There is no shortage of amazing things to do in Vancouver! Vancouver, located on the southwest coast of Canada, is one of the most beautiful and diverse cities in the country. Known for the sea wall, fine dining, pristine forests, and incredible surrounding mountain ranges.
With a stunning blend of nature and urban development, it’s no wonder why Vancouver is considered one of the most livable cities in the world. It offers the convenience of a big city while also offering a great gateway to the great outdoors.
This is also good news as a visitor, as it offers you an incredibly diverse selection of activities to do during your stay.
In this blog post, we’ll look at all the best things to do in Vancouver, from natural sites and outdoor activities to trendy neighborhoods and charming architecture.
Where to Stay
First things first, we need to talk about where you want to be during your time in Vancouver. If you don’t plan on renting a vehicle – which certainly isn’t necessary during your time there – I’d recommend staying downtown or on the west end.
Both of these areas will allow you to take public transportation almost everywhere you need to go. They’ll also keep you close to great restaurants and beautiful Stanley Park. It is about 3 kilometers from one end to the other and can be easily explored on foot.
However, there are some neighborhoods that I highly recommend for their ambiance and charm.
Gastown and Yaletown are some of my favorite areas in Vancouver. If you get the chance to stay in either, you will be just a few blocks away from the incredible food and lively atmosphere at all times.
If you’re looking for something quieter and closer to Stanley Park, choose the West End. There are also many great restaurants in the area, plus you’re just a few blocks away from beautiful beaches and endless waterfront routes.
How to Get Around
As I mentioned earlier, transportation is not necessary when in Vancouver. It’s very easy to get around by public transport, Uber, bike, and on foot.
We took full advantage of the many bike rental shops located in the West End where we wanted to venture through North Vancouver or Stanley Park. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even rent an e-bike to take you to the Capilano Suspension Bridge or Deep Cove!
Now that we’ve sorted that out, let’s get to the good stuff! Without further ado: Best Things to Do in Vancouver, Canada’s Liveliest City!
Bike on the Sea Wall
The Seawall is a famous trail in Stanley Park that wraps around the outer edge of the peninsula, offering spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. This 12-kilometer stretch of the footpath is well-maintained, well-signed, and easy to navigate. Of course, you can also choose to walk or run around the seawall, but this will take a bit more time and stamina than a bike.
Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge
A visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge is another iconic thing to do in Vancouver. Located across the harbor in North Vancouver, the experience is definitely worth the trip. Along with picturesque suspension bridges, they also offer a Treetops Adventure Area, a spectacular cliff walk, and a range of pathways that are lit during the winter months. The entry fee for adults is $59 CAD.
You have several options for getting to downtown Vancouver. First, you can choose to drive, take an Uber, or take public transportation. If you are trying to fit other things into your day then this may be your best option.
The last option, and the one we chose, was to rent an e-bike and combine your visit to Stanley Park with The Capilano Suspension Bridge. It’s pretty much doable in a day, the bike lanes in Vancouver are fantastic, and it allowed us to spend a ton of extra time outside.
Walk the Waterfront
Vancouver’s waterfront is one of the city’s most popular and picturesque spots. The excellent range of trails offers views of the city, North Vancouver, and the distant mountains. There’s no perfect place to start or end your walk, so just make your way across the ocean and enjoy!
Gastown, one of Vancouver’s oldest neighborhoods, is located very close to Canada Place and the Port of Vancouver. The cobblestone streets are lined with trendy cafes, shops, and restaurants that are definitely worth a visit! Some of my favorite local restaurants include Nuba, Meat in Gastown, Tacofino, and the local public eatery.
While you’re there, be sure to visit the Gastown Steam Clock. Made in 1977, this famous antique-style clock runs on steam and whistle to tell the time.
Located in Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is actually the largest aquarium in the whole of Canada. They have many indoor and outdoor exhibits, including local and tropical marine life. In addition to being a major tourist attraction for Vancouver, the aquarium is also a center for marine research, ocean literacy education, conservation, and marine animal rehabilitation.
Visit the New Marine Mammal Rescue Exhibit in BC. Wild Coast for a glimpse at our Marine Mammal Rescue Center – the only facility of its kind in Canada and one of the largest rescue facilities in the world.
Eat at Richmond Night Market
Richmond Night Market is something that you must add to your list of things to do in Vancouver! Open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6-7pm to 12pm during the summer months, this is the closest thing I’ve experienced to night markets in Asia!
Once inside, several vendors offer everything from shrimp stuffed pineapple to deep-fried bao buns. It’s all wonderfully delicious. You can also easily find local vendors selling clothing, jewelry, and other trinkets.
Richmond Night Market is located at 8351 River Road, a block from Bridgeport train station on the Canada Line. To get here from downtown, you can board the Skytrain or take a taxi or Uber.
Note: As of 2022, there is a $6 CAD entry fee and many vendors are cash only. There are a few ATMs available on site, but the lineup to use them can be long. If you’re going in a group of 4 or more, the Zoom Pass is well worth the money. For $35 CAD, you can skip the line and cover the entrance fee for up to 6 people.
Hike in Lynn Canyon
Lynn Canyon is known as a gorgeous natural area located in North Vancouver. Here, you can stroll through the woods, cross a stunning suspension bridge, and take in the views of the waterfall below. Unlike the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is free to enter and can be accessed from several different trails in the area.
We hired an e-bike to get here from downtown and really enjoyed walking the trails and admiring the peaceful trails. If you plan to visit on the weekend, I would recommend you to go early in the morning as the park gets very busy in the afternoon.
Take a Ferry to Granville Island
Granville Island, located on the edge of downtown Vancouver, is a small island accessible by boat or vehicle. From the Vancouver Aquatic Center, there is a small pedestrian ferry that makes the short journey across the water approximately every 5 minutes.
Once you arrive, you will find colorful markets and bustling food vendors around every corner. Stroll the Granville Island Public Market building for everything from fresh seafood to home-baked goods. Trust me, you’ll want to be hungry!