Are you planning a trip to Vancouver, Canada, and wondering what activities and attractions to include in your itinerary? Vancouver is a vibrant coastal city in British Columbia, known for its stunning natural scenery, cultural diversity, and rich history.
Interesting facts about Vancouver:
- Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world, thanks to its mild climate, natural beauty, and diverse culture.
- Vancouver is home to the third-largest film industry in North America, after Los Angeles and New York City. Several blockbuster movies and TV shows, including Deadpool, The X-Files, and Supernatural, were filmed in Vancouver.
- Vancouver is the birthplace of Greenpeace, a global environmental organization that advocates for the protection of the planet and its biodiversity.
- Vancouver is the only city in Canada that hosted the Winter Olympics, in 2010. The city invested heavily in infrastructure and sustainability measures, and the games were hailed as a success.
- Vancouver is a multicultural city, with over 50% of its residents being foreign-born. The city has vibrant Chinese, Indian, Filipino, and Iranian communities, among others.
- Vancouver is known for its love of coffee, with several independent cafes and roasters dotted throughout the city. Vancouverites consume an average of 2.8 cups of coffee per day, which is higher than the Canadian average.
- Vancouver has a thriving craft beer scene, with over 30 microbreweries and brewpubs in the city. Vancouverites consume an average of 15 liters of beer per year, which is higher than the Canadian average.
- Vancouver is home to the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the Seawall, which stretches for over 28 kilometers and offers stunning views of the ocean, the mountains, and the city skyline.
- Vancouver has one of the largest urban parks in North America, Stanley Park, which covers over 1,000 acres of land and features several attractions, including a seawall promenade, a totem pole collection, and a large aquarium.
- Vancouver is a leader in sustainable development, with several initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing public transportation, and promoting renewable energy. The city aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the 20 best things to do in Vancouver, including outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and culinary delights.
Stanley Park is a must-visit attraction in Vancouver, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational activities. The park covers over 1,000 acres of land and features several landmarks, including the seawall promenade, the totem pole collection, and the Vancouver Aquarium. You can explore the park on foot, by bike, or on a horse-drawn carriage, and enjoy stunning views of the city skyline, the harbor, and the mountains. Stanley Park also offers several picnic areas, beaches, and swimming pools, making it a popular destination for families and groups.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a thrilling adventure that takes you across a 140-meter-long suspension bridge hanging 70 meters above the Capilano River. The park also features several other attractions, including the Treetops Adventure, which allows you to walk among the trees on a series of suspended walkways, and the Cliffwalk, which takes you along a cliffside path with glass-bottomed platforms. The park also offers several educational exhibits, shows, and guided tours, showcasing the history, culture, and natural beauty of the region. Whether you are a nature lover, an adrenaline junkie, or a curious explorer, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a must-visit attraction in Vancouver.
Granville Island Public Market
Granville Island Public Market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse selection of fresh produce, seafood, baked goods, artisanal cheese, and other culinary delights. The market features over 50 vendors, including farmers, fishmongers, bakers, butchers, and chefs, who showcase their best products and recipes. You can sample the local specialties, such as smoked salmon, maple syrup, and craft beer, or take a cooking class to learn how to prepare them yourself. The market also offers several other attractions, including art galleries, theaters, and street performers, making it a lively and vibrant destination for all ages.
The Vancouver Aquarium is a world-class marine life facility that offers an up-close look at over 50,000 animals from around the world. The aquarium features several exhibits, including the Amazon Rainforest, the Arctic Canada, and the Pacific Canada, showcasing the diversity of aquatic life and ecosystems. You can watch the daily shows and presentations, such as the dolphin and beluga whale shows, or take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about the animals’ care and conservation. The aquarium also offers several educational programs, such as marine mammal camps, sleepovers, and birthday parties, making it a popular destination for families and school groups.
Grouse Mountain is a year-round playground that offers stunning panoramic views of Vancouver, the sea, and the mountains. In the summer, you can take a gondola ride to the mountaintop and enjoy hiking, ziplining, and paragliding. In the winter, you can ski, snowboard, and snowshoe, or watch the snowboarding competitions and winter festivals. The mountain also has several dining options, including a mountaintop restaurant with a 360-degree view, a wildlife refuge with grizzly bears, and a theater with cultural shows. Whether you are a nature lover, a sports enthusiast, or a culture buff, Grouse Mountain is a must-visit attraction in Vancouver.
