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The Ultimate Guide to Affordable and Free Summer Activities in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley

By June 19, 2018September 8th, 2023Blog, Community
The Ultimate Guide to Affordable and Free Summer Activities in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley

We love summertime here at Aura Orthodontics! While there’s plenty to do year-round in the Fraser Valley and nearby Vancouver, things really get exciting once the weather warms up and school lets out. From markets and festivals to splashing around at the local beaches, it’s not hard to keep the whole family entertained. We’re even taking some of the guesswork out of it by doing the research for you with our guide to free and cheap summer activities in Vancouver, Surrey and Abbotsford.

2018 Vancouver Summer Events

  • Playland at the PNE – 2901 E. Hastings Street, Vancouver – Playland at the PNE is full of rides and fun for all ages. For an affordable family activity in Vancouver, take advantage of half-price Tuesdays. Every Tuesday, July 3 through August 14 from 2 to 6pm, admission is 50% off when you purchase passes at the ticket booth.
  • Bard on the Beach – Vanier Park, 1695 Whyte Avenue, Vancouver – The popular Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival has returned under the tents in Vanier Park. It will run through Saturday, September 22 with performances, music, events, food and drinks. In addition to drama, intrigue and comedy, the BMO Mainstage is featuring a new production of As You Like It that takes place in Vancouver and is set to Beatles music. The Howard Family Stage has unique adaptations of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens and the Greek classic Lysistrata. Family Nights for ages six and older will be held on Tuesdays, June 26, July 24 and August 21 at 6pm and will have family-friendly activities, the PIXSTAR photobooth, a preshow talk created just for kids and a performance of As You Like It. Though tickets range in price, on Family Nights, you’ll get $10 off the cost of an adult ticket when you buy one youth ticket and one adult ticket.
  • Car Free Day Festivals – Car Free Day Festivals are among our favorite free summer activities in Vancouver because they celebrate the city’s diverse neighbourhoods and reclaim traffic thoroughfares for community use. The multi-site arts and culture festivals are held throughout Vancouver and feature art, food, music, vendors, performers and family-friendly activities. This year’s schedule includes:
  • Car Free Day on the Drive – Sunday, July 8 from noon to 7pm on Commercial Drive from Venables to N. Grandview
  • Kitsilano Block Parties –Saturday, June 30 through Monday, July 2 on different blocks in the neighbourhood
  • Vancouver International Jazz Festival – Multiple Locations – The annual International Jazz Festival is high on our list of summer 2018 Vancouver events. This year, the festival will run from Friday, June 22 through Sunday, July 1 and will feature over 150 free shows by the world’s most talented musicians. There will be a variety of daytime concerts perfect for families with children. Up first? The Watermill Project with a blend of traditional Korean music and modern jazz at Granville Island Public Market (1669 Johnston Street) and the VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Choir with high-energy, eclectic sounds in six-part harmony at St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church (1022 Nelson Street). Both shows will be on Friday, June 22 at noon. Check out the full calendar of events to plan out your Jazz Festival experience.
  • Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival – False Creek, 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver – The annual Dragon Boat Festival is a source of a number of summer 2018 family activities in Vancouver and it’s free! This year’s three-day festival will be held from Friday, June 22 through Sunday, June 24. An estimated 5,500 racers will paddle on False Creek. Watch the competitions and enjoy food, children’s activities, circus performances, music, shopping, art installations and more. The community event will run from 5 to 9pm on Friday, 8am to 6pm on Saturday and 8am to 7pm on Sunday.
  • Canada Day at Canada Place – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver – Celebrate Canada with the award-winning, free Vancouver summer event at Canada Place. On Sunday, July 1, all day long, there will be fireworks, food trucks, performances, live music, a youth zone, a citizenship ceremony and other festivities.
  • EVO Summer Cinema – 8701 Stanley Park Drive, Vancouver – The annual EVO Summer Cinema is another of the fantastic free summer activities in Vancouver. The outdoor movies will be shown on the Grand Lawn at Ceperley Meadow by Second Beach in Stanley Park on Tuesdays, July 3 through August 21 at dusk. For the 10th anniversary of the movie series, people were allowed to vote on the flicks they wanted to see. Stay tuned to the website for the winners to be announced.
  • Celebration of Light– Multiple Locations – The 2018 Celebration of Light, a three-day festival full of fireworks, music and food sponsored by Honda, will be held on Saturday, July 28, Wednesday, August 1 and Saturday, August 4. The annual fireworks competition showcases displays by the world’s top designers and pyrotechnicians that explode over English Bay. It’s one of the most anticipated Vancouver summer events. The Park Stage at Second Beach in Stanley Park is a free, all-ages area where you can spend the day with live music, food trucks and the RE/MAX Family Zone. You can buy tickets to reserve a spot to watch the fireworks at night on the YVR Observation Deck in English Bay. There’s bleacher seating, restrooms and an area that’s kid-friendly. Or, to watch the Celebration of Light fireworks free of charge, head to one of these spots. Fireworks begin at 10pm.
  • Cultural Festivals – No list of what to do this summer in Vancouver would be complete without a mention of the numerous festivals celebrating different cultures. Summer 2018 events in Vancouver will include:
  • Greek Day on BroadwaySunday, June 24 from 11am to 9pm on Broadway from McDonald to Blenheim
  • Indian Summer Festival – Thursday, July 5 through Sunday, July 15 at a variety of venues
  • Greek SummerfestThursday, July 5 through Sunday, July 15 at 4541 Boundary Road
  • >Carnaval del Sol – Saturday, July 7 (10am to 10pm) and Sunday, July 8 (10am to 9pm) at Concord Pacific Place (88 Pacific Boulevard)
  • Caribbean DaysSaturday, July 28 and Sunday, July 29 at Waterfront Park in North Vancouver
  • Vancouver Chinatown Festival – Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12 at Columbia and Keefer Street

