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100 free and low-cost summer activities in metro vancouver

Summer days are made for family time, but we think it shouldn’t cost a fortune just to have fun together. Here are 100 awesome, free and low-cost things to do with your family 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 water spray 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 4th – August 22nd.
  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 and carousel rides are only $2.65.
  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 on July 29th, August 2nd and August 5th.
  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! From 11 am – 1 pm, August 22nd & 29th
  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. Get your free Discovery Pass and head to your nearest National Park where you will enjoy free admission for all of 2017! In Metro Vancouver that means you can visit Fort Langley National Historic Site and The Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Richmond for free.
  22. Head to the Lego Store for a free Monthly Mini Build event, the 2nd Tuesday and Wednesday of every month. You have to sign up for the LEGO VIP program (it’s free) and remember to register in store or online.
  23. 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!
  24. Visit Granville Island, explore the Kids Market and play at the big outdoor playground and water park.
  25. Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery on a Tuesday evening when entry is by donation.
  26. Grab some chalk and make beautiful artwork all over the sidewalks or on your driveway. Try dipping the chalk in water before using, it turns the chalk into vibrant paint!
  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. Or head the other direction into the Tri-Cities on the new Evergreen Extension.
  28. Listen to the Sounds of Summer (that’s live music, for free) every Wednesday evening at a different park in Surrey.
  29. Visit the Gordon MacMillan Observatory, next door to the Space Centre, where admission is by donation.
  30. Watch the cruise ships and other water vessels go by from Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver.
  31. Head out to Fraser Valley and pick some berries at a U Pick farm.
  32. Celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary and watch a spectacular Canada Day fireworks display at the largest celebration in Western Canada at Canada Place. This year the celebration lasts two days!
  33. Build a fort in your backyard with blankets and pillows and have a summer reading marathon.
  34. Watch some of the world’s best cyclists compete in the Tour de Delta race on July 7th – 9th, the Gastown Grand Prix on July 12th, or at the Tour de White Rock on the 15th and 16th of July.
  35. North Vancouver’s Shipyard Night Market has free admission and tons of delicious food trucks, live music, and lots of local vendors.
  36. Head to your local community centre for fun drop-in programs for kids.
  37. Build something great! Home Depot has free builds for kids the second Saturday of every month.
  38. Say hello to fish at the Hyde Creek Hatchery, open every Saturday from 9 am – 11:30 am for free tours.
  39. Take a 30-minute crafting class at Michaels Crafts, every Saturday, for only $2! For kids aged 3 and up.
  40. Enjoy Concerts in the Park in Delta and Music at the Cannery in Steveston.
  41. Enjoy a fun scavenger hunt set in pioneer days at Historic Stewart Farm. Who do you think will win the water-pumping contest?
  42. Visit the Family Place at River District Centre every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am for fun free activities for kids aged 0 – 5.
  43. 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 8th – 9th at Concord Pacific Place.
  44. Love birds? Take a free birding walk in one of Metro Vancouver’s beautiful parks.
  45. Enjoy a free Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performance at Deer Lake Park.
  46. Visit over 130 different types of birds at the Sanctuary at Hastings Park Conservancy.
  47. Ye-haw, head to Maple Ridge for Country Fest on July 29th & 30th, an annual festival featuring shows, rides, fair food, and more! Admission is free.
  48. 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.
  49. Bike Barnston Island in Surrey. Bonus: You get to ride on a ferry!
  50. Enjoy free Summer Sunday Concerts in Port Moody.
  51. Let the kiddos stay up late to stargaze. Boundary Bay Regional Park in Delta is a good viewing spot.
  52. Enjoy a day of celebration at the Steveston Salmon Festival on July 1st.
  53. Celebrate all things Caribbean at the free Caribbean Days Festival in North Vancouver, July 29th – 30th.
  54. For the ultimate celebration of music, food, and culture, head to Fusion Festival, a free event in Surrey’s Holland Park, July 22nd – 23rd.
  55. Join in on Khatsahlano, Vancouver’s largest block party on July 8th.
  56. Hop in the car and head out on a fun, family adventure.
  57. Pack a picnic and head to your favourite park.
  58. Fly a kite.
  59. Take a daytrip to Langley.
