September is golden in Vancouver.
This is the month most locals love best: long on light and short on tourists. You can feel autumn in the crisp night air, but the days still feel like summer. Rain, when it comes, tends not to be the wearying winter variety.
If you have the luxury of choice when it comes to planning when to travel to Vancouver, choose September.
Good to know: Labour Day is a public holiday in Canada and always falls on the first Monday of September. It’s a particularly busy weekend for travel, especially at Vancouver International Airport as students return to universities across the country. If you’re planning to travel by ferry that weekend, make a reservation well in advance.
What to pack:
The weather hovers in a comfortable 15 C/60 F range, but sometimes spike closer to 20 C/70 F–especially in the first half of the month. Bring lightweight trousers or jeans; cotton sweaters and lightweight shawls; a water-resistant windbreaker and collapsible umbrella; sunglasses; and comfortable walking shoes.
Things to do in Vancouver in September:
- Exercise like a local: Vancouverites appreciate the slightly cooler weather of early fall for their many outdoor activities, especially biking. A stroll through Stanley Park in the golden light of a late September afternoon (right) is practically mandatory.
- Catch a show: Beloved by locals for more than 20 years, Bard on the Beach is an outdoor Shakespeare festival at Kits Point offering a range of first-class theatre productions in rep through September. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, never fear: Vancouver’s main arts venues launch their seasons in September and you can head indoors to catch a play at the venerable Arts Club or the more alternative Vancouver International Fringe Festival. The Vancouver Symphony also resumes its busy performance schedule this month. Tip: check out Tickets Tonight for last-minute half-price tickets on cultural events in the city.
- Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery: Every summer, the VAG features an impressive summer exhibit by internationally renowned artists, but the summer crowds can detract from the experience. Visit in September when you’re more likely have the gallery to yourself.
- Get bookish: The annual book and magazine festival, Word on the Street, takes over the plaza in front of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library on Georgia Street in late September.
- Park it at a patio: It’s still mild enough to 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.
- Take a day-trip: The days are still long enough to warrant renting a car and exploring further afield. Consider a scenic drive along Highway 99 towards Whistler, a birding excursion to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary (always full of activity in the early fall), or one of these other easy day-trips.
Need more suggestions? See these related links:
Something missing for August? Please share it below!
Photo: Michael Schetlgen