Things to do in Vancouver in May
Vancouver, home of the award-winning BMO Vancouver Marathon, is a perfect balance of natural scenery and urban city. The Canadian coastal city boasts a world-renowned trail network, lively neighbourhoods and the Stanley Park Seawall – the world’s longest waterfront path. For runners, it is paradise.
Historically, Vancouver offers the optimal conditions for running in May. With an average high of 15ºC and clear skies, the Vancouver’s only Marathon takes place during a perfect time of year.
Extend your trip this May and check out some of these must-do activities for your upcoming trip to Vancouver.
Explore the Outdoors
1. Stawamus Chief – Squamish, BC
A short drive from Downtown Vancouver, the Chief is one of most popular hikes in the Lower Mainland – and for good reason. While challenging, the summit offers stunning panoramic views of Howe Sound, the peaks of Garibaldi Provincial Park and Squamish. For a more laid-back trip, take the Sea to Sky Gondola to the top and get a unique perspective of the surrounding alpine scenery. The park features a suspension bridge, viewing platforms, spectacular hiking trails, as well as a few dining options at the top.
36800 BC-99, Squamish, BC | seatoskygondola.com
2. Stanley Park – Vancouver, BC
Get to know the world-renowned Stanley Park at your own pace before or after Race Day. Named the “Top Park in the World” by TripAdvisor, explore miles of trails within the park, take in the sun at Second Beach or visit the unforgettable Vancouver Aquarium. With estimated 500,000 cedar, fir and hemlock trees, Stanley Park is the perfect escape from Downtown Vancouver’s busy, urban lifestyle.
Downtown Vancouver, BC | vancouver.ca/stanley-park
3. Grouse Grind – North Vancouver, BC
Just a short drive north, Grouse Mountain is the perfect destination for the outdoor adventurer. Take up the challenge of the Grouse Grind, a 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain – the hike has a 853m (2,800 ft. elevation gain! Following a fast workout, check out the summer activities and attractions on the mountain before taking in breathtaking views of the city, Pacific Ocean, and mountainside from the SkyRide.
Grouse Mountain offers a free shuttle departing from Canada Place every 30 minutes during the summer season.
North Vancouver, BC | grousemountain.com
4. Pacific Spirit Park – Vancouver, BC
Escape to Pacific Spirit Park for over 54-kilometres of forested and shoreline trails open for running, hiking, cycling, and even horseback riding. Just a short distance from Downtown Vancouver, Pacific Spirit Park is easily accessibly by car and public transit. The park borders the beautiful University of British Columbia campus and clothing-optional Wreck Beach on the western edge. Another local hot-spot, Pacific Spirit Park makes its first appearance at kilometre nine on the BMO Vancouver Marathon course.
5495 Chancellor Blvd, Vancouver, BC vancouvertrails.com/pacific-spirit
5. Buntzen Lake – Anmore, BC
Near Port Moody, Buntzen Lake is a popular, yet hidden, gem in the Greater Vancouver area. Just a hour-long drive from Downtown Vancouver, the 4.8-kilometre long lake offers an easy network of hiking trails that offer stunning forest, lake and beach views, and even crosses a suspension bridge. With minimal elevation gain, this route is recommended to nature lovers of all levels.
Anmore, BC vancouvertrails.com/buntzen-lake
6. Deep Cove – North Vancouver, BC
With its close proximity to mountains, water, and forest, Deep Cove is a quaint, community in the easternmost part of North Vancouver. Here, find short hiking trails, canoe or kayak rentals, and a collection of unique local shops and restaurants. The popular Quarry Rock hike offers stunning Douglas Fir and Hemlock forest and waterfalls on the way up and panoramic views of the Indian Arm at the top.
North Vancouver, BC vancouversnorthshore.com/deep-cove
Check out the city’s top attractions
7. Vancouver Lookout – Vancouver, BC
Catch a glimpse of the spectacular 360-degree view from fifty storeys up, featuring Downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and the North Shore Mountains at the Vancouver Lookout. Take the glass elevator towards the observation deck and grab a few photos or souvenirs to commemorate your trip. Tickets are valid all day so enjoy the bright panoramic views and return for the city lights.
555 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC | vancouverlookout.com
8. Science World – Vancouver, BC
A prominent landmark along the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon course, Science World at TELUS World of Science is home to interactive displays, feature exhibitions, and the OMNIMAX® Theatre – the largest immersive film experience in the world. Fun for all ages, Science World is easily accessible by Skytrain or Aquabus and hosts several special events throughout the year.
1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC | scienceworld.ca
9. Vancouver Art Gallery
To kick-off or finish your trip at a slower pace, the Vancouver Art Gallery promises an awe-inspiring experience. Immerse yourself in historic masterworks and ground-breaking contemporary exhibitions, including the world’s largest collection of works by Canadian artist Emily Carr. The gallery offers admission by donation on Tuesday evenings.
750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC | vanartgallery.bc.ca
10. Granville Island
Open seven days a week, Granville Island is a short trip from Downtown across False Creek under the Granville Bridge. A local favourite, Granville Island is the heart of craft, creativity, and culinary delights and home to some of the city’s top theatres, artisan workshops and galleries. Find endless stalls of fresh produce, gourmet foods, baked goods, and more at the Granville Island Public Market, or partake in a kayaking or paddle boarding tour along the creek.
Vancouver, BC | granvilleisland.com
11. Capilano Suspension Bridge
A 15-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge crosses to towering evergreens and cedar-scented rainforest air and stretches 450 feet across the Capilano River. One of the city’s most popular attractions, the park also features the Cliffwalk, which offers adrenaline-pumping views off the side of a cliff, and Treetops Adventure, a series of bridges hanging from the tree canopy.
Free shuttles are offered from Canada Place to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC | capbridge.com
Experience Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods
12. Kitsilano – Vancouver, BC
Just over the halfway point of the BMO Vancouver Marathon course, Kitsilano is a hotspot for volleyball tournaments, picnics, and more at the city’s most popular beach, Kits Beach. A trendy residential area, the neighbourhood is best known for its lifestyle and specialty shopping, great restaurants, neighbourhood bars, and family-friendly attractions, including the Museum of Vancouver, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, and the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
Vancouver, BC | shopwest4th.com
13. Mount Pleasant – Vancouver, BC
Not far from the BMO Vancouver Marathon Start Line, Mount Pleasant is home to a number of independent thrift and consignment stores, coffee roasters, and craft breweries. Along Main Street, find some of the city’s most beautiful murals, historic buildings, and a diverse range of shops and restaurants.
Vancouver, BC | mountpleasantbia.com
14. Gastown – Vancouver, BC
Within Vancouver’s downtown core, Gastown is defined by its Victorian architecture, cobblestone roads, and historic vibe. One of the city’s top attractions for visitors, Gastown offers boutique shopping, unique galleries, and a trendy culinary scene. The iconic Steam Clock can also be found along Water Street and draws crowds of tourists year-round.
Vancouver, BC | gastown.org
15. Commercial Drive – Vancouver, BC
Known locally as “The Drive”, Commercial Drive is a culturally rich and authentic neighbourhood, and home to Little Italy. Featuring a vibrant live music and bar scene alongside an array of diverse cuisines, shops and boutiques, Commercial Drive is the best place to get lost in a vintage bookstore or record shop. May marks the first annual farmer’s market, which opens weekly on Saturdays from through to October.
Vancouver, BC | thedrive.ca