The 20 Best Things to Do in Surrey
Home to the much lauded Spice Trail and a staggering amount of green space, Surrey is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in Metro Vancouver. Here's how to make the most of your time in this beautiful slice of B.C.
The Best Things to Do in Surrey
Take a nature break
With more 6,000 acres of parks and green spaces to choose from, you’re never far from a rejuvenating nature break in Surrey. If you’ve only got time to experience one, make it Green Timbers Urban Forest Park. Back in the 1920s, this land was clear-cut for logging. Luckily, it became the site of B.C.’s first reforestation effort, and now boasts over 20 kilometres of multi-use trails through forests, wetlands and meadows. The idyllic spot offers the chance to see hawks soaring above the lake while anglers cast their lines along its shores.
Read on for more essential things to do in Surrey.
Explore Civic Plaza
Showcasing much of Surrey’s best architecture and public art, Civic Plaza has become the heartbeat of the city. This outdoor community hub offers fountains for a refreshing splash on hot summer days and serves as the backdrop for year-round festivals and family-friendly activities. Anchoring the plaza are LEED-certified buildings including City Hall and the City Centre Public Library, both of which house spectacular works of art that rival what you’d typically find in a gallery. When it comes to free things to do in Surrey, Civic Plaza simply can’t be beat.
These hidden gems of B.C. are worth exploring.
Pick your own produce
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are all ripe for the picking at farms dotted throughout Surrey. When summers are hot and dry, the season lasts even longer—well into September and occasionally longer. In the fall, you can gather garlic, pumpkins and other types of squash. One of the most popular “u-pick” destinations is the family-run Surrey Farms, which has been in operation for more than 30 years.
Check out 10 must-visit farmers’ markets across the country.
Hit the links
Surrey sports the highest number of golf courses not only in Metro Vancouver, but in the Lower Mainland. What really separates golf in Surrey from other jurisdictions, however, is that the majority of courses allow public access. Even at the Arnold Palmer-designed courses at Northview Golf and Country Club, you don’t need to be a member in order to hit the links. Better still, you don’t have to go south of the border in order to play year-round. Golfing in Surrey is a year-round delight, beckoning duffers so long as the temperature stays above a comfortable 5°C.
Discover 13 great Canadian golf courses under $100.
Treat yourself to top-notch accommodations
Steps away from the SkyTrain, which will transport you from Surrey to downtown Vancouver in just over 30 minutes, lies the Civic Hotel. Part of Marriott’s swish Autograph Collection, this boutique-style property is where you’ll want to rest your head during your time in Surrey. Perched above Civic Plaza, with its bustling festivals and vibrant energy, it vibes with a lively yet cozy atmosphere. What sets this property apart is that each floor is inspired by a different region of B.C., with each room represented by a landmark or destination. The massive outdoor rooftop lap pool and hot tub (above) are the icing on the cake.
Here are 10 great Canadian hotels worth adding to your bucket list.
Indulge in wine tasting
Sniff, swirl, sip—and repeat. With a half-dozen wineries right in the city, a wine tasting is one of the essential things to do in Surrey. The premier wine tasting experience is found at Cavallo Winery, which gets its grapes from Napa within 24 hours of being de-stemmed, with everything that follows—from grape to glass—taking place in Surrey. Cavallo’s affordable wine tasting starts at $10 for five wines, and includes a tour of the facilities. In winter you can bring your own food at no charge and settle down to enjoy an indoor picnic.
Hitting up B.C.’s capital at some point during your stay? Check out the best things to do in Victoria.
Make a day trip to White Rock
Surrey embraces the city of White Rock from three sides, making it easy to add this coastal gem of Metro Vancouver to your itinerary. Boasting 8 kilometres of sandy shores, White Rock exudes the ambiance of a charming seaside resort. Stroll along Marine Drive for boutique shopping and a bite at seafood restaurants. Afterwards, wander down Canada’s longest pier (above), where crabbers cast their lines and adventurous kids take refreshing plunges into the waters below. White Rock Beach presents two distinct sections with East Beach’s gentle waters attracting families, and West Beach promising plenty of action—and retail therapy.
Discover the best day trips from Vancouver.
Get acquainted with the great outdoors
Not everyone feels comfortable heading off into the great outdoors on their own. To build a deeper connection with Surrey’s lush landscapes, consider booking a guided nature walk from the Surrey Nature Centre. Located next door to the Green Timbers Urban Forest Park, the centre is a fantastic jumping-off point for wilderness exploration. No gear of your own? No problem! Pick up a fishing rod from the front desk and try your hand at angling—the lake is stocked regularly with rainbow trout. Better yet, grab a themed activity backpack for a beginner’s guide to bird-watching.
Check out the best bird-watching spots in every province.
Take a beginner’s course in beekeeping
There’s a lot of buzz about pollinators at the moment, and there’s no better place to get acquainted with these beneficial insects than at Surrey’s Honeybee Centre. If you don’t have time to take their beekeeping course, consider a workshop focused on making mead or beeswax candles. There are plenty of experiences to keep the kids engaged, too, offering them insights into honey harvesting, and the chance to don beekeepers’ costumes. In the gift shop, you’ll want to pick up some of the honey-based goods as souvenirs, and marvel at the observation wall where you can actually watch the frenetic activity going on inside the hives.
Here are more Canadian honey farms worth visiting.
Step back in time in Coverdale
Surrey traces its roots to a small farming community that was established in Cloverdale in the 1870s. Essentially a village within Surrey, Cloverdale’s historic main street is now lined with antique shops and independent boutiques, and is often tapped as a filming location for period dramas. Not to be missed is Coverdale’s Museum of Surrey, which includes a Heritage Campus of charming historic structures dating back to the 19th century—and free admission, to boot.
