36 Best Things to do in Vancouver, Canada In 2023

36 Best Things to do in Vancouver, Canada In 2023

Vancouver is one of the most picturesque cities in the world. Located on the Strait of Georgia, spliced by False Creek, and backed by towering mountains, Vancouver, Canada balances outdoor activities with many cultural highlights. This year-round destination has plenty of hiking trails and outdoor events in the summertime and in the winter you can go ice skating at one of its many arenas or hit the awesome ski slopes located just minutes from the downtown core.

The Top Things to do in Vancouver, Canada

Downtown Vancouver features museums, galleries, and the beautiful Stanley Park. It’s a happening city in its own right. But very few locations can lay claim to the sort of scenery Vancouver provides. Beyond the city are snow-capped peaks carved by years of slow-moving glaciers. The Coast Mountains which cut through British Columbia are awe-inspiring allowing visitors a wide spread of activities to enjoy. This comprehensive guide will help you uncover the best things to do in Vancouver, Canada.

1. Granville Island

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Granville Island

Many cities have wonderful stories of old warehouses reborn to become a top attraction. Vancouver’s version of this is Granville Island. The old industrial port in the city has been replaced by a thriving arts community with restaurants and microbrew pubs, boutique shops, and entertainment. Granville Island is one of the first places you should see when visiting Vancouver.

Inside the warehouses, you’ll find art galleries featuring local artists, a boisterous dining scene and independent theaters. If you’re up for a pint, check out Granville Island Brewing Company. Granville Island is technically not an island, so you can arrive via both car and ferry.

Granville Island Market

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Granville Island Market

But perhaps the most popular thing to do here is to explore the Granville Island Public Market. Come here for fresh produce and delicious treats. The Granville Island Public Market showcases local food and artisanal products, with over 50 vendors offering a wide variety of fresh and locally-sourced produce, meats, cheeses, seafood, and baked goods. It’s a great place to sample the flavors of British Columbia and support local farmers and producers.

The market also offers educational experiences for visitors, including culinary workshops and tours, wine tastings, and cooking classes. Take a tour where you can learn about the history of Granville Market and its vendors, as well as the local food and artisanal production processes.

2. Stanley Park

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Stanley Park

The most famous of all the Vancouver Parks is Stanley Park. Located on the peninsula in the West End of Vancouver, Stanley Park is one of the top tourist attractions offering a natural escape just steps from downtown Vancouver. The edge of the park carves along the bay, providing excellent biking and a place for casual strolls along the iconic Stanley Park Seawall. Beyond the water, you’ll find another top attraction on this list of things to do in Vancouver, the Vancouver Aquarium.

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Stanley Park Skyline View
View of Vancouver Skyline from Stanley Park

Stanley Park offers visitors a chance to escape the city just steps away from the downtown core. The Stanley Park seawall starts at the Vancouver Convention Centre and goes all around the park to Spanish Banks Park. You can walk, cycle, or rollerblade around the seawall to see some of the park’s top attractions.

Hot Tip: At the Stanley Park Totem Poles, you’ll find one of the best views of Vancouver’s beautiful skyline. Get on a bike to explore Stanely Park with this guided cycling tour.

Stanley Park is a great spot for an afternoon picnic with space for yard games. In the summer, the heated public pool is open, bringing excited families along for the afternoon. While in spring, colors burst through the landscape, including vibrant cherry trees.

One of the best ways to see Vancouver and Stanely park is on a private tour. Book this highly-reviewed private tour to see Stanley Park, Granville Island, Gastown, Canada Place, and more on a four-hour excursion all to yourself.

3. Canada Place

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Place

Not to be confused with a classic ocean-going vessel, Canada Place is a permanent structure located at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Vancouver Harbour. The pier rolls way out into Vancouver harbor, providing travelers and locals with wonderful views of the mountains in the distance and the picturesque bay.

