Welcome Trekkers, in this article, we will be taking you on a journey to the picturesque city of Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver is a city that seamlessly blends the beauty of nature with the vibrancy of city life, making it a popular destination for travelers from all over the world.
Located on Canada’s west coast, Vancouver boasts stunning natural scenery, including snow-capped mountains, lush forests, and sparkling waters. But it’s not just the natural beauty that makes Vancouver special – the city is also known for its rich history, diverse cultural heritage, and thriving arts and entertainment scene.
In this article, we will be sharing ten of the best things to do in Vancouver, from exploring Stanley Park and Granville Island to skiing on nearby mountains and checking out the city’s vibrant food and nightlife scenes. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, we guarantee that you’ll find plenty of inspiration and excitement in Vancouver.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover all that this beautiful city has to offer. With our guide, you’ll be able to create unforgettable memories in Vancouver and experience the best that this Canadian gem has to offer. Let’s dive in!
1. Explore Granville Island
Granville Island is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Vancouver. This charming island is located in False Creek and is easily accessible via a short ferry ride or by driving over the Granville Street Bridge. Granville Island is a hub of activity, with something to offer for everyone, from foodies to art lovers and history buffs.
One of the most popular attractions on Granville Island is the Public Market, which is a vibrant and bustling indoor market that is open year-round. The market is home to over 50 vendors selling everything from fresh produce and seafood to gourmet cheeses, artisanal bread, and baked goods. Visitors can sample local specialties, pick up fresh ingredients for a picnic or a home-cooked meal, or simply soak in the lively atmosphere.
In addition to the Public Market, Granville Island is home to numerous artisan studios and workshops, where visitors can watch artists at work and purchase unique handmade goods. There are also several boutiques and shops selling everything from fashion and jewelry to home decor and gifts.
Foodies will love the diverse range of dining options on Granville Island, which include casual cafes, gourmet restaurants, and trendy bars. From fresh seafood and sushi to international cuisine and local craft beer, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Visitors to Granville Island can also take in the island’s natural beauty by taking a leisurely stroll through the colorful streets and taking in the lively atmosphere. With its picturesque waterfront location, vibrant culture, and numerous attractions, Granville Island is truly a gem of Vancouver that should not be missed.
2. Visit Stanley Park
This stunning urban park is a true gem of the city, offering visitors a breathtaking natural escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver. With over 1,000 acres of pristine forest, trails, and scenic viewpoints, Stanley Park is a paradise for nature lovers, cyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts.
One of the best ways to experience Stanley Park is by taking a leisurely walk or bike ride along the seawall. The seawall is a paved path that circles the park’s perimeter, providing stunning views of the city skyline, the harbor, and the North Shore Mountains. It’s a popular spot for joggers, walkers, and cyclists, and is accessible year-round.
Inside the park, visitors can explore a range of attractions and activities. The Stanley Park Miniature Train is a popular attraction for families, offering a scenic ride through the park’s forests and meadows. The park is also home to several beaches, including Second Beach and Third Beach, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.
Visitors to Stanley Park can also enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, bird watching, and kayaking. There are over 27 kilometers of trails throughout the park, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes. The park’s dense forests are home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, beavers, and raccoons.
In short, Stanley Park is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Vancouver. With its stunning natural beauty, diverse range of attractions, and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, it’s no wonder that Stanley Park is considered one of the best urban parks in North America.
3. Stop by the Museum of Anthropology
The Museum of Anthropology is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art, culture, and history. Located on the campus of the University of British Columbia, the museum is renowned for its extensive collection of indigenous art and artifacts from around the world.
The museum’s collection includes over 50,000 objects, ranging from ancient to contemporary art and artifacts. Visitors can explore exhibits on the indigenous cultures of Canada’s Pacific Northwest, including the Haida, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Tlingit peoples. The museum also has a large collection of artifacts from around the world, including Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
One of the most impressive features of the museum is its collection of totem poles, which are among the largest and most significant in the world. Visitors can marvel at these towering works of art and learn about their cultural and historical significance.
In addition to its impressive collection of art and artifacts, the Museum of Anthropology is also known for its stunning architecture. The museum’s main building, designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, is a work of art in itself. With its soaring glass walls and dramatic concrete forms, the building is a perfect complement to the museum’s collection of indigenous art and artifacts.
In conclusion, the Museum of Anthropology is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Vancouver. With its extensive collection of indigenous art and artifacts from around the world, as well as its stunning architecture and range of educational programs and events, the museum is a true gem of Vancouver’s cultural landscape.
