Get support from UBC student resources and services on finances, health, immigration, and more.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND UBC’S RESPONSE: Find the latest updates and resources from the University.

Illustration of springtime in Vancouver
April 26, 2019
3 mins read

Your guide to Vancouver in the spring

Everyone talks about Paris in the spring but really, they should be paying attention to this city right here.

When there’s so much to see and do, it can easily become overwhelming—especially for people like myself who don’t hail from such a bustling metropolis. During my 4 years in the city, however, I’ve learned how to make the most of the marvelous spring. Here are my suggestions!

Music and arts

Vancouver is fortunate to have an active arts and culture community.

After exams, I always like to treat myself and hit up some concerts. Some big names are stopping by the city in the next couple months, including Twenty One Pilots, Shawn Mendes and Carrie Underwood. I’m looking forward to catching Neil Young and Elvis Costello, Jorja Smith and Kali Uchis, and Herbie Hancock! Check Just Shows to see what’s coming up!

If opera is more to your taste, you’re in for a treat with the Vancouver Opera Festival, which runs from Apr 27 to May 5.

If you’re in the mood for some fine art, stop by the Vancouver Art Gallery. The world-class gallery boasts an impressive collection with works by painter Emily Carr, Indigenous carver Bill Reid, and photographer Jeff Wall. On a budget? Visit on Tuesdays, and you can pay by donation!

If you’re looking to stick closer to campus, try the Belkin Gallery on Main Mall. The student-focused collection features over 4,000 pieces, along with archival historical material. Shores: UBC Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition 2019, the current exhibition, runs until Jun 9. It’s also free for students!

Beaches and the great outdoors

With our beautiful natural surroundings, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to outdoor activities.

On a sunny day, pack some sunscreen and towels and head down to one of Vancouver’s many wonderful beaches. My personal favourite is Third Beach in Stanley Park, where a drum circle takes place every Tuesday night!  

If you’re stopping by Stanley Park, rent bikes and ride along the Seawall. If you have the time for golf, check out the pitch and putt course right at the centre of the Park.

In my opinion, Queen Elizabeth Park is the most beautiful spot in town. The park offers remarkable views of the city, the ocean, and the mountains, along with pristine gardens and wonderful walking trails. At the top of the park stands the Bloedel Conservatory. Stepping inside the tropical dome is like a visit to Hawaii, complete with exotic birds and lush greenery!

Now that we’re talking about gardens, I cannot recommend the VanDusen Botanical Garden enough. The sprawling green space is like an oasis in the heart of the city! VanDusen also hosts a variety of educational programs—you can learn to garden, or strike some yoga poses in the tranquility of the blossoming flowers.

Need some time outside the city? Hop on a bus and head for a hike on the North Shore. There’s so many options to choose from, but the Vancouver Trails website does a great job listing them based on difficulty and location.

If you’re busy on campus and don’t have time for an excursion, nature is still right around the corner! Take in a sunset at Tower Beach Trail, or explore some of the unique spots and unexpected sights on campus!

Food and festivals

Feeling hungry? Try tasting your way across town. Vancouver hosts an assortment of food festivals in the spring that appeal to all tastes.

Have a pita party at the Greek Food Festival hosted at the Hellenic Community of Vancouver from May 3 to 5.

Searching for seafood? The Spot Prawn Festival takes place on Fisherman’s Wharf on May 19. Entrance to the festival grounds is free, but a bowl of chowder will set you back $12!

Across the water in North Vancouver, the Philippine Days Festival runs from Jun 8 to 9 in Waterfront Park. There will be plenty of food vendors, along with Filipino music and art.

If pasta is your passion, Italian Day is the event for you! On Jun 9, make your way to Commercial Drive for a day of food and festivities. There’s live music, dancing—and plates and plates of spaghetti.

For the vegetarians and vegans amongst us, fear not: the Veg Expo is coming up on May 5 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Labelled “Canada’s Premier Vegan + Sustainable Event", the Expo includes lectures, sustainable product demonstrations, and plenty of food trucks. Make sure to grab tickets ahead of time!

Maybe this spring you’re hoping to expand your culinary capacites. Sign up for cooking lessons at the Dirty Apron or True Nosh and try some new recipes. It’s a social way to learn tasty skills! Keep your eyes open, because sometimes great deals for cooking classes pop up on Groupon!

Get out there

This is just an appetizer of the buffet that is Vancouver in the spring—it’s a remarkable city packed with something for everyone! So get out there and make the most of it, whichever way you choose.