Vancouver is one of Canada’s most vibrant cities, bursting with colour and life. The shopping, dining and nightlife is second to none on the Pacific Coast and there is always plenty going on. In the summer months, the city comes alive with festivals across town. The beaches which line Stanley Park are the perfect settings for picnics, concerts and summer fun. From food and drink to arts and culture, these are our pick of the best Vancouver events you can visit this summer. If you’ve yet to book your flights to Vancouver, check out our deals:
Vancouver Craft Beer Week
When: May 25 – June 3, 2018
Where: Pacific National Exhibition
It wouldn’t be the Pacific Northwest without a healthy obsession with craft beer. The bubbly brews are a firm favourite in Vancouver and Vancouver Craft Beer Week is a chance for hop-lovers to learn more about their favourite suds.
The festival is held at the fairgrounds in at the Pacific National Exhibition and is the biggest event of its kind in Canada. More than 400 beers from over 100 breweries are on hand to sample.
Pick up a pint and lay back in a shady spot on the lawn. Lumberjacks provide the entertainment with “timbersports” – the most Canadian thing to ever involve power tools and logs.
International Jazz Festival
When: June 23 – July 2, 2018
Where: 35 indoor and outdoor venues around the city
This famous festival is deservedly one of the city’s biggest summer draws, attracting some half a million jazz fans each year. More than 1800 artists will take part with 300 concerts happening at 35 venues across the city. It’s as big and bold as, well, jazz.
Some of the concerts are free to attend, like those at the Vancouver Art Gallery and on Granville Island. Although the festival is fantastic for getting to know local, travelling and little-known bands, there are also some massive headline acts. The International Jazz Festival this year will feature Bonobo, Macy Gray and Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters.
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
When: July 14 – 16, 2018
Where: Jericho Beach
It’s another music festival, but one with a very different vibe. This chilled out gathering celebrates the best of roots and folk music from across the world – including bands which might challenge your perception of the genre. It’s the perfect event to really discover some new music loves.
The soulful Folk Music Festival performances are spread across eight outdoor stages in the Jericho Beach are. Along with the sandy vibes, you’ll find street food, a crafts market and the Festival Community Village where you can meet the locals.
Celebration of Light
When: July 28, August 1, August 4, 2018
Where: English Bay
These are fireworks like you’ve never seen them before. Stunningly choreographed to music, the enormous fireworks displays of the Honda Celebration of Light festival light up the whole of English Bay and wow crowds for three nights of the year every summer.
Vancouver is perfectly geared up for an event like this, with a stunning waterfront that invites holidaymakers and locals alike to lay out a picnic blanket and enjoy the show. The ocean and mountain vista provides the perfect backdrop.
To complement the fireworks, each evening also boasts a music festival down at Sunset Beach called SHOREFEST. It’s the world’s largest community concert series and is the best way to get geared up for the big bang later in the evening.
Vancouver Pride Festival
When: August 6, 2018
Where: Robson Street
Vancouver is a LGBTQIA+ friendly destination and celebrates diversity in all its forms. Vancouver Pride is one of the most colourful and feel-good festivals in the calendar where anything goes, from tea parties to block parties. More than 650,000 people turn up to watch the rainbow floats and gaudy costumes make their way down the main shopping centre of Robson Street.
The parade ends up by the waterfront at Sunset Beach which is a stunning spot in Stanley Park for a picnic or a drink. You’ll find performance stages and a beer garden to carry on the party, even after the parade has finished.