From incredible Asian cuisine and iconic filming locations to stunning temples and ginormous trampoline parks, those looking for fun things to do in Richmond, BC are absolutely spoiled for choice.
Virtually every visitor to Vancouver goes to Richmond at some point – after all, this is where you’ll find the city’s international airport!
But make no mistake: there is a lot more to do in Richmond than just catching flights… as you’ll soon see.
Below, we’re rounding up our top fun things to do in Richmond, BC – after decades of visits. Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any of your favourite Richmond activities!
Alongside White Rock, the adorable fishing village of Steveston is one of the top day trip destinations in the Lower Mainland.
Visits here always feel like entering a time capsule of sorts, thanks largely to the fact that much of it was declared a heritage zone back in the 60s.
But besides its quaint aesthetic, there are a lot of great reasons to visit. Steveston is still a fully functional fishing village, which means plenty of opportunities to enjoy fresh-as-can-be seafood, whether to take home or enjoy at one of the village’s many restaurants.
There are also several historic sites to check out (we’ll elaborate more below), making Steveston one of the top places to visit in the Richmond area.
Check out famous filming locations
Due to Vancouver’s status as “Hollywood North”, there have been hundreds of productions that have filmed in the Lower Mainland over the years… with Richmond taking a starring role on several occsions.
Most famous would be the ABC hit, Once Upon a Time, which ran for seven seasons and filmed largely in Steveston during that time, with the quaint streets of Steveston subbing in the for the fictional Storybrooke.
Other movies that filmed in Richmond include…
- Power Rangers (2017)
- War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
- Psych: The Movie (2017)
- Deadpool (2016)
- Godzilla (2014)
- The Interview (2014)
As well as TV shows like…
- The X-Files
- Stargate SG-1
- DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
- Bates Motel
So, if you want to geek out a little, searching for filming locations is another fun thing you can do during your visit to Richmond.
Visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery
Steveston is home to several historic sites, one of the most famous being the Gulf of Georgia Cannery.
It may be hard to imagine, but once upon a time, over 15 canneries operated from the scenic Steveston Harbourfront. Today, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery is the only one that remains.
Originally built in 1894, today the cannery acts as a museum that pays tribute to the West Coast’s legendary fishing industry, through various exhibitions, displays, and artifacts that highlight the way the cannery worked back in its hey day.
If you’re looking for interesting and historic things to do in Richmond, this one is can’t-miss, especially with kids in tow!
Enjoy the views at Garry Point Park
Close to Steveston, you’ll find another one of Richmond’s most scenic gems: Garry Point Park, a gorgeous little park that offers sweeping views over the Salish Sea and (on clear enough days) peekaboo views of the Gulf Islands.
And while the shorefront trail is a notable highlight of the park, there are plenty of interesting monuments and statues to admire, including Kuno Garden, a Japanese-style garden that honours the impact that Japanese immigrants had on the local fishing industry, as well as Steveston Fishermen’s Memorial.
Time your visit properly and you may even be able to catch the blooming of the hundreds of cherry blossom trees planted here in March/April, or the annual Pacific Rim Kite Festival that takes place here in June.
Otherwise, make sure to come for sunset – this park is one of our favourite sunset spots in Metro Vancouver.
Pay a visit to the International Buddhist Temple
Looking for something a bit more offbeat to do in Richmond?
In our opinion, one of the best hidden gems in Richmond is the International Buddhist Temple (AKA the Guan-Yin Temple), which is run by the International Buddhist Society.
This stunning complex was built in the traditional Chinese imperial style back in the 80s, thanks to generous donations of land and funds by two Buddhists from Hong Kong.
Today, it’s considered one of the most authentic Buddhist temples in North America, with a sprawling design modelled after the Forbidden City in Beijing.
And while the temple does remain an active place of worship, visitors from all cultural and religious backgrounds are welcome to explore and enjoy the temple grounds, which are filled with intricate gardens and elaborately stunning architecture.
If your goal is to feel utterly transported, a visit to this temple is a must!
Take your taste buds on a trip at the Aberdeen Centre Food Court
Richmond’s food courts have a cult following among foodies in Vancouver, thanks to their varied and tasty selections which will transport you straight to Asia.
One of our favourite Richmond food courts to bring visitors is the one at Aberdeen Centre. In terms of Asian food courts in Richmond, it’s probably the least intimidating, with an abundance of photos, English menus, and wide, airy seating areas where you’ll have no trouble finding a table.
Conveniently, it’s also located right by the Aberdeen Skytrain Station, meaning you can easily reach it on public transport.
