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17 BEST Indoor Activities in Vancouver (2024 Guide!)

17 BEST Indoor Activities in Vancouver (2024 Guide!)

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With a nickname like “Raincouver” thanks to its on-average 169 rainy days a year, having a list of the best indoor activities in Vancouver up your sleeve for your vacation is essential.

Not many cities in the world have the mountains and the sea on their doorstep, but there’s still a surprising amount of awesome things to do inside. We’ve lived in Vancouver for a while and experienced our fair share of rain. Since we have family come to visit regularly, it’s nice to have rainy day plans in Vancouver figured out and we’ve highlighted the best ones below!

Some are truly bucket-list-worthy, like driving a Ferrari on the Sea to Sky Highway or spotting orcas and humpback whales from inside a boat on a Vancouver whale-watching cruise. But we’ve also included some tamer and (cheaper) indoor activities like the famed Vancouver Aquarium and having a delicious brunch at one of Vancouver’s best restaurants.

So, without further delay, here are the 17 best indoor activities in Vancouver!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Don’t let the rain get you down! Our favorite indoor activities in Vancouver include:

  1. Going on a whale watching tour and stay dry inside the boat!
  2. Checking out the famed Granville Island Public Market
  3. Driving the Sea to Sky Highway in an exotic car, like a Ferrari!
  4. Take a sunset cruise on an enclosed boat
  5. Seeing all the marine life at the Vancouver Aquarium

BEST Indoor Activities in Vancouver

1. Cozy up inside with a drink

A cocktail at The Keefer in Vancouver
Yummy cocktail at The Keefer!
Bailey with a drink at The Keefer in Vancouver
Bailey with a drink in The Keefer!

First up on our list of the best indoor activities in Vancouver doesn’t require a lot of planning. This is great, because if you’ve been to “Raincouver” before you’ll know the rain can come from nowhere. So, if you need a break from the sudden downpour, we suggest grabbing a drink in a cafe or bar.

We’ve listed some of our favorite indoor spots below, and which one you choose will depend on the hour of the day or what you’re in the mood for. Say you’re a cocktail lover (like me!), then you’re in luck as there are some really cool cocktail bars in the city. Our top choice for cocktails is The Keefer Bar, which is consistently rated as one of the top 3 bars in Canada! So, escape the rain and spend a few hours savoring their delicious cocktails in their cozy, beautifully decorated indoor seating area. 

If you’re in the Gastown area when the rain starts, we recommend you take shelter in The Clough Club, another cool cocktail bar! It’s got a vintage, eclectic vibe, and the cocktails are strong! 

If you’re more of a coffee-lover, then, as you can guess, in a hip city like Vancouver, there are literally hundreds of awesome cafes dotted around the city. In Gastown, I love the Twisted Fork. Here, they will bring you your very own French press of coffee, so you can drink as much as you want! 

In Olympic Village, you can’t pass up Terra Breads. Their coffee is strong and delicious, and their pastries are addictive.

One of our favorites in the Mount Pleasant area is 49th Parallel Coffee & Lucky’s Doughnuts. Besides coffee, they serve Lucky’s donuts, which we think are some of the best in the world. Be sure to try the peanut butter and jelly flavor!

Related Read: Some of the best places to eat are located in the Gastown neighborhood, so check out the best restaurants in Gastown before you go!

2. Sunset Dinner Cruise

Bailey with a bottle of wine oin a sunset cruise in Vancouver, BC
I got a little too close to the wine!
Dessert Buffet on a sunset cruise in Vancouver, Canada
Dessert!

A sunset cruise in Vancouver may not immediately come to mind when you think of indoor things to do in the city. But hear me out – this particular sunset cruise has a large indoor area complete with huge windows so that you can enjoy the sunset and take in the views of Canada Place, the North Shore Mountains, and the West Vancouver skyline from the water, no matter the weather. 

This well-rated cruise (it has a 4.5-star rating on Viator) is one of the best things to do in Vancouver in the summer – the summer sunsets in this part of the world are exceptional. The tour includes a delicious buffet dinner complete with local salmon, roast beef, vegetables, salads, and chocolate cake and cheesecake for dessert! Live entertainment is also provided, and there’s a bar on board, but you must pay for your own drinks. 

