What to do on a Rainy Vancouver Day
Vancouver is known for its proximity to the great outdoors: the mountains, the rugged coastline, glacial lakes, it’s all here. But the catch is, as we know all too well, the sun only makes an appearance for a couple months out of the year in this part of the world. So, we’re often forced to seek out indoor recreation, which can sometimes be a challenge.
Do not despair! We’ve put together a shortlist of some of Vancouver’s best rainy-day activities, in an effort to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy all the cool stuff the city has to offer, even when the weather sucks.
The quintessential rainy-day activity is, of course, to go see a movie. But not all theatres are created equal, and luckily Vancouver is home to at least a couple of great ones.
The Rio Theatre
Built in 1938, this beautiful old character theatre on Broadway and Commercial plays really cool movies from all time periods, as well as hosting concerts and special events. If you’re looking to catch your favourite anime on the big screen, or a raucous midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show! They play current movies, too, usually a couple weeks after they leave the bigger theatres. Also, they serve alcohol(!), a hard-earned right the owners of The Rio lobbied for and eventually won, despite some serious grumbling from the city’s stodgy liquor control board. If a cold beer and a good Miyazaki flick sounds like your idea of a good time, this well-known Vancouver gem is the place for you.
The Rio Theatre is located at 1660 E Broadway (On the corner of Broadway and Commercial)
If arthouse and foreign films are more up your alley, the Cinematheque Theatre downtown is where you want to be. This theatre hosts film festivals every year, and is Vancouver’s ground zero for cinephiles. Since it’s run by a film society, they require that any moviegoers buy a yearly pass for the whopping price of 3 dollars (you read correctly, three bucks for the year) if they want to enjoy films here. We think it’s worth it, and a ticket to the latest French thriller has a high likelihood to impress a date.
The Cinematheque is located at 1131 Howe St (between Helmcken and Davie)
When the weather sucks, there’s few better things to improve your mood than laughter. There are a few great ongoing comedy events in the city that are definitely worth checking out.
This student comedy team recently won second place at the College Improv Tournament in Chicago. They put on regular shows (once a month or so) at the Scarfe building. Check out their 2016/2017 schedule for dates. It’s funny, it’s cheap, and if you’re a UBC student, it’s close to home!
The Sunday Service @ The Fox Cabaret
This popular weekly improv show at the Fox Theatre has been going for over ten years, and is the recipient of many awards for their efforts, including a Reader’s Choice Award from the Westender. The Sunday Service is comprised of a small cast of comedians, all of whom have been working together for a long time, and it shows in their onstage chemistry. The show is energetic and hilarious, and features a different stand-up act each week during intermission.
When we say this is a popular show, we mean it; the show starts at 9 PM, but we recommend showing up at least 45 minutes early to get a seat, otherwise it’s standing-room only. You’ve been warned!
The Fox Cabaret is located at 2321 Main St Admission is $7
The Laugh Gallery @ Havana Restaurant
If stand-up comedy is your thing, make a plan to stop by another longstanding weekly event at Havana’s on Commercial Drive. Hosted by local comedy hero Graham Clark, this rotating stand-up show is a great way to familiarize yourself with some of Vancouver’s up-and-coming local comedians. Apparently, Zach Galifianakis was a used to perform regular sets here before becoming the household name he is today, so this may be your chance to be able to say you saw a comedy legend of the future before they were famous. One of the highlights of this show is the crowd participation segment, in which members of the audience answer trivia questions for a chance to win quirky thrift-store trinkets, handpicked by the host. Plus, you get to feel like a cool insider when you walk through the restaurant’s dining room and into the hidden performance space towards the back of the building.
Havana Restaurant is located at 1212 Commercial Drive Admission is $5
If the soggy Vancouver weather is getting you down, but maybe can’t afford to jet off somewhere tropical on a whim, the Bloedel Conservatory at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park is your next best option for taking a break. Housed inside a two-story dome with a glass ceiling, this tropical oasis sits atop Vancouver’s highest point, and is home to over 100 exotic birds and hundreds of species of jungle plants. It’s a great spot to bring a date on a dreary day, or even just bring a book and enjoy the lush comfort of a rainforest in the middle of Vancouver
Admission is $6.50
If cats are your cup of tea, the Catfé in downtown’s International Village (Vancouver’s strangest mall, and an experience in and of itself), is a perfect option for inclement weather. As you might have guessed, the Catfé is precisely what is sounds like: a café full of cats. It also functions as a foster home, and all the cats there are available for adoption so if you really fall in love with one of the feline residents, you may be able to take them home with you! According to the Catfeé website, they have found homes for over 300 cats and counting since opening in December of 2015. They are usually quite busy, and you’ll need to make a reservation if you want to stop by for a cup of coffee and a cuddle.
The Catfé is located at International Village Mall (88 West Pender) Admission is $5 with a cafe purchase ($8 otherwise)
OK, now you’ve got no excuse for a little rain to keep you inside! Put on your waterproof boots, grab your umbrella and get out there.