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Vancouver is a vibrant city with so much to offer, from food and culture to hiking and adventures like whale watching. We’ve spent the last few years living in Vancouver and know just how much fun you can have here. But we also know it’s a sprawling city – you could spend days exploring and still not see everything!
It can be hard to narrow down your Vancouver itinerary, which is exactly why we recommend taking day tours. Tours in Vancouver are the perfect way to orient yourself in a new city. You can learn about the history and local life in a way you just can’t when walking around alone.
So to help you plan your trip, we’ve compiled a list of the best city tours in Vancouver. This way, you don’t have to guess what you should see and do while you’re there! Plus, we have vetted all of these tours as local Vancouverites, ensuring that each one includes the most iconic stops (with some tours featuring cool hidden gems as well!).
So, get ready to explore some of Vancouver’s top highlights and fall in love with the city, just as we did a few years ago!
Keep reading for the six best Vancouver city tours with all the info you need to pick your favorite one.
What are the must-see attractions on Vancouver city tours?
Coming from two locals, these are the spots that have to be on your Vancouver bucket list!
- Stanley Park – This park is a beautiful green oasis in the city. There is so much that makes Stanley Park special, such as the Indigenous totem poles and the spectacular seawall. We can’t imagine a trip to Vancouver without a visit to Stanley Park.
- Granville Island – Just across the bridge from the downtown core, Granville Island is a great spot for shopping, art galleries, restaurants, and the Public Market. You could easily spend a whole day wandering around Granville Island and eating to your heart’s content, but most people spend a few hours.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge – This is the epitome of a Pacific Northwest experience. The bridge stretches over the lush green forest and water below, and we found walking across it absolutely breathtaking. From the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park to the bridge itself, this is a definite must-see for everyone visiting the west coast. Trust us.
- Famous Vancouver neighborhoods – Vancouver is made up of many different neighborhoods, but a few of our favorites are Gastown, Yaletown, Kitsilano, Chinatown, and Lonsdale Quay. Each area has its own history, charm, and completely different vibes. We recommend visiting all five we’ve highlighted if you have the time!
The 6 Best Vancouver City Tours
1. Full-day Vancouver city sightseeing tour
If you’re looking for a tour that allows you to see all of Vancouver’s iconic landmarks in one go, this is it! This full-day city tour is a mix of driving on a coach bus and walking around some of Vancouver’s most famous neighborhoods and locations. When we went, we were able to see a ton without feeling rushed at all.
On this tour, we visited neighborhoods including Gastown, Chinatown, and English Bay – three of our favorites! We also got to see some of the best landmarks too. The first stop on the tour was the Vancouver Lookout, where we took an elevator up to the top of the tower to get a 360° view of Vancouver (and even farther!).
We spent about half an hour exploring Granville Island. There is a ton to see and do here, so check out our Granville Island blog to figure out what you want to prioritize ahead of time!
One of the highlights of this tour is the Capilano Suspension Bridge! The suspension bridge is on basically everyone’s “must do while in Vancouver” lists, and for good reason – it is a quintessential Vancouver activity! It can be pricey, but luckily, this tour includes the entrance fee to this park (which saved us around $70 CAD per adult!).
At the end of the day, you’ll pass through Stanley Park, observing the beautiful cedar trees and views. And as the final stop, you’ll visit the Totem Poles, where you’ll learn about the First Nations people that lived here.
The tour begins and ends at the Georgian Court Hotel. Make sure to arrive by 9:30 am to start the 6.5-hour long tour. Tours start at $158 CAD, but they do sell out! So check availability and book your ticket ahead of time here.
2. Vancouver city sightseeing tour: Granville Island and Stanley Park
Granville Island and Stanley Park are two of the best places to visit in Vancouver – and trust me, I’ve explored this city thoroughly!
Granville Island is actually a peninsula rather than an island, but either way – it’s a must-see! The biggest attraction here is the daily public markets, with more than 50 vendors selling everything from fresh food to local artisan crafts. Stanley Park is a large urban park surrounded by the sea. Inside you can find Indigenous totem poles, trails, some of Vancouver’s best beaches, and the famous Seawall.
What I loved about this sightseeing tour was that we got to explore both Granville Island and Stanley Park, along with the cool neighborhoods of Chinatown and Gastown. You can arrange to be picked up at your hotel, where you’ll be whisked away by coach to see the city’s top sights. The 3.5-hour tour also includes a friendly local guide who will tell you about the historical and cultural significance of each place you visit.
This tour is an excellent option if you’re short on time and want to get a feel for Vancouver quickly. It’s also a good introduction to the city. When you first arrive, you can take this tour to get your bearings – and scope out places you want to return to later!
Prices start at $73 CAD for adults and $42 CAD for kids, so it’s a fairly affordable way to get to know Vancouver City. However, it’s a popular tour, and tickets do sell out. So check availability and book your tour online here!