So, if you’re looking for a fun foodie experience in Richmond, be sure to stop by this food court, where you’ll find everything from street food like fried chicken and dumplings to mouthwatering drinks and desserts.
Watch the musical fountain show at Aberdeen Centre
While it’s not quite the fountains at the Bellagio, the 60 feet musical water fountain at Aberdeen Centre offers quite a spectacle once an hour, especially if you combine your visit with a food court stop or some shopping at the mall’s many unique stores.
NOTE: The fountain show is usually suspended if there are any special events going on at the Central Atrium, so be sure to check the mall’s official website before our visit for any potential conflicts.
Hit the Richmond mall scene
Richmond has a lot of malls, and while most Vancouverites are familiar with Richmond Centre and Lansdowne, there are actually quite a few Asian malls as well that most visitors miss!
Aberdeen Centre (as mentioned above), Yaohan Centre, and Parker Place are all malls located in proximity to each other with great food courts, and an interesting assortment of shops selling everything from Chinese herbs and medicine to imported Asian fashion and adorable Asian lifestyle items like stationary and home goods.
And while admittedly, these malls have quite a strange mix of shops, we think they’re a great rainy day Richmond activity if you’re looking to get a more off-the-beaten path.
DIY your own custom phone case or gift
One really fun hidden gem that can be found in one of Richmond’s lesser known shopping centres is Meow Handmade, tucked away in a sterile white hallway at Aberdeen Square (not to be confused with Aberdeen Centre, which is a separate mall).
This adorable pink shop sells a wide range of craft and hobby supplies, but their most unique offering is their DIY workshop, where visitors can pick and choose beads/charms to create their own phone case or gift.
And yes, the charms are all ridiculously adorable, as you can see:
Go outlet shopping
If you’re looking for a great deal on designer goods, then shopping at the McArthurGlen Outlet near the airport is one of the best things you can do in Richmond.
This pretty open-air outlet has over 80 stores and 10 restaurants, meaning you can easily make a day of it.
It may also be one of the few places in the world where you can stock up on discount Michael Kors while a giant plane whooshes above your head.
Enjoy some hidden gem eats at Richmond Public Market
Richmond Public Market is one of those hidden foodie gems that eludes most, apart from those truly “in the know”. Well, now you know!
This low-key market is best known for its upper level food court, which is one of the best places in the city to grab a cheap, authentic, and tasty Asian meal.
From full crabs for less than $15 to fresh rice noodle rolls and heaping bowls of noodle soup, you’ll be shocked at how far twenty bucks will get you here. And while admittedly, the market below has seen better days, this no-frills food court is well worth a visit if you’re looking for some of the best deals in town.
… Just make sure to bring cash, and come with an open mind. Many of the stalls here have random opening hours, so you never know when you’ll need a Plan B.
Go for some super authentic dim sum
As a Chinese-Canadian, I’ve always considered Dim Sum to be one of the greatest meals on Earth.
For those who have not yet had the pleasure of trying it, you can think of it as a Southern Chinese brunch/tapas hybrid, served in the late morning/early afternoon with small, shareable dishes ordered en masse for the entire table.
The most common dishes at dim sum are steamed dumplings and buns with all kinds of fillings, but every dim sum table will also usually have an assortment of rice noodles, congee (rice porridge), and various dishes served in small, stackable bamboo steamers.
Some Vancouverites assume that Chinatown has the best dim sum in town, but we actually prefer frequenting spots in East Van, Burnaby and Richmond… so if you’re looking for an exciting foodie activity in Richmond to try, maybe give this one a go!
If you’re new to dim sum, Sun Sui Wah is a pretty beginner-friendly option, with clear English translations on their dim sum menu, and photos too!
Enjoy hole in the wall Chinese BBQ
If you want to try one of the tastiest, no-frills food experiences in Richmond, then you need to visit HK BBQ Master, which is literally hidden away in a parking lot… as all great hidden gems are.
Here, they specialize in Hong Kong style BBQ, with a small but mighty rotation of offerings including succulent Char Siu (BBQ Pork), Soy Sauce Chicken, BBQ Duck, Free Range Chicken, and Roasted Pork.
Get a combo of any of these meats with rice and we promise you’ll be in food heaven.
Embark on the Dumpling Trail
While some parts of the Lower Mainland (like North Vancouver) are well known for their hiking and cycling trails, Richmond’s top trail caters to adventurers of a different kind…
Those whose ideal adventures involve wolfing down dumplings en masse.
Yes, Richmond is home to an actual Dumpling Trail, which allows you to easily sample various kinds of dumplings from different countries and cultures with the help of their handy trail map.
With this map in hand, you can easily DIY your own food tour/adventure around Richmond, picking up tasty dumplings along the way.
