The coronavirus forced many Vancouver stores, restaurants and other places to close temporarily. Some have remained open and most 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 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.
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 October 21st, 2021, 200,249 people had been diagnosed with the coronavirus in British Columbia to date. This includes 4,965 currently active cases and 715 new cases (compared to the day before). 377 people are currently in hospital including 136 in intensive care (ICU).
Despite having a relatively small population, Canada ranks #28 in the world for countries with the most people infected to date.
BC’s numbers had been on the rise in the spring. April 8th had 1,293 new cases which was the highest number since the start of the pandemic. Beginning in early summer, however, cases had started to decline. Numbers had been encouraging, up until just a couple of months ago. Over the last little while, however, things have once again taken a turn for the worse.
Recent Health Authority Rules & Initiatives
As of August 25th, new restrictions have been put in place due to the recent rise in case numbers. Masks are once again required for access to all indoor public spaces in BC. As well, beginning September 13th people in the province will have to provide proof of vaccination to enter indoor places like sporting events, concerts, theatres, restaurants, nightclubs and gyms.
The BC vaccine card website launched on September 7th. All BC residents have been asked to use this site which when you input your Personal Health Number, date of birth and dates you got your vaccine dose(s) (if you have done so), gives you a card with a QR code that you can print or save on your phone.
This card is able to be scanned by businesses who require attendees to be vaccinated, and when scanned it states whether the carrier is fully, partially or not vaccinated. Only one dose of the vaccine is needed on September 13th to access all the above locations. Two doses will be needed from October 24th and on.
However, as of September 28th, there are more restrictions in the eastern parts of the Fraser Valley. Those who are fully vaccinated in the Fraser east region must show proof of vaccination in order to attend large organized gatherings or participate in indoor sports. Folks who are not fully vaccinated in the Fraser east region are prohibited from attending any large organized gatherings. They cannot participate in indoor fitness activities either.
In addition, as of October 4th, masks are required for all students in the province from kindergarten to grade 12. This is different from previous weeks, in which masks were only required for those in grades 4 and above.
Beginning on October 25th, the province is removing capacity limits for indoor events. Masks are still required in all indoor public places, but there are no longer caps on how many people can be inside of places like concerts, sporting events, theatres and more.
The province is currently in step three of its four-step plan to reopen the economy and ease COVID-related restrictions. Below are the four phases and their predicted dates of implementation.
Phase One – Effective May 25th, 2021
The following changes were effective immediately as of May 25th:
- Restaurants can once again offer indoor dine-in service for groups of up to 6 people.
- Bars and restaurants can serve alcohol up until 10 pm.
- Non-essential travel between regions is still prohibited. Travel within the region where you live, however, is now permitted. The government is no longer urging people to stay close to home and within their immediate communities as much as possible. The three regions that people still shouldn’t travel between are the Lower Mainland, BC Interior and Vancouver Island.
- Outdoor sports for adults can resume, as can low-intensity fitness classes (like yoga). Spectators at team sporting events, however, will still not be allowed.
- People are allowed to have up to a maximum of 5 friends over for indoor visits at their homes.
- Outdoor organized events for up to 50 people are allowed (with COVID-related safety measures in place).
Phase Two – Effective June 15th
The following changes came into effect as of June 15th, 2021:
- Recreational travel between the three regions of the province will be allowed. This means that people can travel from the Lower Mainland to both the BC Interior and Vancouver Island (and vice versa).
- Group fitness classes will likely be allowed to resume.
- Events like high school graduation ceremonies and weddings with limited numbers of people will likely be possible.
- Larger indoor events will be permitted, including movies at cinemas for audiences of up to 50 people.
Phase Three – Effective July 1st
The following changes took effect as of July 1st:
- Casinos and nightclubs are allowed to reopen (but at reduced capacities).
- There are no longer restrictions on personal gatherings whether outdoors or indoors.
- Large-scale indoor and outdoor events can have increased capacities (as long as they have proper safety plans).
- Masks are no longer mandatory in all public locations, although they are in some and still recommended for all (this has since been reversed).
- As of July 5th, fully vaccinated travellers returning to Canada no longer have to isolate for 14 days. (Those who don’t have two doses must still isolate.)
Phase Four- Effective in Later in the Summer
Towards the end of the summer or fall, more restrictions will hopefully be lifted (with exact dates and other details to be confirmed). Beginning in September, or later, most pre-pandemic social restrictions will hopefully be removed. Spectators will also be allowed again to attend sports events.
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 was closed for a while but then reopened at the end of May in 2021.
- 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.
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden – the classical Chinese garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown was closed between October 19th and April 24th, but is now open.
- Museum of Anthropology – UBC’s MOA reopened on July 8th, 2020, after being closed for a few months.
- Museum of Vancouver – the museum with exhibits about Vancouver’s past reopened in June of 2020.
- Roedde House Museum – the historic house reopened to the public in July of 2020.
- Science World – the science museum reopened in the summer of 2020. The IMAX Theatre, however, isn’t currently operating.
- Vancouver Aquarium – after being closed since 2020, the aquarium in Stanley Park is open once again as of August 16th, 2021.
- 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 of 2020.
- The Vancouver Police Museum – the museum with exhibits about crime, criminals and policing was closed for a while but then reopened on June 3rd, 2020.
Other Open Places in Vancouver
- Arts Club Theatre – after months without live performances, tickets for two in-person shows this summer (2021) are on sale and a lineup for the fall and new year has been scheduled. The theatre also continues to offer a variety of audio shows.
- Aquabus – the passenger ferries are running (and have been since late May, 2020).
- BC Place Stadium – most events at the facility are back up and running including home games for the Vancouver Whitecaps and BC Lions, both with fans in the stands.
