Top 10 Things to Do in Vancouver
To quote the New York Times, “Vancouver is Manhattan with mountains… It’s the cool North American sibling”. As the most populous city in the Canadian province of British Colombia, Vancouver is a city with no shortage of things to do. Its ethnic diversity, high quality of life and stunning scenery serve to make the coastal metropolis culturally stimulating, friendly and picturesque.
Here are 10 activities worthy of a visit during your time in Vancouver.
1. False Creek
This idyllic inlet of water is situated in the heart of Vancouver and separates downtown from the rest of the city. There is a tunnel which runs beneath the creek, yet the most delightful means of transport across the creek is to hop aboard one of the small ferries which operate scheduled services daily. Kayaks and canoes are available to hire for a paddle around the bay: be sure to have the correct travel insurance if you are planning to opt for more adventurous activities such as this.
2. Stanley Park
Covering an impressive 400 hectares, Stanley Park is Vancouver’s first and largest city park. The green oasis offers some welcome variation to the crowded and busy urban landscape. The phenomenal panoramic views from the park’s 8.8-kilometre-long seawall are mesmerising: mountains, sea, sky and thousands of trees are all juxtaposed. Stanley Park boasts a range of restaurants and cafés, any of which make a perfect pit-stop during a wander around the park’s trails and pathways.
3. Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most exciting things to when in the region and it is one of the most famous attractions attracting thousands of visitors every year. You can walk over a 70-meter canyon and also explore the nearby activity park with fun for all ages including forest trails and treetop walks. This is one of our top recommendations for the best day trips from Vancouver.
4. Granville Island Public Market
Upon disembarking one of False Creek’s ferries, you are met with the appetizing aromas of Granville Island Public Market. Sheltered from the elements, this indoor food market sells a plethora of fresh produce and delicatessen food: it is nothing less than a smorgasbord of culinary delights.
Complete with cobbled streets and Victorian architecture, the historical importance of the district of Gastown as being the place where the city began is self-evident. Nonetheless, the area has undergone a rapid period of gentrification in recent years; now its heritage buildings are home to an array of independent retail outlets. An assortment of restaurants, nightclubs and fashion boutiques line Gastown’s roads, giving the neighbourhood a constant buzz of life. Unfortunately, pickpockets are a danger in these busy areas so remain vigilant with your possessions.
6. VanDusen Botanical Garden
It might be one tenth of the size of Stanley Park, but what the VanDusen Botanical Garden lacks in size it makes up for in its vast range of flora. With over 7,500 different plant species from around the world, the garden attracts a significant amount of local wildlife which can be good fun to try and spot. Its Elizabethan hedge maze is also worth exploring.
7. Queen Elizabeth Park
Another green paradise of Vancouver is the Queen Elizabeth Park. It is the highest point in the city – standing at 152 metres above sea level – so boasts impressive views across the city and its backdrop of mountains. During the summer months, the park is open after dusk to allow visitors to enjoy a spot of stargazing.
8. Grouse Mountain
Nicknamed ‘Mother Nature’s Staircase’, the 850-metre hike up Grouse Mountain is no gentle stroll. However, you will reap the awards if you can make it to the top. At the peak awaits a chalet offering much-needed ice cold drinks and sweeping views of Vancouver. What’s more, the Grouse Gondola offers a scenic descent from the mountain to spare your legs from the hike back down
9. Vancouver Island
A daytrip to the adjacent Vancouver Island is a day well-spent. Taking just over 90 minutes, ferry crossings run most hours of the day to and from the outskirts of Vancouver to Victoria on the peninsula. Quaint fishing communities are scattered along the island’s coastline, each possessing their own charm and delights.
10. Sea-to-Sky Highway
Voted as one of the most stunning drives in the world, the Sea-to-Sky Highway encompasses a variety of breathtaking landscapes. The corridor stretches from downtown Vancouver to the world-renowned ski resort of Whistler. Hire a rental car and enjoy the extraordinary road trip’s waterfalls, vistas and suspension bridge. Also, ensure that you comply with Canada’s road travel rules and regulations.
Vancouver really is an increcible city to explore and if you have a bit more time available these are some more places you should try to add to your itinerary: Chinatown, Canada Place, English Bay, Kitsilano Beach, Robson Street, Museum of Vancouver, Museum of Anthropology, Science World, Richmond. Be sure to check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Travel Aware advice for information on how to stay safe and healthy or if you are keen to explore more of the country view Canada tours.
By Charlotte Day
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