10 Things to Do in Vancouver in Fall

In autumn, Vancouver's green spaces become a scarlet paradise. Falling leaves welcome cultural events, Halloween parties and dining experiences in the cranberry vineyards.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Vancouver in Fall

Stanley park |©Cristina Pliego

Canadian autumn is a special, colorful and pleasant season. It takes place from September to November and temperatures usually range between 6° and 17°. During these months there are many events in Vancouver, so you won't get bored. Of course, people look forward to October so they can dress up in costumes and enjoy scary Halloween activities.

If you're traveling as a family, there are plans for all ages. You can delight in the fall bloom in different open spaces around the city, or take an old-fashioned carriage ride through Stanley Park. Thanksgiving, Day of the Dead and Latin American Heritage Month are also celebrated during this time of year. Additionally, among the best things to do in Vancouver during this season is to visit a cranberry vineyard, a different and interesting plan that will insert you in a gastronomic experience. Here are the plans that you can't miss!

1. Have fun at Vancouver's Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

Tết Trung Thu @ Little Saigon, CA|©Chanh Nguyen
Tết Trung Thu @ Little Saigon, CA|©Chanh Nguyen

The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is a celebration specific to Asian countries, specifically China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan. It is a cultural experience where you will find demonstrations from each country, live music, traditional food, traditional dances and more. It is celebrated during this season, as it aligns with the eighth full moon of the year.

It is usually held at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver, so I recommend adding it to your itinerary and purchasing tickets in advance. Additionally, there are harvest rituals that worship the moon and many events revolve around the autumnal equinox. Also, if you are looking for things to do in Vancouver at night in the parks there are legend nights, lantern lightings and craft workshops.

Buy tickets for Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

2. Take a carriage ride through Stanley Park

Stanley Park|©Michel Gauthier
Stanley Park|©Michel Gauthier

Stanley Park is an iconic park, where you can see the fall bloom. For this reason, many people choose to enjoy a carriage ride. It is an experience that will take you back in time, as the rides seem to be taken out of a period movie and pass by different emblematic points.

You can also take advantage of the visit to take a look at the totem pole park. The totem poles are sacred objects of indigenous art, belonging to the first Canadian tribes. Finally, another option that I can recommend is to book a bike tour of Vancouver, to ride at your own pace through the park and take the time to see other areas of the city.

Book a bike tour

3. Enjoy the Halloween events in Vancouver

Vancouver Science World Halloween Theme|©TOTORORO.RORO
Vancouver Science World Halloween Theme|©TOTORORO.RORO

October is the month of terror in Vancouver, as activities revolving around Halloween take place in the fall, so the pumpkins look beautiful among the dry, orange leaves. The event takes place in the fall, so pumpkins look beautiful among the dry, orange leaves - here are the best plans for the season!

Sign up for spooky nights at the Pacific National Exposition.

The Pacific National Exhibition each year reinvents itself to scare you into having a great Halloween in Vancouver. It offers events and activities throughout the month of October, such as haunted houses, family attractions and scare rides. Actually, visiting this location is a great option all year round as they offer things to do in winter and Christmas.

It is a traditional event, as it is one of the oldest in the city. Here you will find things to do in Vancouver at night, as Fright Nights are usually held. You'll be taken on a scary ride, where every spooky decoration brings out the best of Halloween.

Fly over Vancouver on a scary ride at FlyOver Canada

FlyOver Canada offers scary decorations and a Halloween-themed flight simulation. Specifically, it's called HowlOver and transforms the country's most iconic locations into an interactive horror movie. I recommend you purchase tickets in advance, as demand tends to be high at this time of year.

You can enjoy this attraction until October 31, but keep in mind that each year the theme is different. It usually involves witches, dancing skeletons and scenery with smells, sounds and special effects.

Buy tickets for FlyOver Canada

Stop by a pumpkin patch, haunted mazes and haunted boxes

Pumpkin patches are a Halloween classic and match the fall colors. There are usually light displays and pumpkin contests. Most are located at surrounding farms, a great option is Abbotsford Farm 50 minutes from downtown. At the farms you'll also find haunted corn mazes, where they host fun and scary games.

