Vancouver has almost gotten rid of its bad reputation as a no-fun city. There is still a lot going on even in October when people are busy with midterms, the days get darker and the weather gets wetter.
The best part? Everything on this list is either totally free, costs $5 or $10. You can have fun in the city without getting a shocking credit card bill at the end of the month.
This list of can't-miss events is packed with autumnal fun and Halloween goodness. Catch a festival, pick out a pumpkin and say hello to October!
Fort Langley Cranberry Festival
This adorable festival in Fort Langley is all about cranberries! Shop from the village market, stock up on cranberries for Thanksgiving and get messy in the cranberry stomp. You’ll learn about our local indigenous cranberry history and you get to check out the historic fort for free! If you’ve been waiting for a good time to check out Fort Langley, now’s your chance.
Vancouver Art Gallery
Cost: Free or by donation every Tuesday night
The Art Gallery is so underrated. There’s always something new to see, even if you’re bored to death of Emily Carr paintings! This October, you’ll get a chance to see four mind-bending exhibits including works from local artists and international super-stars. It’s always free to check out the gallery on Tuesday nights after 5 p.m. so skip the Netflix and get yourself cultured.
Cost: Free or by donation on Thursday, October 18
Visit the Beaty Biodiversity Museum for their slightly-spooky after-hours event. You’ll get a chance to take an interactive tour and see a screening of Raising Big Blue, the true story of how they got that massive whale skeleton from P.E.I. to its home in a Vancouver museum!
Cost: Free or by donation on Sunday, October 21 and Saturday, October 27
If you love colour and culture, you can’t miss the Diwali Fest this October! Shop at the Indian bazaar for South Asian crafts and unforgettable food. You can take in classical and contemporary Indian music and dance performances and it’s all for free! Diwali Fest is happening in Surrey on Sunday, October 21 and in Vancouver on Saturday, October 27.
Free Saturday at the Vancouver Writers Festival
Cost: Free or by donation on Saturday, October 20
Attention book nerds! The Vancouver Writers Festival has plenty of FREE events on Saturday, October 20 where you can meet with authors, see their latest works and hear lively discussions. Whether you love YA novels, poetry, mysteries or love stories—there’s an event for you!
Vancouver Farmer’s Markets
There’s so much to see at the Farmer’s Markets in the Fall before most of them close for the season. Shop local fresh veggies, handmade goods and a ton of healthy food products. Depending on where you go, you can stock up on raw honey, artisanal kimchi, fresh baked bread and more. The markets are totally free to check out so you can sample away to your stomach’s content!
Go on a Short and Spontaneous Road Trip
Cost: Whatever you use up in the gas tank
You know when you wake up on a Saturday morning, intending to sleep in, but you wake up early like it’s a regular workday? Take advantage of those days and go on a spontaneous road trip! It takes less than an hour to get you out of the city and into a totally different element. Check out our list of short and spontaneous road trips from Vancouver!
Celebrate Fall at the Kitsilano Autumn Fair
You’ll feel like you’re in Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls when you join in the fun at the Kitsilano Autumn Fair on Saturday, October 27. The whole block is filled with autumnal fun! Check out the tea room at the Kits House, chow down on a pancake breakfast and see the mini-haunted house.
See the Parade of Lost Souls
You’ll see seriously creative costumes at the mysterious Parade of Lost Souls. This event is like an alternative Halloween party. It’s an artistic celebration of life and death filled with music and performance. Don’t miss this eclectic Halloween celebration on Saturday, October 27.
Cosy up and watch a Drive-in Movie
Drive-in movies in Vancouver? You can live the dream at the River District’s drive-in movie nights. In October, they’re doing three nights of drive-in fun featuring all the blockbuster movies that came out this summer. You’ll avoid all the Suzie Seat Kickers and Tommy Texters when you watch a movie from your car!
Vancouver Halloween Parade and Expo
This three-day festival is jam-packed with Halloween events and costumes inspired by fun stuff like anime, comics, video games and more. The Parade is on October 7th and is a great place to get some inspiration or your own Halloween costume!
Stalk the cast of Riverdale
Riverdale filming is in full swing again! You can stalk the cast at these known filming locations and check the headlines for where they were most recently spotted. While actual stalking is totally not advised, there’s no reason why you can’t check out Rocko’s Family Diner yourself! If you *happen* to run into Archie or B&V, then all the better.
Go on a fun Fall hike with your besties
There’s no better free activity in Vancouver than hitting the trails with your friends! Find the perfect spot for you guys to hang out and get a little dose of fresh air on our list of super easy hikes that you have to check off your bucket list this Fall.
