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100 free and low-cost summer activities in metro vancouver

Summer fun doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are 100 fun, free or low-cost (usually no more than $6 per person) things to do with your kiddos in Metro Vancouver this summer.

  1. Check out the free programs at your local library branch, they’ve got everything from board game nights to LEGO builds.
  2. Join a summer reading club, you can earn stickers and badges and maybe even a prize!
  3. Visit your local spray or water park for a free way to cool off in the summer heat.
  4. Jump in an outdoor public pool to beat the heat.
  5. Explore your local Farmers’ Market for a great way to learn about local eating and farming.
  6. Watch a FREE outdoor movie in Stanley Park. Every Tuesday from July 5th – August 23rd.
  7. Try geocaching for a free family treasure hunt. We love heading to Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley.
  8. Visit Burnaby Village Museum, entry is free for the summer.
  9. Visit a beach, bring along a picnic.
  10. Hike through Lynn Canyon for a free trip over a suspension bridge.
  11. Watch the fireworks at the Honda Celebration of Light. Disney is competing this year!
  12. Visit the kids gallery at the Surrey Museum, admission is free!
  13. Go play at Hastings Park in Vancouver
  14. Cool off with a free Slurpee from 7-11 on July 11th
  15. Visit the PNE during free gate admission, both Tuesdays this year! August 23rd & 30th
  16. Visit the fairy doors at Redwood Park in Surrey
  17. Walk, bike, or roll the Stanley Park seawall
  18. View the latest exhibits at the ArtStarts Gallery in Vancouver, the first gallery in Canada devoted exclusively to young people’s art. Admission is free!
  19. Go fishing.
  20. Go on a free walking tour in one of four distinct Vancouver neighbourhoods.
  21. Visit a park on Canada’s Parks Day, the 3rd Saturday in July, and try a free nature sampler.
  22. Head to the Lego Store for a free Monthly Mini Build event, the first Tuesday of every month.
  23. Visit a new neighbourhood, like Fort Langley. Explore the antique stores and make sure you stop for an ice cream cone at Ritual (the mint moose tracks is a family favourite).
  24. Hike the Coquitlam Crunch. It’s like a “starter” Grouse Grind, and there’s no gondola fee to get down, you just have to use your two feet!
  25. Visit Granville Island, explore the Kids Market and play at the big outdoor playground and water park.
  26. Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery on a Tuesday evening when entry is by donation. This summer’s feature exhibit is Picasso: The Artist and His Muses.
  27. Ride the rails: Hop on the Skytrain and then jump on the Seabus. Spend the day exploring Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver before heading home.
  28. Visit the Kerrisdale Farmers’ Market Corn Festival on July 25th.
  29. Listen to the Sounds of Summer (that’s live music, for free) every Wednesday evening at a different park in Surrey.
  30. Visit the Gordon MacMillan Observatory, next door to the R. MacMillan Space Centre, where admission is by donation.
  31. Watch the cruise ships and other water vessels go by from Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver.
  32. Head out to Fraser Valley and pick some berries at a U Pick farm.
  33. Watch a spectacular Canada Day fireworks display at the largest celebration in Western Canada at Canada Place.
  34. Watch some of the world’s best cyclists compete in the Tour de Delta race on July 8th – 10th, the Gastown Grand Prix on July 13th, or at the Tour de White Rock on the 16th and 17th of July.
  35. Ride the Stanley Park Train.
  36. North Vancouver’s Shipyard Night Market has free admission and tons of delicious food trucks, live music, and lots of local vendors.
  37. Head to your local community centre for fun drop in programs for kids.
  38. Build something great! Home Depot has free builds for kids the second Saturday of every month.
  39. Explore the Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster.
  40. Say hello to fishies at the Hyde Creek Hatchery, open every Saturday from 9 am – 11:30 am for free tours.
  41. Take a 30-minute crafting class at Michaels Crafts, every Saturday, for only $2! For kids aged 3 and up.
  42. Head to Newton on a Wednesday from June to the end of August for Nooner Wednesdays where you can listen to live music while you enjoy your lunch.
  43. Enjoy Concerts in the Park in Delta and Music at the Cannery in Steveston.
  44. Nothing is better than a summer tomato. Celebrate this delightful vegetable at Tomato Fest, August 22nd and 23rd.
  45. Experience life how it used to be at the free Pioneer Fair at the Historic Stewart Farm House in South Surrey on July 2nd.
  46. Visit the Family Place at River District Centre every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am for fun free activities for kids aged 0 – 5.
  47. Learn all about working ships at Steveston’s Ships to Shore Festival from June 30th – July 2nd. Admission is free!
  48. Celebrate the return of salmon to Trout Lake at the Salmon Celebration on June 20th.
  49. Kick it up a notch at Carnaval del Sol, Vancouver’s Latin festival, and the biggest one in the Pacific Northwest. This free family-friendly event runs from July 9th – 10th at Concord Pacific Place.
