Chilliwack is a city in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, about 40 minutes from Vancouver. Is Chilliwack a small town or a big city? Well, neither! This makes it a perfect country escape for city folk looking to do a day trip from Vancouver. That’s because there is such to do! Nick was born and raised in Chilliwack, and we always laugh when exiting the highway. As he says, when you start to smell the cow manure, you know you’re in the right place! All jokes aside, Chilliwack really is the perfect day trip from Vancouver with tons of family friendly activities as well as cute date destinations for couples.
We’ve been living in Chilliwack now for the past three months, and below you’ll find our compilation of some of the best things to do in Chilliwack, British Columbia.
Visit Chilliwack’s Iconic Lakes
Chilliwack is most well-known for beautiful Cultus Lake – and it’s worth checking out if you haven’t visited before. The lake itself is warm, and is a major tourist destination for people coming from all parts of BC and beyond. In the summer, you’ll see an array of boats and toys out on the water – as families, singles and couples tan on the beach and have picnics on the grass. Living as a local in Chilliwack, Cultus Lake feels very busy… but hey, you can’t say you’ve been to Chilliwack without going to Cultus!
A local’s tip: In the late autumn/early winter, you can wake up early and find a quiet spot on the lake to watch the bald eagles dive into the water to catch fish. It really is a sight to be seen – as the Fraser Valley is home to the largest eagle gathering in the world. Roughly 2,000 – 10,000 bald eagles gather here around November of each year. Last November, I loved grabbing a coffee and sitting at Cultus Lake to watch the beautiful show put on by Mother Nature herself.
If you want to be transported to an oasis of crystal-clear waters straight out of a stock photo, then you will want to climb 1.5 kilometers up to gorgeous Lindeman Lake. You’ll find Lindeman Lake in the much less-trafficked Chilliwack Lake area, about 2 hours from Vancouver. After a gorgeous drive down a country road (Chilliwack Lake Road), you will find signs for the Lindeman Lake hike – it’s a steep, moderate hike made a little easier as it is a short 3.4km roundtrip.
At the top of the hike, you will find Lindeman Lake itself – in all it’s stunning, crystal-clear glory. It’s no wonder that day trippers from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley whip up this steep incline to marvel at the beauty.
Just a little further past Lindeman Lake, you will find Chilliwack Lake. The name suggest that this is Chilliwack’s most frequently visited lake, but that assumption couldn’t be more wrong. So, what is Chilliwack’s most popular lake? That would be Cultus Lake. Chilliwack Lake, on the other hand, is a bit more of a drive to get to. After driving some ways down a road with zero service (don’t worry, it’s just a straight shot to the lake), take a slight right and end up in the Provincial campground – where you can book sites (no hookups) and spend a getaway in the trees.
Chilliwack Lake is probably my favorite lake in Chilliwack, because it is so underestimated and less trafficked. Chilliwack Lake doesn’t reach the same warm temperatures that Cultus Lake does – but it’s certainly still swimmable. This past summer, there was a massive heat wave. That said, this water temperature was absolutely perfect and refreshing.
Enjoy some live music – weekly!
Townhall Chilliwack (The Joseph Richard Group) blesses us with live music every Thursday! Entry is free, and reservations can be made online. Enjoy the ambience and acoustic sets from some of the best local artists. Townhall Chilliwack also has a deliciously extensive menu filled with things like Baja or buffalo cauliflower tacos, hand stretched pizza, burgers and more.
I mean, come on. When was the last time you enjoyed some live music in a great, chilled out setting?
Follow the Ale Trail & hop the local breweries your way
The BC Ale Trail is a craft beer project and app with self-guiding itineraries that are designed to take you to some of the hippest craft breweries and gorgeous destinations within BC. Luckily, the BC Ale Trail has handcrafted a brewery hopping tour through the Fraser Valley that you can follow in your own unique way. BC Ale Trails is sort of like ‘a choose your own adventure’ brewery hop, and the folks on that team have a real knack for highlighting some of the best breweries in the region.
You can find the itineraries over on their website here!
Are you more of a ‘one & done’ type?
Here are some local Chilliwack breweries to highlight:
Farmhouse Brewing Co.
6385 Lickman Rd Lot 2southsumas, Chilliwack, BC V2R 4A9
Flashback Brewing Company
9360 Mill St #1, Chilliwack, BC V2P 4N2
46126 Yale Rd #101, Chilliwack, BC V2P 2P1
Old Yale Brewing
44550 S Sumas Rd #404, Chilliwack, BC V2R 5M3
Go on a hunt for one of Chilliwack’s many food trucks
We first NEED to mention our favorite food truck in Chilliwack – Plant Butcher. As vegans in Chilliwack, we are very grateful for this spot. The folks over at the Plant Butcher really live out the motto: anything you can do, I can do vegan. If you’re craving some comfort food without animal byproduct, you cannot pass up on the Plant Butcher. Try the Unchik’in burger, Korean chik’in or plant-based poutine here at this food truck in Chilliwack.
