Things to do in

Vancouver

Enjoying adventurous activities doesn't always have to mean missing out on city life. Not in Vancouver, anyway.

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Top 7 things to do in Vancouver

Vancouver is an unusual mix of big city culture and laid back West Coast style. Surrounded by towering evergreens and the North Shore Mountain range, the view alone makes flying into Vancouver International Airport worth the visit.

  • 1. Capilano Suspension Bridge

    There is nowhere else in the world you can see a First Nations performance following a walk 70 meters above the Capilano river. Take a shuttle to the Capilano Suspension Bridge from downtown for free.

  • 2. BC Place

    Live like a local and catch a BC Lions or Vancouver Whitecaps game. This giant waterfront multifunction stadium hosted the opening ceremony of the XXI Olympic Winter Games.

  • 3. Canada Place

    Built to look like a ship, Canada Place is one of the city's most iconic buildings. Take in the view of the port and city skyline.

  • 4. Stanley Park

    Bike, run, or simply wander the winding trails of Stanley Park, a natural paradise almost entirely surrounding by water right in the heart of the city. Save on parking and take public transit.

  • 5. Vancouver Art Gallery

    The Vancouver Art Gallery offers ever-changing exhibitions, lectures and public events, as well as works by the region’s most celebrated painter, Emily Carr. Entry is free Tuesdays after 5:00PM.

  • 6. Museum of Anthropology at UBC

    Featuring artifacts from all over the world, the museum is best known for its collection of totem poles, jewelry and pottery of the Pacific Northwest Coast’s First Nation peoples.

  • 7. Vancouver Aquarium

    Deep in Stanley Park is the gigantic Vancouver Aquarium. Get a sneak peak of the action by visiting their website for the Beluga Cam or Sea Otter Cam.

Frequently asked questions about Vancouver

What top attractions are a must-see in Vancouver?

Planning Your Visit

  • How to pack

    Temperatures in Vancouver are mild and rarely drop below freezing with average temperature sitting at 51. Pack layers, a windbreaker or raincoat, depending on the season, and a comfortable pair of shoes for hiking.

  • When to visit

    The only downside to the coastal climate is the rainy season, which can start in October and last all through March. The city will provide no shortage of indoor activity, but spring and summer in Vancouver are ideal. In fact, during the summer months it is the second driest city in Canada.

  • How many days to visit

    Spend at least four days in Vancouver - you won’t be able to fit in all the attractions, but it's enough to gain a sense of the city's character.

  • Take a trip to Victoria

    Not far from Vancouver is British Columbia’s capital, Victoria, located on Vancouver Island. Strikingly different to Vancouver, it’s filled with quaint cafes, antique shops, and an overall British feel. The ferry is 90 minutes and getting to the port from each city can take from 45-75 minutes, so it may be worth staying overnight.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    Canadian Dollar ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-08:00)
  • Country Code
    1
  • Best time to visit
    All year is great, due to the mild weather.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Vancouver

Mayuri is based in Canada and travels with her husband. She is the founder of ToSomePlaceNew, which covers European destinations and cultural travel. A history graduate and an MBA by qualification, she found her true calling in digging a city’s past and discovering their unique nuances. Find more about Vancouver on her blog.

What should I do on my first trip to Vancouver?

Vancouver is one of the vibrant cities on the west coast of Canada. It is home to one of the largest urban parks, called Stanley Park and has a stunning seawall. You can walk or bike the seawall, and enjoy hikes in nearby trails. When in the city, enjoy fish and chips at Granville Island, visit Vancouver museum, and wander the downtown area. You will find a lot of cool restaurants, sights and sea views in Downtown Vancouver, including Canada Place! Another must visit in Vancouver is the Capilano Suspension Bridge located in the northern part of the city, followed by the Grouse Mountains for a nice day trip!

What are some hidden gems to see in Vancouver?

Although the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a must visit in Vancouver (and it can be expensive for entry fees and attractions inside), consider visiting the Lynn Canyon, also located in the northern part of the city. This park and the bridge is smaller in comparison to Capilano, but it is less visited by tourists, and has no entry fees!

How much time should I spend in Vancouver?

Two to three days is ample time to explore Vancouver city’s attractions such as the Canada Place, Olympic Cauldron, a few museums, Stanley Park, Granville Island, ChinaTown, and more. In the evening you can also walk downtown or go on an evening cruise. On one of the nights go shopping at Robson Street, and eat at a nice restaurant!

What food is Vancouver known for?

Vancouver is best known for its seafood and sushi. You can relish seafood at the Granville Island restaurants, or downtown bistros. When in Canada, Maple Syrup infused foods are a must try as well. You will also be impressed with the coffee culture in Vancouver - be sure to sit down at a local cafe to enjoy!

What is the best way to get around Vancouver?

Once you arrive in Vancouver, you can use the SkyTrain to get to various neighbourhoods for sightseeing. Hop on and hop off tours are also a great way to explore various attractions. When exploring the downtown area, your best bet is to wear comfortable shoes and walk. Same goes for Robson Street. Biking is also a great way to explore this city!

What are the best months to visit Vancouver?

Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit Vancouver. These are the months of March to May, and then from September to November. During this time, the weather is mild and favourable for sightseeing, and you can also expect fewer crowds, and better hotel rates.

What is Main Street of Vancouver known for?

The Main Street of Vancouver is the place to be! It is filled with cozy bistros, coffee shops, independent boutiques, local breweries, consignment stores, sky rise buildings and world-class restaurants. I personally like the GasTown neighbourhood as it oozes European flair with vintage steam clock, buildings and cobblestone lanes.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

Main Street, GasTown, and Robson Street are great for fine dining, coffee shops, and restaurants with an international menu. For seafood, head to Granville Island, and Chinatown to try fish, crabs, sushi rolls, dimsums and more!.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Located in the West End of Vancouver, Robson Street is the best place to go shopping in the city. You will find most of the popular brand names here including some of the largest Canadian labels (like Lululemon). And after shopping, you can sit down at a nice restaurant on Robson Street!

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Vancouver?

For a first time visitor, the downtown core, or Yaletown are great neighborhoods for accommodation. Hotels in these areas are in the mid range to luxury budget level. In downtown you can also choose suites with waterfront views!

What are the best annual events in Vacouver?

As the Roman amphitheatre is so well preserved, it is still used for a number of festivals and events throughout the year. For example, the Festival of Nîmes has been taking place since 1997, on dates throughout the summer - attracting international talent including Elton John, Radiohead and Metallica. The ancient arena also hosts the Great Roman Games - a reenactment spectacle for the whole family.

Other Sightseeing Options in Vancouver

Want to discover all there is to do in Vancouver? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Vancouver

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 3,435 reviews

Our guide Gregory was absolutely amazing! He was so authentic in character, from his clothes to the way he kicked the dirt from underneath his foot. He lived his days with such endearment and finesse,he brought you back to his time in the world. I'll come back for another tour and with a bunch of my friends!

Ian is a fantastic tour guide. He is so friendly, funny and informative. I really enjoyed this tour, I would highly recommended it to everyone - especially solo travellers like myself! 10/10!

We had Tracy and she was excellent!!! I wish we could see who is doing the tours because my parents would have loved her storytelling! She made the tour excellent!!

Incredible experience of flying around Vancouver seeing its amazing landscapes. 100% recommended

Our tour guide Alex was fantastic. So friendly, funny and informative!