Are you looking for the best Fall activities in Vancouver?
Fall is a beautiful time in our city, with the leaves turning all shades of reds, yellows, and oranges, acting as the perfect backdrop for our warm sunny autumn weather. As a Vancouver resident for over 30 years I can tell you that every Fall means my iphone is filled with colourful photos from around our beautiful city!
Whether you’re looking for a weekend adventure or have family visiting and want to explore Vancouver, we’ve got your complete list of Fall activities in Vancouver for you!
This guide focuses primarily on outdoor Fall activities in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, giving you a wide range of ways to get outside with the family, stay active, and be a tourist in your own town. Don’t worry though, we know that Fall in Vancouver can sometimes mean rain, so we’ve tucked a few indoor adventures into the list as well for you to have should you want them.
From leaf peeping in Stanley Park, to getting your frights on late at night, to heading out to the Fraser Valley to plunge into a cranberry field, get your calendar out and start planning. Your Autumn Adventure officially awaits!
Disclaimer: While I share my own thoughts and stories about these experiences, should you click on the affiliate links, I may receive a small commission on that sale which helps fund Adventure Awaits.
1. Go Leaf Peeping in Vancouver
Leaf peeping is one of the season’s newest trends with the Fall colours showing in stunning displays around the city. Unless you live in downtown Vancouver, it’s probably been a long time since you strolled along the Stanley Park Seawall. But this world-renowned park is right here in our backyard and the perfect family day trip to go and see the changing leaves as they fall from the trees into the lapping waves of the ocean. From bright reds to vibrant yellows, and musty oranges, bring your camera as Mother Nature puts on a show for you on the seawall.
While the Seawall is the most famous park in our city, Vancouver has a lot of amazing parks and gardens that are worth checking out in the fall and going leaf peeping.
Best Places to go Leaf Peeping, One of the Ultimate Fall Activities in Vancouver:
Coal Harbour is the area in between Stanley Park and the Vancouver Convention Centre, where you can walk the seawall and see the trees as they intermingle with their towering skyscrapers around them. If you’re looking for that scenic Vancouver in the fall city vibe, this is the place to hang out.
My personal favourite is watching for the boaters heading in and out of harbour, trying to squeeze in a few last days of the season.
Queen Elizabeth Park
Queen Elizabeth Park’s claim to fame is that it is the highest point of the city and when you go be sure to seek out the lookout at the Bloedel Conservatory for the best vantage points out over the city.
Note, this is also a great part to visit during cherry blossom season!
Trout Lake Park
Vibrant reds and yellows, long winding roads covered in falling leaves, mirrored reflections off the lake, Trout Lake Park is an excellent place for leaf peeping in Vancouver! If you’re able to make a whole day of your adventure I recommend going on a Saturday before October 28th as the Trout Lake Farmers Market runs on Saturdays. Leaf peeping and local eats and treats from artisans? Sign me up!
UBC Botanical Garden
My favourite time to visit is late September, when the leaves have started to turn (but haven’t fallen yet) and when the weather is warm. Time your visit to take part in one of their drop-in tours (included in your admission ticket, tours are at 11am & 1:30pm on Saturdays & Sundays until October 1st) led by one of their trained garden volunteers to learn about the diversity of the plants, the history of the garden as well as some special interest plants the garden has. Don’t forget to experience the Greenheart TreeWalk, a “310 metre-long tree top canopy walkway that hangs from huge Douglas firs, cedars and grand firs, many of which are over 100 years old. Reaching a height of nearly 20 metres above the forest floor, the walkway will give you a bird’s eye view of Vancouver’s magnificent coastal temperate rainforest.”
Photo tip: If you are wanting amazing seasonal photos bring an outfit that is on theme with the season. I prefer to shop for used clothing to help reduce clothing waste and have found some amazing seasonal finds at my local thrift shops.
