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50 Fun & Exciting Things to do in Vancouver: Our Favorite Activities as Locals

50 Fun & Exciting Things to do in Vancouver: Our Favorite Activities as Locals

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For outdoor enthusiasts, adventure lovers, or even those who are interested in food and culture, Vancouver has something exciting to offer – the trick is knowing where to look! 

Being from Canada, I have been to Vancouver countless times. Each time I visit, I cross a few different activities off my Vancouver bucket list. This time, however, I decided to move to Vancouver. I just love the city so much that I now can finally say I’m a local!

After all of my Vancouver adventures, I’ve come up with this list of the 50 BEST things to do in Vancouver. This list is composed of the most exciting, unique, and absolute best-rated ways to spend some time in Vancouver, Canada.

And since so many people call Vancouver “expensive” (and it can be), I have also included many activities that are cheap or even free things to do in Vancouver – so even those on a budget can enjoy this amazing city!

Table Of Contents
  1. Our Favorite Things to do in Vancouver, Canada
  2. Getting Around Vancouver 
  3. Thanks for reading!
  4. Where to Stay in Vancouver, Canada
  5. Renting a Car in British Columbia

Our Favorite Things to do in Vancouver, Canada

1. Bike the Seawall in Stanley Park

Bailey bikes the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, BC
I love biking the seawall. Even as a local, I do it at least once a month!

This is number one on my list simply because it’s the most iconic thing to do in Vancouver. Stanley Park is one of Canada’s most famous parks, and it’s conveniently located right in the heart of the city. Even if you’re only spending one day in Vancouver, I highly recommend you make time to visit Stanley Park.

Stanley Park itself is over 4km² (1.4mi²), so it’s pretty big! You can walk around the park, but it will take a long time. That is why bicycling in Stanley Park has become so popular. In particular, people cycle along the seawall, which has an allocated bicycle lane.

The seawall wraps all the way around the outer edge of Stanley Park along the water’s edge. During the entire ride, you’ll get amazing views and even be able to stop at a beach (or two) for a break and swim.

The cycle trail around the Stanley Park seawall is 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) long and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to cycle at a moderate pace. There are many different bicycle shops near the entrance to Stanley Park, where you can rent a bike. Expect to pay around $20 CAD for an hour-and-a-half rental.

You can also just join a bicycle tour in Stanley Park. Our pick is this particular bicycle tour that includes cycling around Stanley Park and going to a few other main attractions such as Gastown, Chinatown, and taking the Aqua Ferry over to Granville Island! And the best part? It is a full-day guided tour that doesn’t cost much more than you would pay for a bicycle rental for the day!

Of course, if you don’t overly love riding bikes, you can also enjoy a walk through Stanley Park. Get yourself an Uber to Stanley Park Brewing and begin your walk from there. Be warned, though, the park is huge, and you can’t walk it all in a day!

2. Check out the many craft breweries

Drinking craft beer at Port Moody, Vancouver
Craft beer in Vancouver!

The craft beer scene in Canada is booming, and Vancouver is a huge part of it. Around Vancouver, there are dozens of different breweries that you can visit on your own or on a brewery tour and try some of their locally-made craft beer.

I personally love Granville Island Brewing. Not only do they have great beer and are located on Granville Island (a must-visit place in Vancouver) but they also offer brewery tours. Tours run multiple times daily and cost $12 CAD per person. This fee covers your guided tour of the brewery and also a tasting flight of beer at the end!

Another great brewery to visit in downtown 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. Take a stroll and you’ll find breweries such as Faculty Brewing Co., Brewhall, Tree Brewing Co., 33 Acres Brewing Company, and Main Street Brewing Co., just to name a few. Seriously, there are too many to try – even for a local!

If you don’t mind getting a little bit out of the city center, you can head to Port Moody. Near Rocky Point Park, you’ll find a few different craft breweries all next to each other – perfect for your own self-guided brewery tour. I personally love visiting Twin Sails Brewing. They always have plenty of creative brews on tap and for sale to take away.

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, where you can try tons of local beer.

At each brewery, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at how the beer is made – a super cool tour if you ask me! Plus, it includes transport so you can drink as much as you want without having to worry about a designated driver. Tickets for this tour cost $125 CAD per person and can be booked online here.

3. Sunset Harbour Dinner Cruise

Bailey and Daniel on a sunset cruise in Vancouver, BC
The views were spectacular!
Bailey with a bottle of wine oin a sunset cruise in Vancouver, BC
I got a little too close to the wine!

Doesn’t a sunset cruise in Vancouver just sound fantastic!? Nothing quite says you’re on holiday like dinner, drinks, and a magical Vancouver sunset, all while out on the water.

A cruise on the harbor is fun on its own (and there are many different types of cruises to choose from in Vancouver), but for me, this sunset cruise, complete with dinner and drinks, was my favorite. I loved the cruise so much that I decided to take my mom the last time she visited Vancouver!

The cruise set sail from the wharf near Coal Harbour, and we first headed under the Lions Gate Bridge and out to Kitsilano. As the sun began to set, we enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner complete with local salmon, roast beef, vegetables, salads, and more. Honestly, it was a fantastic dinner. Chocolate cake and cheesecake for dessert was also the perfect way to finish it all off.

We washed it down with a few too many wines, and by the time the cruise was over, we had made some beautiful memories with even better views. Oh, and did I mention the live music on board?

The sunset cruise cost us $211 CAD, and considering dinner and the service fee was included, the sunset cruise was good value.

4. Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge

View of the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada
The forest around the bridge is so beautiful. It’s no wonder so many people love BC!

Visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge is another iconic Vancouver activity. It’s located only a 20-minute drive from Vancouver city center and, here, you can walk the treetop walk and cross the world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is the name of the entire area (including the huge bridge with the same name). Here, you can explore various trails through the forest and read information boards about the area. You’ll also embark on a treetop walk, including crossing various hanging bridges. There’s also a pretty cool (and scary if you’re afraid of heights) glass-floor lookout.

You only need an hour or two to explore, and the entrance fee is $66 CAD for adults. They also run a free shuttle from downtown, so you don’t have to worry about getting there. You can find out more info about the shuttle here.

They limit the number of people who can enter at any one time, so it’s a great idea to buy your tickets in advance. When you purchase your tickets, you’ll select a time and date to guarantee your entry.

Hot tip: For something extra special, consider visiting Vancouver in the winter, when the entire place is lit up like a Christmas tree – it’s so beautiful!

5. Go out for brunch

Two breakfast meals at Cafe Medina, Vancouver, BC
How good does the food at Cafe Medina look?
A coffee at Cafe Medina, Vancouver, BC
The coffee is also fantastic at Cafe Medina!

Although Vancouver is the best city to get out and explore nature, you can’t look past the food. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed living here so much!

On the days you want to take it easy and maybe start your morning slow, why not get brunch? Brunch is easily my favorite meal of the day in Vancouver, partly because there are so many fantastic cafés to try. These top cafés in Vancouver are creative and offer colorful food that you can only find at specialty brunch restaurants.  

The top places that I’ve personally tried and tested for you are:

Café Medina – This is one of the most popular brunch places in all of Vancouver, and for good reason! Their signature is their Belgian waffles, which people come to pick up for takeaway too! However, what I love are their Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean-inspired breakfast pots.

