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15 Best Things to do in Vancouver (Canada)

15 Best Things to do in Vancouver (Canada)

Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Vancouver (Canada), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.

Vancouver is one of the largest cities in Canada with a total population of 2,426,160 people living within its urban area. It’s a multicultural city where almost 50% of the local residents are neither native speakers of English nor French.

Hike the Grouse Grind

Immerse yourself in nature with a hike of the Grouse Grind. The 2.9-kilometer trail is affectionately known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” and takes you up the face of Grouse Mountain.

Over 150,000 people hike the trail annually, though it should be noted that isn’t an easy hike! On average, it takes up to an hour and a half to make your way up the near 3000 steps. For novice hikers, it’s recommended to dedicate more time to hiking the trail.

Grouse Grind

Stanley Park

Vancouver’s first and largest park offers an escape to nature amid bustling city life. The green oasis is one of Vancouver’s most beloved landmarks and boasts a plethora of attractions.

Explore 400 hectares of the rainforest while taking in varied landscapes of beaches, mountains, skies, and majestic trees. Discover local wildlife, great places to eat, historical monuments, and Canada’s largest aquarium – there’s something for everyone at Stanley Park!

Stanley Park

Vancouver Lookout

See Vancouver from an entirely new perspective with a trip to Vancouver Lookout, a must-see for anyone visiting the city. Head to the top, and you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of Metro Vancouver, the North Shore Mountains, and even Vancouver Island.

You’ll get to see the city from 167m above sea level while learning about the must-see and must-do attractions in Vancouver from knowledgeable staff. There are complimentary tours, or you can explore at your own pace.

Vancouver Lookout

Granville Island

With over 10.5 million visitors each year, Granville Island must be doing something right. Catch the ferry from False Creek and head to Granville Island Public Market, a hub of activity on the island and one of the city’s most important cultural districts.

The market attracts visitors for its eclectic array of produce, offering everything from colorful fresh fruit and vegetables to locally-made, handcrafted products. If you’re looking for something to remember your trip by, this is the place to find it!

Granville Island

Dr Sun Yat Sen – Chinese Garden

Modeled after the gardens of the city of Suzhou, China, Dr Sun Ya Sen Chinese Garden offers a place to discover the history, chi, and relax in a serene environment. Based on the philosophy of yin and yang, you’ll find that everything here is balanced and symbolic.

Make your way around the gardens taking in the magnificent pavilions, pretty terraces, and charming walkways, all styled in a classical Ming Dynasty design.

There are trees, plants, water features as well as intriguing Tai Hu rock groupings to discover too.

Dr Sun Yat Sen - Chinese Garden

Museum of Anthropology

Head just 20 minutes outside of downtown Vancouver, and you’ll find the Museum of Anthropology, home to one of the world’s finest displays of Northwest Coast First Nations arts.

The magnificent museum boasts an array of artworks in a building overlooking the mountains and sea.

Inside, you’ll find exquisite carvings, weavings, and the most extensive collection of works by the renowned Haida artist Bill Reid. There are more than 9000 artifacts from across the globe to discover, plus special exhibitions and public programs too.

Museum of Anthropology vancouver

Gastown

Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood is the place to discover historic architecture and a distinctly charming atmosphere. Gastown grew from a single tavern back in 1867, but today the district is characterized by Victorian buildings, independent boutiques, and a thriving fashion scene.

You’ll also find beautifully curated decor shops, unique galleries, and some of the best cuisine found in Vancouver. The stylish area is easily explored on foot and is a charming mix of both history and modernity.

Gastown

Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach, affectionately known as ”Kits Beach” by locals, is where you’ll find Vancouver’s joggers, loungers, and sun-worshippers; it could be seen as a Canadian equivalent to Venice Beach.

It’s a popular spot for those looking for a workout – there are tennis courts, grassy patches for frisbee throwing, and a sandy beach attracting volleyball players from all corners of the city.

Kits Pool, an outdoor, heated pool with panoramic views of the city, is a must-visit too.

Kitsilano Beach

Sea to Sky Gondola

Hop in the Sea to Sky Gondola, and you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of coastal forest, sweeping mountainscapes, and the beautiful Howe Sound. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide you with ultimate 360-degree views the whole family will love.

At the top, an array of outdoor experiences await. There are two walking trails with viewing platforms, the fantastic Suspension Bridge (not for the faint-hearted!), rock climbing, hiking trails, and much more.

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge

Situated at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola, Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is a heart-pumping attraction thousands of feet above the ground below it. The approximately 100-meter-long bridge offers incredible views of the mountains above and the Howe Sound below.

Anyone who crosses the bridge is sure to feel the exposure of the open air here! The deck is open year-round and both stroller and wheelchair accessible, meaning that everyone can enjoy this thrilling attraction every day of the year.

Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge

Whale Watching

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Vancouver between March and October, you’ll get to witness the spectacle of thousands of migrating whales. Vancouver is one of the world’s best whale watching locations and offers numerous tours around the Gulf and San Juan islands to see them.

From a high-speed zodiac, cruiser, kayak or seaplane you’ll set out in search of pods of whales (think orca, humpback, grey and minke whales), but you’re likely to see a plethora of other wildlife species too – keep an eye out for birds, sea lions, otters and dolphins!

Whale Watching in Vancouver

Richmond Night Market

Richmond Night Market is the largest in North America and welcomes over 1 million visitors each year – once you visit, it’s not hard to see why. The 18-acre venue hosts an array of booths, stalls, attractions, and entertainment with a new theme introduced each year.

Open every weekend from May to October, Richmond Night Market is the place to taste delicious street food, buy local merchandise, and get involved with a variety of exciting games – don’t miss out.

Richmond Night Market

Photo: sen yang / Shutterstock.com

English Bay Beach

English Bay is one of Vancouver’s most beautiful and most popular beaches. It’s also the home of the annual January Polar Bear Swim, a unique event where Vancouverites swim in the freezing ocean!

Many other events and celebrations take place at English Bay Beach throughout the year, but it also connects to Stanley Park along the seawall. It’s an urban escape with excellent access to nearby nature, restaurants and charming coffee shops.

English Bay Beach

Photo: Josef Hanus / Shutterstock.com

VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Botanical Garden is a haven of nature in the heart of Vancouver. The 55-acre oasis boasts over 7500 plant species and houses a variety of local wildlife.

As you make your way around the Garden, you’ll be able to navigate an Elizabethan hedge maze, photograph wildlife, or dine at one of the on-site cafe and restaurants.

The garden-themed gift shop is perfect for picking up a souvenir, while the orchard-shaped, award-winning visitor center is a must-see.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

Christ Church Cathedral

Vancouver’s oldest surviving church has welcomed visitors and Vancouver residents alike for over 125 years. It was commonly known as “the light on the hill” thanks to its height and brightness among the city skyline.

Today, the cathedral welcomes people to worship, reflect, or just take in a little piece of the city’s history. The Christ Church cathedral serves as the main center of Christianity in Vancouver. 

Highlights include custom-designed stained glass, the “Welcoming Light” glass spire (a guiding beacon of peace and hope), and a collection of Canadian public art.

Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver

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