Beyond being a cruise ship terminal, Canada Place is also the Vancouver Convention Center which hosts over 500 events each year, and The Pan Pacific Hotel. But that’s not why it’s on the list. Also at the end of the pier is Flyover Canada. Jump in the flight simulator and explore the country from above. Most Alaska cruises depart or end in Vancouver. We ended two Alaskan cruises by sailing into Vancouver Harbour. Check out our cruise experience to Alaska.

Where to Stay

Another great place to stay near the Vancouver Convention Center before or after your cruise is the Fairmont Pacific Rim. This historic hotel is opulent and luxurious yet the contemporary rooms have all the high-tech amenities.

Trade the indoor pool for a lavish rooftop swim before sitting down at one of the three on-site restaurants, including The Botanist, a renowned fine dining experience. With so much to see within easy walking distance, enjoy a great location in style.

4. False Creek

Things to do in Vancouver Canada False Creek

False Creek is the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia. This bustling inlet has many of the top attractions in the area that draw visitors from all over the world. From Granville Island and the Island Public Market to Science World, take a stroll along False Creek’s Seawall to take in the views of the Vancouver Skyline.

This scenic tour takes you on a 90-minute boat tour from False Creek to Lighthouse Park. You’ll see the resident seal colony, the city’s beaches, and the Lions Gate Bridge while taking in the Vancouver Skyline.

5. Olympic Village

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Olympic Village

Don’t forget to visit Olympic Village, a newly developed area located on the southeast shore of False Creek. Vancouver’s Olympic Village was home to the athletes during the 2010 Winter Olympics and has since been transformed into a vibrant community that features restaurants, shops, and public art. Also known as the Southeast False Creek neighborhood, it is just minutes from the city center.

Vancouver’s Olympic Village is home to several popular craft breweries, including Brassneck Brewery, Steel Toad Brewing, and Main Street Brewing, making it a great spot for beer lovers to explore the Craft Beer Scene. It is also home to a number of public art installations, including the popular A-Maze-ing Laughter sculpture, which features 14 bronze figures laughing and playing.

This is an excellent neighborhood for shopping with a variety of unique shops, boutiques, and restaurants, including the trendy dining spot, The Flying Pig, and the popular local bakery, Terra Breads.

False Creek Ferries

Make sure to hop on the False Creek Ferries to enjoy the water taxi service offering a unique way to explore the area. It stops at Granville Island, Science World, and Yaletown. It’s a fun and unique way to get around the area.

6. Yaletown

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Yaletown

One of our favourite places to hang out is the trendy neighborhood of Yaletown where there are chic restaurants, boutique shops, and a vibrant nightlife. Overall, False Creek offers a diverse range of attractions that are sure to appeal to visitors of all interests and ages.

One of our favorite ways to see a city is to join a cycling tour. This guided tour takes you along the seawall and through the city’s most popular neighborhoods including Yaletown, and Chinatown, with a stop at the serene Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden (Another one of the top things to do in Vancouver) and Strathcona—Vancouver’s oldest residential neighborhood.  

Where to Stay near Yaletown

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Yaletown Opus Hotel

The Opus Vancouver is an excellent boutique hotel located in Yaletown that is within walking distance of everything in the city center. Plus there are great options for dining and nightlife close by and it’s just a short walk to the waterfront. Check out rates and availability on TripAdvisor / Booking.com

7. Science World

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Science World

When traveling around Vancouver, there’s a chance you may have noticed the huge metal dome structure on False Creek. What you may not know, is that it’s home to one of the top things to do in Vancouver with kids.

The family-friendly Science World features 12 interactive exhibits designed to get you thinking about how the world works. Activities range from exploring motion, water, and the history of inventions.

The 12 exhibits are complemented by various touring exhibitions that have been a part of renowned museums and other science centers. Once you’re all done exploring, kick back and watch a show on the massive five-story domed screen. The largest of its kind on earth.

