Where to take first time visitors to Vancouver
Vancouver is a huge tourist destination for both national and international visitors.
And, as a resident of this fine city, it may someday fall upon your shoulders to play tour guide for visiting friends or family that want to get the most out of their time in Vancouver.
So… where you do start?
Between the hikes, sights, shows, infamous crows, and places found only by those in the know around Vancouver, it can be somewhat daunting to orchestrate a suitable day out for your visitors.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help you set your itinerary with a few suggestions for what to do with first time visitors to Vancouver.
A visit to Vancouver isn’t complete without walking down the stone streets of Gastown. There’s so many cool shops to check out (like Salmagundi West); bars to grab a pint at (The Greedy Pig, Darby’s, The Lamplighter, the list goes on); restaurants to eat at (Crab Park Chowdery, MeeT in Gastown, Joe Pizza, Etc.); places to party (The Cambie, Portside Pub, The Bourbon); and, of course, that iconic steam clock to take pictures of.
Check out some cool bars
There are some places in Vancouver that you simply won’t find anywhere else in the world. Places like Storm Crow Alehouse and Storm Crow Tavern, which offer board games, a D20 shot challenge, and more references than you can wrap your geeky head around. then there’s the Shameful Tiki Room, which boasts some of the craziest (and largest) drinks you’ll find in the city. And if they don’t float your boat you can always check out The Boxcar, which is one of Vancouver’s most laid back bars—if you can find it.
Visit Stanley Park
Yes it’s an obvious choice, but for good reason! Stanley Park is one of the first things people think when they hear “Vancouver,” and no matter how many times you’ve been around that Seawall, it is an experience that first-time visitors just have to try. Make it a bit quicker by renting a bike at Spokes, or find something new by wandering around the trails inside the park itself.
Down some craft beers at the local breweries
You might not need an introduction to Vancouver’s flourishing craft beer scene, but you visitors probably do. Brassneck, 33 Acres, and R&B Brewing are all within walking distance of each other in and around Vancouver’s Main Street, making it the perfect afternoon excursion.
Taste some of Vancouver’s food trucks
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Food trucks have become super popular in Vancouver, and they’re a fun alternative to waiting in line for seats at a restaurant—especially when it’s beautiful outside. Tacofino is a BC favourite when it comes to tacos and burritos; Wakwak Burger has some seriously affordable cheeseburgers; and Reel Mac and Cheese has some interesting recreations of your classic mac and cheese meal.
Walk down Granville Street
With all its signs, sounds, and excitement, Granville Street is one of Vancouver’s most crowded areas—especially at night. It would be a shame for visitors of the city to miss out on a $5 meal at the Famous Warehouse (it is famous, after all), catching a show at the Commodore Ballroom, or listening to a tune from one of Vancouver’s many talented buskers.
Hit a beach
What is a trip to Vancouver without going to a beach? Even if it isn’t gorgeous out, it is still worth feeling the sand under your toes, seeing the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean, and discovering all those cool little
rock pyramids inukshuks that pop up around the beaches. Be sure to visit the gigantic one by Sunset Beach, and try your hand at making some of your own.
Tour the Olympic memorials
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While nothing will quite live up to the energy in the city during the 2010 Winter Olympics, it is still fun to relive those glory days by visiting some of the important sites around the city. Take a visitor to the Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza, or take the SkyTrain down to Richmond for the Richmond Olympic Experience.
Visit Grouse Mountain
Whether you’re going to subject them to Mother Nature’s stairmaster, or simply take them for a ride up the gondola; the Peak of Vancouver offers a convenient escape from the hustle and bustle of the city that’s all but guaranteed to entertain your guests. You can even combine your trip with a visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge, a tourist hotspot that’s on many vistors’ to-do lists.