Located in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, Abbotsford is right next to Greater Vancouver and the USA. It is the largest city outside Greater Vancouver and has the third highest percentage of visible minorities in the country.
Culturally rich and filled with history, Abbotsford is often a stopover for many on route to Vancouver or Alaska. But is it well worth spending a few days in the city.
Abbotsford is not only dynamic, but also beautiful thanks to its stunning natural surroundings. It has much to offer visitors, from its cultural attractions to it agricultural ones.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Abotsford:
1. Stroll through a gallery
One of the top attractions in the city is the Reach Gallery Museum, which is an art gallery and a museum combined into one. Stroll through the gallery and admire the phenomenal artwork on display.
The Reach Gallery Museum showcases not only Canadian artwork, but also art from around the world. Its permanent collection focuses on local, regional and national artists, while special exhibitions showcase international artists.
The 6,096 square metre gallery and museum is run by a non-profit organisation and is completely free to enter. Visit the gallery and immerse yourself in its lovely artwork.
2. Go to a temple
The Gur Sikh Temple is not only the oldest Sikh temple in the country, but also in all of North America. It is National Historic site that should be visited by all.
The temple dates back to 1908, which is when the first Sikhs came to the area. It has since been renovated to become what it is today.
Whether you are Sikh or practice another religion, this temple is definitely worth visiting. As is the museum in the basement that showcases the history of the Sikh community in the area.
3. Step back in time
The 1920 arts-&-crafts Trethewey House Heritage Site Museum was built for the prominent Tretheway family. Today, the bungalow is a heritage site that allows you to step back in time.
Visit the museum and see artefacts that date back to the 1920s. You will also learn about the history of the house and the family; who founded the Abbotsford Lumber Company.
Drop-in guided tours are offered between 1-4pm, while tours for larger groups can be arranged ahead of time. It is also possible to wonder around the beautiful gardens.
4. Go for a walk
There are over 98 kilometres of urban trails in Abbotsford that are spread across over 1,045 hectares of parkland. Go for a walk through the terrain of your choice.
There are lakeside trails, mountain trails and forest trails, as well as numerous others. Choose the difficulty and scenery of your choice and enjoy an afternoon of hiking while being surrounded by stunning scenery.
One of the most popular places to walk is Mill Lake Park, which is right in central Abbotsford. If you want to venture a little further, try DeLair Park or Clayburn Creek Park.
5. Take the kids to play
If you are visiting the city with your kids, be sure to take them to play at the Castle Fun Park. This castle-themed park is open year round, though it is best to visit in the summer.
The park has some thrilling things to do both inside and out. Go karting, mini golf and bumper cars are very popular, as is the laser maze.
Don’t forget to also try your luck at the batting cages, driving range or arcade. The kids can also go on a virtual rollercoaster, go bowling or attempt a skill game.
6. Explore the mountains
Go hiking at Sumas Mountain, which sits just northeast of Abottsford. The hiking trail is 13.5 kilometres round trip and takes around 6.4 hours to hike.
Hike along the trail and explore the mountains, while at the same time enjoying the magnificent views. There is no camping along the trial, so plan to make a day of it.
Parts of the trail are narrow and pass through forest and ravine, while other parts are covered with gravel. It is marked along the entire way, so there is no fear of ever getting lost.
7. Get your adrenaline pumping
The best place to do this is also at Sumas Mountain, where there are 22 different mountain bike trails. These trails vary from easy to extremely difficult, so choose your trail well.
The hardest trail in the mountain is Rock Diva, which is double black diamond and has a distance of roughly 882 kilometres. The easiest trail is Squid Line, with most of it descending down the mountain.
There are a few car parks at the start of many of the trails. There is also a viewpoint at the top of Lookout Trail that boasts phenomenal views of the Fraser Valley.
8. Be at one with nature
Also outside of the city, but worth the journey, is the Golden Ears Provincial Park. The 556 square kilometre park is named after its twin peaks.
The Golden Ears Provincial Park is one of the best places in the region to be at one with nature. It features five camping grounds, two of which are only accessible on foot.
There is an extensive network of hiking trials within the park that will please any nature lover. There are also around 20 kilometres of horseback riding trails.
9. Tour a winery
Abottsford is well-known for its agriculture, which includes vineyards. In fact, there are three wineries right in Abottsford where you can go on a tour.
Mt Lehman Winery is arguably the best of the bunch, with over six hectares of grape trees ranging from pinot noir to chardonnay. It is an award-winning winery with tasting rooms.
Singletree Winery has been around since the late 1800s, with whites being their main focus. There is also Maan Farms Estate Winery, which makes blueberry, blackberry and strawberry wine in addition to various grape varieties.
10. Look at airplanes
The Abbotsford International Air Show takes place each year during the second weekend of August. It is the largest air show in Canada and will please any airplane fanatic.
Head to the Abbotsford International Airport and look at planes passing above you. You can also get up close and personal to aircrafts and meet pilots.
Highlights of the show include Snowbirds, Blue Angels, United States Air Force Thunderbirds and the SkyHawks parachute team. There is also a static display and a fireworks show.
11. Visit a few farms
There are several working farms in and around Abbotsford that can easily be visited on a self-guided tour. Visit a bee farm, a dairy farm, a chicken farm or a trout farm, or all four, as well as numerous others.
Head to the Birchwood Dairy Farm to try one of their 50 flavours of gourmet ice cream, Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm & Meadery to purchase beeswax candles or honey, or Goats Pride at McLennan Creek for some homemade goat milk or cheese.
On the farm tour, stop at Granny and Grumpa’s Antiques for some unique gifts or EcoDairy for a hands-on experience. Don’t forget to also have a meal at Restaurant 62.
12. See the city from the sky
The Abbotsford Skydive Centre gives you the chance to see the city from the sky, as if you were a bird. Go skydiving and soar above the city, taking in the exceptional views.
The centre also offers lessons for beginners, teaching you how to jump and freefall from a plane. There are also more advanced lessons offered to those looking to advance their skydiving skills.
Before jumping from the plane, the Abbotsford Skydive Centre will take you on a fantastic 15 minute flight above the area. See not only the city, but other areas of the Fraser Valley, Vancouver and the Gulf Islands.
13. Take the kids to a playground
Not just any playground, but a massive indoor one. Play Abby is a 3,048 square metre indoor playground and laser tag entertainment centre.
The playground is suitable for babies, as well as older children. In fact, it has separate areas and things to do for different age groups.
The laser tag is for kids over the age of five, but adults can enjoy it too. The space themed laser tag game lasts around 15 minutes.
14. Go climbing
Project Climbing Centre is an indoor climbing centre with over 2,700 metres of climbing surface. It boasts some pretty amazing steep terrain, though any level of climber is sure to enjoy climbing here.
There are numerous courses that range from beginner to advanced. If you have never climbed before it is not a problem, as Project Climbing Centre also offers courses.
It is even possible to go bouldering, with mats laid out to catch you if you fall. But don’t worry, you will never climb more than four metres above the ground.
15. Head to the market
The Abbotsford Flea Market has been running since 1985. Head to the market and spend the day shopping, dining and watching the locals go about their daily life.
There are over 200 venders at the market selling everything from vintage items to food. It is open every Sunday and has outdoor venders in the summer months.
Wander around the market and shop for unique souvenirs, one-of-a-kind art or clothing. Finish the day by enjoying some delicious homemade food.