Richmond in British Columbia, Canada is the gateway into Vancouver but those in-the-know will tell you that it's worth spending time here because it has so much to offer. Between its distinct experiences of having some of the best Asian cuisine outside of Asia, and iconic Canadian coastal heritage, this itinerary will show you all the best things to do in Richmond, BC. When you're done, you'll realize that this city is more than just a half-day excursion.
4 Day Richmond BC Itinerary Highlights
This 4 day Richmond BC itinerary covers the top bucket list items and shows you how you can easily spend a whole weekend here and more.
Here were my top 5 highlights of Richmond, British Columbia:
- Whale Watching
- Richmond Night Market
- Dumpling Trail
- Richmond Olympic Oval
1. Whale Watching
2. Richmond Night Market
4. Dumpling Trail
5. Olympic Oval
Curious where I stayed? The Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotel is the perfect place to base your 4 day trip to Richmond BC. If this doesn't suit your fancy, there are other options I recommend. Keep reading down below to find out.
Read more about Canada
- 3 day Calgary itinerary
- Weekend getaway trips from Toronto
- Is there an Airbnb of RVs?
- Where to rent RVs in Ontario
- Pinery Provincial Park Guide
Where to stay in Richmond BC?
- There's a hotel that's located in the perfect spot, recently renovated, offers one of Marriott lounges in the country to status members, and is affordably priced. The one to look for is the Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotel.
Table of Contents
Looking for something specific in this itinerary? Jump to what you want to read.
Here's what we're covering:
- 4 Day Richmond BC Itinerary Highlights
- Table of Contents
- Things To Do In Richmond BC – A 4 Day Itinerary
- Where To Stay In Richmond
- Recommended Activities to Book
- A Quick Richmond Travel Guide
- The Whole Experience
Things To Do In Richmond BC – A 4 Day Itinerary
Richmond is typically known for its Asian culture but when you start looking at the whole of Lulu Island that forms the city limits, you begin to see that there's so much more than its stereotype. With this 4 day itinerary of Richmond BC, I wanted to see the city in a way that most don't get to unless you're a local. In a span of a long weekend, learn what you can see, do, eat, and stay without even having to cross the bridge to Vancouver.
Trip Planning Map
If you've seen my Grand Rapids 4 Day Itinerary, Best Kichijoji Street Food, or Best Ramen in Tokyo, you'll know that I'm a big fan of trip planning maps especially for when I'm on the road. I always have one prepared before I travel so that I can quickly pull them up for reference. My hope is that these maps give you the jump start to plan your trip to Richmond BC.
Tip: View the Richmond BC 4 Day planning map in full screen and create a copy (this step is key) for yourself. Make tweaks for your own trip and in Google Maps, you'll be able to view it by going into the menu, selecting “My Places” and the “Maps” tab.
Day 1 – Settle In With Some Good Food
To get you started in Richmond, it's time to start your adventure with some food and of course what better way to have many options laid out in front of you than at the food court of the Aberdeen Centre.
This modern day Asian shopping mall will make you feel like you're almost transported to Hong Kong and it all culminates on the second floor where you'll want to try every single vendor. With spicy Szechuan, Hong Kong cafes, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, Shanghainese, and more to satisfy your cravings, take a peek around see what suits your fancy.
My recommendation is Bubble Waffle Café which has Hong Kong classics like the bubble waffle, rice rolls, curry fish balls, and made-to-order soup noodles. Other notable stalls to look out for is Szechuan House and their spicy chicken, Wu Fung Dessert for their fried chicken wings, and Saboten for their Japanese cutlet sandwiches.
While you're at Aberdeen Centre, take advantage of the fact that the famed Japanese 100 Yen store, Daiso, has its only store in Canada located here. This two floor bonanza of Japanese goods is filled with gems that you won't find at any dollar store. They're great for home organizers, kitchen tools, and personal stationary.
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One of the advantages of being in Richmond is that the airport is extremely close which not only makes it convenient to hit the ground running if you fly in but it also makes airplane viewing really easy. The Larry Berg Flight Path Park is one of the friendliest and also cutest spot to watch a steady stream of planes touch down at the Vancouver International Airport.
In this park, you'll find a giant globe meant for climbing and stomping and crossing miniature runways that's just perfect for a photoshoot as planes roar above.