2. Go for a Fall Bike Ride in the Leaves!
Biking in the fall really is a great way to explore the city, and as a bike-friendly city, Vancouver has a variety of scenic places to explore and easy places to navigate. Some of our favourite places to take the kids biking in Vancouver include:
North Shore Spirit Trail
If you like views of Vancouver, head over to North Vancouver and explore the North Shore Spirit Trail. This accessible 35 kilometer greenway starts in Horseshoe Bay and winds to Deep Cove, but when we’re riding with the kids we tend to stay in the Lonsdale Area of North Vancouver. We love biking past the float homes and making our way to the Lonsdale Quay for lunch!
Stanley Park Seawall
One of the best ways to experience the Seawall is by ebike, allowing you to cruise at your own speed, share the weight of any camera gear, and see more on your adventure, the perfect fall activities in Vancouver.
False Creek Seawall
If you’re looking for an urban biking adventure, the False Creek Seawall is a beautiful urban pathway that runs along the ocean, allowing you to bike and watch out towards the harbour. From little passenger ferries to kayakers, to seals popping up to say hello, biking the False Creek Seawall has the quintessential Vancouver skyline experience.
3. Find a Fall Market
Since 1970, the Granville Island Market has been one of Vancouver’s most treasured public markets, inviting you to come and shop seaside in the closed market space. From local fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, breads and pastries, to flowers, artwork, and more, the market is stacked and ready for you to come and explore.
The market is also home to approximately 42 restaurants, pubs, bars, coffee shops, teas & drinks, as well as takeaway food options. It’s a great place to take guests from out of town or meet up with friends for a staycation.
If you love the Fall Market vibe, here’s a list of other Farmer’s Markets happening around Vancouver this fall:
West End Farmers Market – Until October 28
Saturdays, 9am-2pm from May 20 – Oct 28, 2023 at 1100 Comox St. between Bute and Thurlow. 30 farms and producers, food and coffee trucks. More info can be found on their website.
Riley Park Farmers Market – Until October 28
Saturdays, 10am – 2pm from April 1 to October 28, 2023 at 30th Avenue and Ontario Street. More info can be found on their website.
Mount Pleasant Farmers Market – Until October 29
Sundays, 10am – 2pm May 21 to October 29, 2023 at 8th Avenue and Guelph Street. More info can be found on their website.
Kitsilano Farmers Market – Until October 29
Sundays, 10am – 2pm from May 7 to October 29, 2023 at 10th Ave and Church Street. More info can be found on their website.
Downtown Vancouver Farmers Market – Until November 29
Wednesdays, 2pm – 6pm, May 31 to November 29, 2023 at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza), located 750 Hornby St. at W. Georgia Street. More info can be found on their website.
Trout Lake Farmers Market – Until October 28
Saturdays, 9am – 2pm from April 1 to October 28, 2023 at the north parking lot of John Hendry Park, Lakewood Drive and East 13th Avenue. More info can be found on their website.
4. Fin-tastic Fall Days at Vancouver Aquarium
Explore a deep sea maze, get hands-on in our Spooky Wet Lab, delight your taste buds with seasonal treats, and immerse yourself in our exclusive Octopus 4-D Movie Theatre Experience. Fall into family fun starting October 1 to October 31. This is a great indoor fall activities in Vancouver.
5. Mid-Autumn Moon Festival – Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Take part in the 37th annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival happening on September 29th and 30th, 5-11pm. “The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is a time-honoured tradition celebrated by families around the world. This festival holds great significance as it marks a time for loved ones to come together, enjoy delicious food, and bask in the enchanting glow of the full moon. The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is not just a yearly event but a cherished occasion that strengthens familial bonds and encourages cultural preservation, connection and tradition.”
Take part in arts and crafts, fortune telling, lanterns, poetry, moon gazing (with telescopes and support from H.R. MacMillan Space Centre), Chinese Calligraphy, Indigenous-led DTES Youth Art Exhibition with Miska Creative Society, face painting, tea ceremonies, food and drinks, and special performances! If you can’t make it to the Mid Autumn Moon Festival visit the garden late October / early November to see the leaves changing. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is one of the most beautiful places to experience Fall in Vancouver so be sure to check it out!
