A Guide to Experiencing Vancouver on the Cheap

Whether you’re visiting Vancouver alone, with family, or with friends, there are plenty of fun activities in which you can participate. For those on a budget, this article will share some tips for truly experiencing Vancouver on the cheap.

Relax at the Beach

Vancouver is one of few cities in Canada with beautiful beaches during the summer months. They’re a great place to feel the local vibe, lie in the soft sand or take in the jaw-dropping views. English Bay is a popular beach in downtown Vancouver while other favorites include Kitsilano and Jericho Beach as well as Wreck Beach for those who want to don their birthday suits.

Explore Stanley Park

No visit to Vancouver would be complete without a trip to Stanley Park, a gorgeous 1,000-acre public park surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Many locals get their exercise here, and you can join in by going for a walk, jog, or a bicycle ride. This is a place where you’ll find world-class views, sandy beaches, and some of Vancouver’s best attractions.

Stroll through Granville Island

Though this island was once home to heavy industry, it is now one of the most popular places for tourists and locals alike. With craft breweries, restaurants, boutique shops, performing arts theaters, and gorgeous views, this is a must-see place when visiting Vancouver.

Go for a Hike

Getting out in nature is one of the top attractions in the city, and one of the most well-known trails is the Grouse Grind, which takes you all the way to the top of Grouse Mountain where you’ll have unbeatable views of the surrounding scenery and distant skyline. For $10, you can jump in the neighboring gondola for a scenic ride to the bottom.

Take a Scenic Drive

Rent a car and take a drive to Whistler on the legendary Sea-to-Sky Highway, which winds itself along the coast, old-growth rainforests, and jagged cliffs. Whistler itself is another picturesque mountain town that is great for walking around and checking out the local shops.

Visit a Museum

Vancouver has a number of free museums, including the BC Golf Museum and the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre, which offer an educational experience without any cost.

Explore Lynn Canyon

One of the city’s most popular free activities, Lynn Canyon offers beautiful hiking trails and a suspension bridge for those brave enough to take in the views. Visit the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre while you’re there.

Visit a Chinese Garden

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park (not to be confused with the neighboring Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens) is a park for those wanting to experience a traditional Chinese garden without any cost.

Gaze up at the Stars

While you could just look up into the sky, it just won’t compare to the MacMillan Space Centre, which offers admission-by-donation public viewings on Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer months.

Walk Everywhere

Vancouver is a great city to visit by foot. If you want the backdrop of the waterfront, head to the area surrounding Canada Place and follow the trail along the water while looking at both the luxurious and the odd-looking houseboats on display.


This article was written as part of the hipmunk #citylove project. As a paid writer, I have written about cheap hotels in Vancouver as well as the best things to do around the city.


  1. Always proud of vancouver, love to visit and these are great insights!