25 free and cheap things to do in and around Vancouver this fall

Vancouver isn’t the most affordable city in the world – but thankfully, we do have plenty to do this season that won’t break the bank. Enjoy the changing fall foliage, hit up a new cafe, and participate in one of the many free/cheap Halloween-themed events this season. From a free opera show to murder mystery improv, here are 25 free and cheap things to do around metro Vancouver this fall.

Stage Fright: Murder at the Improv

If you’re looking for a fun date idea, head to the Improv Center on Granville Island for a special Halloween-themed murder-mystery show set in the 1950s. Think Clue but on the stage, with an eclectic cast ready to bring the story to life. Oh, and audience participation is required!

When: Every Friday and Saturday until October 29th
Where: 1502 Duranleau Street
Cost: $23+

DTES Heart of the City Festival

This one’s more towards the end of the month, but the 19th annual Heart of the City Festival is coming to the DTES on October 26th, and this year’s theme of “Community Is Our Mentor” will spotlight the lived experiences and identities of the DTES community . Highlighted events include the launch of a new mural, a series of dialogues and short films on housing justice, and The Prop Master’s Dream, a new fusion opera produced by the Vancouver Cantonese Opera.

When: October 26th to November 6th
Where: 401 Main Street

Eastside Culture Crawl

The 26th annual Eastside Culture Crawl is taking place next month across 80 different buildings on the east side, with more than 500 local artists showcasing their work. Explore the open studios, peruse unique jewelry and home goods, and connect with the artists themselves. Oh, and did we mention this event is completely free?

When: Thursday, November 17 to Sunday, November 20th
Where: See link above

Autumn pop-up market

A fall-themed pop-up market with over 70 local vendors is coming to The Pipe Shop in North Van on Sunday, October 16th. So mark your calendars, and get ready for some great finds, courtesy of Made in the 604. Admission is free and the venue is dog-friendly!

When: Sunday, October 16th
Where: 115 Victory Ship Way

BC Culture Days

From uncovering Vancouver’s lost architectural legacy to stories and exhibitions commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, BC Culture Days always has an array of free (and by-donation) offerings. Check out some live events going on this month, or tune in at home digitally.

Where: See locations at the link above

Check out some haunted places

Did you know that The Dominion Building in Gastown (home of Nuba) is likely haunted by its own architect?? If you’re into spooky histories, a self-guided tour of the most haunted places in the city is an essential October experience. Or if you want to plan an affordable, season-appropriate date, this is a great option too.

Where: See our picks above

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Frozen River (nîkwatin sîpiy)

Krystle Pederson in Frozen River. Photo via Leif Norman, courtesy of Manitoba Theater for Young People

Carousel Theater for Young People presents the award-winning story of two 11-year-olds (Wâpam, who is Cree, and Eilidh, who is Scottish) born under the same blood moon, but in different parts of the world. Grandmother Moon narrates the tale, which unfolds from the ancient forests of the past to present-day Manitoba. Written by Michaela Washburn, Joelle Peters, and Carrie Costello – nîkwatin sîpiy explores how reconciliation efforts and environmentalism are connected in a family-friendly play appropriate for all ages.

You can catch a showing on September 30th, as well as anytime between Wednesday, September 28th and October 16th at Waterfront Theatre.

When: Wednesday, September 28th to October 16th, excluding Mondays
Where: 1412 Cartwright Street
Cost: $35 for adults

Pop-up Opera show

Classical music lovers, take note. The Vancouver Opera is putting on a free performance on Sunday, October 16th – complete with a Q&A session at the end of the show. Doors will open at 12:30 pm, and the show will commence at 1 pm and last until 3 pm.

When: Sunday, October 16th
Where: 630 Hamilton Street, Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Harvest Days at VanDusen

If you’re looking for a celebration of autumn’s bounty in the form of seasonal eats, decorated scarecrows, and fall foliage – then look no further than Harvest Days at VanDusen. Take a stroll through the massive veggie garden, bales of hay, cornstalks, and pumpkins with a warm beverage in hand and fall colors all around you.

When: Every weekend in October, & Monday, October 10th and Friday, October 21st
Where: 5251 Oak Street
Cost: $8.60

Spooktacular Halloween Party

With Halloween just around the corner, we’re ready to start hunting down the best costume parties in the city. This one by YMCA Connections – open exclusively to permanent residents, refugees, and CUAET visa holders – is a chance for newcomers to Canada to connect, swap ghost stories, and learn about different haunted histories in Vancouver while donning their best costumes.

When: Saturday, October 28th
Where: 955 Burrard Street, Robert Lee YMCA

Fall at Maan Farms

Maan Farms is sparing no expense when it comes to providing a fun-filled fall for everyone in the family. Hit up the pumpkin patch, enjoy their signature Double Pumpkin Spice Cream, and get absolutely spooked at Homestead: A “full contact haunted experience,” where you’re greeted as a guest at a “decrepit AirBnB, one you may never leave.”