6. HowlOver Halloween at FlyOver Canada, at Canada Place
Be a tourist in your own town and head down to FlyOver Canada for a Halloween Howl. Take flight on a witches broom and fly over our beautiful Canadian countryside … and end your ride with a spooky celebration with big music, seasonal scares, and a few special surprises that I won’t spoil for you! This is another great indoor fall activities in Vancouver idea. Tips and tricks:
- Book ahead of time to skip the line and save money
- Pair with another adventure on this list to get the real local tourist experience!
- Wear costumes to crank up the fun level!
7. Vancouver Mysteries – Family Friendly “Secret” Missions
Do you want to challenge yourselves to a mission? Detectives, superheroes and spies are welcome to take part in a downtown Vancouver adventure that will have you investigating a secret mission, solving clues and racing around the city to beat the time, save the day, and win prizes! This makes for an excellent group fall activities in Vancouver!
They have three tours to choose from:
Secret Mission – Save the City
“We have intercepted a threatening message from an evil organization with plans to destroy Vancouver. The mayor has secretly put out a call for the best private spy units out there. You have two hours to locate the leader and save the city.
Are you ready for your secret mission? Gather your spy unit and sign up. Then, watch for further instructions. You will be met by a Special Agent, who will give you everything you need to save Vancouver, including a map and a spy kit.”
Heroes & Villains – A Superhero Adventure
This is the tour that we did with our kids when they were younger and we ALL loved it! It was very family friendly as our tour started off with us learning that “The First Muck Monster is going to flood Vancouver with her Weather Control Machine… and then the entire planet!” We had to meet Meet Agent X to collect our superhero kit and try to stop this evil super villain before it’s too late. We each were assigned our own super power and spent two hours racing around the city trying to stop the “Villain” Read more and see pics here.
Crime in Downtown – The Detective Challenge
This one is more for the adults in your crew. “Thirteen years ago Jimmy Capello was found dead in his downtown Vancouver apartment — strangled, poisoned, and stabbed. Now the Police Department has re-opened the cold case and it’s up to you to solve it.
Was the killer casino boss Greg Flament? World famous psychiatrist Susan Slater? Or party girl Janet Evans? Armed with your detective kit, a map and a team of your closest friends, you’ll try to prove you have what it takes to work homicide in the big city.”
8. Visit VanDusen Gardens
VanDusen Botanical Garden is a huge 55-acre park that welcomes you to explore over 7,500 plant species in a variety of different gardens. Visitors can expect to see wildlife, work their way through an Elizabethan hedge maze, visit one of the serene garden settings, or dine at Truffles Cafe or Shaughnessy Restaurant.
This Fall they have two awesome events coming up for you to choose from:
Artists for Conservation Festival
A festival that includes live music, films, live art demonstrations, cultural performances as well as wildlife encounters. If you like to support local artists visit the gallery which will have 85 works of art on display. The Festival runs from September 21 to 24, 2023.
Harvest Days at VanDusen Botanical Garden
The veggie garden and maze are transformed into a Fall theme with fun photo areas, activities, entertainment, food and more! Harvest days is open 9am – 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays Starting October 7, plus Monday, October 9 and Friday October 20th. Tip: book an entry time online in advance.
9. Celebrate Fall & Football At A BC Lions Game
I personally have been guilty of being a BC Lion fan all while not going to a game in…I’m ashamed to say…YEARS! But with an awesome team right here in our own city, Fall is a great time to book a ticket and head down to BC Place to cheer on the Lions!
10. Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours
“Peek beneath Vancouver’s sparkline surface to uncover a hidden history of dark crime, outrageous intrigue, and filthy scandal. Roam the city with our expert guides in these one-of-a-kina walking throughs and hear scintillating stories of Vancouver’s Secret past”
- The Lost Souls of Gastown Tour
- The Monumental Scandals Tour
- The Forbidden Vancouver Tour
- The Really Gay History Tour
- The Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour
- Secrets of the Penthouse Event
- Private Tours Available!
