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A Grown-Up’s Guide to Granville Island during the Children’s Festival

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A photograph of the Granville Island neon sign underneath the Granville Street bridge.

Attention parents (and guardians)! Make the most of your time at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival by adding your slice of adventure to the mix.

Whether it’s before, after, or even during showtime (shout out to the amazing field trip parent volunteers), Granville Island offers a variety of grown-up delights waiting to be discovered: 

Railspur Alley

Railspur Alley is full of eclectic charm and is close to the Waterfront Theater and The Nest. Indulge in artisanal coffee at Off the Tracks and lose yourself in the literary wonders at Upstart & Crow. You can also watch some super cool (and super hot) live glassblowing at Vancouver Studio Glass on Old Bridge Street at the west end of the Alley. And if you have the kids in tow, they can burn off more energy at the Railspur Park Playground.

Hint: If you’re visiting Off the Tracks, we recommend one of their yummy made-from-scratch menu items, including their house made jams and spreads! 

get sweet

Hidden beside Performance Works Theatre, is a little fire lane where you can treat your sweet tooth to small batch, bean-to-bar chocolate at Kasama Chocolate, or Bon Macaron Patisserie Ltd.’s delightful macarons. Post-treat, you can seek solace at Ron Basford Park (directly beside Performance Works), or walk a few steps North and check out the floating homes. 

Hint: If you’re a parent volunteer, consider indulging in a chocolate tour at Kasama, which typically lasts around 40–50 minutes. It’s a perfect activity to squeeze in while waiting for your class’s show to end! Make sure to book in advance.

artistic inspirations

You don’t have to walk far to find art and creativity flowing around the Island. Anywhere you stand, you’re steps away from galleries, street murals, entertaining street buskers and talented, multi-disciplinary artists and craftspeople. 

Hint: Only a 5‑minute walk from Waterfront Theatre and The Nest, we recommend checking out the Wickaninnish Gallery in the Net Loft building to see art from emerging and established Indigenous artists.

retail therapy

For a dose of retail therapy, head to MAKE Vancouver and explore their fun and quirky collections, many of them made locally and in-store! Or visit the Hamuhk Hangout Place and test out some amazing expert-woven hammocks, sure to leave you feeling rested and relaxed! 

Hint: Don’t forget to check out MAKE Vancouver’s Spin Art Bike in our Activity Village!

When you’re gearing up for a visit to the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, make sure to carve out a moment for yourself, and check out what Granville Island has to offer your own inner child!