My favorite is the Fricassée, which comes with melt-in-your-mouth Braised Short Ribs and two eggs. Café Medina is located in the downtown core on Richards Street, so it’s ideal for visitors.

Jam Café – Okay, so this next place is actually the most popular brunch place in all of Vancouver! Jam Cafe is famous for its over-the-top breakfast meals that include a fried chicken eggs benedict (my favorite). The only problem with Jam Cafe is the huge line that runs down the street every day! Seriously, expect an hour’s wait to get a table unless you arrive when they open. Worth it? Yes!

Jam Cafe has two locations in Vancouver. One near Gastown and the other out at Kitsilano.

Yolks – If you love eggs for brunch, this is the spot for you! Yolks serve mostly egg dishes with pairings of maple-smoked ham, pork belly, or hash browns made in truffle oil. Yolks also has two locations, on Hastings in East Vancouver and on West Broadway Street in Mt Pleasant. Personally, I only go to the Mt Pleasant location.

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.  

6. Visit Kitsilano

Bailey sits at the Boatshed Restaurant in Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC
Enjoying the view at sunset from The Boathouse at Kits Beach.
Ramen from Ramen Danbo in Vancouver, BC
The famous Ramen from Danbo – one of the best restaurants in Kitsilano!!

Without a doubt, my favorite beach in Vancouver is Kitsilano Beach, or as we locals call it, Kits Beach.

But Kitsilano is more than just one of the best beaches in Vancouver. It’s a neighborhood filled with trendy bars, restaurants, and shops. Going for a stroll on the beach at sunset and then heading out for dinner and drinks afterward is a perfect way to spend an evening in Vancouver.

My recommendation is to make sure you visit the beach for sunset, especially in the peak summer months. You’ll find the beach full of locals playing games, drinking, and just having a good time. The atmosphere is electric!

After or before, consider going for dinner or drinks. If you love seafood and fantastic views, I highly suggest The Boathouse Restaurant. The restaurant has the best view of the beach, and I’ve spent many sunsets up there enjoying cocktails and seafood. The restaurant is reasonably priced, especially for its location.

Another place in downtown Kits, a short walk from the beach, is Danbo Ramen. It’s well-known as one of the best ramen restaurants in Vancouver, and I love it! You need to book in advance, and there is often a 45-minute wait, so plan ahead.

There are also lots of other activities in Kitsilano, including the waterfront public swimming pool, kayaking, biking, the Kits Farmers Market, as well as the Maritime Museum.

Getting to Kits is also easy with either Uber, the bus, or the aqua ferry. False Creek Ferries operate this route, and you can get here from any of the False Creek stops (more on that below in the getting around Vancouver section).

7. Get out and go hiking!

man sitting at the top of Tunnel Bluffs Hike
What a view up at Tunnel Bluffs!

Vancouver is the number one major city in Canada for hiking. There are hikes you can do all over the surrounding mountains with popular mountains such as Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain, and Mount Seymour. Seriously, you need to get out of the city and go hiking at least once while in Vancouver.

But what are the best hikes in Vancouver? Well, I’m glad you asked. As a hiker myself, I know tons of hiking trails around Vancouver. Some of my favorites include:

Tunnel Bluffs – Tunnel Bluffs is a more unknown hike in Vancouver, located around 45 minutes outside the city. It’s one of my favorite sunset hikes and is 6 km (3.7 mi) each way. I rate it as moderate, and most of the trail is on an access road. There is a small parking lot at the trailhead, which requires paid parking, but it’s so worth it. Allow around 4 hours (for the hike and parking).

Grouse Grind – Those who have completed the Grouse Grind wear it as a badge of honor, and for good reason. It’s one of the more difficult hikes in Vancouver. Despite being only 2.5 km (1.5 mi) each way, the trail climbs a whopping 850 m (2,788 ft) in elevation. It’s one steep hike, but it ends at the top of Grouse Mountain. Of course, if you don’t want to hike the trail, you can also take the gondola up and down.

St Marks Summit – St Marks Summit is a very similar hike to Tunnels Bluffs, but St Marks is definitely a busier trail. The trail begins from Cypress Ski Resort and is 11 km (6.8 mi) return. There is a moderate elevation gain of 450 m (1,476 ft), and you should allow 4 hours to hike the trail. The view from the top is out of this world!

Mount Seymour – This next hike takes you a little further out of Vancouver to Mount Seymour. The trail begins from the ski resort and is 9 km (5.6 mi) out and back. It’s not my favorite hike out of the four I’ve mentioned, but it’s still beautiful. Once again, allow around 4 hours for this trail.

These are some of the harder hiking trails in Vancouver. I mention more below that are more like walks as opposed to hikes. Perfect for those not in Vancouver to go hiking in the mountains!

8. Go whale watching

Orcas swim through the waters near Vancouver, Canada
Orcas are beautiful creatures!

Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Vancouver is to go on a whale-watching tour. From out on the open water, you’ll have the opportunity to spot various types of whales, including Humpback whales and, my favorite, Orcas. But besides whales, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot other wildlife, including seabirds, seals, and otters.

Vancouver is surrounded by water, so you’ll cruise around the Gulf and the San Juan Islands, taking in the picturesque scenery while looking out for whales. With so many around, it’s very likely you’ll see a few! In fact, the cruise I did guarantees you’ll see them, or you can return for a free cruise. On our cruise, we saw lots of whales, including a pod of five Orcas!

The best time of year to go whale watching in Vancouver is from May to October. For the half-day whale watching tour that we did, you can expect to pay about $236 CAD. Tea and coffee are included on the tour as well as expert naturalists to teach you all about the whales and the area.

Honestly, seeing Orcas has always been a dream of mine, and I am so glad I finally got to see them!

9. Walk Lynn Canyon

A lady on the Lynn Canyon Suspension bridge
The best free suspension bridge in Van!
A waterfall in Lynn Canyon, Vancouver
It’s a small natural paradise!

For an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and a taste of nature, head to Lynn Canyon. Here, there is a gorgeous nature walk that also takes you on one of the most beautiful suspension bridges in Vancouver (yes, even better than the Capilano Suspension Bridge!).

You’ll wander the forest, peer down from the bridge at the river below, and just enjoy the serenity. It’s one of the top BC attractions for a reason! It’s just gorgeous, and unlike Capilano, it’s completely free to visit.

You could spend the entire day there too. In fact, we have this spot on our 3-day Vancouver itinerary because it’s a place you don’t want to miss, even if you’re not in the city for long. I really recommend hiking one of the many trails, such as the popular Baden Powell Trail!

This epic trail actually leads all the way to Deep Cove and is 12 km (7.4 mi) one way. I’ve never hiked the entire trail, but when I visit Lynn Canyon, I like to hike the first few kilometers before turning back.

There is one problem, though, Lynn Canyon can be very busy. At times during the summer, there can be multiple busloads of people, making what is supposed to be a city escape even more hectic than the streets of Yaletown.

My best advice (and a local tip) is to go first thing in the morning. Head over to Lynn Canyon early (before 9 am), and you’ll beat the crowds! That is what I do every time, and I get to enjoy the area without the crowds.

If you don’t have your own transport (or are worried about getting parking), consider this guided tour to Lynn Canyon! It includes pick-up/drop-off as well as a guide to show you around the trails at Lynn Canyon. I can’t overstate how useful it is to be joined by a guide, especially if you want to learn all there is to know about this beautiful area.

