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Visitors who can't choose between an urban destination and an outdoorsy one have a perfect match in Vancouver. After all, few other cities can claim rainforests and beaches within city limits, and mountains just a short drive away. Even downtown, Vancouver keeps nature close, with the 1,000 acre Stanley Park crowning the high-rise-dotted peninsula with green. Hiking trails offer a quiet respite from the urban bustle, while playgrounds and the Vancouver Aquarium keep families busy. Visitors looking for more ways to experience the temperate rainforests of the region can brave the 230-foot-high Capilano Suspension Bridge or explore the forest canopy along a series of shorter suspension bridges. Simply navigating the city provides more chances to enjoy the natural surroundings. Hop a ferry to Granville Island and discover a public market brimming with produce, fresh local seafood, and other edible delights. Granville Island is also home to galleries, shops, restaurants, and even the largest free water park in North America. First-time visitors shouldn't miss Gastown, with its historic buildings; funky Kitsilano; or trendy Yaletown. Vancouver celebrates its Pacific Rim location with one of North America's largest Chinatowns. The region around Vancouver offers more highlights. Up in the mountains, Whistler is known as one of North America's top ski resorts. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, has British charm (and tea!) in spades. And Seattle is about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Vancouver. Home to Canada's second busiest airport, there are always plenty of flights to Vancouver to choose from.

When To Go

Vancouver experiences four temperate seasons, with few fluctuations in weather. The most popular time to visit is during the summer when there is less rain and an array of outdoor activities and events. Autumn brings changing leaves and cooler temperatures. The spring has pleasant weather for skiing and golfing. Winters can be mild and wet, but January and February are ideal times to save money and avoid crowds.

high season: June to August
low season: September to March
shoulder season: April to May

Weather Information

Summers see daytime temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s, while the nights can be a bit cooler, especially in the surrounding mountains. Winters can bring rain and cooler weather, with daytime temperatures averaging around 45 degrees from November through February. Snow is rare in the city, but falls frequently at the local ski hills. Spring and fall warm up the coast with highs averaging in the mid-50s in April and October. November through January can be the least desirable times to visit due to heavy rains, while July through August is considered ideal because of less rainfall and pleasantly warm weather.

Crowd Information

Vancouver hosts many festivals during July and August that attract large crowds, including the annual HSBC Celebration of Light fireworks show at English Bay, where hundreds of thousands of viewers gather on the beach to witness the competition; and Festival Vancouver, which celebrates music with nearly 50 classical, jazz, and world concerts in August. The least crowded time is April and May.

Closure Information

Most hotels, restaurants, and attractions remain open year-round, though some may close for major holidays such as Christmas and New Year's Day.

When to Save

January and February are the least expensive times to visit since there are fewer crowds and events. The most expensive times to visit are June through August. For skiing in the nearby mountains, prices are higher in February and March and during the December holidays.

When to Book

For airfare, flexible travel plans may make it possible to take advantage of low last-minute fares. However, those with a set schedule should book flights at least three weeks in advance to obtain lower prices and ensure availability, especially for travel during the high season. For hotels, last-minute lodging can typically be found, but it's a good idea to book at least one month in advance. Book at least three months in advance for visitation during the high season or popular events to ensure availability.

Information provided by Tourism Vancouver