8. Watch the Vancouver Canucks

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Watch the Canucks hockey game

We all know Canada to be a hockey-mad country, so why not lean into the excitement and venture off to a local game? The Vancouver Canucks play in the NHL, which runs from October to April, and the home team averages just under 20,000 for each game.

Playing out of Rogers Arena, grab yourself a foam finger and root for the home team. Whether you know much about hockey or not, the noise of the crowd is sure to get you involved. Once the game is over, downtown Vancouver will be at your disposal.

We love doing walking tours when we first arrive in a city and one of the best ways to see Vancouver is to book this Guided City Highlights Tour.

9. Chinatown

Things to see in Vancouver Canada Chinatown

After passing through the impressive Millenium Gate, you’ve officially arrived in Vancouver’s bustling Chinatown. This part of the city mixes modern development with many historic buildings from Vancouver’s early years. Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the largest in North America and is a top spot for cheap eats. The iconic Dim Sum at Floata Seafood Restaurant is a must-eat on any visit.

After eating a tad too much, explore the interesting local shops before making your way to Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Created via traditional methods, with manicured gardens and beautiful streams, the gardens are a nod to the Ming Dynasty.

10. Grouse Mountain

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Grouse Mountain

Crossing over the Lions Gate Bridge, we take you to North Vancouver to enjoy Grouse Mountain. At any time of year, visiting Grouse Mountain is one of the best things to do in Vancouver. The view from the top provides unmatched scenery, with epic vistas of the city skyline in the valley below. You can take a scenic ride up the Gondola or tackle the Grouse Grind.

The infamous Grouse Grind, often described as Mother Nature’s StairMaster is one of the top hikes in Vancouver. Once at the top of Grouse Mountain, there are plenty of things to do from going ziplining, hiking, seeing the resident grizzly bears that were rescued as orphans 20 years ago, and taking in the spectacular views.

Fun Things to do in Vancouver Canada Zipline Grouse Mountain

When the snow falls, Grouse Mountain becomes a winter paradise, with skiing, skating, and snowshoeing on offer. Because of ample beginner runs, it’s a magnificent spot for the family to go skiing.

Getting to the summit is simple thanks to the gondola that runs every day. After the scenic ride, hiking adventures await along with mountain-top restaurants. Ready to explore Vancouver’s nature? Read up on the best hikes to do in Vancouver.

11. Capilano Suspension Bridge

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Capilano suspension Bridge

While visiting Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, it’s good to combine a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Having the moniker of Vancouver’s first tourist attraction may make visitors wonder if the Capilano Suspension Bridge is outdated. Yet the city’s suspension bridge, which opened in 1889, continues to wow and thrill those that walk across the Capilano River to this day.

The 70m footbridge connects two sides of a deep canyon with the Capilano River slicing through below. There are hiking trails and outdoor adventures waiting on the other side. The bridge sees a lot of visitors, so it’s one of those attractions that is well worth getting up early for.

Conveniently, you can catch a free shuttle to the Capilano Suspension Bridge from downtown Vancouver. Once you’ve arrived, up the ante by experiencing the transparent Cliff Walk for an awesome thrill. Pick up this self-guided tour of the attraction that includes entry to the park.

12. Queen Elizabeth Park

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Queen Elizabeth Park

From one park to another, Queen Elizabeth Park has a bit of everything. The center of the park known as Little Mountain is the highest point in the city. Queen Elizabeth Park is a great place to go for sunset and is one of the best places to see Vancouver’s Skyline. From here you can also see the snow-capped peaks to the north.

While Stanley Park is all about nature, Queen Elizabeth Park is fun-packed. Come here for mini and disk golf, tennis courts, and the Bloedel Conservatory. The latter features an illuminated geodesic dome. Also in the urban park is the Quarry Garden. The repurposed quarry comes with a spectacular entrance and is a wonderful place to walk on a clear day.

