Vancouver is a bustling west coast city and the most populated metro area in western Canada. No matter what time of year, there is always plenty to see and do! If you love the outdoors, there are trails for hiking and cycling in the summer and slopes for skiing in the winter. Pack yourself a picnic and dine al fresco on one of Vancouver’s plentiful beaches and parks. and For those rainy days, there are museums, an aquarium and indoor markets to keep you and the kids busy and dry.
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1 Day Itinerary: If you have only one day in Vancouver
Stop 1: Stanley Park
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Begin today in the magnificent green oasis of Stanley Park, the first park in Vancouver and still the largest with 405 hectares of public space and almost completely surrounded by water. Beloved by visitors and locals alike, this massive park on the western coast of Canada is not to be missed.
Explore kilometers of trails, beautiful beaches, local wildlife, historical and cultural landmarks as well as Canada’s largest aquarium. Tours are available or print a map and explore on your own by car, foot, bike or horse-drawn carriage. Some things to look out for are the Brockton Point Totem pole and girl in a wetsuit.
If you are visiting during the winter holidays, take a ride on the Bright Nights Christmas train to enjoy the beautiful lights around the park.
You can spend a whole day or more here, exploring various sections, but if you have just one day, and want to see as much as possible, take a tour, or rent a bike and bike the 9 km trail around the Stanley Park, that forms part of Seawall.
Stop 2: Canada place
From Georgia station inside the park, take the #19 bus to Pender station. Just a short walk from the station you will find Canada Place located in the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront.
This iconic landmark, recognized by the white sails on the building, is the location for world-class events, Vancouver Convention Centre and World Trade Centre. Stop for a photo in front of the Olympic cauldron from the 2010 winter games and the 8-bit, digital orca whale.
An attraction, you may consider to visit at Canada Place, is the Flyover Canada, a stimulating, all-ages, flight stimulator ride allowing you to see Canada like never before.
From Canada Place, walk approximately half a kilometer to Vancouver Lookout. Day or night, enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of the city from atop the lookout at the Harbour Centre. An exterior glass elevator will whisk you to the top in 40 seconds. Take a tour and explore the deck and see if you are able to spot the “lions” in the mountains or the “giraffes” in the port.
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Have you made Canada Day plans yet? Join us for a night of history and celebration while viewing the firework display from 553ft above 💥 Space will be limited so ensure you arrive early receive a good spot. . . . . Photo By: @azizdhamani #vancouverbc #vancity #vancitylife #vancityvibe #vancityhype #veryvancouver #yvr #downtown #cityscape #citylife #explorebc #hellobc #pnw #pnwcollective #vsco #wandervancouver #greatnorthcollective #keepitwild #dailyhivevan #moodygram #beautifuldestinations #604now #exploretocreate #thevisualscollection #visualoflife #hypebeast #vancityfeature #fireworks
Stop 3: Gastown
Continue onto Water St to explore Gastown.
Named after seaman “Gassy” Jack Deighton, who’s iconic statue can be seen perched atop a whiskey barrel in Maple Tree Sq. commemorating the pub he opened in 1867 which triggered the development of the first neighborhood in Vancouver.
This historic district with its cobble stone walkways and stunning architecture has a colorful history and is now where you can find some of the most popular shopping, dining and cafes. Don’t forget to take a selfie in front of the well-known, antique-style steam clock built in 1977 that tells the time with steam and whistles.
This area can easily be explored on its own but one of the best experiences is to join a walking tour. Here are two unique options to consider: Gastronomic Gastown Tour and Lost Souls of Gastown Walking Tour.
Stop 4: Aquabus tour
Enjoy spectacular views of Vancouver from along False Creek on one of the rainbow colored ferries operated by Aquabus. Their mini sight-seeing cruise lasts about 25 minutes and takes you downtown, around False Creek and to Granville Island.
You can board the ferry from Plaza of Nations which is just a short 10 minute walk from Gastown. Enjoy the ride and views around False Creek before making your final stop Granville Island. Don’t worry too much about scheduling because the boats run a very frequent schedule.