10. Walk around Gastown

Bailey walks around Gastown in Vancouver, BC
Gastown is such a beautiful neighborhood!

Gastown is one very unique neighborhood in Vancouver. Not only is it the oldest area in Vancouver (it has cobblestone streets to prove it) it is also one of the trendiest. The old European-style streets are lined with boutique shops, cafés, and bars, perfect for enjoying a drink.

Head into Gastown for a few hours of exploring and maybe even do some shopping. If you’re here for brunch or breakfast, stop in at the Twisted Fork. It’s my personal favorite!

After, take a stroll along Water Street and check out some of the boutique stores. This is also where you’ll find lots of souvenir shops if that’s your thing. Be sure to check out the old Steam Clock. It’s a famous landmark in the city, and every hour on the hour, the clock comes to life.

Finish your time in Gastown with a drink. If you want a cheap place, check out the Cambie, which has $5 CAD happy hour deals. They also often have live music.

If you want a delicious cocktail that is a bit pricier but totally worth it, check out The Diamond cocktail bar right on Powell Street. Otherwise, just wander around and stop in at any patio or bar that catches your eye – there are so many!

For something really unique, you can try out one of Vancouver’s top tours with this Lost Souls of Gastown Walking Tour. It tours Gastown at night and tells the story of Vancouver’s rough and rowdy past. You’ll see all of Gastown’s famous sites, as well as a gothic theater. If you’ve never been on one of these after-dark walking tours, you’re in for a treat – I always have so much fun!

11. Ride in a Seaplane!

Vancouver city view of the False Creek area from a float plane tour
Flying into Vancouver on a seaplane!

One of the most iconic features of Vancouver are the seaplanes that take off and land in the harbor every day, all day. These seaplanes are not only a form of transport but also the gateway to the best seat in the house with views over Vancouver.

To me, this was the most exciting thing I have done in Vancouver, but I kept it further down the list simply because not everyone will be able to do this activity.

The scenic flight I did was the 20-minute Vancouver City seaplane tour. Although short, it was such a fantastic experience, and we got to see so much of the city and surrounding mountains. The best part is, it only cost $177 CAD! Can you believe that?

Aside from the views, taking off and landing on the water was a brand-new experience for me. I must admit, I was a little scared! Don’t worry, though – the pilots are trained professionals.

There are a ton of seaplane tours to choose from in Vancouver, depending on where you’re heading and your budget. There are flights to Tofino, Victoria, Whistler, and even Seattle! There are actually even tours like this full-day experience that combines a seaplane flight with whale watching for a really special day.

Related Read: Vancouver is also an epic place to take a helicopter flight if you’ve always wanted to try that!

12. Explore Deep Cove and climb Quarry Rock

Bailey at Quarry Rock in Deep Cove, North Vancouver, Canada
The hike is easy, and the views are breathtaking!

North Vancouver is gorgeous. Many tourists never actually venture as far as North Vancouver, but in my opinion, they should! The Deep Cove area is located across the harbor in North Vancouver, only about half an hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver. It is also easily reached by public transport or by driving.

In Deep Cove, you’ll find cute cafés, restaurants, art galleries, and a waterfront park where you could easily spend a few hours relaxing at. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can pass up Honey Doughnuts & Goodies (you can thank me later!) Or, if you love craft beer, head to Deep Cove Brewing. They have my all-time favorite beer, the Secret Beach Mango Pineapple Sour.

Just next to the park on the water is the Quarry Rock hiking trail. This hike only takes about 2 hours total and is about 4.2 km (2.6 mi) out and back. The trail is well-maintained but does offer some tougher sections of steep inclines and stairs.

At the end of the trail, you’ll end at Quarry Rock – a large rock with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and Vancouver city.

This hike is short and beautiful. As such, it can get very busy with both tourists and locals. I recommend visiting first thing in the morning in order to avoid the crowds as much as possible and ensure you can find a parking space. Visiting during the week isn’t a bad idea either, since weekends tend to be busier.

Head down to #46 for a great activity to add to your visit to Deep Cove!

13. Join a Food Tour

Food samples on our food tour through Gastown in Vancouver, Canada

Foodies will love Vancouver because there is so much amazing food to try! However, it can be hard to know where to even start. A food tour will let you in on all of the best local spots for amazing food.

When we went on a food tour in Vancouver, we tried everything from sushi to poutine to ice cream (and more!). Our guide was a Vancouver local who had a passion for food and was excited to show us all of his favorite restaurants that took him years to discover.

We went on this food tour while in Vancouver and loved it. We ate so much food that we were stuffed for days (well, not really – but pretty close!) The tour costs around $130-$135 CAD per person, which is pretty good considering it includes so much food!

The food tour we did was in Gastown, a beautiful area of downtown Vancouver. Our guide taught us about the history of the area as well as the best food to try. We ate at several different spots that really showcased the best of not only Vancouver cuisine but iconic Canadian food too.

It was a great way to spend a few hours and easily is one of the best things to do in Vancouver (especially if you consider yourself a “foodie!”).

Hot Tip: Make a food tour one of the first things you do when you get to Vancouver. This way, you can return to your favorite restaurants throughout the duration of your time in the city.

14. Have a cocktail at one of North America’s best bars

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

Vancouver is home to lots of top places to grab a delicious and unique cocktail. However, none compare to The Keefer Bar in Chinatown. They serve over 25 unique cocktails and everyone who visits, including me, loves them.

Two of my favorite cocktails are Chinatown Sour and Fantasy Island! They also serve fantastic food, although I usually only go for cocktails.

The Keefer Bar was voted not only one of the top 50 bars in North America but also one of the top 3 bars in Canada. This has made this place famous, and people travel from all over Vancouver to check it out.

You won’t find this place in many blogs, partly because the locals love to keep it secret. That’s why I needed to move here to discover the real Vancouver!

Hot Tip: Reservations are highly recommended to visit the Keefer Bar. Plan in advance and book a table a few days ahead of time!

15. Go kayaking in False Creek

Kayaking at False Creek in Vancouver
Kayaking at False Creek in Vancouver

False Creek is a narrow inlet in the center of Vancouver. It separates areas such as Yaletown and West End with Olympic Village and Granville Island. You’ll certainly see lots of False Creek while in Vancouver, but one of the best things to do is go kayaking!

The calm waters of False Creek offer incredible views of Vancouver city, including the Stadium. From many different areas around the city, you can jump on a kayak and explore False Creek on a nice, leisurely ride.

In False Creek, it is also common to see seals! If you’re lucky, they may swim up not too far from your kayak. But besides seals, you’ll also be able to spot a variety of birds and fish.

You can rent your kayaks from a few different locations around Vancouver. My local is in the Olympic Village, where Creekside Kayaks can hook you up for $25 CAD per hour for a single kayak or $50 CAD per hour for a double kayak. Rentals are available from 11 am to 6 pm from mid-May to the end of September.

Or, head to Kitsilano Beach, where Vancouver Water Adventures will rent you a kayak for $40 CAD for two hours. It’s slightly cheaper, but this is the outer area of False Creek, and I much prefer the Olympic Village area. Plus, if you choose the Olympic Village, after your kayak, you can explore the area which is conveniently next on this list!

For the keen kayaker: Want to get out and explore further? Join this guided kayaking and SUP tour. It takes you by boat to an island in Howe Sound, where you can then explore by kayak! This area is stunning and a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a couple of hours.

