For those looking for transit-accessible options during their staycation, it can be tough to think of places to go that offer some variety outside of your day-to-day life.
Luckily there are many great places in and around Metro Vancouver that you can check out that are only a transit ride away.
A 15 minute SeaBus ride from downtown Vancouver will land you in North Vancouver, home to a variety of activities sure to fill up your day.
For the athletically inclined or those looking to become one with nature, the Grouse Grind, Lynn Canyon Park (which has a free suspension bridge) and Deep Cove are a bus ride away from Lonsdale Quay. Take a hike or just enjoy the scenery at these and many other outdoor trails.
If you’d like to stay a little closer to home, you can enjoy Lonsdale Quay Market, which houses restaurants, cafes, a food court, retail shops, a hotel, spa and more. You can also take in Summer Fest, which runs every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the market. There is also the Saturday Summer Sessions Series, which offers free concerts as well as kids’ activities.
For a little nightlife, check out the Shipyards Night Market, which runs Friday nights from 5 to 10 p.m. and is held at the historic Shipbuilders Square. The site commemorates the men and women who worked there from 1906 to 1992 when it closed its doors. The night market includes live music, a beer garden and a street market full of local vendors.
Steveston Village, Richmond
Steveston is one of those places that feels quite tucked away, but is a mere 15 minute bus trip from the Canada Line. A short trip on the #410 bus from the Richmond-Brighouse SkyTrain Station in Richmond will take you to the heart of Steveston Village.
Stroll through the village for retail shops, cafes, crafts and thrift stores. If you feel like getting your history on, check out the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, which offers a fascinating look at Canada’s West Coast fishing history. They offer guided tours, where you can “uncover the personal stories of cannery workers who worked amidst the steam, noise and odours of fish slime and machine oil.” If you don’t feel like staying inside, you can also check out the Britannia Heritage Shipyards National Historic Sites along the boardwalk (after you’ve grabbed an ice cream cone from the village, of course), which offer a view of how life was like for the workers who resided there when business was at its height.
If you’re getting hungry, enjoy Pajo’s famous fish n’ chips at either of their locations near the pier or at Garry Point Park. You can take a 10 minute walk from the village to Garry Point Park, where you can always find the sky full of kites and even people riding kite buggies. For a bit of adventure, take a whale watching excursion with Seabreeze Adventures, which boasts guaranteed whale sightings.
You may go to Granville Island on occasion, but it can be a great day trip option for those taking a staycation. Transit options include the #50 bus to Anderson and 2nd, with just a short walk to the shops and restaurants.
On most summer days you can find a variety of buskers performing all over the island, from comedy acts to music and even juggling. Grab an ice cream or a coffee from the Granville Island Public Market and enjoy the performances. If you are looking to take in a show, The Arts Club, Waterfront Theatre, and Vancouver TheatreSports League, among other venues, offer plenty of entertainment options. Want to get your drink on? The Granville Island Brewery has guided tours for only $9.75, and it ends with a beer tasting.
Take a walk around the island and enjoy a multitude of galleries, retail shops and restaurants. If you are looking to buy a piece of interesting art from a local artist, this is where you’ll find it. If you happen to walk by Newsmall & Sterling Studio Glass’ front window at the right time, you might even find someone creating beautiful works of blown glass art. Take a slight detour off the island to check out Bard on the Beach at Vanier Park, which provides fantastic views of Downtown Vancouver.
An island getaway doesn’t have to be expensive, or far away. A short 30-minute ferry trip from Granville Island (as well as Coal Harbour on weekdays), and you’ve reached beautiful Bowen Island. With a population of only 3,330 people, it is small but still a great option for those looking for a relaxing day. For a bit of culture, take the walking trail from Snug Cove and check out Artisan Square, where you can find galleries full of local artists as well as a café and bakery, a chocolatier, home décor shop and more.
If you are looking for something more outdoorsy, Bowen Island has a few great trails. The Mount Gardner hike, which is a seven hour round trip, may leave you hurrying to get back to the ferry in time for the last trip back to Vancouver, but Killarney Lake, an easy two-hour hike with beautiful scenery, will give you plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the island.
After your hike, head to Sandy Beach for a dip and some sunbathing or grab a beer at the Bowen Island Pub. If you go to the island on August 29 you can enjoy Bowfest, a festival that includes a parade, live music and activities and fun for all ages.
New Westminster is a city with a rich history, only 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver on the Expo Line. Historic Front Street is chock-a-block full of antique stores for those looking to do some window shopping. You can also admire the architecture of buildings that were originally built in the late 1800s when the city was first founded.
The newly revitalized waterfront boardwalk in Westminster Quay is a great place to take a stroll while enjoying an ice cream cone. You can also find (and add your own) love locks along a designated fence in Pier Park. Take to the Fraser River on a Paddlewheeler Riverboat Cruise for a meal and sight-seeing.
If you are looking for a snack, coffee or a bit of shopping, look no further than the River Market, which was renovated and re-opened in 2010. Along with food and shops, they also hold flea markets throughout the summer, as well as free Zumba classes on Sunday mornings and the DJ Summer Series on Friday nights, which you can enjoy from the Boardwalk.