13. Commodore Ballroom

Fun things to do in Vancouver Commodore Ballroom

If you are looking for things to do in Vancouver at night, check out some music at Vancouver’s most historic live music venue. Located on Granville Street, The Commodore Ballroom has seen the likes of Kiss, B.B. King, David Bowie, and The Police grace its stage. Today it is still going strong and is one of the most influential venues in North America.

14. Whale Watching

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Whale Watching

Vancouver is a fun city to explore but it is even better on a boat tour. Beyond the city limits lies an incredible place to see migrating whales. Off the coastline of British Columbia, eager whale watchers keep their eyes peeled for gray and humpback whales.

The whale watching season begins in March as the temperatures begin to rise and last until October. You’ll discover plenty of ways to see these beautiful beasts, whether that be from a private dinghy, touring boat, or from above in a plane. Beyond whales, it’s common to spot orcas and minke on your journey.

Book this highly-rated half-day whale-watching tour from Vancouver. It offers easy cancellation within 24 hours of tour and last-minute bookings.

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Art Gallery

In downtown Vancouver, the city’s prominent art gallery is one of the top art institutions in Canada. One of the best things to do in Vancouver is to sign up for a guided tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery. It is a meeting place and hosts fun community events

On any day during the week, you can explore the innovative art space with the helping hand of an expert. Learn about the displays and the stories behind them. When you’re ready for a break, sit down at the on-site bistro patio before going out on your own. The Vancouver Art Gallery is next to Robson Square, a popular gathering place in the city center.

16. Vandusen Botanical Garden

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Vandusen Botanical Garden

An oasis in the heart of the city, VanDusen Botanical Garden, is a sight to behold. All told, the garden covers a massive 55 acres with a worldwide plant selection that adds to over 7000 plants.

The quiet setting is the perfect way to relax and escape from the oft-chaotic downtown Vancouver. Keep your camera handy as you explore the colorful gardens, art sculptures, unique architecture, and even a beguiling waterfall.

There are multiple restaurants on-site that offer anything from a relaxing coffee to a scrumptious midday meal. If you’re in Vancouver during the winter, stop by for the annual Festival of Lights.

Looking for more things to do in British Columbia? Read these articles for travel inspiration

17. Vancouver Maritime Museum

Things to do in Vancouver Canada MAritime Museum

Although offering splendid views of English Bay, the inside of the Vancouver Maritime Museum is what guests remember the most. One of the top things to do in Vancouver is to explore the historic museum and learn seagoing tales that date back centuries.

The museum offers a diverse range of perspectives and takes a look at prominent explorations in the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic Oceans. Inside the stunning A-frame building is the beautiful RCP Vessel St Roch. Jump behind the wheel and feel what it would be like to helm the historic boat.

18. Vancouver Lookout

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Lookout

The Vancouver Lookout is a popular tourist attraction located in the city center on the top floor of the Harbour Centre building. The 360-degree observation deck stands at 168 meters (553 feet) offering spectacular views of Vancouver’s Skyline, The North Shore Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and English Bay.

Interactive exhibits: In addition to the observation deck, the Vancouver Lookout also features a range of interactive exhibits that educate visitors about the city’s history, culture, and landmarks. These exhibits include historical photographs, 3D models of the city, and multimedia displays.

Accessibility: The Vancouver Lookout is fully accessible to people with mobility issues, with elevators that provide access to the observation deck and exhibits. The attraction is also wheelchair-friendly, with wide doorways and accessible washrooms.

19. Lynn Canyon

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Hike Lynn Canyon

Capilano Suspension Bridge may get all the plaudits, but it isn’t the only one of its kind in Vancouver. The Lynn Canyon suspension bridge is a local favorite, particularly as it avoids the tourist hordes and doesn’t cost a penny.

In the Lynn Valley, Lynn Canyon Park brings spectacular scenery that is sure to excite your inner explorer. Several forest trails lead you to remote swimming holes and natural waterfalls. Eventually, you’ll stumble upon the bridge, which connects to the other side over 50 hair-raising meters.

