5 Rainy Day Vancouver Activities to Save Our Sanity on the Wet Coast

It rains a lot in Vancouver so rainy day activities in Vancouver are sometimes the only ways we get through. Thankfully, we Vancouverites have become pretty awesome at entertaining ourselves when the monsoon of the day hits. This city may be known for it’s epic mountain views, gorgeous coastal kayaking, and all around good time vibes on the beaches.  But let’s be real, only a true Vancouverite can figure out things to do in Vancouver when it rains and still have a blast!

So if you’re looking for a rainy day activities in Vancouver, or if you’re a tourist and you need an tourist attraction to do in the rain in Vancouver, this blog is for you!

Let it Rain! 5 Rainy Day Vancouver Activities to Save Our Sanity

what to do in vancouver when it rains

Escape Rooms in Vancouver!

Anybody who has talked to me this past year knows how much I love escape rooms. They are everything that I love: puzzles, mysterious mechanics, and the feeling of absolute conquest when you solve all of the riddles and get yourself out of the room. Escape rooms have totally exploded in Vancouver in recent years, and for damn good reason.

Don’t know what an escape room is? You’re missing out.  An escape room is basically 2 or 3 adjoined rooms filled with puzzles, riddles, and games that you and your team need to solve to move on to the next room and to eventually free yourselves from the rooms altogether. Some rooms are kind of scary, some are really terrifying. Some rooms are pretty straightforward, others are complicated AF. I honestly LOVE escape rooms.  I have done 6 in the last 9 months with a variety of different groups, and escaped from 5 of them. So yeah, I’m like, pretty good. NBD.

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things to do in Vancouver in the rain

Thankfully Vancouver has jumped on the worldwide escape room phenomenon with robust vigour, with at least 12-15 different escape room businesses in the Lower Mainland.  EXIT rooms are known as being the more difficult rooms (the one room I haven’t escaped from was an EXIT brand room), though some rooms have different types of features like live actors or turning the players into parts of the story (my friend Morgan once started an escape room being handcuffed…).

Recently, Lindsay and I did an escape room and escaped with about 50 seconds to spare. Later that night we went to a great bar and had some delicious cocktails, and still wanted to do more escaping.  I feel like I could do an escape room every day, I love them. Plus, they’re indoors!!! Who cares about the weather when you’re perfectly dry in a dark room with no windows solving puzzles anyways!

Some of the most popular escape rooms in the city are the EXIT (the really tough ones), LOCKED Canada (tough and with a variety of really scary rooms) and SmartyPantz (with actors  as hosts and located right in Gastown).

Do a Vancouver Brewery Tour

There is pretty much nothing that is more Vancouver these days than drinking beer at a brewery.  The city has exploded with breweries, so much so that there are multiple neighbourhoods that would consider themselves the brewery district. And when you’re drinking delicious, organic, one of a kind beer in a cozy tasting room, who cares if it’s raining? It could literally be apocalyptic outside and Vancouverites would still be hitting their fave breweries to fill up their growlers.

best breweries in vancouver

The original, and still oldest, brewery in Vancouver is Storm Brewing. Located on Commercial just off Hastings, Storm is basically someones garage. It has weird hours and very few places to sit, but that’s not the point of Storm.  The point is awesome beer that changes frequently and comes in flavours and brews that you would never expect. The other oddity at Storm is that you don’t actually buy a pint here.  You get 6 samples all by donation, the samples are around 4 ounces of beer, and then you fill up your Growler with whatever type of beer you like the best. It’s amazing.

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best breweries to visit in vancouver

Nearby if the massive Parallel 49 brewery with a definitive beer cafeteria /frat house vibe, or the Mexican derived Andina’s with near perfect ceviche and banana chips to satisfy the salty. Honestly, there are so many breweries in Vancouver, they need their own blog post, which is something I’m ‘researching’ and will get to you all once I dry out.

But if you don’t have time to plan it all out, there is a Vancouver brewery tour that you can join.  There is the Brewery Creek Walking Tour of False Creek that goes to 4 different brew pubs with a couple of food tastings to make sure you don’t die. Alternatively, there is the original tour, the Vancouver 3-Hour Craft Beer Breweries Tour, with visits to the breweries and transportation between them, which definitely works better when it’s raining like we all know that it can.

Pick Your Poison with these YUMMY tours!

