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Top 10 things to do in Vancouver in the fall

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in the Autumn

Top 10 things to do in Vancouver in the fall

Autumn is a beautiful time to get to know Vancouver. Temperatures are mild, but there's a pleasant nip to the morning air, and the changing trees suddenly accent the scenery with orange and red. There's lots of urban action -- festivals, concerts, theatre, art crawls, seasonal food events -- and outdoor adventure is still going strong.


Here are our top 10 Vancouver to-dos in fall:

1. Take a foodie tour

Granville Island Public MarketExternal Link Title is a colourful feast for the senses. If you can imagine it, it's probably there: artisanal goods (cheese, pasta, sausage, chocolate, bread), gleaming produce, fresh seafood and meats, coffees and teas, spirits, including small-batch sake, wine, artist studios and offbeat boutiques, caf?s and restaurants. You could, and should, spend an entire day exploring. Take a behind-the-scenes guided culinary market tour with Edible CanadaExternal Link Title or book a city food tour. Vancouver Foodie ToursExternal Link Title also leads eating and tasting sessions on foot all around the city.

2. Walk in the park

World-renowned Stanley ParkExternal Link Title is larger than New York City's Central Park, and its urban forest of old-growth trees is the city's cherished green heart. Stroll the park's huge network of trails, circle a lake, or stop and smell the flower-filled gardens. Other picture-perfect places to enjoy the fall foliage and fresh air are Queen Elizabeth ParkExternal Link Title and VanDusen Botanical GardenExternal Link Title.

3. Join a festival

Fall is festival time. Aimed at fans and filmmakers, the Vancouver International Film FestivalExternal Link Title in late September and early October screens 300 flicks from 60 countries, attracting movie buffs, directors, and celebrities. The festival is also home to one of the world's largest selections of Canadian films. Also in September is the Vancouver Fringe FestivalExternal Link Title, a celebration of alternative and independent theatre which hosts 800 performances around town. Both festivals feature the requisite talks, workshops, concerts, exhibitions, and -- perhaps the best part -- parties. Check the film fest's Facebook pageExternal Link Title and the Fringe fest's Twitter feedExternal Link Title for details.

4. Hike, kayak, bike

Vancouverites embrace the outdoor lifestyle, and you can too. In great shape? Take on the challenging the 2.9-kilometre Grouse GrindExternal Link Title, a hike composed mostly of stairs built into the mountainside. Enjoy the gondola ride down the mountain and look out for foraging bears. Or hit the rainforest trails: Lynn Canyon ParkExternal Link Title (North Vancouver), Lighthouse ParkExternal Link Title (West Vancouver), Quarry RockExternal Link Title (North Vancouver), and Pacific Spirit Regional ParkExternal Link Title (Vancouver, near the University of British Columbia) are favourites. Kayak in and around False Creek, Jericho Beach, or English Bay to experience life on the water. For Instagram-worthy views of downtown and English Bay, cycle or rollerblade the 10-kilometre paved Stanley Park SeawallExternal Link Title.


5. Make art and new friends

Paint NitesExternal Link Title see you take up a seat in a studio, pub, or restaurant, nibble on gourmet goodies, sip wine and microbrews, sometimes listen to live music, and try your hand at acrylic painting or collage. Sessions are generally two hours. If you're not the next Picasso, don't stress. Find a new friend and have fun.

6. Eat, just eat

If you visit in mid-October for Canadian Thanksgiving, look for great dining deals and seasonal holiday tasting menus. If you like the idea of sampling grilled squid, Japanese crepes, hand-pulled ramen, bubble waffles, and hurricane potatoes (skewered spiralized spuds) with a little carnival-game madness, troll the 140 stalls at the buzzing Richmond Night MarketExternal Link Title, North America's largest. It goes full tilt on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays until mid-October (bring Canadian cash).

7. Get into Halloween

October 31st in Vancouver External Link Titleis second only to Christmas for hoopla: parties, parades, pumpkin patches, horror movie marathons, haunted houses -- you can find it all. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese GardenExternal Link Title puts on an evening mid-autumn moon festival with traditional moon cakes, astronomers, storytelling, tea, and kung-fu masters. It's as much for the grown-ups as the kids. If you want to channel your inner child, Fright NightsExternal Link Title at the PNE Playland Amusement Park are super fun in that old-fashioned, town carnival way, with haunted houses, creepy rides, shows, and attractions.

8. Stroll the gardens

Every year, graceful Japanese maples paint VanDusen Botanical Garden in autumn crimsons and golds. This oasis is a top-10 North America public gardenExternal Link Title,External Link Title with paths winding through woods, around lily pad-dotted lakes, over bridges and green hills. Find a private spot in the 55 acres filled with meticulously curated flora and fauna from around the globe. The Elizabethan Maze is a fave. Leave time for the LEED Platinum visitor centerExternal Link Title, a sustainably designed building with a roof resembling a native orchid, plus an upscale caf? and superb gift shop.

9. Go flightseeing

Vancouver is about sea and sky, and seeing it from a bird's eye view is something special. Try a seaplane tour with Harbour AirExternal Link Title.External Link Title Options range from a 20-minute city panorama; to alpine lakes and glaciers; to a whale watching day jaunt. Float planes jet off the water from downtown's Coal Harbour. As you take off, check out the living roof of the Convention CentreExternal Link Title, added for the 2010 Winter Games, and when you land have a sunset drink at marina-side Cardero'sExternal Link Title.

10. Watch ice hockey live

It's true, Canadians love hockey. If you attend a Vancouver CanucksExternal Link Title, you'll quickly understand why. The season kicks off in late SeptemberExternal Link Title at Rogers ArenaExternal Link Title. For a cheaper but perhaps even more lively alternative, check out a Vancouver GiantsExternal Link Title giant. This junior ice hockey team is adored by local fans, who are sure to make your experience a memorable one.