  60. Discover Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby’s only salt-water beach.
  61. Head down 1001 Steps to a spectacular beach in South Surrey
  62. Enjoy Newton Days — a farm market, kid fun zone, face painting, food trucks, henna & Science World demos. Free admission!
  63. Visit feathered friends at the George C Reifel Bird Sanctuary.
  64. Watch planes take off and land at the public observation area at the Vancouver International Airport.
  65. Explore River Market in New Westminster.
  66. Have a kiddo with a summer birthday? Enjoy some free goodies at local shops and restaurants around Metro Vancouver.
  67. Channel your inner train conductor by visiting Engine 374 at the Roundhouse Community Centre. Admission is free!
  68. 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!
  69. On August 6th, Enjoy free entry for the whole family to the Fresh Family Fun Field at Krause Berry Farms. Jumping pillows, games, tether ball, peddle cart race track and more.
  70. Learn all about fish at the Capilano River Hatchery.
  71. Kids bowl free all summer long at many lanes in the Lower Mainland, including Grandview Lanes in Vancouver. You just need to sign up.
  72. Enjoy a summer concert series and art market in Abbotsford at the Jam In Jubilee, Thursday evenings in July.
  73. Make your own popsicles at home with fruit, yogurt, and juice. Get creative with your combos.
  74. Take a self-guided tour of farms in the Fraser Valley, 5 different tours to choose from at Circle Farm Tours.
  75. Hike in Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, one of the most scenic and beautiful spots in all of Metro Vancouver.
  76. Visit the super cool Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment in Richmond. It’s not your average playground!
  77. Get up early and watch the sunrise. Burnaby Mountain Park is a good viewing spot.
  78. Visit Flowers From a Country Garden, a flower farm in Langley.
  79. Enjoy a fun family nature scavenger hunt.
  80. 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.
  81. Find the White Rock at White Rock Beach.
  82. Visit the Grocery Hall of Fame in Richmond, an homage to the general store. Free admission.
  83. Set up a lemonade stand and teach your kiddos how to make change.
  84. Visit the Honeybee Centre in Surrey for an education in all things bee.
  85. Rock out to the Live & Local summer concert & culture series in North Vancouver. Cost: Free!
  86. Get jiggy with it: Take part in free salsa lessons in the afternoon at Robson Square and then stick around for a free performance in the evening.
  87. Listen to live, free music. On a wharf. Music on the Wharf has events in Maple Ridge throughout the summer.
  88. Go foraging for edible plants.
  89. Visit the Burrard Dry Dock Pier in North Vancouver for a history lesson on shipbuilding.
  90. Explore Burns Bog.
  91. Create seed bombs with wildflowers.
  92. 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.
  93. Try out some fun yoga moves for the whole family.
  94. Discover the City of Arts, also known as Port Moody.
  95. Celebrate summer with a free, outdoor concert series in Langley at the Willoughby amphitheatre. Every Thursday night in July & August.
  96. Throw on your favourite plaid shirt and head to Squamish for the annual Loggers Sports Festival, August 3rd – 7th. Many events are free, and fun for the whole family to watch.
  97. View vintage cars at the Langley Good Times Cruise-In on September 9th. Free Admission!
  98. Head to Hope to explore the Othello Tunnels, originally built for railway access, they now form part of the Trans Canada Trail system.
  99. Build your own fairy garden with found objects. Look for rocks, sticks, and moss while out for a walk. Place them in a special spot in your garden. Sprinkle with glitter and wait for the fairies to arrive.
  100. Wait until dark and play flashlight tag.

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. And don’t forget to sign up for our weekly email newsletter. You’ll receive our weekend event guide which is chock-full of great family-friendly events and activities, many free! 

By: Michelle Hughes

One thought on “100 free and low-cost summer activities in metro vancouver

  1. Another awesome, free and low-cost thing to do with your family this summer is the Kaleidoscope Arts Festival in Coquitam on Saturday, Aug. 12. Performing will be renowned rocker and author Bif Naked, jazz/pop singer-songwriter Jennifer Hayes, indie/roots/folk act West My Friend, indie rockers Derrival, and BreakOut West 2017 nominees for Rock Artist of the Year The Matinée.

    It’s completely free, located at Town Centre Park (right at Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain station), and musical acts will perform on the new outdoor Plaza Stage. Other festival highlights include dancers, circus performers, storytellers, artists and an artisans market as well as lots of kids’ activities. And, for the adults, local food trucks and craft brew too.

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