20. Museum of Anthropology

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Museum of Anthropology

Note: The Museum of Anthropology is temporarily closed for most of 2023 for upgrades to ensure that the Indigenous collections are housed in this but visiting the grounds of UBC is still worth a visit. You can also visit its rose garden for stunning views of the mountains and ocean.

The Museum of Anthropology is a section of the University of British Columbia and has a keen focus on the Northwest Coast First Nations. Explore native art, large totem poles, and mosaics. Beyond local human history, the museum looks toward the South Pacific, Asia, Africa, and Europe. It all comes together inside an old World War II fort transformed into a cultural highlight.

21. Explore Gastown

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Gastown

As the city’s oldest district, Gastown is a must-visit on your travels to Vancouver. Gastown developed on the back of legendary John Deighton. The man was a griot, a throwback to past storytellers, and quickly gained the nickname, Gassy Jack. A statue of Deighton can now be found in Maple Tree Square.

Gastown offers an immense number of quality restaurants, interesting galleries, and local boutiques. All are placed within Victorian-era buildings.

Just a brief walk from Canada Place, Gastown is lined with cobblestone streets lit by classic lampposts. It’s a journey back in time, especially when the fog rolls in and the lamps shine through the clouds. You can book walking tours of Gastown like This highly rated lost souls of Gastown tour.

22. Kitsilano Beach

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Kitsilano Beach

Vancouver has plenty of urban beaches and one way to soak up the sun when in Vancouver is with a trip to Kitsilano Beach. The local favorite is a laid-back location with dazzling city and mountain views. The spacious beach is popular on summer days when locals come to bake on the soft sands or have fun on the volleyball courts.

Jumping in the water isn’t so popular, but you’ll soon discover a heated outdoor pool. Once you’re done having a dip, dry off and enjoy the several walking trails through the green space, or kick back at a local cafe. You’ll also find yourself minutes from shopping on West Fourth Avenue.

23. Visit Wreck Beach

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach has been famous for as long as I can remember. This clothing-optional beach located on the western tip of Vancouver has a wide expanse of sandy beaches and rocky sea cliffs. For those comfortable with the clothing-optional policy, it’s a great opportunity to shed your inhibitions. With regulars who have been visiting for years and are welcoming to new visitors. There’s a relaxed and friendly vibe, with people of all ages, backgrounds, and body types.

Wreck Beach also hosts a range of events and festivals throughout the year, including beach cleanups, art shows, and live music performances. These events can be a great way to connect with like-minded people and enjoy the beach in a festive atmosphere.

24. English Bay

Things to do in Vancouver Canada English Bay

Close to Stanley Park, English Bay is another popular beachfront that brings the crowds on sunny days. As a part of Vancouver’s West End, English Bay plays host to the Celebration of Light.

The annual festival, held in July, sees eye-popping fireworks light up the sky and live music. But on any regular day you’ll find residents relaxing under the gigantic trees, rollerblading or taking in the many public art exhibits. Like Kitsilano Beach, it’s not common to swim at English Bay. But that doesn’t stop those braving the frigid waters for the Polar Bear Swim, held on New Year’s Day.

English Bay Beach

Dave and I used to live in the West End of Vancouver and English Bay Beach was our beach. We knew it as First Beach. Because of its close proximity to the city center, English Bay Beach is one of Vancouver’s busiest beaches. From here you can see views of English Bay and the North Shore mountains. We loved this neighborhood of Vancouver with plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping nearby.

The water is calm offering plenty of water sports such as SUP, kayaking, and swimming. On the shore, you can enjoy beach volleyball or this is a great spot to enjoy a picnic with that food you picked up at Granville Market.

One of the highlights of English Bay Beach is the annual Celebration of Light fireworks display (we used to watch it from our rooftop!) which takes place over three nights every summer and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. The beach is also the starting point of the annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim, a New Year’s Day tradition in which brave swimmers take a dip in the chilly waters of English Bay.

