A UBC student guide to seeing art in Vancouver

The leaves are turning orange, there’s a chill in the air and classes are back in session.... so get your head out of the books while you still can and enjoy some of the arts and culture the city has to offer. The Ubyssey has some suggestions for some artistic destinations, with special attention to free admission and student discounts!

Museums and Galleries

Museum of Anthropology

The Museum of Anthropology is a great place to visit on a rainy day when you don’t want to stray too far from campus. The MOA offers many exhibitions showcasing Indigenous artwork, European ceramics collected by Dr. Walter C. Koerner (yes, that Koerner) and sculptures by acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid.

Free admission for students (with UBC ID). RSVP here.

Vancouver Maritime Museum

Looking to learn more about the Pacific Northwest The Vancouver Maritime Museum just might be the place for you! Featuring the wheelhouse experience, the museum allows visitors to drive a simulation of the St. Roch boat through the Arctic.

$11 for students.

HR Macmillan Space Centre

If you’re looking to take your date on a Friends-inspired outing, we recommend the HR MacMillan Space Centre. Just one bus away from campus, the space centre is just the place to watch the stars and impress the Rachel to your Ross.

$18 entry.

UBC Botanical Garden

UBC’s Botanical Garden is the oldest university botanic garden in Canada and features a display of plants from around the world. If you’re looking for nice scenery while you eat lunch between classes or a place to watch the sunset before you head home, this is the place to go!

Free admission for students (with UBC ID). For non-UBC students, get your tickets here.

Belkin Art Gallery

Contemporary art fans, the Belkin Art Gallery should be the #1 spot to visit on your list. Their Belkin collection, which contains over 5,000 pieces, also holds more than 20,000 archival pieces from the post-war history of art in Vancouver. This fall, they’re reopening for their new exhibition, Elemental Cinema which features filmworks from Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman.

Free admission for all ages.

The Hatch Art Gallery

Located on the second floor of the Nest (right across from The Ubyssey's office!), the AMS' own student-curated gallery is a quiet place to get away from the rush of the first week of classes to contemplate some paintings. Their new exhibition is a colourful collection of abstract geometry, which is sexier than it sounds!

Free admission for all ages.

Theatre and performance

UBC Improv

Using only a couple random nouns from the audience, these whacky theatre kids create entirely improvised storylines for your enjoyment.

$5 per show, or $20 for the year for a membership of free shows.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Parents visiting town and you want to show off all the cultural experiences you’ve set out to try while you’re out here for uni? Take them to Queen Elizabeth Theatre! Named by the Queen of England herself (RIP), this theatre is home to the Vancouver Opera and Ballet. With big-ticket acts coming through, including musical Jesus Christ Superstar this coming season, tickets can be expensive, so keep an eye out early.

Prices vary for each show.

Comedy After Dark

Maybe it’s been one of those weeks when your school work is piling up and midterms are just around the corner, and you just want to go out with a friend and get a good laugh. Check out Comedy After Dark. This stand-up comedy gem offers shows every night from Wednesday to Sunday, starting at 7:30 p[.]m.

Prices vary for each show, generally in the $5-$30 range. RSVP here.


UBC Film Society

Enjoy the movie theatre experience for cheap without trekking off campus! The UBC Film Society screens weekly double-features every Thursday in the LIFE building.

For a $5 yearly membership, go to all screenings and events for free.

The Rio

The Rio Theatre on Commercial [Drive] shows everything from new releases to esoteric animated movies from the 80’s. They also present live performance and burlesque.

$10 for students (with ID). RSVP here.


Located downtown, the Cinematheque shows independent and foreign films — the perfect place to take that Italian Studies student out for a first date.

10$ for students.