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Cheap Things to Do in Vancouver

The best things in life are free and a surprising number of them are in Vancouver, Victoria, and Whistler. In fact, most of what's enjoyable in this part of the world—including beaches, parks, hiking trails, interesting architecture, great views, and fun-and-funky neighborhoods—is available free of charge.

Vancouver

In Vancouver, you can visit Stanley Park, Granville Island, Downtown, Gastown, Chinatown, and Yaletown and rarely have to open your wallet to pay admission fees—except for such worthwhile venues as the Vancouver Aquarium and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden. Granville Island's markets and galleries are all free, as are Canada Place and Stanley Park. Even the shuttle bus around Stanley Park and guided walking tours of Gastown are free.

If that's not enough, here are a few lesser-known ways to stretch those loonies and twonies:

On Tuesday evenings between 5 and 9 the Vancouver Art Gallery charges admission by donation, while the Museum of Anthropology has reduced rates. In North Vancouver, most visitors head for the fun, if pricey, Capilano Suspension Bridge. A few miles away, the equally thrilling Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, in Lynn Canyon Park, is absolutely free. It might be a bit of a trek, but also free on the North Shore are the Capilano Salmon Hatchery, where you can learn about the life cycle of salmon (and, in fall, watch them struggling upstream to spawn). The Lonsdale Quay Public Market is home to street entertainers, tugboats, and great city views.

Public Transit

Don't forget one of Vancouver's great unsung bargains: an off-peak, two-zone SkyTrain ticket. For just a few dollars, you can see much of the city's east side and mountains from a clean, efficient elevated train. Using the same ticket you can transfer to the SeaBus for a 15-minute ride across the harbor. The tiny foot-passenger ferries across False Creek are great bargains at just a few dollars a ticket.

Updated: 06-2013

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