16. Wander Olympic Village

Waterfront area of Olympic Village
See you out there!

My local stomping ground in Vancouver is Olympic Village, and I actually live just on the outskirts near the science center. It’s such a fantastic area that you need to explore while you’re in Vancouver. You never know – we might even bump into each other!

Originally built for the 2010 Winter Olympics that were hosted in Vancouver, Olympic Village is now a fun area to walk, explore, dine, and drink. You can enjoy a variety of beer gardens, harbor views, and a selection of restaurants.

Personally, I can never pass up the chance to grab an ice-cold beer from Craft Beer Market. Or for sunset, I always head to Tap & Barrel for their huge waterfront patio. If you’re looking for a coffee, my local favorite is Terra Breads. They serve amazing pastries, and the coffee is highly sought after in Vancouver.

Afterward, take a walk along the water. The coastline is beautiful here. If the weather is nice, walk out to Habitat Island and watch the ferries and boats sail past, it’s so relaxing.

You can reach the Olympic Village on the train or by bus, but you can also take the famous Aqua Ferry. The stop called The Village is where you need to go, and it arrives right near Tap and Barrel.

17. Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola

The Sea to Sky Gondola travels up the mountain near Squamish in BC, Canada
On the way up!
Bailey stands on a viewpoint at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola, BC
This is such a great viewpoint!

The Sea to Sky Gondola is a well-known attraction I absolutely loved just outside of Vancouver and near Squamish. The views were out of this world, and the gondola ride was very affordable, considering how far up the mountain it took us!

The Sea to Sky Gondola is located along the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Squamish, about 45 minutes from Vancouver. The drive itself is very scenic and a worthwhile activity on its own!

After an equally scenic trip up the gondola to the top of Mount Habrich, you’ve now unlocked a ton of trails to explore and can even visit a daunting, but beautiful suspension bridge called the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge!

My favorite trail up here is the Panorama Trail, which leads to a wooden viewing deck with uninterrupted views of Howe Sound. Tickets for the gondola ride start from $72 CAD and should be booked in advance, as this is quite a popular activity.

If you don’t have your own transport, there are also day tours available from Vancouver. This tour from Vancouver includes transport to and from the Sea to Sky Gondola (as well as your gondola ticket) before continuing to Whistler and the stunning Brandywine Falls. It’s an epic day trip from Vancouver that any mountain-lover will enjoy.

18. Visit Grouse Mountain

Top of the Grouse Grind where the gondola is at Grouse Mountain, Vancouver
Grouse Mountain!
The Skyride heads up Grouse Mountain, Vancouver at sunset
The Skyride heads up Grouse Mountain at sunset

Grouse Mountain is one of Vancouver’s most popular ski hills. Although a popular ski resort, Grouse Mountain isn’t just for those looking to hit the slopes. In fact, all year round you can ride their Skyride (cable car) to the top of the mountain, where you’ll get views of Vancouver as well as have access to a variety of different activities.

Some of the most popular activities include a visit to the Wildlife Refuge (where you can usually see Grizzly Bears), the Lumber Jack show, ziplining, a ropes course, and there are even restaurants!

In the winter, the activities differ slightly, but they have an ice skating rink, light walk, snowshoeing, and evening a “Sliding Zone” for sledding.

A ticket costs $87 CAD, including tax, and you can ride the shuttle from downtown to Grouse Mountain for free! Some activities at the top of the mountain are free, while others have an additional fee.

Budget Tip: If you don’t want to pay for the Skyride, you can actually hike to the top of Grouse Mountain on a trail locals refer to as “The Grouse Grind.” Just note, it isn’t an easy hike and is pretty straight up the entire way.

19. Explore Granville Island

Bailey wonders the Granville Island Market in Vancouver, BC
The Granville Island Market!
Bailey drinks a beer at Granville Island Brewing
You had me at craft beer!

No trip to Vancouver is complete without checking out Granville Island. For those who don’t know, Granville Island is a small island (well, kind of, it is technically attached to the mainland) accessed by either boat or car right in the downtown area. On Granville Island, there are a few different things to do and explore. My personal favorite, though, is the Granville Island Public Markets.

The markets offer fresh produce, meat, and fish, souvenirs, as well as many stalls where you can have a tasty meal. There is literally so much food at the Granville Island Markets; it’s a great place to go for lunch!

One of my favorite stalls is Lee’s Donuts which is well known as the best place to get donuts in Vancouver. I also really love the stalls with fresh pasta. I often pick some up when I have friends coming to visit – they are gourmet!

Other things to do on Granville Island include shopping, watching street performers, joining a boat tour, going to the Kid’s Markets, or even checking out the brewery.

You can get to Granville Island by taxi or bus, but the most popular (and most fun) way to get to Granville is by riding the Aquabus Ferry from the city center.

The ferry runs continually throughout the day and will pick you up from a couple of different stops in the city and take you right to Granville Island. The ferry starts at $4.50 CAD and accepts both cash and credit card. Not only is it a method of public transport – it’s a fun thing to do on its own!

20. Tour the Butchart Gardens and Victoria

Stairs leading up to a viewpoint at The Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC
Honestly, it’s memorizing!
The history and architecture is rich in Victoria!

If you don’t have time to explore Vancouver Island for a few days, it doesn’t mean you can’t visit on a day trip from Vancouver! Victoria is actually the capital of BC and is a historic city that always reminds me of Europe.

Without a doubt, everyone must visit the island and see the beautiful city of Victoria and, of course, the famous Butchart Gardens!

The Butchart Gardens are nothing short of phenomenal and will likely be the most beautiful gardens you’ve ever seen. There are over 55 acres of gardens, 900 bedding plant varieties, and 26 greenhouses. In fact, it takes over 50 full-time gardeners to maintain them all!

In order to get to the gardens, you’ll have to ride the ferry over to the island. It is about a 90-minute ferry ride, and then the gardens are only an hour’s drive away. Afterward, you can explore Victoria and all of its attractions before heading back to Vancouver.

The entrance to the gardens without a tour is $27 to $42 CAD (depending on the dates you visit), but be sure to bring extra money in case you want to have lunch, a glass of wine, or buy a souvenir! Tickets can be bought online or at the gate in person.

You can go on your own, or you can book a Butchart Gardens tour. Tours might just be the better option since transport is all organized for you – otherwise, this can quickly add up! One of the most popular tours from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens is actually this Victoria and Butchart Gardens day tour.

At 13 hours long, it’s certainly filled with fantastic stops, including the scenic ferry to Vancouver Island, a tour of downtown Victoria, and a visit to the gardens. I particularly love this tour as the guides are just so friendly and helpful, and it is a super convenient way to visit Victoria.

21. Rent a speed boat in Coal Harbor

Bailey and her friend on a boat rental from Coal Harbour in Vancouver, BC
So much fun!

Coal Harbour is a gorgeous place, but it’s even more beautiful from out on the water! Get a group of people together and rent a speed boat for a couple of hours. You don’t even need a boat license to drive. The rental company actually issues you a temporary one!

It costs about $110 CAD per hour (for up to 6 people), but they offer discounts for the more hours you rent them. We just did a two-hour rental and really enjoyed it. We took the boat out to Indian Arm and Deep Cove and visited Twin Island.