- Bloedel Conservatory – this garden temporarily closed in the spring, but then reopened in July 2020.
- Canada Place – a historic building with some great views in the heart of downtown.
- False Creek Ferries – the passenger boats are running (and have been since late May).
- Firehall Arts Centre – after a time being closed, the Firehall has run an outdoor concert series from July to September, 2021. They hope to have an indoor show in the fall.
- Flyover Canada – the popular flight simulator attraction reopened in mid-June with a special new feature.
- 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 closed and reopened a couple times. As of late May 2021, it’s open again.
- Hastings Park Race Course – reopened with limited capacity on Monday and Tuesday nights.
- H.R. MacMillan Space Centre – the space centre and planetarium in Vanier Park has reopened for programs and workshops. The Planetarium Theatre is now open again as well.
- 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.
- Playland – the amusement park at the PNE opened for the season in mid-June.
- Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy – the comedy club in New Westminster has reopened with limited capacity as of June 2021.
- Riley Park Farmers Market – on Saturdays at Riley Park near Nat Bailey Stadium.
- Rocky Mountaineer – the local passenger train company suspended operations for the entire 2020 season. They re-opened in the summer of 2021.
- Stanley Park Miniature Train – the 15-minute train ride is open five days a week from 11 am to 4 pm as of August, 2021.
- 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.
- Westcoast Sightseeing – Vancouver’s big sightseeing bus company has re-opened once again after some stops and starts as of the summer of 2021.
Open Attractions on the North Shore and Sea to Sky Region
- Britannia Mine – the historical site reopened in June 2020 for the general public.
- 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 Grind – the trail with hundreds of steps up to the Grouse Mountain ski resort opened for the summer season on May 10th.
- Grouse Mountain – after being closed for over three months last year, the attraction has been open since June. It closed for the ski season at the beginning of May, but remains open for summer activities.
- Lonsdale Quay Public Market – most food retailers at the world-famous market have either remained open or, since closing temporarily last spring, have reopened.
- Lynn Canyon Park – the suspension bridge in the park was closed for over a year. As of the fall of 2021, however, it has 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.
- Railway Museum of British Columbia – reopened on July 1st but is only open on Saturdays through to the fall.
- Scandinave Spa – the European spa in Whistler was closed between April 4th and the 15th of 2021 due to a possible exposure to COVID-19 among its staff. It has since reopened.
- Sea to Sky Gondola – after an unfortunate second closure of the great attraction due to vandalism, the gondola reopened in June, 2021.
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre – the Indigenous museum and cultural centre in Whistler is open as of June 2021.
- 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.
- Whistler Blackcomb – now open for summer activities after closing during the spring season.
Open Attractions Elsewhere in Metro Vancouver
- Big Splash Water Park – Tsawwassen’s big water park is open for the summer season as of the beginning of July.
- 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.
- Burnaby Village – the outdoor museum at Deer Lake opens for the summer season on May 1st. It’s open from Tuesdays to Sundays each week until September 6th.
- Clip ‘n Climb – the climbing wall centre in Richmond was closed until May 19th, 2020. It then reopened, but with certain limitations in place.
- Cloverdale Flea Market – the market was closed for a number of months but then reopened on June 20th, 2021 with its usual 6 am to 3 pm hours on Sundays.
- 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.
- Grand Villa Casino and other Gateway Casinos locations – the Burnaby casino was closed for a long time but as of the summer of 2021 has resumed operations. Other venues operated by Gateway Casinos have also re-opened. These include Starlight Casino in New Westminster, Cascades Casino in Langley, Chances Squamish, Chances Mission and Chances Abbotsford.
- Gulf of Georgia Cannery – the National Historic Site in Steveston Village re-opened in mid-July.
- International Buddhist Temple – this massive temple is open to the public.
- Mackin House Museum – the historic house in Coquitlam was closed for a number of months, but then reopened in the fall.
- Museum of Surrey – the museum in Cloverdale reopened in February after a short break.
- Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre – the Burnaby venue reopened as of June 2nd, 2020.
- Paintball Venues – this includes Ambush Paintball in Surrey, Richmond Indoor Paintball and Maple Ridge’s Delta Force Paintball.
- 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.
- River Rock Casino Resort – reopened for the first time in over a year on July 1st, 2021.
- Reifel Bird Sanctuary – the migratory bird sanctuary is open in Delta.
- Stewart Farm – the farmhouse reopened on July 3rd, meaning the whole site is now operational again.
- Vancouver Paddlewheeler – the New Westminster-based boat tour company suspended operations until further notice as of December 30th, 2020. They’ve since re-opened but are running less frequently than they did before.
- 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.
- White Rock Promenade & Pier – the promenade reopened at the end of May and the pier reopened in the middle of June.
- WildPlay Element Park – an outdoor adventure place with ropes courses and ziplines in Maple Ridge.
Open Attractions in the Fraser Valley
- Abbotsford Flea Market – the flea market at Abbotsford Exhibition Park was closed for a number of months, but then reopened in late May of 2021.
- Agassiz Speedway – the car race track near Harrison Hot Springs is open, but with maximum capacities of just 50 spectators.
- 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.
- Cultus Lake Waterpark and Adventure Park – both of these very popular attractions reopened at the end of June. Operating hours are somewhat shorter than normal to begin but are being extended from mid-July on.
- 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.
- Twilight Drive-In Theatre – the outdoor movie theatre venue in Langley has reopened.
- 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.
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 restaurant at Prospect Point, most of the facilities at the park are open. Even the Vancouver Aquarium is operating again as of August 16th.
- 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 opened for the season in April of 2021. Parts of the campground 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 June 2021, however, 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 tourism-related attractions and businesses, free training and COVID-related resources are available at go2hr.ca.
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