Spanish Banks Beach

Vancouver has a lot of waterfront property and plenty of city beaches. Another popular beach in Vancouver is Spanish Banks Beach. Also located in the West End, Spanish Banks is where the seawall ends but can also be accessed by public transportation.

There are several amenities at Spanish Banks Beach, including washrooms, picnic tables, BBQs, and concession stands. The beach is also dog-friendly, with designated off-leash areas for dogs to run and play. It’s a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and beach volleyball. At low tide, the beach extends out to the waterline, creating a large area for walking, kite-flying, and exploring the intertidal zone.

25. Take a Sunset Cruise

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Sunset Cruise

One of the best things to do in Vancouver is to take a sunset cruise to enjoy the city’s scenic waterfront. This sunset dinner cruise takes you out from Vancouver Harbour to the Pacific Ocean to see the Vancouver Skyline and beautiful coast. As you take in the views of West Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains you’ll enjoy a West Coast-style buffet dinner with music. Take in the top Vancouver attractions from your unique vantage point on the water.

26. Christ Church Cathedral

Dave and I are not very religious, but when we travel we always tend to visit cathedrals and temples. When visiting Vancouver, we stayed true to that tradition. Christ Church Cathedral is an Anglican church dating back to 1889. Located in downtown Vancouver, it features a mix of Gothic Revival and Romanesque architectural styles.

The historic landmark of Vancouver is known for its striking bell tower, which rises 65 meters (213 feet) above street level and is one of the tallest structures in downtown Vancouver. The interior of the Christ Church Cathedral features beautiful stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and a stunning pipe organ.

27. Explore Richmond

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Richmond

South of downtown Vancouver, Richmond is home to Vancouver’s other Chinatown. Walking around the trendy neighborhood will bring you to several authentic Chinese restaurants ready to entertain your taste buds.

But Richmond isn’t just about food. You’ll find a beautiful Buddhist temple and discover the small village of Steveston. The beautiful area of Richmond is home to a National History Site, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. The old boat sheds were once a part of the west coast’s historic fishing industry. But are now filled with waterfront restaurants and boutiques.

28. Richmond Night Market

Things to do in Vancouver Canada Richmond Night Market

If you’re wondering what to do in Vancouver at night, then make your way to the Richmond Night Market just 20 minutes from the downtown core. The vibrant market is full of interesting stalls selling souvenirs and art. Naturally, it’s another great place to try some Chinese street eats at the many food stalls.

The Richmond Night Market features more than 200 vendors selling everything from clothing, to accessories and souvenirs. You can also sample a wide range of cuisines, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai, as well as more traditional festival foods like mini donuts and corn on the cob.

The family-friendly market is a great destination for adults and kids with a range of activities to keep everyone entertained from carnival attractions and games to live music, cultural displays, and plenty of food options.

The Richmond Night Market is only open in the evenings, which gives it a unique and exciting atmosphere. The market is brightly lit with colorful lights, and the sounds and smells of the vendors and entertainment create a vibrant and energetic atmosphere.

29. Sea-Plane Tour

Cool Things to do in Vancouver Canada Sea Plane Tour

By now you may have some appreciation for the spectacular landscape that flanks Vancouver. But from ground level, it’s hard to understand the sheer scale of the local mountain ranges. Book this highly rated sea plane tour for a scenic view of the city. This small group flight also includes a carbon offset.

One way to experience the dramatic surroundings is from the sky. Head to the heavens and look down on British Columbia. See rugged glacial mountains, far-off oceans, and Vancouver’s top sites. These can include Vancouver’s North Shore, Grouse Mountain, and False Creek cutting through downtown. The unforgettable experience will see you land on the harborfront, ready to tackle more top attractions.

Want another way to explore Canada’s amazing scenery? Check out our guide on the iconic Rocky Mountaineer.