Related Read: If you have more time in Stanley Park, check out the Vancouver Aquarium! This place has over 65,000 animals, and we loved seeing their adorable penguins, seals, and turtles when we went.
3. Vancouver city tour Including Capilano Suspension Bridge
This Vancouver city tour is a great option for those who want to relax while seeing all of the sights of Vancouver. When we did this tour, we had walked loads the day before, and really needed to rest our feet! Luckily, you can walk as little or as much as you’d like on this tour and still see everything.
The coach bus will take you through downtown Vancouver, and by Canada Place and Robson Street, which is a great place to grab a drink or a bite to eat. I’d suggest scoping out some places while on the tour and returning in the evening to enjoy a meal!
From there, you’ll be taken through Stanley Park. You’ll enjoy the beauty of this famous park without spending hours wandering the paths on foot. On your way out of the park, you’ll cross over the Lions Gate Bridge. Make sure you have your camera ready – the view from the bridge is simply stunning!
Once you’ve arrived at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, you’ll have about an hour and a half to explore. This was the highlight of this tour for me. I feel there is something truly magical about being suspended over the lush green forest of the Pacific Northwest. This is one of those sightseeing locations that is amazing no matter the weather. If it happens to be rainy when you visit Vancouver (which it often is!), it only adds to the mystical vibe.
From there, you’ll head to Granville Island for about an hour and 15 minutes where you can shop, eat, and wander. Be sure to bring your appetite – there is so much amazing food!
The tour costs $144 CAD for adults and $72 CAD for kids. For the amount of ground you cover in just 5-6 hours, it really is a great deal! I loved this relaxing and comprehensive tour of the city, and if you think you will too, book your tickets online here!
4. Vancouver city hop-on hop-off tour
This is the best budget option on our list! This hop-on hop-off tour is great if you’re looking for a little bit of structure and organization, but with the freedom to spend however long you want in each location.
The hop-on-hop-off bus is just as it sounds! There are scheduled stops all over the city, so you can choose to explore some or just see them in passing. We did this tour when we first moved to the city, and it was a good way to learn the streets and figure out where everything was.
While it’s an excellent way to see different parts of Vancouver without worrying about transportation, it isn’t my favorite option on the list. The speakers on the bus aren’t great, so it can be hard to hear what the driver is saying. Because of that, we wouldn’t recommend this bus to anyone hoping for an informative tour. Think of this one more as a comprehensive guide to the top destinations in Vancouver and a convenient way to get places.
The full bus tour takes about an hour and a half, but you can spend a whole day hopping on and off as you please! The bus started running at 8:45 am. It makes 16 stops throughout the city, which you’ll learn about when you book your ticket.
Tickets cost $59 CAD per person, but you can always reserve now and pay later through Viator.
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.
- 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!
5. Vancouver full-day sightseeing and photography
Calling all photographers and influencers – this one’s for you! This private tour is led by a professional photographer who knows all of the best and hidden spots for some epic photos of your trip!
One thing I loved about this tour is that it’s customizable. I worked with the guide to create the perfect itinerary and make my photo dreams come true (and you can, too!).
Since it’s a private tour, your guide can conveniently pick you up at your hotel around 10 am. From there, the tour typically begins on the north shore at the picture-perfect Lynn Canyon. Here, you can explore old-growth forests, stunning waterfalls, and even the most beautiful suspension bridge!
Then it’s off to Granville Island for lunch before making your way to Stanley Park. The tour ends with a sunset at English Bay and then a trip to Gastown – Vancouver’s most historic neighborhood. If you want to stay here after the tour, there are several delicious restaurants in Gastown where you can enjoy a lovely dinner.
I was a little apprehensive about signing up for this tour because I’m not exactly a professional photographer…but my worries were quickly put to rest when I met our guide! They’ll help you with tips and tricks for any camera, from your phone camera to more complicated DSLR cameras. You can even borrow a DSLR if you want to try your hand at taking some professional-looking photos!
This is one of our favorite options on the list, as it combines sightseeing, hiking, and photography. It’s really an engaging experience that is fun, creative, and informative! It is a full day of stunning landscapes, secret spots, and even a killer sunset.
I realized absolutely anyone can take this tour and end up with stunning shots as souvenirs. So to take advantage of this unique opportunity for $197 CAD, choose a day and book your tour online here!
Related Read: If you’re looking for a road trip with some of the best places to take photos, you can’t beat the drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise!
6. Vancouver highlights bike tour – The grand tour
If you’re tired of walking or bus tours, we’ve got you! This Vancouver city bike tour takes you to all of the hotspots and has the added “main character energy” of leisurely biking through the city.
