The coronavirus has forced many Vancouver stores, restaurants and other places to close temporarily. Some have remained open and others have since reopened.
The purpose of this article is to highlight local places that are open. It features a list of venues you can visit and support with your purchases. The article also includes information about the state of the pandemic in the region.
For a list of places and events that have closed or been cancelled, click What’s Closed in COVID-19 Vancouver. To learn about places that are still open or have reopened since closing initially, continue reading.
This article includes the following topics:
What’s Open in COVID-19 Vancouver?
The economy has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Pretty much every aspect of human life in fact has been affected! Consequently, it’s hard to tell what’s still open. We don’t attempt to list every place in the Lower Mainland that’s open – that would be an ever-changing and impossible task! We do list some places, however, and suggest where you can find other lists and sources of information.
Below is a list of places that we know are still open. After our list of some of the many places that have either remained open or have reopened after initially closing, we recommend other websites with more lists of open businesses and organizations. To learn more about places to find what’s open in different parts of the Lower Mainland click Resources for Open Places.
NOTE: Information in this article is accurate to the best of our ability and as of the date of publication. These are rapidly changing times, however, and there is a lot to track! Details are also subject to change. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, check official venue websites.
Looking for fun and safe things to do with your four-legged friends in the Lower Mainland, then check out Maple Ridge Dogs, Parks and Patio Restaurants for a list of great places to hang out and explore together. If you live in Maple Ridge, enjoy these places. If you don’t, stay close to home now and explore them later!
COVID Situation Update
Below is information about the current numbers of COVID cases and how both BC and Canada compare. Also below is information about what’s new with respect to the government’s response and the latest Healthy Authority orders.
COVID Cases and Comparisons
As of April 16th, 2021, 117,080 people had been diagnosed with the coronavirus in British Columbia to date. this includes 10,081 active cases and 1,005 new cases (compared to the day before). Over 1.28 million vaccine doses have been administered in the province so far.
To put the above into perspective, BC has approximately 13.5% of Canada’s population but accounts for about 10.6% of the country’s total cases to date (so less than average, which is good, but also a figure that’s slowly rising).
Also for comparison, Canada ranks #23 in the world for countries with the most people infected to date (which isn’t great and puts it between Chile and Romania). Also not so good, the 1,293 new cases reported on April 8th was the highest number in a single day since the start of the pandemic. The 10,081 active cases reported on April 16th was also the highest to date.
On the bright side, vaccinations in BC and the rest of the country are ramping up. Close to 45,000 British Columbians were vaccinated on April 14th alone.
BC’s numbers are definitely on the rise. April 2nd had 1,018 new cases which was the highest number since the start of the pandemic! April 3rd was even worse, with a record 1,072 cases! On April 8th the number had jumped to 1,293 and on April 9th it was 1,262! These are concerning numbers, especially with the rise in variant cases.
Recent Health Authority Rules & Initiatives
Provincial Health Authorities provided an update on the COVID-19 situation on March 29th. New restrictions included the banning of indoor dining at restaurants. Restaurants can continue offering outdoor patio service and takeout, but not indoor table service, until April 19th at the earliest. The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort was also forced to close.
On April 13th, 2021, BC’s Chief Medical Officer met with members of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association. At the meeting the government said that restrictions on indoor dining, set to expire on April 19th, would be extended until May, and likely until after the Victoria Day Long Weekend.
Since November of last year, the provincial government has banned public events, private social gatherings, theatre shows and a number of other activities. People should also avoid non-essential travel.
In late March BC Health Authorities announced that worship services can finally take place again, although with a number of restrictions. Services have to be outdoors and for up to a maximum of 50 people, plus others in up to 50 vehicles. Masks are mandatory, and other safety precautions and practices must also be in place. A limited number of indoor services were also going to be allowed, but then that possibility got rescinded.
Four vaccines have now been approved for use in Canada. At the end of February and first week of March, 2021, both the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were approved. They can now be used in addition to the already approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. This is great news!
To see what’s open and still happening, see below. To learn more about the state of the coronavirus and government measures to control it, see the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
Not all tourist attractions are currently operating in Vancouver. Some are, but others aren’t. As of mid-February, 2021, attractions and other places of interest that are open include the following (although exact details are subject to change at any time).
Open Attractions in the City of Vancouver
Below is a list of museums and galleries that are open in the City of Vancouver as well as a list of other places of interest.
