Cooler days. Harvest fests. Autumn mooncakes. Free fun this month is all about seasonal change. Here are ten free events and activities to help you love September in Vancouver.
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10 Free Things to Do in Vancouver in September
1) Pit For Your Supper at the Irish Heather: Sept 12.; Sept. 19; Sept. 26
Plenty of Vancouver foodies pony up $16 to dine at the Irish Heather’s legendary Long Table Series, featuring roasts ranging from suckling pig to roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and help pit seasonal fruit for two hours, you can eat and drink for free Wednesdays throughout September. Sign up here.
2) Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, Sept. 15-23
Every summer we lounge, socialize and picnic on Vancouver beaches. And every September, upstanding citizens help clean up. The annual Shoreline Cleanup, organized by the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF, is a great way to give back and make friends. While I can’t promise treasure, you might even find something cool(er than an empty plastic bottle).
3) Yelp Food Cart Fest at the Waldorf; Sundays through Sept. 30
The summer food cart + market fun was so irresistible, organizers extended the weekly event through September. This free, family-friendly fest offers a rotating montage of urban hedonism: food carts, craft vendors, vintage stalls, live music, DJs and a 19+ beer garden.
4) Hike Grouse Grind, ongoing
September is the month most people recommit to gym memberships and get back to routines after a lazy summer. One way to do this is to register for the annual Grouse Grind Mountain Run, Sept. 22. For folks looking for a more moderate challenge, it’s free, fun and gorgeous to hike 2.9-kilometres (3700 ft) straight up Grouse any weekend in September. In accordance with Newtonian law, you will have to pay for the ride down.
5) Autumn Shift Festival by the Mount Pleasant BIA, Sept. 15
This Saturday, Main Street (Broadway to 12th Ave.) hosts an East Van fall favourite. Join families and friends to mark the shift in seasons as well as this year’s theme: embracing sustainability, eating locally, and indulging in urban gardening. Expect food, kids’ activities, booths and a community fashion show at 3:30 at 11th and Main
6) Mount Pleasant Harvest Festival and Block Party, Sept. 29
They had me at Pie Eating Contest. But there’s a lot of other fun going down at the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House Harvest Fest including live music, workshops and a BBQ. Entry is free, while some activities have minimal costs. Workshops are by donation.
7) The Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, Sept. 29
This free, multicultural festival celebrates the harvest and the harvest moon. Start at the Slocan Park Harvest Fair. Follow the giant moon lantern along the candle-lit ravine trail at sunset. Enjoy the fairy lights, mooncakes, stilt dancers and fire spinners at Renfrew Park and Field.
8) Summer Night Market in Richmond, until Sept. 16
Ranked one of the top ten world night markets by BBC Travel, the Summer Night Market in Richmond offers an amazing scope of food stalls, sampling Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, and Korean delicacies, plus Western fairground faves. When else can you pair seared squid with funnel cakes? After gorging, visitors stay for bargain shopping and live entertainment. Open Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm – 12am, and Sundays from 7pm – 11pm
9) Richmond Night Market, until Oct. 8
The Richmond Night Market is the most convenient of the two markets in Richmond for non-drivers. Located at 8351 River Road, the market is just 200 metres from the Canada Line Bridgeport Station. Draws include 80+ food vendors, 250+ retailers, entertainment, carnival rides, and a pair of “Dragon zip lines” (to honour the Year of the Dragon).
10) Granville Island Farmers’ Market, Thursdays through October 25
You can’t go wrong with any of the Vancouver Farmers’ Markets, but there’s an intangible allure to browsing outdoors at Granville Island in September. Drop by and pick up seasonal produce for fall comfort food faves. BC apple season is just getting underway.