In July, summer finally gets some traction in Vancouver.
It’s the driest month in a notoriously damp city, and the long summer evenings (the sun sets around 9:30 pm) are perfect for seawall strolls and outdoor picnics.
It’s peak season though, so expect longer line-ups at tourist attractions, higher hotel rates (even at budget properties), and busier downtown streets–especially at Granville Island and around the cruise ship terminal at the foot of Burrard Street.
What to pack:
Temperatures hover in the 18 C/65 F range and any rogue rain is generally not of the epic winter variety. Bring shorts or capris and a sweater or shawl; a water-resistant windbreaker; sunscreen, sunglasses and and a swimsuit (if you want to dip more than your toes in the Pacific); and comfortable walking shoes and sandals.
Things to do in Vancouver in July:
- Canada Day at Canada Place: July 1st marks one Canada’s favourite public holidays, and while local communities host a variety of smaller celebrations, the free and family-friend “big deal” goes all day at Canada Place near the convention centre.
- Bard on the Beach and Theatre Under the Stars: Beloved by locals for more than 20 years, Bard is an outdoor Shakespeare festival at Kits Point offering a range of first-class theatre productions in rep through to September. If musicals are more to your taste, head to Malkin Bowel in Stanley Park for one of the two alternating Broadway-style shows presented each July and August by TUTS.
- Celebration of Light: This popular fireworks in English Bay festival clogs the West End streets for several nights in late July and early August, but stay on foot and stake your beach claim early for a memorable summer-in-the-city experience.
- Playland at the PNE: Popular with ‘tweens, teens and families, Playland is a giant (and not inexpensive) amusement park adjacent to the Pacific National Exhibition grounds on Hastings Street.
- Klahowya Village in Stanley Park: Billed as an “authentic aboriginal experience,” this popular summer attraction is a family-friendly introduction to First Nations history in BC. Runs through to early September.
- Exercise like a local: Always a fit city, Vancouverites ramp up their outdoor activities in summer. Biking in Vancouver is particular enjoyable in this warm, dry month.
- Park it at a patio: Enjoy a meal or a craft-brewed beer on one of the city’s many outdoor patios.
- Picnic in a park: Pick up a meal to go from one of the city’s new street food carts and head for any of the nearby parks or beaches for al fresco dining. Or head to Ceperley Meadow in Stanley Park to enjoy a free outdoor movie.
- Take a drive: Longer days means there’s more time to rent a car and explore further afield. Consider a scenic drive along Highway 99 towards Whistler, a birding excursion to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, or one of these other easy day-trips.
- Chinese Night Markets: With its subtantial Asian population, Vancouver supports two Chinese night markets. The Summer Night Market in suburban Richmond runs from 7 pm to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 to 11 pm on Sundays and holidays, and is the larger and more authentic variety. But if you’re pressed for time or without wheels, visit the Chinatown Night Market held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm at Keefer and Main.
- Vancouver International Jazz Festival: This popular multi-venue festival features world-class musicians performing a variety of jazz styles and includes a number of free concerts.
- Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival: Gay pride struts its stuff for a couple of event-filled weeks in the latter half of July
- Vancouver Folk Festival: For more than three decades, this outdoor festival at Jericho Beach has attracted the best folk performers from around the world and across the generations to Vancouver.
Need more suggestions? See these related links:
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Photo: Canada Place