Two hours is the minimum amount of time I would recommend, as this way, you can actually get out and explore. In fact, on weekends, two hours is the minimum rental time.

We rented from Coal Harbour Boat Rentals and had a great experience with this company! The folks running the show were so kind and took their time to make sure we had a safe and fun experience.

I highly recommend this fun afternoon activity in Vancouver, especially if you’re traveling in a group!

22. Spend a day at Alouette Lake

A lady stands in the water at Alouette Lake with mountain views in BC
How gorgeous is this lake!?

A visit to Alouette Lake makes for a superb summer day trip from Vancouver. Why? Well, first of all, it’s huge and ideal for swimming, boating, or even fishing! Second of all, it’s only an hour’s drive from the city!

Alouette Lake is located in Golden Ears Provincial Park. Here, you’ll find lots of hiking trails, campsites, and of course, the beach at Alouette Lake. Chances are you will love it and won’t want to leave, so maybe take advantage of the campsites and spend a night or two.

Regardless, Lake Alouette is a very unknown thing to do in Vancouver that’s actually more of a local secret than a tourist attraction. But, take my word for it. This place is so beautiful!

While you’re at Alouette Lake, you might as well tackle one of the best easy hikes in Vancouver – Golden Creek Falls.

The Gold Creek Falls hike is fairly short, at just over 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) for a roundtrip. The minimal elevation gain makes it a fun, family-friendly activity during the summer months.

You can start right from the parking lot and head towards the trail. The views are typical for this area as a west coast rainforest – dense trees and moss-blanketed forest floor.

After 15 minutes of hiking, you’ll see Gold Creek on your left, as well as views of the mountains all around. You’ll likely hear the falls before seeing them! Once at the Gold Creek Falls, enjoy the sound of rushing water before continuing on to complete the loop.

23. Check out the Vancouver Lookout

Vancouver lookout at sunset
Vancouver Lookout at sunset

The Vancouver Lookout is one of the best places to enjoy views of Vancouver’s skyline. It’s so fun to go up into the clouds 169 m (554 ft) above Vancouver and enjoy the panoramic views during the day, night, or sunset.

To get to the top, you’ll get into a glass elevator and take a 40-second ride up to the top viewing deck, where you can see Vancouver from up above! From up top, you get a 360-degree view of the city!

The Lookout is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. It costs $18.25 CAD for an adult, and you can find it here on Google Maps. If you’re planning a special event, you can also rent the space for weddings or events!

24. Vancouver Aquarium

Seals during a show at the Vancouver Aquarium
The seal show is fantastic to watch!
Penguins at the Vancouver Aquarium
Penguins at the Vancouver Aquarium

Being on the coast, Vancouver sees its fair share of sea life. But it isn’t always easy to find these guys in the wild – that’s where an aquarium comes in!

The Vancouver Aquarium has more than 60,000 aquatic creatures, including sea lions, fish, turtles, sea otters, and sea lions.

The aquarium actually banned the captivity of dolphins and whales due to their inability to provide a suitable environment for the animals – a ban we love! There are still some dolphins at the aquarium but no more whales, with both being phased out.

What I like most about the Vancouver Aquarium is that they are a conservation project. It’s a non-profit, so your entrance fee goes towards a few really neat projects to help protect sea life! Of course, wildlife does belong in the wild, but there is a line where education and research can help the future of all species.

Admission to the aquarium starts from $42 CAD for an adult, which is the discounted price if you buy online in advance!

25. Eat your way down Main Street

Lucky's Doughnuts, Vancouver
Yum! Photo credit – Lucky’s Doughnuts

Mount Pleasant – the neighborhood surrounding Main Street – is another area that is totally worth your while. This is very much hipster-central, so if you are into records, craft beer, vegan food, and flannel shirts, then this is your place!  

One of the primary reasons to go to Main Street is to eat, and here are some of my recommendations:  

  • East is East – An amazing restaurant that takes inspiration from the “silk and spice road” in Asia and the Middle East.
  • Meet on Main – This is a popular vegan restaurant with two other locations in Vancouver. You’ve got to try their Mac N’ Cheez bowl – so good, and you won’t believe it’s made with cashew cheese!
  • 49th Parallel Coffee & Lucky’s Doughnuts – They serve Lucky’s donuts here which are some of the best you can try – my favorite is the peanut butter and jelly donut! They have a great $5 CAD coffee and donut deal here.
  • Earnest Ice Cream – This ice cream is so good. So good that there is always a line up out the door to get some. I promise it’s worth it! They have amazing flavors like Rhubarb Oat Crumble or London Fog – so good.

26. Visit the Richmond Night Market

Arial view of the Richmond Night Market
The market is huge!
Bailey with some food at the Richmond Night Market, Vancouver
This was a crayfish fried chicken taco lol!

Without a doubt, the most popular and vibrant market in Vancouver is the Richmond Night Market.

Located a few metro stops outside the city, the Richmond Night Market could be mistaken for an Asian market overseas. However, this market showcases some of the best and most interesting Asian cuisines in Vancouver. This includes things such as sushi tacos, deep-fried squid, dumplings, and more. On top of that, you can find Canadian treats such as smoked meats, poutine, and even beaver tails (the dessert.)

However, the Richmond Night Market isn’t just about food. There is also a market section selling things from unique handcrafts to cheap clothing and toys. For the kids, there are carnival games, bouncy castles, and more. It’s one of the largest markets I have ever been to.

The Richmond Night Market operates from April to October and on Friday (7 pm to 12 am), Saturday (6 pm to 12 am), and Sunday (7 pm to 11 pm) nights.

The Richmond Night Market is located at 8351 River Road, one block away from Bridgeport Station on the Canada Line. You can get there from stops in the downtown area, such as Waterfront, Vancouver City Center, Yaletown, and Olympic Village.

There is an entry fee of $6 CAD and if you go any time before 8 pm, expect to wait in a huge line. With that said, there is a skip-the-line pass you can purchase when you are there that can get up to 6 people in for $35 CAD. It can be used multiple times and for large groups. This is what I do!

The event is pretty much all cash, and food items are not overly cheap, so be sure to bring enough.

27. Go to the Science Center

The outside of the Vancouver Science Center
The Science Center is a very unique building that suits Vancouver’s skyline!

The Science Centre in Vancouver is highly rated and really interesting. To me, it’s the perfect thing to do in Vancouver on a rainy day!

Located right in the city, the Science Center offers a range of different exhibits, shows, and interactive displays guaranteed to keep you busy for a couple of hours.

The entrance costs $35 CAD for an adult, but if you want to watch an IMAX film, it’ll be an additional cost. They also offer discounted rates for seniors, children, and students (with ID).

Hours of operation vary seasonally, so be sure to check out the Science Center website before you go for their opening hours and what’s on that day!

28. Enjoy a meal or drinks at a waterfront restaurant

View of Mahony's Tavern in False Creek, Vancouver
View of Mahony’s Tavern in False Creek, Vancouver

Vancouver is the perfect city to take a break and enjoy the views of the water. The best part is that Vancouver has no shortage of inviting waterfront restaurants to visit.

One of my favorites is Mahony’s Tavern, which is conveniently located at one of the aqua ferry stops in False Creek. Their huge outdoor deck sits above the water, and the views of the city from here are nothing short of mesmerizing. On a beautiful day, this place does get busy and not just for the view – the food is delicious, and they also have live music on weekends!