Stop 5: Granville Island
The heart of craft, creativity and culinary delights in Vancouver! At the center of the activity is the public market which is said to be a foodies paradise. With all the vendors to choose from an impromptu picnic is the way to go if you don’t fill up first on all the samples!
Aside from all the great food, this area is also one of the city’s most important cultural districts with theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios. A great place to pick up some souvenirs to take home. There is even a kids market to look out for!
Upon you arrival stop by the information booth and ask for a schedule of shows for that day. There is often everything from comedy improvisation to classical dance performances during the day and night.
If you like photography, you may enjoy the Granville Island night photowalk which last 2 hours and begins around 4pm. It’s a great opportunity to get some excellent photo tips from experts and take some amazing shots to impress your friends.
Evening Entertainment: If you want to experience a night of live theatre and music in Vancouver,
Day 2 in Vancouver
Stop 1: Downtown
Head to the downtown today to explore the popular outdoor shopping drags on Robson and Granville St.
Then take a stroll over to the Vancouver art gallery. This beautiful building, which is worth admiring even just from the outside, will have you in awe of the talent that decorates the walls inside. This is the largest gallery in western Canada and offers a selection of permanent and temporary exhibits with a strong focus on First Nations artists and the art of the Asia Pacific region.
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This epic shot by @julian_plimley perfectly sets the tone for the weekend ahead as the must-see #SusanPoint #SpindleWhorl, #RetainersofAnarchy & #PacificCrossings exhibitions each come to a close this Sunday, May 28. We're open all weekend from 10am-5pm. See you at the Gallery! … #ArtMakesUs #MyVanArtGallery #calmbeforethestorm #weekendvibes #artexhibition #inspiration #vancouver #canada #dailyhivevan #narcityvancouver #westcoast_exposures #tgif #photooftheday #vancouverisawesome #veryvancouver #exploreBC #vancouverartgallery #vancityvibe #instagood #vancityhype #moodygrams #vancouvercanada #vancitynow #igersvancouver #architecture #architecturephotography
If you work up an appetite while there, the café has some great bites and one of the best patios in the downtown. But don’t eat too much as your next stop is the place to be for lunch!
Also nearby if you enjoy art is the Bill Reid Gallery which displays scuptures, carvings and other work by Bill Reid and other Northwest coast artists.
Stop 2: Chinatown
The Chinatown in Vancouver is the largest Chinatown in Canada and a National Historic Site. Established in the 1890’s, this colorful, bustling neighborhood fully embodies the city’s history, diverse culture and vibrant future. Take time to tour its many historical sites, unique shops, exotic eateries and assortment of vendors.
Do not miss a visit to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Graden –this stunning, Ming Dynasty-style Chinese garden is renowned as being the first of its kind built since the 15th century. A portion of the garden can be enjoyed for free but it’s worth it to explore the entire garden.
If you are a music fan, on the edge of Chinatown at the corner of Pender and Homer, you can visit the Jimi Hendrix shrine on display from June to September.
Stop 3: YaletownThis chic historical neighborhood near the downtown has a sophisticated, cosmopolitan atmosphere and is the only area that feature world class restaurants and year-round patios.
Take some time to stroll along the beautiful waterfront park with a seawall that runs along the waters edge and connects David Lam park and George Wainborn park.
Pop into the Roadhouse community center and see the first transcontinental passenger train into the city from 1887. Then, browse through the noteworthy local shops for some unique, quirky and stylish items.
End the day with a feast at one of the seafood restaurants, relaxed bistros or fine dining establishments. This is an excellent area to end the day with all the selection of great restaurants, lounges, pubs and nightclubs.
Optional – Stop 2
Another option instead of Chinatown and Yaletown is to visit Museum of Anthropology in University of British Columbia Campus.
Museum of Anthropology is an extensive museum featuring 530,000 ethnographic and archeological objects from ancient cultural artifacts to contemporary aboriginal carvings. For a breathtaking experience visit the Great Hall with floor-to-ceiling glass walls showing you about British Columbia’s First Nations culture through special events, towering totem poles and artwork.