If you have time, another spot that'll give you a unique perspective of Richmond is the Canada Line Bikeway that runs across the Fraser River North Arm and connects to Vancouver. It's a little off-the-beaten-path for most visitors but it's a short walk to get up to the bridge where bikes zoom across and the Skytrain hums above. From this bridge, you'll see the remaining log booms along the river.
PARKING: This an industrial area but street parking is easy to find along Van Horne Way and is free.
Before you head to your hotel to check-in, grab one of the best mango slush from Bubble Queen. The huge chunks of fresh mango are second to none. If you're still hungry, their specialty bubble waffles with mochi is always a hit.
Close out your first day with dinner at Kiriri for an authentic Japanese dining experience with extensive grilled and deep fried items, alongside sushi and sashimi. For sushi lovers, the highlights are always on the fresh fish board where speciality fish are imported and available in limited quantities. Fair warning, their tako wasabi is extremely spicy.
What you'll see:
What you'll do:
- Shop at Daiso
Where you'll eat:
- Lunch – Bubble Waffle Cafe at Aberdeen Centre – Hong Kong cafe classics including their award-winning bubble waffles and all at an affordable price.
- Drinks – Bubble Queen – An old-time classic in Richmond known for their mango slush and speciality bubble waffles.
- Dinner – Kiriri Japanese Cuisine – Authentic Japanese restaurant that serves high quality sushi.
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Day 2 – Olympic Dreams
Richmond is known to have the best dim sum outside of Asia so it's time to put that to the test at Chef Tony Seafood. This is an insanely popular restaurant for dim sum so my first recommendation is to make a reservation ahead of time. If you don't manage to, come early on a weekday and they'll try to squeeze you in.
What makes Chef Tony so good is that they make everything fresh and they do unique spins on classic dishes. For instance, their siu mai is topped with truffle which I have to say makes it hands-down the best I've ever had. Their shrimp dumplings (har gow) uses cuttlefish ink which is why the skin is black. Their rice noodles are green because they use bitter gourd and was quite delicious.
It wasn't long ago that Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and one of the primary venues they built was the Richmond Olympic Oval. Designed for the long-track speedskating event, the venue was designed with its post-Olympic future in mind and while I didn't expect to spend that much time here, this ended up being quite the surprise attraction.
Joining a private tour of the facility, learn about all the hidden secrets of how the building was constructed including Canadian innovations in the roof which is said to resemble a heron, environmental features that capture rainwater and recycle heat generated from refrigeration, and the use of trees damaged by pine beetles
The tour also gave us a chance to take a look at all the incredible sports and fitness facilities that range from the ice rink, their state-of-the-art OVALfit program, hardcourt sports, climbing wall, ping pong tables, and even batting cages.
Beyond what's inside, make sure to spend time walking the exterior of the oval which features Water Sky Garden and the giant red lanterns made out of netting held up by huge metal rings above ponds that act as a water reservoir from the rain collected.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 6111 River Rd, Richmond, BC V7C 0A2
Hours: Hours vary depending on the activity but the building itself is open daily 6AM-11PM unless it's a holiday.
- Private tours are free.
- Drop-in rates: $20 adults, $15 seniors, $13 youth (13-18), $5 children (6-12), and $8 for all during non-peak hours (Monday – Friday, from 6:00AM-2:30PM and 9:30PM-11PM)
Website: Richmond Olympic Oval
Private tour: Private tours are run with the help of local volunteers and since they are private, you need to make a booking ahead of time. Facility tours are limited to large groups and special events but you can find that information on the tickets page.
- There is underground parking and $2/hour up to a maximum of $15 on the weekday and $18 on the weekend.
- If you'd rather look for something free, there is free street parking all around which the facility is kind enough to share in their free parking map.
- Beyond the free tour, make sure to plan time to visit the Richmond Olympic Experience which you'll learn about down below.
- There's actually no cost to enter the facility so you can head up to the rink and hardcourt to take a peek even if you don't do the tour.
- There's the ROX shop on the ground floor if you want to pick up any gear.
The best part as visitors though is the Richmond Olympic Experience which is Canada's only Olympic museum. Incredibly interactive and hands-on, this is not to be missed. Alongside touchscreens that feel like they belong more to a science fiction set, there are sports simulators and interactive challenges. You'll easily end up spending hours here because you'll want to try to beat your own ski jumping record, execute perfect turns in a bobsled, beat your friend at a game of reaction times, and see yourself on TV as a sports broadcaster.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 6111 River Rd, Richmond, BC V7C 0A2.