Open Vancouver Museums
- BC Sports Hall of Fame – the attraction at BC Place Stadium reopened to the public in early August.
- Beaty Biodiversity Museum – the museum at UBC is now open once again as of July 2020.
- Bill Reid Gallery – the gallery featuring the works of Bill Reid and other First Nations artists reopened its doors in June.
- Museum of Anthropology – UBC’s MOA reopened on July 8th after being closed for a few months.
- Museum of Vancouver – the museum with exhibits about Vancouver’s past reopened in June.
- Roedde House Museum – the historic house reopened to the public in July.
- Science World – the science museum reopened in the summer of 2020. The IMAX Theatre, however, isn’t currently operating.
- Vancouver Art Gallery – as of early 2021 the public can visit the museum 7 days a week.
- Vancouver Maritime Museum – the attraction has been open since June.
- The Vancouver Police Museum – the museum with exhibits about crime, criminals and policing has been open since June.
Other Open Places in Vancouver
- Aquabus & False Creek Ferries – the passenger boats are running (and have been since late May).
- Bloedel Conservatory – this garden temporarily closed in the spring, but then reopened in July.
- Granville Island – the public market and most of the district’s other retail shops and restaurants are open for business.
- Guilt & Co. – the popular live music venue in Gastown has been open since June.
- Hastings Park Winter Farmers Market – the market is open for its regular season.
- Imagine Van Gogh – a touring art exhibition at the Vancouver Convention Centre from March until August in 2021.
- Nitobe Memorial Garden – the Japanese Gardens at UBC closed last spring, reopened in the summer and then closed again for a few months in the winter. It reopened, however, on March 3rd in 2021.
- Riley Park Farmers Market – on Saturdays at Riley Park near Nat Bailey Stadium.
- UBC Botanical Gardens – the garden at the University of British Columbia suspended operations in the spring of 2020, but then re-opened with new safety measures and hours in the summer. It closed again for the months of January and February in 2021, but then reopened at the beginning of March.
- Vancouver Mysteries – the company with crime-solving games in the streets of downtown Vancouver has resumed operations.
- VanDusen Garden – the botanical garden has resumed operations.
Open Attractions on the North Shore
- Capilano Suspension Bridge – the North Vancouver attraction closed for a while in the spring of 2020. It reopened for a few months, but then closed again in October and November. It has remained open since then.
- Grouse Mountain – after being closed for over three months last year, the attraction has been open since June.
- Lonsdale Quay Public Market – most food retailers at the world-famous market have either remained open or, since closing temporarily last spring, have reopened.
- Maplewood Farm – the attraction in North Vancouver with farm animals reopened last summer.
- Polygon Gallery – the art museum in North Vancouver is now open again to the public as of mid-June.
- West Vancouver Aquatic Centre – the fitness centre is open to those who book times online. The leisure pool reopened as of September 8th last year.
Open Attractions Elsewhere in Metro Vancouver
- Ambush Paintball – the paintball venue in Surrey has reopened with new limitations.
- Britannia Heritage Shipyards – the heritage buildings closed in March of last year, but commenced a phased reopening on in the summer with new hours and protocols.
- Clip ‘n Climb – the climbing wall centre in Richmond was closed until May 19th. It then reopened, but with certain limitations in place.
- Extreme Air Park – indoor trampoline adventure parks in Langley and Richmond are open with reduced capacities in addition to other safety protocols.
- Fort Langley – the National Historic Site resumed operations on June 8th, 2020.
- Gulf of Georgia Cannery – the National Historic Site in Steveston Village re-opened in mid-July.
- Mackin House Museum – the historic house in Coquitlam was closed for a number of months, but then reopened in the fall.
- Watermania – the aquatic centre in Richmond was closed for about a year starting in the spring of 2020. It reopened, however, in time for the Spring Break school holidays in March of 2021.
- Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre – the Burnaby venue reopened as of June 2nd, 2020.
- Port Moody Farmers Market – the winter market at the Port Moody Rec Centre is operating, but only with food vendors as of the beginning of December.
- Richmond Indoor Paintball – the Lower Mainland’s only indoor paintball facility has reopened.
- Reifel Bird Sanctuary – the migratory bird sanctuary is open in Delta.
- Stewart Farm – while the farmhouse remains closed, guided outdoor tours are available.
- White Rock Promenade & Pier – the promenade reopened at the end of May and the pier reopened in the middle of June.
