Vancouver is a city with a diverse range of activities and attractions to suit all tastes. From natural wonders to cultural hotspots, there is something for everyone in this beautiful coastal city. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, this city has much to offer.
In this blog post, we’ll be highlighting the top 10 things to do in Vancouver. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, these are the must-see sights and activities that will make your trip to Vancouver unforgettable. So, whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking for a fun day out, read on to discover the best of what Vancouver has to offer.
10 Best Things To Do in Vancouver
- Visit Stanley Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America.
- Take a tour of the historic Gastown neighborhood.
- Explore the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
- Visit the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.
- Go skiing or snowboarding at Grouse Mountain.
- Visit the aquarium at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre.
- Take a day trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island.
- Explore the outdoor exhibits at the VanDusen Botanical Garden.
- Visit the Science World museum.
- Take a ferry to Granville Island for the Public Market and unique shops.
1. Visit Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver. It is one of the largest urban parks in North America, at 1,001 acres. The park features forested areas, beaches, lakes, and several cultural attractions such as the Vancouver Aquarium, the Stanley Park Pavilion, and the Malkin Bowl.
One of the most popular attractions in the park is the Seawall, a 8.8-kilometer path that circles the park and offers stunning views of the ocean, the mountains, and the city skyline. The Seawall is popular among joggers, cyclists, and rollerbladers. Visitors can also rent bicycles, Segways, and electric scooters to explore the park.
The park is also home to several beautiful gardens, including the Rose Garden, the Stanley Park Garden, and the Heather Garden. Visitors can also take guided tours of the park to learn about the history and ecology of the area.
One of the most iconic landmarks in the park is the Nine O’Clock Gun, a time signal cannon that is fired every night at 9pm. The gun has been firing since 1894 and is a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike.
Stanley Park is also home to several cultural attractions such as the Vancouver Aquarium, which is one of the largest aquariums in Canada and features a wide variety of marine life from around the world. The park also has the Stanley Park Pavilion, which hosts concerts, weddings and special events, and the Malkin Bowl, an outdoor theater that hosts a variety of performances throughout the summer.
2. Historic Gastown neighborhood
Gastown is the historic neighborhood in the heart of Vancouver and is known for its Victorian architecture, cobblestone streets, and steam-powered clock, which is a popular tourist attraction. The neighborhood is also home to a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops, making it a popular destination for visitors and locals alike.
The neighborhood takes its name from “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman, steamboat captain and barkeep who arrived in 1867 to open the area’s first saloon. Gastown was the first downtown core of the city of Vancouver, and it is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.
Gastown is also home to several historic buildings, including the Dominion Building, which was once the tallest building in the British Empire, and the Sun Tower, which was once the headquarters of the Vancouver World newspaper. Visitors can also take a tour of the neighborhood to learn about its history and architecture.
Gastown is also known for its fashion and design boutiques, independent shops, and art galleries, which offer a unique shopping experience for visitors. The neighborhood is also home to a variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes, many of which are housed in historic buildings. Visitors can also find a variety of street performers and musicians in the area, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of the neighborhood.
Bonus: How to explore Gastown
The best way to explore Gastown with a self-guided scavenger hunt / walking tour. Learn fascinating facts about the area, solve riddles and most importantly, have lots of fun!
3. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a popular tourist attraction located in North Vancouver. The park features the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a 137 meter long and 70 meter high bridge that spans the Capilano River. The bridge is one of the most popular attractions in the park and provides visitors with a unique and thrilling experience as they walk across the bridge, suspended high above the river.
The park also features several other attractions, including the Treetops Adventure, a series of seven suspension bridges that are suspended high up in the trees and provide visitors with a bird’s eye view of the forest, and the Cliffwalk, a series of cantilevered walkways that are suspended high above the Capilano River.
The park also has several other activities and attractions, such as guided nature walks, a children’s playground, and a souvenir shop. Visitors can also take a tour of the park to learn about the history and ecology of the area, including the history of the bridge, the flora and fauna of the area, and the local First Nations culture.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is open year-round, providing visitors with a chance to enjoy the beauty of the park at any time of the year. It’s a great place to visit for nature lovers, thrill-seekers, and families with children. It’s also a great spot to enjoy the views of the city and surrounding mountains.