Located half a kilometer away, on the opposite side of the road from the museum, is the Nitobe Memorial Garden, a traditional Japanese Tea and Stroll garden. Whether you visit during the Cherry Blossom Festivalor want to spend a moment of quietness at the reflecting pond filled with Koi, you will not disappointed by the visit to the garden built and curated by landscape architects and gardeners recommended by the Government of Japan
Day 3 in Vancouver
Stop 1: Capilano suspension bridge:
Located about 20 minutes from downtown, it is one of Vancouver’s most popular and naturally thrilling attractions. Originally built in 1889 with hemp ropes and cedar planks, it was replaced in 1956 and has been there ever since. Swaying 230 feet above the Capilano River, the plank and cable bridge stretches 450 feet from one side to the other through towering evergreens and cedar scented rainforests.
Free shuttle service is available year-round from several locations within the city if you do not have a car.
If you happen to be visiting in the winter you will not want to miss Canyon Lights. From November to January the rainforest and canyon are transformed into a festival of lights and visual enchantment. See the world’s tallest Christmas tree, decorate gingerbread cookies and make your own Christmas card all it this magical winter wonderland.
Stop 2: Capilano Salmon Hatchery
Though a full day can be spend exploring the park which includes Treetop Adventures, the world’s largest privately owned collection of totem poles, hiking trails, cliff walks, two cafes and a gift shop, we suggest you make your way to Capilano Salmon Hatchery, which located about 1.5 km from the suspension bridge, to learn more about the the whole lifecycle of Salmon from egg up to the stage where they are released back into the wild.
Day 4 in Vancouver
Today, experience Vancouver from land or sea!
Sea: Embark on the adventure of a life time while learning in a fun way about the west coast eco-system and spotting marine wildlife and whales! These 3 to 7 hour tours depart from Granville Island. Sail down False Creek then into English Bay where the views of Vancouver, the Coast Mountains and Stanley Park are unparalleled. Every trip is different as you search for killer whales, humpbacks and all other wildlife in their natural habitat. Reservations are recommended.
Land: Take a thrilling, 1,600 metre skyride up to the peak of Grouse Mountain on North America’s largest aerial tramway system. Enjoy unparalleled views of surrounding mountains, downtown Vancouver and the region’s islands. Pass over dense Douglas fir forests in the summer and snow dusted forests and white-capped mountains in the winter. If you don’t have a car, free shuttle service is provide every 20 minutes in summer from Canada Place. During winter months you will need to take local transporation.
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Day 3- View from the Sky ride cable car up to Grouse Mountain 🚠 #Vancouvertodisney16 #vancouver #Canada #travelling #travellingusa #usa #america #travel #friends #instapic #intagram #instadaily #instatravel #instatravelling #wanderlust #travels #totem #totempoles #instagood #travelgram #traveler #travellife #grousemountain #views #skyride #grousemountainskyride #cablecar
Rainy Day Options:
Since many of the activities in this itinerary take place outside, and the weather in Vancouver can be known to be a bit rainy, here are a couple great options for things to do indoors.
• Vancouver Aquarium: Located inside Stanley Park, the aquarium is committed to conserving aquatic life and offers shows and interactive activities for everyone to enjoy. To avoid long lines purchase your tickets online in advance.
• Science World: A place for kids and adults alike to explore and let you imaginations come to life. Using interactive activities, galleries and exhibits with the goal of engaging and inspiring future leadership in science.
Vancouver is known for being a walkable city with a compressed downtown core and most major sites within close proximity to each other.
However, if you are in need of transportation the public transit system is both convenient and accessible. TransLink operates a network of buses, the SkyTrain and the SeaBus.
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Burrard Otter II about to cross the Burrard Inlet with the Vancouver skyline in the background. ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖ Date: Thursday, June 8th, 2017 Year: 2014 Vessel: MV Burrard Otter II Route: Waterfront-Lonsdale Quay ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖ #Translink #SeaBus #BurrardOtterII #catamaran #vessel #passengerferry #boat #ferry #BurrardInlet #water #Downtown #Vancouver #Vancity #BritishColumbia #BC
Another option is to take taxis which are plentiful and can be hailed on the street, found at designated stands or called for a pick-up.
If you have your own car most hotels have parking as do many tourists sites but you may have to pay. The EasyPark Parking App is pretty usefully for finding parking locations throughout the city.
Where to Stay:
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