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie on a sunset cruise in Vancouver
Thanks for reading!

We’ve taken sunset cruises all over the world, and this one in Vancouver is one of my favorites! Not only are the views amazing but the food and service are top-tier. We had so much fun and would definitely go again! You can read our whole review on the Vancouver sunset cruise here.

Your boat departs from the wharf near Coal Harbour (just look out for the Harbour Cruises blue sign), and it’s 2.5 hours long. This sunset cruise cost us $269 CAD, and considering your dinner is included, it’s great value for money. It does have limited spaces, though, as it only operates on select dates from June to early August, so be sure to book in advance online to avoid disappointment.

3. Vancouver Science World

Telus World of Science building in Vancouver, BC
Science World in Vancouver is such a unique building! Photo Credit: BigStock

You’ve probably seen the unusual geodesic dome on Vancouver’s skyline – it’s arguably one of the most memorable structures in the city. And that geodesic dome is home to Science World. This non-profit science center offers various exhibits, shows, and interactive displays, all based on topics like science, engineering, and technology. 

It’s a must for problem-solvers, science lovers, or anyone who’s looking to learn something new. And, of course, spending a few hours here is a brilliant way to escape Vancouver’s notoriously rainy weather. 

Science World is one of the most popular things for families to do in Vancouver. It’s very kid-friendly!

Entrance costs $33.20 CAD for an adult and $22.50 CAD per child, but if you want to watch an IMAX film, it’ll be an additional $6.50 CAD. Hours of operation vary seasonally, so be sure to check out the Science World website before you go for their opening hours and what’s on that day!

You no longer need to book your ticket in advance at Science World, but the OMNIMAX® theater isn’t always open, so be sure to check its availability beforehand if this is high on your bucket list.

4. Vancouver Aquarium

Bailey looks through the glass at the seals at the Vancouver Aquarium
Watching the seals at Vancouver Aquarium!

Another awesome, family-friendly thing to do indoors in Vancouver is the very popular Vancouver Aquarium in the gorgeous Stanley Park. Home to over 60,000 aquatic creatures, including sea lions, turtles, sea otters, fish, and sea lions – it’s an absolute must-do for animal lovers!

Amazingly, the Vancouver Aquarium is internationally recognized for its display and interpretation excellence. It was actually the first facility in the world to have interpretive specialists and naturalists in the galleries to explain all about the animals to visitors. 

One thing we love about the Vancouver Aquarium is that they banned the captivity of dolphins and whales here due to their inability to provide a suitable environment! To me, this shows they care about the animals they house here. It’s worth noting that you’ll likely still see some dolphins at the aquarium but no whales, as both species are being fazed out.

Plus, your entrance fee goes towards programs helping to protect sea life like their Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, one of the largest of its kind in the world. It helps rehabilitate rescued marine mammals and bring them back into the wild. 

Admission starts from $39.95 CAD for an adult. We recommend buying tickets to the aquarium in advance online to reserve a time to enter as they have capacity limits.

5. Watch a hockey game

Vancouver Canucks in action at Rogers Arena
Watching a Canucks game is a must-do for sports fans!

Hockey is like a religion in Canada, and watching a Vancouver Canucks game at the iconic Rogers Arena close to the Yaletown neighborhood is a rite of passage for visitors to the city. And the best part is, because it takes place indoors, you can enjoy a hockey game in any weather. 

The Vancouver Canucks usually play a few times per week throughout the season when they are in town. FYI, the NHL hockey season runs from October until May. Ticket prices vary depending on the day and where your seat is located. 

Seeing as hockey is Canada’s official winter national sport, and almost all Canadians are avid fans – getting a ticket to a hockey game can be somewhat of a mission. My best advice is to buy tickets online here through the trusted booking system Viator. You can easily choose seats within your price range, and rest assured that you are purchasing legit tickets.

Top tip – Look for tickets for games against USA teams as games featuring two Canadian teams, such as the Oilers (my team) vs Canucks are super-difficult to get tickets for! 

6. Whale watching

Pod of orca swim near a whale watching boat on a tour from Vancouver
A pod of orcas we spotted near Vancouver!

