Shop in Gastown
Gastown is one of the most bustling neighborhoods in Vancouver. It's home to fun shops, restaurants, art galleries, and more. You can even find a Victorian Steam Clock in Gastown, which is the neighborhood's real highlight. It's ultimately seen as the more hipster and trendy area of the city and is incredibly popular among the younger crowds. Historically, this was the very first neighborhood in all of Vancouver. It was named after a man named Jack Deighton, who talked a lot, which at the time was said to be called "gassing;" soon enough, this became Gastown!
You Should Know There is exceptional architecture in Gastown, so hop on an architecture or history tour of the area. To get one of the best views of the area, check out Vancouver Lookout.
Walk along the Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a 459-foot bridge that was built back in 1889. It crosses right over the Capilano River and offers excellent views of the 6,000-acre forest that surrounds it. The bridge was created by a man named George Grant Mackay in 1889. Historically, the bridge was made with hemp rope cables, but they've since been replaced with much stronger cables. In addition to the bridge, check out the rest of the park that the bridge is located in. There's a gorgeous cliff walk, a fun treetops adventure, the living forest, a story center, and more.
You Should Know The park is only closed on Christmas, so you can visit no matter what time of the year it is! Unfortunately, strollers can not go across the suspension bridge.
Explore Stanley Park
Stanely Park covers just over 1,000 acres and was created back in 1888. It used to be a settlement area for a while, but over the years, it turned into the park it is today. The park is a favorite among both locals and tourists. There are many fun activities inside this public park, including swimming, playing tennis, or going on a guided tour. One of the parks' highlights is the Stanley Park Train, which is mainly a favorite among families. Don't worry about packing food for your visit to the park; there's quite a few restaurants and cafes inside!
You Should Know It's super easy to get to Stanley Park without a car. You can take public transportation, bike, or even walk if you're in downtown Vancouver.
Hike Mother Nature’s Staircase
Mother Nature's Staircase, which is also known as its formal name Grouse Grind, is a 1.8-mile trail that goes up Grouse Mountain. It got its nickname because it consists of a staircase with 2,830 stairs. This is a moderate trail that only should take about 1.5 to 2 hours total to get to the top. It is kid-friendly, and there are 2,800 feet in elevation game. If you're interested in competing on your way up, invest in a Grind Timer Card, which will track your time up and down!
You Should Know When doing a hike like this, it's recommended that you bring snacks and water, and also be sure to wear a strong pair of comfortable walking or hiking shoes.
Get lost in the VanDusen Botanical Garden
The VanDusen Botanical Garden opened back in 1975 and covers 55 acres of land. There is a wide variety of plants (over 7500 plants, to be exact) inside from all over the world. Because the park is so large, it's relatively easy to come and find a serene spot in the park just for yourself. There is also a Visitor Center inside, which recently won a sustainable building award in 2014. It's built to look like an orchid from above and was an addition to the park in 2011. If you want to learn more about the park, be sure to check out the visitor center.
You Should Know The park hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year, so be sure to check the calendar to see if one is going on when you visit.
Take a trip to Granville Island
Granville Island dates back to the early 1900s when it was essentially where many of the city's factories and warehouses were. That changed over time, and now it's a popular neighborhood that is thriving with art and is home to the Granville Island Public Market. Foodies absolutely must visit the public market, which is often referred to as Vancouver's own "foodie paradise." There is also a lot of history and architecture on the island, so be sure to grab a map to more easily visit all the places you'd like to.
You Should Know The most fun way to get to Granville Island is to hop on a ferry across False Creek.
Try local dishes at the Richmond Night Market
The Richmond Night Market is a fun summer market held on the weekends in Vancouver. It's considered one of the absolute must-dos if you're lucky enough to visit Canada during the summer! The majority of the food at the night market is Asian-themed and its the largest night market like this in all of North America. Everything is reasonably average-priced, and you're bound to find something that you're interested in eating during your visit.
You Should Know There is a small admission price to get into the night market. Arrive as early as possible if you need to get parking! If you want to save money and travel in a larger group, purchase an Express Pass, which lets you skip the line.
Relax at English Bay
The English Bay is a beautiful body of water in Vancouver that surrounds some of Granville Island. The most famous part of English Bay to explore is English Bay Beach, one of Vancouver's most beloved beaches. Along the beach is Stanley Park Seawall. This is a fun trail that you can walk, bike, or run along while getting great coastal views along the way! Also, there are volleyball courts, slides, cafes, and kayak rentals at the beach!
You Should Know This area of Vancouver can get quite busy. To avoid crowds or at least guarantee that you get your spot at the beach, try to visit earlier in the day.
Explore Queen Elizabeth Park
Queen Elizabeth Park is a gorgeous green area of Vancouver that covers 130 acres. It was created in 1939 and is located on Little Mountain. It's one of the most popular places to explore in the whole city to see flowers and often is the place that people go to take wedding pictures. Because it's located on a hill, it's Vancouver's highest point. The park is also the Bloedel Conservatory, a quarry garden, tennis courts, sculptures, and even lawn bowling. If you get hungry, be sure to check out the Seasons in the Park restaurant.
You Should Know You could easily spend at least three hours exploring the park. Free parking is available along the road near the park!
Hop on the Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola is a gorgeous 10-minute ride that will bring you to Vancouver's best views and surrounding area. From the top, you can see the Coast Range and even Howe Sound. The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is located at the top as well, which is said to be the best spot to get photos. Be sure to stop by the Summit Lodge for a snack and even check out the fun hiking and walking trails.
Best Time To Visit To avoid the crowds, opt to visit right in the morning when the gondola ride opens. If you'd like to save money, visit after 4 p.m. on Friday or Saturday to save 40% off a Day Ticket.