Vancouver is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, whale watching and wildlife encounters, and vibrant cosmopolitan urban atmosphere.
It is close to the North Coast Mountains This makes it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, while city dwellers can enjoy its world-class shopping scene.
Needless to say, there are a lot of things to do in Vancouver.
But if you’re not sure what to do in Vancouver, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we’ve shared some tips and insider information on Vancouver attractions for those looking for the best places to see, eat, stay, drink, visit, and more…
Is Vancouver worth visiting?
Despite high housing prices and cost of living, there is a good reason why Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world.
It’s a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with a laid-back West Coast attitude that’s all about health, the outdoors, and enjoying the simple things in life, so for that reason, it’s worth a visit.
Tourists can reach downtown Vancouver in just 20 minutes:
- Ski and snowboard at three local mountains
- Swim and sunbathe at more than a dozen beaches
- Cycle around the Endless Coastal Sea Wall
- Hike through temperate rainforests
- Kayak through ancient forest
- Dine at a five-star restaurant
- And hit the Granville entertainment strip which has over 25 bars and clubs.
Are you sold yet? I could go on…
Best things to do in Vancouver
If you’re ever unsure what to do in Vancouver, some of the top attractions are:
1. Walk or Bike the Stanley Park Seawall
Walking or bicycling along the Stanley Park Seawall is an opportunity to see some of the park’s breathtaking natural beauty.
The 9-kilometer path around Stanley Park is well-maintained and paved, and passes through spectacular views of the ocean, beaches, and the city skyline.
Walking or bicycling the Seawall is an enjoyable way to experience Vancouver’s outdoor attractions.
2. Visit the Granville Island Public Market
Granville Island Market is known for its lively atmosphere, and as soon as you step inside, you are greeted with a feast for the senses.
The market displays a wide range of fresh produce, delicious pastries, handmade goods, and delicious seafood.
Whether you’re a foodie, an art lover, or just want to explore a bustling hub of creativity, Granville Island Market has something for everyone.
3. Play beach volleyball at Kitts Beach or Spanish Banks Beach
These stunning sandy shores provide the perfect backdrop for a friendly game or a competitive match of beach volleyball with your traveling friends or family.
With the fresh sea breeze, breathtaking mountain views, and the rhythmic sound of waves crashing nearby, it is an invigorating and intense setting to bring out the athlete within you.
4. Wander through Historic Gastown and See the Iconic Steam Clock
Walking through Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighborhood is a chance to step back in time.
This iconic district is named after the Yorkshire sailor “Gassie” Jack Deighton, where the city of Vancouver was born.
As you stroll its cobblestone streets, you’ll be surrounded by beautifully preserved heritage brick buildings, historic sites, boutique shops, and fine restaurants.
One of the must-see attractions in Gastown is the famous Steam Clock, a charming landmark that emits steam and melodious chimes.
It is a testament to the rich history of the area and adds a touch of whimsy to the ambiance.
5. See beluga and orca whales at the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park
The Vancouver Aquarium features a vast collection of marine animals and captivating exhibits, making it a must-see attraction for nature lovers of all ages.
See mysterious marine animals like beluga whales and orcas, as well as sea otters, sea lions, and a variety of fish species.
The Aquarium’s commitment to conservation and education ensures that every visit contributes to the conservation of our oceans.
6. Take the tram or cable car up to Grouse Mountain
Climbing Grouse Mountain via tram allows you to soak in the beauty of Vancouver’s natural landscape as well as sit back and relax.
Trams or cable cars provide easy access to Grouse Mountain for visitors who do not have the correct hiking gear or who are unsure of their fitness level, although if you want to hike to the summit of Grouse Mountain, you Can hike on Grouse Grind. Again quite courageous).
Once you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with panoramic views, lush forests, and thrilling activities like disc golf and skiing.
There is also a wildlife refuge for grizzly bears at the top, a zip line, and a lumberjack show.
7. Watch a Vancouver Canucks hockey game at Rogers Arena
Vancouver has a rich sports culture, so if you’re visiting during the season (October to April) be sure to catch a Vancouver Canucks hockey game at Rogers Arena.
As the crowd roars with excitement, you will be immersed in the passion and energy of the game.
Attending a Canucks game allows you to watch one of Canada’s most beloved sports and also feel the energy of the locals.
8. Eat dim sum in Vancouver’s vibrant Chinatown
Vancouver’s Chinatown is a neighborhood that is steeped in history and bursting with cultural richness.