On the other hand, haunted houses are not lacking in Vancouver and are usually very creative. The best known are:

  • Cougar Creek's House of Horrors: a haunted house located half an hour from Vancouver, I recommend you to visit it as the experience is quite scary. The tour will make you feel like you are on the set of multiple horror movies, and is divided between the Death Valley Motor Hotel and Devil's Descent. Get ready to scream with fake blood, flashing lights, creepy characters and special effects.
  • Maan Farms: is a haunted farm, where terror is the main protagonist. It is only recommended for those over fourteen years old, as the multisensory exhibits can become sensitive. Here you will find the scariest corn maze in Vancouver.

Enjoy Halloween festivities on the ships

On October 31, kids and their families go out trick-or-treating, so it's common to see people swarming the streets with their costumes and treats. In fact, homes where they don't have candy may be the butt of jokes, as punishment for breaking tradition. If you're looking for things to do in Vancouver with kids, as night falls I suggest heading out in search of sweet and delicious treats. After midnight, the fun transforms and partying on Halloween is practically a tradition in Vancouver.

However, in this Canadian region, most people prefer to go off the beaten path at local pubs and attend boat parties. These celebrations are usually available all month long, but the closings are the most epic part. Keep in mind that some parties start earlier and end at midnight, so it's important to be aware of the local itinerary.

Take the spooky tour of lost souls

Among the best tours in Vancouver is the lost souls tour. It's a sensitive experience, which takes place in the historic Gastown neighborhood. As you wander the streets, you can insert yourself into intriguing stories that will transport you back in time. On Halloween this attraction is usually very crowded, as people are drawn to the unsolved murder cases and anecdotes of terrifying historical events, such as the Great Fire or the smallpox outbreak.

During the tour you will not only discover ancient legends, you will also visit Vancouver's first prison, the Steam Clock and the Victorian Hotel, all of which hold interesting stories.

Book a Lost Souls Tour

4. Take advantage of the Thanksgiving Day events.

Thanksgiving dinner|©Vitor FL
Thanksgiving dinner|©Vitor FL

In Canada, Thanksgiving takes place well in advance, compared to the American schedule of activities. Specifically, it is held on the second Monday of October and is a holiday where you can take advantage of eating at local restaurants. You will also find a contrast of cultures, which make the local events more special.

The most traditional dishes include turkey, pumpkin pie or cranberry pie and fresh wine. Because the weekend is usually quiet in the city, many people opt for the best tours and excursions in Vancouver. For example, you can take a seaplane flight around the city or escape to Victoria. In addition, the soccer league organizes a doubleheader that has become a tradition and is called the Thanksgiving Classic.

Book a seaplane ride

5. Celebrate Latin American Heritage Month

Catrina with glitter|© fer gomez
Catrina with glitter|© fer gomez

Canada is a multicultural country, so in the fall, during the month of October we celebrate Latin American Heritage Month. Activities are designed to celebrate the roots of Latin American countries. In fact, in Vancouver there are cultural events, workshops, exhibitions and activities that involve the food, music and traditions of the region. I recommend a guided visit to the Granville Island Market, as it is one of the main locations.

Additionally, at this market I suggest you stop by the Ocean Art Works Pavilion, where outdoor exhibits revolving around traditional Latin American costumes are held. Here you can find free events and other activities that require admission. In addition, you can join the food, painting and craft workshops, which will allow you to explore Latin culture up close.

Take a tour of the Granville Island Marketplace

6. Attend a game in Vancouver

Vancouver Canucks v Carolina Hurricanes|©Charlotte Checkers
Vancouver Canucks v Carolina Hurricanes|©Charlotte Checkers

In October you can enjoy the first games of the Canadian National Hockey League (NHL ) ice hockey season, which lasts until April. I recommend buying tickets in advance to see the Canucks, the local team whose games are very popular. The stadium is not the only place to experience the passion of field hockey; there are also events to celebrate victories and game screenings throughout the city.

