CANT' MISS VANCOUVER EXPERIENCES
CYCLE OR STROLL THE SEAWALL ~ Stretching 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) from Coal Harbour to Kitsilano Beach – wrapping around Stanley Park along the way – the seawall that borders Vancouver’s coastline is the most popular recreational spot in the city. The perfect fresh-air activity between sessions, you can walk or rent a bike to tour a portion of the route starting right at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
EXPLORE GRANVILLE ISLAND ~ A charming public market overflowing with fresh produce, breads, seafood and a bounty of other goods is reason enough to visit Granville Island Public Market, not to mention exploring the narrow lanes of the island to check out its unique shops and photo-worthy views of downtown across False Creek.
HAVE A PEAK EXPERIENCE ~ Grouse Mountain’s Skyride delivers riders to remarkable views and a huge range of on-mountain experiences: outdoor skating, snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding in winter, and hiking, ziplining and more in summer.
TRAVERSE THE TREETOPS ~ Adventurers can make their way across the swaying Capilano Suspension Bridge that stretches 137 metres (450 feet) across the canyon and the Capilano River 70 metres (230 feet) below, plus explore the Cliffwalk feature, a series of suspended walkways jutting out from the granite cliff face above Capilano River.
TAKE FLIGHT ~ One of the best ways to see coastal Vancouver’s most breathtaking sights is on a scenic flightseeing adventure by floatplane with Harbour Air, Westcoast Air, Seair Seaplanes, Helijet or Whistler Air. Alternatively, Vancouver’s newest big attraction, FlyOver Canada, offers a coast-to-coast virtual aerial tour and an immersive experience for all five senses!
MEET THE CREATURES ~ The Vancouver Aquarium is home to more than 70,000 fascinating creatures from the Arctic to the Amazon – the daily beluga whale, dolphin and sea otter shows are a must-see!
VANCOUVER AT NIGHT ~ The late-night scene in Vancouver is a thriving mix of lounges, laid-back pubs and energetic music venues. Some of the trendiest lounges are found in many of the downtown hotels. Live music is never hard to find in Vancouver. Local bands and international touring acts set up regularly in the clubs and venues around town.
SET SAIL ~ A tour aboard Harbour Cruises, Vancouver’s leading boat sightseeing company, offers unparalleled views of Vancouver; it’s a delightful way to experience the city – by day or night.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW ~ At Science World, the wonders of science are illuminated with popular hands-on interactive displays, jaw-dropping science demonstrations on Centre Stage, immersive films in the domed OMNI MAX® Theatre and awesome shows in the Science Theatre.
KEEP AN EYE ON THE BALL ~ From views of the city to grand vistas of Georgia Strait and the Coast Mountains, nearly all of Vancouver’s dozens of top-notch golf courses are framed by majestic scenery.
ADMIRE FIRST NATIONS ART ~ One of the best places to see the artwork of B.C.’s native residents is the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, with its collection of approximately 6,000 objects from B.C.’s First Nations. The Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Galleries in Yaletown and Gastown showcase contemporary master carvings, basketry, glasswork, jewelry and more. Also well worth a visit are the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art and the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.
Need more reasons to attend the International Symposium on Highway Geometric Design in Vancouver? We've put together several top ten lists of why you should visit our beautiful city of Vancouver!
TEN UNOFFICIAL REASONS TO VISIT VANCOUVER
- Loosen your belt and hit as many street food carts as you can.
- Enjoy a sunset from Third Beach in Stanley Park.
- Take a ride on the old wooden roller-coaster at Playland…then do it again.
- Sip an espresso, people watch and learn to speak Italian on The Drive.
- Take the Aquabus across False Creek to Granville Island or the SeaBus across Burrard In-let to Lonsdale Quay.
- Go skinny-dipping at Wreck Beach.
- Sample the widest array of great sushi restaurants outside Japan.
- Try some of British Columbia's lip-smacking craft beer…without leaving the city.
- Take in a Jazz Vespers service at St. Andrews Wesley United Church.
- Taste the region – from apples to blueberries – at one of several popular farmers‟ markets.
TEN GREAT VANCOUVER OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
- Jog the Stanley Park seawall.
- Hike the Grouse Grind…then zipline when you get to the top.
- Kayak False Creek, with the city as your backdrop. Or hit the tranquil waters of Deep Cove.
- Take a sailing lesson at Jericho Beach.
- Ski or snowboard at Grouse Mountain.
- Hit the mountain bike trails of the North Shore.
