Tips on What To Do in Vancouver
Vancouver has plenty of outdoor activities to appease the most active traveler. But even if you aren't a fan of day-long hikes or extreme kayak excursions, you'll find plenty to do. Recent visitors recommend exploring the city's parks and museums, beaches or markets.
- Plan a route that starts at Canada Place and heads east to Gastown and Chinatown; that's a good half day. Then, to complete the day, head north to Yaletown and travel back via Robson Street, by which time you'll have earned yourself a glass of British Columbia wine at one of Vancouver's excellent restaurants." -- Fodor's
- You'll discover that the 'real Vancouver' is in the clamorous Commercial Dr coffee shops, the hipster hangouts of SoMa, the gay-friendly streets of the West End, the kaleidoscopic thoroughfares of Chinatown and the historic, re-invigorated old streets of Gastown, where that original pub once stood." -- Lonely Planet
- Vancouver is a city of adventure. Tours, whether professionally-guided or a personal adventure, give visitors the chance to take advantage of the city's vitality and experience the area's natural beauty." -- Nile Guide
Sports & Leisure
With 11 miles of beaches to one side and the coastal mountains to the other, those who visit Vancouver can spend one day swimming, playing beach volleyball and kayaking, and the next day rock climbing, parasailing and mountain biking. Hikers, skiiers or white-water rafters should head north of the city; recent visitors suggest you try your skills at Lynn Canyon Park or Grouse Mountain. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is also popular among adventure seekers, while Whistler -- located approximately two hours north of Vancouver -- was ranked fifth on TripAdvisor's 2010 Travelers' Choice list of the Top 10 Outdoor & Adventure Destinations in the World. For a more laid-back Vancouver experience, travelers recommend spending the day exploring Stanley Park or listening to the waves at English Bay or Wreck Beach.
- If you don't have a lot of time in Vancouver, you'll probably still want to spend at least a half day in Stanley Park: start out early for a walk, bike, or shuttle ride through the park to see the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, enjoy the views from Prospect Point, and stroll along the seawall." -- Fodor's
- For those who enjoy watersports, there are numerous places to rent kayaks and canoes. Ecomarine offers 2 for 1 rentals of kayaks on Tuesdays at Jericho Beach, English Bay, and Granville Island. If you are flexible on time consider taking a sailing or windsurfing lesson at Jericho Beach." -- TripAdvisor
- An excellent resource for outdoor enthusiasts is Mountain Equipment Co-op … The MEC's retail store has a knowledgeable staff, the co-op publishes an annual mail-order catalog, and you can find useful outdoor activities information on the website." -- Frommer's
If the weather doesn't permit outdoor activities, Vancouver is home to many indoor attractions that travel writers praise. Experienced travelers highly recommend the Vancouver Maritime Museum, while the Museum of Anthropology and the Vancouver Art Gallery are both great rainy-day alternatives. The city is also home to many cultural attractions. From the red cobblestone streets and the Steam Clock of Gastown to the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives in Chinatown, there is always something new to explore.
- Museum of Anthropology: British Columbia's native culture is attractively displayed in this museum on the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus. Don't miss the immense totem poles or the sculpture, The Raven and the First Men, by noted First Nations' artist Bill Reid." -- Smarter Travel
- Gastown is one of Vancouver's oldest districts and boasts many beautiful refurbished buildings, cobblestone lanes and the world's first steam-powered clock. People who enjoy slightly more eclectic shopping will enjoy the designers' shops, artists' studios, galleries plus restaurants and bars." -- About.com
Attractions for Kids
Most of Vancouver's family-centered attractions are located within walking distance of Stanley Park. Occupying the tip of Vancouver's Downtown peninsula, Stanley Park is home to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center, which many travelers cite as one of the highlights of their trip. Experts like the Granville Island Museums, which includes two museums -- the Model Ships Museum and the Model Trains Museum -- under one roof. Other popular kid-friendly attractions include the Kids Only Market on Granville Island and the Playland Amusement Park, located east of the downtown area.
- If you're traveling with children, you'll also probably want to check out Science World, Grouse Mountain, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge or Lynn Canyon." -- Fodor's
- To give kids an overview of the city, take the fun trolley tour offered by Vancouver Trolley Company … Gas-powered trolleys run through Downtown, Chinatown, the West End, and Stanley Park." -- Frommer's
- Find Family Fun is a website created by a Vancouver family with three children. It contains excellent descriptions of landmarks and attractions, including the age groups to which they appeal. You can sort attractions by price range, by geographic location, and by the authors' preferences." -- TripAdvisor
Shopaholics need fresh air too. Luckily, Vancouver's numerous open-air markets come highly recommended, including Granville Public Market and the Punjabi Market in East Vancouver. If you're looking for a more upscale shopping experience, head to Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver. Travelers looking for unique souvenirs should explore the dozens of specialty shops in Yaletown.
- To catch Vancouver's laid-back vibe, hop on a water taxi to Granville Island. From the mainland, take the Aquabus, 2.50 Canadian dollars each way across False Creek, and walk to the bustling market, where a stunning variety of independent vendors sell wild-berry jelly, homemade mango yogurt, grass-fed bison and much more. It's easy to get lost in the labyrinth." -- New York Times
- Main Street Need a '60s B-movie frock, a T-shirt commemorating the Russian Revolution, or a hipster satchel for your precious vinyl? Make Main Street's spread-out shopping blocks your destination." -- Sherman's Travel
Although Vancouverites do not party 'til the break of dawn, this city is home to a fairly bustling nightlife scene, with options ranging from your run-of-the-mill bar to a wide variety of live music joints. When it comes to finding the hottest spots, take a stroll down Granville Street in Downtown Vancouver or explore the up-and-coming Yaletown district.
- Several distinct nightlife hubs vie for attention: Davie Street, roughly between Howe and Bute Streets, is home to a thriving gay scene; Granville Street is the center of downtown's sometimes unruly entertainment; Yaletown is home to a new crop of … lounges, and upscale bars; and Main Street is where young hipsters descend in droves for cool clubs." -- Sherman's Travel
- The arts and entertainment weekly the Georgia Straight, and the Thursday and Friday editions of the Vancouver Sun and Province provide extensive listings of the city's events and venues." -- Nile Guide
- The legal drinking age in British Columbia is 19, and you'll need two pieces of ID to prove it. Some upscale clubs ask that patrons be at least 23." -- Fodor's