Hours: Thursday – Sunday 10AM-5PM.
Price: $20 adults, $16 seniors, $13 youth (13-18), $5 child (6-12), free for children 5 and under
- Sports simulators have height restrictions – Race Car – 5 feet, Bobsleigh, Sit Ski, Kayak – 3 feet 9 inches
Website: Richmond Olympic Experience
- What's not advertised particularly well is the fact that your ROX admission ticket also gives you access to the rest of the facilities at the Richmond Olympic Oval for the day as you would get with a drop-in fee. What this means is that you can combine your day with the climbing wall as well for an awesome 2-in-1 combo.
If you've read my tip above, you'll know that the hidden secret is that you can go rock climbing for free with your ROX ticket. This is in fact the only rock climbing facility in all of Richmond so take advantage of this. With 45 different routes culminating in their 44 foot overhang, their walls are set up for top rope, lead climbing (partner belay and self belay), and bouldering. Remember, rock climbing is an official sport starting in the 2020 (2021) Tokyo Summer Olympics so it's time to start training!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 6111 River Rd, Richmond, BC V7C 0A2.
Hours: Monday to Friday 3-10PM, Saturday and Sunday 12-8PM
Price: Same as drop-in admission to the Richmond Olympic Oval. Rental prices are as follows:
- Climbing shoes – $5
- Chalk bags – $1
- Harness – $3
- Belay device – $2
- All-in rental – Adult $10, Child $7
- There are specific times for drop-in climbing which you can find here. Since you won't have membership, you won't be able to register in advance. Just plan your trip around these times/
- All climbers have to pass a belay test
- Participants wishing to belay only, don’t have to purchase admission, but must pay for belay test and equipment rentals (if needed).
- Minimum weight is 25 pounds and we recommend the kids to be at least 5 years old.
Website: Richmond Olympic Oval Climbing Wall
- Again, your ROX tickets includes the single day drop-in pass and that includes climbing.
You will have had a very active day up until this point so you will no doubt be hungry. Down the street from the Richmond Olympic Oval is Origo Club which will honestly be the culinary highlight of your trip and that's saying a lot because of how good all the food spots are on this itinerary.
This swank French eatery is an impressive experience from start to end. When you walk in, you step into a cultural gallery with art pieces from Tibet on display and precious ceramics, pottery, and sculptures that sit around a custom-made arched door that leads into a space that feels like an ultra luxe hotel lobby that is filled with earthy wooden tones and huge marble slabs splashed throughout.
The dinner menu is highlighted by Head Chef David Pan's beef tartare, pan-fried scallops, bone-in pork chop which are done to perfection with each carefully constructed with a balance of local produce and freshly curated ingredients and paired with subtle flavours and delicate dots of exquisite purees.
These nouveau takes of French classics are rounded out by freshly baked bread that comes with lemon truffle and honey butter, and the mind-blowing Crème Brûlée à l'Espresso.
I particularly appreciated the incredible attention to service and our server's detailed explanation of the process behind the cured egg and daily hand-made truffle chips that are part of the beef tartare.
If the sun is still up, I recommend that you make your way to Terra Nova Adventure Playground to watch the sky lit on fire. This is popular park for its massive play area that includes a tree house, zip lines, maze, and sand play areas. It also well known for its West Dyke Trail that is lined with benches and picnic tables so come here for a leisurely stroll as the sun dips and planes land before your eyes.
Tip: There is free parking at the park. You'll most likely want to drive all the way to the end of River Road to watch the sunset.
What you'll see:
What you'll do:
Where you'll eat:
- Lunch – Chef Tony Seafood – One of the top dim sum restaurants in Richmond where you'll find a gourmet spins to standard dishes.
- Dinner – Origo Club – This is a contemporary fusion of Eastern influences with quintessential French fare crafted to perfection.
Day 3 – Canadian Coastal Heritage
If you want to see true Canadian fishing and coastal heritage, you won't find it in Vancouver, it's actually right in Richmond and the town's name is Steveston.
Come here first thing in the morning and start off your day right at the Rocanini Coffee Roasters. They have great artesian coffees, yummy croissants, my favourite lemon squares by the lemon square, and fancy shakes as well.
Tip: When parking at Steveston, come early and find a free spot along Bayview Street or Easthope Avenue which is marked on the trip planning map.