11. Fright Nights at Playland
If you’re unlike me and love a good scare, then Fright Nights at Playland may be your place for a spook-filled Fall adventure. (Me, I’m more of a pumpkin carving kinda girl, AKA a SCARDY CAT!)
Fright Nights at Playland invites you to get your scare on, where the whole amusement park is taken over by bone-chilling exhibits, live shows (like the Monsters of Schlock) and fire performances. You can hop on your favourite playland rides and if you’re up for it check out one of the seven haunted mansions.
This sounds like something Dad will be taking the kids to! I’ll be at home cookie decorating if you’re looking for me!
12. Hike Quarry Rock
Any season is a great season to hike Quarry Rock however I do love hiking it in the Fall as I feel like you get to soak in the last days of warmer summer sun and enjoy the scenic views out over Deep Cove and Indian Arm.
I especially love this hike as it is a quick in and out and you can do it early in the day, meet up with friends for lunch, or hike it after work. Hiking is always a great fall activities in Vancouver idea to add to your list!
13. Canyon Frights at Capilano Suspension Bridge
Have you heard of Canyon Frights? Capilano Suspension Bridge just got a whole lot creepier and you’re invited to check out their spook-tacular time as you wander through the Capilano Suspension Bridge park. Grab family and friends, dress up in your costumes, and seek out some treats, piles of pumpkins, and spooky prizes! Also be sure to check out Raptors Ridge from 10am to 5:30pm on weekends to come face to face with real raptors.
Tips and Tricks: Canyon Frights is included in the price of admission. Park Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Costume Guidelines for Event Attendees: “Costumes should be child-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive or violent. Costume masks will not be permitted. Costumes should not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another guest. Costumes should not contain any weapons which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon. Guests who do not adhere to these guidelines may be refused entry, unless their costume can be modified to meet the above standards.”
14. Maplewood Farm
If you’re wanting to head out on a farm adventure check out Maplewood Farm in North Vancouver. This cute little five-acre farm is located along the Seymour River and only a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. Once you’re on the farm you can visit with farm animals and birds including horses, goats, bunnies, ponies, sheep, chickens, and more! Be sure to check out their farm programs that help to introduce farm life to children of all ages.
On October 28th they will be holding their Pumpkin Event from 10am-2pm: “Come dressed in your Halloween costume and enjoy our fun fall activities! Special guest – Ocean Wise: explore their Sea Dome!” A great fall activities in Vancouver for littles.
For tickets and info, visit their website.
Mom Tip: Based on our visits, we think that littles 7 and under are the best age group to enjoy this farm experience.
15. Take a Cranberry Plunge in Fort Langley
Drive out to the iconic cranberry fields in Fort Langley and take the cranberry plunge. Perfect for family members over 4 years old, you can put on some waders and pose among the bright red floating berries! Talk about a new way to capture some fall memories!
Your plunge experience is an add-on to your tickets, which will ensure you get the full cranberry field experience. Your harvest walk starts off with a stroll around the perimeter of the field to see how the beater machine works and the cranberries being pumped off the field. Enjoy the self-guided audio tour and feel free to roam at your own pace, posing for photos where necessary! Be sure to check out the antique cranberry cleaning equipment in the fruit packing room and learn some local history while there. Check out the brand new farm store to purchase their products, just in time for Thanksgiving! For more information and to purchase tickets to this fun fall activities in Vancouver, visit their website.
16. Fort Langley Cranberry Festival
Thanksgiving weekend and the Fort Langley Cranberry Festival go hand in hand as the whole village transforms for the day. For 28 years residents have looked forward to over 100 vendors filling the streets and sidewalks with everything from arts and crafts, every concoction of cranberry creative you could imagine, pancake breakfasts, live entertainment, and food trucks! Each year the event grows, and last year they welcomed 35,000 people to the streets of Fort Langley!
It’s a great place for neighbours to come together and for visitors to check out the festivities! Learn more here.
