Explore BC
West Vancouver's Lighthouse Park | Tom Ryan

Quirky City Experiences in BC

Share  Facebook Twitter Pinterest | Print Your browser does not support SVG.
West Vancouver's Lighthouse Park | Tom Ryan

Crisp air, cozy sweaters, and radiant fall foliage. Autumn in British Columbia is the perfect time for a quick and quirky city getaway, filled with off-beat culinary tours, thrilling attractions, and cultural experiences. Because no matter how well you think you know BC, there’s still so much to be surprised by—and who couldn’t use a dose of curiosity and wonder these days?

Whether your bucket list includes high-octane outdoor adventure or low-stress rest and relaxation, you’re sure to find your vacation sweet spot in Victoria, Metro Vancouver, or Kelowna this fall.

Oak Bay Beach Hotel | Hubert Kang
Oak Bay Beach Hotel | Hubert Kang

Victoria

There are so many ways to shake up your perspective on Vancouver Island. Get a bird’s-eye view from the Island’s newest attraction, the Malahat Skywalk, offering stunning views from a 32m-high lookout over the Saanich Peninsula, Mt. Baker, and the Coast Mountains.

Hop aboard a charming Harbour Ferry for a “see-level” tour of Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour, cycle the city’s bike-friendly roads with The Pedaler’s self-guided tour option, or explore by car with an eco-friendly and custom-crafted tour with Alset Tours.

Foodies will get a new lens on the local culinary scene with a self-guided wander along the Greater Victoria Flavour Trails, or Off the Eaten Track’s Island Eats Passport Tour featuring chefs and restaurants from the new Island Eats cookbook. There are even new ways to count sheep: Wind down under the stars in a yurt at Merridale Cidery, a tent at Fort Rodd Hill (open until October) or a mineral pool at the luxurious Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

Skwachays Lodge Aboriginal Hotel and Gallery | Tourism Vancouver/Skwachays Lodge/Craig Minielly at Aura Photographics
Skwachàys Lodge | Tourism Vancouver/Skwachàys Lodge/Craig Minielly at Aura Photographics

Vancouver

In Vancouver, arts and culture aren’t confined to galleries and grand halls—sometimes they’re right there on a wall in front of you. To that end, Toonie Tours hosts a Street Art and Craft Beer Walking Tour highlighting fabulous local brews and unique outdoor murals in and around the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

It’s a great complement to a stay at the roguishly stylish Hotel Belmont in the downtown entertainment district, or the more refined Skwachàys Lodge—Canada’s first Indigenous Arts hotel showcasing local Indigenous art and culture in 18 one-of-a-kind guest suites.

Keep the visual vibe going with a City of Vancouver self-guided walking tour of public art installations; you’re sure to find the perfect backdrop for your holiday selfie in a nearby neighbourhood. Prefer to make your own art? Try Rockwood Adventures’ Rainforest Photography Adventure in Lighthouse Park, a private four-hour group tour led by a professional nature photographer.

Dining at the Golden Village district in Richmond | Tourism Richmond

Richmond

Home to YVR, Richmond is a naturally sociable city and an easy place to connect with family and friends. The Richmond Night Market is authentically quirky and as close to Hong Kong as you can get without hopping on a plane—except, perhaps, for the excellent eateries along the Dumpling Trail, cited by CNN Travel as one of the world’s “most enticing food and drink trails.”

Work off the nosh with a self-guided wander along Richmond’s Bird Trail. Fall is a prime season for bird-watching from land or sea: Richmond’s scenic dykes are easy to hike and bike, and Vancouver Whale Watch’s Wildlife Spectacular offers a novel way to view migrating birds.

Round out a family day trip with a visit to the pumpkin patch at Richmond Country Farms or the Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment, a unique (and free!) play experience designed to bolster connection with nature.

Staying longer? Check out the Panda Pod, a centrally located high-end hostel-style hotel promising considerable comfort at a great rate.

Kelowna | Tanya Goehring

Kelowna

Fall is grape-harvest season and an ideal time to visit the globally acclaimed wineries around Kelowna and the central Okanagan. But did you know the phrase “wine flight” now has a whole new meaning? Travel to your tastings in style with Valhalla Helicopters on their unique half- or full-day tours that combine sightseeing with sip-stops at select local wineries. Or, enjoy the view from the ground and rent an e-bike, with stops along the way at wineries, cideries, distilleries and popular brew pubs such as Rustic Reel, Vice and Virtue, Jackknife Brewing, and the English-inspired Welton Arms.

And while no visit to Kelowna is complete with some quality time on Okanagan Lake, there’s a new way to spend time on the water: Moccasin Trails offers an insightful tour featuring storytelling and a visit to the Indigenous World Winery—Canada’s only 100-per-cent-Indigenous-owned winery. Bunk down at the new Hotel Zed in downtown Kelowna: with free roller skates, free bikes, and free VW shuttle vans, it’s the fun-and-friendly offspring of Schitt’s Creek’s Rosebud Motel and Herbie the Love Bug.

MENTIONED IN THIS STORY

Indigenous Culture, Attractions, Sightseeing, Accessibility

Malahat SkyWalk

Malahat SkyWalk is opening July 2021 as the newest outdoor experience providing the ultimate natural high on Vancouver Island – located 35...

Phone: (833) 625-2428

View Listing

Sightseeing, Ferries

Victoria Harbour Ferry

Victoria Harbour Ferry's boats provide the best view of Victoria...From the ocean! Take a Harbour Tour, historic Gorge Waterway Cruise, or hop on...

Phone: (250) 708-0201

View Listing

Sightseeing, Biking

The Pedaler

Guided bike tours. Bike Rentals. E-Bike Rentals. Food tours. Custom bike tours and events. Self-Guided Tours. Tandem Bikes. Child Carriers. The...