30. Museum of Vancouver

Best places to visit in Vancouver Canada Museum of Vancouver

If you can’t get enough of local history, then be sure to pay a visit to the Museum of Vancouver. Dedicated to all things “Couve”, explore the city’s history from the very start.

Begin with the Coast Salish communities that first settled on the north Pacific Coast. Later, move on to the development of Japantown, the fascinating Kitsilano hippie days before learning about Vancouver’s 20th-century evolution.

Vancouver Day Trips

Vancouver is located in an excellent location with close proximity to some of British Columbia’s top destinations. From the Fraser Valley to the Coastal Mountains, there are plenty of easy day trips and weekend getaways to be had. These are a few of our top picks.

31. Sea to Sky Highway

Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver Bc

If you want to get out of the bustle of Vancouver, why not complete one of the best scenic drives in Canada? The Sea to Sky Highway is a 90-minute journey beginning in the Vancouver city center and ending at the famous town of Whistler.

You can drive the sea to sky highway in one quick shot, but we recommend taking your time road trip is packed with highlights, with stunning vistas throughout. An overnight in Squamish is highly recommended to enjoy the Pass waterfalls, sprawling lakes, and snow-capped peaks. Have your camera on a full charge, because you never know what’s around the corner. Want to know more about the epic drive? Read our guide to the Sea-to-Sky.

32. Go Skiing or Snowboarding

Snowboarding at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver

Grouse Mountain may be the most famous of the North Shore Mountains, but there are two other mountains that are worth visiting. Cypress in West Vancouver and Mount Seymour in North Vancouver are two year-round destinations for hiking and biking in the summer and skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

Because of its unique geographical position, Vancouver sees a lot of rain. The upside is incredible powder and world-class skiing. If you have an extra day on your itinerary and the lifts are running, then do yourself a favor and go shred. Aside from epic ski resorts of Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and Mt. Seymour (all within a 30-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb is just 120 km (75 miles) from the city. Read more at our Whistler Snowboarding Adventure

If you only have a short time, you can even go to Whistler on a day trip. It certainly isn’t enough to see it all in one day, but sometimes you can only take what you can get. When we lived in Vancouver, we’d pop over for an epic day of skiing, just like we sometimes do for Blue Mountain here in Ontario. Check out more about Whistler at 30 Awesome Things to Do in Whistler, BC

33. Squamish

Squamish British Colombia

Squamish is located just 50 minutes from downtown Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway and makes for a great day trip. We love Squamish so much that we suggest making at least an overnight trip to the city. There are plenty of things to see and do in Squamish which is why we say to make it an overnight stop on your Sea to Sky Highway road trip. Read more: 14 Amazing Things to Do in Squamish BC

34. Brittania Mine

Brittania Mine Museum Squamish

A popular stop along the side of the road is the Brittania Mine. We didn’t think we’d care too much about a mine, but this mining museum is awesome. It starts with a train ride into the mine to learn about how the mine was built, you can pan for gold and see all the old buildings with interactive displays. The BOOM Multimedia show that is included with your ticket is an extravaganza that is not to be missed.

35. Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish BC

One of the most popular attractions in Squamish is the Sea to Sky Gondola which takes you to the top of the mountains for spectacular views of Howe Sound. If you loved the Capilano Suspension Bridge, you will love The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is accessible via the Sea to Sky Gondola, which takes visitors on a scenic ride to the summit of the mountain. From there, visitors can take a short hike to the bridge.

The last time we were there, the Sea to Sky Gondola was closed but it is now open for business year-round. During the winter months, there is snow tubing, snowshoeing, and nordic skiing. And in the summer, there is plenty of hiking. Plus the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is open year-round as well. Read more: 14 Amazing Things to Do in Squamish BC

Book your Tickets up the Sea to Sky Gondola in advance with free cancellation within 24 hours of entry should something come up. The trip takes about 10 minutes one way. If you’re feeling peckish you can visit the Summit Lodge for local British Columbia fare. You should book your tickets for the Sea to Sky Gondola online.