4. Take a stroll through Gastown
This charming area is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and modern-day attractions. Gastown is named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a colorful character who opened the area’s first saloon in 1867. Today, visitors can explore the neighborhood’s Victorian architecture, including the famous Steam Clock, which chimes every 15 minutes and shoots steam into the air.
One of the best ways to experience Gastown is by taking a leisurely stroll down Water Street, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. This cobbled street is lined with trendy boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants, offering a range of options for shoppers and foodies alike.
Visitors to Gastown can also explore several historic attractions, including the Vancouver Police Museum, which is housed in a former coroner’s building and offers a fascinating look at the city’s law enforcement history. The area is also home to the famous Blood Alley, which was once a notorious part of the neighborhood and is now a trendy spot for nightlife and dining.
Gastown is also a popular destination for art lovers, with several galleries showcasing contemporary and indigenous art. Visitors can browse works by local and international artists at galleries like the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver and the Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery.
In the evenings, Gastown comes alive with a range of nightlife options, from cozy cocktail bars to lively nightclubs. The area’s intimate atmosphere and historic charm make it a perfect destination for a night out on the town. Gastown is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Vancouver. With its charming cobbled streets, Victorian architecture, trendy shops and restaurants, and vibrant nightlife scene, it’s no wonder that Gastown is considered one of the city’s most beloved neighborhoods.
5. Walk Across the Capilano Suspension Bridge
For those looking for a bit of adventure and a stunning view of the surrounding area, walking across the Capilano Suspension Bridge is an absolute must-do activity when in Vancouver. The bridge is located in North Vancouver, just a short drive from downtown, and spans a distance of 140 meters across a deep canyon.
Walking across the bridge provides visitors with breathtaking views of the surrounding forest canopy and the Capilano River below. The bridge also offers a unique perspective of the surrounding mountains and the city of Vancouver in the distance.
In addition to the bridge itself, visitors can also explore the surrounding area, which includes several walking trails, a tree-top adventure course, and a cliff walk that offers even more stunning views of the canyon and river below. The park is also home to several cultural exhibits, including the First Nations cultural experience, which offers visitors a chance to learn about the history and culture of the area’s indigenous people.
For those visiting during the holiday season, the park also hosts the Canyon Lights festival, where the suspension bridge and surrounding trees are illuminated with thousands of sparkling lights.
Overall, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is an unforgettable experience that offers visitors a chance to see Vancouver’s natural beauty up close and from a unique perspective. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for a thrill or simply looking for a serene and peaceful escape, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is a must-see attraction that should not be missed.
6. Catch a show at the Orpheum Theatre
The Orpheum Theatre is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing world-class performances in an iconic setting. The theatre has a long and storied history, having been built in 1927 and surviving both a fire and an earthquake in its nearly century-long existence. The venue is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver and is easily accessible by public transit.
The theatre’s stunning architecture is a major draw for visitors, with its ornate ceiling, intricate moldings, and sweeping staircase leading up to the balcony. The theatre’s acoustics are also world-renowned, making it a popular venue for symphonies, operas, and other classical music performances.
In addition to classical music, the theatre also hosts a range of other performances throughout the year, including rock concerts, comedy shows, and theatrical productions. Some of the world’s most famous performers have graced the Orpheum’s stage over the years, including the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Luciano Pavarotti.
Visitors to the theatre can take a tour of the venue to learn about its history and architecture, as well as to get a behind-the-scenes look at the production process. The theatre also offers a range of educational programs, including workshops and masterclasses for aspiring performers.
Overall, the Orpheum Theatre is an iconic and historic venue that offers visitors a chance to experience world-class performances in a stunning setting. Whether you’re a fan of classical music, rock concerts, or comedy shows, there’s something for everyone at the Orpheum.
7. Hike the Grouse Grind
The Grouse Grind is a popular outdoor activity among locals and visitors alike. This challenging hike spans 2.9 kilometers, with an elevation gain of 853 meters. As hikers ascend the trail, they’ll encounter steep staircases, rocky terrain, and wooden steps. The Grouse Grind is not for the faint of heart, but it offers a rewarding sense of accomplishment upon reaching the top.
While hiking the Grouse Grind, hikers will be surrounded by lush forests, streams, and wildlife. It’s important to stay on the trail and follow posted signs, as the area is a protected wildlife habitat. Hikers should also bring plenty of water and snacks, as the hike can take several hours to complete. For those who want to take a break during the hike, there are rest areas along the way with benches and scenic viewpoints.
