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When to Go to Vancouver
Vancouver has a fairly temperate climate, making it great for visiting year round – the summer months offer hot, sunny days, where trips to the beach are a must, while the winter months here offer some of the mildest conditions in the entire country. To help you decide when would suit your holiday plans, we’ve divided the year up into the four seasons:
Spring: April to June
Spring is the perfect time to visit Vancouver. You’ll be spoilt with beautiful blooms in Stanley Park, coupled with mild temperatures – hovering around the late teens to early 20s (°C). The beaches are inviting yet quiet, and you can still ski this time of year too, just head up to Whistler for some fresh powder.
Best reasons to visit in the spring:
- Vancouver Opera Festival: first launched at the end of April 2017, this young festival celebrates classical, contemporary and rare operatic performances, and includes local talent as well as international stars.
- Art! Vancouver: a platform for local, national and international artists to showcase their work, this annual Maytime event is a must for lovers of diverse artwork.
Summer: July to September
Pack the sun-cream! Vancouver is one of the hottest spots in Canada in the summer, and we can’t think of a better place to be. Temperatures can soar between 20 and 30°C, making it the perfect time for park strolls (stopping for a cool drink in the shade) and lazing on café terraces.
Best reasons to visit in the summer:
- Carnaval Del Sol: you know how we mentioned Vancouver is ethnically diverse? Well, at the beginning of July, it hosts the biggest Latin festival in the Pacific Northwest, for which you can expect live music, performances, native Canadian art and food demonstrations.
- Drive the Icefield Parkway: in the summer, Vancouver is the perfect jumping off point for heading into Alberta and driving the Icefields Parkway – usually out of action outside of June-September.
Autumn: October to December
Blessed with cooler temperatures, less tourists and only a little bit of rain, autumn is a great time to visit Vancouver.
Best reasons to visit in the autumn:
- The Grouse Grind: with the summer heat dissipating, autumn is a great time to take on ‘Nature’s Stairmaster’, aka, the Grouse Grind. So while all the tourists are catching the gondola to the top of the 1,231m Grouse Mountain, you’ll be walking up its steep sides through the trees. Expect the hike to take between 90 minutes and two hours depending on your fitness levels, and be sure to stuff yourself full of poutine at the summit – you’ve earned it after all.
- Whale watching: whale watching season in Vancouver runs between 1st April and 31st October. Head out on a tour at the start of autumn, and you can hope to spot humpbacks and orcas aplenty, with fewer crowds jostling for space on the boat deck.
Winter: January to March
Undoubtedly colder than the rest of the year (think 0-8°C), Vancouver is still sunny throughout the winter months. This makes it a great time for bracing strolls along the seafront, bike rides through Downtown or admiring the snowy cityscapes in chillier winters.
Best reasons to visit in the winter:
- Skiing: Vancouver and Whistler’s peak skiing months are December to February, so this is the perfect time to grab your skis and take to the powder.
- Winter zip-lining: see the snowy forest canopy from 70m above when you take a zip-line ride on one of Grouse Mountain's wires. It’s a thrilling and delightfully picturesque ride.