- WildPlay – an outdoor adventure place with ropes courses and ziplines in Maple Ridge.
Open Attractions in the Fraser Valley
- Castle Fun Park – the adventure park with mini golf, bumper cars, bowling and other fun activities was closed from the spring until June 16th. Since that date, some but not all activities have resumed operations.
- Harrison Boat Tours – Shoreline Cruises and Harrison Eco Tours at Harrison Hot Springs have been operating since June of 2020.
- Harrison Hot Springs Resort – the world-famous resort and spa closed for a number of weeks, but then reopened at the end of May.
- Sasquatch Mountain – the ski resort near Harrison Hot Springs is open for the 2020/21 ski season.
- Vancouver Zoo – the Greater Vancouver Zoo is back in business as of June 1st, 2020.
- Wineries – most Lower Mainland wineries have reopened their wine stores, resumed wine tasting activities or are at least offering online sales and curbside pick-up.
Open Attractions in the Sea to Sky Region
- Britannia Mine – the historical site reopened in June for the general public.
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre – visitors can enjoy the exhibits and outdoor walking tours once again as of November 27th.
As more tourist attractions and places of interest reopen we’ll continue to add to the above list. In the meantime, though, check out the lists of open farmers markets and parks below, and see official websites of venues for exact details. Further below you’ll also find details about open retailers and other information and resources.
Whatever you do in Vancouver, be responsible and stay safe! Don’t make your bubble too big, maintain appropriate physical distancing, stay home if feeling sick, and wear a mask when needed. Have fun, but stay safe (and help keep others safe too). Together we can beat this thing!
Lower Mainland Parks
In addition to food, during a pandemic people also need to maintain their mental health. One way of accomplishing that is through exercise and being outdoors. Parks are great places to do that, especially ones close to home.
A number of major parks that are still open include those outlined below. Most smaller community parks throughout the Lower Mainland also remain open.
(Note: This list is accurate to the best of our ability at the time of writing of this article. The status of individual venues may change at any time.)
- Ambleside Park in West Vancouver – the waterfront route from the Capilano River to Dundarave is open for people to enjoy.
- Bear Creek Park in Surrey – the miniature train and miniature golf have been closed, but the park and playgrounds are still available for exploring.
- Burnaby Lake – the walking trails around the lake are open.
- Burnaby Mountain – the trails and open areas are open.
- Central Park in Burnaby – the forested trails are open, as is the Pitch and Putt Golf Course.
- Deer Lake in Burnaby – although the path and boardwalks around the lake are open to the public, everyone has to walk in the same clockwise direction to facilitate physical distancing.
- Dundarave in West Vancouver – the beach, pier and seawall are all open to the public.
- Elgin Heritage Park – the park in Surrey has remained open (although Stewart Farm has been operating under limited conditions).
- Inter River Park in North Vancouver – the sports fields, bike park and hiking trails are all open.
- John Hendry Park in Vancouver – Trout Lake is still open for people to walk around.
- Kitsilano in Vancouver – the ocean-front park and beach remain open.
- Lighthouse Park – the parking lot at this West Vancouver park was closed for a number of weeks last year but it has since reopened.
- Mundy Park in Coquitlam – the trails at the park remain open.
- Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver – the park is beautiful this time of year.
- Rocky Point Park in Port Moody – the park is open, as are its walking and cycling trails.
- Spanish Banks – the beach near UBC remains open to the public.
- Stanley Park in Vancouver – except for the Vancouver Aquarium, most of the facilities at the park have reopened.
- Belcarra Regional Park – the park just north of Port Moody remains open. To help people maintain physical distancing, the loop around Sasamat Lake has been designated one-way until further notice.
- Boundary Bay Regional Park – the children’s playground has now reopened. The beach and trails at the park in Tsawwassen are also open.
- Capilano River Regional Park – the area around North Vancouver’s Cleveland Dam is open to the public, as are the trails from there down to Ambleside in West Vancouver.
- Lynn Headwaters Regional Park – the trails and parking are open to the public once again.
- Pacific Spirit Regional Park – the walking trails on the UBC Endowment Lands are still a great place to experience nature and get exercise.
- Rice Lake in North Vancouver – the parking lot at the nearby Seymour Demonstration Forest has reopened and the trails around the lake remain open.
- Alice Lake Provincial Park – the park near Squamish re-opened for day-use as of May 14th and camping as of June 1st.
