The city of Vancouver has a dual personality, and a double edged sword for a reputation. On one hand it’s known for it’s beautiful scenery, striking architecture, and expensive way of life, but on the other hand it’s also common knowledge that Vancouver gets a lot of rain. The kind of rain that can stick around for months at a time and give many people a serious case of seasonal depression.
This reputation is so widespread that the city has been nicknamed ‘Raincouver’. The fact of the matter is that both of Vancity’s reputations are true; it is both a uniquely beautiful city that is rivaled by few others, and easily the rainiest city in Canada. Vancouverites have had to learn to cope with the rain in their own ways; many people do outdoor exercise frequently, some cope by going out and being social despite the rain, some aren’t bothered by it in the least, and many submit to the gloom and spend a lot of time indoors. But as a traveler who has come to Vancouver in the hopes of experiencing the city’s sunny side, ceaseless rain can be a real damper (forgive the pun) on your trip. Here are some great things to do when it’s raining in Vancouver.
Although we can’t physically stop the rain from falling, we can step inside a wonderful creation that shields us from the rain called a building. Vancouver, like most cities is filled with buildings, and in fact even has some very unique buildings full of interesting things to do and see. Here are a few:
-The Vancouver Art Gallery:
In the heart of downtown Vancouver you’ll find a large Romanesque inspired building full of beautiful art. Along with the short term exhibits that come in and out of the gallery, there is a permanent collection of paintings by a famous west coast painter named Emily Carr. Her works often highlight west coast nature and aboriginal people, and can inspire an appreciation for these things.
Check out the Art Gallery on a Tuesday for a cheap deal!
-The Museum of Anthropology:
Here’s another great place to gain an appreciation for west coast art and aboriginal culture, and the building itself is worth the price of admission. The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia has a collection of stunning totem poles so tall that you’ll marvel at the mechanics of a traditional people carving and mounting them, let alone the visual appeal of their design. A walk through this museum will give you a deeper understanding of British Columbia’s history and the Indigenous way of life before colonialism.
Okay, enough with all the grown up stuff. Here’s what to do if you’re a family with kids, or just a man-child who needs a lot of visual stimulation. Science World is one of the most awesome buildings in Vancouver, from the outside and the inside. At the very end of False Creek, at the edge of downtown, and with a Sky train station with it’s namesake, the massive silver ball that is Science World is hard to miss. With cool exhibits, endless interactive machines and trinkets, and a curved IMAX 3D movie theatre, you will not be disappointed. Technically the name has been changed to ‘Telus World of Science’ but call it ‘Science World’ or you’re an obvious tourist, and a sell out.
Rain can be a drag, especially when you’ve had plans to do outdoorsy activities in nice weather. Beyond these indoor activities, the best thing to do as a traveler who’s feeling discouraged by Vancouver’s rain is to brave it like a real Vancouverite. Although Vancouver can be wet, it’s rarely too cold to be outside. So why not put on a raincoat and do all of the outdoor things you intended to do? The rain can be mystical, especially from a mountain top or an empty beach, so just enjoy it! And if you do manage to get clear weather in the late fall, winter, or early spring, consider yourself lucky to get to see Vancouver in full force.