A tour to see whales may not be the first thing you think of when you think of indoor activities in Vancouver, but a lot of these cruises have large indoor areas with windows. That means you can still spot wildlife like orcas, sea lions, porpoises, seals, and more, even if it’s pouring rain. 

Whale watching in Vancouver will have you exploring the Salish Sea, an area with a long whale watching season and renowned for being home to several different whale types, like humpbacks, gray, and minke. But, on a Vancouver whale watching tour like this one, you’ll most likely see humpbacks and orcas. 

As for whale watching season in Vancouver, it varies depending on the type of whale you’re keen to see. For example, humpback whales are most commonly seen between April and November. The best chance to see orcas is during salmon spawning season, between May and October. 

This half-day whale-watching cruise takes place on board a sleek, modern boat (with an open-air deck and indoor seating). And you’ll have a professional naturalist on hand to tell you all about the whales you’ll encounter. What’s great, too, is the section of the Salish Sea this tour takes you to is renowned for whale sightings, and they boast a 90% success rate for seeing whales in season. Fascinatingly, during the tour, you can listen to the on-board hydrophones, which allow you to hear nearby whale calls. 

This top-rated tour includes pickup from select Vancouver hotels and you can choose from a morning or afternoon departure. Prices start from $192 CAD and you can select the “reserve now and pay later” option. This tour operator also offers free cancellation up to 24 hours before the experience begins.  

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

7. Visit a craft brewery 

Daniel and Bailey taste beer at Granville Island Brewing
Granville Island Brewery is one of our favorites!

As a huge craft beer fan, I can’t think of a better indoor activity in Vancouver than drinking awesome craft beer in a local brewery. 

Craft beer is in fashion at the moment, and Vancouver has definitely jumped on board with the trend – there are dozens of great breweries in the city. You can visit these breweries on your own or on a Vancouver brewery tour

I personally love Granville Island Brewing, which, as you can guess, is located on Granville Island. It’s one of the most famous spots in the city to drink craft beer, and you’ll find their beer in loads of liquor stores across the country. They also run brewery tours that are offered every day at $12 CAD per person. This fee covers your guided tour of the brewery and a tasting flight of beer at the end!

Another great brewery to visit in Vancouver is Steamworks Brewpub in Gastown. These guys always have the best seasonal beers – I’m still drooling over the Cucumber-flavored beer I had last summer (bring it back!).

Of course, the heart of Vancouver’s brewery scene is in Mt Pleasant, the area behind Olympic Village. Here, you’ll find breweries such as Faculty Brewing Co.Tree Brewing Co.33 Acres Brewing Company, and Main Street Brewing Co., just to name a few. 

If you don’t mind heading away from the city center, you can hit up Port Moody for your craft beer fix. Near Rocky Point Park, you’ll find a few breweries next to each other – perfect for a self-guided brewery tour. I personally love visiting Twin Sails Brewing. They always have plenty of creative brews on tap.

For real beer lovers, though, you need to go to more than just one Vancouver brewery. This behind-the-scenes craft beer tour will take you to a handful of different breweries around the city to see how the beer is made at each brewery. Plus, it includes transport, so you can drink as much as you want without having to worry about how you’ll get back to your hotel. 

This 5-star tour costs $125 CAD and lasts for 3 hours. It includes all tastings and a free beer glass! You can check availability and book this craft beer tour here

8. Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park

The gardens at the Bloedel Conservatory
The plants and flowers here are so beautiful!

Now for one of the most unique indoor activities in Vancouver – The Bloedel Conservatory, a domed tropical paradise that’s temperature-controlled and is home to over 100 exotic birds, including African parrots, macaws, and finches, as well as over 500 plants and flowers. It’s a tropical paradise in the heart of Vancouver.

You should spend an hour or two wandering this indoor tropical haven, which is located at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park. And be sure to snap some colorful photos along the way.

The entrance fee is only $8.72 CAD and you can book your tickets online right here.

9. Explore the Granville Island Market

A fruit and vegetable stall at Granville Island Market!
Stalls in the Granville Island Public Market
We joined a food tour on Granville Island so our guide helped us find the best vendors!