You're in for a treat on this day because you'll have one of the most incredible experiences that might not've thought to do from Richmond – whale watching! What most don't realize is that it's actually better to do whale watching from Steveston because of a few things:
- Closer – You're often closer to the whales which means shorter boat ride times
- Prices are cheaper – As a direct comparison, Steveston Seabreeze Adventures is $150 CAD whereas Prince of Whales from Vancouver is $185 CAD.
- Smaller boat sizes – The Vancouver cruiser boats have a capacity of 74 whereas the ones leaving from Steveston are typically a maximum of 23. For an activity like this, you actually want the smaller boats because not everyone will be fighting for spot when the whales are viewable from one side. This also means a smaller ratio of marine guide to guests so it's also easier to ask questions.
There's a 9:30AM whale watching tour with Steveston Seabreeze Adventures but you'll need to make it to their offices by 8:45AM for check-in. You'll receive your boarding pass tickets and once it's time, you'll be taken down to your boat.
I won't spoil too much of the experience but you'll be taken out to the Strait of Georgia from the Fraser River and along your way to look for whales, you'll pass through an estuary where salt water meets fresh water, bald eagles perched up on a light post, and stellar sea lions. That's only the beginning.
The main event of course to find whales out in the wild. Now every experience is going to be different because it'll depend on which transient pods are coming through or if others are in the area. The good news is that all the cruise operators are connected by radio so if they're spotted somewhere, your captain's going to know.
Our experience specifically was absolutely incredible because of how many orcas we spotted in the span of 1 hour near the transient whales. What made it such a treat was the fact that there were so many juvenile orcas in the group and all the wanted to do was splash their tail and jump for joy so we got to see an endless amount of action. It was truly magical.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The focus here will be for the semi-enclosed vessel but I'll touch on the other options as well.
Address: 12551 No 1 Rd, Richmond, BC V7E 1T7.
Hours: 9:30AM, 11:30AM, and 2:30PM.
Price: $145 for adults, $125 for students and seniors, $85.00 for children 3-12 + taxes.
Website: Steveston Seabreeze Adventures
- What the difference is between semi-enclosed, open-style, and zodiac-style?
- Price – zodiac-style is the only one that's a bit more at $150 + tax instead of $145
- Frequency – Semi-enclosed and open-style has 3 slots a day instead of 2 for zodiac-style.
- Popularity – I'd say the most popular is the semi-enclosed because it's comfortable during cruising if you want to stay out of the wind but you also have the upper deck and the open stern (rear of the ship). More child friendly.
- Why Zodiac? – These are the smallest boats which has its advantages of not being crowded and since it's not enclosed, there maybe some splashing and faster for those who are looking for more fun in their ride. Keep in mind that only children 8 or older are allowed.
- Why Open-Style? – Compared to the semi-enclosed, this'll be a more adventurous riding experience. Keep in mind that you'll be exposed to full sun and wind.
- Why Semi-Enclosed? – The best balance of all of them since you can stay inside for cover during the ride out. If you want to be outdoors, you have the stern and upper deck.
- Is there a bathroom onboard? Yes there is a toilet in the semi-enclosed.
- What if you don't spot any whales? If you don’t see any species of whale, you get a voucher to go back for free.
- Is food provided? There is snack bin on the ship with granola bars that are free for you to take but in moderation of course.
- Is this okay for those that get nauseous easily? This of course will depend on the weather and water conditions but my wife who does get sea-sick easily was okay for the ride to the whales and back but when the engine wasn't running and the boat was just floating, she said she was starting to feel mildly nauseous halfway through the whale watching. For someone that doesn't get seasick like myself, I didn't notice it at all if that's any measure.
- What if I'm staying in Vancouver? – They offer shuttle rides to Steveston for $10 per person round trip straight from your hotel or place of stay.
- How long does the tour actually take? – There's a reason it says 3-5 hours and that's because it really depends on whether there's a lot of action out there and if a lot of travel is required to get to the viewing spots. On average it's 4 hours but for trip planning reasons, I'd account for a full 5.
- What kind of whales can we see? Orcas and killer whales will be your main sightings. We were lucky enough to spot gray whales as well.
- How close do you get? Close enough but far enough where your phone's camera isn't going to do it justice. For any photography aficionados out there, all the photos you've seen here were taken at 300mm zoom in full frame terms and even then I feel like I wasn't getting close enough.
