Hyper-Specific City Guide: What to Do in Vancouver With Your Preteen Nephew

He wants to feel cool, but he still sleeps with a stuffed dinosaur. Here's how to give him the perfect weekend.

This is part of our Ultimate, Hyper-Specific Vancouver City Guide, featured in the May 2024 issue of Vancouver magazine. We’ve created 25 unique personas and 25 unique itineraries to match. If this to-do list for ‘your tween nephew’ isn’t helpful, perhaps one of the other 24 bespoke schedules will be. Explore them all here. 

10:00 a.m.: A Whale of a Time

Head to UBC Campus and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum (adults, $14; kids, $10), where a staggering collection of preserved specimens—over two million!—awaits to either delight or gross out your nephew. The crown jewel of the space, of course, is the massive blue whale skeleton that hangs in the museum’s glass atrium—an awe-inspiring sight at any age. 212 Main Mall, UBC, beatymuseum.ubc.ca

giant whale skeleton

1:00 p.m.: Pool Party

Grab some smokies and crispy sweet potato fries at the Kits Beach concession before splashing around in Kits Pool (admission for two is $8), the city’s only saltwater public swimming pool… and certainly the one with the best view, thanks to its oceanfront location. Lounge in the shallow end while he ping-pongs between the two slides. 2305 Cornwall Ave., vancouver.ca

outdoor pool at kits beach

5:00 p.m.: Get Funky

Slip through the throngs of college kids to get a table at the always bumpin’ Eatery. Even the most sullen and stoic of tweens will find conversational inspiration in the outrageous decor—papier-mâché sculptures of Astroboy and octopi hang from the ceiling, lit by Christmas lights. The avant-garde sushi rolls are nothing you’d find on an omakase menu, but you can’t deny it’s an experience to receive a roll stuffed with eel, avocado and tempura banana ($11). 3431 W Broadway, theeatery.ca

7:00 p.m.: Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

Whether your boy is a sports fan or not: take him out to the ball game. The minor-league Vancouver Canadians (from $20) know how to put on a show, even when they’re not up to bat. Sushi mascot races, dancing base-sweepers and (of course) the chicken dance will keep him distracted in between requests to please, please, please buy a novelty foam glove. 4601 Ontario St., milb.com

8:00 a.m.: Stacks on Stacks

In the morning, it’s time for a stack of cinnamon-bun pancakes ($21) he can barely see over at the Canadiana-cute Jam Cafe—the sweet cream-cheese icing and maple butter will have him bouncing off the walls (but isn’t that what a weekend away from mom and dad is for?). Go first thing to avoid the stupid-long lines. 2153 W 4th Ave., jamcafes.com

pancakes covered in icing

3:00 p.m.: Skater Boi Redux

Dropping in at Rolla Skate Club (adults, $25; kids 15 and under, $20; $7 for skate rental) is the perfect way to shake off the afternoon sugar crash. Strap on some skates and cruise the polished concrete rink alongside seasoned pros and newbies of all ages and abilities. 2901 E Hastings St., rollaskateclub.com

6:00 p.m.: Taco Time (Not That One)

Grab dinner at the colourful Chancho on the Drive. The housemade tortillas are good enough to eat plain, but the plates piled with pork belly and cups of beans and pickled cabbage (from $18) let you build your own perfect taco—it’s always fun when dinner is an activity too, right? Dare him to eat a spoonful of hot sauce. 2096 Commercial Dr., chancho.ca

tacos on a picnic table
Chancho Tortilleria Vancouver Yaletown Tacos Flat Lay

8:00 p.m.: The Ring’s the Thing

Boom Pro Wrestling ($35 a ticket) puts on a rowdy monthly wrestling show at the Commercial Drive Legion—with body slams and dramatic chokeholds aplenty—but things never go too far beyond a PG rating. (The team uses The Goonies as its North Star for what’s appropriate.) The outrageous costumes and characters and cartoonish violence are tailor-made to spark a kid’s imagination. Bring some posterboard so they can make their own sign to taunt evil lifeguard Brady Malibu. 2205 Commercial Dr., boomprowrestling.com

wrestlers posing in front of a colourful building
Photo: Evaan Kheraj

More from the Ultimate, Hyper-Specific Vancouver City Guide here.