Stroll through the bustling streets adorned with vibrant colors and exotic scents as you explore a world of diverse shops, restaurants, and hidden gems.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden, an oasis of peace amidst the hustle and bustle.
Enjoy delicious cuisine, from dim sum delights to traditional Chinese pastries.
Be sure to check out the treasures of the Greater Vancouver Museum’s Chinese Cultural Centre.
9. Explore Vancouver neighborhoods
The best way to get a feel for a city is to walk around the neighborhoods. Thankfully, there are plenty of neighborhoods worth visiting in Vancouver, each with its distinct atmosphere.
If you have time, we recommend visiting Commercial Drive in East Vancouver which has dozens of diverse restaurants, bars, and cafes and is known for its trendy stores and exclusive homes.
in main road Mount Pleasant A lively area known for its street art murals and shopping.
Kitsilano is on Vancouver’s West Side, Vancouver’s sexiest beach, with kilometers of coastal trails for walking, running, and cycling. It has lots of shopping and restaurants on the popular 4th Avenue.
Lower Lonsdale in North Vancouver That’s where you’ll find Lonsdale Quay Market which features a variety of shops, restaurants, and spectacular views of Vancouver’s downtown skyline.
South Main in East Van A trendy and bohemian neighborhood with great cafes and restaurants.
Deep Cove in North Vancouver is great for outdoor lovers. Rent a kayak or hike the Baden Powell Trail, then enjoy refreshing honey donuts and coffee on the peaceful beach.
Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver There is a small marina surrounded by picturesque mountains. You can rent a motor boat and explore Howe Sound, then enjoy fresh seafood and oyster burgers on the patio while watching the passing BC Ferries.
10. Hit the Bars on Granville Street
For a night of drinking and vibrant nightlife, everyone should visit Granville Street.
The district is set aside for pedestrian traffic and it is here that you will find a variety of restaurants, pubs, bars, and nightclubs.
For a more advanced experience, Yaletown There are many fine dining restaurants, classy lounges, and stylish patio venues that attract Vancouver’s elite.
11. Shop on Robson Street!
For shopping, head to Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver, one of the most famous shopping districts in the world.
The Robson area has a lot of designer stores and an underground mall called Pacific Center.
Granville Island is the most popular market in Vancouver, but you can also visit Lonsdale Quay and Richmond Night Market in North Vancouver in the summer.
12. Take a getaway trip to Vancouver Island
The best insider advice we can give is to travel to Victoria, Vancouver Island, and/or the Southern Gulf Islands, The ferry route alone is worth the trip!
To properly visit Victoria, plan to spend 2-3 nights on the island. We often meet travelers who only plan a day trip to Victoria – this is a big mistake.
there are many more things to do in Victoria And it takes about 4 hours in each direction, making it a very long day trip that will feel very rushed. Trust us – you’ll want more than one day in Victoria!
13. Take a day trip to Whistler
However, some other lesser-known destinations that are worth visiting for a day trip are Bowen Island, Deep Cove, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, and Harrison Hot Springs.
You can take a bus from downtown Vancouver but we recommend renting a vehicle so you can stop and take photos along the way.
The journey takes 1.5 to 2 hours and the Sea-to-Sky Highway is arguably the most beautiful stretch of highway in the world.
Whistler Village is a beautiful, pedestrian-only alpine village surrounded by snow-capped peaks and freshwater lakes.
If you’re the adventurous type, spend a few nights in Whistler and take advantage of its endless outdoor activities – skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, zip-trekking, hiking, snowmobiling, boating, heli-tours, whitewater rafting, kayaking/canoeing, Golfing, etc.
14. Visit Wineries and Breweries
There are a few wineries in the Fraser Valley that have good reputations, but we recommend you check out the world-class wineries of the Okanagan Valley, about a 4-hour drive east of Vancouver.
There are hundreds of wineries to choose from, so it’s best to stay a few nights and join a wine tour so you don’t have to drive.
Vancouver’s craft beer scene has exploded over the past few years with many very good breweries and brewpubs spread throughout the city.
The most popular brewery is Granville Island Brewing Located on Granville Island. It offers daily brewery tours and beer samples.
Some notable brewpubs are St augustine And beercraft On Commercial Drive, Steamworks Brewery in Gastown, and Yaletown Brewpub In Yaletown.
15. Get cultured at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Explore the artistic wonders of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where Canadian and international art combine in a captivating collection spanning more than a century.
From stunning paintings to adorable sculptures, there is a lot to see here to amaze you.