- Bring a jacket and sunscreen – It may be a sunny day but out on the water it'll be colder than you think especially with the wind while at the same time the UV can be just as strong.
- Photography – Bring your longest lens. 300-600mm is recommended and get ready for a long day of shooting on a rocking boat.
Since you'll be famished by the time you're back in Steveston, the first spot I'd recommend hitting up is Pajo's Fish & Chips. This is the go-to spot and always packed with people along the harbour so you can't miss it. For the best, make sure you order the Alaskan Wild Halibut and Fries.
With your bellies full, now it's time to learn more about Steveston. Once a boisterous frontier for the open sea and principal port along the Fraser River, much of what you will see here comes back to how this was one of the busiest ports in the world at the turn of the 20th century and literally supplied the world's canned fish.
Where you'll want to focus on in Steveston are the two national historic sites – Gulf of Georgia Cannery and Britannia Shipyards.
The Gulf of Georgia Cannery is the closer of the two to the centre so start there. The cannery is an integral part of not only the growth and development of Steveston but also also a main cog in providing canned fish in the world. This expansive facility was one of the largest of its kind and this is only one of two of its kind left in Canada to see in person, the other being in Prince Rupert.
Whether through the guided tour experience or exploring the museum on your own, you'll learn about the multicultural labour that kept the canning and herring reduction plant lines moving, the entire process of fish brought in to the final product, fascinating tales from that era, fishing methods, films, and interactive displays.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 12138 Fourth Ave, Richmond, BC V7E 3J1.
Hours: Open daily from 10AM to 5PM and closed on statutory holidays October to January.
Price: Adult $11.70, Seniors $10.05, Children 17 and under free (includes taxes)
Website: Gulf of Georgia Cannery
- The Cannery's tour and experience schedule changes day to day so take a look before you step inside the museum. The Machine Demo is definitely worth it to see the machines running and the main Canning Line tour also explains everything that you're seeing instead of doing it on your own.
- If you're a member of AAA, CAA, or BCAA you can get 20% off regular admission rates. Valid membership cards must be shown to receive the discount.
The next main attraction to visit in Steveston is the Britannia Shipyards. This is truly a rare surviving example in Canada of a period in time when boatyards, multi-ethnic communities, and canneries that will give you insight into what it was like in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
What makes this historic site special and unique is the fact that it is a living and breathing museum in more ways than one. With the help of volunteers dressed in period costumes, you're not only seeing remnants of houses and the shipyard but you also get to see live demonstrations of people showing you net mending, sewing, shipyard wood working, and more. On top of that, the site is also periodically restore old wooden boats to bring history to life.
As much as this site is about shipyards and the canning industry that once thrived on the river, buildings such as the Murakami House, Chinese Bunkhouse, Stilt Houses, and First People's Bunkhouse show that this site is much more about the multi-ethnic peoples that were brought here to power the industry, their stories, their struggles, and successes.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 5180 Westwater Dr, Richmond, BC V7E 6P3.
Hours: 12PM – 5PM (October to April) and 10AM-5PM (May to September).
Website: Britannia Shipyards
- Tours are available at Britannia Shipyards but they are not well-advertised. There are two types – culture-based ($18) and site-based ($12). In both cases, registration is required ahead of time by e-mailing [email protected] and a minimum of 8 is required. More info is here.
- The RichmondBC app on iOS includes a self-guided tour of the 12 site buildings
- Looking for a map of the site? You can find it here (heads up that this is a large file).
Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring historic Steveston and get to know the town. Loaded with charm, Steveston is extremely easy to explore on foot. There's a bit for everyone here with national heritage sites for history buffs, plenty of boutique shops to drop in, artisan shops, and plenty for kids as well. It's a place of maximum coastal charm, chill vibes, and the occasional seagull call.
While the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and Britannia Shipyards are the key places to visit, there are plenty of other spots you want to go to. Here are a few places I recommend that you drop by.
- Fisherman's Wharf – The entire boardwalk along the pier is fascinating to explore as it houses Canada's largest commercial fishing fleet and there's the public fish sales float that's set up here where fishermen sell their fresh catches. It's best to come here Friday afternoon, and during regular business hours on Saturday and Sunday.
- Steveston Tram – In the early 1900's a tram line called the Interurban ran from Vancouver's lower mainland to Steveston but was decommissioned in 1958. A fully refurbished tramcar is on display for you to explore.
