Redefining “Happy Hour” in BC 7

Redefining “Happy Hour” in BC

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In BC, locals are redefining post-work rituals. Forget drink specials and half-price appetizers—beachside yoga, sunset drum circles, and twilight bike rides make the most of long summer evenings. Here are a few ways you can join in the fun.

Embrace Vancouver’s Active Pace

Cyclers enjoy a serene coastal bike ride at sunset.

Cycling the Stanley Park Seawall at sunset in Vancouver is a must-do. Photo: @veronika_

Teased by views of mountain peaks and ocean, Vancouverites head outside after work. Direct from downtown, hop on a bike and cruise the 9-km (5.5-mi) Stanley Park Seawall. On Tuesdays, brake at Third Beach for the weekly drum circle, where you can join the booty shakers and bongo drummers to salute to the sun as it sets into the Pacific Ocean. Then jump back on your bike and seek out Evo Summer Cinema’s free Tuesday night movies in the park, in July and August.

Looking for the city’s epicentre of after-work play and relaxation? Head to Kitsilano Beach and practise your balance on a paddleboard with Vancouver Water Adventures. Discount days are Monday through Wednesday, and a “Light the Night” tour (leaving from Granville Island) means you can extend your happy hour into the evening every Friday night with illuminated paddleboards.

A paddleboarder paddles across calm waters at sunset.

Paddleboarding through English Bay. Photo: Tourism Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic

Prefer to sweat? Then a 23-km (14.2-mile) road cycle along Marine Drive to Horseshoe Bay is the way to go. The incredible ocean views will make up for the hill training en-route. Reward yourself with fish and chips from Troll’s and board the Route 257 express bus with your bike to get back downtown.

For more “happy hour” fun in Vancouver, stretch it out with beachside yoga by donation, play volleyball at Spanish Banks, join dragon boat cheering squads in False Creek, or roll out a picnic in Dude Chilling Park.

Feel Victoria’s Vibes

Two kayakers paddle through Victoria’s inner harbour at sunset.

Kayaking through Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Photo: Reuben Krabbe

Victoria’s Inner Harbour is a hub of activity in the evenings. Devour a hand-rolled wild salmon tacone from Red Fish Blue Fish before renting a kayak and spending a few hours on the water. Or up the ante and hop on a tall ship sailing cruise with a 3-Hour Sail. The ship takes off at 7:30 p.m. for a tour that explores  Victoria’s colourful float-home community and the Inner Harbour.

Alternatively, rent a scooter for a trip to Sidney Street Market and browse booths selling local wares, produce, and original art every Thursday night from May through August. On your way back into the city centre, detour to the top of Mount Tolmie for a view of the city and ocean at sunset.

Two hikers traverse a lush landscape under a golden sunset.

Sunset hiking at the top of Mount Tolmie. Photo: Reuben Krabbe

On blistering summer days, join the local crowd down at the beach. Head toGonzales Beach for skimboarding, Willows Beach for a family-friendly vibe, or walk along Dallas Road to let your four-legged friend roam free in the off-leash dog park. Then head to Strathcona Hotel, where you can practise your serve on the rooftop volleyball courts. Or, if you’re up for an adventure, take a short drive to the Sooke Potholes and swim in polished rock pools carved naturally into the bedrock of the Sooke River for the ultimate summer cool-down.

Work Hard, Play Hard in Whistler

A man and a woman relax on a floating wharf nestled within a dense forest landscape.

A jump in Lost Lake is a must while in Whistler. Photo: Blake Jorgenson

In this adult playground, locals have their own ways to unwind. Rent a mountain bike and spin your wheels on the trails at Lost Lake Park. This beginner-friendly zone is close to the village, so you can tackle a few trails and jump in the lake before the sun drops. For gravity junkies, laps in the Whistler Bike Park from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. are cheaper with an Extended Play ticket. It’s the perfect way to beat the heat, and the mid-day crowds.

Or fuel up on a healthy meal from The Green Moustache in Function Junction before hiking through Whistler Interpretive Forest. Walk up the Farside trail to the suspension bridge and return on the Riverside trail for a gentle 7-km (4.3-mi) loop. Zen out as you follow the glacial-fed Cheakamus River the whole way.

Two people in a canoe wave to a cyclist, pedaling across a bridge.

Cycling past the River of Golden Dreams on the Valley Trail. Photo: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

Want to keep things a bit more relaxed? Rent a bike to cruise the Valley Trailand hop from dock to dock on the shores of the local lakes. Take the Alta Lake loop and lay a beach towel out at Lakeside, Wayside, and Rainbow parks before cruising back to the village. On Wednesday nights, stroll through the Whistler Farmers’ Market from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. (starting in July) and pick up local produce for a late-night summer dinner.

Unwind for the Evening Around BC

A couple sitting on a piece of driftwood on a sandy beach.

Campfires on the beach in Tofino are a great way to wind down the day. Photo: @xshaydx

If you find yourself outside of BC’s big three—Vancouver, Victoria, and Whistler—there are endless ways to unwind. Take a tandem paragliding flight around the mountains in Revelstoke. Hike to the top of Battle Bluff for a sunset view over Kamloops Lake, or play a round of twilight golf at one of a dozen courses surrounding Kelowna. Join the locals on a Guys Ride Thursday night shuttle to explore top trails in Rossland. Get airborne with a kiteboardsession down at the Squamish Spit, or build a beach campfire in Tofino.

Wherever you go, find out how much time you have before the sun sets, play safely, and make a plan before you head out. Then enjoy those long summer evenings—doing whatever makes you happy.