VanDusen Botanical Garden
VanDusen Botanical Garden is a peaceful oasis in the heart of Vancouver, featuring over 50 acres of landscaped gardens and natural habitats. The garden features several collections of plants, including the Korean Pavilion, the Heron Lake, and the Sino-Himalayan Garden, showcasing the diversity of flora from around the world. You can stroll through the serene pathways, admire the seasonal blooms, and relax in the meditation garden or the tea house. The garden also offers several events and workshops, such as gardening classes, nature walks, and musical performances.
Science World is a fun and educational destination for all ages, offering interactive exhibits, demonstrations, and shows that showcase the wonders of science and technology. The museum features several galleries, including the Eureka! Gallery, the Wonder Gallery, and the Kidspace, where you can learn about topics such as physics, biology, engineering, and computer science. You can also watch the live demonstrations and shows, such as the liquid nitrogen show, the Tesla coil show, and the Omnimax film. The museum also hosts several special events, such as the Science of Cocktails, the Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and the Science of Pixar.
Museum of Anthropology
The Museum of Anthropology is a world-renowned museum that houses over 50,000 artifacts and works of art from indigenous cultures around the world. The museum features several collections, including the Northwest Coast First Nations, the Asia-Pacific, and the Multiversity Galleries, showcasing the richness and diversity of human culture and history. You can explore the intricate carvings, masks, textiles, and other objects, and learn about the traditions, beliefs, and artistry of the First Nations of British Columbia and beyond. The museum also offers several guided tours, workshops, and cultural events, such as the Raven’s Feast, the Indigenous Plant Walk, and the Cedar Weaving Workshop.
Queen Elizabeth Park
Queen Elizabeth Park is a beautiful public park located in the heart of Vancouver, offering panoramic views of the city skyline and the North Shore mountains. The park features several gardens, including the Quarry Garden, the Bloedel Conservatory, and the Rose Garden, showcasing a wide variety of plants and flowers. You can also enjoy activities such as lawn bowling, pitch and putt, and tennis, or attend events such as the Symphony in the Park, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, and the Festival of Lights. The park also has several dining options, including a restaurant with a view, a cafe with outdoor seating, and a food truck festival in the summer.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a tranquil oasis in the heart of Chinatown, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of China. The garden features several pavilions, halls, and rock formations, as well as a lotus pond, a moon gate, and a jade green wall, all designed according to the principles of feng shui and Taoism. You can stroll through the garden, listen to the sounds of the water and the birds, and learn about the philosophy and symbolism of Chinese culture. The garden also hosts several cultural events, such as the Chinese New Year, the Moon Festival, and the Tai Chi in the Garden.
English Bay Beach
English Bay Beach is a popular destination for sunbathing, swimming, and people-watching, located in the West End of Vancouver. The beach features several amenities, including washrooms, showers, concession stands, and lifeguards. You can enjoy a picnic on the sandy beach, rent a paddleboard or kayak, or watch the sunset over the ocean. The beach also hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Honda Celebration of Light, the Polar Bear Swim, and the Canada Day Beach Party.
Gastown is a historic district in Vancouver, featuring cobblestone streets, Victorian buildings, and trendy shops, restaurants, and bars. The district is named after John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, who opened the first saloon in the area in 1867, and has since become a cultural and entertainment hub. You can explore the district on foot, admire the architecture and public art, or shop for unique souvenirs and gifts. Gastown also offers several dining options, ranging from casual pubs to fine dining restaurants, and several nightlife options, including jazz clubs, speakeasies, and rooftop bars.
Lynn Canyon Park
Lynn Canyon Park is a natural wonderland located in North Vancouver, offering several hiking trails, waterfalls, and a suspension bridge that rivals the Capilano Bridge in height and length. The park covers over 617 acres of temperate rainforest, and features several habitats, including the creek, the canyon, and the rock formations. You can hike to the Twin Falls, the 30-Foot Pool, or the Baden Powell Trail, or take a dip in the swimming hole. The park also offers several guided tours, workshops, and nature programs, such as the Rainforest Ecology Walk, the Birding Walk, and the Wild About Bears.