There is also a Mahony’s Tavern at the convention center on the other side of the city near Canada Place in Coal Harbour.

If you’re near Granville Island, check out The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant. This is well known as one of the best restaurants in Vancouver, and they serve fresh local seafood.

If you’re located near Coal Harbour, check out Cardero’s Restaurant. This place is highly reviewed and has gorgeous views of the marina. I love to stop here after exploring Stanley Park.

There are too many more to mention, but trust me, a meal on the water is one of the best things to do in Vancouver!

29. Day trip to Bowen Island

Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo on Bowen Island on a tour from Vancouver, Canada
We did the zodiac tour to Bowen Island!

Bowen Island is the closest island to Vancouver and a great place to escape the city and explore a quiet and peaceful place.

From Vancouver, it takes around 25 minutes to drive to Horseshoe Bay, where you can then get a BC Ferry with or without your vehicle over to the island. The ferry ride only takes 20 minutes and costs $12 CAD return without a vehicle. All up, I’d allow just over an hour to get there from Vancouver.

Once on the island, you can enjoy some of the best activities on offer, such as the hike to Dorman Point, going kayaking, visiting a beach, hiking up Mt. Gardner, and visiting Killarney Lake. It’s the island getaway you need!

Of course, you can also do some really cool tours over to Bowen Island, such as this Bowen Island Dinner and Zodiac Boat Tour. The tour includes a scenic ride in a Zodiac Boat over to the island where you will pass several landmarks and also a visit to a seal colony.

Once there, you will get to enjoy dinner with a drink at Doc Morgan’s. It’s not the cheapest tour, but it does combine some really neat activities for a fun day out!

30. Go on a boat tour to Granite Falls

View of Granite Falls on a zodiac tour from Vancouver
Explore the remote area of Deep Cove! Photo credit: Vancouver Water Adventures

Without a doubt, one of the most underrated tours in Vancouver is the boat tour from Granville Island down to Deep Cove.

On this fun, 3-hour adventure, you’ll hop in what’s known as a zodiac boat to explore False Creek, Lion’s Gate Bridge, and Stanley Park before making the epic adventure down Deep Cove to visit Granite Falls.

For those who don’t know, Granite Falls is a large waterfall located so deep in Deep Cove that it is only accessible by boat or kayak. It’s likely the reason you’ve never heard of it before.

Of course, the tour is so much more than just a visit to a waterfall. It’s a journey in which you’ll learn so much about Vancouver and get to see a side of the area that most don’t.

31. Hike “The Chief”

Bailey sits at the top of the Stawamus Chief, Vancouver
A man walks along the summit of Stawamus Chief

Commonly known as “The Chief,” the Stawamus Chief is another popular hike in Vancouver. The trail is located an hour from Vancouver towards Squamish and Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway, so it’s a great stop on this road trip.

From the trailhead (just off of the Sea to Sky Highway), you’ll start the hike on a wide trail. It quickly turns into a steep section of stairs. This is the most challenging section, so push through and take rests if needed.

You’ll then continue up the trail, through a trail junction with the Sea to Summit Trail, and continue towards one of the three peaks of The Chief. They are marked, and depending on your fitness level, you can do one or all three. I opted for the first, which, believe me, was enough of a workout on its own.

This hike is not one of the easiest hikes near Vancouver, but the views are worth it. You will have to use chains and ladders at some stages to climb over large rocks/cliffs. For that reason, this hike might be suited to those who are afraid of heights.

This is the perfect activity to combine with the next attraction on this list!

32. Day trip to Whistler

A lady walks along the edge of a lake near Whistler, BC
The scenery around Whistler is breathtaking!

If you’ve never been to Whistler before, it’s about time to go! Whistler is the cutest mountain town that’s famous for skiing and snowboarding in the winter and hiking and mountain biking in the summer!

But there are so many things to do in Whistler that you’re guaranteed to find something fun to keep you busy! In fact, just wandering along the pedestrian street in the Village is a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Of course, there are tons of nearby lakes to explore as well as wildlife to see. This includes lots of bears!

It takes around 2 hours to get from Vancouver to Whistler driving. You drive along the Sea to Sky Highway, which is a very scenic drive – you’ll likely stop a lot for photos, so allow extra time. If you think it’s a little rushed, then consider staying a night or two in Whistler to truly explore the area.

You could spend two nights in Whistler before continuing your Vancouver holiday and enjoy some of the hikes I have mentioned out this way. What the heck, you could even combine it with a trip to Bowen Island for the ultimate itinerary!

If you don’t have your own transport, you can visit Whistler on a quick tour from Vancouver. I really like this guided day tour because it includes a stop at the Sea to Sky Gondola (that I mentioned above on #17) as well as Whistler and the stunning Brandywine Falls.

Related Read: Check out our guide about where to stay in Whistler for info about all of the different areas and top-rated hotels!

33. Walk the Seawall

Bailey walks along the Vancouver Seawall
This is my daily route!
Daniel sits on a bench on the Vancouver Seawall
There are plenty of places to rest!

The first activity on this list of things to do in Vancouver was to bike the Stanley Park Seawall. However, the seawall is so much more than just Stanley Park.

In fact, I walk the Vancouver Seawall around inner Vancouver just about every day just for exercise. Not to mention, I love taking in the views of the city and enjoying the company of others.

The actual Vancouver Seawall stretches all the way from Stanley Park, past Yaletown, to Olympic Village, through Granville Island, and then finishes in Kitsilano. It is the longest uninterrupted waterfront path in the world, at 28 km (17 mi) long! Of course, walking the entire thing is difficult; however, I love to walk sections of the path on a daily basis.

Just find an area near you and start walking. If you need to cross False Creek, use the Aqua Bus or head up one of the bridges, Cambie Bridge is perfect for this!

34. Go to English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach, Vancouver
English Bay Beach is also a vibrant place!

English Bay Beach (often called First Beach) is the most popular beach right in the city – which is no surprise, it’s simply stunning! You can go for a swim, just enjoy the views, play volleyball, or even eat at one of the nearby restaurants.

If you would like to try a local favorite, head to the Cactus Club. This popular restaurant and bar is a top choice for those wanting great food and a vibrant atmosphere.

English Bay is in the city, so it’s easily accessible on foot, on public transport, or even by bicycle! In fact, if you plan on cycling the Stanley Park Seawall, a short stop at English Bay Beach is a great place to start.

35. Vancouver City sightseeing tour

Vancouver City on a sunny day in False Creek
Vancouver is stunning!

If you’re only in Vancouver for a couple of days, then one of the best ways to get to know the city is on a sightseeing tour. As much as I like to explore cities on my own, when I don’t have much time, I find that a guided tour is the best way to see and learn lots, all in a matter of a few hours!

There are a few different sightseeing tours to choose from. Some drive you around, some are cycling, and some are even walking tours! I personally recommend this particular city tour because it actually drives you around (wasting less time getting to places) and takes you to all of Vancouver’s highlights, including Granville Island, Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, and more!

This tour guarantees a small group and includes a 5-hour tour with hotel pick-up and drop-off. It’s a great way to see all of the best Vancouver attractions in one day without any planning required. This tour is $175 CAD per person.

36. Explore the Vancouver Art Gallery

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

If you’re into art, then the Vancouver Art Gallery is a must! Now, I have to be honest. This isn’t my favorite thing to do in Vancouver. Neither Daniel nor I really “get” art. However, for some, this gallery will blow you away.

