Also known as Denman Street Car Free Day, Vancouver’s West End Car Free Day is a massive street party with vendors and live entertainment in the summer.
The event happens between Robson Street and Davie Street near English Bay Beach. In the past, pre-COVID, it was on the Saturday before Father’s Day in June each year. In 2022, however, the festivities happened in late September. The 2023 event takes place on September 24th.
Happening on the same weekend this year are Circo Osorio Circus shows in Tsawwassen, Taste of Abby autumn food festival events in Abbotsford, and Vancouver International Flamenco Festival performances in Vancouver. There is also the Snowbird RV Show in Abbotsford and Riverfest in New Westminster.
To learn about what else is happening around the same time in the Lower Mainland, see our September Calendar of Events. For a list of things to do if the weather is miserable (which it might be on the weekend of September 22nd to 24th), see our article about Rainy Day Activities. To learn about Vancouver’s Car Free Day event on Denman Street in September, continue reading.
West End Car Free Street Party
The West End Car Free Day event is a massive and vibrant FREE street party.
In 2022 the West End Car Free Day event was going to take place on Saturday, August 20th. However, due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was postponed to Sunday, September 25th.
In 2023 the West End Car Free Day event runs from 12:00 to 7:00 pm on Sunday, September 24th. Additional details are to be confirmed.
Car Free Entertainment Lineup
At the Car Free Day event on Denman Street there are food and product vendors as well as live entertainment.
In 2023 concerts and other entertainment take place on the following three different stages. (Note: times and performer details are subject to change.)
West End Rocks Stage (in 2023)
(Located at Barclay and Denman Streets)
- 12:00 pm – Jess Vaira
- 1:00 pm – Luc Josef
- 2:00 pm – The Quixotic Neurotics
- 3:00 pm – West Coast Fiddleheads
- 4:00 pm – Danny Echo
- 4:45 pm – The Walk-Ins
- 5:45 pm – Wolf Mountain
Drag Stage (in 2023)
(Located at Henshaw and Denman)
- 12:00 pm – Drag Face Painting
- 1:00 pm – Drag Performances
- 2:00 pm – Drag King Story Time
- 3:00 pm – Drag Performances
- 4:00 pm – Drag King Story Time
- 5:00 pm – Drag Performances
- 6:00 pm – Meet the Performers
Support the Scene Stage (in 2023)
(Located at Pendrell Street and Denman)
- 12:40 pm – Step Out Sister
- 1:30 pm – Bloom Effect
- 2:30 pm – When & Where
- 3:30 pm – Ayasen
- 4:30 pm – Rosemary Ginger
- 5:30 pm – Fallen Stars
Car Free Days in Vancouver
The West End’s Denman Street Car Free Day celebrations are one of four Car Free Day street party events.
For more information about these and other Car Free Day celebrations in Port Moody, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam and North Vancouver, see our article about Vancouver Car Free Day Events.
Denman Street Car Free Day
The West End Car Free Day event, also known as Denman Street Car Free Day, is similar to the Main Street and Commercial Drive events. It’s massive, entertaining and packed with pedestrians having fun. There is usually live music at various stages along the street. Food vendors, community organizational information booths and things for sale are also present.
The West End’s street party takes place close to English Bay at the south end of the Denman Street strip. The location makes it especially convenient for folks wanting to combine the street party festivities with a trip to one of the world’s finest urban beaches. English Bay Beach is beautiful (although the water is cold).
The corner of Davie Street and Denman is also close to the seawall which connects the district in one direction with Stanley Park and in the other direction with False Creek and the False Creek Seawall. The connection makes it a fabulous place to either walk or cycle to.
Tips & Advice
Below are some suggestions and bits of information to help you make the most out of your experience at the Denman Street Car Free Day event.
TIP #1: Combine your visit to the Denman Street Car Free Day celebrations with a stroll or bike ride along the Seawall. You can either head in the direction of Stanley Park or towards False Creek. Or, after wandering through the festival, enjoy a picnic and the sunshine on the sandy beach at English Bay at the south end of the festival or at Stanley Park or Coal Harbour not far from the north end.
TIP #2: Robson Street where the festival starts at the north end is one of Vancouver’s best shopping streets. There are also great restaurants along the road, as there are along Denman Street too. If wanting to eat somewhere specific at a certain restaurant and time, make your reservations well in advance.
TIP #3: Wear good walking shoes! It’s a pedestrian street party, the venue is 12 blocks long and you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Pack your flip-flops for the beach and dress shoes for dinner afterwards, but leave the high heels for later or your feet will hate you!
How to Decide Which Event to Attend
TIP #4: If you’re not sure which of Vancouver’s various Car Free Day events you want to check out, consider the following when making your decision:
- Check the weather forecast. In years when they take place on the same weekend, if you like the look of Saturday’s weather more, then go to the Denman Street event. If the forecast looks better for the Sunday, then go to the one on Main Street.
- Go to whichever is more convenient based on where you live and what you want to do both before and after.
- If you’ve been to a Car Free Day event one year and liked it, then check out a different one in the future. All three of the main City of Vancouver Car Free Day street parties are amazing. However, they’re special in their own little ways.
- If you’ve got young children and aren’t sure if they’ll like the festivities, or if the weather looks like it’s going to be scorching hot, don’t forget that English Bay beach is right by the corner of Denman and Davie in case you need a break. Just don’t forget to also pack your swimsuits!
See the Car Free Day website for more information about the Denman Street Car Free Day event.
Check out Vancouver Car Free Days for other Car Free Day events in Vancouver.
Also, see Vancouver’s Festivals and Events Calendar to learn about what’s happening at other times of the year.