The blue skies and sunny days of summer are just around the corner. But for those of us who love keeping cool when the mercury start to rise, here are a few great ways to chill out in Richmond. From outdoor pools and breezy parks to bubble tea joints and frozen dessert hot spots, read on for our favourite ways to tackle summer in the city without working up a sweat.

Frozen desserts

There’s one almost universal reason to love summer’s elevated temperatures: ice cream. Richmond is sprinkled with places to discover new favourites, from soft-serve specialists Screamers to the quirky Milkcow Cafe. But there’s more to the chilled dessert scene here—check out the sweet, shaved ice-like bingsoo at Snowy Village––it’s the kind of deliciously-frosty treat that gives brain freeze a good name.

Snowy Village - Food StreetAn ice-cold mango bingsoo dessert from Snowy Village. | Photo: John Lee

Watermania

Loved by local and visiting families, this brilliant indoor waterpark is filled with cool features, including a 57-metre competition pool that invites extended cooling off. Waterslides, a wave pool (we love its seahorse feature), and some lofty springboards add to the fun at Watermania.

Outdoor pools

The city is also home to a couple of popular outdoor public pools that operate throughout the summer. The Steveston Outdoor Pool and the South Arm Outdoor Pool are heated, and each has a range of additional features such as slides and picnic areas. Click here for more information on each pool, including specific features, opening hours, and location information.

Parks

Nature, of course, has its own way of keeping us cool. The tree-shaded trails of Paulik Park and the Richmond Nature Park (nip inside the Nature House for extra shade) offer lots of breathtaking ways to step out of the sun’s glare. And if you’re craving cooling shoreline breezes, beeline straight to a couple of the city’s best waterfront green spaces: Garry Point Park and Iona Beach Regional Park.

Paulik Neighbourhood Park - Photo: David J. Wright
The shaded trails of Paulik Park can help keep you cool. | Photo: David J. Wright

Whale watching

Take the breezy approach even further with Vancouver Whale Watch and Steveston Seabreeze Adventures. Both operate ocean-bound boat excursions where you’ll catch cooling, salt-licked breezes while keeping your eyes peeled for whales and other wildlife. Fancy something more sedate? Vancouver Whale Watch’s mini nature and historical tour runs in July and August and it’s a great, laid-back way to gently cool off on the water while enjoying a narrated tour of the Steveston waterfront.

River Queen - Photo: John Lee
Vancouver Whale Watch offers a Nature & Historical Tour in the summer. | Photo: John Lee

Bubble tea

Sometimes, of course, only an icy beverage can bring your temperature down to a comfortable level. You’ve likely spotted the multitude of bubble tea joints that stud Richmond like an abundance of tapioca balls. If you haven't yet sampled the delights of these chilled drinks, summer is the perfect time to plunge in. Check out some of our favourites here.

Summer libations

For many of us, an ice-cold beer is the best way to handle hot days. Luckily, homegrown Richmond breweries including Monkey 9, Britannia Brewing, and Fuggles & Warlock are ready to help. Each typically concocts their own limited edition summer seasonals but if they’re not quite ready on your visit, consider the Shredded Wheat Ale at Monkey 9, Adrift Hop Blonde Ale at Britannia, and The Last Mango Wit at Fuggles & Warlock.

Fuggles & Warlock
Enjoy a cold beer at Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks. | Photo: Tourism Richmond

Richmond Olympic Oval

If even the sight of ice helps reduce your temperature, skate on over to the city’s landmark 2010 Winter Olympics venue. There are two large indoor ice rinks here and they host everything from hockey to speed-skating activities; drop-in public skating times can be found here.

Patio hot spots

Facing the shoreline is often a good way to cool off in Richmond. And arguably the best way to do that is on a bar or restaurant patio. Among our favourites are the alfresco tables at Steveston’s Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant and the Deck Kitchen + Bar at Pacific Gateway Hotel. It’s also hard to beat Pajo’s fish and chips, eaten at one of the boardwalk picnic tables in Steveston.

The patio at The Deck Kitchen + Bar
Enjoy a patio with a river view at The Deck Kitchen + Bar. | Photo: ​Pacific Gateway Hotel