Vancouver is beautiful in autumn, with fall colours throughout the Lower Mainland, especially in parks in late September and October.
Vancouver Places in Fall
September is typically one of the region’s finest months with respect to weather, October brings harvest time, Thanksgiving and Halloween, and by November fall is completely here with winter just around the corner.
Where are Vancouver’s best places to be in the fall, especially outdoors when the weather is good? Below we list some of our favourite autumn venues and activities.
Best Fall Places in Vancouver
Vancouver’s best parks and gardens are places to check out in the fall. Best times to visit can be in September while there’s still a bit of summer weather, or in October when the colours are at their peak. Best places to admire autumn colours within Vancouver are listed below. Best times to visit any of them are on sunny days before the trees completely lose their leaves, so before mid-November in most years.
- Coal Harbour – The seawall between Stanley Park and the Convention Centre is a popular place for a walk or leisurely bike ride, with views of Stanley Park, downtown Vancouver, Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains. (FREE)
- Stanley Park – Arguably one of the best places in the world any time of the year, Stanley Park is especially pleasant and colourful in the fall. Bike rides around the Stanley Park seawall aren’t too hot, and the fall leaves are beautiful throughout. You can’t go wrong with a cycle, jog or walk at Stanley Park. (FREE)
- Queen Elizabeth Park – Vancouver’s highest point within the city is also stunning with its autumn colours (FREE). Enjoy the views of the city, a game of pitch and putt golf or lunch at the Seasons in the Park restaurant.
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – Vancouver’s Chinese garden is a nice place to go if you want to visit Chinatown. An interesting time to go is in late September for their evening Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The fall colours typically peak at the garden at the very end of October and first week of November, although each year is slightly different.
- Trout Lake – John Hendry Park and Trout Lake are beautiful in the fall, at least before all the trees become bare. A good time to go is anytime up until around mid-October on a Saturday before the Trout Lake Farmers Market wraps up for the season.
- UBC Botanical Garden – If you’re into gardens, the botanical gardens at UBC are nice this time of year too, as is UBC’s Japanese Nitobe Memorial Garden. Best times to visit are before November, although around mid-month then entrance fees most years become just admission by donation.
- VanDusen Botanical Garden – The city’s botanical gardens can be stunning in October, before the trees lose their leaves and the place becomes a bit less interesting. Rates drop in October down to around $8 for adults (from $11 in the summer) and to $5.75 for seniors and youth and $4.25 for children ages 3-12. Also, in the last week of October, the place is open at night and full of jack-o-lanterns and Halloween illuminations during its annual VanDusen Glow in the Garden event.
For leisurely walks and bike rides, other great fall places to check out within Vancouver include the False Creek Seawall, especially around Granville Island, or the trails between Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks. (FREE)
Other Lower Mainland Best Places in Autumn
Some of the Lower Mainland’s other best places to enjoy the autumn season include the following:
- In Burnaby – Burnaby Mountain and Deer Lake Park are both beautiful on sunny days.
- In the Fraser Valley – Fantastic places to explore in the Fraser Valley include the region around Harrison Hot Springs (especially if you can afford to stay at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and escape from the cooler weather in their hot springs), the dykes around Maple Ridge and the trail along the river at Fort Langley. Alouette Lake is also beautiful this time of year.
- In North Vancouver – Some of the best places for fall activities can be found on the North Shore, including hikes and fishing at Rice Lake (which gets stocked this time of year) and the nearby Seymour Demonstration Forest (which is great for family bike rides). Also interesting in autumn is the Capilano River Regional Park where you can look at salmon up close at the Capilano Hatchery. Other great North Vancouver places to visit in the fall include the Maplewood Conservation Area, which is best before mid-November, and the walking trails at Cates Park. (FREE)
- In Port Moody – The nicest park with fall colours in Port Moody is arguably Rocky Point Park. Nearby Buntzen Lake and Sasamat Lake are also beautiful year round, but don’t have so much in the way of autumn leaves.
- In Richmond – Minoru Park can be a nice place for a picnic, and along the water at Steveston Village and the West Dyke Trail are great places for walks, jogging and bike rides. (FREE)
- Up the Sea to Sky Highway – Beautiful fall-colour views can be found at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola, and the fishing is supposed to be amazing this time of year on the Cheakamus and Squamish rivers. Whistler Village too is beautiful in the early fall.
- In Surrey – The gardens at Bear Creek Park can be beautiful this time of year, as well as at Hawthorne Park and Fleetwood Park. Plan to go for a stroll while you’re at any of these places, or take bikes for the kids as there are some nice short trails. The trails through the woods at Elgin Heritage Park between Stewart Farm and Crescent Beach are also exceptionally nice this time of year. And finally, located on the border between Surrey and Pitt Meadows, Barnston Island is a great place for a bike ride on level terrain. (FREE)
- In West Vancouver – Good places to enjoy the fall colours in the Lower Mainland’s wealthiest city include along the seawall between Ambleside and Dundarave, or from Ambleside up along the Capilano River, as well as other year-round beautiful places like Lighthouse Park and Whytecliff Park (the latter of which is best when it’s not high tide so you can walk out and explore the island). (FREE)
Vancouver Fall Activities
In addition to all the above wonderful places to visit, there are many activities that people particularly associate with autumn (in addition to things like raking leaves, working in the garden and carrying an umbrella everywhere you go). These include getting in the season’s last good rounds of golf at the region’s best courses before they get soggy from all the rain, visiting farms at harvest time, like Maan Farms in Abbotsford, and seeing and/or catching fish in the region’s many rivers, lakes and places like the North Shore’s Capilano River Hatchery.
For more ideas on things to do, check out Vancouver’s Best Fall Activities.
Halloween celebrations are another traditional fall activity, with seasonal favourite things to do being the following:
- Fright Nights at the PNE.
- Vancouver Halloween Parade – an annual parade between Drake and Smithe, along Howe Street and Granville.
- Haunted Village at Burnaby Village.
- Click Halloween in Vancouver for more.
Enjoy fall the season while you can – winter is just around the corner!