The city of Vancouver boasts scenic views, massive parks, diverse people, and lively energy. It’s no wonder that it draws in tourists from all over the world.
Whether you’re into food, outdoor adventure, shopping, or just exploring new cities, Vancouver covers it all. You could easily spend months exploring the streets of downtown and the surrounding mountains. This is probably why it’s ranked one of the most livable cities in the world!
To make your trip easier, here’s a list of the best things to do in Vancouver, Canada. There’s something for everyone there, so start planning your itinerary now.
1. Walk or Bike the Stanley Park Seawall
As the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the seawall makes for an incredible walk or bike ride. Along the way, you’ll get views of the bustling city center, serene mountains, and the calm ocean.
The path is 6.2 miles in total, starting at the Vancouver Convention Centre and ending in Spanish Banks Park. Although it’s a long way, it’s entirely paved and flat, making it accessible to all.
On good weather days, it’s a busy place. Locals recreate here, so there are designated biking and walking lanes. Ensure you’re walking in the right one to avoid any scares.
2. Kayak at English Bay Beach
Known as the best beach in the city, English Bay is a fantastic stop for a relaxing beach moment. It’s nearby Stanley Park, so it could be a great stop along the walk or bike ride.
With nice sand and remarkable views in every direction, it’ll surely be a great stop. There are kayak rentals through the warmer months, so take one out for a different perspective of the city from the water!
3. Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest public art gallery in Western Canada and a must-go if you enjoy visual arts.
The gallery holds over 12,000 artworks, international and local, and only costs $29 CAD for a ticket. A whole day could easily be spent wandering the halls and rooms of this massive building.
They are open from 10 AM to 5 PM most days but closed Tuesdays. On Thursdays and Fridays, they stay open until 8 PM.
Local Tip: If you happen to be there on the last Friday of the month, you can get free admission!
4. Enjoy the Richmond Night Market
Stop by the Richmond Night Market and let the smells and sounds of Asia fill your senses. It’s an outdoor market that’s famous for its food, drinks, entertainment, and artisan goods.
Getting into the market only costs $8 CAD for adults, but is free for children under 7 years old and adults over 60. It runs every Friday (7 PM to 12 AM), Saturday (6 PM to 12 AM), and Sunday (6:30 PM to 11 PM) of the warmer months until Thanksgiving weekend.
It’s located in Richmond, just a short drive from the downtown core. There’s free parking at the market, but many people will take the Canada Line SkyTrain to Bridgeport Station and walk to the market.
5. Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is the largest in Canada. It has almost 70,000 interesting sea creatures spread across 120 world-class exhibits. There’s a 4D Theatre, interactive displays, daily educational animal programs, and so much more.
It’s located right in Stanley Park so it’s a great thing to hit while walking or biking the park.
They’re open 365 days a year from 10 AM to 5 PM. Tickets range from $40 to $50 CAD for the day.
6. Wander Around in North Vancouver
North Vancouver is just a 30-minute drive north of the downtown area. It’s a great place for those that enjoy a quaint art-focused town, as well as those looking for outdoor adventure.
The Lonsdale Quay community has numerous art galleries and delicious eateries. From artisan coffee to craft beer, there’s enough food to keep you eating all day. In between, be sure to visit the nine different galleries sprinkled across town.
Vancouver’s north shore mountains are a hotspot for outdoor adventure. With Deep Cove Park and Mount Seymour Park both nearby, you can find endless hiking, kayaking, and skiing adventures around. It’s also where you can find both the infamous suspension bridges and the Grouse Grind hike, which we’ll get into next.
7. Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge
The world-famous suspension bridge sits 230 feet above the Capilano River and gives a treetop walk like no other. While it includes the photo-famous 460 feet bridge, there are also more suspended bridges, a glass floor lookout, and other viewpoints along the walk.
The cost to enter the park is around $70 CAD per person and gives full-day access to the surrounding park. There’s a free shuttle from downtown Vancouver, so the 20-minute drive is no concern without a vehicle.
8. Lynn Canyon Park
If you want to experience the thrilling beauty of a suspension bridge without the cost, consider the free one in Lynn Canyon. Many locals would argue the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is better than Capilano!
There are numerous hiking trails in this area for all levels of hikers. Each one will offer stunning views of the running rivers weaving the evergreen forests. Birdlife is immense so be sure to bring binoculars if you enjoy spotting them.
Lynn Canyon does draw crowds, so going in the morning is the best way to find a moment of solitude with nature and escape the crowds.
It’s a quick 20-minute drive from downtown or you can take the bus.
9. Hike Grouse Mountain (or Just Take the Gondola)
If you’re up for an outdoor challenge, the Grouse Grind hike will surely give it to you. This grueling hike rewards you with incredible views of the downtown and its surrounding mountains, as well as a variety of food options on the summit.
The hike is 1.8 miles and gains 2,800 feet of elevation. For novice hikers, expect it to take around 2 hours to get to the summit of Grouse Mountain.
If this sounds like a nightmare, consider taking the gondola up for $60 CAD. It’ll bring you up to the top of Grouse Mountain and offer smaller scenic walks around it. In the winter, you may run into some skiers using it as a ride to the top of their runs.
10. Cheer on the Vancouver Canucks!
Ice Hockey is foundational to Canadian culture. It’s worth checking the schedule for a Canucks game in the city and buying tickets if you can get them.