Where: 790 McKenzie Road, Abbotsford

Bad Parent

The Vancouver Asian Canadian Theater is bringing a new play to the city’s stage this fall, created by Ins Choi (creator of Kim’s Convenience) and directed by Meg Roe. Bad Parent tells the story of two parents trying to figure out parenthood and their own relationship, starring Raugi Yu and Josette Jorge.

When: Multiple dates from October Thursday, 13th to October 23rd
Where: 1895 Venables Street, Cultch Historic Theater
Cost: $29+

Chilliwack Corn Maze

The T.rex-shaped Chilliwack Corn Maze is open until the end of the month, and tickets are just $16 (or $18 at the door) for 30 to 40 minutes of October fun. Head to Greendale Acres and take advantage of the massive 12-acre experience while you can, or opt for the family-friendly short maze, which takes around 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

When: Open until October 31st
Where: 41905 Yale Road West, Chilliwack
Cost: $16 GA

Vancouver Giants

The Vancouver Giants are facing off against the Wheat Kings on Friday, October 14th at the Arena Bowl at the Langley Events Centre, and tickets start at just over 20 bucks a pop. There are several other home games scheduled for this season, which you can view here.

When: Several dates in October and November
Where: 7888 200 Street Langley
Cost: $16 GA

Cozy up at a neighborhood cafe

Whether you want to visit a classic Vancouver coffee shop or bunker down for some serious work/studying, we guarantee that the city has a cafe for everyone.

Where: See our picks above

Visit a ghost town

If you’ve got some extra time on your hands this weekend, why not check out some ghost towns with haunted histories around BC and learn about what makes them so spooky?? Some are just a stone’s throw from the city, while others are downright impossible to get to (unless you’ve got some scuba gear handy), which makes it all the more exciting to try.

Where: Check out our picks above

Rent some e-bikes

Since we’ve been on the receiving end of some beautiful weather so far this season, we thought we’d remind folks that Mobi now has e-bikes available for usage. The 24-Hour Pass gives you access to e-bikes for 25¢/min for the first 30 minutes and 35¢/min thereafter.

Beaded Nostalgia at the Bill Reid Gallery

The Bill Reid Gallery has a ton of inspiring exhibits right now, including Beaded Nostalgia – a look into the past through the use of contemporary beadwork. Artists Audie Murray (Michif), Hazel Wilson (Haida), Nico Williams (Anishinaabe), and Serena Steel (Secwepemc), each use their innovative beadwork to express feelings of nostalgia and connections to their own experiences.

Pro-tip: If you’re looking to check out the rest of the gallery, note that the gallery offers free admission from 2 to 5 pm on the first Friday of every month.

When: Open throughout October
Where: 639 Hornby Street
Cost: $13 GA

Try some authentic bannock

Bannock is a delicious pan-fried bread that First Nations across the country have been making for centuries, and there are several Indigenous-owned spots around the city where you can try authentic bannock. Support Indigenous-owned businesses and try some new cuisine in the process!

Hell’s Gate Airtram

If you’re looking for a fun day trip idea this fall, why not take a ride on one of the steepest airtrams in North America? If that isn’t spooky enough, the area is said to be haunted by the spirits of “Edward, The Smoking Man, and the lady behind the gift shop door.”

When: Open throughout September & October
Where: 43111 Trans Canada Highway, Boston Bar, BC
Cost: $30.99 or $25 per ticket for groups of 8+

Save it for a rainy day

While we’re blessed with pretty ideal weather right now – it never hurts to be prepared for those colder, rainier days when Raincouver is back in action. From checking out the local art scene to catching a movie at the Rio, here are our picks for rainy-day activities around Vancouver.

Where: See our picks above

Go on a fall hike

BC is absolutely stunning in autumn, and the season is about to bring changing colors and beautiful fall foliage with it. Explore our beautiful province and get your steps in for the month.

Where: Check out our picks above

Enjoy some covered patios

Whether it’s just drizzly or full-out storming, there are (thankfully) plenty of covered patios in Vancouver to choose from. Why not make the most of them and sip on a couple of happy hour bevies this month?

Where: See our picks above

Hit up a Farmer’s Market

The farmer’s markets at Trout Lake, Kitsilano, and UBC are still on until the end of the month, so why not stop by a couple more times to stock up on some fresh, locally sourced produce?? Grab some coffee and take in one of the most beautiful times of year surrounded by your fellow community.

Where: Locations around Vancouver

Work on your short game

Last but not least (because we’re still in summer mode) is mini-golf – a fun outdoor activity for just about anyone. Like bowling, the skill ceiling is weirdly high, but it’s so straightforward that a total novice will still have fun out there. Whether you’re looking for a date night option or a weekend that’s fun for the whole family, we’ve got you covered.

Where: Click the link above for our picks

And that’s a wrap on cheap and free things to do around Vancouver this season. We hope you use this list as a jumping-off point and make some amazing memories while you’re at it.