- Bridal Veil Falls – the provincial park up past Chilliwack re-opened for day-use as of the middle of May.
- Cultus Lake Provincial Park – the park in the Fraser Valley opened for day-use. Its campgrounds are also open again beginning on June 1st.
- Golden Ears – the provincial park north of Maple Ridge re-opened for day-use on May 14th. The beach at Alouette Lake is also open. Campground facilities, however, remained closed until June 1st.
- Kilby Provincial Park – the Kilby Museum is closed for the season until April of 2021. Parts of the campground, however, remain open to the public.
- Porteau Cove Provincial Park – both the campground and entire park up towards Squamish were closed for a number of weeks. The park was also one of the last provincial parks to reopen, but did so finally at the beginning of June.
- Rolley Lake – the provincial park north of Mission has reopened to the public for day-use. Campgrounds there have been back in operation as of June 1st.
- Sasquatch Provincial Park – the park near Harrison Hot Springs has reopened for both day-use and camping as of June 1st.
- Shannon Falls – the provincial park near Squamish is open as of June 1st, 2020, after being closed for a few weeks.
- Stawamus Chief Provincial Park – the popular hiking spot in Squamish was closed but has now since reopened.
NOTE: The contents of this article are accurate to the best of our knowledge and as of the writing of this article. Things change, however, so see official venue websites for exact details.
Lower Mainland Stores That Are Still Open
Thousands of stores and restaurants are still open, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, although operating under modified conditions. As of early 2021, however, theatres, cinemas and night clubs are all still closed.
Except for places undergoing renovations (like Oakridge Centre), pretty much all Metro Vancouver shopping malls remain open including the following:
- Aberdeen Centre – the Richmond mall has remained open. Similar to other places, initially only essential-service retailers like the supermarket, drugstore, post office and a few food venues remained open. Now though, an increasing number of stores have resumed operations.
- Central City – Surrey’s second largest mall remains open.
- IKEA – the Swedish home furnishing retailer’s Coquitlam and Richmond stores reopened for in-store shopping on June 1st, 2020.
- Guildford Town Centre – the mall in Surrey remains open.
- Lansdowne Mall – the mall remains open. Its annual live Lunar New Year events in February, however, did not take place in 2021.
- Lonsdale Quay – the public market has remained open throughout the pandemic.
- McArthurGlen Outlet Mall – the shopping centre near the Vancouver Airport in Richmond remains open.
- Metropolis at Metrotown – the Burnaby mall has remained open.
- Pacific Centre – the downtown Vancouver mall also remained open, although many of its stores closed initially.
- Park Royal Shopping Centre – the West Vancouver shopping mall remains open.
- Tsawwassen Mills – most, but not all businesses at the outlet mall in Tsawwassen are open.
Several major department stores closed initially. Most though have now reopened.
We’d love to list all retailers that have remained open or have reopened, especially smaller and locally-owned ones. That would be impossible though. Instead, below, we list places where you can find lists of what’s open in specific parts of the Lower Mainland.
Other Resources for Finding Open Places
At Vancouver’s Best Places we’d love to have a comprehensive list of shops, restaurants and other businesses that remain open during the current COVID-19 health crisis, including small single location places. That would be a big job, and far beyond what a small organization like ours could handle. Instead, we have compiled a list of other organizations and online resources that have their own lists of open places.
Check out the following for other lists of places that are currently open:
- Explore Squamish – the Squamish tourism agency has a list of businesses in the area that are open.
- Granville Island – the website for the popular tourist and shopping destination has a list of what’s open in the area.
- Invest NewWest – the City of New Westminster compiled a list of places where people can still buy things from in their community.
- Shipyards District in North Vancouver – the Lower Lonsdale BIA has a list of businesses that are open in North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood.
- Tourism Harrison Hot Springs – the resort’s tourism agency has a list of restaurants and attractions that are open in the area.
- VisitRichmondBC – Tourism Richmond has a list of places in Richmond that remain open on its website.
- Whistler’s Doors Open Directory – a list of open restaurants, hotels and shops on the Tourism Whistler website.
For information about COVID-19 and what’s happening in BC, checking out the following websites:
- BC Centre for Disease Control
- Government of Canada
- Vancouver Coastal Health
For a list of Lower Mainland places that closed due to the pandemic, see our article about Vancouver Closures and Cancellations.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Best Places for Shopping
- Lower Mainland Parks & Nature
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Lower Mainland Hiking Trails