With a mix of an urban city scene, towering mountains and an azure blue sea, the city of Vancouver is the best of all three worlds. Once you visit, you’ll begin to understand why it’s one of Canada’s most-loved cities – by locals and tourists alike! With so much to see and do, we’ve picked out some of the highlights for how to spend a weekend in Vancouver.
Good morning, Vancouver! What better way to fuel up for a big day ahead than by hitting Gastown and its variety of coffee shops? Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, starting from humble beginnings with one tavern in 1867 (founded by John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton) to a bustling area that seamlessly combines the old with the new.
Once you’ve had your fill of hot coffee and a tasty breakfast, head to the Granville Island ferry dock. With a hop, skip and a jump, you’ll be on this urban island in no time! There’s so much to see and do on Granville Island – The Public Market (for the freshest produce and a mid-morning snack), Inukshuk Gallery (a beautiful museum filled with Canadian and Native art), and Granville Island Brewery (for a craft beer and lunch with a view), just to name a few! You could easily spend the rest of the day on Granville Island, but if you prefer to carry on exploring, keep on reading.
If your visit times with prime whale-watching season (March – October), we would highly recommend setting aside the afternoon for this. Vancouver sees through a variety of whales so keep your eyes peeled for humpbacks, orcas, grey and minke whales. There’s also a great chance that you’ll see sea lions, tufted puffins, and more!
If you’re visiting during winter/spring, check if it’s ice hockey season and score yourself a ticket to a Vancouver Canucks game for a thrilling spectacle.
Head to Chinatown, the largest one in Canada, established in the 1890s at the border of the Downtown Financial District and Gastown. To start off with some zen, visit the beautiful Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Then start to explore the bustling streets filled to the brim with shops selling Asian wares, groceries and apothecaries. Along the way you’ll see a huge variety of restaurants so take your pick for dinner!
We just can’t look past Gastown for the place to kickstart your day, so pick up something to-go as you head north of Vancouver to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. It gets busy so we’d recommend going early to beat the rush! As its name suggests, the suspension bridge is the park’s biggest attraction. The bridge is suspended 70 metres above the Capilano River with a spectacular view across the river and surrounding forest. The ecosystem, flora and fauna are equally as impressive whilst walking one of the many park trails, too.
Back to the city for an early lunch at Stanley Park, Vancouver’s famed urban green space. At 400 hectares, the park encompasses the full range of scenery – from lush trees and calming waters, to towering mountains and sandy beaches. There’s so much to do in Stanley Park so these are our top four recommendations:
- Walk or hire bikes to check out the Seawall, the longest uninterrupted waterfront path in the world
- Visit the Vancouver Aquarium, Canada’s largest
- Simply pick a section of Stanley Park to discover, like The Rose Garden or Beaver Lake
Round off your weekend in Vancouver with a dinner to suit your tastes. For a true pub meal, Gastown is the place to go; for a meal with a tasty craft beer to boot, head to the Port Moody Ale Trail, five breweries found along a lakeside strip; or for a fun, casual dinner and drinks combo, find yourself in the West End.
Vancouver is making a phenomenal effort to focus more on natural spaces and reduced carbon emissions, making it a great ‘green city’ to visit. Check out our Globus and Cosmos tours that include Vancouver and Canada.