Vancouver is such a bike-friendly city, which makes it the perfect place for a fun tour that’s a little different than your average sightseeing experience! Don’t worry, you don’t need to check your bicycle in at the airport when you come, the use of a bike and helmet are included! And if you’re not in the mood for exercise, just request an e-bike for an extra $25 CAD.
This tour hits all of the major Vancouver spots – you’ll start by biking throughout Stanley Park, which, in our opinion, has the best bike path ever! The views along the Seawall here are some of my favorites in the entire city.
After that, you’ll grab lunch on Granville Island, with time to meander around the different shops and galleries. You’ll also get to see some of Vancouver’s most popular neighborhoods and learn all about the history and what makes Vancouver so amazing.
I find that tours like this are also a great way to meet other travelers. Since bike tours are more interactive, they usually draw people who like to have fun!
The 5-hour tour starts at 10 am from a central meeting point where you’ll head off on your adventure. For $117 CAD, you’ll get all the equipment, a fantastic guide, and of course, memories. However, since it’s a small group activity, it’s best to book your tour online ahead of time.
Related Read: If you love exercising and being outdoors, biking isn’t the only option! Read all about the best easy day hikes in Vancouver here.
Other Fantastic Tours in Vancouver
While the above are the BEST Vancouver city tours we’ve experienced, there are many more fantastic tours in and around the Vancouver area. Here are some of our personal favorites:
- Whale watching – If you’ve never seen a whale, this is your chance! Between April and October, you can take this half-day whale-watching tour from Vancouver and travel by boat around islands in search of humpback whales and orcas. On our trip, we spotted lots of sea lions, seals, otters, and sea birds, too! Whale watching in Vancouver is a family-friendly activity and costs $226 CAD per adult and even less for kids.
- Seaplane flight – Nothing beats soaring over Vancouver on this scenic seaplane flight tour, and honestly, this is our favorite thing that we ever did in the city! For $160 CAD, you’ll see all the top sights we mentioned but from a birds-eye view. These flights run year-round but are always ideal on a sunny day. To learn more, read our tips on booking a Vancouver seaplane flight.
- Victoria and the Butchart Gardens – On this full-day tour, you’ll hit up the top sights in Victoria as well as explore the Butchart Gardens. These gardens were voted some of the best in the world, and they have over 900 plant varieties, five different garden styles, and 26 greenhouses. Plus, you’ll get to take a cruise on the ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, which is an experience in itself!
- Sunset dinner cruise – Dinner, drinks, and a sunset cruise on the harbor … it doesn’t get much better than this! We’ve done this sunset dinner cruise tour twice, and truthfully, we’d do it again! While the sun sets over the horizon, you’ll enjoy an expansive dinner buffet along with live music for $209 CAD per adult. We think it’s the top cruise in Vancouver and perfect for groups of friends, families, or for a romantic evening (especially if you’re planning a honeymoon in Vancouver!).
Where to Stay in Vancouver
Vancouver is one of the most popular cities in Canada. The fact is that in the summer and winter, the city books up 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:
The Cambie Hostel Gastown – $
The Cambie Hostel Gastown is an overall good budget choice. The location is in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants. Attached to the hostel is a very lively bar too. The rooms are clean, but we felt the bathrooms were a little cramped.
It’s perfect for backpackers on a budget and is relatively cheap for being so central (starting at $90 CAD). Yet, it still offers quality accommodations. To snag this deal, you’ll want to reserve a room on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com!
Times Square Suites – $$
For a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park, you should opt for the Times Square Suites. It’s very hard to fault this hotel, and we think the location is amazing. Plus, the suites are spacious yet have a cozy feel with kitchenettes and gas fireplaces. This hotel feels luxurious yet still affordable, with prices starting at $196 CAD when you book ahead online.
Hyatt Regency Vancouver – $$$
The Hyatt Regency Vancouver has the perfect location halfway between Stanley Park and Gastown. As you can imagine, it’s a luxury stay in a large hotel chain that is very highly reviewed! It has an outdoor hot tub, a gym, a Starbucks on-site, and is within walking distance to top sights.
Rooms start at $233 CAD and are clean, spacious, and very well-kept. So if you can afford to spend a little more, we recommend treating yourself to this hotel! You can check availability, prices, and book your stay here.
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!
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $42 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Renting a Car in British Columbia
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.
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!
Vancouver is one of the best places in British Columbia and holds a special place in my heart. As a local, I know just how much there is to explore in this amazing city. As such, tours are a great way to see everything in a limited amount of time. I hope this list has been helpful and you enjoy a tour or two when you visit!
If you’re traveling through other parts of the country, read my other blogs about Canada here. And if you’re sticking to the Vancouver area, check out the articles I’ve selected below. Thanks for reading and have an amazing time in Vancouver!
How to Get from Vancouver to Tofino + BEST Road Trip Stops
Guide to Deep Cove, Vancouver + Best Things to do!