Granville Island Public Market is a farmer’s market with a difference. For one, it’s here all year round, and second, it’s indoors. This is handy, considering Vancouver is a very rainy city! This huge, world-famous market on, yep, you guessed right – Granville Island is an essential addition to any Vancouver itinerary!  

The markets here offer fresh produce, meat, fish, and souvenirs, as well as many stalls where you can have a tasty meal. There is honestly so much food, so make sure you come here on an empty stomach.

For those who don’t know, Granville Island is a small island, a short boat or car ride from the downtown area. Riding the Aqua Bus Ferry from the city center is the most popular (and most fun) way to get to Granville. The ferry runs continually throughout the day and will pick you up from a couple of different stops in the city and take you over to Granville Island. The ferry costs around $5 CAD.

Wandering around here is one of the best free things to do in Vancouver. But, if you love the convenience of a guided tour, then your best way of getting to and seeing the market is to book one of the many exciting Granville Island tour options from Vancouver City

The Granville Island tour we did and loved was this sightseeing tour where we got to explore both Granville Island and Stanley Park, along with the cool neighborhoods of Chinatown and Gastown. The 3.5-hour tour can pick you up from your hotel and also includes a local guide who will tell you about each place you visit. Tickets are $83 CAD and it’s a convenient way to get to Granville Island and see more of Vancouver. However, it’s a popular tour, and tickets do sell out, so book your spot online here!

Another alternative is to make your own way to Granville Island and, once there, join a more in-depth guided tour of the markets like this Granville Island Public Market food tour. This is a must-do tour for foodies as during the two-hour tour (which is led by a chef!), you’ll get to sample the best food in the market. Expect to devour delicacies like maple salmon, different Canadian cheeses, homemade bread, and more. The tour costs $112 CAD including all of your tastings. Food lovers should book this tour in advance, as it’s popular!

If you love pairing wine with delicious food, this VIP guided food and wine tour will be right up your alley! During the two-hour tour, you’ll try 20 different dishes, such as truffle salami, artisanal cheese, and locally sourced wine – wow! The starting point for this well-rated tour is at Granville Island Public Market, and it includes all of your food and wine tastings, your local guide, and a plethora of culinary knowledge. You can book this tour in advance for $186 CAD.

10. Warm up with the best bowl of Ramen

a bowl of ramen at Danbo in Kitsilano, Vancouver
This is the best ramen in the city!

Another indoor recommendation for the foodies reading is grabbing a warm bowl of the best ramen we’ve ever tried (a bold statement!) at Ramen Danbo. They have two locations in the city. The first location (and the one we go to) is a 15-minute walk from one of Vancouver’s best beaches, Kitsilano Beach, and its second location is on Robson Street

Danbo is easily one of the top restaurants in the city, and it’s certainly not renowned for its fancy ambiance (in fact, this place is very simple) but for its tasty ramen! Choose from Classic Ramen, Shio Ramen, Miso Ramen, the seasonal Curry Ramen or tasty vegan options.

Danbo is first-come, first-served, and it definitely gets busy. We always try to get there before 5:30 pm for a shorter wait time (about 30 minutes). If you’re a ramen connoisseur, trust us when we say Danbo is worth visiting. Check out the menu here to see what I’m talking about!

11. Wander the Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art gallery
Vancouver Art Gallery steps. Photo Credit: BigStock

Now, for something a little different that will get a big “thumbs up” if you’re an art fan. Yes, if you love art and history or simply want to escape the rain and wander around a beautiful building. Then, a trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery is a must. 

Would you believe there are over 11,600 pieces of art housed here, and there’s a big focus on contemporary art? In fact, Vancouver Art Gallery owns the biggest collection of works by modernist painter Emily Carr.  

The building itself is iconic, and many tourists come here just to take photos on the steps out front. Interestingly, many Hollywood movies were filmed here, such as Battlestar Galactica and X-Men: The Last Stand

Entrance to Vancouver Art Gallery costs $29 CAD, and anyone aged 18 or under goes free. They’re open every day from 10 am to 5 pm except for Tuesdays when they are closed and Thursdays and Fridays when they are open from 10 am to 8 pm.