- Steveston Museum – Take a glimpse into the past of the village, its first bank, and people that shaped it.
- Garry Point Park – A nice park on the far west end of the village that's great for a leisurely walk and coastal views.
- Outpost Mini Donut Company – Popular for gourmet and freshly made mini donuts.
- Timothy's Frozen Yogurt – Locals and visitors love this spot for their fresh fruit frozen yogurt.
Oh and if you're a fan of the TV show “Once Upon A Time”, Steveston was the primary backdrop for Storybrooke and so either take a tour of Steveston to learn about where the places such as the clock tower, Granny's diner, Storybrooke Fish & Chips, post office, and others can be found.
For dinner, you're going to have the most insane pizza you've ever seen and you can only find it at the Steveston Pizza Company. I love the run of the mill pizza that are great for late night parties and I also love the gourmet Italian thincrusts but to think that something close to $1,000 exists seems ludicrous right? Okay fine, it's more like $850 on their menu but this humble little corner pizza shop has become an international sensation for their over-the-top pies.
If your pockets aren't that deep, I'd save your money and instead get their Serpent pizza which features shrimps, prawns, Canadian lobster tails, and smoked salmon. It sure packs a wallop for those that love their seafood without breaking the bank at $75. We split it between the two of us and it was pretty overwhelming as a 12 inch pizza so I'd say splitting between 3 or 4 people would be perfect.
What you'll see:
- Fisherman's Wharf
- Steveston Tram
- Steveston Museum
- Gulf of Georgia Cannery
- Britannia Shipyards
- Garry Point Park
What you'll do:
Where you'll eat:
- Breakfast – Rocanini Coffee Roasters – The Steveston branch of the roaster offers spacious seating, great coffee, and small bites.
- Lunch – Pajo's Fish & Chips – You'll often see long line ups here in the afternoon for their super popular fish and chips.
- Snack – Outpost Mini Donut Company – Decorated to be like a curio shop from the set of Once Upon A Time, this is a great spot to try their delicious mini donuts.
- Snack – Timothy's Frozen Yogurt – If ice cream is on your mind, this is where you need to go for their traditional fresh fruit frozen yogurt.
- Dinner – Steveston Pizza Company – They're definitely not your regular local pizza shop, serving up the most extravagant seafood-based pizzas you'll ever see. Their pizzas are highly Instagrammable and over-the-top.
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Day 4 – Dumpling Trail & Night Market Madness
Your final full day in Richmond is going to be ALL about food and that isn't exactly hard to do here but if you're visiting for your first time or even if it's your second or third, the challenge is always in trying to figure out what's good. Two things are going to make things a lot easier.
The first is something called the Dumpling Trail. This is a pretty unique idea that takes on the familiar concept of ale or wine trails that you see cities adopt except now it's food based. Richmond having a rich history of Asia culture and influences, it only makes sense to consolidate the best in dough wrapped fillings that we call dumplings. CNN even named the Dumpling Trail as 12 of the world's most enticing food and drink trails.
Currently there are 20 restaurants that are part of the Dumpling Trail and each one of them has their own speciality because it covers everything from har gow, siu mai, gyoza, xiao long bao, wontons, mandu, bahn bot loc, and so much more. The trail itself is designed to more of a guide to help you pick which restaurants to hit up that you can do in a bunch together or slowly visit over time. It's a modern day culinary choose-your-own-adventure.
With too many restaurants to choose from for our brunch feast, we elected to join a Vancouver Food Tour where our guide, Cassandra, maximized our limited time and took us to these delectable highlights:
- Empire Seafood Restaurant – A dim sum specialist that is extremely high quality.
- Tsim Chai Noodles – Their crispy wontons are insanely good especially once you drizzle that special sauce on.
- Xi An Cuisine – Their spicy wontons are out of this world and definitely a highlight.
- Peanut's Bubble Tea – Take a break from dumplings and grab their famous wheel cakes and bubble tea.
- 4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine – You won't even know their food is vegetarian. Try their gyoza and Chinese BBQ cut buns.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Website: Dumpling Trail
- If you're doing the Dumpling Trail on your own, you'll be hopping from restaurant to restaurant on your own. The key is to be tempted to over-order food. Luckily, all the restaurants we did are all within walking distance.