UBC Apple Festival
This event is like Bubba from Forest Gump except with apples instead of shrimp. You can get apple pie, apple cider, dried apples, apple butter, apple crisp, candied apples and apple streusel at the UBC Apple Festival! Selling a dizzying variety of apples and their associated products, this festival is an absolute must-do! It runs on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14.
Grab a Coffee at The Garden
Cost: The price of a cup of coffee
Right when it starts getting super rainy in October, head to this brand new coffee shop in Strathcona called The Garden. You’ll be just as uplifted by the botanical theme as you will by the coffee!
Drink up at these free North Shore Craft Beer Week Events
Cost: Beers from $4
There’s no shortage of craft breweries in Vancouver, but have you checked out the scene in North Van? North Shore Craft Beer Week is perfect for checking out the best brews poured in North Vancouver. Many of their events are free and you can get beers from just $4.
Eat all the Halloween Cookies at Thomas Haas
Cost: $3.50 each
These charming little cookies at Thomas Haas are so going to get you into the spirit of the season! Not to alarm anyone, but they also have a pumpkin almond croissant this year. It sounds amazing and I’m going to go there ASAP to get one. Dozen. To get one dozen.
Richmond Night Market
Richmond Night Market keeps rocking right into the first week of October! It’s the best time to eat all the food you can find to keep you warm. From spicy deep fried Tteok-bokki to sweet and soft Japanese mochi, this is your last chance to indulge at the Richmond night market for the year.
Find the perfect pumpkin at Southlands Heritage Farm
Cost: $5 per pumpkin
You don't have to go far to find a pumpkin patch. For easy picking, pumpkins are pre-harvested and dotted throughout the farm for you to find. How very cosmopolitan. You can explore the apple orchard and say hi to all the farm animals! This event runs every day in October and entry is free or by donation.
Ride the False Creek Water Taxis
Cost: $3.50 for a one-way ticket
Arguably the most fun you can have playing tourist out on the water, the water taxis run all year long if the weather's good enough! Voyage across False Creek with your friends this October and take advantage of the fact that Vancouver is right on the waterfront.
Doughnuts, Doughnuts, Doughnuts
Cost: Less than $5
There are so many spots to get amazing doughnuts in Vancouver. These affordable little luxuries will put a smile on your face even on the rainiest of days. You can go on our epic doughnut crawl for the ultimate treat experience!
Hit up the Cloverdale Flea Market
Cost: Less than $5
Hidden treasures are waiting to be found at this massive flea market. Spend an afternoon at the Cloverdale Flea Market to find the perfect vintage piece for your Fall look or to snag retro housewares on the cheap. You never know what you'll find!
Opening Night at the Vancouver International Improv Festival
Cost: $8 on Wednesday, October 10
This is probably the best deal on entertainment this October. Opening night of the Vancouver International Improv Festival is just $8! Improv in Vancouver is seriously funny stuff and it's way more fun than watching a comedy special on Netflix again.
Movies in the Morgue: The Hitcher
Cost: $10 on Tuesday, October 9
Consider this your Halloween warm-up. Come to the old morgue and watch a screening of the retro horror flick, The Hitcher. This has got to be the spookiest way to watch a horror movie.
Slurp up a bowl of Ramen
Cost: Varies depending on the restaurant
Vancouver might be one of the most solid places to get a steaming hot bowl of ramen. With so many places to choose from, you're bound to find one that fits your budget and tastes amazing. This is way better than eating instant noodles at home!
Find Cheap Eats in the Suburbs
Cost: Under $10
Some of the best restaurants in Vancouver are actually outside of the city, hiding in the suburbs. Try the sugar-crisped pineapple bun from Lido or an authentic Napoli pizza for an affordable treat this October.
Grab a juice and go on a crisp autumn walk on the seawall
Cost: Under $10
October is when we start to notice how it gets dark earlier. Fresh juices with their punchy colours will give you that extra boost of energy you need to get through the day. If you're lucky, take one with you for a walk on the seawall on a sunny day!
Hang out with cats at the Catfe
Cost: $10 Catmission
Playful and cuddly, cats are just amazing. If you don't have a pet of your own, why not hang out with the cats at Catfe! It's $10 for catmission to the Catfe and you'll get a chance to meet new furry friends and take cute Instagram shots with them.
See live music underground at Guilt and Co.
You can catch a live show at the underground club Guilt & Co. and the price of admission is whatever you can afford. They serve drinks and snacks inside and if you haven't been before, it's a total must see. Get up close with seriously talented local musicians in a romantic underground setting.
Build-your-own Bucket List of must-see coffee shops
Cost: You can get a treat and a coffee for less than $10
Vancouver has too many great coffee shops to count. Challenge yourself to go check out places that you've always wanted to see! You can build your own bucket list this October and sip your way through the best coffee shops in the city.