideal pit stop on a day of sightseeing. After your visit, walk through the Unity Indigenous Plant Garden to discover the plants favored by historic First Nations people.

Photographer: Yuta Koike

9. Museum of Anthropology at UBC

With its unusual glass and cement facade, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC makes a lasting first impression. Inside, a trove of cultural treasures awaits. This museum is perfect for kids, as it's overflowing with artifacts that spark the imagination.

The fun starts in the spacious Great Hall, where you can walk under towering totem poles and examine intricately carved First Nations feast dishes. The exhibits draw you deeper into the building, revealing everything from ancient armor to the breathtaking Bill Reid cedar sculpture, The Raven and the First Men.

Head outside to explore two Haida houses that replicate designs from the 1800s. As you walk around the building, you'll also encounter the Yosef Wosk Reflecting Pool. Afterward, we recommend a stroll through the beautiful University of British Columbia campus.

Enjoy Outdoor Spaces

Vancouver might be a major urban area, but its residents love going outside. Whenever the weather is nice — and even when it's not — locals flock to the city's gorgeous outdoor spaces. When your crew craves fresh air, these are the best places to be. As a bonus, they also offer panoramic views of iconic Vancouver buildings.

10. Stanley Park

Since it opened in 1888, Stanley Park has been a green getaway for Vancouverites. It occupies an entire peninsula near the West End, offering nearly 1,000 acres of fields, forests, trails, and beaches.

Climb aboard the park's miniature train for a 15-minute ride through the forest. Your kids will be charmed by the replica of the historic Canadian Pacific Railway Engine 374.

When you're done riding the rails, you can walk or bike along the seawall, meander through the rose garden, or hunt for the Salish carvings that are scattered through the forest. As you hike along the park's trail network, it's hard to believe you're in the city.

11. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Get a family-friendly adrenaline rush at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Here, you can walk through a coastal rainforest on a system of elevated paths. Gather your courage before tackling the 230-foot-tall suspension bridge or the Cliffwalk, where narrow walkways extend far out from the rocky walls.

Want to stay closer to the ground? The path through the Living Forest offers a relaxing way to experience the lush rainforest and surround yourself with nature. You might even spot some animals that live in the woods.

Photographer: Jacalyn Beales

12. VanDusen Botanical Garden

Stretching across 55 acres south of downtown Vancouver, the VanDusen Botanical Garden is a green dreamworld. Follow the winding paths through the serene landscape, stopping at the vegetable garden on the way. For kids, the biggest thrill is the Elizabethan hedge maze — set them free to find a route to the center and back.

Throughout the year, the botanical garden holds a series of family-friendly events. Around Christmas, the garden's Festival of Lights is one of the most enchanting activities in the city. In the spring, check out the Japanese cultural events during the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.

13. Grouse Mountain

No trip to Vancouver is complete without an alpine adventure, and Grouse Mountain is a convenient destination. Situated less than eight miles north of the city center, this picturesque area makes an easy half-day trip. When snow blankets the forest, the peak turns into a winter wonderland of sledding, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snowshoeing.

During the rest of the year, try hiking and zip-lining before catching the beloved Lumberjack Show. No matter when you visit, expect magnificent views of Vancouver and the Burrard Inlet. The Skyride aerial tramway operates year-round, ferrying you quickly up the mountain. For an open-air ride, book a ticket for the Peak Chairlift.

14. Coal Harbour Seawall

Soak in the Vancouver vibe with a family stroll or pedal down the Coal Harbour Seawall. At 5.77 kilometers long, it's manageable for kids of all ages.

Explore the path as it travels from Devonian Harbour Park to Canada Place, passing the eye-catching Olympic Cauldron along the way. You might even pass one of our acrobats on a pre-performance jog.

To access the seawall, ride the metro to the Waterfront stop. From there, it's less than a block to the path.

Photographer: Kamy

15. Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is a quiet, green oasis in the middle of the city. Known for its impressive gardens and flowering trees, the park is particularly beautiful in the spring and summer. Kids can play hide-and-seek under the pines and redwoods in the arboretum or try their hand at Frisbee golf. There's even an 18-hole golf course.

We suggest making a beeline for the large dome in the center of the park. This dome is the Bloedel Conservatory — and visiting it is one of our top things to do in Vancouver with kids. Hidden under the soaring roof, a tropical forest teems with tall palm trees and vibrant flowers. Look up, and you'll see colorful birds flying overhead.

The conservatory is open year-round, but it makes a particularly lovely escape from the cold Canadian winters.

16. Lynn Canyon Park

Hidden away in the northeastern corner of North Vancouver, Lynn Canyon Park is a peaceful wilderness area. Put on your hiking boots or mountain bikes and head into the forest.

Undulating boardwalks travel through an otherworldly stand of moss-covered trees, and sunlight filters in from high above. Your kids won't want to miss the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, which sits 164 ft. off the ground.

Hike north on the Baden-Powell Trail from the suspension bridge, and you'll find the 30-foot pool. This popular swimming hole is one of the area's best-kept secrets. Even if you're not jumping in, the views of the mountains make the walk worthwhile.

Unlock Endless Family Fun in Vancouver: Your Adventure Awaits

With its never-ending supply of museums, adventurous activities, and outdoor spaces, Vancouver is the ideal destination for a city hiatus with the family.

If you have room in the itinerary, schedule time for one final thing to do in Vancouver with kids: an evening at one of our shows. The entire family will watch in awe as our performers execute heart-pounding acrobatics and tell moving stories.

Using an innovative combination of technology, artistry, and athletic prowess, we create joyful shows that your little ones will never forget. Grab their attention and imagination at our shows in Vancouver.

More articles about