P.S. If you’re looking for more plant-based options in Chilliwack, find our blog post on Vegan Food in Chilliwack here.
The Crazy Gringo is another classic food truck in Chilliwack, serving up – you guessed it – Mexican dishes. This food truck is a fun way to get your fix in chimichangas, quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, and their signature crazy fries. If you’re anything like us and you LOVE Mexican/Mexican-inspired cuisine, if you see the Crazy Gringo, it’s time to find parking.
The Embassy Express is a gastropub on wheels with a menu appealing to meat eaters, and especially those who loved pulled pork. No really, if you love pulled pork, your mouth will water at the thought of pulled pork on just about everything. The Embassy Express uses locally sourced pork in most of their meals and the reviews are fantastic!
Visit Bridal Veil Falls
There are plenty of waterfalls worth chasing in the Fraser Valley – one of the most notable being Bridal Veil Falls, located east of Chilliwack. The short & easy walk to the falls from the parking lot is less than ½ of a kilometer… but at the end of the “hike”, you will find gorgeous, wispy, magical waterfall that looks like a veil in its appearance (hence the name). Bridal Veil Falls is a classic spot in the Fraser Valley Region, particularly for those living & exploring around Chilliwack.
We’ve visited Bridal Veil Falls many times. Visiting this park is a simple & easy way to get your nature fix and photos taken for the day – it’s even lovely in the rain!
Speaking of waterfalls, we did a full video on waterfalls in the Chilliwack / Fraser Valley region. You can find it on YouTube below:
Dicken’s Sweets and British Museum
Named after Charles Dickens, Dicken’s Sweets and British Museum describes themselves as “over 10,000 square feet of all things British”. The entire experience is made up of a few different aspects, including a British Grocery Store, a bakery, and their iconic sweets shop. They also have a large assortment of tea, and of course, the museum.
At their ‘Oliver’s Tearooms’, you can reserve a table to enjoy a traditional British high tea.
This quirky and interesting spot is a fun addition to a Chilliwack day trip, and your sweet tooth will be satisfied!
Recently, the city of Chilliwack has opened access to 100+ acres of City-owned forest as a collaborative project with the Chilliwack Park Society and Fraser Valley Mountain Bikers Association, as well as others… and we have been loving it.
This is a continuing project which is only in Phase 1 at the time of writing, as the city & friends have been working hard to build trails and create more space to exercise and explore. The community forest’s multi-use trails are definitely worth checking out if you are visiting Chilliwack and want to get outside.
This is also a great option for those who feel like they’ve seen the “same old” things in Chilliwack for some time now – so much fun for cyclists, hikers, families, and kids alike.
Two conditional additions…
Wine Tasting in Chapel
So it’s not exactly in Chilliwack, but it’s a perfect day trip if you want to go for a bit of a drive. About 30 minutes from Chilliwack lives the city of Abbotsford, and in the city of Abbotsford lives a gorgeous little chapel in which you can taste wine for $15. Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery is a family-owned boutique winery on Mount Lehman, which is a peaceful and countryside community. Enjoy the rustic, aesthetically pleasing, and dare I say, Instagram-worthy backdrop of the country while sipping on Okanagan & Fraser Valley grapes.
Yes, we really did say that it’s only $15 – and that fee is waived if you purchase 2 bottles of wine.
The Tasting Room is open 7 days a week with varying hours.
Make sure to check out their website before popping in for a drink!
The patio is open seasonally.
Chilliwack Corn Maze & Pumpkin Farm (Seasonal)
The Chilliwack Corn Maze is open annually in Chilliwack each autumn, typically during the month of October. The corn maze is an iconic Chilliwack staple, and they are traditionally known for having a unique design of their massive corn maze every year. Annually, they change the design to be something completely different. This takes weeks of field work – but it’s totally worth it, as the 12-acre corn maze turns into what they call “living art”.
In addition to their themed corn maze designs, this farm offers fire pits and an adorable pumpkin patch. You can also play games (like pedal carts, duck races, basketball hoops, tether balls and a playground), and of course there is an indoor bale maze for the kiddos to navigate on their own. Now, let’s not forget my favorite -farm animals! This year, we even got pumpkin spiced coffee and a s’mores kit to roast over the fire with our nieces.
We hope that you found this list of things to do in Chilliwack helpful. If you’ve recently thought about moving to BC, you should consider this mid-sized Fraser Valley town as a place to explore. We’ve absolutely loved living in Chilliwack and love living in BC!
Want to explore BC more? Check out our list on Things to do in Kelowna in the Winter.
Or if you’re moving to this part of BC, maybe you’ll find one of our Vancouver guides helpful.