Discover 10 historical landmarks every Canadian needs to visit.
Savour the Spice Trail
When you’ve got a community that speaks 100 different languages, you can expect some pretty diverse—and delicious—food. Surrey’s Spice Trail was developed not to highlight big name chefs, but those authentic mom-and-pop eateries that tell their stories through their cuisine. As a result, the Surrey Spice Trail serves as the ultimate guide to navigating the city’s most exciting restaurants. Looking for a budget-friendly lunch? Try Woo Korean BBQ for a dozen shared dishes. Hit up happy hours at Afghan Kitchen and the Curry Lounge. For a storybook cocktail list of infused spirits, syrups and warming spices, look to Clove – The Art of Dining.
Check out Canada’s most unique restaurants.
Dive into Crescent Beach
Fancy a dip? Crescent Beach’s roped-off swimming areas are popular in the summer, but its wide swathes of sand make an inviting spot to flop down and gaze out over the ocean year-round. For a seaside stroll, consider Crescent Beach Path, a flat, 2.7-kilometre out-and-back trail that cradles the beach and affords stunning views of Boundary Bay. Take to the water (without getting wet) in a rental from Crescent Beach Paddle Shack, where you can also arrange for lessons and guided tours.
Check out the best hikes in Canada.
Treat your feet
At Surrey’s Gold Medal Health Center, feet hold the key to holistic wellness. Renowned for therapeutic reflexology that draws from traditional Chinese medicine, the centre’s treatments start with a foot soak in a warm water salt bath as your shoulders, neck and upper back get a robust massage. Next, your feet will be massaged and prodded along points that are thought to correlate with different organs and parts of the body. Try to time your session for the end of the day when those dogs are really barking.
Wet your whistle on the Fraser Ale Trail
Craft beer lovers will find plenty of things to do in Surrey, but the Fraser Valley Ale Trail deserves to be at the top of the list. Several Surrey breweries stand out on the route, including Russell Brewing, which makes small-batch, unpasteurized beer with all-natural ingredients. Hawthorne Beer Market & Bistro offers 17 rotating taps, while Central City Brewers & Distillers makes a de-alcoholized craft beer plus gin, whisky and rum. You’ll want to linger even longer at Mainland Whisky (above), a craft distillery that follows traditional moonshine practices, which you can mull over in their speak-easy lounge.
Discover more essential experiences on the west coast of Canada.
Your chances of seeing whales in their natural environment are high with White Rock Sea Tours. So high, in fact, they offer a 100% whale sighting guarantee! As you cruise through the Salish Sea, you may come across humpback, minke, killer and grey whales, plus other marine mammals. Whale-watching adventures take approximately three to five hours, but if you’re pressed for time, consider a sunset cruise. During this relaxing boat ride, you’ll cruise the shores of Semiahmoo Bay and Boundary Bay, where aquatic mammals like to frequent, too. Trips depart daily from Crescent Beach Marina.
Explore the best wildlife experiences in every province.
Go on a public art walk
One of the best budget-friendly things to do in Surrey is a self-guided public art tour. Among the highlights is the Sea Captain, a whimsical wooden sculpture suspended high above the entry to Surrey Central Station. Crafted by an anonymous Haida Gwaii artisan, the design was inspired by an early 19th-century smoking pipe. And there’s no need to go all the way to China to view the terracotta warriors: realistic army figures that guarded the tomb of the first Emperor of China. A gift from the city of Xi’an to Surrey, they’re on display at the City Centre Public Library (above).
Here are 20 mind-blowing artifacts you’ll find in Canadian museums.
If you’ve ever wanted to trot around with the posh equestrian set, English riding lessons are an essential first step. A&T Equestrian offers an excellent introduction to the sport, providing instruction for all ages and abilities, at an indoor stable on gentle school horses. Within half an hour, you can work your way from a walk to a trot—hands-free if you’ve got the balance.
Take a ride on a vintage railcar
The Cloverdale Railway Station is a fantastic recreation, faithfully channelling its century-old predecessor, and bringing to life the rich history of locomotives in the region. Alongside the vintage station, you’ll encounter characters from the past and can take in live performances, all leading up to a delightful journey aboard a meticulously restored electric railcar. As you embark on your scenic adventure through picturesque farmlands to reach Sullivan Station, get ready for a dose of nostalgia and hands-on fun. Visitors can toot the horns, take charge of a family quad car, and hop on a velocipede.
Here are 10 unique Canadian train rides.
Become a birder
Laying smack dab on the Pacific Flyway, a north-south migratory route that spans from Alaska to South America, Surrey boasts exceptional bird-watching opportunities. Mud Bay Park is one of Canada’s best viewing areas in winter for waterfowl. Blackie Spit is also a top spot with its tidal marsh and eelgrass beds. Between shorebirds and waterfowl, there’s a staggering 200 bird species to look out for. Grab an itinerary for the day from the B.C. Bird Trail or elevate your experience with a private birding workshop led by local Kris Cu.
How many of these beautiful Canadian birds have you spotted on your travels?
Get a taste of turn-of-the-century farm life
Situated in Elgin Heritage Park, Historic Stewart Farm takes visitors back to the early 20th century when when local farm life flourished. The immersive experience includes a period farmhouse and grounds filled with vintage farm equipment, along with year-round programming that puts you in the shoes of the hardworking Stewart family, who worked this land more than a hundred years ago. Be sure to check out the Indigenous Learning House, devoted to the recovery and restoration of traditional Indigenous cultural practices like carving.
Now that you know the best things to do in Surrey, check out the top 20 places to visit in B.C.