Most major music acts make a stop in Vancouver when they're on tour, so international celebrity shows complement a packed calendar of rising local bands and performing arts. Vancouver has plenty of film festivals, cutting-edge theater, comedy, opera, and ballet amid its artistic offerings, with many companies resident in town. The added frisson of celebrity sightings are common thanks to the city's ever-strong film and TV industry (aka "Hollywood North").

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  • 1. Arts Club Theatre Company

    The Arts Club Theatre Company stages productions (a few by local playwrights) on three principal stages: the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage on South Granville, the Granville Island Stage, and a third in False Creek's Olympic Village.

    1585 Johnston St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3R9, Canada
  • 2. Rio Theatre


    Built in 1938, this independent cinema is an East Vancouver legend. Take in a classic film, award-winning movie, concert, or production while sipping on a cocktail and eating their famous grilled cheese. See website for showtimes.

    1660 E. Broadway, , Canada

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: C$8–C$12 for movies
  • 3. Rio Theatre

    You'll get a bit of everything at the Rio Theatre: Hollywood flicks, cult classics, as well as live entertainment like burlesque, comedy, and more. This is a real East Vancouver institution. When the building went up for sale in 2018, the community rallied together to raise more than $3 million to save the historic theater. There's also a bar and concession stand. (If you're hungry, order the grilled cheese.)

    1660 E. Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5N 1W1, Canada

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: $13
  • 4. Vancouver TheatreSports League


    Vancouver TheatreSports League is an internationally renowned comedy improv company; they run regular and themed shows (based on popular movies, television shows, and more) at The Improv Centre on Granville Island. They also host an annual winter comedy festival called The Massacre. Shows here are always laugh-out-loud funny.

    1502 Duranleau St., , Canada

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: C$8–C$23.50 depending on day, time, and seating
  • 5. Ballet British Columbia

    Innovative dances and timeless classics by internationally acclaimed choreographers are presented by Ballet British Columbia. Most performances are at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Hamilton Street. 

    601 Smithe St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 2G6, Canada
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  • 6. Carousel Theatre for Young People

    Children's theater is the focus here, with most performances across the street at the Waterfront Theatre, though some are elsewhere in the city.

    1411 Cartwright St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3R7, Canada
  • 7. Chan Centre for the Performing Arts

    This vast arts complex on the campus of the University of British Columbia includes a 1,200-seat concert hall, a theater, and a cinema.

    6265 Crescent Rd., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z1, Canada
  • 8. Fans of Vancouver

    Movie buffs will love these behind-the-scenes, 45- to 75-minute tours of how Vancouver morphs into incarnations featured in films including 50 Shades of Grey, Supernatural, Dead Pool, Flash, Ghost Protocol, and many others. Tours start at different Downtown points; all bookings are online.

    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: C$40 walking tour; C$199 driving tour
  • 9. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

    Kitsilano | Film

    This small multiplex shows foreign and independent films and has a bar-eatery in the lobby.

    2110 Burrard St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6K 3H5, Canada
  • 10. Firehall Arts Centre

    Innovative theater and modern dance are showcased at this intimate Downtown space, set in a 1907 firehouse on the border of trendy Gastown and the Downtown East Side.

    280 E. Cordova St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A 1L3, Canada
  • 11. Pacific Cinémathèque

    This not-for-profit society is dedicated to all things celluloid, from exhibitions and lectures to independent and international features. Cinema Sundays can be good for families (depending on the screening), with discussions, games, or activities following the film.

    1131 Howe St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6Z 1A1, Canada
  • 12. Queen Elizabeth Theatre

    Ballet, opera, touring Broadway musicals, and other large-scale events take place at the Queen Elizabeth. It seats more than 2,700 people, making it one of the largest proscenium theaters in Canada.

    650 Hamilton St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 6B1, Canada
  • 13. The Cultch

    The Vancouver East Cultural Centre is a multipurpose performance space set in a 1909 church. Usually just called "The Cultch," it hosts concerts, theater productions, dance shows, and more.

    1895 Venables St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5L 2H6, Canada
  • 14. The Dance Centre

    The hub for dance in British Columbia, this striking former bank building with an Art Deco facade hosts full-scale performances by national and international artists, informal showcases, and also classes and workshops. There are often informal noon performances as part of the Discover Dance! series.

    677 Davie St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 2G6, Canada
  • 15. Theatre Under the Stars

    In summer, family-friendly musicals like Mamma Mia!, Shrek, Mary Poppins, and 42nd Street are the main draw at Malkin Bowl, an outdoor amphitheater in Stanley Park. You can watch the show from the lawn and bring a picnic to make it dinner theater. Ask about the exchange insurance when buying tickets as plein-air shows happen rain or shine. If there's a downpour midshow, audience members are provided with ponchos—and chances are that the cast will applaud you for hanging in!

    610 Pipeline Rd., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6G 1Z4, Canada
  • 16. Vancouver Opera

    Stepping away from a season of performances, the city's opera company stages occasional works plus a three-week festival in May at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and plaza.

    650 Hamilton St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 2P1, Canada
  • 17. Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

    The resident company at the Orpheum Theatre presents classical and popular music. Some of their performances are at other city venues such as the Chan Centre in Point Grey. 

    601 Smithe St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 3K4, Canada
  • 18. Waterfront Theatre

    Next door to Granville Island's Kids Market, this theater often hosts children and youth-oriented performances. Its intimate size is also lovely for writers' readings, dance shows, and plays.

    1412 Cartwright St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3R7, Canada

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