- If you're not as comfortable on your own with these restaurants, Vancouver Food Tour runs a daily Dumpling Trail tour at 11AM for $60 CAD + tax where you get a guided experience at each spot and you won't need to have to worry about ordering or paying.
The next food-focused pursuit will absolutely blow you away. Ever since my 12 day trip to Taiwan and ate through more night markets than I can count, I've been craving for something similar. In a go-big-or-go-home way, I've finally found it and I think you'll be impressed.
The Richmond Night Market is the largest of its kind in North America. Year to year the vendors change but what's constant is its size, yummy and sometimes ridiculous treats, retail shops, carnival games, and random dinosaurs (don't ask me why).
The main attraction is the food of course and it'll be a feast for the senses because as the music is pumping and you snake your way through the crowd, you'll hear the sizzle of the grill, the smell of fresh barbequed meats, and ultimately taste of international foods that range from China, Korea, Japan, Phillipines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Germany, and Brazil.
From classics like skewered meats to love-it-or-hate-it items like stinky tofu or Instagrammable inventions like rainbow coloured grilled cheese, there is truly something for everyone.
Make sure to watch the YouTube exclusive on the Richmond Night Market to see everything we tried to get inspiration (coming soon). Shoutouts go to Chef James, Mamalak, ZZIM, Nori Express, Two Sweet Guys, Tuk Tuk YVR, iTOFU, Crab Hut, and Asomi Mochi!
Beyond food, there are tons of carnival games to try your luck and skill at, and there are the rows and rows of retail shops that cover anything from socks to cell phone cases.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 8351 River Rd, Richmond, BC V6X 1Y4.
Hours: Open May 14 – October 14th, 7-12PM Fri-Sat and 7-11PM Sun and statutory holidays.
Price: Adult $4.75 and free for children and seniors.
Website: Richmond Night Market
Parking: Parking is free relatively easy to get if you come in the first few hours but will be a bit more challenge later on. That said, there are plenty of spots.
- Are there tables and chairs? There are designated seating areas if you take a look at their map.
- How do I know which stalls are the best? Well that's pretty subjective but they actually have a handy board near the entrance which highlights the top ones as voted by other visitors. Otherwise, check out the ones that I went to or read the plethora of Vancouver food blogs out there including Maggi Mei‘s.
- Zoom Pass – It's $28 and good for 6 entries so if you're going to be a repeat customer or if you're with 5 other friends, you can gain access to the extremely shorter line. There are minimal price savings compared to $4.75. If you're creative, get 5 randoms to join you so you can all get in that much faster.
- Cash only – The majority of the night market is cash only so make sure to have enough on-hand. There is an ATM inside but that's valuable time wasted and not to mention withdrawal fees. Some do take credit card but I'd say it's the minority.
- Go early – It goes without saying that the lines are going to be shorter when you make it there for the 7PM opening.
- Coupon book – These are $2 and provide a bunch of savings for participating vendors because the food adds up quickly. That said, it does kind of force you to go to specific stalls if you try to maximize on savings.
- Hand sanitizer and napkins – You'll be eating as you go along so make sure you bring your own hand sanitizer and napkins to keep those fingers from getting too sticky.
What you'll do:
- Richmond Night Market
Where you'll eat:
- Breakfast/Lunch – Dumpling Trail
- Dinner – Richmond Night Market
Day 5 – Last Dash of Food
hk bbq master richmond takeout
Okay so I lied, there's actually a bonus fifth day but it'll all depend on where you're moving onto next or when your flight out of Richmond is.
Since our flight wasn't until mid-afternoon, we squeezed in two more food stops before dropping our car rental at the airport.
The first is HK B.B.Q. Master. Featuring top quality meats from BC and Alberta, their Hong Kong barbeque is a serious hole-in-the-wall gem in Richmond. Winning numerous rewards and frequented by celebrities like Seth Rogan, their bbq pork, roast pork, bbq duck, and soy sauce chicken.
Located underneath a grocery store and connected to the parking lot, you'll often find lines overflowing to the main street here. The tip here is to make sure you have cash because they don't take card and I highly recommend picking up Combo 10 and pay extra for the Sautéed Free Range Chicken (+$0.50).
Another place worthy of your taste buds is L'OTUS Cake Boutique and a treat you can take away for your trip home or to your next destination. If you're not familiar with the Japanese mille crepe cake, these are refined specialty cakes that typically have no less than 20 paper-thin handmade crepes layered with rich cream.