Museum of Vancouver
The Museum of Vancouver is a cultural institution that showcases the history and diversity of Vancouver and its inhabitants. The museum features several galleries, including the Neon Vancouver/Ugly Vancouver, the Haida Now, and the c̓əsnaʔəm, the City Before the City, showcasing the art, artifacts, and stories of the city’s past and present. You can learn about the First Nations cultures, the immigrant communities, and the social and environmental movements that have shaped the city’s identity. The museum also offers several events, workshops, and talks, such as the VanPlay Smart City Talks, the City on Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism, and the Home Grown.
Kitsilano Beach is a popular destination for swimming, volleyball, and beach soccer, located in the Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver. The beach features several amenities, including washrooms, showers, concession stands, and a saltwater outdoor pool. You can enjoy the sand and the sun, rent a paddleboard or kayak, or watch the fireworks over the water. The beach also offers several dining options, ranging from casual cafes to upscale restaurants, and several nightlife options, including beach bars, live music venues, and comedy clubs.
Canada Place is an iconic landmark in Vancouver, featuring a distinctive sail-like structure that houses a convention center, a hotel, and a cruise ship terminal. The place also offers several attractions, including the FlyOver Canada, the Vancouver Convention Center, and the Pan Pacific Hotel. You can stroll along the promenade, watch the ships come and go, or attend events and festivals such as the Canada Day, the Christmas at Canada Place, and the Vancouver International Film Festival. Canada Place is also a popular spot for photography and sightseeing, offering panoramic views of the harbor and the mountains.
Cypress Mountain is a winter wonderland located just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, offering several skiing and snowboarding trails, snowshoeing tours, and après-ski activities. The mountain covers over 600 acres of skiable terrain, and features several lifts, including a high-speed quad and a magic carpet. You can enjoy the thrill of skiing or snowboarding, take a lesson from a certified instructor, or rent equipment from the on-site rental shop. The mountain also offers several dining options, including a cafeteria with a view, a pub with live music, and a fondue restaurant. In the summer, the mountain transforms into a hiking and mountain biking destination, offering several trails and breathtaking views of the city and the sea.
The Vancouver Lookout is a 360-degree observation deck located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, offering stunning panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains. The deck is located on the top floor of the Harbour Centre Tower, which stands at 168 meters tall. You can take the high-speed elevator to the deck and enjoy the unobstructed views of the skyline, the harbor, and the North Shore mountains. The deck also offers several exhibits and displays, such as the Cities of the World exhibit, the History of Vancouver exhibit, and the Canadian Wilderness exhibit. The lookout is a popular spot for photography and romantic dates, and also offers several dining options.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park
Pacific Spirit Regional Park is a vast wilderness area located in the University Endowment Lands of Vancouver, offering several hiking and biking trails, birdwatching areas, and picnic spots. The park covers over 750 hectares of forest, marshes, and beaches, and features several habitats, including the Pacific Spirit Marsh, the Salish Sea, and the UBC Endowment Lands. You can hike to the Wreck Beach, the Spanish Banks, or the Pacific Spirit Way, or take a guided tour to learn about the park’s flora and fauna. The park also offers several educational programs, such as the Nature House, the Children’s Nature Walk, and the Eco Explorers Club.
Commercial Drive, also known as “The Drive,” is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood in Vancouver, featuring several independent shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as a lively street scene and cultural events. The neighborhood is known for its multicultural and bohemian vibe, and has been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. You can explore the neighborhood on foot, admire the murals and public art, or shop for vintage clothing and handmade crafts. The Drive also offers several dining options, ranging from Italian trattorias to Ethiopian cafes, and several nightlife options, including live music venues, comedy clubs, and craft beer bars.
Vancouver offers a plethora of activities and attractions for every type of traveler, from outdoor adventurers to culture vultures to foodies. Whether you want to explore the city’s natural wonders, immerse yourself in its diverse culture, or indulge in its culinary delights, you are sure to find something that suits your taste. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the 20 best things to do in Vancouver.
What is the best time to visit Vancouver?
The best time to visit Vancouver is from March to May or from September to November, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
Is Vancouver a safe city to visit?
Vancouver is generally a safe city to visit, but you should exercise caution in downtown areas at night and be aware of pickpocketing and other petty crimes.
How can I get around Vancouver?
You can get around Vancouver by public transit, including buses, trains, and ferries, or by renting a bike or car.
What are the must-try foods in Vancouver?
Some of the must-try foods in Vancouver include sushi, seafood, poutine, and craft beer.
What is the currency in Vancouver?
The currency in Vancouver is the Canadian dollar (CAD).