The Best things to do in Richmond, BC

Richmond, BC is a large suburb of Vancouver and a fascinating destination in its own right for a day trip or a weekend getaway from Vancouver.

Many visitors to Vancouver come to Richmond since it’s the home of the Vancouver Airport, but there’s so much more to see and do here than just catch a plane. From exploring British Columbia’s fishing history to eating amazing food from all around the world, don’t overlook this interesting and unique city.

I’ve lived near the border most of my life and love going up to the Vancouver area, whether it’s for a day or a longer trip. If you’re driving from Seattle to Vancouver, it’s easy to stop in Richmond.

Richmond is the cross roads of many indigenous people at this important fishing location at the mouth of the Fraser River. First Nations People in this area include the Stó:lō, Musqueam, Stz’uminus and Tsawwassen People.

What is Richmond, BC known for?

Richmond, BC is really known primarily for three things:

  • Being home to Vancouver International Airport
  • Chinese food and culture
  • Historic Steveston

This list of best things to do in Richmond will touch on all three of these.

Calm water at the estuary of the Fraser River in Richmond, BC. There are distant islands and a fishing boat fleet on the side of the river
The modern fishing fleet in Richmond at the edge of historic Steveston at the mouth of the Fraser River

Richmond Night Market

The Richmond Night Market is an epic outdoor market celebrating all things international in the Vancouver area. Beyond just the incredible Asian food, particularly Chinese food, that Richmond is known for, there is food here from all over the world. There are more than 100 food vendors serving up lots of incredible treats.

This is the largest outdoor market in North America so it’s a busy place! You may have to wait in line to enter, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Eating amazing food

Richmond is well known in the Pacific Northwest and across Canada for it’s amazing food, particularly it’s Chinese food. It’s difficult to recommend specific places because there are so many amazing Chinese restaurants and so much incredible food. The night market mentioned above is a good way to get an overview and experience all kinds of food, but other than that, just check online reviews and go to whatever restaurant is closest to you.

You’ll find upscale Chinese restaurants with enormous glass windows, tiny hole in the wall places and take out only establishments set between warehouses. I’ve eaten in many of all these types of restaurants in Richmond and everything I’ve ever had was incredible.

Larry Berg Flight Path Park

Most visitors to Vancouver go to Richmond even if they aren’t aware of it when they arrive into or depart from Vancouver International Airport.

Since Richmond is home to Canada’s second largest airport and a true crossroads of the world. There are many long haul international flights across Asia, Europe and North America all day every day.

Even if you’re not heading to the airport, Larry Berg Flight Path Park is a must visit for aviation enthusiasts. Situated under a main runway, it’s an excellent plane spotting location, definitely the best in Vancouver.

In addition, it has a giant globe and interpretative signs about Vancouver’s connections to the rest of the world.

Richmond Olympic Experience

The Richmond Olympic Oval was home to all the speed skating events at the 2010 Winter Olympics. In addition to being a museum about the Olympics in general and Team Canada in particular, there are also interactive exhibits and games in the Richmond Olympic Experience, located in the Oval.

You can put yourself in the place of various Olympic Sports with wrap around screens that make it really feel like you are in a bobsleigh or on a surfboard. This is a really fun place to learn about sports and have some fun at any age.

Visit Historic Steveston

The area known as historic Steveston has a long history along the Fraser River Delta. An important fishing area for First Nations People, it also became important for fishing with white settlers. Steveston is a must do for history buffs and anyone interested in anything related to boats or fishing. There are a few different areas to explore in Steveston.

A fleet of many modern fishing boats in a harbor on a sunny day in Richmond BC.
The modern day fishing fleet in Steveston

In addition to history and the river trail, there are also several restaurants and ice cream shops along the waterfront if you’re feeling hungry or like taking a break here. Unlike most of Richmond, the waterfront is fish and chip focused rather than Chinese food focused.

Brittania Shipyards

The Brittania Shipyards National Historic Site of Canada is dedicated to the history of shipbuilding in the last 150 years around the mouth of the Fraser River.

A run down wooden boat building structure on a cloudy day in a river estuary
One of the buildings remaining from the 19th century Brittania Shipyards

Here you can learn about shipbuilding and go inside buildings that were used in this industry as well as visit the homes of employees and learn about what life was like building boats in the 19th and early 20th century.

A floating red and white wooden house
Historic homes of management at Brittania Shipyards

Gulf of Georgia Cannery

A white wooden building with red trim that says Gulf of Georgia Cannery near a wooden pier with fishing boats in the background at Historic Steveston in Richmond BC.

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery is a National Historic Site of Canada and exists to preserve the history and teach visitors about the fishing industry in Canada and in British Columbia in particular.

Located in a historic cannery just up the road from the Brittania Shipyards, there are exhibits and tours that showcase this complicated industry.

Garry Point park

Grass near lots of driftwood on a gravel beach with picnic tables in the background as well as clouds and islands.
Part of the beach at Garry Point Park

This beautiful and expansive park at the mouth of the Fraser River has big grassy areas, a trail that connects to historic Steveston close by and lots of picnic tables.

Big trees provide some shade, there’s a rocky shoreline and you can see the Gulf Islands across the water. This is a great place to catch a sunset or have a picnic. There are restrooms and often concession

Walk along the Fraser River Estuary

All of this historic places and Garry Point Park are connected by a flat, mostly paved, mostly unbroken trail along the Fraser River Estuary. This makes for a lovely walk connecting these different sites and also an interesting walk along the river in it’s own right. Keep an eye out for birds both in the water and along the shore along with the historical sites during your walk.

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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite. I lived in Alaska for many years and I still spend lots of time there every year visiting friends and working as a tour director. I've been a guide for many years in both Alaska and Washington, am a field editor for the Milepost and host the Alaska Uncovered Podcast about Alaska Travel as well as the Washington State Hiking Podcast. I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you here!