17. Indulge in the Surrey Spice Trail
Fall is all about Spice and the perfect time to take the family on Surrey’s new spice trail. Created in partnership with Discover Surrey and the South Asian and Multicultural Cuisine Food Scene this “Trail” includes over 60 restaurants, cafes, and retail stores that all want to showcase their spice! A great way to eat your way through fall activities in Vancouver.
“This delicious self-guided tour has been laid out over Surrey’s six neighbourhoods, including North Surrey, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, South Surrey, and Cloverdale. And is then further organized by ethnicity, vegetarian options, and style, such as South Asian street food.”
Highlights of the Spice Trail:
- Southern India – Kerala Kitchen: Beef Ularthiyathu (dry roast) and dosa (Indian style crepes)
- Northern India – Apna Chaat House: Golgappa and Sev puri (street snacks)
- Caribbean – Di Reggae Café: Jamaican patties and Oxtail stew
- Malaysian – Meks Delight: Thai red curry and Teh tarik (pulled tea)
- Nepalese – Spice of Nepal: Gorkha spinach chicken and Chicken momos jhol (dumplings)
- Afghani – Afghan Kitchen: Mantu (dumplings) and the lamb shank
To plan your day trip visit their website for more information including an interactive map, travel-blog descriptions of each restaurant, and tips on how to get more out of your family dining experience.
18. Go on a Scarecrow Stroll In Surrey
Head down to Arts Nursery from September 23 until October 31st to stroll outdoors and seek out 60+ different scarecrows at their 9th annual Scarecrow Stroll. Pose for pics in the pop-up pumpkin patch. Challenge the family with a scavenger hunt. Heading out on the weekend? Be sure to enjoy the live music, food trucks and a visit from the O.W.L Society! And for $19.98 you can pick up your own Scarecrow kit to take home and build with proceeds going to charity. Learn more on their website.
19. Hike Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam
Fall isn’t complete in our family without an annual hike up High Knoll at Minnekhada Regional Park. The crunching of the leaves, the scrambling up the rocks, and the incredible view over the Fraser Valley is the reward after the short hike. Perfect for kids and the inlaws too, this hike is the perfect level of exercise for the whole family and is a great adventurous Fall Family Day Trips Around Vancouver.
For all the details you need to plan your hike check out this full blog post I wrote along with some teaser images to inspire you.
20. Indulge in Waffles at Krause Berry Farms in Langley
A Krause Berry classic, if you haven’t tried their waffles you officially NEED to add it to the list. Their fresh hot regular waffles have a seasonal topping (fresh berries in the summer months or cooked fruit toppings in the fall to spring), their own farm made berry or apple syrup and real whipped cream. As delicious as they look Krause Berry also came out with a vegan gluten friendly option making their waffles accessible to even more people! After you’ve filled up your belly go shopping in the market and bakery and wander around the farm. If this is your first trip to Krause Berry I can assure you it won’t be your last! Open Wednesday to Sunday from 9:30am-5pm (waffle bar open until 4pm). Waffle toppings can change daily, so be sure to check out their website for what they are currently serving.
21. Aldor Acres – Fall On The Farm
One of Langley’s biggest destination farms, Aldor Acres is where Fall fun begins in the Fraser Valley. From the moment you enter, you’re surrounded by all things farming related and the biggest challenge is deciding where you will explore first. Will you head over to the eats and treats section and indulge in popcorn? Wander over to the goats and see them hopping up and around on the farm, or over to the barn to see if any baby piglets were born? How about petting one of the large horses, tiny kittens, or watching the chickens run around. From u-pick pumpkins to wandering through the scenic fields, there really is no place like Aldor Acres in the fall, making this the perfect fall activities in Vancouver to add to your list.
22. Mann Farms Abbotsford
If you’re looking for a haunting good time, Mann Farms out in Abbotsford has Halloween adventures for the whole family. From their family to yours, they have created a tremendous farm experience inviting you to come face to face with the farmyard animals, get some great seasonal treats like their double pumpkin spice cream, jump on the huge jumping pillow, pedal go carts, zoom on the zipline, try out the tractor field, play in the wooden playhouse, visit Ashley’s clubhouse, and check out the corn maze.