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2018 Surrey Summer Events

  • Park Play Palooza – Hazelgrove Park, 7080 190 Street, Surrey – On Saturday, June 23 from 11am to 2pm, explore Hazelgrove Park with the family at this annual celebration. Climb the outdoor rock wall, jump on the bouncy castle, dance to live music and take part in activities from local community partners. The event marks the beginning of Park Play, the yearly Surrey, BC free summer drop-in program at local parks. The weekly sessions are held from July 3 through August 23 and feature free activities, games and sports for families. See the full schedule here.
  • Surrey Rides Tournament – The Surrey Rides Tournament is one of the many awesome 2018 summer events in Surrey, BC. Come out and watch bike, scooter and skateboard competitions while enjoying music from a live DJ. Or, encourage your kids to participate. The annual series invites young people of all skill levels, aged 21 and under, to skateboard, scooter or bike in a safe, competitive environment. The entry fee is a non-perishable food item or a cash donation for the Surrey Food Bank. Participate in any event and collect points with extra points awarded for placing in a contest. Point leaders will qualify for the finals on September 8 and be eligible for more than $2,000 worth of prizes. Events are held from 10am to 5pm and the schedule is as follows:
  • Skate, Scooter and Bike Jam + Rad Skates Demo Team – Sunday, July 1 at Cloverdale Youth Park
  • Skate and Bike: Timed Competition and Best Trick Contest – Chuck Bailey Youth Park, Saturday, July 21
  • Skate and Bike Jam – Saturday, August 11 at Fraser Heights Youth Park
  • Skate and Bike: Timed Competition and Best Trick Contest – Chuck Bailey Youth Park, Saturday, September 8
  • Sounds of Summer Concert Series – Various Parks around Surrey, BC – These free Surrey, BC outdoor concerts will feature everything from bluegrass to New Orleans jazz throughout July and August at local parks. Bring a blanket or folding chairs and snacks and listen to the tunes with the family. Up first will be a concert at the Glades Garden Park (561 172nd Street) on Wednesday, July 4 from 6:30 to 8pm (gates open at 5pm). See the full schedule here.
  • Surrey Canada Day – Bill Reid Amphitheatre, Corner of 176 Street and 64 Ave, Surrey – One of the biggest summer 2018 Surrey events is the free Canada Day celebration at the Bill Reid Amphitheatre. It will be held on Sunday, July 1 from 10am to 11pm. The family will have a blast with amusement rides, food trucks, kids’ activities, giveaways, live music and more.
  • Newton Days – Newton Grove, 13730 72 Avenue, Surrey – Newton Days will take place over the Newton Grove on each Saturday in July from 12n to 4pm. The free family events in Surrey are open to the community and will include a craft and farmer’s market, face painting, free barbecue, Science World demos, a petting zoo, music and mini golf.
  • Discovery Days at the Surrey Nature Centre – 14225 Green Timbers Way, Surrey – For free family events in Surrey this summer, venture to the Nature Centre on Discovery Days. The events will be held on Fridays, July 6, July 20, August 3 and August 17 from 10am to 2pm, rain or shine. Leaders will guide families through nature activities at the Nature Centre and in Green Timbers Park. Parents must participate with children aged 13 and under.
  • Surrey Markets – Shop for fresh produce and baked goods, listen to live music, do family-friendly activities and hang out with friends and neighbors at the local Surrey markets. The Clayton Community Farmer’s Market will take place on select Sundays through September 30 from 10am to 3pm. It’s scheduled for July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, September 2, September 16 and September 30 at the Clayton Heights Secondary School (7003 188 Street). Cloverdale Market Days will be held on Saturdays, June 23, July 21, August 18 and September 22 from 10am to 3pm on 176 Street between 56A and 58 Avenues.
  • Surrey Latin Festival – Surrey City Hall, 13450 104 Avenue, Surrey – The Surrey Latin Festival will enable you to experience Latin Culture through food, dance, music, performances, folklore, art and fun. This year’s festivities will run from Friday, July 13 through Sunday, July 15.
  • Surrey Fusion Festival – Holland Park, 13428 Old Yale Road, Surrey – The Fusion Festival is among the premier summer events in Surrey, BC and this year it will be held on Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22 from 11am to 10pm. Enjoy live music and performances, kids’ activities, fun booths and food.