First of all, the Vancouver Art Gallery is in a historic and beautiful building. Many people take photos on the steps, and actually, many movies are also filmed there. And then inside, there is a collection of international and local art. There are actually over 11,600 pieces of artwork in the gallery – so give yourself lots of time to explore.

The art gallery costs $29 CAD for an adult and is easily reached right in the city. They’re open daily (but closed on Tuesdays) from 10 am to 5 pm, except on Thursdays and Fridays, when they are open until 8 pm. Tickets can be purchased online or in person.

37. Go wine tasting in the Fraser Valley

Bailey enjoys a wine tasting at a winery near Vancouver, Canada
Ahh the perfect summer does exist!
Bailey tastes wine at Backyard vineyards near Vancouver
More wine, please!

Now this is one of my personal favorite activities to do in Vancouver! Anyone who knows me knows that I love wine, and the only thing I love more than wine is wine tours.

The Fraser Valley, just outside of Vancouver, is a beautiful wine region producing some really tasty wine. A wine tour to the Fraser Valley will take you around to some of the best wineries, and you get to sample all of the wine for yourself! Sounds like a good day if you ask me!

This Fraser Valley Wine tour is a five-hour tour that takes you to three different wineries where you get to try a minimum of 4 wines at each place. On top of that, lunch is included or if you’re not hungry, choose a charcuterie board instead. All of this for $180 CAD – it’s not a bad deal if you ask me!

The tour will pick you up and drop you off at your Vancouver hotel, so all you have to worry about is having a brilliant day!

Related Read: Love wine? Be sure to head to Kelowna and check out the amazing wineries there!

38. Explore Chinatown

The beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen traditional chinese gardens in downtown Vancouver
The beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen traditional Chinese gardens in downtown Vancouver

Vancouver has a very vibrant Chinatown right in the city! Why? Well, there is a huge Chinese population in Vancouver! In fact, approximately 27% of Vancouver’s population is Chinese.

In Chinatown, you’ll be able to visit a variety of shops and also eat some tasty Chinese food! If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry, there is a day tour in Chinatown that promises to show you some of the local’s favorite places!

Not keen on a tour? You can’t go wrong with either Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie or Chinatown BBQ. Try the dumplings at Bao Bei, and at Chinatown BBQ, go for the Peking Duck – you won’t be disappointed!

Chinatown is located right in the city (next to Gastown) and can be reached by walking from most Vancouver City hotels.

Located on the outskirts of Chinatown in Vancouver City center, there is a beautiful Chinese Garden well worth a wander. The gardens are relatively small and only take a couple of minutes to walk around, but they make for a great photo opportunity. Admission to the gardens is $16 CAD per person.

You can find the Chinese Gardens here on Google Maps.

39.  Go skiing/snowboarding

Lining up at the ski lift at Grouse Mountain
Lining up at the ski lift at Grouse Mountain

In the winter in Vancouver, you need to go skiing or snowboarding!

The most popular and closest places for hitting the slopes in Vancouver include Mt Seymour, Cypress Mountain, and Grouse Mountain. These three mountains are within 45 minutes of downtown Vancouver. A day of skiing or snowboarding costs around $70 CAD for adults and $25 CAD for children, depending on which resort you visit – that’s some of the cheapest skiing in Canada!

You can rent gear and even just get a day pass if you only want to spend one day. Of course, there are also multi-day and season passes available too.

The ski resorts near Vancouver typically open in December and close in May each year, depending on the weather conditions.

In the summer, the fun doesn’t end. You should still visit one of the mountains. In the summer, these ski mountains turn into awesome places for hiking or even mountain biking!

I personally really enjoyed walking the trails from the top of Mt Seymour. You can drive all the way to the top parking lot and then choose from a variety of different hiking trails from there. Mystery Lake is a great short hike that can be done in an hour or so!

40. Hike through Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver

A view of Lighthouse Park in Vancouver
The coastline here is stunning!

As a coastal city, there is no end to gorgeous beaches and walkways alongside the Pacific Ocean. One of our favorite places to enjoy the seaside is Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver. It will take you about 40 minutes to drive from downtown Vancouver, and we recommend going earlier to get a parking spot.

There are a lot of trails in this area where you can see some of the largest Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir trees. The trails are fairly easy, with minimal elevation gain. The walk to the lighthouse is only about 10 minutes along a wide path. There are plenty of picnic tables to have a view while taking in the gorgeous scenery!

Lighthouse Park is open from 7 am to 10 pm every day.

41. Go on a bike tour through the city

A group of people on a bike tour through Vancouver city
Get to know the city like a local! Photo credit: Cycle City Tours Vancouver

Vancouver is a city made for biking. There are pathways all around the city, making it a safe and easy place to explore. That’s why bike tours are so popular in the city.

In fact, a bike is the best way to explore. Not only can you travel faster and longer than on foot, but you also get to take in more of the city than if you traveled by car.

The best part is that there is this really high-rated bike tour in the city that I highly suggest doing. The Vancouver Highlights Bike Tour is the most highly-rated tour in the city and is 5 hours long.

In that time, you’ll explore most of Vancouver City, including Stanley Park, English Bay, the aqua ferry, Granville Island, False Creek, Olympic Village, Chinatown, including the garden, and Gastown. Talk about a comprehensive tour!

If you think all the riding sounds like too much, upgrade to an e-bike instead. Having that extra assistance will make riding around Vancouver a breeze! You can book this tour for $129 CAD.

You learn so much about the city on this tour, and this is one of the reasons I am so good at guiding people around Vancouver – it helps to learn from a long-term local.

42. Take the SeaBus to Lonsdale Quay

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie at the waterfront area of Lonsdale Quay, Vancouver
Lonsdale Quay is a stunning summer destination in Vancouver!

Vancouver has a great public transit system made up of buses, the SkyTrain, and, best of all, the SeaBus. For just the cost of a regular bus fare ($4.55 CAD/trip from Vancouver), you can jump on the SeaBus and take a scenic ride across Vancouver Harbour.  

The SeaBus goes between Waterfront Station in Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. It leaves every 15 minutes and takes 12 minutes to get across the Burrard Inlet.

Tons of people use this as their regular commute to work, but we think it’s a pretty fun way to explore! Plus, you can’t beat the views of the city, ocean, and mountains!

Once you get across to Lonsdale Quay Market, spend some time visiting the many shops and restaurants. There are shops and kiosks ranging from flowers to coffee to handicrafts – home to over 60 local vendors. After you’re done shopping, treat yourself to a coffee and treat at Shipyards Coffee!

43. Visit the Museum of Anthropology

Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver
Take a stroll inside and out! Photo credit – Depositphotos Gadzius

You probably already know this if you’ve spent any time researching Vancouver, but it can rain often. While the summer months can be gorgeous and sunny, you can never count out a rainy day here or there. Luckily, there are so many fun things to do in Vancouver when it rains!

One of the best indoor activities in Vancouver is the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), located on the campus of the University of British Columbia (or UBC, a gorgeous campus to walk around!). It’s about a 20-minute drive or bus ride from downtown.  

The museum’s goal is to promote awareness and understanding of cultural diversity and has many partnerships with Indigenous and global communities. They have a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples of British Columbia and offer rotating exhibits throughout the year.  

