Vancouver, British Columbia

Where Urban and Outdoor Experiences Beautifully Collide


Where Urban and Outdoor Experiences Beautifully Collide

A breath-taking half million tiny lights glow against the natural lushness of the Capilano Canyon, transforming the thick rainforest into a magical fairytale experience. I didn’t believe that you could beat summertime at Capilano Suspension Bridge, the stunning structure spanning the river flowing far below.  It’s hard indeed to improve on greenery bursting with life, but from November until late January, low season travellers get a double whammy. The unforgettable holiday display of endless twinkles against nature’s own backdrop. So well worth getting wrapped up and braving a winter’s evening on British Columbia’s western coast.

To be honest, we were lucky that afternoon at Capilano. It was one of those low season days that remained clear and bright, although in general Vancouver tends to be pretty mild and wet. Residents however embrace each of their four distinct seasons. Summers are the most popular, warm and comfortable, packed with locals and tourists enjoying the multi-cultural city’s 300 parks and gardens, beach-life and whale watching. In contrast, November to March sees crowds and temperatures fall and rain is frequent. But please don’t be put off enjoying a low season adventure to Canada’s third largest city. Year round this lively cosmopolitan centre buzzes with a vibrant arts scene, to die for culinary gems from Michelin stars to food markets, and all-season hiking trails. On top of that low season offers some unique opportunities and a perfect blend of activities to fit both the weather and your mood. Where else could you cycle a seawall in the morning and be on a ski slope in the afternoon?

Get to Know the Neighbourhood

Have fun exploring Van’s different areas, each showing off their personalities, attracting varied residents, boutiques and eateries. Wander Downtown, taking in all the shops and action of Robson Square. Gastown is considered the historic hub founded in 1867, its streets lined with cobbles. Don’t miss the Steam Clock, a little touristy, but it’s got to be done. Grab dim sum in busy Chinatown or see the artsy murals at Mount Pleasant. Kitsilano, or Kits, popular for its beach in high season, remains wonderfully picturesque during winter. Enjoy a scenic stroll along the False Creek Seawall before boarding the ferry over to Granville Island’s unique local stalls. Walk between Lonsdale Quay Market and the Shipyard District, North Vancouver’s fastest growing urban neighbourhood full of independent shops, restaurants, and speciality food stores.

Get Your Culture Fix

In a city of this size you can expect cultural fun for all ages and budgets. Science World in a great way to spend a morning during the cooler months with interactive, hands-on exhibits for children and adults. Another big fave is the aquarium filled with thousands of fish and marine animals, and low season visitors may even spot Santa taking a scuba dive. Explore the fascinating past of the region’s indigenous people at the Museum of Anthropology or see visit the prestigious Vancouver Art Gallery, free to enter on Tuesday evenings. Shop to your heart’s content at the Granville Island Market or the upmarket boutiques of Kits and Yaletown; or tour a craft brewery in Mount Pleasant. Whatever you choose, there are so many wonderful way to dodge a shower if you really must.


Alternatively, just do as the locals do and go out regardless. Yes it might rain, or it might not. A city this beautiful, with so many green spaces, needs to be enjoyed whatever the weather. Stanley Park at 1000 acres is said to beat NYC’s Central Park hands down. Look closely at the totem poles, sacred to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples upon whose land the park stands. Explore its natural forest or walk or cycle the 10km Seawall that encircles the park. If you’re you’re really up for it, follow the route the whole 28km with incredible sea views right around the bay to Kitsilano. Queen Elizabeth Park in the south is particularly beautiful in the autumn as the leaves change their colours. Or for something more adventurous there are some great low elevation hikes accessible year round at Capilano Regional Park, Lynn Canyon Park or the Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Start in the morning as night draws in early in low season, but you’ll always have those twinkling lights brightening your evenings and welcoming you home

Inspired? Give our friendly partners at First Class Holidays a call to find out more about the wonderful low season months in Vancouver as well as hearing about some absolutely amazing deals! Call now for friendly advice on: 0161 888 5630 or email:


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Low Season Months

Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov

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Top Experiences

Take to the Ice

Vancouverites love their ice with year round rinks throughout the city, but come November seasonal sites return, many rich in festive flair, hot chocolate and old fashioned magic. A favourite is the free rink at Robson Square in Downtown with live music in the run up to Christmas.

Aerial Sightseeing by Seaplane

Take off from Coal Harbour on a thrilling seaplane tour. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of Vancouver’s iconic skyline, and get an incredibly different perspective of Stanley Park, Lion’s Gate Bridge, English Bay, and the North Shore Mountains, without even setting foot in the outdoors.

Granville Island Foodie Tour

Join a guide to experience the best of local produce at Granville Island Public Market. There are over 300 stalls in the bustling atmosphere, all independent family run businesses. Try samples from artisan sellers of fine cheeses, fresh seafood, organic bread, beers and more.

Insider Tips

  • For a low season treat, check out the Vancouver ‘Dine Out Festival’ which takes place the last two weeks of January. A 17 day celebration of the culinary scene in the city including special events, menus, tastings and workshops. Hundreds of eateries take part from food trucks to fine dining.
  • Apart from English, you’ll hear Cantonese and Mandarin widely spoken. Thousands of Chinese labourers crossed the Pacific in the 19th century to build the railroad. These days one in five Vancouver residents claim Chinese heritage, and their Chinatown is the third largest in North America.
  • Vancouver’s position on the Pacific plus the influence of British Columbia’s unique temperature rainforest have their impact on the precipitation levels the area experiences, resulting in roughly 165 rainy days annually and earning the city the unenviable nickname ‘Raincouver’.

Good To Know

  • The Downtown core is remarkably walkable but to explore all the neighbourhoods try Vancouver’s fantastic public transport. It’s super easy to use with a choice of frequent buses, Skytrain rapid transit system, or the Seabus ferries. Just tap your credit card or Compass pass for each journey.
  • After visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge, take public transport from right outside to Polygon Gallery hosting photography and art exhibits. Walk a few blocks to the North Shore brewery district for top local craft beers, before catching the Seabus back to Downtown, a 12 minute ride.
  • Capilano may be world famous, but be sure to check out Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. You’ll find fewer people here, and access to the park is completely free. There is a lovely 90 minute circular hike that takes in the bridge. Plus it is at low elevational and so accessible throughout low season.

Food & Drink

L’Abattoir, Carrall St, Gastown

In the heart of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood the epicentre of the city’s diverse culinary and cocktail scene, you’ll find L’Abattoir, between historic Gaoler’s Mews and Blood Alley. The menu offers exquisite dishes from steak tartare to country lamb, or indulge in the chef’s tasting menu with paired wine.

Bao Bei, Keefer St, Chinatown

Visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden and shop at one of the Asian speciality stores before grabbing a bite. Bao Bei is one of our favourites among many authentic eateries. This stylish Chinese brassiere specialises in freshly made Taiwan and Shanghai inspired sharing dishes to enjoy with family and friends.

The Stock Room, Homer St, Yaletown

Late night drinking at this lively speakeasy with friendly vibes and cool décor. Find it hidden away behind Hundy Burger, in Yaletown, a regenerated chic district in the south-eastern part of Downtown. Book a booth and enjoy an inventive range of cocktails soaked up with one of their delicious burgers.

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