Check out the options here.
Try a bunch of goodies from a Chinese bakery
Another great foodie thing to do in Richmond is testing out as many Chinese bakery items as you can before you explode.
If you’ve never been to a Chinese bakery before, your first visit might be a bit overwhelming. Step into one and you’ll be assaulted with the buttery smell of fresh baked goods, and shelves stacked with buns of infinite fillings and creamy cakes in unique flavours.
Most of the time, the signs will do a poor job of explaining what exactly each bun tastes like (a pineapple bun for example has no pineapple in it), but here are a few classics to try out:
- BBQ Pork (or Char Siu) Bun, filled with a sweet/savoury BBQ pork that is simply delicious
- Pineapple Bun, a sweet bun topped with a pineapple-looking like pattern that is crunchy and sweet. Tough to describe, but sweet tooths will like it!
- BBQ Pork Pineapple Bun, a must-try if both the options above sounded good, because it’s literally a hybrid of the two, with the BBQ pork filling and the sweet crunchy topping on top. SO GOOD!
- Hot Dog Bun, a soft bun encasing a savoury sausage. Sounds simple, but it’s really good, and a childhood favourite for many.
- Cocktail Bun, a long bun filled with sweet shredded coconut
Now, as for which bakeries to visit, everyone has their own favourite, but Kam Do, Lido, and Maxim’s are classic go-tos.
.Just gorge on wonderful Asian food in general
In case we haven’t made it clear with our many aggressive food recommendations, one of the best things to do in Richmond is eat!
We’ve already highlighted some of our favourite (Chinese) foodie adventures in the city, but just know that there are about a million more that we didn’t get to highlight.
While you’ll find a LOT of amazing Chinese food here, the food scene in Richmond has evolved over the years to include a variety of great spots for other Asian cuisines as well. From ramen and sushi to Korean BBQ, there’s a lot of great opportunities to transport your tastebuds to Asia, so be sure to take advantage!
NOTE: While we often use Google Reviews as a way of vetting food spots around the city, we feel like the usual rules don’t apply in Richmond. Often, places with REALLY great food will have a mediocre rating due to poor service, cash only policies, or even a lack of English menus/staff. So, just keep those caveats in mind if you’re planning on coming to Richmond for foodie adventures.
Play laser tag
Looking to burn off some of the calories from all those foodie adventures?
Yes, there are things to do in Richmond besides eat… one of the most fun being laser tag. Both Planet Lazer and Nu-Zone (V-Zone) Tactical Laser Tag offer this experience in Richmond, the latter being the largest indoor laser tag arena in British Columbia!
There’s also some laser tag available at 365fundays.
Hop around at Canada’s largest trampoline park
Yes, besides the largest indoor laser tag arena in BC, Richmond is also home to the largest trampoline park in the country – Extreme Air Park.
If you’re looking for a super fun thing to do in Richmond (or perhaps a quirky date idea), this spot is a must-visit.
From zero gravity basketball and a giant foam pit to glow rock climbing and a 50 ft halfpipe, Extreme Air Park offers a tremendous amount of fun activities within its 42,000 square feet facility. We’ve been here several times and always enjoy bouncing around the vast expanse of trampolines.
If you want to embrace your inner kid (or are looking for things to do in Richmond with kids), then be sure to add this one to your list.
Check out the Olympic Experience at the Richmond Olympic Oval
When Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics back in 2010, a great deal of events took place at the swanky Richmond Olympic Oval, a purpose-built venue for the occasion.
Today, the Oval is home to the Olympic Experience, which pays tribute to its Olympic roots with interactive exhibits including sport simulators, and hundreds of Olympic-related artifacts like medals and torches from Olympics past.
If you’re an Olympics fan, this is a real must-do activity in Richmond.
Visit a winery
Looking for Richmond activities that cater to wine lovers?
Well – guess what? Richmond’s Lulu Island Winery is the largest winery in Greater Vancouver, offering tastings, tours, and special events like live music and markets.
Combining traditional wine making methods from China with modern equipment, owners John and Allison Chang have been delighting the community with their tasty wines since 2009.
If you love wine, then be sure to stop by for visit!
Try some Go Karting
Last but not least, we have one of the best rainy day things to do in Richmond: Go Karting!
Go Karting is essentially Mario Kart come to life, with each driver commandeering their own Go Kart, and racing each other around a set track for the best times and placements. It’s an addictive activity for sure, and one that’s sure to get your heart racing.
If you want to try Go Karting during your time in Richmond, then there are a few options at your disposal:
Did we miss any of your favourite things to do in Richmond?
Let us know in the comments so we can add more recommendations to our list!