If you’re daring enough, come back at night to visit the “Scariest Corn Maze In Canada” where three terrifying attractions including the Homestead, The Way Down, and the Slaughterhouse invite you to explore (I’m shaking just writing this part of the article!). You’ll be greeted by terrifying live actors, amazing special effects, and incredible monsters. True story: I was invited to this and had to turn it down because it sounded so scary so I sent my friends to go (I’m literally I’m the biggest scaredy cat ever!).
23. Visit Langley’s Best Haunted House
Head to the Willoughby/Yorkson area to explore Langley’s Best Haunted House this Halloween! Two families have put together an elaborate display and haunted house all while collecting funds for the local Langley food bank! Be sure to keep a keen eye out for hand made features, special effects, and music mashes that’ll have the kids dancing! To learn more and see pictures, check out this article.
24. Step into the Past with Grave Tales
Head to the Fort Langley National Historic Site for the ultimate walking tour through their most intriguing cemeteries, the perfect spooking fall activities in Vancouver. “Uncover forgotten stories and unlock the secrets of those laid to rest as our expert guide leads you through three hauntingly beautiful burial grounds. From legendary figures to unsung heroes, prepare to be captivated by tales that will send shivers down your spine. Join us on this unforgettable journey into history, where every tombstone holds a story waiting to be told.” This tour is offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday: October 13 – 15, October 20 – 22, and October 27 – 29, 2023. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as this tour sells out quickly.
25. Britannia Mine Museum
Starting this October, the Britannia Mine Museum is offering a bounty of Fall activities, kicking off with the return of its Ore and Orcas exhibit from October 1st to February 2024, the launch of the Land of Thundering Snow exhibit from October 6th to April 1st, 2024, and three weekends of Spooktacular Halloween fun on October 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29th, which includes some explosive pumpkin science experiments.
Overnight Excursions, Extend Your Fall Family Day Trips Around Vancouver
If you’re looking for an overnight escape check out these fun weekend ideas:
Stargazing in Manning Park
Located in a “Dark Sky” region, Manning Park offers incredible views of the galaxy. This year they are offering immersive experiences that will get you as close to the stars, all while keeping two feet on planet earth. And if you book a night you can steal some star gazing discounts like 25% off your room! Depending on when you stay you can expect to enjoy activities including:
- Ask an astronomer
- Welcoming remarks, beginner telescope use
- Outdoor Guided Stargazing: Windy Joe Field
- Astro Activities for Kids
- Jim Bernath Meteorite Collection on Display
- Workshops/Talks: Beginner Astronomy, Moon Talk, History of Robotic Exploration, Light Pollution Abatement
- Outdoor Guided Stargazing: Lightning Lake or Cascade Lookout
- Solar Viewing
- Themed menu items at the Pinewoods Dining Room
- Self Guided Stargazing Challenge
To learn more about this unique local experience visit the Manning Park website.
Self Guided Tours Through The Changing Seasons In Whistler
Fall in Whistler is incredibly special to me (I got married there in this season!) With the changing colours of the foliage, the quieter village and more space to roam, the cozy corner fire, and appies after a day of exploring, it’s one of my favourite places to celebrate the season.
This year there are lots of wonderful “new or new-to-you activities,” Whistler has launched an app that visitors can download to access fun and informative self-guided tours. Here are some of the family-friendly highlights:
- Fitzsimmons Creek Accessible Nature trail – a short exploration of biodiversity on Whistler’s first accessible nature trail.
- Whistler’s Cultural Connector – follow a pathway that leads you between six cultural institutions and uncover the stories that enrich Whistler’s culture.
- Natural Wonders – explore the biodiversity and geology of Whistler on this 11-kilometre tour that is best enjoyed by bike or E-bike.
- History & Heritage: Whistler from 1914 – 1965 – learn about the early non-indigenous settlers and visitors who arrived in Whistler after 1914.
Learn more and plan your adventure by visiting the Whistler website.
There you have it, a guide to the best Fall activities in Vancouver! Which one will you be adding to your must do list first?