The architectural beauty of the gallery is matched with the artwork, which is another reason to visit this top Vancouver attraction.
16. Walk across Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
This iconic landmark is one of Vancouver’s many suspension bridges that highlight Canada’s impressive engineering capabilities.
Nestled in the shade of the forest, this hanging suspension bridge is both a thrill and a chance to get out in nature.
While you’re there, discover the Living Forest, a captivating exhibit that showcases the diverse flora and fauna of the area.
If you prefer more adventure, don’t miss the Cliffwalk, a spine-tingling walkway that clings to granite rocks and offers breathtaking views.
If you enjoyed this experience another suspension bridge worth visiting is the Lynn Canyon Park Suspension Bridge.
17. Visit the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia
Located within the University of British Columbia, this cultural gem offers a profound experience for tourists wanting to learn more about the country’s history.
Marvel at the astonishing collection of global artworks and remarkable First Nations art displayed within its walls.
Step into the Great Hall and be mesmerized by the towering totem poles and intricately crafted canoes.
A visit to the Museum of Anthropology is an enlightening exploration of North America’s human heritage that will leave you with a new appreciation for cultural diversity.
18. Relax at English Bay Beach
English Bay Beach is a picturesque urban beach where you can sink your feet in the soft sand and admire stunning panoramic views of the sea and mountains.
Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters or stroll along the vibrant beach surrounded by lush greenery.
19. Take pictures in front of Canada Place
You can’t leave Vancouver without snapping a photo in front of Canada Place, an iconic landmark set against the stunning backdrop of the city’s waterfront.
This architectural marvel has a unique design and the promenade walk offers breathtaking views, allowing you to take home a photo resembling the best of Vancouver.
Best time to visit Vancouver
Vancouver is a year-round destination that pays to visit in all seasons, so there’s no best time to visit.
- in winter You have world-class ski hills and winter activities.
- In the fall You have spectacular hikes through cherry blossoms and temperate rainforests.
- In summer You have beaches, patio restaurants, and water sports.
- in decline You have perfect temperatures, colorful trees, and beautiful sunsets.
There’s no bad time to visit Vancouver, but if we had to recommend the best time of year we’d guide you to the summer-autumn months between June and September.
Getting to and around Vancouver
Air travel around Canada isn’t cheap but it is the most convenient way to travel between major cities.
We use Air Canada because it is a member of Star Alliance and offers air miles that can be used on other airlines around the world.
Abbotsford also has an international airport but it is about an hour’s drive outside of Vancouver and is not convenient unless you have a vehicle.
Seattle, Washington It’s about a 3-hour drive south of Vancouver. Flights from Seattle to the US and Central American destinations are much cheaper and usually have more choices.
You can take the train and/or bus from Vancouver to Seattle, but daily trips are limited so do your homework and check the schedules ahead of time. is here train schedule And bus schedule.
When it comes to getting around, Vancouver is very walkable and easy to navigate. Much of the city is surrounded by water with a spectacular sea wall that’s great for roller-blading, running, skateboarding, and biking.
The transit is very good. Seabus is a 12-minute ferry that connects Vancouver with North Vancouver (where the mountain and the provincial park are located).
And this Skytrain/Canada Line Vancouver connects the city with the suburbs. Buses are also good, but often very full during rush hour.
If you want to explore outside the city, it is best to rent a vehicle.
where to stay in Vancouver
Most high-end hotels and budget hostels are found in downtown Vancouver, Geographically the main part of the city is not very large, and it is mostly surrounded by water so it is easy to navigate.
budget hostel is found on Granville Street and in the old Downtown Eastside (Although the eastern part is known to be an incomplete part of the city).
If you want to stay close and out of the mountains, there are several budget motels near Lions Gate Bridge in north Vancouver, This is an ideal place if you have a vehicle.
The best things to do in Vancouver
I love Vancouver because it can constantly surprise us with its natural beauty and a never-ending supply of adventure.
there are lots of reasons why Nicole and Cameron love living in British Columbia. But by now you probably have a good idea of what those reasons could be.
We hope this guide helped you plan a trip to Vancouver and gave you some inspiration for what to do there.
More Western Canada Travel Tips
Bio: Nicole and Cameron Wears are a married couple living in Vancouver, but they have traveled to over 50 countries together over the past 7 years, and along the way they have accomplished many of their life goals and dreams. his personal travel blog travel canucks Highlights their travel stories, tips, and photos, and they share even more tips and things to do in Vancouver On his blog.
Do you have any suggestions for what to do in Vancouver? Share your thoughts in the comments.