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Visit the Vancouver Aquarium

Depending on your stance on animals in captivity, the Aquarium may or not be up your alley. That said, the Vancouver Aquarium is very high quality and is primarily focused on rehabilitation and conservation.
Gone are the days of the large orca whales in kind of small tanks, nowadays the biggest kids on the block are a few dolphins, sea lions, and small sharks. All in large tanks for their relative small sizes.  There are shows for all of these guys, plus awesome bits of the sea otters (who are the most adorable creatures I don’t care what anybody says!) and the penguins.
Vancouver Aquarium tickets best attractions in vancouver in rain
But the real overall draw to the Aquarium is how beautiful and interactive all of the displays are, both inside and out.  There is the West Coast display which gives us an idea of what’s under the water right off our beaches. There are tropical tanks with all of the reef fishes from as far from the West Coast as you can get. The Amazon section is aptly humid and home to some of those mini alligator type creatures as well as many a snake, spider, and bat. But I’ll say it again, sea otters people, sea otters!
The Vancouver Aquarium is mainly indoors, though the big tanks and the show viewing areas are outdoors. Generally speaking though, this is a great thing to do in the rain in Vancouver and at least half a day can be spent wandering the tanks!

Save some bucks and skip the line with these Aquarium tickets!

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Check out the Museum of Vancouver

I’ll be real, I had never been to the Museum of Vancouver until 7 hours ago.  My mom and I went since it was kind of cloudy and for little other reason. But it is awesome!
The MOV always has a couple of permanent exhibits, one being the history of Vancouver starting well before the Europeans arrived all the way up to the 1970’s. the other permanent exhibit is a small yet explosive gallery of old neon signs that once characterized Vancouver but were slowly weaned out of the city by the anti-neon people.  Once again proving that people will literally complain about anything.
Museum of Vancouver neon exhibit best places to go in Vancouver in rain
Right now, the visiting exhibit area is devoted to the culture of the Haida Indigenous people and their art and history.  The Haida tribe is from the islands of Haida Gwaii, which I feature heavily in my blog post about Totem Poles in British Columbia.

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Haida weaving at the Museum of Vancouver best rainy day attractions in vancouverThere were beautiful carvings, baskets, hats, regalia, tools, and argillite statues along with descriptions of life and lore that surrounds the Haida people.  I loved reading the legends, some of which seemed a little iffy, but hey if they were meant to scare kids straight they probably did the job well!
The MOV is located in the same building as the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vanier Park just west of the Burrard Bridge. I haven’t been to the Space centre since my friends and I went to a planetarium laser lights show set to Pink Floyd back in high school. And while I’m aware that that activity makes me sound like I went to high school in the 70’s I did not, we just thought we were pretty vintage. We weren’t.
Mom and I passed on the space centre today because, well, it’s not really our thing and lunch was waiting. But it’s probably pretty cool, especially for kids, and great on a rainy day! And added bonus of the MOV is the truly excellent gift shop.  Normally Mom and I breeze through museum gift shops because they’re so expensive.  But the MOV shop has some gorgeous items and art, most of which we felt was quite reasonable. I will definitely think of that shop if I’m looking for some wicked West Coast prezzies!

Soar High with FlyOver Canada

FlyOver Canada is one of those truly unique things to do in Vancouver that can’t be overstated. It made me so stupidly patriotic I’m a little embarrassed. FlyOver Canada is a simulated flight over the entire country of Canada, starting in the Maritimes and the craggy Atlantic Coastline, through the Canadian shield and the Prairies, into the Arctic and finally through the Rockies and all over British Columbia.

The ‘flight’ is a 4-D experience, where everybody gets strapped into what feels like too intense of a seat. Then, everything goes dark, all of the seats move forward and regardless of where you’re sitting, you will be up close and personal with the massive 3 story screen in front of you.  Wind blows through your hair, the scent (and sometimes the mist) of the ocean breezes past, and the seats twist and turn with the aero-acrobatics of the film.

FlyOver Canada Flight Simulation best things to do in vancouver when it rains

In short, you feel like you’re actually flying over Canada. It’s legit. It makes Canada look like the dreamland of Middle Earth that it is.

FlyOver Canada isn’t what I would call cheap, especially since it only last 25 minutes.  That said, it’s a very cool thing to do, and since it’s located right at Canada Place it’s a very easy thing to do in Vancouver from the cruise ship port. It’s also at the very end of the Skytrain line, so super simple to get to via transit. Even f you do have a car, I wouldn’t drive.  Take the Skytrain or the bus, because parking is a nightmare in this area, and bonkers expensive!

Get your ticket ahead of time to FlyOver Canada!!

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