12 fun things to do with kids in Vancouver

by Mike Archibald
 
Like any great world-class city, Vancouver is an outstanding place for families. From museums to memorabilia, restaurants to recreation, here are some of the top kid-friendly spots in the city for youngsters. [Photo credit: iStock.com/eli_asenova]

12 fun things to do with kids in Vancouver

Food and drink

  • Pizzeria Ludica: Come for the pizza, stay for the board games! This casual downtown pizzeria has more than 750 tabletop games in stock, all of them free to play while you chow down. The kitchen serves up crowd-pleasing Italian fare, including plenty of pasta choices and dozens of classic and signature thin-crust pizzas (including a build-your-own option). There’s also a dedicated kids meal for guests 10 and under. And talk about going above and beyond – on most evenings there’s an actual game steward on hand to help you navigate the selection and even provide a tutorial at your table!
  • The Old Spaghetti Factory: A timeless tradition among Vancouver families, the Old Spaghetti Factory is the scene of fond childhood memories for many locals. There are outlets throughout the Lower Mainland, but it’s the Gastown location that’s a truly important part of the city’s heritage – kitschy interior and all. The food is casual and delicious, and the generous portions and all-inclusive menu deliver great value for your money.
  • Café Deux Soleils: This vegetarian, very bohemian spot on The Drive is an institution in East Van. The atmosphere is homey and unpretentious, and there’s a great play area with a chalkboard where young ones can show off their creativity. The large, open dining area makes this an ideal spot for rambunctious groups. To eat, healthy comfort foods are on deck for breakfast, lunch and dinner – making this a nutritious alternative to the nearby fast food joints. Kid-friendly faves include grilled cheese, spinach and yam tacos, lil cheese quesadillas and an itsy-bitsy baby burger topped with cucumbers, tomatoes and sprouts.

Shopping

  • Beansprouts: Another business that speaks to the vitality of Vancouver’s east side, this charming shop stocks an excellent selection of kids clothing, toys and more. Consignment is a big part of the store’s business, and you’ll find a wide array of gently used items, all of the highest quality and for a great price.
  • Dilly Dally Kids: This family-run toy store on Commercial Drive is a true treasure trove. From babies to big kids, you’ll find goodies for boys and girls of all ages here. These are toys, games, crafts and books that speak to the wonder and sense of exploration that mark childhood. The sheer variety on display is enough to make any young child’s eyes light up with delight.
  • Golden Age Collectables: Founded in 1974 – and still going strong to this day – this Granville Street institution carries a staggering array of classic and contemporary comic books, manga, costumes, posters, toys, games, apparel and collectibles of all sorts. From cutting-edge graphic novels to superhero figurines, this is one of the best places in the city to geek out! The friendly staff here are incredibly knowledgeable and are always happy to help fantasy fans track down those must-have items to add to their collections.

Museums

  • Science World: This fascinating and interactive museum is a favourite spot for Vancouver visitors and a go-to rainy day activity for residents. The featured exhibitions are entertaining and educational, with many of them tailored toward a young audience. There’s even a dedicated Kidspace gallery for children ages one to six. One of the attraction’s best features is the OMNIMAX Theatre, which airs high-quality films and documentaries on a massive, eye-popping screen. Exhibitions on natural wonders, technological innovations and scientific discoveries will leave you and your brood feeling inspired.
  • B.C. Sports Hall of Fame: Memorabilia, medals and other sporting artifacts make up the permanent collection at this tribute to the province’s athletic accomplishments. It’s a great venue for field trips, birthdays and other events, as well as simple family visits. A must-see for sporty types!
  • Vancouver Maritime Museum: All aboard! Located in beautiful Vanier Park, this maritime museum hosts permanent and premiere nautical-themed exhibits, artifacts and more. It’s a place that appeals to those with scientific curiosity and a sense of adventure. Don’t miss the Children’s Maritime Discovery Centre, where kids will hear stories of epic explorers, shipwrecks and pirates, and will have plenty of opportunities to take part in some hands-on fun.

Attractions

  • Stanley Park: Perhaps Vancouver’s biggest claim to fame, this sprawling urban park offers a variety of attractions for young ones (and those who are young at heart). Start your day at the Vancouver Aquarium to check out marine life, sea creatures and educational under-the-sea exhibits. Other family-friendly park highlights include the Pitch & Putt course, the public swimming pool at Second Beach, horse-drawn carriage rides and various playgrounds throughout the park. During the holiday season, don’t miss the annual Bright Nights Christmas Train – a musical train ride that’s sure to put you in the festive spirit. In the summer, a family bike ride along the Seawall is a fun and active way to see the park’s gorgeous surroundings.
  • Granville Island Kids Market: The iconic Kids Market on Granville Island is home to more than 25 businesses, all of them catering to kids. Candy, books, puzzles, kites, puppets, magic, clothing, games, crystals, arts and craft; this place literally has it all, and is host to some great seasonal events as well. If you’re not into shopping, check out the indoor play area, the virtual-reality arcade and the outdoor splash pad in the summer months. For visitors with kids, this is a can’t-miss stop on your Vancouver itinerary.
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park: Take a trip across the Lions Gate Bridge to North Vancouver for a thrilling outdoor adventure. The award-winning tourist attraction features totem poles, an exciting glass-bottom cliffwalk, elevated treetop platforms, an educational story centre, and the incredible suspension bridge measuring 450-feet across and 230-feet above the Capilano River. Crossing the bridge is something of a rite of passage for locals, and it’s great fun for older (and braver!) kids.

As you can see, Vancouver offers a wealth of activities for treating the kids. So pace yourself, and remember to have fun — after all, you were young once, too!

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