At L'OTUS, you'll find the original flavour but there are also unique ones such as Earl Grey, mango, matcha, black sesame, and many more.
And with that, your Richmond BC adventures are finally over and it's time to head on to your next destination!
Where you'll eat:
- Breakfast/Lunch – HK B.B.Q. Master – Take it to go and eat it on the plane or at the airport.
- Dessert – L'OTUS Cake Boutique – Come here if you're a fan of mille crepe cakes.
Where To Stay In Richmond
There are plenty of places to stay in Richmond and it'll come down to your budget and location for where you want to be. Ultimately, I personally think that the Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotel is a perfect hub to get to everywhere conveniently by car and by foot but I've provided other options if that doesn't suit your fancy.
I STAYED HERE
Conveniently located in the heart of Richmond, this newly renovated property has extremely high reviews and that has to do with their modernly designed suites with separate living and bed rooms, M Club lounge, and excellent service.
Not only is there a casino connected to this hotel, you're walking distance from the Richmond Night Market, and price-wise, this is one of the more affordable hotels in the city. Each room is suite style with free wifi and mini fridge.
Recommended Activities to Book
If you're looking for something guided in Richmond BC, these activities may be of interested so make sure to check them out!
Zombie Scavenger Game – This is an independent interactive scavenger hunt that that involves a food, supplies, weapons, and shelter throughout Richmond, BC.
Steveston Magical Mystery & Sea Adventure Explorer Tour – That is an incredibly long name for a tour but this is a private guided tour of Steveston that includes entrance tickets to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery.
Steveston Magical Mystery Storybrooke Private Tour – If you're a fan of the show Once Upon A Time, this one's for you. This is a 5 hour experience that takes you through the footsteps of the stars that filmed here.
Steveston Heritage Experience – This is a 3 hour interactive walking tour that includes the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, the Steveston Tram, the Steveston Museum, and the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. Learn about the town's history and have carefully chosen food and beverage tastings that will bring you back to 1914.
A Quick Richmond Travel Guide
Money – While credit card is accepted in most places, it is still wise to carry a good amount of Canadian cash on-hand. The Richmond Night Market is a prime example but you'll also find that there are some Chinese eateries (i.e. HK BBQ Master) that are cash-only as well.
When is the best time? – The best time of the year to go to Richmond not only coincides with good weather but also when the Richmond Night Market is on so May to October is your best bet. As you plan your trip, another place to check is the Visit Richmond BC events page, to see what is going on locally.
Getting here – The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is located in Richmond, BC and as the primary hub in Western Canada, flying in to experience Richmond is incredibly easy. Alternatively, Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport (SEA) is also only 3 hour drive away. If you're in downtown Vancouver, Richmond is only 35 minutes away. From say Calgary, Richmond is 10.5 hours drive away.
How do I get around the city? – There is public transportation in Richmond but if you plan to get to all the spots in this itinerary, life would definitely be easier with a car. As I mention above, booking with Avis is what I'd recommend from YVR. If you'd prefer not to drive, there is a special Richmond Discovery Shuttle that will take you to Steveston.
Where should I stay? – The most comprehensive platform for bookings based on personal experience was Booking.com. They had everything from hotels, hostels, and guesthouses and we always managed to find an awesome place for a great place. As an alternative, there's also Expedia and VRBO.
Do I need travel insurance? – As always, travel insurance is highly recommended. My philosophy is that you want to make sure you're covered in case the unknown happens. Make sure to read our guide on choosing the right travel insurance for you. Overall, World Nomads has the best balance of price and coverage.
The Whole Experience
Phew that was a lot of ground to cover and I thought that even 4 days wasn't enough to do everything that we wanted to do. The one limiting factor is how much stomach space you have because as you will have seen in this 4 day itinerary of Richmond that there's so much food to try.
What you'll learn from this trip to Richmond BC is that yes, Asian cuisine is out of this world but there's so much more to the city. The authentic experience you'll discover in Steveston is truly a gem, the Richmond Olympic Oval is a fun place to explore for kids and adults alike, and the numerous coastal parks and trails.
Now go forth and fill your bellies and memories!
This trip was in collaboration with Tourism Richmond but all opinions and thoughts are my own.
Got questions for your own trip to Richmond? Let me help by simply dropping a comment down below!
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