2018 Abbotsford Summer Events

  • Farm & Country Market – Corner of George Ferguson Way and Montrose Avenue, Abbotsford – For Abbotsford summer activities, look no further than the Farm & Country Market held every Saturday from 9am to 1pm. Shop fresh, local produce and food, as well as wares from artisans and enjoy the creative talent of local entertainers.
  • Abbotsford Flea Market – Exhibition Park, 32470 Haida Drive – Take the kids to find some treasures at the Abbotsford Flea Market on Sundays from 6am to 4pm at Exhibition Park. Admission is $1 and kids under 13 are free. There are so many unique items to browse through and a snack bar if you need a break or some sustenance to fuel your shopping.
  • Hot Valley Nights – 360 Fabrication, 31450 Peardonville Road, Abbotsford – Hot Valley Nights is back. These free summer 2018 Abbotsford events will be held at 360 Fabrication this year on Thursdays, June 28, July 12 and 26, August 9 and 23 and September 6 from 6 to 10pm. In addition to a collection of vintage cars and hot rods, there will be music, food and family-friendly activities.
  • Abbotsford BerryFest – Downtown Abbotsford at Essendene and Montrose – The 37th annual Abbotsford BerryFest will be held on Saturday, July 7 from 10am to 10pm. This free Abbotsford, BC summer event will have everything you need to stay entertained, including rides, food trucks, roving entertainers, live music, family fun, a berry gardening demonstration, free face painting, a marketplace with berries galore and much more.
  • Abbotsford Agrifair – Exhibition Park, 32470 Haida Drive, Abbotsford – While a lot of the Abbotsford summer events on this list have been going on for decades, the Agrifair is in its 108th year! The 2018 Agrifair is scheduled for Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 5 from 10am to 11pm. Admission is relatively affordable at $12 a day for adults, $10 a day for students and seniors and children 10 and under are free. There will be rides, the demolition derby, the motocross show, a logger competition, pig and duck races, entertainers, live music, food, interactive fun and the list could go on.
  • Abbotsford International Airshow – Abbotsford International Airport, 1595 Townline Road, Abbotsford – The Abbotsford International Airshow may not be the cheapest of the Abbotsford summer activities on our list but it is one of the most popular events in the Fraser Valley. Early bird tickets are available until July 31 and you can snag a family pass (two adults, two children and parking) for $75. This year’s event will be held Friday, August 10 through Sunday, August 12 and will have more civilian and military aerobatic performances than ever before. In addition to watching the planes, you can have fun in the KidsZone, which includes The Science of Flight, an interactive presentation by Science World, eat at food trucks, do virtual reality flying and more.
  • Cinema Under the Stars – Rotary Stadium, 32470 Haida Drive – Put down a blanket and watch a movie under the stars on a 3-story high big screen. This free outdoor movie night in Abbotsford will be held on Friday, August 24 at dusk. Donations will be accepted for a local charity. The movie will be announced at a later date, so keep an eye on the website.

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