36. Vancouver Island

Vancouver road trip Vancouver Island

Despite its name, Vancouver Island is two hours away from the city center by ferry. Nevertheless, the trip is still one of the best things to do in Vancouver. We have it as a day trip, but we recommend at least making it an overnight getaway. In a country of amazing beauty, there’s something breathtaking about Vancouver Island.

The two-hour journey features a ferry ride from the city and ends at the largest island on the Pacific Coast of North America. Such is the bevy of things to do, ideally, you’ll have some time to explore. But if you only have a day, then there are several tours around the island. Must-see spots include Victoria, the Pacific Rim National Park in Tofino (also great for surfing), and the impeccable Butchart Gardens. Speaking of road trips, read up on our itinerary for driving through BC’s Sunshine Coast.

Book this Vancouver to Victoria tour that includes a ferry ride across the Strait of Georgia and through the Gulf Island to Vancouver Island to explore the beautiful Butchart Gardens followed by a sightseeing tour of downtown Victoria.

What to Know About Vancouver

What to know about things to do in Vancouver

Now that your itinerary is full of the best things to do in Vancouver, let’s explore all you need to know to enjoy the city!

Getting to Downtown Vancouver

We always rent a car and find it is the best way to get around Vancouver. You can shop for car rentals from the Vancouver Airport at RentalCars.com

The main arrival point for Vancouver is the Vancouver International Airport. The airport is roughly nine miles from downtown and the easiest way to get there is via the Airport SkyTrain. The trip takes 25 minutes to complete and begins just after 5 am and ends at 1 am. A ticket costs 9 CAD (approx $7 USD) one way unless you have a pre-purchased pass, which reduces the price to $5 ( about $3.50 USD).

Taxis are another popular option with rides taking around 30 minutes, depending on the location of your hotel. Expect to pay between $25 – $30 CAD ($20 – $25 USD).

Best Time to Visit Vancouver, British Columbia

Best Time to visit Vancouver British Columbia

Unless you’ve come to Vancouver in winter to tear up the slopes, summer, and early autumn are the best times to visit Vancouver. Vancouver is notorious for rain, and summer is the best time to avoid getting wet.

Spring is very rainy but you can really expect to have rain any time of the year. Festivals are happening and spots like Stanley Park pack out with locals. Autumn is an excellent time to visit Vancouver for fall colors, the temperature is still quite pleasant and there are many fall adventures to be had.

The spring sees the countryside come to life as wildflowers paint the landscape. This time of year is also less crowded and you’ll find it easier to explore the best attractions in Vancouver.

Where to Stay in Vancouver

Cool accommodation in Vancouver Canada
Sandman Suites Vancouver Davie Street

It may be tempting to stay in Richmond or in North Vancouver, but to experience the best of Vancouver, it’s recommended that you stay downtown. From your doorstep, you’ll be within walking distance of many highlights from English Bay to Gastown.

Here are some top choices to suit all budgets:

Luxury: The Opus Vancouver is an excellent boutique hotel located in Yaletown that is within walking distance of everything. Plus there are great options for dining and nightlife close by and its just a short walk to the waterfront. Check out rates and availability on TripAdvisor / Booking.com Mid-Range: Budget: With a highly rated location, you won’t have to spend much at the Samesun Vancouver to enjoy a quick stroll to Robson Street, Stanley Park, and the best of downtown. Check out rates and availability on TripAdvisor/ Booking.com

Cool things to see in Vancouver Canada

And these are the best things to do in Vancouver with a few ideas for tours and accommodation. We lived in Vancouver for three years and have gone back again and again. This is a city that keeps evolving and changing and no matter how many times we visit, we always find something new.

Have you been to Vancouver? What are your favorite attractions in the city?

Plan your Trip to Vancouver with These Resources

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