In the fall there are also games of other types of sports, for example there are BC Lions football games. I also recommend you to consider them, since the season is available until November and they make a special closing in the autumn dates to dispute the cup. If you like soccer, this is your time because the Vancouver Whitecaps FC play until October, offering entertainment in different parts of the region.

Buy tickets for an NHL game

7. Visit a blueberry vineyard in Vancouver

Cranberry Festival|©rickterp
Cranberry Festival|©rickterp

Cranberry vineyards offer a unique experience in Vancouver, especially in mid-autumn. The fields are just a short drive from the city, and upon arrival you'll be met with mind-blowing red bogs. It's well worth it as you'll find guided tours of the surrounding area, which give you an insight into the production process. You can also sign up for a bike tour of the harvest trails in the main vineyards, which are located in Richmond and Langley.

I don't recommend going before this season, as they are just setting up the planting and there is not much to see. You can also experience the Fort Langley Cranberry Festival, a free event held during the Free Thanksgiving weekend in October. Held since 1995 in Metro Vancouver, you can start your day with a breakfast of the legendary Canadian waffles. In addition, you can sample blueberry pies, blueberry wine and other fresh blueberry products.

You will also find many things to do in Vancouver with kids, such as visiting a farmers' market, outdoor movies, free concerts and more. Sometimes they merge with Halloween events, so it's common to find haunted houses and cranberry sauce turned into fake blood.

8. Check out the fall bloom in Vancouver

Cherry Blossoms Vancouver|©Brian Chase
Cherry Blossoms Vancouver|©Brian Chase

Fall is a beautiful season because of the color the trees take on. It is the perfect time to walk through parks, stalls and green space areas that turn to fir trees with shades of brown, gold, scarlet and yellow. The foliage or flowering can be appreciated on tours around the city, and the most charming locations are:

  • Kitsilano Beach: a beachfront picnic is the best idea this season, as you will enjoy the cool autumn breeze on your face, while admiring the colors that adorn the streets in the surrounding area.
  • Queen Elizabeth Park: it is a very popular park in autumn, since it is where the blooming is best appreciated. Undoubtedly, here you will be able to take amazing pictures.
  • Vandusen Botanical Garden: the paradise of the flora in Vancouver, changes its colors to welcome autumn for a couple of months. I recommend a walk through the hills and enjoy the different species up close.

9. Celebrate the Day of the Dead at Esther Short Park

Esther Short Park|©Rebecca Bollwitt
Esther Short Park|©Rebecca Bollwitt

Day of the Dead is a predominantly Mexican celebration, with roots in the indigenous communities of Central and South America. Vancouver is a multicultural city, in addition to Heritage Month, special activities are organized to commemorate loved ones who have departed this plane. The city's Ballet Folklorico organizes a performance in Esther Short Park with lighting of lights, processions, ofrendas and altars.

Mariachi groups usually perform and there are shows of catrinas: a figure from the Mexican culture that reflects the positive aspects of death and is considered a goddess of high spirits. You can find food from the region, as street stalls are organized. Keep in mind that most of the activities are free, and there are other events in different parts of the city.

10. Climb Mount Cheam

Mount Cheam|©Yuanxi Zhou
Mount Cheam|©Yuanxi Zhou

To enjoy a spectacle of nature, I recommend you to opt for the best tours and excursions in Vancouver and climb Mount Cheam. It is located an hour and a half from the city and is away from the urban bustle. It is ideal for hiking with the family, as it is a mountain of easy intensity. I recommend leaving early in the morning, to spend the whole day exploring this wonder that stands out for the variety of wildflowers.

This hike is not recommended in winter, as the snow makes it difficult to complete the section, so take advantage of this experience before the end of autumn. The peak is at 2,112 meters and along the way you will find hydration points, rest areas and viewpoints that offer panoramic views.