- Kiteboard, windsurf, skimboard or paddle board off Kitsilano Beach.
- Hike the trails of Mount Seymour…or come back in winter for skiing.
- Try tubing or snowshoeing at Cypress Mountain.
- Dive into the outdoor swimming pools in Stanley Park or at Kitsilano Beach.
TEN FREEBIE VANCOUVER ACTIVITIES
- Visit the Olympic Cauldron near Canada Place…and spot some cool public artworks nearby, including an Orca installation by local lad Douglas Coupland.
- Check out Christ Church Cathedral, a neo-Gothic treasure with lovely stained glass windows.
- Peruse the totem poles in Stanley Park…then nip into the Lost Lagoon Nature House for a free or low-cost bird-spotting walk.
- Dive into the verdant West Coast rainforest at Seymour Conservation Reserve. Or hit the trails of Stanley Park or UBC's Pacific Spirit Regional Park.
- Explore the environment at North Vancouver's fascinating Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre.
- Nip into the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, the city's grandest old-school hotel. In the lobby, there are historic photos and a copy of the menu enjoyed by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they dined here in 1939.
- Observe one of nature's greatest life-cycle stories at North Vancouver's Capilano River Hatchery. Juvenile salmon are raised on site, and you can see them before they return to the river. During the fall, returning salmon struggle up the fish ladders to spawn.
- Visit the Hastings Mill Store Museum in Kitsilano. It's the oldest building in Vancouver and houses a collection of historic local artifacts.
- Head out for a summer picnic at Burnaby's spectacular Buntzen Lake, a natural reservoir surrounded by steep, forested crags.
- Muse over cool artwork at three free galleries: the Contemporary Art Gallery, the Pendulum Gallery and the Rennie Collection at Wing Sang.
TEN THINGS TO DO ON A RAINY DAY IN VANCOUVER
- Recharge in the tropical heat of glass-domed Bloedel Floral Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park.
- Take a culinary tour of Granville Island Public Market with the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts or Edible Canada.
- Enjoy the tranquility of weekend afternoon tea by the fire at Bacchus Lounge in the Wedgewood Hotel.
- Warm your insides with a tongue-tingling jalapeno or chili pepper-and-chocolate gelato from La Casa Gelato where more than 500 flavours await.
- Hit the spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.
- Embrace the rain with a guided rainforest tour and gourmet picnic lunch in Lighthouse Park. Discover lichens, mosses and some of the Lower Mainland's oldest cedar trees.
- Select some reading material (or take in a free author reading) at the Vancouver Public Library.
- Roll out your sleeping bag and overnight next to the beluga whale tank at the Vancouver Aquarium.
- Get lost in the incredible Museum of Anthropology. Arthur Erickson's spectacular glass and concrete space gives the collection of majestic totem poles freedom to tower.
- Catch a matinée. Duck out of the rain and into one of Vancouver's live theatres. Walk-ups are welcome at the Granville Island Stage and Waterfront Theatres on Granville Island, and the Firehall theatre downtown.
TEN ROMANTIC THINGS TO DO IN VANCOUVER
- Book a private horse-drawn carriage tour around Stanley Park – but make sure you stop and smell the roses at the rose garden.
- Laughter is the foundation of any relationship, so head for a night of improv comedy presented by the Vancouver TheatreSports League.
- Discover your love for whales as well as each other on a boat trek with Vancouver Whale Watch.
- Take a couples cooking class at Dirty Apron Cooking School (www.dirtyapron.com).
- Have dinner at Grouse Mountain‟s (www.grousemountain.com) Observatory Restaurant, overlooking the twinkling lights of downtown Vancouver.
- Cozy up by a log and catch the best sunset in town at Stanley Park's Third Beach.
- Paddle in Burnaby's Deer Lake together on a sunny summer afternoon.
- Get in the mood with a Ritual of Two couples treatment at Fairmont Pacific Rim's Willow Stream Spa.
- Wind down with a sunset dinner cruise on the glassy waters between English Bay and Kitsilano.
- In winter, hire skates and hit the Robson Square ice rink together.
TEN FAMILY-FRIENDLY VANCOUVER ACTIVITIES
- Check out the huge free water-park at Granville Island then dry off in the nearby Kids Market. In late May, this is also the home of the International Children's Festival.
- Hit Science World at TELUS World of Science for a plethora of hands-on activities, including blowing giant soap bubbles, playing a piano with your feet and freezing your shadow on a wall.
- Sway across the Capilano River at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, complete with a towering rope bridge, rainforest nature trails and Cliffwalk, a walkway clinging to the canyon's steep rock face.
