While Vancouver in the sunshine is utterly glorious, the city has plenty to offer on a rainy day too. So when a deluge hits, don’t just sit there getting soggy; try one of these things to do when it rains in Vancouver:
Take afternoon tea somewhere fancy
Vancouver may be as laid-back as they come, but it does have some pretty swanky hotels to choose from. And even if you can’t afford to stay in one, you can always book in for afternoon tea instead, to immerse yourself in the city’s luxurious side. Try the Shangri-La Hotel for a touch of refinement – including smoked sockeye salmon bagels and scones slathered with house-made clotted cream – or opt for the Notch8 dining room at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Here, you can enjoy themed afternoon tea sessions, such as dishes inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
Do the Grouse Grind
Hiking in the rain is unsurprisingly refreshing, and makes this usually arduous climb a tiny bit easier. Do it in a downpour, and you’ll be cooled by the deluge, rather than finding yourself overheating as the sun beats down through the trees. And don’t worry, because of the forest canopy the trails still stay relatively dry, so you won’t be slipping around on rocks and logs.
Dine in some of the city’s best restaurants
There’s always some delicious fare to be enjoyed in Vancouver, and in some enviably located spots too. For city views, Cloud 9 in Robson Street, Top of Vancouver in Gastown and Grouse Mountain’s The Observatory are our top three choices. Affordable yet tasty cuisine can be found at local chains like Cactus Club and The Keg Steakhouse, and for dessert choose from 500 ice-cream flavours at La Casa Gelato in Venables Street. If you’re staying on the outskirts in East Van like I did, make a beeline for Via Tevere Pizzeria in Commercial Drive. The wood-fired pizza here is so good, and so beloved by locals, that often the queue goes around the block. It’s totally worth the wait though.
Go to a museum
There’s the Museum of Vancouver, the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and the epic Science World – to name a few. Vancouver has museums and galleries aplenty, offering options for art aficionados, culture vultures and even families seeking a more educational experience. For something completely different, try the Vancouver Police Museum for a flavour of the city’s criminal history.
Head for Canada Place – in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown – for the new FlyOver Canada experience. Escape the grim weather and pretend you’re sitting in glorious sunshine in this eight-minute simulator. And thanks to state-of-the-art technology (think wind and mist special effects, not to mention a seat that leaves your legs dangling mid-air) you’ll feel like you’re really flying.
Visit Granville Island
The crowds actually thin out at this typically busy hotspot when it rains – so what better time to explore? Bring your umbrella and wallet, indulge in oysters, doughnuts and a craft beer or two, and pretty soon you’ll have forgotten all about the gloomy conditions.
Hit the shops
Vancouver’s CF Pacific Centre is ideal for a bit of indoor retail therapy. Choose from over 100 stores in this Downtown mall, from Nordstrom to Apple to Skechers and, when you’re all shopped out, be sure to refuel at one of the many coffee outlets, fast food spots or speciality restaurants.