Games run from October to June each year and the schedule can be found here. Rogers Arena, where the games take place, is right in downtown Vancouver with plenty of bars around it for a good evening.
11. Play Disc Golf at Queen Elizabeth Park (Or Just Walk It)
Vancouver has no shortage of scenic parks, and Queen Elizabeth Park is another one not to miss! It has an incredible disc golf course if you’re looking for an activity to accompany your walk.
The park consists of the Quarry Gardens, the Rose Garden, Painters’ Corner, and the Arboretum; plenty to keep you busy if you enjoy looking at plants and smelling the flowers.
12. Watch the Sunset at Wreck Beach
Follow a steep set of stairs down to Wreck Beach for one of the best sunset viewing spots. It sits in the most western part of the city, near the University of British Columbia, and is a popular destination for many.
Warning, this is a clothing-optional beach. While you’re welcome to be fully clothed, don’t be surprised if there are people that are not.
13. Aquabus Ferry to Granville Island
Visiting Granville Island, which is a peninsula, is a right of passage when in Vancouver. It’s a historic manufacturing site that now hosts a variety of shops in the old warehouses.
You can get there by car or by boat. The Aquabus ferry boat offers stunning views of Vancouver’s skyline and starts at only $4 CAD. These boats run throughout the entire day and go to multiple stops.
The Granville Island market is a must-see for foodies. Over 50 food stalls are offering local produce and artisanal products from all over British Columbia. Make sure to stop by the Granville Island Brewing Company for some of the best beer that Vancouver has to offer.
14. Wine and Cheese Taste in Fraser Valley
If you’re someone that enjoys tasting the local delicacies, don’t miss a Fraser Valley wine tour. This beautiful region is located northeast of Vancouver, so it requires transport.
There are a vast number of tours that will pick you up from Vancouver city center and take you to the top wineries throughout the day. Just book it in, hop in the vehicle, and enjoy a scenic day of wine tasting surrounded by mountains!
15. Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola
Just 45 minutes north of the city is the Sea to Sky gondola. While the drive itself offers stunning views, the gondola will take you high in the treetops for a majestic view of the Howe Sound.
There are numerous walking trails at the top to wander, with the Panorama Trail being one of the best. To top it off, there’s the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge here as well which gives you another opportunity to get that infamous photo across the bridge.
The gondola costs around $70 CAD round trip and opens at 9 AM. Many tours will offer a full-day trip here if you don’t have a car but want to experience this mountain playground!
16. Go on a Boat Tour to Granite Falls
A true adventure tour takes you from Granville Island to Granite Falls in Deep Cove. You’ll spend the day navigating the city’s popular destinations from the water, like False Creek, Lion’s Gate Bridge, and Stanley Park.
The final destination is a stunning waterfall that’s only accessible by boat in West Vancouver.
17. Take a Sunset Cruise (and Maybe See Whales!)
The mountains always seem to look even better from the water, especially with the Vancouver skyline in the forefront. A sunset cruise around the sounds guarantees a beautiful evening.
Many boat tour providers offer cruises with other perks. Want dinner and drinks in the Vancouver harbor? Or maybe a longer day on the boat exploring the inlets of the Pacific Ocean? Or how about a tour that can guarantee seeing whales? Be sure to check out all the options for cruises here!
18. Go on a Brewery Tour or Make One Yourself
This area of the world is infamous for its craft beer scene with over 30 breweries sprawled across the city. There’s no shortage of beer here.
Many companies offer tours where to introduce the standout brewers. Some of these are walking tours that also share local history, while others drive you around to the harder-to-reach spots. It’s worth looking into which breweries you would want to hit when considering a tour!
There’s always the option of renting a bike to get around, but this is not recommended after drinking more than a couple of beers.
It’ll be best on foot after a few drinks, but luckily, lots of the breweries are close to each other downtown! Olympic Village is a great place to knock a few off in a short distance. Just be sure to watch the cobblestone streets around this area!
19. Science World
For the curious-minded, Science World offers unique interactive exhibits, live scientific demonstrations, and OMNIMAX movies that will surely keep you entertained for the day.
The Aquabus will drop you right in front of the building, so it’s easy to access right downtown. Admission only costs $33 CAD.
There are always new exhibits, interesting events, and circulating IMAX films, so it’s worth checking their website to see what the current offering is!
20. Take a Day Trip to The Butchart Gardens
If you’ve got a bit of extra time, it’s worth making the trip out to The Butchart Gardens in Victoria. It’s a short ferry ride from Vancouver to Vancouver Island to get here and makes an excellent day trip.
The gardens require 45 full-time gardeners to maintain the 55-acre land! There are six gardens to explore and many recommend leaving an entire day to get through all 900 bedding plants.
It costs $27 CAD to enter for the day and they are open all year round.
This is just scratching the surface of the best things to do in Vancouver! It would take months, if not years, to see everything that this busy city and expansive land has to offer.
Luckily, it’s easy to bunch these activities together to fill a day and reduce travel time.
Taking a bike ride to Stanley Park may include a stop at English Bay and a visit to the aquarium. A stop by North Vancouver could knock out two suspension bridges and a lot of art galleries to see northwest coast art.
With a bit of planning and the help of this list, you’ll be sure to check off all the top Vancouver attractions on your trip! Enjoy!