Vancouver is a delightful city to visit all year round due to its pleasant weather and diverse culture. The 2 million residents of Metro Vancouver have created an ethnically diverse population with a unique blend of culture, food, and events to experience.
Vancouver is a must-stop on any trip to Canada, but how do you create the perfect itinerary with so many activities to choose from? Start with my comprehensive list featuring some of the best activities in Vancouver, with a few hidden gems thrown in! I promise you won't be disappointed.
What is Vancouver Known For?
Vancouver and the rest of western Canada were the last part of the country to be colonized, making their history relatively new.
Vancouver has experienced waves of immigration from Europe, China, and Japan giving it a distinct Asian and European influence. The influences of waves of immigration can be seen in the city's architecture, food, and cultural events like the Vancouver Fringe Festival.
Vancouver is also known for the great outdoors and adventure sports. Being primely located next to the Pacific Ocean and towering mountains to the north, there are plenty of things to do here for adventure seekers, hikers, skiers, and much more.
Many of the things Canada is famous for can be found in Vancouver.
Is Vancouver Expensive to Visit?
Yes, Vancouver is a notoriously expensive city, with many activities costing upwards of $100 and a meal in a restaurant being $25-$40.
Although Vancouver isn't easy on the wallet, there are ways to visit the city without blowing the bank.
Top 10 Things to Do in Vancouver Canada
Some things to do in Vancouver, Canada, include museums, parks, and tours. These Vancouver attractions are just what you need for a memorable time.
10. Learn Something New at Science World
Science World is the dome-shaped building you see in the iconic Vancouver Skyline. Built as the Expo Centre for the Expo 86 World's Fair, it's since become the most interesting Science Museum. You can easily spend half the day wandering the exhibits.
9. Shop Till You Drop at Granville Island Market
Granville Island Market is an adorable place to shop for local products, fresh fruit, and vegetables. It's a great place to try some of Vancouver's iconic foods like Lee's donuts, Siegels Bagels, and other tasty goods like smoked fish or nanaimo bars. Grab a bite and a coffee and sit on the pier to watch the ferries.
8. Explore the Historic Gastown
Gastown is a popular tourist destination in Vancouver and a must-see!
Although Vancouver's colonial history only goes back a few hundred years, a walk through Gastown will immediately transport you to the 1800s.
There are lots of shops and bars with patios that are perfect for a summer day. Don't miss the Gastown steam clock that rings every 15 minutes.
7. Visit the Bloedel Conservatory
Located in Queen Elizabeth Park, the Bloedel Conservatory is a beautiful place to see exotic birds and plants and have an Instagram moment.
Gaze at the views of the city from the top. But try to go early on weekends to beat the insane crowd. While in the area, discover some of Vancouver's delicious gourmet restaurants for lunch. You won't be disappointed!
6. Relax at Kitsilano Beach
Better known as Kits Beach, this is the spot to people watch, play volleyball, swim, or catch the sunset. While chilling in the sand, you'll see many locals doing the same! Enjoy a treat from the local berry vendors or ice cream trucks in the summer to beat the heat!
5. Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the more costly items on the list, but it's worth it. Cross a 137 m–450 ft–suspension bridge through the pristine Pacific NorthWest canopy.
There's also a small museum in the park to learn more about the history of the area and a gift shop. Visit during late fall and early winter to see the twinkling fairy lights that make the park magical!
4. Watch the Sunset at Lighthouse Park
Lighthouse Park is a beautiful park in West Vancouver where locals go to watch a perfect sunset. The hike in the park is very accessible and popular, so pack a picnic dinner and head there early to beat the crowd.
3. Visit the Vancouver Museum
The Vancouver Museum is a great way to get acquainted with the city's past and present history and explore its roots in environmental and cultural protection. Touring the museum, you'll catch many Instagrammable spots and moments and learn something new about Vancouver. You can easily visit the museum in half a day and combine it with other activities on this list or check out some other intriguing museums in Vancouver!
2. Bike on the SeaWall at Stanley Park
Biking the seawall around Stanley Park is a quintessential Vancouverite activity. Don't worry if you don't have a bike or scooter; rentals are available at Denman st and West Georgia st, close to the park. Enjoy a leisurely ride with some spectacular views of the Lions Gate Bridge and other natural features in the park.
1. Take a Whale Watching Tour
A Vancouver whale-watching tour is easily the best activity on the list, and it's worth every penny! Considering you can only take whale-watching tours on Canada's east or west coast, booking your tour while in Vancouver is a no-brainer. Spend the day on a boat, catching the salty sea air, and hopefully, some whale and marine life sightings!
Free Things to Do in Vancouver
- Hike to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
- Take a clothing-optional dip at Wreck Beach
- Relax in Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
- Take a walk in Pacific Spirit Park
- In the summer, watch a free movie downtown.
Things to Do in Vancouver at Night
- Take a ghost tour of Gastown
- Drive across the Lions Gate Bridge
- Admire the city lights from Cypress Lookout
- Eat till you drop at the Richmond Night Market
- Visit Science World after dark
Hidden Gems in Vancouver
- Find a So Far Sounds concert
- Try and find the second narrow treehouse
- Watch the ferries at the Horseshoe Bay viewing platform
- Drink in a 70's style speakeasy at Key Party
- Eat a $2.95 breakfast at Bons Off Broadway
Start Planning Your Canadian Getaway
Now that you've filled your Vancouver itinerary with exciting attractions, you can start to craft your ideal travel experience for you, your family, and your friends.