  50. Love birds? Take a free birding walk in one of Metro Vancouver’s beautiful parks.
  51. Head to the Panda Night Market in Richmond (formerly the International Summer Night Market), for delicious food and interesting finds. Admission is free for everyone!
  52. Visit over 130 different types of birds at the Sanctuary at Hastings Park Conservancy.
  53. Check your local shopping centre to see what fabulous, fun and free events they have this summer. Many put on weekly activities for kids, from arts and crafts, to musical entertainment to LEGO building.
  54. Bike Barnston Island in Surrey. Bonus: You get to ride on a ferry!
  55. Enjoy free Summer Sunday Concerts in Port Moody.
  56. Let the kiddos stay up late to stargaze. Boundary Bay Regional Park in Delta is a good viewing spot.
  57. Enjoy a day of celebration at the Steveston Salmon Festival on July 1st.
  58. Celebrate all things Caribbean at the free Caribbean Days Festival in North Vancouver, July 23rd – 24th.
  59. For the ultimate celebration in music, food and culture, head to Fusion Festival, a free event in Surrey’s Holland Park, July 23rd – 24th
  60. Join in on Khatsahlano, Vancouver’s largest block party on July 9th.
  61. Get wet: Join in Vancouver’s Largest Waterfight on August 6th.
  62. Hop in the car and head out on an easy, family adventure.
  63. Pack a picnic and head to your favourite park.
  64. Fly a kite.
  65. Take a daytrip to Langley.
  66. Discover Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby’s only salt-water beach.
  67. Head down 1001 Steps to a spectacular beach in South Surrey
  68. Visit feathered friends at the George C Reifel Bird Sanctuary.
  69. Watch planes take off and land at the public observation area at the Vancouver International Airport.
  70. Explore River Market in New Westminster.
  71. Have a kiddo with a summer birthday? Enjoy some free goodies at local shops and restaurants around Metro Vancouver.
  72. Channel your inner train conductor by visiting Engine 374 at the Roundhouse Community Centre.
  73. Walk through beautiful gardens full of traditional Chinese architecture, bridges and pavilions at Sun Yat-Sen Park, located right next door to the Classical Chinese Garden, but entry to the park is free!
  74. Learn all about fish at the Capilano River Hatchery.
  75. Kids bowl free all summer long at many lanes in Metro Vancouver. You just need to sign up!
  76. Discover Family Fuse Weekend, part of the Indian Summer Festival, July 9th – 10th.
  77. Enjoy a summer concert series and art market in Abbotsford at the Jam In Jubilee throughout the month of August.
  78. Take a self-guided tour of farms in the Fraser Valley, 5 different tours to choose from at Circle Farm Tours.
  79. Hike in Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, one of the most scenic and beautiful spots in all of Metro Vancouver.
  80. Cheer on BC’s youngest athletes at the BC Summer Games, July 21st – 24th in Abbotsford.
  81. Visit the super cool Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment in Richmond. It’s not your average playground!
  82. Get up early and watch the sunrise. Burnaby Mountain Park is a good viewing spot.
  83. Visit Flowers From a Country Garden, a flower farm in Langley.
  84. Enjoy a fun family nature scavenger hunt.
  85. Take your kiddos on a tour of the neighbourhood you grew up in. Show them your elementary school, your favourite playground, and your best friend’s house.
  86. Chow down on some seriously delicious barbeque at BBQ off the Bypass in early September.
  87. Find the White Rock at White Rock Beach.
  88. Visit the Grocery Hall of Fame in Richmond, an homage to the general store. Free admission.
  89. Visit the Honeybee Centre in Surrey for an education in all things bee.
  90. Rock out to the Live & Local summer concert series in North Vancouver. Cost: Free!
  91. Get jiggy with it: Take part in free salsa lessons at Robson Square.
  92. Listen to live, free music. On a wharf. Music on the Wharf has events in Maple Ridge throughout the summer.
  93. Go foraging for edible plants.
  94. Take part in the Vancouver Farmers’ Market Berry Festival on July 13th & 17th.
  95. Visit the Burrard Dry Dock Pier in North Vancouver for a history lesson on shipbuilding.
  96. Explore Burns Bog.
  97. Visit the Powerhouse at Stave Falls to learn all about power generation and its history.
  98. Head to the Mission Raceway for a thrilling drag race! Kids under 12 get free admission with a paying adult. Adult admission is $5 – $10 depending on the event.
  99. Try out some fun yoga moves for the whole family.
  100. Discover beautiful Steveston.

If you are on the hunt for affordable fun for your kids this summer, check out our top tips on finding an affordable summer camp. Sign up for our weekly email newsletter and you’ll receive our weekend event guide which is chalk full of great family-friendly events and activities, many free! And download our (free) app, OnTheGoKids, for easy event and activity ideas while you are out and about.

By: Michelle Hughes

3 thoughts on “100 free and low-cost summer activities in metro vancouver

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