New Year resolutions are easier to break than Christmas paper chains. But while yet another round of draconian diet and fitness declarations can seem futile, there are some promises you can make to yourself in 2019 that are far more fun to fulfill.

Read on for our bucket list of inspiring things to do in Richmond over the next 12 months. Then, print it off as a fridge door reminder of cool things to do in and around the city over the coming year. Here’s to a happy, healthy and enjoyable 2019—with plenty of adventurous new experiences!

EXPLORE THE CITY’S FOOD COURTS

Echoing the steaming hawker stands of many Asian cities, Richmond’s shopping mall food courts are unique in British Columbia. Combining satellite outlets of Asian chains with a wealth of mom and pop independents that specialize in street dishes from Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong and beyond, they’re a low-cost way to give your taste buds an ongoing culinary adventure. Looking for tips? Check out our dining-packed visits to Parker Place, President Plaza, and Aberdeen Centre. And don’t miss the seasonal Richmond Night Market, where you’ll find over 100 food stalls to explore.

Chef of Dumplings
Lamb pancake wrap from Aberdeen Centre's food court. | Photo: John Lee

TAKE UP BIRDING

One of the world’s fastest-growing hobbies, birding is now a mainstream pastime throughout North America. With its shoreline swathes, abundant parks, and pit stop popularity among flocks of migrating visitors, Richmond is a hotbed of great birding opportunities. Popular parks and beaches for bird spotting include McDonald Beach Park, Terra Nova Rural Park, and Iona Beach Regional Park. And if you need a local 101 introduction, check out our interview with a local birding enthusiast here.

Iona Beach Regional Park - Photo: John Lee
Iona Beach Regional Park is a great place for birding. | Photo: John Lee

GET OUTSIDE 

Speaking of parks, Richmond has more outdoor spaces than you might think. It’s easy to believe that the city centre’s malls and towers define the area, but you don’t have to travel too far here to find tranquil natural enclaves. Check out Richmond Nature Park—including its excellent, kid-friendly Nature House—as well as both Garry Point Park and Terra Nova Rural Park. And if you’re looking for what may be the Lower Mainland’s most unusual public green space, don’t miss aviation-themed Larry Berg Flight Path Park, where airplane-spotting is the thing to do.

PLUNGE INTO THE PAST

If it has been a while since your last Steveston Village visit, plan a day out in the picturesque shoreline community. Reacquaint yourself with the two National Historic Sites (Britannia Shipyards and the Gulf of Georgia Cannery), but also add a pair of lesser-visited spots: the Steveston Museum and Steveston Interurban Tram. You can hit all four of these antique attractions on the new history-themed Steveston Heritage Experience Tour, launching its first full season in 2019.

Steveston Interurban Tram - Photo: John Lee
Consider taking the new Steveston Heritage Experience Tour this year. | Photo: John Lee

DIVE INTO THE DUMPLING TRAIL

If you’re hungry for some inside track help with exploring Richmond’s food scene, the self-guided Dumpling Trail is calling your name—complete with recommended eateries and three suggested itineraries. Gather a group of hungry friends, then taste your way through dumplings ranging from gyoza to wu gok. If creating an Instagram account is also one of your New Year resolutions, consider making the Dumpling Trail your first project (and please share your finds with us by using the #RichmondMoments hashtag and tagging @visitrichmondbc).

HOP ON A BIKE

If a dumpling overdose is straining your belt buckle, also consider making 2019 your healthiest year yet. You could hit the gym at the Richmond Olympic Oval or try the ninja course at Apex Adventure Plex. Or you could take full advantage of the fact that Richmond—recently designated a Global Active City alongside Hamburg, Liverpool, Lillehammer, and more—is a great cycling city. There are more than 80km of dedicated trails here with a mostly flat topography that makes cycling accessible for almost everyone. If you’re not quite ready to buy some new wheels for your new pastime, rent a bike from Village Bikes or U-bicycle.

VISIT A TEMPLE

Cycling around Richmond, you’ll likely pass some huge, grand-looking temples. The city is home to several richly ornate places of worship, many looking as if they’ve been magically transported straight from China or other Asian countries. Luckily, you don’t have to admire these colourful buildings from the street: many of them welcome visitors to step inside for a culturally immersive exploration. Keen to visit one or two in 2019? Check out the International Buddhist Temple and LingYen Mountain Temple.

LingYen Mountain Temple - Photo: John LeeLingYen Mountain Temple in Richmond. | Photo: John Lee

PLAN A YEAR OF FESTIVALS

Richmond’s grand temples often join the city’s Doors Open annual event in June, alongside dozens of cultural and historic sites keen to showcase themselves to curious visitors. But this is just one of the many cool festivals taking place in the city throughout the year, most of them entirely free to visitors. Mark your 2019 calendar for July 1’s Steveston Salmon Festival and Canada Day celebrations—arguably the best in the region—as well as Chinese New Year, the Richmond Maritime Festival, the Richmond World Festival, and Culture Days. See the full line up of annual events here.