Here is your ultimate guide of things to do in Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal metropolis full of ever-growing architecture, wine and dine delights, cultural influences and outdoor activities. It’s among one of Canada’s most ethnically diverse cities with strong indigenous roots and an abundance of nationalities, making it a melting pot of beautiful British Columbia.
Where mother nature meets urban centre, you can find yourself kayaking the inlet to discovering art in a museum… in the same day!
If you ask any Vancouverite, it’s the best place to live in the world! So what is there to do in this vibrant city?
Explore the seawall
Rent a bike (or bring your own), take a stroll, rollerblade, jog, you name it; you’ll see people using all kinds of ways to experience the seawall.
The world longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the seawall will take you all around the city! The route starts at Coal Harbour, winds around Stanley Park, from English Bay to False Creek, through Granville Island and ends in Kitsilano.
This is a great way to orient yourself with the city as you will pass many attractions along the way.
Indulge in a foodventure
When it comes to eating in Vancouver there are endless possibilities — your inner foodie is drooling. From the finest of fine dining, to food trucks you are sure to fill your stomachs. There is so much to love about the city’s food scene!
Vancouver is the birthplace of Ocean Wise, so there is no doubt you’ll be able to find the best fresh sustainable seafood here. Food trucks have exploded in popularity here so much that you can find a great meal at almost anyone of them lining the sidewalks, and there are even tours organized to showcase the incredible street food scene.
There is nothing like the smell of fresh coffee, so forget about the big chain brands and scope out the independent coffee shops, roasters, and baristas for your caffeine fix.
From farm-to-table, meat-free, vegan, ethnic, fusion, gluten-friendly, you name it Van has it. You are just going to have to eat your way through this city to judge for yourself. Here’s your ultimate guide to 74 places to eat in Vancouver to set you off on the right foot!
Catch a game
Nothing is quite like the electric roar of a crowd when your team scores a point. This city is not only a place to play sports, but to watch them too!
Vancouver has many professional sports teams from the Canucks to the Whitecaps, Giants, Canadian Rugby Sevens, the BC Loins to the classic Canadians; there is something to catch for every sports enthusiast. The city not only has amazing players but it has some of the greatest fans too, so sit in on a match, get your face painted, learn a chant, and cheer on your team!
Spend a day in Stanley Park
Stanley Park is Vancouver’s first, largest and most popular park. There is so much to see and do here, you’re going to need all day! With the Vancouver Aquarium, many monuments, beaches and the seawall, you will have no problems passing the day here.
Take the many trails in and around the park to find the Lost Lagoon, photograph the totem poles, or stop and smell the flowers at one of the many gardens.
Not to mention its the perfect place for the family, with an outdoor pool, horse-drawn carriage tours, and mini train rides.
Experience aquatic life
Located in Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is a sanctuary housing thousands of aquatic species and habitats. You will see sea lions, penguins, otters, dolphins, and many more creatures. It’s also home to the Ocean Wise headquarters, where scientists, educators and conservation experts work to protect our ocean.
There is also a 4D theatre that lets you experience sensory effects, multiple exhibits and many events throughout the year, allowing you to get up close and personal with these aquatic beings.
Walk on the wild side
Being in beautiful British Columbia, Vancouver and its surrounding areas are blessed with the best nature has to offer. You can get your outdoor fix almost anywhere you go.
Head over to North Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge Park to test your fear of heights with their treetop adventures, cliff walk and main attraction, the suspension bridge. With millions of people crossing the bridge since 1889, it’s a huge draw for thrill seekers from near and far.
Take your adventure high between the evergreens over seven bridges, or cling to the side of a cliff over the Capilano Canyon. Stroll the trails and learn about the First Nations culture and the living forest.
Take in this picturesque point
This picturesque park in West Vancouver is a local favourite. The park has short forest trails that open up to ocean views.
The lighthouse station grounds at Point Atkinson are a natural historic site, and not to mention highly Instagrammable. The park contains some of the largest Douglas Fir trees in the area that line rocky outcrop shores. The hikes are easy and enjoyable, with pop-up bulletins to educate you about the history of the area.
Go on a brewery tour
Vancouver takes craft beer seriously, with so many breweries popping up throughout in the city, you’ll find a pint to suit every taste. The best way to experience all that Vancouver has to offer is to go on a brewery tour.
We can cheers to that!
Explore this beautiful bay
Deep Cove is a quaint marine residential area of the North Shore. The area has a beautiful bay, where you can rent kayaks and SUPs from Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak Centre – they also offer guided tours and lessons.
The Quarry Rock hike is fairly easy and has a breathtaking view of the Indian Arm that will have you coming back time and time again – and it’s dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry friends.
You can’t leave Deep Cove without grabbing a donut from Honey Doughnuts & Goodies, a must-visit place for locals and visitors. There are also many cute shops and cafes along the strip to visit.
Roam Granville Island
Located under the Granville Street bridge, this tiny peninsula is a booming cultural district with theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios.
Its biggest attraction is the Granville Island Public Market, where you can get fresh local produce, artisan crafts, baked goods and so much more. Even if you aren’t shopping to fill your fridge it’s still fun to walk around because there is so much to see – and to eat.
Being an artsy hub for theatre and music, you can catch some improv, scope out art galleries and enjoy outdoor busking by talented locals.