- Head to idyllic Kitsilano Beach for a day of sunny fun. Younger kids can beach-comb and hit the playground, while teens can sample the swimming pool or tennis courts.
- Stroll from Kits Beach to nearby Vanier Park, complete with the Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Maritime Museum and H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.
- Heading across Burrard Inlet by SeaBus or travelling around the city by SkyTrain are highlights for many visiting kids – try for a seat at the front of a SkyTrain and they'll feel like they're driving.
- Visit Maplewood Farm for a close-up look at 200 animals and birds. Spring is a favourite time - that's when the babies are born.
- Ogle the aquatic menagerie at the highly popular Vancouver Aquarium (www.vanaqua.org), where behind-the-scenes trainer tours are also available.
- Discover what life was really like for the region's cannery workers at the kid-tastic Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston or visit Fort Langley National Historic Site, where kids (and adults) can pan for gold.
- Let you kids run, jump and tumble at the BC Sports Hall of Fame, where the activities are just as popular as the displays of sporting memorabilia.
TEN VANCOUVER ACTIVITIES FOR MATURE TRAVELERS
- Cheer on the Vancouver Canadians during a nostalgic afternoon of baseball at Nat Bailey Stadium.
- Enjoy a summer evening Shakespeare performance at Bard on the Beach (www.bardonthebeach.org), where the backdrop is a stunning view of the moonlit mountains.
- Relive the pioneering past at Burnaby Village Museum, a replica turn-of-the-century village next to Deer Lake Park. Don‟t miss a ride on the 1912 carousel.
- Enjoy some cool tunes at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, held across the city every June and July.
- Cut loose on a sunny summer afternoon in Stanley Park. Check out the totem poles and rose garden, and then have a late afternoon tea at The Fish House in Stanley Park.
- Drive to Steveston in Richmond and stroll the restored fisherman's wharf, now teeming with gift stores and the region's best fish and chip restaurants.
- Head to Vancouver's annual Pacific National Exhibition, a decades-old tradition of livestock shows and home and garden displays that also has plenty of options for kids.
- Bask in the tranquility of Chinatown's Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
- Take in the city from the water with a narrated harbour cruise aboard an old-style paddle steamer.
- Peruse the city's art collection at the celebrated Vancouver Art Gallery – look out for Emily Carr paintings of the region‟s verdant West Coast wilderness.
TEN “GREEN” WAYS TO EXPERIENCE VANCOUVER
- Rent a bike or rollerblades and marvel at Vancouver's green, urban sanctuary by cruising the seawall in Stanley Park.
- Reflect on some other great Vancouver green spaces at Queen Elizabeth Park, UBC Botanical Garden and Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
- Check out the city views from the water by kayaking your way along False Creek.
- Get a birds-eye view from above by ziplining across mountain peaks.
- Enjoy the vast choices in fresh, West Coast seafood by choosing a restaurant participating in the Ocean Wise program.
- Book a tour with Edible Canada and learn why Vancouverites “eat local”.
- Take the pod elevator to the top of Grouse Mountain's Eye of the Wind (which has the capacity to offset up to 25 per cent of the resort's energy needs) for an amazing view from a working power turbine.
- Take a guided tour of North Vancouver's mountain, forest and seascape region in a green vehicle fueled with vegetable oil.
- Take a walk on Vancouver's new aerial trail system at the UBC Botanical Garden and learn about local ecology, nature and conservation.
- Get a day pass and bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus your way around Vancouver.
TEN QUIRKY THINGS TO DO IN VANCOUVER
- Check out the darker side of the city's history at the Vancouver Police Museum, especially on a summer-time “Sins of the City” walking tour.
- Join the locals for an evening of fun at FUSE, the Vancouver Art Gallery's regular nighttime social event.
- Enjoy watching a spirited Vancouver Roller Derby game.
- Pitch'n putt golf into the twilight hours in Stanley Park.
- Don your spurs and a ten-gallon hat for the Cloverdale Rodeo, a cowboy cavalcade of bareback, bronco and bull riding every May.
- Dip into the city's Portuguese side with a series of dances, picnics and cultural events in June's Portuguese Heritage Month.
- Eat your way around Vancouver while burning calories on a guided cycling tour of Vancouver's famous street food carts.
- Witness one of the wackiest shows on offer at the annual Vancouver Fringe Festival in September.
- Take a train underground at the Britannia Mine Museum.
- Speed around the racetrack in a go-kart at the Richmond Go-Kart Track.