When to fly
July through August is when most visitors flock to Vancouver. Travellers start arriving in April and stay into the autumn. Summer in the city means film, jazz, and folk festivals, including the Celebration of Light fireworks competition.
Every summer, Vancouver is home to some of the world’s greatest music festivals including their very own International Jazz Festival. This renowned and distinguished event provides a platform for 1,800 musicians to entertain over 400,000 festival goers at 40 different venues throughout Vancouver. Teaming your flights to Vancouver with the festival is the perfect way to experience what the idyllic location has to offer, from dining and tasting the local culinary delights to releasing your inner adrenaline junkie through outdoor adventures. VIJF is spread out over ten days.
Canada Day on 1st July is a very busy time in the city when a variety of festivities take place.
Vancouver is particularly enjoyable in the shoulder seasons of May to June and September to October. The weather is mild and there are few crowds. Early spring and late autumn are also great times to fly and go whale watching.
Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts get their cheap flights to Vancouver in mid-December, while the mountain’s peak season is January and February. Except for the ski areas, hotels in the winter generally tend to be quieter although there is still lots to see and do, including the Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade and Festival and the city-wide culinary event, Dine Out Vancouver.
A picturesque and vibrant city by the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver has diverse, bustling neighbourhoods, from Chinatown and the Punjan Market Indian district to gay-friendly Davie Village and bohemian Commercial Drive (once known as Little Italy but now popular for its array of ethnic restaurants). Local writer Douglas Coupland dubbed it the City of Glass and anyone flying to Vancouver will quickly discover why. The high-rise buildings of downtown Vancouver are dominated by gleaming towers clad in green glass that reflect the natural beauty of a city nestled along a coast at the base of a mountain range. That scenery is hard to beat and goes a long way to justifying Vancouver's place at the top of many global livability indexes. But there is more to it. Locals make the most of the outdoor attractions at their disposal, and make hiking through the local mountains, kayaking and canoeing on the city's many waterways, camping, fishing and skiing all very much a part of their everyday lives.
Vancouver is one of North America's greenest cities, with the 404-hectare Stanley Park right in its backyard. Stanley Park is home to the renowned Lost Lagoon, while Siwash Rock and has a scenic 8.8 km seawall path.
Less than 30 minutes from the city centre are Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour, all of which have superb facilities and even offer night skiing.
BC Ferries, plying the Georgia Strait, connect Vancouver with Vancouver Island (including Victoria, British Columbian capital), and stunning gulf islands such as Galiano and Saltspring. A shorter ferry ride takes you to Bowen, a charming tiny island with a general store, coffee shop, pub and many hiking or bike trails.
A thriving local music scene offers much in the form of evening out diversions. Check out the Railway Club with its model train making its way around a track suspended above the bar for local up-and-coming acts performing on the cosy stage nightly.
Vancouver doesn't experience the weather extremes seen in other parts of Canada, but a rainproof jacket is essential, as it rains a lot. Flights to Vancouver land at the international airport (YVR), renowned for its First Nations' art.