The MOA is $15 CAD per adult or $35 CAD per family; it is free for Indigenous peoples. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets can be bought online or in person.

44. Explore Commercial Drive

Eating Down Low Chicken at East Van Brewing
So good!
Having a beer at East Van Brewing
$1 CAD off, I’ll cheers to that!

Commercial Drive is a neighborhood just outside of downtown Vancouver that you will not want to miss. It has an eclectic array of shops, restaurants, and bars.

Commercial Drive definitely has its own quirky vibe, and you will love popping in and out of the many records or vintage clothing shops, old bookstores, new-age spirituality shops, and small grocery markets – definitely one of the more unique things to do in Vancouver. It’s the trendy, hipster part of Vancouver.

Even though Commercial Drive’s nickname is “Little Italy,” there are now restaurants from just about every country in the world. If you’re looking to try something new, this is the place to be! A lot of the restaurants and bars have live music and open mic nights, too – check out Café du Soleil if you are into that!

Also on Commercial Drive is the amazing DownLow Chicken Shack. This is my favorite place in the world to get a fried chicken sandwich! Seriously, this place is a must-try for chicken lovers.

The best part is, you can get your order to go and walk 1 minute over to East Van Brewing Company. They allow you to bring in outside food and even give you a $1 CAD discount on your first beer if you bring DownLow chicken! Craft beer and fried chicken, yes please!

Commercial Drive is easily accessible by SkyTrain – just get off at the Commercial-Broadway stop and walk down the street.  

45. Get moving with some yoga

woman poses with her arms up in a en empty yoga studio in Vancouver, BC
Yoga is super popular in Vancouver.

You’ve got to do some Yoga while in Vancouver – It is the city that launched Lululemon, after all! Vancouverites love their yoga as much as they love hiking, so there are tons of places to check out throughout the city.

Some of the popular yoga studios are YYoga or Oxygen Yoga, both with multiple locations around the city. A drop-in class is usually around $20 to $25 CAD. Some locations offer “Karma classes,” or pay-as-you-can models, such as Karma Teachers in Gastown.  

Most local community centers have drop-in yoga classes as well, and can be as cheap as $5 CAD/class.  

Personally, I don’t do yoga much and have yet to do it in Vancouver. I just much prefer heading to the mountains or bars and restaurants.

46. Go stand-up paddleboarding

woman wears a wetsuit on a standup paddleboard in Vancouver, Bc as the sun sets
Sunset is a beautiful time of day to SUP.

WhatSUP? SUP = Stand Up Paddleboard, of course! This is another popular activity in the Vancouver area, picking up a lot of interest alongside other more traditional water activities like canoeing and kayaking.  

You can kneel or stand on a paddleboard or even sit if needed. It’s a very relaxing way to spend some time on the water and does not require any special skill. There are a few areas to rent a SUP in Vancouver, but Cates Park in North Van is one of the best. They are situated on Indian Arm, near Deep Cove (see #12 above), and because it is a sheltered inlet, the water is calm.  

You can rent SUPs from Cates Park Paddling Centre for $39 CAD for 2 hours. You can also rent them for longer (up to 48 hours) or choose a kayak instead. They also offer lessons if you aren’t so confident on your own.

47. Attend a festival or event

Ladies cook at the The Greek Festival in downtown Vancouver!
Yummy! The Greek Festival in downtown Vancouver!

There always seems to be something going on in Vancouver. Festivals, shows, events – you name it! Some of the most popular annual events include the Pride Festival, music festivals, and film festivals. But there are literally hundreds more!

We actually went to the Greek Festival, and there were just blocks and blocks of vendors! There was tons of food, performers, and different stalls to check out.   

Another favorite of mine is Vancouver Craft Beer Week. It’s on every year in the summer, and you won’t be disappointed if you love craft beer!

48. Wander through Pacific Spirit Park

Bailey walks through Pacific Spirit Regional Park in Vancouver
Move over Stanley Park!
Two people walk along a boardwalk in Pacific Spirit Regional Park'
There’s another magnificent park in town!

After the hustle and bustle of exploring a new city, you might be looking for some peace and quiet. Luckily, Vancouver is home to a number of large parks. One of the best, Pacific Spirit Park, is a 750-acre park near the UBC campus.  

There are so many different walking trails, so you can spend as much time as you want to explore the dense West Coast forest. All trails are relatively flat, so it’s good for any skill level and is also dog-friendly!

Honestly, you’ll be so surprised by how far you feel from the city in this park!  

49. Eat fish and chips at Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf

Pakos fish and chips at Steveston Fisherman's Wharf in Vancouve
Bailey and Daniel at Steveston Fisherman's Wharf in Vancouver

Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf is located in Richmond, just a short drive south of Vancouver. Steveston is a preserved National Historic Site, and you can learn about the history of the area at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and Britannia Shipyards, which was once the epicenter of Canada’s fishing industry.

It’s now a preserved village that you can visit and see how fishermen and their families used to live!

Today, Fisherman’s Wharf is still bustling and active, with boats docked along it showing off their catch of the day. You can sample this fresh seafood in one of the many restaurants along the pier. My favorite is always to get fish and chips, and the best is found at Pajos!  

If you want to take a nice stroll after your dinner, there is over 80 km (50 mi) of dykes and trails in the area, so enjoy the scenic walk along the ocean! I personally love to head over to Garry Point Park.

50. Check Out Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach, Vancouver
I myself usually wear clothes, but it is optional!

This one might not be for everyone, but for those who are a little more open, you can check out Vancouver’s only clothes-optional beach. Wreck Beach is located just off the westernmost edge of the UBC campus, accessible by a steep set of stairs.  

This is honestly a beautiful beach with stunning scenery. But you’ll definitely have to put up with a different kind of scenery too… if you know what I mean! 

With that said, the beach isn’t often a full nudist beach. In fact, all the times I have been, 99% of people were clothed – including me! It’s one of the best beaches to watch the sunset due to its west-facing location.

Getting Around Vancouver 

Bailey riding the Aqua bus to Granville Island
As a local, I ride the Aqua Bus all the time!

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.


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 SkyTrain 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, 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.


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 $3.75 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 or

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 using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie on the water in Yaletown, Vancouver
Thanks for reading!

Thanks so much for reading our guide to all of the best things to do in Vancouver, Canada! We really hope this has helped inspire your visit here. We really love Vancouver and are sure you will too!

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.

How to Spend One Day in Vancouver, BC: An Ideal 1-Day Itinerary

50 EPIC Things to do in Banff, Canada

25+ BEST Things to do in Kelowna, BC


Sunday 6th of August 2023

So informative and helpful - we will be spending 4 days in Vancouver in July 2024 and using your article to guide us. Brilliant! Thank you so much 😊


Wednesday 24th of May 2023

one of the best blogs ever. every time I wanna plan a trip to BC, checking your blog is the first thing I do. really appreciate it.


Thursday 25th of May 2023

@destinationlesstravel, will do !


Wednesday 24th of May 2023

Hey Mamad,

Thank you so much!

Enjoy Vancouver!

Thanks Daniel

Rachel Frampton

Friday 18th of December 2020

My boyfriend and I are planning to go to Vancouver for our vacation, which is why I've decided to start looking for an airport transfer service that may fetch and drop us off. Well, thank you for sharing here that we should visit Stanley Park and bike around the area. It's also interesting to learn that there is a Granville Island Brewing that we may visit.