Once hikers reach the summit, they can enjoy panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. There are also several restaurants and cafes at the top, where hikers can refuel with a meal or beverage. The Grouse Grind is open from May to October and is a must-do for any outdoor enthusiast visiting Vancouver.
8. Explore the Nitobe Memorial Garden
The Nitobe Memorial Garden is a tranquil oasis located at the University of British Columbia. This Japanese garden is filled with winding paths, peaceful ponds, and traditional Japanese architecture. The garden is named after Dr. Inazo Nitobe, a scholar and diplomat who worked to promote understanding between Japan and the West. Nitobe believed that gardens played an important role in promoting peace and harmony between people of different cultures, and the Nitobe Memorial Garden is a beautiful example of this philosophy.
Visitors to the Nitobe Memorial Garden can stroll through the winding paths and admire the many beautiful features of the garden, including a traditional tea garden, a pond filled with koi fish, and a variety of beautiful flowers and trees. The garden also features a traditional Japanese house, where visitors can learn more about Japanese culture and history. The house is filled with beautiful artifacts and is a great place to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
The Nitobe Memorial Garden is open year-round, and each season offers a unique and beautiful experience. In the spring, visitors can enjoy the stunning cherry blossoms that bloom throughout the garden. In the summer, the garden is filled with lush greenery and beautiful flowers. In the fall, the changing leaves create a stunning tapestry of color, and in the winter, the snow-covered garden is a peaceful and serene retreat. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking for a peaceful place to relax, the Nitobe Memorial Garden is a must-see destination in Vancouver.
9. Go Whale Watching
Going on a whale watching trip is a unique and unforgettable experience that you can have in Vancouver. The city is located on the Pacific coast and is home to numerous species of whales. The best time to go whale watching in Vancouver is between March and November when the whales migrate through the area. There are several tour operators that offer whale watching trips, and you can choose between large boats or smaller zodiacs for a more intimate experience. During the tour, you’ll have the chance to see these majestic creatures up close and learn about their behavior and habitat from expert guides.
One of the most popular whale watching destinations near Vancouver is the Gulf Islands. This beautiful archipelago is located between Vancouver Island and the mainland and is home to a diverse range of marine life, including orcas, humpback whales, and sea lions. The Gulf Islands are also known for their scenic beauty and are a great place to relax and unwind after your whale watching adventure.
Another popular whale watching destination is the Johnstone Strait, which is located on the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island. This area is known as the best place in the world to see orcas, and there are several tour operators that offer multi-day whale watching trips in this area. During these trips, you’ll have the opportunity to see not only orcas but also humpback whales, dolphins, and other marine life. The tours typically include accommodations and meals, and you’ll have the chance to explore the beautiful coastal scenery of Vancouver Island.
No matter which whale watching tour you choose, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Just make sure to dress warmly, bring a camera, and be prepared to be amazed by the beauty of these magnificent creatures.
10. Tour the Granville Island Brewing Company
This brewery has been a staple of the city’s craft beer scene since it opened in 1984, and it’s now one of the largest craft breweries in Canada. When you take a tour of the Granville Island Brewing Company, you’ll get to see the beer-making process up close and learn about the history of the brewery.
The tour begins with an introduction to the ingredients used in beer-making and a brief history of Granville Island Brewing Company. After that, you’ll get to explore the brewery and see how the beer is brewed and bottled. You’ll also get to taste some of the brewery’s most popular beers, including its award-winning Northwest Pale Ale.
The Granville Island Brewing Company also offers special tours for groups, including private tastings and food pairings. These tours are a great way to experience the brewery in a more personalized and intimate setting. And if you’re looking for a unique souvenir, you can even purchase a custom-labeled bottle of beer to take home with you.
Overall, a tour of the Granville Island Brewing Company is a fun and informative way to experience Vancouver’s craft beer culture. Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just looking for a unique activity to try, this tour is definitely worth adding to your itinerary.
Vancouver is a vibrant city that offers something for everyone. From outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, and whale watching to cultural experiences like visiting museums and gardens, there are countless ways to explore and enjoy this beautiful city. The food scene is diverse and delicious, and the nightlife is thriving with trendy bars, clubs, and music venues.
With its stunning natural beauty, friendly locals, and endless activities, Vancouver is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Canada. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or culture, Vancouver is sure to leave a lasting impression on you. So, pack your bags and start planning your trip to this amazing city.