4. Museum of Anthropology
The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (MOA) is one of the most renowned museums in Canada, known for its collection of works from the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The museum is located on the university campus in Vancouver and is dedicated to the study and understanding of world arts and cultures, with a focus on the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa and Asia.
MOA’s collection of First Nations art is one of the most extensive in the world and includes a wide range of items such as totem poles, masks, textiles, ceramics, and jewelry. The museum also has a collection of contemporary First Nations art, which showcases the work of emerging and established Indigenous artists.
The museum’s building, designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, is also a work of art in itself, with a dramatic Great Hall that serves as the centerpiece of the museum. The Great Hall is home to several large-scale First Nations carvings and totem poles, which are displayed in a natural setting that mimics a Pacific Northwest Coast village.
The museum also features temporary exhibitions and special events throughout the year, such as artist talks, workshops, and lectures, which provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about the art, culture and history of the First Nations people and other cultures from around the world.
MOA provides a unique and enriching experience to visitors, showcasing the cultural heritage and art of indigenous people, and also providing an opportunity to learn about the cultures of other regions and civilizations. It’s a great place to visit for art lovers, history buffs, and anyone interested in learning more about the cultures of the world.
5. Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain is a popular ski and snowboard destination located in North Vancouver. The mountain offers a wide range of skiing and snowboarding terrain for all skill levels, from beginner to expert. Grouse Mountain has 26 ski runs, served by four chairlifts, and a 853 meter (2,800 feet) vertical drop. It also offers a terrain park with rails and other features for freestylers.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Grouse Mountain also offers a variety of other winter activities, such as snowshoeing, ice-skating, and a Sleigh Ride. The mountain also has a number of dining and shopping options, including a mountaintop chalet, a cafeteria, and several retail shops.
Grouse Mountain also has a Skyride, a aerial tramway that takes visitors to the mountaintop, providing them with breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding mountains. The Skyride operates year-round, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy the mountain’s natural beauty at any time of the year.
Grouse Mountain is a great place to visit for winter sports enthusiasts and nature lovers, as it offers a wide range of activities and attractions that will appeal to visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you’re a skier or snowboarder, or just looking for a fun day out, Grouse Mountain has something to offer.
6. Vancouver Aquatic Centre
The Vancouver Aquarium is a public aquarium located in Stanley Park in Vancouver. The aquarium is one of the largest in Canada and features a wide variety of marine life from around the world. The aquarium’s collection includes species such as beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, fish, and birds among others. The aquarium’s focus is on the marine life of the Pacific Northwest, but also has tropical and freshwater exhibits.
The aquarium also offers a variety of educational programs and tours for visitors, including behind-the-scenes tours, animal encounters, and interactive workshops. These programs provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about the animals and their habitats, as well as the conservation efforts being made to protect them.
The Vancouver Aquarium also has a number of special exhibits and events throughout the year, such as the Jelly Invasion exhibit which features a variety of jellyfish species and the Ocean Wise Seafood program which promotes sustainable seafood choices.
The aquarium also has a gift shop and a café, providing visitors with the opportunity to purchase souvenirs or grab a bite to eat.
The Vancouver Aquarium is a great place to visit for families, marine life enthusiasts, and anyone interested in learning more about the animals and their habitats. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about ocean conservation and the importance of taking care of our oceans and its inhabitants.
7. Take a day trip to Victoria
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada, and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is a popular destination for a day trip from Vancouver, as it is easily accessible by ferry. The city is known for its picturesque Victorian architecture, beautiful gardens, and historical sites.
8. VanDusen Botanical Garden
The garden features a wide variety of plants and flowers from around the world, including a collection of over 7,500 plant species and varieties. The garden also features several outdoor exhibits, such as the Elizabethan Hedge Maze, the Shakespeare Garden, and the Rose Garden.
One of the main attractions in the garden is the Elizabethan Hedge Maze, which is the only one of its kind in North America. The maze is made up of yew hedges and is based on the design of the maze at Hampton Court Palace in England. Visitors can take a stroll through the maze and try to find their way to the center.
The Shakespeare Garden is another popular attraction, and it is dedicated to the plants and flowers mentioned in the works of Shakespeare. The garden features a variety of plants such as lavender, rosemary, and daisies, which are referenced in his plays and sonnets.
The Rose Garden is also a must-see, it features over 3,500 rose bushes, representing more than 800 varieties, and it’s a great place to visit during the summer when the roses are in full bloom.