Phone: (778) 265-7433

View Listing

Dining & Culinary Tours

Off The Eaten Track

Explore Victoria on a sightseeing walking tour with the added bonus of a meal! Say bye to boring tours and have our expert and certified guides...

Phone: (778) 918-4584

View Listing

Breweries, Distilleries & Cideries, Campgrounds & RV Parks, Accessibility

Merridale Cidery & Distillery

Merridale is a delicious destination in Cowichan an apple orchard, craft cider house, small batch distillery, and event venue. Join us for a cider...

Phone: (800) 998-9908

View Listing

Parks & Wilderness Areas, Cabins & Cottages

oTENTiks at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site

Experience life within the forts walls as you fall asleep to the ocean and natures soothing sounds; and be taken back over 50 years ago when...

Phone: (250) 478-5849

View Listing

Spas & Wellness, Hotels, Accessibility

Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Recognized as the #1 Top Hotel in Canada and #19 Top Hotel in the World by the Cond Nast 2021 Readers Choice Awards, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is...

Phone: (250) 598-4556

View Listing

Sightseeing

Toonie Tours Vancouver

Toonie Tours is Canada's biggest Free Walking Tour network. We welcome and connect our customers to Canada through high-quality tours &...

Phone: (778) 244-8648

View Listing

Hotels

Hotel Belmont Vancouver MGallery

The Hotel Belmont Vancouver MGallery is an 82 room boutique-style hotel built in 1912 and situated in the heart of Vancouver's Entertainment...

Phone: (604) 605-4333

View Listing

Indigenous Culture, Shopping, Hotels, Art Galleries

Skwachays Lodge

Skwachys Lodge is Canadas first Indigenous Arts Hotel and has diligently worked to provide guests with first-class services and a platform to...

Phone: (604) 687-3589

View Listing

Bird Watching, Whale Watching

Vancouver Whale Watch

Vancouver's Best Whale Watching experience! Seasonal, guided tours led by professional naturalists. Whale watching trips, sea lion and birding...

Phone: (604) 274-9565

View Listing

Hostels

Panda Pod Hotel

Going for early morning flight? Dealing with late arrivals and luggage? Fed up with frustrating flight delays? Panda is here at your service....

Phone: (604) 300-5551

View Listing

Indigenous Culture, Attractions, Sightseeing, Accessibility

Malahat SkyWalk

Malahat SkyWalk is opening July 2021 as the newest outdoor experience providing the ultimate natural high on Vancouver Island – located 35...

Phone: (833) 625-2428

View Listing

Sightseeing, Ferries

Victoria Harbour Ferry

Victoria Harbour Ferry's boats provide the best view of Victoria...From the ocean! Take a Harbour Tour, historic Gorge Waterway Cruise, or hop on...

Phone: (250) 708-0201

View Listing

Sightseeing, Biking

The Pedaler

Guided bike tours. Bike Rentals. E-Bike Rentals. Food tours. Custom bike tours and events. Self-Guided Tours. Tandem Bikes. Child Carriers. The...

Phone: (778) 265-7433

View Listing

Dining & Culinary Tours

Off The Eaten Track

Explore Victoria on a sightseeing walking tour with the added bonus of a meal! Say bye to boring tours and have our expert and certified guides...

Phone: (778) 918-4584

View Listing

Breweries, Distilleries & Cideries, Campgrounds & RV Parks, Accessibility

Merridale Cidery & Distillery

Merridale is a delicious destination in Cowichan an apple orchard, craft cider house, small batch distillery, and event venue. Join us for a cider...

Phone: (800) 998-9908

View Listing

Parks & Wilderness Areas, Cabins & Cottages

oTENTiks at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site

Experience life within the forts walls as you fall asleep to the ocean and natures soothing sounds; and be taken back over 50 years ago when...

Phone: (250) 478-5849

View Listing

Spas & Wellness, Hotels, Accessibility

Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Recognized as the #1 Top Hotel in Canada and #19 Top Hotel in the World by the Cond Nast 2021 Readers Choice Awards, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is...

Phone: (250) 598-4556

View Listing

Sightseeing

Toonie Tours Vancouver

Toonie Tours is Canada's biggest Free Walking Tour network. We welcome and connect our customers to Canada through high-quality tours &...

Phone: (778) 244-8648

View Listing

Hotels

Hotel Belmont Vancouver MGallery

The Hotel Belmont Vancouver MGallery is an 82 room boutique-style hotel built in 1912 and situated in the heart of Vancouver's Entertainment...

Phone: (604) 605-4333

View Listing

Indigenous Culture, Shopping, Hotels, Art Galleries

Skwachays Lodge

Skwachys Lodge is Canadas first Indigenous Arts Hotel and has diligently worked to provide guests with first-class services and a platform to...

Phone: (604) 687-3589

View Listing

Bird Watching, Whale Watching

Vancouver Whale Watch

Vancouver's Best Whale Watching experience! Seasonal, guided tours led by professional naturalists. Whale watching trips, sea lion and birding...

Phone: (604) 274-9565

View Listing

Hostels

Panda Pod Hotel

Going for early morning flight? Dealing with late arrivals and luggage? Fed up with frustrating flight delays? Panda is here at your service....

Phone: (604) 300-5551

View Listing

Plan Your Getaway Now

Know Before You Go

Learn about key travel restrictions and how to travel safely in BC this season.

Travel Updates
Travel Deals

Explore special offers and deals on activities, accommodation, tours, and more.

See Deals
Travel Responsibly

Follow these tips to travel safely and responsibly in BC.

See the Tips