Climb Mother Nature’s stair-master
The North Shore has many mountains that offer breathtaking hikes(literally), but none are quite as notorious as the Grouse Grind. It’s a 2.9 km trail up the face of Grouse Mountain, known as ‘Mother Nature’s stair-master’, and takes an average of an hour and a half to complete.
It’s quite a commitment as the constant incline gets steeper and steeper up 2,830 stairs… but the reward at the top will have you coming back for more! Half the fun is trying to beat your last time up to the top.
At the top you will find Grouse Mountain resort area where there are tons of other activities and sightseeing to do. To cap off your adventure, you’ll be able to rest your feet on the gondola ride back down.
Get lost in this botanical garden
Planted in the Shaughnessy neighbourhood of Vancouver the VanDusen Botanical Garden covers a lush 55 acres. The garden contains an Elizabethan maze, Korean Pavillion and many blooming flowers and plants.
There are volunteer and self-guided tours of the garden, so you can take the garden at your own pace. Almost every month has something new to offer as the seasons change and different plants come to life, so check it out as often as you like.
Learn something new at Science World
This eye-catching globe at the end of False Creek is the place to be to fire up your brain cells. Science World is an immersive science centre featuring many rotating interactive exhibits and displays.
Perfect for curious kids and the young at heart, there is plenty to experience here, like the OMNIMAX Theatre, which is five storeys high (the largest in the world) and boasts a wrap-around sound system that will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the show.
Hideaway in this tropical oasis
Atop the highest point in Queen Elizabeth Park is the dome-shaped Bloedel Conservatory. The lush year-round paradise is home to over 120 free-flying exotic birds and over 500 plants and flowers. It contains three separate climatic zones under one roof: Tropical, Subtropical and Desert. The temperature-controlled ecosystem is an escape into the tropics.
Break a sweat
Vancouver just might be one of the most active cities in Canada, and visitors here will easily find a place to break a sweat!
Whether it be an outdoor yoga class, jogging the seawall, or cycling to work, Vancouverites know how to squeeze in a workout. As weather changes so do our activities, and in the summer you can catch people playing a volleyball set at Kitsilano Beach, or in the winter hitting the ski or snowboarding slopes at Whistler.
From ballet barre workouts and dragon boat racing to yearly marathons, we are out of breath just listing the options! Phew.
Get artsy at a gallery
Located in central downtown, the Vancouver Art Gallery is one of the most respected art institutes in North America. With permanent art and rotating exhibits, including the work of many world-renowned artists, the gallery keeps the people of Vancouver and its visitors feeling creative and inspired.
Shop till you drop
Vancouver is a shopaholics dream, and whether you’re after fashion, souvenirs, or arts and crafts, there is no shortage in ways to occupy your wallet.
The areas of Robson Street and downtown are best known for famous brands and international designers that are sure to tempt you, like Nordstrom or Holt Renfrew. Across the bridge, West 4th Avenue is the birthplace of lululemon, for yoga wear also many unique shops and snowboarding goods.
With every neighbourhood offering different goods you’ll be shoppin’ till you’re droppin’. Or broke, whichever comes first.
Explore the universe right in the city. HR MacMillan Space Centre brings the wonders of space to Earth. With constant innovative events, live interactive demonstrations and even an observatory with a massive telescope, it’s a hidden gem for stargazers.
Vancouver’s one and only Planetarium Star Theatre will immerse you in meteor showers, nebulas, black holes, galaxies, and countless other astronomical wonders. Their goal is to inspire interest in the fields of Earth science, space science and astronomy – space nerds rejoice!
Travel back in time in Gastown
Gastown was historically Vancouver’s first downtown centre, and fast forward to today, this area has stayed true to its roots, with brick streets and Victorian architecture preserving that old-school charm.
The character here is a mix of old and new, as you will find an assortment of chic boutiques, art galleries and souvenir shops. Its rich history also caters well to the spooky-seekers, as you can do Haunted Walking Tours here too.
With a variety of fine dining, fusion food, and pub grub, you won’t go hungry here. Being named one of the most stylish neighbourhoods in the world, you know this place has a trendy vibe.
Explore Canada’s largest Chinatown
This cultural neighbourhood is rich with history, and you can find traditional tea shops, apothecaries carrying exotic goods, and dim sum restaurants sharing the street with hipster bars and vegan cafes. Chinatown has turned into one of Vancouver’s most up-and-coming foodie destinations.
Chinese groceries have stands of dried fish, spices, preserved treats, baked goods and BBQ duck that spill onto the streets of every block, reminding us about the pioneer town this place was historically known for.
The area is best explored on foot where you can walk to designated heritage buildings, see the stature of the gate to the Chinese Cultural Centre or escape the street to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Gardens and transport yourself to the pavilions and horticulture of the Ming Dynasty.
Beach bum it up
Beaches border our whole city, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find yourself at one at some point. Lucky for you there are nine major beaches to sunbathe, picnic and play sports on!
Catch the sunset at English Bay, play Volleyball at Kits beach, windsurf at Jericho beach, have a BBQ at Third beach or get away from the crowds and read your favourite book at Spanish banks. Vancouver may not be known for its beaches but you sure won’t be able to leave this place before visiting one.
What are your favourite things to do in Van City? Share with us using the hashtag #dailyhivemapped.
With files from Aiya Benaso, Kellie Paxian.