Indoor activities for tourists in Vancouver

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Visitors to Vancouver are often warned of the city’s rainy reputation, but that doesn’t make cancelling a day at the beach any less disappointing. Coming to the rescue are the city’s many museums, recreation centers and art galleries, which provide engaging experiences no matter what the sky decides. [Image courtesy of the Museum of Anthropology]

Museum of Anthropology

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6393 Marine Dr NW, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2

World-renowned for its displays of global artifacts and cultural objects, especially works by First Nations of the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology will entertain for hours upon hours. Located at the University of British Columbia’s stunning campus, MOA’s remarkable modern architecture contrasts with an outdoor collection of ancient totem poles. Inside, rotating exhibitions showcase work from around the world to offer insightful, critical explorations of themes relating to culture, sociology, politics and much, much more.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum

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2212 Main Mall, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z4

Also located at the University of British Columbia, this grand, spacious natural history museum displays one of only 21 blue whale skeletons in the world as part of its permanent collection. Once you and your loved ones have had your fill of Earth’s largest animal, take a stroll through rotating exhibitions for interactive forays into the shellfish, insects, fungi, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plants that creep and crawl the planet.

Hillcrest Aquatic Centre

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4575 Clancy Loranger Way, Vancouver BC V5Y 2M4

Despite the many baseball diamonds, botanical gardens and tennis courts that surround Hillcrest Centre, the popular recreational facility offers a plethora of indoor activities that are bound to delight families and couples alike. Choose your own adventure with amenities that include an expansive indoor pool, whirlpool, hot tub, sauna and steam room; indoor tennis courts; an ice rink; exercise classes and more. And don’t forget to take a well-deserved snack break at the centre’s quaint café, located next to the services desk.

CF Pacific Centre

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701 West Georgia Street, Vancouver BC V7Y 1G5

Planned a trip to Stanley Park but the weather won’t cooperate? No problem: head to nearby Pacific Centre for a day of shopping, tasting and relaxing in Vancouver’s downtown core. Browse big-name department stores such as Nordstrom or Hudson’s Bay, Vancouver-based chain Aritzia for stylish womenswear, and a range of global favorites including H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch and Banana Republic. When you’re tired of shopping, hit a spa or salon for some pampering – or make a beeline for the food court, where a variety of food shops offer cuisines from around the world.

Vancouver Art Gallery

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750 Hornby Street, Vancouver BC V6Z 2H7

Skip the Seawall and bask in the pristine, serene atmosphere of Vancouver’s premier art gallery, where rotating exhibitions draw renowned artists from around the world, and permanent exhibitions showcase the West Coast’s finest artists – from Emily Carr to Andrew Dadson, Fred Herzog and Geoffrey Farmer. Among locals, the gallery’s café is one of the city’s best-kept secrets: here, you can sip a $6 martini on one of the city’s most historic and, arguably, underused patios – beneath the shelter of a big umbrella, of course!

Granville Island Brewing

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1441 Cartwright St, Vancouver BC V6H 3R7

Vancouver’s premier brewing company offers tours of its impressive facilities most days of the week. Keeping in mind that tours are limited to 10 people, and are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis in the retail store, grab your friends and explore the more than 30-year-old building. The best part? In the taproom, you’ll be invited to sample three varieties of craft beer – all included in the $9.75 per-person tour cost.

These iconic hikes – all within driving distance from Vancouver – offer breathtaking views, opportunities for wildlife viewing and groomed trails, making them ideal for tourists looking to experience the very best of West Coast hiking. Lace up your hiking boots (or a sturdy pair of sneakers) and start exploring!
Affordable, fun and a great workout, cycling is an ideal method for seeing the sights of Vancouver, where state-of-the-art bike paths and spectacular Seawall views abound. And for those who don’t own a bike – or who couldn’t fit one in their suitcase – these rental shops loan out two-wheelers that are well oiled, affordable and ready for your next adventure. [Photo credit: iStock.com/ Todor Tsvetkov]
Vancouver’s close proximity to lake and ocean – and its many public pools – make the city an ideal destination for trying out watersports with your little ones as they grow. So grab the sunscreen, pack the water shoes and swim trunks, and encourage your kids to learn valuable skills in and out of the water at some of Vancouver’s top aquatic camps this summer. [Photo credit: iStock.com/GOTO_TOKYO]
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