12. Sea-to-Sky Exotic Driving Experience

Okay, guys, I have to admit this is possibly my favorite addition to this list of the best indoor activities in Vancouver. This bucket-list-worthy tour will have you driving BC’s breathtakingly beautiful Sea to Sky Highway in an exotic car, like a Ferrari or Lamborghini! I know – I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that this amazing experience was available in Vancouver!

You’ll start the drive from Eagle Harbor in West Vancouver and drive north toward Whistler. You’ll make several scenic stops along the way to snap photos and relish the jealous stares from other tourists. But, the best part about this tour is that you’ll get to drive not one but four different luxury cars during the 3-hour experience. Yes, you’ll swap cars at some of the scenic stops and drive a different exotic model to the next stop – just wow! 

You’ll feel like James Bond as you navigate the twists and turns of one of the best beautiful routes in the world in a Ferrari or Lamborghini!

If you’re feeling nervous about getting behind the wheel of such a high-powered vehicle, don’t worry, as you’ll be given a safety orientation at the beginning, or if you wish, you can take turns driving with your travel companion.  

This unbelievable tour starts from $585 CAD. Handily, it offers free cancellation up to 24 hours before the tour start time. So, you’ve got wiggle room in case your plans change. Also included in the price is hotel pick-up and drop-off to most downtown or North Vancouver hotels.

It’s worth noting that drivers must be 24 years or older, have 7 years of driving experience, and have a fully graduated license to participate. Each driver can bring one passenger for free, but the passenger must be 9 years or older. 

Related Read: The gorgeous village of Whistler, is one of the best day trips from Vancouver. If you have a longer vacation here, say four days in Vancouver, a trip up to Whistler is a must!

13. Go for brunch

Two breakfast meals at Cafe Medina, Vancouver, BC
How good does this dish at Cafe Medina look?
Eggs benedict at Jam Cafe, Vancouver
Bailey with the Eggs Benedict at Jam cafe!

We get it – when you’re on vacation, you don’t want to rise at the crack of dawn every morning, and some mornings, you want to catch up on your beauty sleep. That’s totally okay! So, for the mornings you want to sleep in – why not skip breakfast and opt for a relaxed brunch instead? 

Thankfully, there are heaps of amazing brunch restaurants in downtown Vancouver to choose from. 

Here are some of our top choices:

  • Jam Café – This breakfast restaurant is well-known for its comfort food and BIG portions! One of their most popular dishes is the Charlie Bowl, which comes with biscuits, ham, hash browns, and bacon. Jam Café is located in Chinatown and Kitsilano (it’s one of the best restaurants in Kitsilano if you ask me!).
  • Café Medina – This is one of the most popular brunch spots in Vancouver, and for good reason! Their signature dish is the Belgian waffles! So delicious!
  • Yolks – As you can probably guess from the name, this eatery serves mostly egg dishes with pairings of maple-smoked ham, pork belly, or hash browns made in truffle oil. Yolks has two locations, on Hastings in East Vancouver and West Broadway Street.

Some of these get really busy, so just make sure you make a reservation! Or, put your name in and then take a walk around the neighborhood while you’re waiting. 

14. Vancouver Lookout

Vancouver Lookout
What a view from the Vancouver Lookout!

Who doesn’t love a good viewpoint when exploring a new city?! When I visit a new destination, I always make a list of the best lookouts in the region – because they always make for an epic photo backdrop. 

But, I’ve rarely encountered an indoor lookout such as the Vancouver Lookout, which is situated at 168 meters (553 feet) above Vancouver and offers 360-degree views of the city’s skyline. And the best part is that it’s indoors, so you’re completely shielded from the weather. 

To get to the top, you’ll hop into a glass elevator and take a 40-second ride up to the top viewing deck, where you’ll be treated to a birds-eye view of Vancity! 

The Vancouver Lookout is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day. It costs $18.25 CAD and is located inside the Harbour Centre Mall. 

15. H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

Sculpture out the front of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
The front of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre!

Want to learn about the mysteries of space in a fun and interactive way? The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vanier Park is one of the best indoor activities in Vancouver and it’s especially popular with families. Here, you can visit the Observatory, wander exhibits in the Cosmic Courtyard gallery, watch a show at the Planetarium Star Theatre, get involved in a science demonstration, or participate in other cool, space-related activities.

