At first glance, a trip down Mill Plain in east Vancouver seems like you’re driving along a vast shoreline of strip mall shopping centers.
But there’s more to this growing part of the city than big-box stores and fast-food joints.
Hidden amid the landscape are many treasures just waiting to provide you with an evening’s entertainment.
Those in the know can strap on the ice skates or in-line skates for some zippy athletic fun, chill out with a glass of wine and dinner while watching a first-run film, or even try to pick up a few moves in a hip-hop dancing class.
Want more? We have more.
Here’s our list of six things to do after 6 p.m. in east Vancouver.
11700 S.E. Seventh St.
Events: First-run films, dinner, drinks, live music on weekends.
If you like wine, beer, fancy cooking, films and the occasional dose of live music — and who doesn’t? — then Cinetopia, Vinotopia can be a great stop for an evening of fun.
Tucked away on Seventh Street, the cinema has eight theaters, including five grand auditoriums for general audiences and three living-room theaters for adults older than 21.
All of the theaters have stadium-style seating with comfortable leather chairs.
The living room theaters also have trays for dinner service from the attached Vinotopia restaurant, and customers can order beer and wine to go along with their meal and movie.
The restaurant has its own sit-down tables, an outdoor area and a lounge with fireplace. The attached wine-tasting room uses a pre-paid card system to let customers taste various vintages one ounce at a time.
Beyond all that, the establishment also has live music Friday and Saturday nights, but if you want to go get your tickets early.
“Weekends, it gets pretty busy,” said Corin Watson, the assistant manager.
Evergreen Dance Academy
2100 S.E. 164th Ave., Suite C-102
Events: Jazz, ballet and hip-hop dance classes most weeknights.
Want to find the best way to get your groove on while listening to jazz or hip-hop music? Evergreen Dance Academy offers classes most evenings in a variety of styles.
Got kids? Evergreen has classes for them in the evening as well.
Tuition ranges from $48 for 30 minutes of class time per week to $270 for unlimited classes. The studio also has drop-in rates and punch cards for some of its ballet and pilates options.
Pacific Community Park
1515 N.E. 164th Ave.
Features: Skate park, basketball court, trails, picnic areas, fields open until dusk.
If chilling and grilling is your thing, give Pacific Park a try.
The park, which closes at dusk, has plenty of walking trails, picnic areas and gardens.
It also has an extreme sports park for all the daredevil skaters and bicyclists among us.
There’s even an 8-acre off-leash dog park if you want to bring a furry friend along.
Mountain View Ice Arena
14313 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd.
Events: 7:40-9:40 p.m. Fridays, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturdays, public session skating.
Mountain View Ice Arena can be a great place to catch an impromptu weekend hockey game or take a glide across the ice.
Adults, children and teens are all welcome during the venue’s free-skate hours Friday and Saturday evenings. And you don’t even need to have your own ice skates; skate rental is $2.25, and $7.50 covers the cost for two hours on the ice.
If you don’t want to skate, that’s OK, too. People can pop in and watch skaters or amateur hockey clubs square off on their play nights for free, said Brian Keinath, who works at the arena.
“Anybody that wants to come can visit us and check it out,” Keinath said.
Keep your eyes open; you might even see some talented figure skaters making some impressive spins and jumps.
English Estate Winery
17806 S.E. First St.
Events: Friday nights until 9 p.m. music, food and wine tasting.
For a classy evening, check out the English Estate Winery on a Friday night.
Vancouver’s oldest winery rests on an agricultural estate that’s been in operation since the early 1900s. The first grapes were planted there in 1980.
Every Friday, starting at 6 p.m., the venue has music, food and wine tasting.
The beautiful grounds and grape fields provide a wonderful natural background.
Big Al’s Bowling
16615 S.E. 18th St.
Events: Bowling, arcade games, food, sports bar, billiards, shuffleboard until 11 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, midnight Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Got a bunch of different people to please? Big Al’s has something for just about everyone.
Take the kids and enjoy some bowling, video games or air hockey. Go to the sports bar with a buddy and have a few drinks while catching a game.
You can also shoot some pool or just chill out and have a relaxed dinner of gourmet pizza, brisket or burgers.