The garden also features a number of walking trails that take visitors through different sections of the garden, providing them with the opportunity to explore the different plants and flowers. The garden also has a gift shop and a café, providing visitors with the opportunity to purchase souvenirs or grab a bite to eat.
9. Science World
Science World is a science center and museum that features a wide range of interactive exhibits and displays that focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Science World is a great place to visit for families, students, and anyone interested in learning more about science and technology.
The museum has several permanent exhibits such as “Our World” which presents the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs, “The Science of Hockey” which explains the physics and science behind the sport, and “The Human Body” which allows visitors to explore the inner workings of the human body.
Science World also has a variety of temporary exhibits that rotate throughout the year, these exhibits may feature subjects such as robotics, virtual reality, and other cutting-edge technologies, as well as natural phenomena.
Science World also offers a variety of educational programs and workshops for visitors of all ages, such as science demonstrations, hands-on activities, and classes. The museum also has a science theater where visitors can watch live shows and presentations on a variety of science-related topics.
The museum also has a gift shop and a café, providing visitors with the opportunity to purchase souvenirs or grab a bite to eat.
Science World is a great place to visit for families, students, and anyone interested in learning more about science and technology. It’s an interactive and engaging way of learning about the world around us, and it’s also an excellent opportunity to inspire children to pursue careers in STEM fields.
10. Take a ferry to Granville Island
Granville Island is a vibrant neighborhood located in the heart of Vancouver that can be easily reached by ferry from the city. This unique destination is known for its lively atmosphere, eclectic mix of shops, and the famous Granville Island Public Market which is one of the island’s main draws.
The Public Market is a feast for the senses, boasting a wide array of vendors selling fresh produce, meat, seafood, baked goods, and more. Visitors can indulge in a culinary journey, sampling everything from local fruits and vegetables, to artisan cheeses, and baked goods. The market also has a number of food stands and restaurants, where visitors can savor a variety of local dishes, and even take cooking classes to learn how to make the dishes themselves.
Granville Island is also a shopper’s paradise, boasting an array of unique shops offering a diverse range of products, from handmade crafts, and jewelry to clothing, and home decor. Visitors can discover everything from artisanal pottery, and glassware, to locally-made clothing, and accessories.
But the island is not only about shopping and food, it’s also a thriving arts community, home to several art studios, and galleries where visitors can see the work of local artists, and craftspeople. The island is also home to several performance spaces, including the Arts Club Theatre, which hosts a variety of plays and performances throughout the year, immersing visitors in the local culture.
Best 5 things to do in Vancouver with kids
The city offers a wide range of activities and attractions for families with children to enjoy, here are the top five things to do in Vancouver with kids:
- Science World: A hands-on science center and museum that offers interactive exhibits and STEM education for children.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge Park: A popular tourist attraction with suspension bridges and cantilevered walkways suspended high above the Capilano River.
- Vancouver Aquarium: A public aquarium with a variety of marine life and educational programs for visitors.
- Stanley Park: Large urban park with playgrounds, mini-train, water park and the Stanley Park Zoo.
- Granville Island: A vibrant neighborhood with a lively atmosphere, unique shops, a public market and a children’s water park and playground.
What is the best time to visit Vancouver?
The best time to visit Vancouver depends on your interests and the type of weather you prefer. Generally, the months of May to September are considered the best time to visit as the weather is warm and sunny, perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing. June to August are the warmest months, with average temperatures around 22°C (72°F) and plenty of sunshine, making it perfect for hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities. The city also offers a number of festivals and events during this time, such as the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Celebration of Light, a fireworks competition that takes place in English Bay.
Is Vancouver an expensive city?
Vancouver is considered to be an expensive city to live in and visit. The cost of living in Vancouver is high, especially when it comes to housing, as real estate prices are among the highest in Canada. The cost of food, transportation and entertainment is also relatively high compared to other cities in Canada.
Accommodations can also be expensive, with hotel prices ranging from moderate to high, especially during peak tourist season. Dining out can also be expensive, with many restaurants charging high prices for meals, especially in the downtown area.
However, it’s also possible to find deals and discounts on some activities and accommodations, as well as ways to save money, such as using public transportation, taking advantage of free activities and events and looking for deals on food and activities.
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