It’s the last month of summer: the glory days when beach-bronzed Vancouverites want to stay outside and take advantage of the sunny weather and all the fun that’s happening about town.
Many of us have already used our entertainment budget on a summer getaway. But no matter. If you know where to look, outdoor summer fun is free to attend.
From sunset yoga to water parks and the annual Vancouver Chinatown Festival, here are ten free things to get involved in this weekend, and the remaining days of August.
10 Free Things To Do in Vancouver in August
1) KitsFest Sports and Wellness Festival, Kitsilano Beach, August 10-12
KitsFest is a free, family-friendly, beachfront version of the Summer Olympics. Cheer as BC adults and kids compete in beach tennis, volleyball and basketball. The Kids’ Zone features an obstacle course, face painting and a vintage VPD police car. Adults can expect DJs and onsite catering from Boathouse, Chronic Tacos and more, in addition to the sweaty showdown.
2) 13th Annual Vancouver Chinatown Festival, Columbia Keefer Street, August 11-12
Perhaps you already know how to train a dragon. Here’s how to greet one: “Hello Dragon, Ni Hao.” This salutation also happens to be the theme of the 13th annual Vancouver Chinatown Festival that takes place in Chinatown at Columbia and Keefer Street. Every year, 60,000+ attendees turn out for free fun including games, cultural performances, booths, carnival foods, DJs, a marketplace, and walking tours of both the historic and foodie variety.
3) Public Sunset Yoga, Kitsilano Beach, August 11
The first-ever lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon takes place August 11, and event organizers have accessorized the run with all sorts of extra fun, including free public yoga. The marathon begins at 7:37am at the Vancouver Convention Centre. SeaWheeze comes to a close with Public Sunset Yoga (open to the public, not just runners) at Kitsilano Beach at 7:37pm, taught by Mara Branscombe. The clever lululemon team planned this to match sunset, which occurs exactly at 8:37pm. Mats will be provided. Organizers expect a record setting 1,000+ people to attend.
4) Free Vancouver Water Parks, Granville Island and Stanley Park, daily through September 3
Who doesn’t love running through the sprinkler? Now multiply that by 100. Vancouver boasts not one, but two, free water parks. Granville Island Water Park happens to be the largest free water park in all of North America with all sorts of amusements from water slides to spray jets. Variety Kids Water Park in Stanley Park is also a convenient, free summer fun zone with ankle deep water, geysers and water canyons. Plus it’s conveniently close to the Second Beach pool and playground
5) Yelp Food Cart Fest at the Waldorf, Sundays through September 2
Following the success of the first-ever Waldorf Hotel’s Canada Day Block Party / Food Cart Festival July 1, the Waldorf teamed up with Yelp and Street Food Vancouver for the Yelp Food Cart Fest, a food cart festival that will run every Sunday through September 2. Entry is free. Expect tons of food carts, the Fest includes a series of community markets, live music performances, family entertainment, and a 19+ beer garden. Find out more from Dana’s coverage here.
6) Free Outdoor Movies in Stanley Park, Tuesdays through August 28
Catch a free film at the scenic Stanley Park seawall one balmy summer evening. Fresh Air Cinema shows movies at sunset outdoors all summer. Your next opportunity is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, August 14. Shows are cancelled for bad weather. So far, the forecast for this Tuesday looks promising.
7) Farmers’ Markets, around town Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays
There’s always free entry at Vancouver Farmers’ Markets. But chances are, the local, seasonal bounty on offer will leave you eager to shop. In season now: mulberries, currants, strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb, raspberries, asparagus, beets and salad greens. Here’s a full list of what’s available at the markets now. Here’s a list of the local markets and market days.
8) Free Ballroom Dancing in Robson Square, Fridays through August 31
On summer Fridays, it’s strictly ballroom in Robson Square. Join the immensely popular, free ballroom dancing drop-in lessons which start at 8pm. Don’t worry; plenty of participants turn up alone and make new friends while dancing. DanceSportBC offers instruction to singles, couples, friends and anyone who happens to wander by. At 9 and 10pm, they show off their own pro talents. Participants are welcome to stay on and dance the night away.
9) Free Salsa Dancing in Robson Square, Sundays through August 26
Sunday Afternoon Salsa dances are open to everyone, beginners to pros, and include free lessons, salsa performances and social dancing.
10) Free Admission to the Burnaby Village Museum, through September 3
Burnaby Village Museum celebrates the 100th bday of their wooden carousel and interurban tram with free gate admission for the entire 2012 summer season. Families can explore the entire 10-acre, open-air 1920s village – with working blacksmith, costumed townspeople and authentic shops- free of charge. Don’t miss the Vaudeville shows every Sunday.