Few places offer better access to both natural beauty and urban amenities than Vancouver. Western Canada’s largest city, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains, continues to grow rapidly since hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. Here’s your guide for top things to do in Vancouver.
Upscale neighborhoods with stunning mountains and the Pacific coast as a backdrop. Sushi and seafood are local culinary staples, and Yaletown’s trendy restaurants and Granville Street’s energized nightclubs keep your buzz going. From the spectacular rose garden at Queen Elizabeth Park to the roaring crowd at a Vancouver Canucks NHL hockey game, there are always new thrills to experience in Vancouver.
Nature and the City
Whale-watching, kayaking, hiking, and more. Vancouver is the place to be if you want a big city experience while mingling with nature. Walk or bike around the Stanley Park Seawall, admiring the iconic Lions Gate Bridge and the “Girl in a Wet Suit” statue en route. For even more exhilaration, climb Grouse Mountain or take the SkyRide to the summit for a panorama of this British Columbia metropolis. You’ll be able to view grizzly bears in a sanctuary, go zip-lining, or enjoy a helicopter ride. The nearby Capilano Suspension Bridge provides a thrilling 450-foot-long crossing over the Capilano River. If you’re in luck, the cherry blossoms will be in season and blooming at Queen Elizabeth Park. And if you’re there in the summer, head to one the many stunning beaches to soak up the sun and the views. Check out our article on Vancouver’s Top Ten Attractions for more details.
Although you’ll find it hard to run out of things to do in Vancouver, you still have the convenient option of multiple short distance day trips to experience different sides of British Columbia. Victoria, the highly photogenic capital of British Columbia, is only a two hour scenic ferry ride away. A rural getaway is less than two hours away at Fraser Valley, which includes the many farms of . If you want a wonderful day of winter activities, drive about two hours north for the infamous Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort. To make your experience at one of the top ski resorts in the world truly count, check out our Whistler guide.
Vancouver has no shortage of interesting and exciting neighborhoods to discover. In the core of Downtown Vancouver, you’ll find Gastown, a steampunk paradise with countless sites to see. Further south is the trendy neighborhood of Yaletown, filled with upscale restaurants and shops. From here you can either head east to one of Canada’s top Chinatowns, or west past the rainbow-clad Davie Village towards Stanley Park for some nature dwelling. If you have time, visit the Olympic village in which the 2008 Winter Olympics was held. Not only does Science World make for a great Instagram photo, it’s also perfect if you’re looking for things to do with kids. Hit up Kitsilano and Fairview for vintage boutiques and hipster vibes, and later grab some delicious grub at Commercial Drive. Whale-watching and kayaking tours launch from Granville Island, whose bustling public market, breweries, and artsy shops make it Canada’s second most-visited destination after Niagara Falls.
Home to a growing Asian population, Vancouver boasts a beautifully preserved Chinatown and some 400 Asian restaurants in the suburb of Richmond alone. You’ll have a hard time finding better Chinese food in North America. For delicious street food, shopping, and an unforgettable cultural experience, the Richmond Night Market is a must-see. Over 300 stalls of food and vendors, music, dancing, and entertainment, this night market is reminiscent of those found all across Asia. And to add even more stunning photographs to your feed, check out the beautiful Chinese garden Sun Yat-Sen in Chinatown. Vancouver proudly holds the title of the most “Asian” city in the world outside of Asia, take full advantage of it!