Visiting the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is by booking only, and you can only book for specific times. So, be sure to check their website for times and bookings before you go. The entrance fee is $22.75 CAD, $20.75 CAD for kids and little ones under 5 are free.

16. Escape room 

Bailey and Daniel pose with a sign at the i-Exit escape room in Vancouver
You can’t take photos in the escape room, but they encourage photos after with these funny signs!

Another ideal indoor activity if you’re visiting Vancouver with kids, is to test your puzzle-solving skills in an escape room. You may be asking, what exactly is an escape room? Well, it involves you being put in a room where you must solve a series of puzzles within a timeframe to “escape.” These challenging rooms have gained huge popularity over the years. Vancouver has certainly jumped on board with the trend!

Below, we’ve listed the most popular and best-rated escape rooms in Vancouver:

  • EXIT – Offers multiple locations across Vancouver. Each location has its own themed rooms, but at the West Broadway location, you can experience themed rooms like the Haunted Mansion and CSI. Children must be over 6 years old to take part. Tickets cost $35 CAD per person.
  • Find and Seek – Located in downtown Vancouver, Find and Seek has two escape room themes – The Curse of Madame Zita’s Curiosities and The Mystery at the Majestic Theatre. Children under 8 cannot take part, and those between 8 and 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets cost $35 CAD per person, and each game lasts for 45 minutes.
  • I-EXIT – Situated on Granville Street, I-EXIT focuses on non-scary themes like Vegas, Party, Pirates, and The Matrix. You have a bit longer to escape from these escape rooms (60 minutes), making it ideal for kids. Worth noting that all participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets cost from $35 CAD per player.
  • Evolve Virtual Reality – This is a virtual reality (VR) arcade featuring 11 virtual reality escape rooms. The themes of the rooms include Christmas, Chornobyl, Jungle Quest, and more. Up to 6 players can take part at a time and there’s no age limit here. Tickets to this VR experience cost from $45 CAD.

17. Explore Canada on a simulated flight ride

the outside of Flyover Canada in Vancouver
Ready to fly?! Photo Credit: FlyOver Canada

Keeping with the virtual reality theme for the last entry on this list of the best indoor activities in Vancouver. Last but not least, we have included FlyOver Canada, a simulated flight ride that gives you a birds-eye view of Canada’s diverse and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. The ride is eight minutes long and completely immersive. Your seat moves slightly with the screen, so you truly feel like you are flying.

From this “flight,” you will see all the most scenic parts of the country, from the prairies of Alberta to the majestic mountains of BC. If Vancouver is your first stop in Canada, this flight might be the perfect activity to help you assemble a list of must-visit spots in the country. 

Tickets cost $30 CAD for this memorable experience, and you can book your ticket online here.

Related Read: If you’re keen to book a scenic flight during your time in the city, why not consider a seaplane flight over Vancouver – it’s such a cool experience!

Getting around Vancouver

Bailey rides the Aquabus in Vancouver on her way to Granville Island from Yaletown
Bailey rides the Aquabus in Vancouver!

Transportation and ease of navigating a new city are super important to consider when planning a trip. It will help you determine where to stay and what you’ll be able to visit while in the city. In Vancouver, there are a few different options for transportation in and around the city.

Driving

This is probably the best form of transportation if you want to explore anywhere outside of downtown Vancouver and participate in activities like hiking or skiing, which require getting a bit further away. Traffic in downtown Vancouver can be fairly busy, just like any city center.

There is ample parking available both on the streets and in parkades, though it can be expensive. Some hotels provide parking, so check ahead of time. 

If you can rent a car so you can explore Vancouver with ease! Just be prepared to pay for parking unless your hotel includes it.

Car share

A great option besides renting a car is using a car share service like Modo or Evo. These services allow you to rent a car and pay based on the time it’s used (i.e. pay for 30 minutes, two hours, or the full day, depending on how long you drive).

You can pick up and drop off the car at specific checkpoints around the city and the best part is they get lots of free parking. This makes it super easy to use a car for just the time that you need it. 

Public transportation

Vancouver’s public transit system is not as extensive as many other major cities, but it is still a good way to get around to main attractions. The SkyTrain provides excellent access to some of the neighboring cities, such as Burnaby, New Westminster, or Surrey, so it offers a good option if you plan on exploring outside of downtown. It also runs from the airport, so again, a good option to get into the city from the airport. 

There are also many buses in the city that run frequently. Note that public transportation options are extremely limited overnight, with only a couple of night buses and no SkyTrian options after around 1:00 am. All public transportation is run by the company TransLink and is fairly affordable; a single trip costs $3.15 CAD, and a day pass costs $11.25 CAD.

Taxis and rideshares

Taxis are available throughout the city, as are Uber and Lyft. These are good options in the downtown core but can get pricey if you are going further outside of that region. For example, the taxi cost from YVR to Vancouver is about $30-$50 CAD.

Aquabus

The Aquabus is one of the more unique ways to get around Vancouver. These small boats visit 8 locations in the harbor all the way from The Village to Granville Island. The Aquabus costs $19 CAD for a full-day pass or round-trip tickets start at $4.50 CAD but prices vary depending on the route you take. You can check out all their routes and prices here.

Walking and biking

Vancouver is a very walkable city, and it is possible to walk just about anywhere in the downtown core.

Biking is also a good option, as there are dedicated bike lanes throughout most of the city. You can rent bikes all over the city and pretty much ride everywhere you want to downtown. I love doing this, especially on a beautiful day!

Where to Stay in Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver city skyline
Vancouver skyline

Vancouver is one of the most popular cities in Canada. The fact is that in the summer and winter, the city books up in advance very fast! Booking your hotel or hostel well in advance is the only way to secure the best place to stay for you!

Some great hotels and hostels in Vancouver that we love are:

Hyatt Regency Vancouver – $$$

Can’t decide whether you’d prefer to stay near Stanley Park or Gastown? Well, the Hyatt Regency might just be right for you, as it’s located right between them! Rooms here enjoy gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows that help to bring in light and there is a small fridge, work desk, and toiletries in the bathroom too.

You can also conveniently enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at their beautiful Mosaic Bar and Grill just off the lobby. As you can imagine, it’s a luxury stay in a large hotel chain that is highly reviewed! So if you’re looking to celebrate something special, or just fancy taking your vacation to a whole new level, then staying here will definitely do the trick.

I’ve seen a one-night stay at the Hyatt Regency going as low as $232 CAD per night, although the rooms here on average are more around the $300-$500 CAD mark. So, for the best price, don’t forget to reserve your room in advance.

Times Square Suites – $$

For a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park, the Times Square Hotel is a fantastic choice! It’s very hard to fault this hotel, and the location really is perfect. The fully equipped kitchens and gas fireplaces are a nice touch in all of the rooms, plus the suites have living rooms and a washer and dryer.

For being pretty affordable, it has a lot of amenities, which is just one of the reasons we love staying here! You can book a room here from $232 CAD per night, but as this is a popular stay, I recommend checking your dates and booking ahead of time to secure your preferred room type!

The Cambie Hostel Gastown – $

The Cambie Hostel is a great budget-friendly hostel that’s located right in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants and attached to the hostel is a very lively bar too. The rooms are clean, although the bathrooms are a little on the small side (part of the fun when you’re staying cheap, though!).

It’s perfect for backpackers on a budget and is considerably cheaper than others offering comparable quality. A bed in a dorm here starts at around $50 CAD, and you can book a stay here through Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.

Didn’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Click here to browse all hotels in Vancouver!

For more info on the best areas and hotels, check out my complete guide on where to stay in Vancouver. It breaks down everything you need to know before choosing the right hotel!

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter). Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada and you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable! Read my tips on using Motorhome Republic here before you book!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie while on a zodiac tour to Bowen Island from Vancouver
Thanks for reading!

And, there you have it – now you have a long and exciting list of indoor activities in Vancouver. Who would have thought that a city renowned for its outdoorsy vibe would have so many great indoor things to do?!

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below, and we will get back to you! Also, if you loved this travel guide, jump over and check out all our other Canada travel guides or these related articles below!

10-Day Vancouver Island Itinerary That Hits All the Highlights!

10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Helicopter Tour in Vancouver

8 BEST Stanley Park Tours in Vancouver (Advice from a Local!)

25 BEST Hikes in Vancouver (ranked from EASY to HARD)